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the Elizabethans, who constantly drew upon them for illustration. The basis of this happy simile is the combination of color and preciousness. Many Venetians had beautiful red-golden hair, as we see in the pictures of Titian, Gior

gione, and others. 178 For a possible treatment of neither in this line, see note on




1 Notice the change of form. See Introduction, V. Which of

the characteristics of Euphuism do you find in this scene ? 6 mean: small. 7 the mean: the middle. What is the rhetorical term for this

trick of language? See note on sc. i, line 19. 7,8 comes by: gets. See sc. i, line 3. How would you put

into other words the ideas here embodied in superfluity and competency?

What is the figure ? 9 sentences : wise sayings. Look up the derivation of senten

tious. 16 The brain .. the blood. In Shakespeare we find again and

again a contrast between the blood, i.e. impulse, passion, and the brain, reason or “judgement,” the last term being most commonly used.

“If the balance of our lives had not one scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, the blood and baseness of our natures would conduct us to most preposterous conclusions.Othello, Act I, sc. iii, line 330.

“Blest are those
Whose blood and judgement are so well commingled
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger

To sound what stop she please.” Hamlet, Act III, sc. ii, line 73. 35 level at: aim at, as in directing an arrow. 37 colt. A play on the word, which sometimes meant “a witless

youngster.” - DR. Johnson. 40 County Palatine : “count palatine ... not the title of a par

ticular office, but an hereditary addition of dignity and honour, gotten by service done in a domesticall charge.” (Cotgrave, quoted by Dr. SKEAT.)

“If I don't suit you, use your pleasure !”

41, 42

43 the weeping philosopher. This name was given to Heraclitus

of Ephesus, who lived about 500 B.C. Democritus was

“the laughing philosopher." 48 Compare the preposition in 58. 60 say to. See note on sc. i, line 19. 63 proper : handsome. 65 suited : clad. 66 round hose: trunk hose, stuffed breeches. An Italian cos

tume of the sixteenth century, including the quilted doublet, may be seen by looking at the queer little figure of

Punch in the English illustrated paper of that name. 72 sealed under. The Clarendon Press editors point out that

the principal was said to “seal to" a bond; his surety “sealed under.” This allusion to the traditional good feeling between Scotland and France, and their joint hostility to England, must have delighted a London audience in Queen Elizabeth's days; but in the First Folio, published while James I. was king, “other” is prudently sub

stituted for “Scottish.” 78 and the worst fall : if the worst befall. And frequently has

this meaning; it is sometimes written an. 80, 81, 82 In which of these cases does should conflict with

modern usage? 89 determinations may be regarded as singular in thought, since

the determinations of Portia's suitors were the same; and

perhaps this is the reason for the singular verb. 91, 92 by some other sort: in some other manner. Compare The

Tempest, Act IV, sc. i, line 146: “You do look, my son, in a moved sort.” But Richard Grant White believed that the word is here used in its radical sense;

Latin sors,

a lot.

93 Sibylla. Used for the Cumæan Sibyl, to whom, as Ovid tells

the story, Apollo promised years as many as the grains of

sand in her grasp. 95 this parcel of wooers are. A grammatical confusion common

enough in Shakespeare, which would be most deplorable

at the present day. Compare sc. i, line 88. 95 parcel : set, company. 96 his very absence. The wittiness of this saying consists in the





surprise. We expected some other word to follow very,

and Portia startles us with an anticlimax and a paradox. 108, 109 four strangers a fifth. Six have been mentioned;

but probably there were only four in the original manuscript; two, it would appear, were subsequently introduced in the stage version, and the author forgot to change these

lines. 112, 113

What should we use to-day? 114 condition: disposition, temper. 114 complexion. A dark complexion was looked upon with dis

favor in Shakespeare's time. Compare Sonnet CXXVII:

“In the old age black was not counted fair.” 115 shrive: absolve. “I would rather have him for my con

fessor than for my husband.” 117, 118 Portia's gayety of heart appears in these irresponsible

lines. It would be useless to scan them; but they may be rendered tolerable to the ear by slurring wooer.

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1 ducats. A ducat was literally a coin issued by a duke. It

took its name from the word Ducatus, a duchy, occurring in a Latin motto sometimes inscribed on the ducat. Ducats were coined both in gold and in silver. Coryat says in his “Crudities” that in Venice, in 1608, a ducat was worth

4s. 6d. (roughly speaking, a United States dollar). 6 May you stead me ? “Can you assist me?6 stead : stay, hold up. Compare The Tempest, Act I, sc. ii,

line 165: “Stuffs and necessaries Which since have steaded

much.” 11 good : of sound credit. 17 upon the Rialto. Similar to the London phrase "on 'Change.”

The Rialto, Staunton explains, was a name given to three distinct places in Venice: (1) the island at the farther side of the Grand Canal; (2) the Exchange on that island; (3) the bridge connecting the island with St. Mark's Quarter. Here Shylock means the Exchange. Of this Exchange Coryat writes: “The Rialto . . . is a most stately building, being the Exchange of Venice, where the

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Venetian gentlemen and the merchants doe meete twice a day. ... This Rialto is of a goodly height, built all with bricke as the palaces are, adorned with many faire walkes or open galleries, and hath a pretty quadrangular court adjoining to it.” The word Rialto seems originally

to have meant “high shore.” 18 squandered : scattered. 24, 25 “I assure you" is so commonly used in the sense of

“I emphatically declare to you,” without any thought of the exact meaning of assure, that the repetition here has the force of a pun. Bassanio means, “ Rest satisfied you may”; Shylock answers, “I will be made certain,” in a keen and dry manner that points the change of

meaning 29 Nazarite. Properly, in modern use, not a dweller in Naza

reth, but one who has taken certain vows; compare Judges xiii. 5: “ The child shall be a Nazarite unto God.” In Shakespeare's time and earlier, however, Nazarite was also the usual English word for a man of Nazareth; and it is so given in all translations of the Bible before the King

James's version. 35

a fawning publican. It remains a puzzle why Shylock should

apply this term to Antonio. Certainly the latter's manner is anything but “fawning.” Publican may mean a farmer of taxes under the Roman government; and this would be a Jew's association with the word. On the other hand, it may mean, as it often does, an innkeeper. In neither case does it appear appropriate to Antonio, even from Shylock's point of view. We are led to suspect that there is a hope

less corruption of the text. 36 for: because. 39 usance. Interchangeably used, in this play, with “interest

and “usury.” Find in the dictionary the difference in the modern application of the latter words. Shylock means

“ the rate of interest." 40 upon the hip: at advantage; a term of wrestling. 53 desire. Probably lengthened in pronunciation; unless we

may suppose a pause, filled by Shylock's salutation to Antonio. See Introduction, IV. h. 2.


56 excess : interest, i.e. excess over the sum lent, returned when

the debt is paid. 58 possess'd : informed; put into possession of the fact in ques

tion. To whom does Antonio address this last sentence? 61 To whom does Shylock say, “You told me so”? 63 Methought. It is well to remember that in this expression

me is a dative, and thought an impersonal verb coming from the Anglo-Saxon thincan, to seem (not from thencan,

to think). 64 “It has never been my custom.”

were compromised: had made an agreement. Shylock gets

his story from Genesis xxx. 73 eanlings: new-born lambs. 78 Fall. Here a transitive verb, not as in 74. 88 It is supposed that Antonio alludes to Matthew iv. 6; but

this is not necessarily the case. 95 beholding. Here used instead of the more common and

more correct “beholden ”; indebted. 97 rated : harshly reproved. 100 A metaphor. “A patient bearing is the distinguishing mark

of my race.” The figure gains force, no doubt, from the presence of an actual badge, to which Shylock points in illustration; probably his orange-tawny cap or turban, though he may have worn a red hat, as a Jew born in

Italy. 102 gaberdine: a gown or frock, apparently not different among

the Jews from the same garment as worn by others. The phrase is, then, a condensation of “upon my gaberdine,

because it is Jewish,” i.e. belongs to a Jew. 105 Go to. This colloquial expression may be variously rendered,

according to the context. Here it is equivalent to “Well,” as above, but with a slight shade of reproof. See note on

Act II, sc. ii, line 146. 119 Notice the impressiveness of the broken line. See Intro

duction, IV. d. 124 Antonio's argument is that money cannot really multiply

itself. For Shylock's use of the same term, cf. line 86. 126 See note on sc. i, lines 146, 147. 130 doit: a Dutch coiu of that time, of very small value.

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