This is probably less of an allusion, and more of an expression. But my goal for this series of posts is to help us all expand our minds a bit, and for this purpose, it will work.
According to this guy, "With bated breath" was first used by Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice when Shylock says to Antonio,
“Shall I bend low and, in a bondman’s key, / With bated breath and whisp’ring humbleness, / Say this ...”.Unfortunately, this phrase is commonly misspelled as "with baited breath." This is likely because of our cessation of using the word "bated." Bated, which is a form of "abated" after it has undergone aphesis, means "reduced, lessened, or lowered in force."
To say you wait with "bated breath" means you almost stop breathing because of a strong emotion, such as shock, fear, or awe.
Geoffrey Taylor has cleverly seized the common misspelling of this phrase and written a humorous poem called The Cruel Clever Cat.
Sally, having swallowed cheese,
Directs down holes the scented breeze,
Enticing thus with baited breath
Nice mice to an untimely death.