The Merchant of Venice: Act 2, Scene 6
Enter the masquers, GRATIANO
1. penthouse: projecting roof offering shelter from the weather.
1This is the penthouse under which Lorenzo
2Desired us to make stand.
2His hour is almost past.
3And 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.
4For lovers ever run before the clock.
5O, ten times faster Venus' pigeons fly
6To seal love's bonds new-made, than they are wont
7To keep obliged faith unforfeited!
8That ever holds: who riseth from a feast
9With that keen appetite that he sits down?
10. untread: retrace.
10Where is the horse that doth untread again
11His tedious measures with the unbated fire
12That he did pace them first? All things that are,
13Are 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.
14How like a younger or a prodigal
15The scarfed bark puts from her native bay,
16Hugg'd and embraced by the strumpet wind!
17How like the prodigal doth she return,
18With over-weather'd ribs and ragged sails,
19Lean, rent and beggar'd by the strumpet wind!
20Here comes Lorenzo: more of this hereafter.
21. abode: delay.
21Sweet friends, your patience for my long abode;
22Not I, but my affairs, have made you wait:
23When you shall please to play the thieves for wives,
24I'll watch as long for you then. Approach;
25. father: father-in-law.
25Here dwells my father Jew. Ho! who's within?
[Enter] JESSICA, above
[in boy's clothes].
26Who are you? Tell me, for more certainty,
27Albeit I'll swear that I do know your tongue.
28Lorenzo, and thy love.
29Lorenzo, certain, and my love indeed,
30For who love I so much? And now who knows
31But you, Lorenzo, whether I am yours?
32Heaven and thy thoughts are witness that thou art.
33Here, catch this casket; it is worth the pains.
34I am glad 'tis night, you do not look on me,
35. exchange: i.e., change into boy's clothes.
35For I am much ashamed of my exchange:
36But love is blind and lovers cannot see
37The pretty follies that themselves commit;
38For if they could, Cupid himself would blush
39To see me thus transformed to a boy.
40Descend, for you must be my torchbearer.
41What, must I hold a candle to my shames?
42. light: immodest, wanton (with play on "clear").
42They 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.
43Why, 'tis an office of discovery, love;
44And I should be obscured.
44So are you, sweet,
45. garnish: outfit, dress, trimmings.
45Even in the lovely garnish of a boy.
46But come at once;
47. close: secret. doth play the runaway: i.e., is quickly passing. 48. stay'd: waited.
47For the close night doth play the runaway,
48And we are stay'd for at Bassanio's feast.
49I will make fast the doors, and gild myself
50With some more ducats, and be with you straight.
51. gentle: i.e., gentlewoman. Gratiano is punning on "Gentile."
51Now, by my hood, a gentle and no Jew.
52. Beshrew me but: evil befall me if I don't.
52Beshrew me but I love her heartily;
53For she is wise, if I can judge of her,
54And fair she is, if that mine eyes be true,
55And true she is, as she hath proved herself,
56And therefore, like herself, wise, fair and true,
57Shall she be placed in my constant soul.
Enter JESSICA [below].
58What, art thou come? On, gentlemen; away!
59Our masquing mates by this time for us stay.
Exit [with Jessica and Salerio].
62Fie, fie, Gratiano! where are all the rest?
63'Tis nine o'clock: our friends all stay for you.
64No masque tonight: the wind is come about;
65. presently: at once.
65Bassanio presently will go aboard:
66I have sent twenty out to seek for you.
67I am glad on't: I desire no more delight
68Than to be under sail and gone tonight.