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Ner. Silence beftows that virtue on it, madam. Por. The crow doth fing as fweetly as the lark, When neither is attended; and, I think, The nightingale, if the fhould fing by day, When every goofe is cackling, would be thought No better a mufician than the wren. How many things by feafon feafon'd are To their right praife, and true perfection?Peace! how the moon fleeps with Endymion, And would not be awak'd!
Lor. That is the voice,
Or I am much deceiv'd, of Portia.
Por. He knows me, as the blind man knows the cuckow,
By the bad voice.
Lor. Dear lady, welcome home.
Por. We have been praying for our husbands' welfare,
Which speed, we hope, the better for our words. Are they return'd?
Lor. Madam, they are not yet;
Por. Go in, Neriffa,
Give order to my fervants, that they take
[A tucket founds.
Lor. Your husband is at hand, I hear his trumpet: We are no tell-tales, madam; fear you not.
Por. This night, methinks, is but the day-light fick,
It looks a little paler; 'tis a day,
Atucket] Toccata, Ital. a flourish on a trumpet. STEEVENS.
Enter Baffanio, Anthonio, Gratiano, and their followers.
Baff. We fhould hold day with the Antipodes, If you would walk in abfence of the fun.
Por: Let me give light, but let me not be light;
But, God fort all!-You are welcome home, my lord.' Baff. I thank you, madam: give welcome to my friend.
This is the man, this is Anthonio,
To whom I am fo infinitely bound.
Por. You fhould in all fenfe be much bound to him,
For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.
Anth. No more than I am well acquitted of.
5 Let me give light, &c.] There is fcarcely any word with which Shakspeare fo much delights to trifle as with light, in its various fignifications. JOHNSON.
Most of the old dramatic writers are guilty of the fame quib. ble. co Marston in his Infatiate Countess, 1613: "By this bright light that is deriv'd from thee"So, fir, you make me a very light creature." Again, Middleton, in A Mad World my Maflers, 1608:
-more lights-I call'd for light: here come in two are light enough for a whole house."
Again, in Springes for Woodcocks, a collection of epigrams, 1606:
"Than hath her lightness till of late difclos'd;
this breathing courtely.] Breathing for verbal. So, in Timon of Athens, a fenator replies to Alcibiades, who had made a long ipcech :
"You breathe in vain."
Again, in Hamlet:
Having ever feen in the prenominate crimes
Gra. By yonder moon, I fwear, you do me wrong;
Por. A quarrel, ho, already? what's the matter?
Ner. What talk you of the poefy, or the value?
Like cutler's poetry;] Knives, as Sir John Hawkins obferves, were formerly infcribed by means of aqua fortis with fhort fentences in diftich. In Decker's Satyromafrix, Sir Edward Vaughan fays, "You fhall fwear by Phoebus, who is your poet's good lord and mafter, that hereafter you will not hire Horace to give you poefies for rings, or handkerchers or knives which derftand not." EDITOR.
7 - have been refpective.] Respective has the fame meaning as respectful. See K. John, act i. STEEVENS.
——— a youth,
A kind of boy; a little scrubbed boy,
No higher than thyself, the judge's clerk,
It is certain from the words of the context and the tenor of the
A kind of boy; a little fcrubbed boy,
Por. You were to blame, I must be plain with
To part fo flightly with your wife's first gift;
I gave my love a ring, and made him fwear
Baff. Why, I were beft to cut my left hand off, And fwear, I loft the ring defending it. [Afide.
Gra. My lord Baffanio gave his ring away Unto the judge that begg'd it, and, indeed, Deferv'd it too; and then the boy, his clerk, That took fome pains in writing, he begg'd mine:
-a little fubbed boy.
In many counties it is a common provincialism, to call young birds not yet fledged fubbed young ones. But, what is more to our purpose, the author of The Hiftory and Antiquities of Glaftonbury, printed by Hearne, an antiquarian, and a plain unaffected writer, fays, that "Saunders must be a fubbed boy, if not a man at the diffolution of abbeys, &c." edit. 1722, Pref. Signat. n. 2. It therefore feems to have been a common expreffion for tripling, the very idea which the fpeaker means to convey. dation be just here, we should also correct Nerilla's fpeech which follows:
If the emen.
For that fame fubbed boy, the doctor's clerk,
I believe ferubbed and fubbed have a like meaning, and fignify funted or forub-like. So, in P. Holland's tranflation of Pliny's Nat. Hift. " -but fuch will never prove fair trees, but skrubs, only." STEEVENS,
And neither man, nor mafter, would take aught But the two rings.
Por. What ring gave you, my lord?
Por. Even fo void is your falfe heart of truth.
Ner. Nor I in yours, 'Till I again fee mine. Baff. Sweet Portia,
If you did know to whom I gave the ring,
9 retain-] The old copies concur in reading contain.
1 What man· wanted the modefty
urge the thing held as a ceremony?]
This is a very licentious expreffion. The fenfe is, What man could have fo little modefty or wanted modefy fo much, as to arge the demand of a thing kept on account in fome fort religious. JOHNSON.
Thus Calphurnia fays to Julius Cæfar:
Cæfar, I never ftood on ceremonies." STEEVENS.