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I bid my very
friends and country-men, (Sweet Portia) welcome.
Por. So do I, my Lord ; they are intirely welcome.
Lor. I thank your honour; for my part, my lord,
My purpose was not to have seen you here;
But meeting with Salanio by the way,
He did intreat me, past all saying nay,
To come with him along.
Sal. I did, my lord,
And I have reason for't ; Signior Anthonio
Commends him to you. [Gives Baffanio a Letter.
Bal. Ere I ope his letter,
pray you tell me how my good friend doth.
Sal. Not fick, say lord, unless it be in mind;
Nor well, unless in mind ; his letter there
Will Thew you his estate. [Baffanio opens the letter.
Gra. Nerisa, cheer yond ftranger : Bid her wel-
Your hand, Salanio; what's the news from Venice ?
How doth that royal merchant, good Anthonio ?
I know, he will be glad of our Success :
We are the Jafons, we have won the fleece.
you had won the fleece, that he hath loft! Por. There are some shrewd Contents in yond same
That steal the colour from Bafanio's cheek :
Some dear Friend dead; else nothing in the world
Could turn so much the conftitution
Of any constant man. What, worse and worse!
With leave, Balanio, I am half your self,
And I must have the half of any thing
That this fame Paper brings you.
Bal. O sweet Portia!
Here are a few of the unpleasant'It 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 my self 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 my self to a dear Friend,
Engag'd my friend to his meer enemy,
To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady,
paper, as the body of my friend ;
And every word in it a gaping wound,
Ifsuing life-blood. But is it true, Salanio?
Have all his ventures fail'd? what, not one hit?
From Tripolis, from Mexico, from England,
From Lisbon, Barbary, and India ?
And not one vessel 'scap'd the dreadful touch
Of merchant-marring rocks?
Sal. Not one, my lord.
Besides, it should appear, that if he had
The present mony 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.
Jef. When I was with him, I have heard him swear,
To Tubal and to Chus his country-men,
That he would rather have Anthonio's flesh,
Than twenty times the value of the fum
That he did owe him ; and I know, my lord,
If law, authority, and pow'r deny not,
Por. Is it your dear friend, that is thus in trouble?
Bal. The dearest friend to me, the kindeít Man,
The best condition'd and unweary'd spirit
In doing courtesies and one in whom
The arcient Roman honour more appears,
Than any that draws breath in Italy.
Por. What Sum owes he the Jew?
Ball. For me, three thousand ducats.
Por. What, no more?
Pay him fix thousand, and deface the bond ;
Double fix thoufand, and then treble that,
Before a Friend of this description
Shall lose a hair through my Baffanio'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 fide
With an unquiet foul. 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 my felf, mean time,
Will live as maids and widows : come, away!
For you fhall hence upon your wedding-day.
Bid your friends welcome, sew a merry
Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.
But let me hear the letter of your friend.
Bal Weet Baffanio, my ships bave all seif
carry'd, and may creditors grow cruel, my estate is very low, my bond to the Jew is forfeit ; and fince in paying it, it is impossible I jould live, all debts are cleared between you and me, 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.
Bal. Since I have your good leave to go away,
I will make haste; but 'till I come again,
No bed thall e'er be guilty of my stay;
No rest be interposer 'twixt us twain.
SCENE changes to a Street in Venice. Enter Shylock, Solarino, Anthonio, and the Goaler.
This is the fool, that lent out mony gratis. Goaler, look to him,
Ant. Hear me yet, gond Sbylock.
Shy. I'll have my bond ; speak not againft my
bond: I've sworn an oath, that I will have my
Thou callat me dog, before thou hadit a cause ;
But fince I am a dog, beware my fangs :
The Duke shall grant me justice. I do wonder,
Thou naughty goaler, that thou art fo 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,
To shake the head, relent, and figh and yield
To chriftian intercessors. Follow not ;
Pll have no speaking, I will have my bond.
[Exit Shylock. Sola. It is the most impenetrable cur, That ever kept with men.
Ant. Let him alone,
I'll follow him no more with bootless pray'ss : ,
He seeks my life; his reason well I know;
I oft deliver'd from his forfeitures
Many, that have at times made moan to mo ;
Therefore he hates me.
Sola. I am sure, the Duke
Will never grant this Forfeiture to hold.
Ant. The Duke cannot deny the course of law ;
For the commodity that strangers have
With us in Venice, if it be deny'd,
Will much impeach the justice of the state ;
Since that the trade and profit of the city
Consisteth of all nations. Therefore go,
These griefs and losses have so 'bated me,
That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh
To morrow to my bloody creditor.
Well, goaler, on; pray God, Bafanio come
To see me pay his debt, and then I care not! [Exeunt.
SCENE changes to BELMONT.
Enter Portia, Neriffa, Lorenzo, Jessica, and Balthazar.
Lor. Adam, although I speak it in your presence,
You have a noble and a true conceit
Of God like amity; which appears most frongly
In bearing thus the absence of your lord.
But if you knew to whom you shew this honour,
How true a gentleman you send relief to,
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 of doing good,
And shall not now ; for in companions
That do converse and waste the time together,
Whose fouls do bear an equal yoke of love,
There must needs be a like proportion
Of lineaments, of manners, and of spirit ;
Which makes me think, that this Anthonio,
Being the bosom-lover of my lord,
Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,
How little is the cost I have bestowed,
In purchasing the semblance of my soul
From out the state of hellish cruelty?
This comes too near the praising of my self; (13)
Therefore, no more of it: hear other things.
Lorenzo, I commit into your hands
The husbandry and manage of my house,