Page images




A Street in Venice.

Enter Anthonio, Solarino, and Salanio.

N footh, I know not why I am so sad:
It wearies me; you fay, it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What ftuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn

And fuch a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.

Sal. Your mind is toffing on the ocean;
There, where your *Argofies with portly Sail,
Like figniors and rich burghers on the flood,
Or as it were the pageants of the Sea,
Do over-peer the petty traffickers,

That curtly to them, do them reverence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings.
Sola. Believe me, Sir, had I fuch venture forth,
The better part of my affections would
Be with my hopes abroad. I fhould be ftill
Plucking the grass, to know where fits the wind;
Peering in maps for ports, and peers, and roads;
And every object, that might make me fear
Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt,
Would make me fad.

*Argofy, a Ship from Argo.

Mr. Pope.


Sal. My wind, cooling my broth,

Would blow me to an ague, when I thought
What harm a wind too great might do at sea.
I should not fee the fandy hour-glofs run,
But I fhould think of fhallows and of flats;
And fee my wealthy Andrew dock'd in fand,
Vailing her high top lower than her ribs,
To kifs her burial. Should I go to church,
And fee the holy edifice of stone,

And not bethink me ftrait of dang'rous rocks?
Which, touching but my gentle veffel's fide,
Would scatter all the spices on the ftream,
Enrobe the roaring waters with my filks;
And in a word, but even now worth this,
And now worth nothing. Shall I have the thought
To think on this, and fhall I lack the thought,
That fuch a thing, bechanc'd, would make me fad?
-But tell not me;
I know, Anthonio

Is fad to think upon his merchandize.

Anth. Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it, My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,

Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate
Upon the fortune of this present year:
Therefore, my merchandize makes me not fad.
Sola. Why then you are in love.

Anth. Fie, fie!

Sola. Not in love neither! then let's fay, you're fad, Because you are not merry; and 'twere as eafy For you to laugh and leap, and say, you're merry, Because you are not fad. *Now by two-headed Janus, Nature hath fram'd ftrange fellows in her time: Some that will evermore peep through their eyes, And laugh, like parrots, at a bag-piper; And others of fuch vinegar-afpect,



-Now by two-headed Janus,] Here Shakespear fhews his Knowledge in the antique. By two-headed Janus is meant those antique bifrontine Heads, which generally reprefent a young and smiling


That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile, Though Neftor swear, the jeft be laughable.

Enter Baffanio, Lorenzo, and Gratiano.

Sal. Here comes Baffanio, your most noble kinfman, Gratiano and Lorenzo: fare ye well;

We leave ye now with better company,

Sola. I would have ftaid 'till I had made you merry, If worthier friends had not prevented me.

Anth. Your worth is very dear in my regard:
I take it, your own business calls on you,
And you embrace th' occafion to depart.
Sal. Good-morrow, my good lords.

Baff. Good Signiors both, when shall we laugh? fay, when?

You grow exceeding strange; must it be so?

Sal. We'll make our leifures to attend on yours. Sola. My lord Baffanio, fince you've found Anthonio, We two will leave you; but at dinner-time, pray you, have in mind where we must meet. Baff. I will not fail you. [Exeunt Solar, and Sala. Gra. You look not well, Signior Anthonio; You have too much respect upon the world: They lose it, that do buy it with much care. Believe me, you are marvellously chang'd.

Anth. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano, A ftage, where every man must play his part, And mine's a fad one.

Gra. Let me play the Fool;

With mirth, and laughter, let old wrinkles come;
And let my liver rather heat with wine,
Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.
Why should a man, whose blood is warm within,

Face, together with an old and wrinkled one, being of Pan and Bacchus; of Saturn and Apollo, &c. These are not uncommon in Cole&tions of Antiques; and in the Books of the Antiquaries, as Montau con, Spanheim, &c.

Sit like his grandfire cut in Alabaster?

Sleep when he wakes, and creep into the jaundice
By being peevish? I'll tell thee what, Anthonio,
(I love thee, and it is my love that speaks:)
There are a fort of men, whofe vifages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond;
And do a wilful ftillness entertain,

With purpose to be dreft in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;
As who fhould fay, I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark!
O my Anthonio, I do know of those,
That therefore only are reputed wife,

For faying nothing; who, I'm very fure,
If they fhould speak, would almoft damn thofe ears,
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools.
I'll tell thee more of this another time:
But fish not with this melancholy bait,
For this fool's gudgeon, this opinion.
Come, good Lorenzo; fare ye well a while;
* I'll end my exhortation after dinner.

Lor. Well, we will leave you then 'till dinner-time,
I must be one of these same dumb wife men;
For Gratiano never lets me speak.

Gra. Well, keep me company but two years more, Thou shalt not know the found of thine own tongue. Anth. Fare well; I'll grow a talker for this gear. Gra. Thanks, i'faith; for filence is only commendable

In a neats tongue dry'd, and a maid not vendible. [Exeunt Gra. and Loren.

Anth. Is that any thing now? Baff. Gratiano fpeaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice: his reafons are as

I'll end my exhortation after dinner.] The Humour of this confift in its being an Allufion to the Pradice of the Puritan Preachers of thofe Times; who being generally very long and tedious, were often forced to put off that Part of their Sermon called the Exhortation till after Dinner.


two grains of wheat hid in two bufhels of chaff; you shall seek all day ere you find them, and when you have them, they are not worth the search.

Anth. Well; tell me now, what lady is the fame, To whom you fwore a fecret pilgrimage, That you to day promis'd to tell me of? Baff. 'Tis not unknown to you, Anthonio, How much I have difabled mine eftate, By fhewing fomething a more fwelling port, Than my faint means would grant continuance; Nor do I now make moan to be abridg'd From fuch a noble rate; but my chief care Is to come fairly off from the great debts, Wherein my time, fomething too prodigal, Hath left me gaged: to you, Anthonio, I owe the most in money, and in love; And from your love I have a warranty T'unburthen all my plots and purposes, How to get clear of all the debts I owe. Anth. I pray you, good Baffanio, let me know it; And if it ftand, as you yourself still do, Within the eye of honour; be affur'd, ▸ My purfe, my perfon, my extreameft means Lie all unlock'd to your occafions.

Baff. In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft, I fhot his fellow of the felf-fame flight

The felf-fame way, with more advised watch,
To find the other forth; by ventring both,
I oft found both. I urge this child-hood proof,
Because what follows is pure innocence.
I owe you much, and, like a witless youth,
That which I owe is loft; but if you please
To fhoot another arrow that felf way

Which you did fhoot the firft, I do not doubt,
As I will watch the aim, or to find both,
Or bring your latter hazard back again,

And thankfully reft debtor for the firft.


Anth. You know me well; and herein spend but


« PreviousContinue »