The Merchant of Venice: Act 2, Scene 6

           Enter the masquers, GRATIANO
           and SALERIO.

1. penthouse: projecting roof offering shelter from the weather.
  1   This is the penthouse under which Lorenzo
  2   Desired us to make stand.

  2                                           His hour is almost past.

  3   And it is marvel he out-dwells his hour,

5. Venus' pigeons: the doves which drew Venus' chariot. 7. obliged: pledged, bound by marriage or engagement. unforfeited: unbroken.
  4   For lovers ever run before the clock.

  5   O, ten times faster Venus' pigeons fly
  6   To seal love's bonds new-made, than they are wont
  7   To keep obliged faith unforfeited!

  8   That ever holds: who riseth from a feast
  9   With that keen appetite that he sits down?
10. untread: retrace.
 10   Where is the horse that doth untread again
 11   His tedious measures with the unbated fire
 12   That he did pace them first? All things that are,
 13   Are with more spirit chased than enjoy'd.
14. younger: i.e., younger son. —Gratiano is comparing the merry departure with the sad return . . . more15. scarfed: i.e., decorated with flags and streamers. 16. strumpet wind: whorish wind. —The wind can be compared to a strumpet because it is always changing. 18. over-weather'd: weather-beaten. 19. rent: torn to shreds.
 14   How like a younger or a prodigal
 15   The scarfed bark puts from her native bay,
 16   Hugg'd and embraced by the strumpet wind!
 17   How like the prodigal doth she return,
 18   With over-weather'd ribs and ragged sails,
 19   Lean, rent and beggar'd by the strumpet wind!

 20   Here comes Lorenzo: more of this hereafter.

           Enter LORENZO.

21. abode: delay.
 21   Sweet friends, your patience for my long abode;
 22   Not I, but my affairs, have made you wait:
 23   When you shall please to play the thieves for wives,
 24   I'll watch as long for you then. Approach;
25. father: father-in-law.
 25   Here dwells my father Jew. Ho! who's within?

           [Enter] JESSICA, above
           [in boy's clothes].

 26   Who are you? Tell me, for more certainty,
 27   Albeit I'll swear that I do know your tongue.

 28   Lorenzo, and thy love.

 29   Lorenzo, certain, and my love indeed,
 30   For who love I so much? And now who knows
 31   But you, Lorenzo, whether I am yours?

 32   Heaven and thy thoughts are witness that thou art.

 33   Here, catch this casket; it is worth the pains.
 34   I am glad 'tis night, you do not look on me,
35. exchange: i.e., change into boy's clothes.
 35   For I am much ashamed of my exchange:
 36   But love is blind and lovers cannot see
 37   The pretty follies that themselves commit;
 38   For if they could, Cupid himself would blush
 39   To see me thus transformed to a boy.

 40   Descend, for you must be my torchbearer.

 41   What, must I hold a candle to my shames?
42. light: immodest, wanton (with play on "clear").
 42   They in themselves, good-sooth, are too too light.
43. 'tis an office of discovery: i.e., the whole function of torch-bearing is to bring things to view and shed light on matters.
 43   Why, 'tis an office of discovery, love;
 44   And I should be obscured.

 44                                           So are you, sweet,
45. garnish: outfit, dress, trimmings.
 45   Even in the lovely garnish of a boy.
 46   But come at once;
47. close: secret. doth play the runaway: i.e., is quickly passing. 48. stay'd: waited.
 47   For the close night doth play the runaway,
 48   And we are stay'd for at Bassanio's feast.

 49   I will make fast the doors, and gild myself
 50   With some more ducats, and be with you straight.

           [Exit above.]

51. gentle: i.e., gentlewoman. —Gratiano is punning on "Gentile."
 51   Now, by my hood, a gentle and no Jew.

52. Beshrew me but: evil befall me if I don't.
 52   Beshrew me but I love her heartily;
 53   For she is wise, if I can judge of her,
 54   And fair she is, if that mine eyes be true,
 55   And true she is, as she hath proved herself,
 56   And therefore, like herself, wise, fair and true,
 57   Shall she be placed in my constant soul.

           Enter JESSICA [below].

 58   What, art thou come? On, gentlemen; away!
 59   Our masquing mates by this time for us stay.

           Exit [with Jessica and Salerio].

           Enter ANTONIO.

 60   Who's there?

 61   Signior Antonio!

 62   Fie, fie, Gratiano! where are all the rest?
 63   'Tis nine o'clock: our friends all stay for you.
 64   No masque tonight: the wind is come about;
65. presently: at once.
 65   Bassanio presently will go aboard:
 66   I have sent twenty out to seek for you.

 67   I am glad on't: I desire no more delight
 68   Than to be under sail and gone tonight.