Page images

Who, inward search'd, have livers white as milk ; Bass.

What find I here? And these assume but valour's excrement,

[Opening the leaden casket. To render them redoubted. Look on beauty, Fair Portia's counterfeit! What demi-god And you shall see, 'tis purchas'd by the weight ; Hath come so near creation ? Move these eyes! Which therein works a miracle in nature,

Or whether, riding on the balls of mine, Making them lightest that wear most of it: Seem they in motion ? Here are sever'd lips, So are those crisped snaky golden locks,

Parted with sugar breath; so sweet a bar Which make such wanton gambols with the wind, Should sunder such sweet friends. Here, in her hairs. Upon supposed fairness, often known

The painter plays the spider, and hath woven To be the dowry of a second head,

A golden mesh t' intrap the hearts of men, The scull that bred them, in the sepulchre. Faster than gnats in cobwebs; but her eyes ! Thus ornament is but the guiled shore

How could he see to do them ? having made one, To a most dangerous sea, the beauteous scarf Methinks, it should have power to steal both his, Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,

And leave itself unfurnishid: yet look, how far The seeming truth which cunning times put on The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow To intrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold, In underprizing it, so far this shadow Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee.

Doth limp behind the substance. Here's the scroll. Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge The continent and summary of my fortune. "Tween man and man; but thou, thou meagre lead,

You that choose not by the view, Which rather threat'nest than dost promise aught,

Chance as fair, and choose as true !

Since this fortune falls to you,
Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence,
And here choose I. Joy be the consequence !-

Be content, and seek no new.
Por. How all the other passions fleet to air,

If you be well pleas'd with this, As doubtful thoughts and rash-embrac'd despair,

And hold your fortune for your bliss, And shuddering fear and green-eyd jealousy.

Turn you where your lady is, O love! be moderate; allay thy ecstasy ;

And claim her with a loving kiss." In measure rain thy joy ; scant this excess: A gentle scroll.–Fair lady, by your leave ; I feel too much thy blessing; make it less,

I come by note, to give, and to receive. For fear I surfeit!

[Kissing her. 26


Bass. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?
Gra. Yes, 'faith, my lord.
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, Salerio ?

Enter LORENZO, JESSICA, and SALERIO. Bass. Lorenzo, and Salerio, 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 country men, Sweet Portia, welcome. Por.

So do I, my lord : They are entirely welcome.

Lör. I thank your honour.–For my part, my lord, My purpose was not to have seen you here, But meeting with Salerio by the way, He did entreat me, past all saying nay, To come with him along. Sale.

I did, my lord, And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio Commends him to you. [Gives BASSANO a letter. Bass.

Ere I ope his letter, I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth.

Sale. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind; Nor well, unless in mind : his letter there Will show you his estate.

(Bassanio opens the letter. Gra. Nerissa, cheer yon stranger; bid her wel

Like one of two contending in a prize,
That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes,
Hearing applause, and universal shout,
Giddy in spirit, still gazing, in a doubt
Whether those peals of praise be his or no;
So, thrice fair lady, stand I, even so,
As doubtful whether what I see be true,
C'ntil confirm'd, sign'd, ratified by you.

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,
I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,
Exceed account: but the full sum of me
Is sum of nothing; which, to term in gross,
Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractis'd :
Happy in this, she is not yet so old
But she may learn; happier than this,
She is not bred so dull but she can learn;
Happiest of all is, that her gentle spirit
Commits itself to yours to be directed,
As from her lord, her governor, her king.
Myself, and what is mine, to you, and yours
Is now converted: but now I was the lord
Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
Queen o'er myself; and even now, but now,
This house, these servants, and this same myself,
Are yours, my lord. I give them with this ring,
Which when you part from, lose, or give away,
Let it presage the ruin of your love,
And be my vantage to exclaim on you.

Bass. 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:
0! then be bold to say, Bassanio's dead.

Ver. 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,
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 lor'd, I lov'd; for intermission
No more pertains to me, my lord, than you.
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,
I got a promise of this fair one here,
To have her love, provided that your fortune
Achiev'd her mistress.

Is this true, Nerissa ?
Ner. Madamn, it is, so you stand pleas’d withal.


Your hand, Salerio: 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.
Sale. I would you had won the fleece that he

hath lost! Por. There are some shrewd contents in yon

same paper, 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 constant man. What, worse and worse? With leave, Bassanio; I am half yourself, And I must freely have the half of any thing That this same pa per brings you. 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, 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 engag'd myself to a dear friend, Engag'd 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, Salerio? Have all his ventures fail'd? What, not one hit! From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England, From Lisbon, Barbary, and India ?


And not one vessel 'scape the dreadful touch
Of merchant-marring rocks?

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.

Jes. When I was with him I have heard him swear To Tubal, and to Chus, his countrymen, That he would rather have Antonio's flesh, Than twenty times the value of the sum That he did owe him; and I know, my lord, If law, authority, and power deny not, It will go hard with poor Antonio.

Por. Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble?

Bass. The dearest friend to me, the kindest man,
The best condition'd and unwearied spirit
In doing courtesies; and one in whom
The ancient Roman honour more appears,
Than any that draws breath in Italy.

Por. What sum owes he the Jew ?
Bass. For me, three thousand ducats.

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 Bassa nio'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, mean time,
Will live as maids and widows. Come, away!
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. [Reads.] “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! despatch all business, and begone. 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, Nor rest be interposer 'twixt us twain.


[graphic][merged small][merged small]

I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond.
Thou call’dst me dog before thou hadst a cause,
But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs.
The duke shall grant me justice.—I do wonder,
Thou naughty jailer, that thou art so fond
To come abroad with him at his request.

Ant. I pray thee, hear me speak.
Shy. I'll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak :
I'll have my bond, and therefore speak no more.

I'll not be made a soft and dull-ey'd fool,

Por. My people do already know my mind,
To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield And will acknowledge you and Jessica
To Christian intercessors. Follow not ;

In place of lord Bassanio and myself.
I'll have no speaking: I will have my bond. So fare you well, till we shall meet again.

[Exit SHYLOCK. Lor. Fair thoughts, and happy hours, attend on Salan. It is the most impenetrable cur,

you ! That ever kept with men.

Jes. I wish your ladyship all heart's content. Ant. Let him alone:

Por. I thank you for your wish, and am well I'll follow him no more with bootless prayers.

pleas'd He seeks my life ; his reason well I know. To wish it back on you: fare you well, Jessica.I oft deliver'd from his forfeitures

[Ereunt Jessica and LORENZO. Many that have at times made moan to me ; Now, Balthazar, Therefore he hates me.

As I have ever found thee honest, true, Salan.

I am sure, the duke So let me find thee still. Take this same letter, Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.

And use thou all the endeavour of a man, Ant. The duke cannot deny the course of law; In speed to Padua: see thou render this For the commodity that strangers have

Into my cousin's hand, doctor Bellario; With us in Venice, if it be denied,

And, look, what notes and garments he doth give thee, Will much impeach the justice of the state; Bring them, I pray thee, with imagin'd speed Since that the trade and profit of the city

Unto the Tranect, to the common ferry Consisteth of all nations. Therefore, go :

Which trades to Venice. Waste no time in words, These griefs and losses have so 'bated me,

But get thee gone : I shall be there before thee. That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh

Balt. Madam, I go with all convenient speed. To-morrow to my bloody creditor.

[Exit. Well, jailer, on. Pray God, Bassanio come

Por. Come on, Nerissa : I have work in hand, To see me pay his debt, and then I care not ! That you yet know not of. We'll see our husbands,

[Exeunt. Before they think of us.

Shall they see us ? SCENE IV.-Belmont. A Room in Portia's Por. They shall, Nerissa : but in such a habit, House.

That they shall think we are accomplished

With that we lack. I'll hold thee any wager, Enter Portia, NERISSA, LORENZO, JESSICA, and

When we are both accoutred like young men, BALTHAZAR.

I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two, Lor. Madam, although I speak it in your pres And wear my dagger with the braver grace; ence,

And speak between the change of man and boy, You have a noble and a true conceit

With a reed voice; and turn two mincing steps Of god-like amity; which appears most strongly Into a manly stride; and speak of frays, In bearing thus the absence of your lord.

Like a fine bragging youth; and tell quaint lies, But, if you knew to whom you show this honour, How honourable ladies sought my love, How true a gentleman you send relief,

Which I denying, they fell sick and died; How dear a lover of my lord, your husband, I could not do withal :—then, I'll repent, I know, you would be prouder of the work, And wish, for all that, that I had not kill'd them. Than customary bounty can enforce you.

And twenty of these puny lies I'll tell, Por. I never did repent for doing good,

That men shall swear, I have discontinued school Nor shall not now: for in companions

Above a twelvemonth. I have within my mind That do converse and waste the time together, A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks, Whose souls do bear an equal yoke of love,

Which I will practise. There must be needs a like proportion


Why, shall we turn to men ? Of lineaments, of manners, and of spirit ;

Por. Fie! what a question's that, Which makes me think, that this Antonio,

If thou wert near a lewd interpreter. Being the bosom lover of my lord,

But come : I'll teach thee all my whole device Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,

When I am in my coach, which stays for us How little is the cost I have bestow'd,

At the park gate ; and therefore haste away, In purchasing the semblance of my soul

For we must measure twenty miles to-day. From out the state of hellish cruelty !

(Ereunt. This comes too near the praising of myself, Therefore, no more of it: hear other things.

SCENE V.-The Same. A Garden.
Lorenzo, I commit into your hands
The husbandry and manage of my house,

Until my lord's return: for mine own part,

Laun. Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the I have toward heaven breath'd a secret vow father are to be laid upon the children; therefore, I To live in prayer and contemplation,

promise you, I fear you. I was always plain with Only attended by Nerissa here,

you, and so now I speak my agitation of the matter: Until her husband and my lord's return.

therefore, be of good cheer; for, truly, I think, you There is a monastery two miles off,

are damned. There is but one hope in it that can And there we will abide. I do desire you

do you any good, and that is but a kind of bastard Not to deny this imposition,

hope neither. The which my love, and some necessity,

Jes. And what hope is that, I pray thee ?

Laun. Marry, you may partly hope that your Madam, with all my heart : father got you not; that you are not the Jew's I shall obey you in all fair commands.


Now lays upon you.


Jes. That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed : Lor. Will you cover then, sir ? so the sins of my mother should be visited upon me. Laun. Not so, sir, neither; I know my duty.

Laun. Truly, then, I fear you are damned both Lor. Yet more quarrelling with occasion ? Wilt by father and mother: thus when I shun Scylla, i thou show the whole wealth of thy wit in an your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother. instant ? I pray thee, understand a plain man in Well, you are gone both ways.

his plain meaning: go to thy fellows, bid them Jes. I shall be saved by my husband: he hath cover the table, serve in the meat, and we will made me a Christian.

come in to dinner. Laun. Truly, the more to blame he: we were Laun. For the table, sir, it shall be served in: Christians enow before ; e'en as many as could for the meat, sir, it shall be covered; for your well live one by another. This making of Chris- coming in to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humours tians will raise the price of hogs: if we grow all and conceits shall govern. [Erit LAUNCELOT. to be pork-eaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher Lor. O, dear discretion, how his words are suited! on the coals for money.

The fool hath planted in his memory

An army of good words; and I do know

A many fools, that stand in better place,
Jes. I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you Garnish'd like him, that for a tricksy word
say: here he comes.

Defy the matter. How cheer’st thou, Jessica ? Lor. I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launce And now, good sweet, say thy opinion ; "Jes. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenze: Launce- Jes. Past all expressing. It is very meet, lot and I are out. He tells me flatly, there is no The lord Bassanio live an upright life, mercy for me in heaven, because I am a Jew's For, having such a blessing in his lady, daughter; and he says, you are no good member He finds the joys of heaven here on earth ; of the commonwealth, for in converting Jews to And, if on earth he do not mean it, it Christians you raise the price of pork.

Is reason he should never come to heaven. Lor. I shall answer that better to the common Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match, wealth, than you can the getting up of the negro's And on the wager lay two earthly women, belly: the Moor is with child by you, Launcelot. And Portia one, there must be something else

Laun. It is much, that the Moor should be more Pawn'd with the other, for the poor rude world than reason; but if she be less than an honest Hath not her fellow. woman, she is, indeed, more than I took her for. Lor.

Even such a husband Lor. How every fool can play upon the word! I Hast thou of me, as she is for a wife. think, the best grace of wit will shortly turn into Jes. Nay, but ask my opinion, too, of that. silence, and discourse grow commendable in none Lor. I will anon; first, let us go to dinner. only but parrots.—Go in, sirrah : bid them prepare Jes. Nay, let me praise you, while I have a for dinner.

stomach. Laun. That is done, sir ; they have all stomachs. Lor. No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk;

Lor. Goodly lord, what a wit-snapper are you! Then, howsoe'er thou speak’st, 'mong other things then, bid them prepare dinner.

I shall digest it. Laun. That is done too, sir; only, cover is the word. Jes.

Well, I'll set you forth. [Exeunt 30

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »