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Por. You know I say nothing to him, for he understands not me, nor I him he hath neither Latin, 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 every where.
Ner. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?
Ner. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are and yet, for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit with too much as they that starve with nothing. It is no mean happiness therefore, to be seated in the mean: superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency 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 o'er a cold decree such a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel 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? 29
Ner. Your father was ever virtuous, and holy men at their death have good inspirations; therefore the lottery that he hath devised 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 affection.
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 afeard my lady his mother played false with a smith.
Ner. Then is there the County Palatine. Por. He doth nothing but frown, as who should say, '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 the Neapolitan's, a better bad habit of frowning than the Count Palatine; he is every man in 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. 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 became his surety and sealed under for another.
Ner. How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew?
Por. Very vilely 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 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 him.
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'll 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.
Por. If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die as chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by the manner of my father's will. I am glad this parcel of wooers are so reasonable, for there is not one among them but I dote on his very absence, and I pray God grant them a fair departure.
Ner. Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came hither in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?
Por. Yes, yes it was Bassanio; as I think, he was so called.
Ner. True, madam : he, of all the men that ever my foolish eyes looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.
Por. I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of thy praise.
Enter a Servant. How now! what news?
Serv. The four strangers seek for you, madam, to take their leave; and there is a forerunner come from a fifth, the Prince of Morocco, who brings word the prince his master will be here to-night.
Por. If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good heart as I can bid the other four farewell, I should be glad of his approach: if he have the condition of a saint and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me.
Come, Nerissa. Sirrah, go before.
SCENE III-Venice. A public Place.
141 | Will furnish me. But soft! how many months Do you desire? To ANTONIO. Rest you fair, good signior;
Shy. Three thousand ducats; well?
Bass. For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound.
Shy. Antonio shall become bound; well?
Bass. May you stead me? Will you pleasure me? Shall I know your answer?
Shy. Three thousand ducats, for three months,
and Antonio bound.
Bass. Your answer to that.
Shy. Antonio is a good man.
Bass. Have you heard any imputation to the
Shy. Oh, no, no, no, no: my meaning in saying he is a good man is to have you understand me that he is sufficient. Yet his means are in supposition he hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I understand moreover upon the Rialto, he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and other ventures he hath, squandered abroad. But ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats and waterrats, water-thieves and land-thieves, I mean pirates: and then there is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding. sufficient. Three thousand ducats; I think I
may take his bond.
Bugs. Be assured you may.
Shy. I will be assured I may; and, that I may be assured, I will bethink me. May I speak
I hate him for he is a Christian;
I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
Your worship was the last man in our mouths.
Ay, ay, three thousand ducats. Ant. And for three months.
Shy. I had forgot; three months; you told
Shylock, do you hear?
Shy. I am debating of my present store,
Directly interest: mark what Jacob did.
He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes,
Ant. This was a venture, sir, that Jacob serv'd
A thing not in his power to bring to pass,
Bass. This is Signior Antonio.
Shy. Aside. How like a fawning publican he Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
Ant. Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to
Shy. Signior Antonio, many a time and oft
Ant. Come on: in this there can be no dismay, My ships come home a month before the day. Exeunt.
'Shylock, we would have moneys': you say so;
A cur can lend three thousand ducats'? Or
'Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last;
Ant. I am as like to call thee so again,
A breed for barren metal of his friend?
SCENE I.-Belmont. A Room in PORTIA'S
Flourish of Cornets. Enter the Prince of MOROCCO,
Mor. Mislike me not for my complexion,
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 with,
Supply your present wants, and take no doit
Ant. This were kindness.
This kindness will I show.
Ant. Why, fear not, man; I will not forfeit it:
Of thrice three times the value of this bond. 160
A pound of man's flesh, taken from a man,
Hie thee, gentle Jew.
Exit SHYLOCK. This Hebrew will turn Christian: he grows kind. Bass. I like not fair terms and a villain's mind.
In way of marriage: therefore be advis'd.
Por. First, forward to the temple: after dinner
Good fortune then!
'good Gobbo,' or 'good Launcelot Gobbo, use your legs, take the start, run away. My conscience says, 'No; take heed, honest Launcelot; take heed, honest Gobbo'; or, as aforesaid, honest Launcelot Gobbo; do not run; scorn running with thy heels.' Well, the most courageous fiend bids me pack: Via!' says the fiend; 'away!' says the fiend; for the heavens, rouse up a brave mind,' says the fiend, ‘and run.' Well, my conscience, hanging about the neck of my heart, says very wisely to me, 'My honest friend Launcelot, being an honest man's son,' or rather an honest woman's son; for, indeed, my father did something smack, something grow to, he had a kind of taste; well, my conscience says, 'Launcelot, budge not.' 'Budge,' says the fiend: 'budge not,' says my conscience. Conscience,' say I, you counsel well'; 'fiend,' say I, 'you counsel well' to be ruled by my conscience, should stay with the Jew my master, who, God bless the mark is a kind of devil; and, to run away from the Jew, I should be ruled by the fiend, who, saving your reverence, is the devil himself. Certainly the Jew is the very devil incarnal; and, in my conscience, my conscience is but a kind of hard conscience, to offer to counsel me to stay with the Jew. The fiend gives the more friendly counsel: I will run, fiend; my heels are at your commandment; I will run.
Enter Old GOBBO, with a basket.
Gob. Master young man, you; I pray you, which is the way to Master Jew's?
Laun. Aside. O heavens! this is my true-begotten father, who, being more than sand-blind, high gravel-blind, knows me not: I will try confusions with him.
Grob Master young gentleman, I pray you, which is the way to Master Jew's?
Laun. Turn up on your right hand at the next turning, but at the next turning of all, on your left; marry, at the very next turning, turn of no hand, but turn down indirectly to the Jew's house.
Gob. By God's sonties, 'twill be a hard way to hit. Can you tell me whether one Launcelot, that dwells with him, dwell with him or no?
Laun. Talk you of young Ma-ter Launcelot? Aside. Mark me now; now will I raise the waters. Talk you of young Master Launcelot ?
Gob. No master, sir, but a poor man's son: his father, though I say it, is an honest exceeding poor man, and, God be thanked, well to live. Laun. Well, let his father be what a' will, we talk of young Master Launcelot.
Gob. Your worship's friend, and Launcelot, sir. Lann. But I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech you, talk you of young Master Launcelot? Gob. Of Launcelot, an 't please your mastership.
Laun. Ergo, Master Launcelot. Talk not of Master Launcelot, father; for the young gentleman, according to Fates and Destinies and such odd sayings, the Sisters Three and such branches of learning, is indeed deceased; or, as you would say in plain terms, gone to heaven.
Gob. Marry, God forbid! the boy was the very staff of my age, my very prop. 70
• Laun. Do I look like a cudgel or a hovel-post, a staff or a prop? Do you know me, father?
Gob. Alack the day! I know you not, young gentleman; but, I pray you, tell me, is my boy, God rest his soul! alive or dead?
Laun. Do you not know me, father?
Gob. Alack, sir, I am sand-blind; I know you not.
Laun. Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of the knowing me: it is a wise father that knows his own child. Well, old man, I will tell you news of your son. Give me your blessing; truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long; a man's son may, but in the end truth will out.
Gob. Pray you, sir, stand up. I am sure you are not Launcelot, my boy.
Lun. Pray you, let's have no more fooling about it, but give me your blessing: I am Launcelot, your boy that was, your son that is, your child that shall be.
Gob. I cannot think you are my son.
Laun. I know not what I shall think of that; but I am Launcelot, the Jew's man, and I am sure Margery your wife is my mother.
Gob. Her name is Margery, indeed: I'll be sworn, if thou be Launcelot, thou art mine own flesh and blood. Lord worshipped might he be! what a beard hast thou got! thou hast got more hair on thy chin than Dobbin my thill-horse has on his tail.
Lann. It should seem then that Dobbin's tail grows backward: I am sure he had more hair of his tail than I have of my face, when I last saw him.
Gob. Lord! how art thou changed. How dost thou and thy master agree? I have brought him a present. How 'gree you now?
Laun. Well, well; but, for mine own part, as I have set up my rest to run away, so I will not rest till I have run some ground. My master's a very Jew give him a present! give him a halter: I am famished in his service; you may tell every finger I have with my ribs. Father, I am glad you are come: give me your present to one Master Bassanio, who, indeed, gives rare new liveries. If I serve not him, I will run as far as God has any ground. O rare fortune! here comes the man: to him, father; for I am a Jew, if I serve the Jew any longer.
Enter BASSANIO, with LEONARDO, and other Followers.
Bass. You may do so; but let it be so hasted that supper be ready at the furthest by five of the clock. See these letters delivered; put the liveries to making, and desire Gratiano to come anon to my lodging. Exit a Servant.
Laun. To him, father.
Gob. God bless your worship!
Laun. Not a poor boy, sir, but the rich Jew's man; that would, sir, as my father shall specify,
Gob. He hath a great infection, sir, as one would say, to serve
Laun. Indeed, the short and the long is, I serve the Jew, and have a desire, as my father shall specify,—
Gob. His master and he, saving your worship's reverence, are scarce cater-cousins,
Laun. To be brief, the very truth is that the Jew, having done me wrong, doth cause me, as my father, being, I hope, an old man, shall frutify unto you,
Gob. I have here a dish of doves that I would bestow upon your worship, and my suit is,
Laun. In very brief, the suit is impertinent to myself, as your worship shall know by this honest old man; and though I say it, though old man, yet poor man, my father.
Bass. One speak for both. What would you? Laun. Serve you, sir.
Gob. That is the very defect of the matter, sir. Bass. I know thee well; thou hast obtain'd thy suit:
Shylock thy master spoke with me this day,
Laun. The old proverb is very well parted between my master Shylock and you, sir: you have the grace of God, sir, and he hath enough. Bass. Thou speak'st it well. Go, father, with SCENE III.-The Same.
Take leave of thy old master, and inquire
Lau. Father, in. I cannot get a service, no; I have ne'er a tongue in my head. Well; if any man in Italy have a fairer table which doth offer to swear upon a book, I shall have good fortune. Go to; here's a simple line of life: here's a small trifle of wives: alas! fifteen wives is nothing: a 'leven widows and nine maids is a simple coming-in for one man; and then to 'scape drowning thrice, and to be in peril of my life with the edge of a feather-bed; here are simple 'scapes. Well, if Fortune be a woman, she's a good wench for this gear. Father, come; I'll take my leave of the Jew in the twinkling of an eye.
Exeunt LAUNCELOT and Old GOBBO.
Buss. I pray thee, good Leonardo, think on this. These things being bought, and orderly bestow'd, Return in haste, for I do feast to-night My best-esteem'd acquaintance: hie thee, go. Leon. My best endeavours shall be done herein.
By what we do to-night.
No, that were pity:
I have some business.
Gra. And I must to Lorenzo and the rest; But we will visit you at supper-time. Excunt.
Something too liberal. Pray thee, take pain
I be misconstrued in the place I go to, And lose my hopes.
A Room in SHYLOCK'S House.