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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, Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me, And begg'd the ring; the which I did deny him, And suffer'd him to go displeas'd away;

Even he that had held up the very life

Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady?

I was enforc'd to send it after him;

I was beset with shame and courtesy ;

My honour would not let ingratitude
So much besmear it: Pardon me, good lady,
For,* by these blessed candles of the night,
Had you been there, I think, you would have begg'd
The ring of me to give the worthy doctor.

POR. Let not that doctor e'er come near my house:
Since he hath got the jewel that I lov'd,
And that which you did swear to keep for me,
I will become as liberal as you;

I'll not deny him any thing I have,
No, not my body, nor my husband's bed :
Know him I shall, I am well sure of it:

*So quartos ; folio, And.

tious expression. The sense is,-What man could have so little modesty, or wanted modesty so much, as to urge the demand of a thing kept on an account in some sort religious. JOHNSON. Thus Calphurnia says to Julius Cæsar :

"Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies."


5- candles of the night,] We have again the same expression in one of our author's Sonnets, in Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet. It likewise occurs in Diella, Certaine Sonnets adjoyned to the Amorous Poeme of Don Diego, and Gineura, by R. L. 1596:

"He who can count the candles of the skie,

"Reckon the sands whereon Pactolus flows," &c. MALONE. In some Saxon poetry preserved in Hickes's Thesaurus, (vol. i. p. 181,) the sun is called God's candle. So that this periphrasis for the stars, such a favourite with our poet, might have been an expression not grown obsolete in his days. HOLT White.

Lie not a night from home; watch me, like Argus :
If you do not, if I be left alone,

Now, by mine honour, which is yet my own,
I'll have that doctor for my bedfellow.

NER. And I his clerk; therefore be well advis'd, How you do leave me to mine own protection.

GRA. Well, do you so: let not me take him then ;

For, if I do, I'll mar the young clerk's pen.

ANT. I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels. POR. Sir, grieve not you; You are welcome notwithstanding.

BASS. Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong; And, in the hearing of these many friends, I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes, Wherein I see myself,


Mark you but that! In both my eyes he doubly sees himself: In each eye, one :-swear by your double self", And there's an oath of credit.

BASS. Nay, but hear me : Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear, I never more will break an oath with thee.

ANT. I once did lend my body for his wealth'; Which, but for him that had your husband's ring, [TO 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.

Double is here used in a


swear by your DOUBLE self.]

bad sense, for-full of duplicity. MALONE.



for his WEALTH;] For his advantage; to obtain his happiness. Wealth was, at that time, the term opposite to adversity, or calamity. JOHNSON.

So, in The Litany: "In all time of our tribulation; in all time of our wealth - STEEVENS.


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


In summer, where the ways are fair enough: What are we cuckolds, ere we have deserv'd it?

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.


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; When I am absent, then lie with my wife.

ANT. Sweet lady, you have given me life, and


For here I read for certain, that my ships
Are safely come to road.

POR. How now, Lorenzo ? My clerk hath some good comforts too for you. NER. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.

There do I give to you, and Jessica,
From the rich Jew, a special deed of gift,
After his death, of all he dies possess'd of.

LOR. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
Of starved people.

It is almost morning,
And yet, I am sure, you are not satisfied
Of these events at full: Let us go in ;
And charge us there upon intergatories,
And we will answer all things faithfully.

GRA. Let it be so: The first intergatory,
That my Nerissa shall be sworn on, is,
Whether till the next night she had rather stay;
Or go to bed now, being two hours to-day:
But were the day come, I should wish it dark,
That I were couching with the doctor's clerk.
Well, while I live, I'll fear no other thing
So sore, as keeping safe Nerissa's ring.


* First folio and quarto H. till.

8 It has been lately discovered, that this fable is taken from a story in the Pecorone of Ser Giovanni Fiorentino, a novelist, who wrote in 1378. [The first novel of the fourth day.] The story has been published in English, and I have epitomized the translation. The translator is of opinion, that the choice of the caskets is borrowed from a tale of Boccace, which I have likewise abridged, though I believe that Shakspeare must have had some other novel in view.* JOHNSON.

* See Dr. Farmer's note at the beginning of this play, from which it appears that Dr. Johnson was right in his conjecture.


THERE lived at Florence, a merchant whose name was Bindo. He was rich, and had three sons. Being near his end, he called for the two eldest, and left them heirs to the youngest he left nothing. This youngest, whose name was Giannetto, went to his father, and said, What has my father done? The father replied, Dear Giannetto, there is none to whom I wish better than to you. Go to Venice to your godfather, whose name is Ansaldo; he has no child, and has wrote to me often to send you thither to him. He is the richest merchant amongst the Christians: if you behave well, you will be certainly a rich man. The son answered, I am ready to do whatever my dear father shall command: upon which he gave him his benediction, and in a few days died.

Giannetto went to Ansaldo, and presented the letter given by the father before his death. Ansaldo reading the letter, cried out, My dearest godson is welcome to my arms. He then asked news of his father. Giannetto replied, He is dead. I am much grieved, replied Ansaldo, to hear of the death of Bindo; but the joy I feel, in seeing you, mitigates my sorrow. He conducted him to his house, and gave orders to his servants, that Giannetto should be obeyed, and served with more attention than had been paid to himself. He then delivered him the keys of his ready money : and told him, Son, spend this money, keep a table, and make yourself known: remember, that the more you gain the good will of every body, the more you will be dear to me.

Giannetto now began to give entertainments. He was more obedient and courteous to Ansaldo, than if he had been an hundred times his father. Every body in Venice was fond of him. Ansaldo could think of nothing but him; so much was he pleased with his good manners and behaviour.

It happened, that two of his most intimate acquaintance designed to go with two ships to Alexandria, and told Giannetto, he would do well to take a voyage and see the world. I would go willingly, said he, if my father Ansaldo will give leave. His companions go to Ansaldo, and beg his permission for Giannetto to go in the spring with them to Alexandria; and desire him to provide him a ship. Ansaldo immediately procured a very fine ship, loaded it with merchandize, adorned it with streamers, and furnished it with arms; and, as soon as it was ready, he gave orders to the captain and sailors to do every thing that Giannetto commanded. It happened one morning early, that Giannetto saw a gulph, with a fine port, and asked the captain how the port was called? He replied, That place belongs to a widow lady, who has ruined many gentlemen. In what manner? says Giannetto. He answered, This lady is a fine and beautiful woman, and has made a law, that whoever arrives here is obliged to go to bed with her, and if he can have the enjoyment of her, he must take her for his wife, and be lord of all the country; but if he cannot enjoy her, he loses every thing he has brought with him. Giannetto, after

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