A Common-Place Jotting: Merchant of Venice, Act III, Scene 2

Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember

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The Merchant of Venice (2004), Michael Radford, director

Act III, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice enters a new arena of combat, not one of economic or social gain, but that of love, when Bassanio, a Venetian gentleman and suitor to Portia, comes to try his hand at winning her hand. Like all the rest who have already tried, he must choose the correct casket that holds the portrait of the fair Portia, or else lose all further opportunity to wed her (by the terms of her late father’s will).

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But out of fear that he will fail in this endeavor, Portia, who loves him dearly, tries to dissuade him and trust to a future time. But Bassanio will not be kept from the object of his love with any further delay.

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Bassanio: Joseph Fiennes, The Merchant of Venice (2004)
BASSANIO
Promise me life and I’ll confess the truth.
PORTIA
Well, then, confess and live.
BASSANIO
“Confess and love”
Had been the very sum of my confession.
O happy torment, when my torturer
Doth teach me answers for deliverance!
But let me to my fortune and the caskets.
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Portia: Lynn Collins

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Here is Love

Dyma gariad fel y moroedd (Here is love vast as the ocean)

Welsh hymn by William Rees; Translator, William Edwards

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our ransom,
shed for us his precious blood.
Who his love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing his praise?
He can never be forgotten,
throughout heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
poured incessant from above,
And heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
kissed a guilty world in love.