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Steph. None but a holy hermit, and her maid.

I pray you, is my master yet return'd ?

How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!

Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.

Lor. He is not, nor we have not heard from him. Sit, Jessica. Look, how the floor of heaven

But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica,
And ceremoniously let us prepare

Some welcome for the mistress of the house.


Laun. Sola, sola! wo ha, ho! sola, sola ! Lor. Who calls?


Sola!-did you see Master Lorenzo and Mistress Lorenzo ?-sola, sola!

Lor. Leave hollaing, man:-here.
Laun. Sola!-where? where?
Lor. Here.

Laun. Tell him there's a post come from my master, with his horn full of good news: my master will be here ere morning. [Exit.

Lor. Sweet soul, let's in, and there expect their coming.

And yet no matter:-why should we go in ?—
My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you,
Within the house, your mistress is at hand;
And bring your music forth into the air.


7. Holy crosses. Wayside shrines, still seen by scores in Italy; where (as formerly in England) they are rarely passed without a raised hat, a bent knee, a murmured paternoster, or a prayer for whatever lies nearest to the heart of the devoteesuch as the "happy wedlock hours" besought by Portia.

8. Sola, sola! An exclamation used to express haste and excitement. See Note 26, Act iv., "Love's Labour's Lost."

9. With his horn, &c. The "post," or postman, formerly had a horn slung round his neck; partly as an official badge, partly that he might sound it, on his arrival, to announce the bringing of news. There are many allusions to this custom in the elder dramatists; and one at so late a date as in the opening of Book iv. of Cowper's "Task" ("The Winter Evening"):

"Hark! 'tis the twanging horn! o'er yonder bridge," &c. 10. Patines. A "patine" (from the Latin, patina) is the small flat plate of gold used with the chalice in the administration of the Eucharist.

11. In his motion like an angel sings. The idea of the 'music of the spheres,' or the melodious sound produced by the heavenly bodies in their course of revolution, is as ancient as it is familiar to every one. But Shakespeare, as usual, has added another beauty to a popular and poetical belief. Milton, in his "Arcades;" Coleridge, in his "Remorse;" Wordsworth, in his "Power of Sound," each has a fine passage on this grand subject.

12. The young-ey'd cherubins. "Cherubins" was formerly the plural used instead of 'cherubim,' but for the epithet "young-ey'd" we are solely indebted to Shakespeare, and a matchless one it is!

13. Such harmony is in immortal souls. "Such" here stands for 'the like,' or 'similar;' and the meaning of the line is illustrated by a sentence of Hooker, in his "Ecclesiastical Polity," where he says of musical harmony that "such is the force thereof, and so pleasing effects it hath in every part of man which is most divine, that some have been thereby in

Is thick inlaid with patines 10 of bright gold: There's not the smallest orb which thou be

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14. Close it in. This is the reading of one of the Quartos: misprinted in the other Quarto, and in the Folio, close in it.' This "it" here we take to be an instance of Shakespeare's way of using that word in reference to something previously named plurally. See Note 24, Act i., of this play; and Note 2, Act iii., "The Tempest." In the present passage "it" means 'the human soul,' one of the "immortal souls" mentioned in the penultimate line. The "it" at the end of the present line, of course, alludes to "harmony;" and the poet's having used "it" in allusion to two different things in the same sentence, together with his condensation of exuberant thoughts into the same passage, renders a recollection of his peculiar style essential to the comprehension of such speeches as the present. "This muddy vesture of decay" is a poetical expression for the corporeal and material part of man-his mortal body.

15. Diana. Here used in allusion to the moon, as afterwards "the moon" is used for Diana.

16. I am never merry when I hear sweet music. For the sake of this one line (a line that was an especial favourite with one of the profoundest musicians we ever knew), we feel inclined to forgive Jessica anything we may have charged her with elsewhere. See Notes 71 and 78, Act ii., and Note 55, Act iii. Her avowal of the effect that music has upon her shows her to be capable of amelioration; and we may trust that this, her appreciation of a woman like Portia, and her husband's loving influence, may ultimately soften her into excellence. But thus it is that Shakespeare ever throws in redeeming points; making his characters illustrate "the good and ill together" that exist in human nature.

17. Unhandled colts. We have allusion to the effect produced by music upon "unback'd colts" in "The Tempest," iv. 1; and it is worth observing the characteristic difference of the description placed in the mouth of the frolicsome sprite Ariel, and in that of the staider Lorenzo, having reference to the same point.

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When neither is attended; and I think
The nightingale, if she should sing by day,
When every goose is cackling, would be thought
No better a musician than the wren.
How many things by season season'd are
To their right praise and true perfection!—

Since naught so stockish, hard, and full of Peace, ho! the moon 22 sleeps with Endymion,


But music for the time doth change his nature.
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.19-Mark the music.

Enter PORTIA and NERISSA, at a distance. Por. That light we see is burning in my hall.

How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty 20 world.
Ner. When the moon shone, we did not see the

Por. So doth the greater glory dim the less:
A substitute shines brightly as a king,
Until a king be by; and then his state
Empties itself, as doth an inland brook
Into the main of waters.-Music! hark!

Ner. It is your music, madam, of the house. Por. Nothing is good, I see, without respect: " Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day.

18. The poet. Ovid; who, in his story of Orpheus and Eurydice, not only describes the Thessalian musician as drawing the "trees, stones, and floods" on earth; but, when penetrating to the shades below in search of his lost wife, causing those doomed to everlasting penal labours to suspend them-Tantalus to desist from pursuing the receding stream; Ixion's wheel to cease rolling: the Belides to pause in their fruitless toil of filling leaky vessels; and Sisyphus to refrain from pushing up the ever-mounting, everfalling stone.

19. Let no such man be trusted. In the time when Shakespearian commentators tilted at each other in successive notes of the Variorum Editions, upon certain passages in our poet's plays, there was an exchange of weapons (or sharp opinions) upon the lines under consideration; one critic pronouncing the thought here to be "extremely fine," the other denouncing it as neither pregnant with physical or moral truth, nor poetically beautiful in an eminent degree. That Shakespeare promulgated the axiom, "The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not mov'd," &c., as a solemnly delivered and deliberately uttered dogma, no one, we should think, would imagine; but that it is in consonance with the poetical creed as to the weight of refining influence in music, held by men from the remotest ages, and that it is precisely one of those ardent expressions inspired by the immediate hearing of music, and by the impressions and emotions it produces, no one who has experienced those impressions and emotions will doubt.

20. Naughty. Formerly used with greater force of meaning than at present. See Note 46, Act v., Much Ado about

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Nothing" Here it means 'evil,' 'wicked,' 'corrupt;' yet, somehow, its lighter form of expression harmonises well with the light-hearted mood, the condition of internal happiness, that possesses Portia at this moment of her return from having successfully fulfilled a project for rescuing her husband's friend from peril incurred for his sake. Her sweet cheerfulness, her readiness to find everything doubly bright, doubly melodious, has the exquisite charm of a spirit at ease with itself, from conscious rectitude. It is the spiritual evidence of the moral lesson taught by Shakespeare in this scene-felicity attained from good achieved. 21. Respect. This word here includes two meanings: it has the sense of regard,' 'attention,' 'consideration' (see Note 45, Act ii., "Midsummer Night's Dream"); and it also has the sense of 'respectively,' 'relatively,' as modified by concomitant cir


22. The moon. Here used for Diana. See Note 15, Act v. This allusion to the lovely mythological story of Diana's enamoured visits to the sleeping shepherd of Mount Latmos, is introduced here with beautiful and almost epithalamic appropriateness. In the old copies "ho!" is misprinted 'how;' not an unusual typographical error.

23. By the bad voice. Just one of those playful ironies that Shakespeare puts into the mouths of his women; Portia knowing full well that neither her own voice, nor that ever-welcome fluty one of the bird of spring, is "bad."

24. Which. Here used for 'who.' See Note 27, Act iv. 25. A tucket sounds. "A tucket" meant a flourish on the trumpet; from the Italian toccata, a musical prelude.

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It looks a little paler: 'tis a day,
Such as the day is when the sun is hid.20



We should hold day with the Anti



If you would walk in absence of the sun.27

Act V. Scene 1.

But God sort 28 all!-You are welcome home, my lord.

Bass. I thank you, madam. Give welcome to my friend:

This is the man, this is Antonio,

To whom I am so infinitely bound.

Por. You should in all sense be much bound to him;

Por. Let me give light, but let me not be For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.


For a light wife doth make a heavy husband,

And never be Bassanio so for me:

Ant. No more than I am well acquitted of.
Por. Sir, you are very welcome to our house:

26. 'Tis a day, such as the day, &c. Those who have wit nessed the pale gold splendour of an Italian moonlight will feel the truth of this passage; and the poet's bringing it thus visibly before the reader's eye, not only serves to give the colouring of Italy to the scene, but serves to depict the feelings of Portia,

who is precisely in that mood of mind when we involuntarily notice the beauty of the natural influences around us.

27. We should hold day, &c. 'We should have day here now, as they have it at the Antipodes, if you would walk when it is night.' 28. Sort. Here used for 'dispose,' 'cause to befall or occur.' See Note 30, Act iv, "Much Ado about Nothing"

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It must appear in other ways than words,
Therefore I scant this breathing courtesy.29
Gra. [To NERISSA.] By yonder moon I swear
you do me wrong;


In faith I gave it to the judge's clerk :
Would he were chok'd that had it, for my part,
Since you do take it, love, so much at heart.
Por. A quarrel, ho, already! what's the matter?
Gra. About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring
That she did give me; whose posy 30 was
For all the world like cutler's poetry3
Upon a knife, "Love me, and leave me not." 32
Ner. What talk you of the posy or the value?
You swore to me, when I did give it you,
That you would wear it till your hour of death;
And that it should lie with you in your grave:
Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,
You should have been respective, and have

kept it.

Gave it a judge's clerk! no, Heaven's my judge,
The clerk will ne'er wear hair on's face that had it.
Gra. He will, an if he live to be a man.
Ner. Ay, if a woman live to be a man.
Gra. Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,-
A kind of boy; a little scrubbèd3⁄4 boy,
No higher than thyself, the judge's clerk;

A prating boy, that begg'd it as a fee:

I could not for my heart deny it him.

Por. You were to blame,—I must be plain with you,

To part so slightly with your wife's first gift;
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger,
And so riveted with faith unto
your flesh.
I gave my love a ring, and made him swear
Never to part with it; and here he stands,—

I dare be sworn for him, he would not leave it,35
Nor pluck it from his finger, for the wealth
That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano,
You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief:
An 'twere to me, I should be mad at it.

Bass. [Aside.] Why, I were best to cut my left hand off,

29. Breathing courtesy. Courtesy composed of breath,' or mere verbal courtesy.

30. Posy. Motto; inscription. "Posy" is a contraction of the word 'poesy;' and in the Folio it is printed 'poesie' here.

31. Cutler's poetry. It was the custom for cutlers to have mottoes inscribed, by means of aqua-fortis, upon the knives they sold for giving away as keepsakes.

32. Leave me not. "Leave," as here used, meant 'give away,' 'part with.' See Note 30, Act iv., "Two Gentlemen of Verona." 33. Should have been respective. 'Should have respected your pledged word,' 'should have been regardful of your honour.' See Note 21, Act v.

34. Scrubbed. This word comprises the two senses of 'stunted,' 'stubbed,' or 'stubby,' like a dwarf tree or shrub ('shrub' and 'scrub' being at one time used synonymously; witness the name of "Wormwood Scrubs," which was originally a place covered with low shrubs, or brushwood), and of 'scrubby,' contemptible, pitiful, shabby.

And swear I lost the ring defending it.
Gra. My Lord Bassanio gave his ring away
Unto the judge that begg'd it, and indeed
Deserv'd it too; and then the boy, his clerk,
That took some pains in writing, he begg'd

And neither man nor master would take aught
But the two rings.

What ring gave you, my lord?
Not that, I hope, which you receiv'd of me.
Bass. If I could add a lie unto a fault,
I would deny it; but you see my finger
Hath not the ring upon it,—it is gone.

Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth. By Heaven! I will ne'er come in your bed Until I see the ring.

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Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
Or your own honour to contain 36 the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
What man is there so much unreasonable,
If you had pleas'd to have defended it
With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
To urge the thing held as a ceremony ?$7
Nerissa teaches me what to believe:
I'll die for't, but some woman had the ring.
Bass. No, by mine honour, madam, by my soul,
No woman had it, but a civil doctor,38
Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me,
And begg'd the ring; the which I did deny

And suffer'd him to go displeas'd away;

35. He would not leave it. 'He would not part with it.' Again, a little farther on: "How unwillingly I left the ring;" that is, 'gave the ring.'


36. Contain. Hold, keep, retain. There is still an expression commonly used of a person in a suppressed rage-' He could hardly contain his fury;' and Lord Bacon employs the word thus when he says, "To contain anger from mischief, though it take hold of a man, there be two things." Shakespeare himself uses contain" in the sense of restrain,' elsewhere. 37. Held as a ceremony. 'Held sacred,' 'kept religiously.' The whole passage-its construction being somewhat involved-means, 'What man could have been so unreasonable (if you had chosen to defend it zealously), and so wanting in modesty, as to have urged your giving up a thing you held so dear?'

38. A civil doctor. The expression is used half-punningly, for a doctor of civil law, and for a doctor courteous in speech and Here "which" is again used for 'who.


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