Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

The Merchant of Venice: Act 3, Scene 4

2. conceit: conception, understanding.
           Enter PORTIA, NERISSA, LORENZO,
           JESSICA, and [BALTHASAR] a man of

  1   Madam, although I speak it in your presence,
  2   You have a noble and a true conceit
  3   Of godlike amity; which appears most strongly
  4   In bearing thus the absence of your lord.
  5   But if you knew to whom you show this honor,
  6   How true a gentleman you send relief,
  7   How dear a lover of my lord your husband,
  8   I know you would be prouder of the work
9. bounty: benevolence. enforce: urge upon.
  9   Than customary bounty can enforce you.

 10   I never did repent for doing good,
 11   Nor shall not now: for in companions
12. waste: spend.
 12   That do converse and waste the time together,
13. egall: equal.
 13   Whose souls do bear an egall yoke of love,
14. needs: of necessity. proportion: agreement, correspondence.
 14   There must be needs a like proportion
 15   Of lineaments, of manners and of spirit;
 16   Which makes me think that this Antonio,
 17   Being the bosom lover of my lord,
 18   Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,
 19   How little is the cost I have bestow'd
20. the semblance of my soul: i.e., Antonio, so like my Bassanio.
 20   In purchasing the semblance of my soul
 21   From out the state of hellish misery!
 22   This comes too near the praising of myself;
 23   Therefore no more of it: hear other things.
 24   Lorenzo, I commit into your hands
25. husbandry and manage: care and management of the household.
 25   The husbandry and manage of my house
 26   Until my lord's return: for mine own part,
 27   I have toward heaven breathed a secret vow
 28   To live in prayer and contemplation,
 29   Only attended by Nerissa here,
 30   Until her husband and my lord's return:
 31   There is a monastery two miles off;
 32   And there will we abide. I do desire you
33. deny this imposition: refuse this charge imposed.
 33   Not to deny this imposition;
 34   The which my love and some necessity
 35   Now lays upon you.

 35                Madam, with all my heart;
 36   I shall obey you in all fair commands.

 37   My people do already know my mind,
 38   And will acknowledge you and Jessica
 39   In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.
 40   And so farewell, till we shall meet again.

 41   Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!

 42   I wish your ladyship all heart's content.

 43   I thank you for your wish, and am well pleased
 44   To wish it back on you: fare you well Jessica.

           Exeunt [Jessica and Lorenzo].

 45   Now, Balthasar,
 46   As I have ever found thee honest-true,
 47   So let me find thee still. Take this same letter,
 48   And use thou all th' endeavor of a man
49. Padua: A famed center for the study of civil law.
 49   In speed to Padua: see thou render this
50. cousin's: kinsman's.
 50   Into my cousin's hand, Doctor Bellario;
51. look what: whatever.
 51   And look what notes and garments he doth give thee,
52. imagin'd speed: speed of imagination, as quick as thought. 53. traject: Explained as from Italian traghetto, "ferry." common: public. 54. trades: plies back and forth.
 52   Bring them, I pray thee, with imagined speed
 53   Unto the traject, to the common ferry
 54   Which trades to Venice. Waste no time in words,
 55   But get thee gone: I shall be there before thee.

56. convenient: due, appropriate.
 56   Madam, I go with all convenient speed.


 57   Come on, Nerissa; I have work in hand
 58   That you yet know not of: we'll see our husbands
 59   Before they think of us.

 59                                       Shall they see us?

60. a habit: apparel, garb.
 60   They shall, Nerissa; but in such a habit,
61. accomplished: supplied, equipped.
 61   That they shall think we are accomplished
 62   With that we lack. I'll hold thee any wager,
 63   When we are both accoutred like young men,
 64   I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
 65   And wear my dagger with the braver grace,
 66   And speak between the change of man and boy
 67   With a reed voice, and turn two mincing steps
 68   Into a manly stride, and speak of frays
69. quaint: skillfully contrived, elaborate.
 69   Like a fine bragging youth, and tell quaint lies,
 70   How honorable ladies sought my love,
 71   Which I denying, they fell sick and died;
72. do withal: help it.
 72   I could not do withal; then I'll repent,
 73   And wish for all that, that I had not killed them;
74. puny: petty. childish.
 74   And twenty of these puny lies I'll tell,
75‑76. I have discontinued school / Above a twelvemonth: I have been out of school at least a year. —Portia is being ironic. 77. Jacks: ill-mannered fellows.
 75   That men shall swear I have discontinued school
 76   Above a twelvemonth. I have within my mind
 77   A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks,
78. turn to: turn into. —Portia makes Nerissa's phrase into a bawdy joke.
 78   Which I will practice.

 78                                       Why, shall we turn to men?

 79   Fie, what a question's that,
 80   If thou wert near a lewd interpreter!
 81   But come, I'll tell thee all my whole device
 82   When I am in my coach, which stays for us
 83   At the park gate; and therefore haste away,
 84   For we must measure twenty miles today.