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Ant. I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels.
Mark you but that!
Nay, but hear me:
Ant. I once did lend my body for his wealth :* Which, but for him that had your husband's ring,
[T. PORTIA. Had quite miscarried: I dare be bound again, My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord Will never more break faith advisedly.
Por. Then you shall be his surety: Give him this; And bid him keep it better than the other.
i Ant. Here, lord Bassanio; swear to keep this ring. Bass. By heaven, it is the same I gave the doctor!
Por. I had it of him: pardon me, Bassanio; For by this ring the doctor lay with me.
Ner. And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano; For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor's clerk, In lieu of this, last night did lie with me.
Gra. Why, this is like the mending of high-ways In summer, where the ways are fair enough: What! are we cuckolds, ere we have deserv'd it?
swear by your double self,] Double is here used in a bad sense for--full of duplicity.
for his wealth;] For his advantage; to obtain his happiness. Wealth was, at that time, the term opposite to adversity, or calamity:
Por. Speak not so grossly.--You are all amaz'd: Here is a letter, read it at your leisure; It comes from Padua, from Bellario: There you shall find, that Portia was the doctor; Nerissa there, her clerk: Lorenzo here Shall witness, I set forth as soon as you, And but even now return'd; I have not yet Enter'd my house.--Antonio, you are welcome; And I have better news in store for you, Than you expect: unseal this letter soon; There you shall find, three of your argosies Are richly come to harbour suddenly: You shall not know by what strange accident I chanced on this letter. Ant.
I am dumb. Bass. Were you the doctor, and I knew you
not? Gra. Were you the clerk, that is to make me
cuckold? Ner. Ay; but the clerk that never means to do
it, Unless he live until he be a man.
Bass. Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow;
How now, Lorenzo
Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.
Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
It is almost morning,
And yet, I am sure, you are not satisfied
Gra. Let it be so; The first intergatory,
Of TIE MERCHANT OF VENICE the style is even and easy, with few peculiarities of diction, or anomalies of construction, The comick part raises laughter, and the serious fixes expectation. The probability of either one or the other story cannot be maintained. The union of two actions in one eyent is in this drama eminently happy. Dryden was much pleased with his own address in connecting the two plots of his Spanish Friar, which yet, I believe, the critick will find excelled by this play. Jouxson,