« PreviousContinue »
The world is still deceiv'd with ornament.
To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
The seeming truth which cunning times put on To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold, 101
Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;
As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embrac'd despair,
What find I here?
The painter plays the spider, and hath woven A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men Faster than gnats in cobwebs : but her eyes!
Por. You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand, Such as I am though for myself alone I would not be ambitious in my wish, To wish myself much better; yet for you I would be trebled twenty times myself; A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times More rich;
That only to stand high in your account,
Buss. Madam, you have bereft me of all words. Only my blood speaks to you in my veins; And there is such confusion in my powers, As, after some oration fairly spoke By a beloved prince, there doth appear Among the buzzing pleased multitude; Where every something, being blent together, Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy, Express'd and not express'd. But when this ring Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence: O! then be bold to say Bassanio's dead.
Ner. My lord and lady, it is now our time, That have stood by and seen our wishes prosper, To cry, good joy. Good joy, my lord and lady! Gra. My Lord Bassanio and my gentle lady,
My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours:
No more pertains to me, my lord, than you.
To have her love, provided that your fortune
Could turn so much the constitution
Of any constant man. What, worse and worse!
Bass. O sweet Portia ! Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words That ever blotted paper. Gentle lady, When I did first impart my love to you, I freely told you all the wealth I had Ran in my veins, I was a gentleman: And then I told you true; and yet, dear lady, 200 Rating myself at nothing, you shall see
Bass. Our feast shall be much honour'd in your marriage.
Gra. We'll play with them the first boy for a thousand ducats.
Ner. What! and stake down?
Gra. No; we shall ne'er win at that sport, and stake down.
But who comes here? Lorenzo, and his infidel? What! and my old Venetian friend Salanio?
Enter LORENZO, JESSICA, and SALANIO. Bass. Lorenzo, and Salanio, welcome hither, 220 If that the youth of my new interest here Have power to bid you welcome. By your leave, I bid my very friends and countrymen, Sweet Portia, welcome.
How much I was a braggart. When I told you My state was nothing, I should then have told you
That I was worse than nothing; for, indeed, 260
Not one, my lord. Besides, it should appear, that if he had The present money to discharge the Jew, He would not take it. Never did I know A creature, that did bear the shape of man, So keen and greedy to confound a man. He plies the duke at morning and at night, And doth impeach the freedom of the state, If they deny him justice: twenty merchants, The duke himself, and the magnificoes Of greatest port, have all persuaded with him; But none can drive him from the envious plea Of forfeiture, of justice, and his bond.
Por. Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble?
Bass. The dearest friend to me, the kindest man,
Por. What sum owes he the Jew?
What! no more? Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond: Double six thousand, and then treble that, Before a friend of this description Shall lose a hair through Bassanio's fault. First go with me to church and call me wife, And then away to Venice to your friend; For never shall you lie by Portia's side With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold To pay the petty debt twenty times over: When it is paid, bring your true friend along. My maid Nerissa and myself meantime
Will live as maids and widows. Come, away! 310 For you shall hence upon your wedding-day. Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheer; Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear. But let me hear the letter of your friend.
Bass. Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all miscarried, my creditors grow cruel, my estate is very low, my bond to the Jew is forfeit; and since, in paying it, it is impossible I should live, all debts are cleared between you and I, if I might but see you at my death. Notwithstanding, use your pleasure: if your love do not persuade you to come, let not my letter. Por. O love, dispatch all business, and be gone!
Bass. Since I have your good leave to go away,
SCENE III.-Venice. A Street.
I'll follow him no more with bootless prayers. 20
I am sure the duke
Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.
SCENE IV. Belmont. A Room in PORTIA'S House.
Enter PORTIA, NERISSA, LORENZO, JESSICA, and BALTHAZAR.
Lor. Madam, although I speak it in your presence, You have a noble and a true conceit Of god-like amity; which appears most strongly In bearing thus the absence of your lord. But if you knew to whom you show this honour, How true a gentleman you send relief, How dear a lover of my lord your husband, I know you would be prouder of the work Than customary bounty can enforce you.
Por. I never did repent for doing good,
Until her husband and my lord's return.
The which my love and some necessity
Madam, with all my heart a I shall obey you in all fair commands. Por. My people do already know my mind, And will acknowledge you and Jessica In place of Lord Bassanio and myself. So fare you well till we shall meet again. Lor. Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!
Jes. I wish your ladyship all heart's content. Por. I thank you for your wish, and am well pleas'd
To wish it back on you: fare you well, Jessica. Exeunt JESSICA and LORENZO.
As I have ever found thee honest-true,
Ant. The duke cannot deny the course of law: And use thou all the endeavour of a man
For the commodity that strangers have With us in Venice, if it be denied,
In speed to Padua: see thou render this
Bring them, I pray thee, with imagin'd speed
That you yet know not of: we'll see our husbands
Like a fine bragging youth, and tell quaint lies,
verting Jews to Christians, you raise the price of pork.
Lor. I shall answer that better to the commonwealth than you can the getting up of the negro's belly: the Moor is with child by you, Launcelot. Laun. It is much that the Moor should be more than reason; but if she be less than an honest woman, she is indeed more than I took her for.
Lor. How every fool can play upon the word! I think the best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence, and discourse grow commendable in none only but parrots. Go in, sirrah: bid them prepare for dinner.
Laun. That is done, sir; they have all stomachs. Lor. Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are you! then bid them prepare dinner.
Laun. That is done too, sir; only 'cover' is the word.
Lor. Will you cover then, sir?
Laun. Not so, sir, neither; I know my duty. Lor. Yet more quarrelling with occasion! Wilt thou show the whole wealth of thy wit in Why, shall we turn to men? an instant? I pray thee, understand a plain Por. Fie, what a question 's that, man in his plain meaning: go to thy fellows; If thou wert near a lewd interpreter ! bid them cover the table, serve in the meat, and But come: I'll tell thee all my whole device we will come in to dinner. When I am in my coach, which stays for us At the park gate; and therefore haste away, For we must measure twenty miles to-day.
SCENE V.-The Same. A Garden.
Enter LAUNCELOT and JESSICA. Laun. Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the father are to be laid upon the children; therefore, I promise you, I fear you. I was always plain with you, and so now I speak my agitation of the matter: therefore, be of good cheer; for truly I think you are damned. There is but one hope in it that can do you any good, and that is but a kind of bastard hope neither.
Jes. And what hope is that, I pray thee? Laun. Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.
Jes. That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed : so the sins of my mother should be visited upon me. Laun. Truly then I fear you are damned both by father and mother: thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother: well, you are gone both ways.
Jes. I shall be saved by my husband; he hath made me a Christian.
Laun. Truly, the more to blame he: we were Christians enow before; e'en as many as could well live one by another. This making of Christians will raise the price of hogs: if we grow all to le pork-eaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals for money.
Jes. I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say here he comes.
Lor. I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if you thus get my wife into corners. Jes. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo: Launcelot and I are out. He tells me flatly, there is no mercy for me in heaven, because I am a Jew's daughter: and he says you are no good member of the commonwealth, for in con
Lor. O dear discretion, how his words are suited!
many fools, that stand in better place,
And on the wager lay two earthly women,
Lor. No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk;
Your grace hath ta'en great pains to qualify
Duke. Go one, and call the Jew into the court.
Duke. Make room, and let him stand before our face.
Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.
Shy. I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose;
And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn
Upon your charter and your city's freedom.
A losing suit against him. Are you answer'd?
Shy. I am not bound to please thee with my
You may as well go stand upon the beach,
His Jewish heart: therefore, I do beseech you, so
Shy. What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?
You have among you many a purchas'd slave, 90
The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all, Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.
Ant. I am a tainted wether of the flock. Meetest for death: the weakest kind of fruit Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me : You cannot better be employ'd, Bassanio, Than to live still, and write mine epitaph.
Enter NERISSA, dressed like a lawyer's clerk. Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario? Ner. From both, my lord. Bellario greets your grace. Presents a letter, 12 Bass. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?
Shy. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.