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126. Advice to an Affected Speaker.
What do you say? What? I really do not understand you. Be so good as to explain yourself again. — Upon my word, I do not. -0, now I know: you mean to tell me it is a cold day. Why did not you say at once, “It is cold to-day.” If you
wish to inform me it rains or snows, pray say, rains,"
think I look well, and you choose to compliment me, say, “I think you look well." “But,” you answer, " that is so common, and so plain, and what every body can say." Well, and what if they can ? Is it so great a misfortune to be understood when one speaks, and to speak like the rest of the world ? I will tell you what, my friend; you and your fine-spoken brethren want one thing — you do not suspect it, and I shall astonish you you want common sense.
Nay, this is not all : you have something too much; you possess an opinion that you have more sense than others That is the source of all your pompous nothings, your cloudy sentences, and your big words without a meaning. Before you accost a person, or enter a room, let me pull you by your sleeve and whisper in your ear,““ Do not try to show off your sense : have none at all - that is your part. Use plain language,
if you can; just such as you find others use, who, in your idea, have no understanding; and then, perhaps, you will get credit for having some.”
It is a saying of a quaint writer, that “words are the counters of wise men, but the money of fools.” — This is well. The thought is ingenious, and happily expressed. It would be no very difficult matter, however, to point out passages in many authors which will prove that it is not peculiar to fools to fall into this error. If an author is supposed to involve his thoughts in voluntary obscurity, and to obstruct, by unnecessary difficulties, a mind eager in pursuit of truth; if he writes not to make others learned, but to boast of the learning which he possesses himself, and wishes to be admired rather than understood,- he counteracts the first end of writing, and justly suffers the utmost severity of censure. But still words are only hard to those who do not understand them; and the critic ought to inquire, whether he is incommoded by the fault of the writer, or by his own ignorance.
127. Venice. A Court of Justice.
DUKE, ANTONIO, BASSANIO, GRATIANO, SALARINO, and others
Duke. SHYLOCK, the world thinks, and I think so tuo.
That thou but lead'st this fashion of thy malice
To the last hour of act; and then, 'tis thought,
Thou’lt show thy mercy and remorse, more strange.
Than is thy strange apparent cruelty;
And where thou now exact'st the penalty,
Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh, a.
Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture,
But, touched with human gentleness and love,
Forgive a moiety of the principal;
Glancing an eye of pity on his losses,
That have of late so huddled on his back;
Enough to press a royal merchant down,
And pluck commiseration of his state
From brassy bosoms, and rough hearts of flint,
From stubborn Turks, and Tartars, never trained
To offices of tender courtesy.
We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.
Shy. I have possessed your grace of what I purpose;
And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn
To have the due and forfeit of my bond;
If you deny it, let the danger light
Upon your charter, and your city's freedom.
You'll ask me why I rather choose to have
A weight of carrion flesh, than to receive
Three thousand ducats : I'll not answer that ;
But say, it is my humor. Is it answered ?
Bass. This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
To excuse the current of thy cruelty.
Shy. I am not bound to please thee with my answer.
Bass. Do all men kill the things they do not love?
Shy. Hates any man the thing he would not kill?
Bass. Every offence is not a hate at first.
Shy. What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?
Ant. I pray you, think, you question with the Jew:
You may as
And bid the main flood bate his usual height;
You may as well use question with the wolf,
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb;
You may as well forbid the mountain pines
wag their high tops, and to make a noise,
When they are fretted with the gusts of heaven;
You may as well do any thing most hard,
As seek to soften that than which what's harder ?
His Jewish heart. Therefore, I do beseech you,
Make no more offers, use no further means,
But, with all brief and plain conveniency,
Let me have judgment, and the Jew his will.
Bass. For thy three thousand ducats here are six.
Șhy. If every ducat in six thousand ducats
Were in six parts, and every part a ducat,
I would not draw them; I would have my bond.
Duke. Flow shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none ?
Shy. What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?
You have among you many a purchased slave,
Which, like your asses, and your dogs, and mules,
You use in abject and in slavish parts,
Because you bought them. Shall I say to you,
Let them be free, marry them to your heirs ?
Why sweat they under burdens ? let their beds
Be made as soft as yours, and let their palates
Be seasoned with such viands? You will answer
The slaves are ours.
So do I answer you:
The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,
Is dearly bought, is mine, and I will have it ;
If you deny me, fie upon your law !
T'here is no force in the decrees of Venice
I stand for judgment: answer; shall I have it?
Duke. Upon my power,
disiniss this court,
Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
Whom I have sent for to determine this,
Come here to-day.
Salar. My lord, here stays without
A messenger from the doctor,
New come from Padua.
Duke. Call the messenger.
Give me your hand; came you from old Bellario?
Por. I did, my lord.
Duke. You are welcome; take
Are you acquainted with the difference
That holds this present question in the court ?
Por: I am informed thoroughly of the cause.
Whicn is the merchant here, and which the Jew?
Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth
Por. Is your name Shylock?
Shy. Shylock is my name.
Por. Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;
Yet in such rule, that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you, as you do proceed.
You stand within his danger, do you not? (To Antonio.)
Ant. Ay, so he says.
Por. Do you confess the bond ?
Ant. I do.
Por. Then must the Jew be merciful.
Shy. On what compulsion must I? Tell me that.
Por. The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes ;
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest ; it becomes
The thronéd monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings:
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the heart of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's,
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation; we do pray
mercy, And that same prayer doth teach us all to render The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much To mitigate the justice of thy plea; Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.
Shy. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law, The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
Por. Is he not able to discharge the money ?
Bass. Yes, here I tender it for him in the court;
Yea, twice the sum: if that will not suffice,
I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er,
On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart :
If this will not suffice, it must appear
That malice bears down truth. And I beseech you,
Wrest once the law to your authority ;
To do a great right, do a little wrong ;
And curb this cruel monster of his will.
Por. It must not be; there is no power in Venice
Can alter a decree established ;
'Twill be recorded for a precedent;
And many an error, by the same example,
Will rush into the state; it cannot be.
Shy. A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel ! O wise young judge, how do I honor thee !
Por. I pray you, let me look upon the bond.
Shy. Here 'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.
Por. Shylock, there's thrice thy money offered thee.
Shy. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven;