Archives For William Shakespeare

Valanced (adj.)

Valanced means fringed with a beard.  Valanced is cited in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet (Ham II.ii.422). Hamlet says to one of the players: “Thy face is valanced since I saw thee last.” Felina Silver Robinson

The players arrive, heralded by Polonius, who Hamlet calls a big baby. Hamlet fakes madness for Polonius’s benefit.

#ShakespeareanWordOfTheDay,, @FelinaSilver

Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice




Ner. Then is there the County Palatine.

Por. He doth nothing but frown; as who

should say, An if you will not have me, choose:

he hears merry tales and smiles not: I fear he

will prove the weeping philosopher when he

grows old, being so full of unmannerly sadness

in his youth. I had rather be married to a

death’s head with a bone in his mouth than to

either of these. God defend me from these two!

Ner. How say you by the French lord,

Monsieur Le Bon?

Por. God made him, and therefore let him

pass for a man. In truth, I know it is a sin to

be a mocker: but, he! why, he hath a horse

better than than the Neapolitan’s; a better bad

habit of frowning than the Count Palatine: he

is every man and no man: if a throstle sing he

falls straight a-capering; he will fence with his

own shadow: if I should marry him I should

marry twenty husbands. If he would despise

me I would forgive him; for if he love me to

madness I shall never requite him.

Ner. What say you then to Falconbridge,

the young baron of England?

Por. You know I say nothing to him; for he

understands not me, nor I him; he hath neither

Lating, French, nor Italian; and you will come

into the court and swear that I have a poor

pennyworth in the English. He is a proper

man’s picture; but, alas! who can converse

with a dumb show? How oddly he is suited!

I think, he bought his doublet in Italy, his

round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany,

and his behaviour everywhere.

Ner. What think you of the Scottish lord,

his neighbour?

Por. That he hath a neighbourly charity in

him; for he borrowed a box of the ear of the

Englishman, and swore he would pay him again

when he was able: I think the Frenchman be-

came his surety, and sealed under for another.

Ner. How like you the young German, the

Duke of Saxony’s nephew?

Por. Very viley in the morning when he is

sober; and most vilely in the afternoon when

he is drunk; when he is best he is a little worse

than a man; and when he is worst, he is little

better than a beast. An the worst, he is little

better than a beast. An the worst fall that ever

fell, I hope I shall make shift to go without him.

Ner. If he should offer to choose, and choose

the right casket, you should refuse to perform

your father’s will if you should refuse to accept


Por. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray

thee set a deep glass of Rhenish wine on the

contrary casket: for, if the devil be within and

that temptation without, I know he will choose

it. I will do anything, Nerissa, ere I will be

married to a sponge.

Ner. You need not fear, lady, the having any

of these lords; they have acquainted me with

their determinations; which is indeed, to return

to their home, and to trouble you with no more

suit.unless you may be won by some other

sort than your father’s imposition, depending

on the caskets.

(On 12/23/14 – Join me for the continuation of “The Merchant of Venice”,



Unaneled (adj.)

Unaneled means unanointed by a priest, without extreme unction.  Unaneled is cited in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet (Ham I.v.77). The Ghost says to Hamlet: “Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin, unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled.” Felina Silver Robinson

Essential Question: Did Hamlet really talk to the ghost? And how did the revelations given by the ghost change Hamlet’s reality?

Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice



Ant. Thou know’st that all my fortunes are

at sea;

Neither have I money nor commodity

To raise a present sum: therefore go forth;

Try what my credit can in Venice do:

That shall be rack’d, even to the uttermost,

To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia

Go presently inquire, and so will I,

Where money is; and I no question make

To have it of my trust or for my sake.    [Exeunt.




Por. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is

a-weary of this great world.

Ner. You would be, sweet adam, if your

miseries were in the same abundance as your

good fortunes are: and yet for aught I see, they

are as sic that surfeit with too much as they

that starve with nothing. It is no mean happi-

ness, therefore, to be seated in  the mean: super-

fluity comes sooner by white hairs, but com-

petency lives longer.

Por. Good sentences, and well pronounced.

Ner. They would be better if well followed.

Por. If to do were as easy as to know what

were good to do, chapels had been churches,

and poor men’s cottages princes’ palaces. It is

a good divine that follows his own instructions:

I can easier teach twenty what were good to be

done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine

own teaching. The brain may devise laws for

the blood, but a hot temper leaps over a cold

decree; such a hare is madness, the youth to

skip o’er the meshes of good council, the cripple.

But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose

me a husband.—O, me, the word choose! I

may neither choose whom I would nor refuse

whom I dislike; so is the will of a living

daughter curbed by the will of a dead father.—

Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose

one, nor refuse none?

Ner. Your father was ever virtuous; and

holy men, at their death, have good inspira-

tions; therefore, the lottery that he hath de-

vised in these three chests, of gold, silver and

lead,—whereof who chooses his meaning chooses

you,—will, no doubt, never be chosen by any.

rightly, but one who you shall rightly love.

But what warmth is there in your affection

towards any of these princely suitors that are

already come?

Por. I pray thee, over-name them; and as

thou namest them, I will describe, them; and

according to my description, level at my affec-


Ner. First, there is the Neapolitan prince.

Por. Ay, that’s a colt indeed, for he doth

nothing but talk of his horse; and he makes it

a great appropriation to his own good parts

that he can shoe him himself: I am much afraid

my lady his mother played false with a smith.

(On 12/22/14 – Join me for the continuation of “The Merchant of Venice”,



Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice



If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not

As to thy friends (for when did friendship take

A breed for barren metal of his friend?)

But lend it rather to thine enemy,

Who if he break, thou mayst with better face

Exact the penalty.

Shy.                Why, look you, how you storm!

I would be friends with you, and have your love,

Forget the shames that you have stain’d me


Supply our present wants, and take no doit

Of usance for my moneys, and you’ll not hear me:

This is kind I offer.

Bass. This were kindness.

Shy.                   This kindness will I show.—

God with me to a notary, seal me there

Your single bond; and, in a merry sport,

If you repay me not on such a day,

In such a place, such sum or sums as are

Express’d in the condition, let the forfeit

Be nominated for an equal pound

Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken

In what part of your body pleaseth me. [bond,

Ant. Content, in faith: Ill seal to such a

And say there is much kindness i the Jew.

Bass. You shall not seal to such a bond for


I’ll rather dwell in my necessity.               [it;

Ant. Why fear not, man; I will not forfeit

Within these two months—that’s a month be-


This bond expires—I do expect return

Of thrice three times the value of this bond.

Shy. O father Abraham, what these Chris-

tians are,

Whse own had dealings teaches them suspect

The thoughts of others! Pray you, tell me this;

If he should break his day, what should I gain

By the exaction of the forfeiture?

A pound of man’s flesh, taken from a man,

Is not so estimable, profitable neither,

As flesh of muttons, beefs, or goats, I say,

To buy his favour I extend this friendship;

If he will take it, so; if not, adieu;

Ant. Yes, Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.

Shy. Then meet me forthwith at the no-


Give him direction for this merry bond,

And I will go and purse the ducats straight,

See to my house left in the fearful guard

Of an unthrifty knave, and presently

I will be with you.

Ant.                      Hie thee, gentle Jew:


This Hebrew will turn Christian: he grows


Bass. I like not fair terms and a villain’s


Ant. Come on; i this there can be no dis-


My ships come home a month before the day.


(On 12/21/14 – Join me for the continuation of “The Merchant of Venice”,


Tag-rag (adj.)

Tag-rag means dressed; riff-raff, rabble. Tag-rag is cited in William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar (JC I.ii.256). Casca says to Cassius about Caesar: “If the tag-rag people did not clap him and his him.” Felina Silver Robinson

In Act I of William Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar”, the character Cassius is introduced as a manipulative, jealous Roman senator of Julius Caesar.

Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice



Shy. No, not take interest; not, as you would


Directly interest: mark what Jacob did.

When Leban and himself were compromis’d

That all the eanlings which were streak’d and

pied                                                   [rank,

Should fall as Jacob’s hire; the ewes, being

In end of autumn turned to the rams:

And when the work of generation was

Between these wooly breeders in the act,

The skillful shepherd peel’d me certain wands,

And, in the doing of the deed of kind,

He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes,

Who, then conceiving, did in eaning time

Fall party-colour’d lambs, and those were


This was a way to thrive, and he was blest;

And thrift is blessing if men steal it not.

Ant. This was a venture, sir, that Jacob

serv’d for;

A thing not in his power to bring to pass,

But sway’d and fashion’d by the had of


Was this inserted to make interest good?

Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?

Shy. I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast:—

But note me, signior.

Ant.                         Mark you this, Bassanio,

The devil can cite scripture for his purpose.

An evil soul producing holy witness

Is like a villain with a smiling cheek—

A goodly apple rotten at the heart:

O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

Shy. Three thousand ducats,—’tis a good

round sum.                                    [rate.

Three months from twelve, then let me see the

Ant. Well, Shylock, shall we be beholden to


Shy. Signior Antonio, many a time and oft,

In the Rialto, , you have rated me

About my moneys and my usances:

Still have I borne it with a patient shrug;

For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe:

You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,

And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,

And all for use of that which is mine own.

Well, then, it now appears you need my help:

Go to, then; you come to me, and you say,

Shylock, we would have moneys:—you say so;

You,, that did void your rheum upon my beard,

And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur

Over your threshold: moneys is your suit.

What should I say to you? Should I not say,

Hath a dog money? is it possible

A cur can lend three thousand ducats? or

Shall I bend low, and in a bondman’s key,

With ‘bated breath and whispering humbleness

Say this?—

Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last.

You spurn’d me such a day; another time

You call’d me dog; and for these courtesies

I’ll lend you thus much moneys.

Ant. I am as like to call thee so again,

To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too.

(On 12/20/14 – Join me for the continuation of “The Merchant of Venice”,