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THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
SCENE I. Venice. A street.
Enter ANTONIO, SALARINO, and SALANIO.
Ant. In sooth, I know not why I am so sad :
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
Salar. Your mind is tossing on the ocean;
That curtsy to them, do them reverence,
9. argosies, merchant-ships, originally those of Ragusa, whence the name.
I should be still
II. pageants, an allusion to the huge wooden stages on which miracle-plays and other shows were exhibited.
Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind,
And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks,
And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought
Is sad to think upon his merchandise.
Ant. Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it,
19. roads, places for anchorage.
27. Andrew, so called, perhaps, after the famous Italian naval commander, Andrea Doria.
27. dock'd; the Quartos and Folios read docks.
28. Vailing, drooping.
35. but even now, a moment
Salar. Not in love neither? Then let us say
you are sad,
Because you are not merry: and 'twere as easy
Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time:
That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile,
Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO. Salan. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman,
Gratiano and Lorenzo. Fare ye well:
We leave you now with better company.
Salar. I would have stay'd till I had made you merry,
If worthier friends had not prevented me.
Bass. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh?
You grow exceeding strange: must it be so?
Salar. We'll make our leisures to attend on
50. by two-headed Janus, an oath in keeping with the 'strange fellows of Nature's framing' in the next line.
56. Nestor, being old, is also regarded as grave.
61. prevented, anticipated.
We two will leave you but at dinner-time,
Gra. You look not well, Signior Antonio;
Ant. I hold the world but as the world,
A stage where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
70. at dinner-time, i.e. about twelve A.M., the usual dininghour of merchants in Elizabethan London.
74. respect upon, regard for. 80. old wrinkles, wrinkles of age.
84. cut in alabaster, i.e. the effigy on a tomb.
90. wilful stillness entertain, maintain a determined silence.
91. opinion, reputation.
If they should speak, would almost damn those ears
I'll tell thee more of this another time:
But fish not, with this melancholy bait,
Come, good Lorenzo. Fare ye well awhile:
Lor. Well, we will leave you then till dinner-
I must be one of these same dumb wise men,
Gra. Well, keep me company but two years moe, Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue. Ant. Farewell: I'll grow a talker for this gear. 110 Gra. Thanks, i' faith, for silence is only commendable
In a neat's tongue dried and a maid not vendible. [Exeunt Gratiano and Lorenzo.
Ant. Is that any thing now?
Bass. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice. His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff: you shall seek all day ere you find them, and when you have them, they are not worth the search.
Ant. Well, tell me now what lady is the same
101. melancholy bait, bait of melancholy.
102. fool gudgeon, a stupid and greedy fish, easily caught.
108. moe, more. Its use was already chiefly colloquial in Shakespeare's time.
110. gear, properly 'business