« PreviousContinue »
I'll not assume desert.-
“Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.'
I'll none of thee, thou pale and common drudge
'Tween man and man: but thou, thou meagre lead,
Which rather threat'nest than dost promise aught,
Thy plainness moves me more than eloquence,
And here choose I: Joy be the consequence!
Por. How all the other passions fleet to air!
Oh, love, be moderate, allay thy ecstacy;
I feel too much thy blessing; make it less,
For fear I surfeit!
Bass. [Opening the Leaden Casket.] What find I here i
Fair Portia's counterfeit ! Here is the scroll,
The continent and summary
[Reads.] “ You that choose not by the view,
Chance as fair, and choose as true !
Since this fortune falls to you,
Be content, and seek no new.
If you be well pleased with this,
And hold your fortune for
Turn you where your lady is,
And claim her with a loving kiss."
A gentle scroll;—Fair lady, by your leave;
I come by note, to give, and to receive ;
Yel doubtful whether what I
Until confirmed, signed, ratified by you.-
(Kneels, kissing her
Por. (L. c.) You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stan.
Such as I am: though, for myself alone,
I would not be ambitious in my wish,
To wish myself much better; yet, for
I would be trebled twenty times myself;
A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times
That only to stand high on your account,
I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,
Exceed account. But now I was the lord
Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
Queen o'er myself: and even now,
This house, these servants, and this same myself,
Are yours, my lurd; I give them with this ring;
Which, when you part from, olose, or give away,
Let it presage the ruin of your love,
And be my vantage to exclaim on you.
Buss. Madam, you have bereft me of all words,
Only my blood speaks to you in my veins :
But when this ring
Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence;
Oh, then be bold to say, Bassanio's dead.
(Gratiano and Nerissa advance, R.
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!
[ Crosses to Portia
Gra. My lord Bassanio, and my gentle lady,
I wish you all the joy that you can wish;
For, I am sure, you can wish none from me:
And when your honours mean to solemnize
The bargain of your faith, I do beseech you,
Even at that time I may be married, too.
Bass. With all my heart, so thou can’st get a wife.
Gra. I thank your lordship, you have got me one.
My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours :
You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid;
You loved, I loved; for intermission
No inore pertains to me, my lord, than
Your fortune stood upon the caskets there;
And so did mine, too, as the matter falls :
For wooing here, until I sweat again;
And swearing, till my very roof was dry
With oaths of love; at last,-if promise last, -
got a promise of this fair one here,
To have her love, provided that your fortune
Achieved her mistress.
Por. Is this true, Nerissa ?
Ner. Madam, it is, so you stand pleased withal.
Bass. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?
Gra. Yes, 'faith, my lord.
Bass. Our feast shall be much honoured in your mar-
riage. [Bassanio and Portia retire up the Stage. Gra. We'll play with them, the first boy, for a thousand ducats.
Nør. 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
old Venetian friend, Solanio ? Enter LORENZO, Jessica, and SOLANIO, L. Bass. [Crosses to Lor.] Lorenzo and Solanio, welcome
hither, 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.
Por. So do I, my lord ;
They are entirely welcome.
Lor. I thank
my part, my lord,
My purpose was not to have seen you here;
But meeting with Solanio by the way,
He did entreat me, past all saying nay,
To come with him along.
Sol. I did, my lord,
And I have reason for it.
Signior Antonio Commends him to you.
[Gives Bassanio a letter ; all retire but Bassanio and
Solanio. Bass. Ere I
his letter, I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth.
Sol. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind Nor well, unless in mind : his letter there Will show you his estate.
Gra. Nerissa, cheer yon stranger; bid her welcome. Your hand, Solanio ; what's the news from Venice? How doth that royal merchant, good Antonio? I know he will be glad of our success : We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece. Sol. Would you had won the fleece that he hath lost!
[They retire up the Stage, R, Por. There are some shrewd contents in that same pa.
That steal the colour from Bassanio's cheek:
Some dear friend dead; else nothing in the world
Could turn so much the constitution
Of any ainstant man. What, worse and worse ? -
(Crosses to him
With leave, Bassanio; I am half
y urself, And I must freely have the half of anything That this same paper brings you.
Bass. Oh, 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, ail the wealth I had
Ran in my veins, I was a gentleman;
And then I told you true: and yet, dear lady,
Rating myself at nothing, you shall see
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
I have engaged myself to a dear friend,
Engaged my friend to his mere enemy,
To feed my means.
Here is a letter, lady;
The paper as the body of my friend,
And every word in it a gaping wound,
Issuing life-blood.-But is it true, Solanio ?
Have all his ventures failed ? What, not one hit ?
From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England ?
And not one vessel 'scape the dreadful touch
Of merchant-marring rocks?
Sol. (L.) 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.
(Gratiano and Nerissa advance, R. Por. Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble ?
Bass. The dearest friend to me, the kindest man, The best conditioned and unwearied spirit
In doing courtesies; and one in whom
The ancient Roman honour more appears
that draws breath in Italy.
Por. What sum owes he the Jew?
Bass. For me, three thousand ducats,
Por. What, no more?
Lorenzo advances l. of Bassanio.
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
petty debt twenty times over:
When it is done, bring your true friend along :
My maid, Nerissa, and myself, meantime,
Will live as maids and widows. Come, away,
For you shall hence upon your wedding day.
But let me hear the letter of
friend. Bass. [Reads.] “ Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all mis. carried, my creditors grow cruel, my estate is very low, iny bond to the Jew is forfeit; and since, in paying it, it is im. possible I should live, all debts are cleared between you
and me. If I might bui see you at my death : notwithstanding, use your pleasure : if your love do not persuade you to come, let not my letter."
Por. Oh, love, despatch all business, and be gone.
Bass. Since I have your good leave to go away,
I will make haste : but till I come again,
No bed shall e'er be guilty of my stay,
No rest be interposer 'twixt us twain. [Exeunt, R.
Scene III.-A Street in Venice.
Enter SHYLOCK, ANTONIO, SALARINO, and GAOLER, L.
Shy. Gaoler, look to him ;-tell not me of mercy ;-
This is the fool that lent out money gratis :-:
Gaoler, look to him.
Ant. Hear me yet, good Shylock.
Shy I'll have my bond ; speak not against my bond ;