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Sol. We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.
(Exeunt Sol. and Sala., R.
[Lor. and Bass. confer in back-ground.
Ant. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
Gra. (L. c.) Let me play the fool:
heart cool with mortifying groans.
ope my lips, let no dog bark !”
I must be one of these same dumb wise men,
Gra. (L.) Well, keep me company but two years more, Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.
Ant. Farewell ; l'll grow a talker for this year.
Exceunt Gra. and Lor., L. Ant. (R. C.) Is that any thing, now ?
Bass. (R.) Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice : his reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff; you shall seek all day ere you find them; and when you have them, they are not worth the search.
Ant. Well: tell me, now, what lady is this same,
Bass. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
my faint means would grant continuance :
pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it:
Bass. In my school days, when I had lost one shaft,
I owe you much ; and, like a wilful youth,
did shout the first, I do not doubt,
Ant. You know me well; and herein spend but time,
Bass. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
Ant. Thou know'st that all my fortunes are at sea :
(Exeunt, Ant. L., Bass, R. SCENE II.- Portia's House at Belmont.
PORTIA and NERISSA discovered. Por. (c.) By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world.
Ner. (R. c.) You would be, sweet madam, if your mise. ries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes a re; 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.
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. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me a husband :-Oh, 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 ?
[Crosses, R. Ver. 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
of these princely suitors that are already come ?
Por. I pray thee, over-name them; and, as thou nam'st them, I will describe them; and, according to my descriptivn, 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 afraid, my lady, his mother played false with a smith.
Ner. (c.) Then, there is the County Palatine.
Por. (R.) He doth nothing but frown; as who should say, “ An 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 unman
nerly 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. Heaven defend me from these two !
Ner. How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?
Por. Heaven made him, and therefore let him pass for
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.
[Crosses, R. 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.
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 vo 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 dute on his very absence, and I pray heaven grant them a fair departure,
Ner. Do you not remernber, 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, so he was called.
Ner. True, madam ; he, of all the men that ever my foolish eyes
looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.