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But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
[Music. Jes. I am never merry, when I hear sweet music.
Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentive; For do but note a wild and wanton herd, Or race of youthful and unhandled colts, Fetching mad bounds, bellowing, and neighing loud, Which is the hot condition of their blood; If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound, Or any air of music touch their ears, You shall perceive them make a mutual stand, Their savage eyes turned to a modest gaze, By the sweet power of music. Therefore, the poet Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods; Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage, But music for the time doth change his nature. The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved 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.-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 world. Ner. When the moon shone, we did not see the
candle. Por. So doth the greater glory dim the less.
1 The folio editions, and the quarto printed by Roberts, read
"Such harmony is in immortal souls;
A substitute shines brightly as a king,
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.
Ner. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.
Por. The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark,
[ Music ceases. Lor.
That is the voice, Or, I am much deceived, of Portia. Por. He knows me, as the blind man knows the
cuckoo, By the bad voice. Lor.
Dear lady, welcome home.
Madam, they are not yet;
Go in, Nerissa;
[A tucket? sounds. Lor. Your husband is at hand; I hear his trumpet; We are no telltales, madam ; fear you not.
Not absolutely, but relatively good, as it is modified by circumstances. 2 Toccato (Ital.), a flourish on a trumpet.
Por. This night, methinks, is but the daylight sick, It looks a little paler; 'tis a day, Such as a day is when the sun is hid.
Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, Gratiano, and their
Por. Let me give light, but let me not be light;'
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, For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.
Ant. No more than I am well acquitted of.
Por. Sir, you are very welcome to our house. It must appear in other ways than words, Therefore, I scant this breathing courtesy..
[GRATIANO and Nerissa seem to talk apart. Gra. By yonder moon, I swear, you do me wrong; In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk. Would he were gelt 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
Ner. What talk you of the posy, or the value ?
1 Shakspeare delights to trifle with this word. 2 This verbal complimentary form, made up only of breath, i. e. words.
-like cutler's poetry
Upon a knife.” Knives were formerly inscribed, by means of aqua fortis, with short sen tences in distich.
You swore to me, when I did give it you,
Gra. He will, an if he live to be a man.
Gra. Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,—
Por. You were to blame-I must be plain with you-
Bass. Why, I were best to cut my left hand off, And swear I lost the ring defending it.
[Aside. Gra. My lord Bassanio gave his ring away Unto the judge that begged it, and, indeed, Deserved it too; and then the boy, his clerk, That took some pains in writing, he begged mine; And neither man, nor master, would take aught But the two rings. Por.
What ring gave you, my lord ? Not that, I hope, which you received 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.
1 Respective, that is, considerative, regardful; not respectful or respectable, as Steevens supposed.
Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth.
Ner. Nor I in yours,
Por. If you had known the virtue of the ring,
you had pleased to have defended it
Bass. No, by mine honor, madam, by my soul, No woman had it, but a civil doctor, Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me, And begged the ring; the which I did deny him, And suffered him to go displeased away; Even he that had held up the very life Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady? I was enforced to send it after him ; I was beset with shame and courtesy ; My honor 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 begged 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 loved,
1 To contain had nearly the same meaning with to relain. 2 1. e. kept in a measure religiously, or superstitiously.