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And do a wilful stillness 1 entertain,
well awhile : I'll end my exhortation after dinner.
Lor. Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time: I must be one of these same dumb wise men. For Gratiano never lets me speak. Gra. Well, keep me company but two years
more, Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own
tongue. Ant. Farewell: I'll grow a talker for this gear. Gra. Thanks, i' faith; for silence is only com
mendable In a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible.
[Exeunt Gratiano and Lorenzo.
1 Obstinate silence.
Ant. Is that any thing now ? 1
Bas. 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. Weil ; tell me now, what lady is the
To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
Bas. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
Ant. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
Can any meaning be affixed to what he has said?
Bas. In my school-days, when I had lost one
shaft, I shot his fellow of the self-same flight The self-same way, with more advised watch, To find the other forth; and by adventuring both, I oft found both. I urge this childhood proof, Because what follows is
did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
Bas. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
1 Ready; from the French word prét.
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia.
locks Hang on her temples like a golden fleece ; Which makes her seat of Belmont, Colchos' strand, And many Jasons come in
quest of her. O my Antonio, had I but the means To hold a rival place with one of them, I have a mind presages me such thrift, That I should questionless be fortunate. Ant. Thou know'st, that all my fortunes are at
sea ; Neither have I money, nor commodity To raise a present sum : therefore go forth ; Try what my credit can in Venice do; That shall be rack’d, even to the uttermost, To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia. Go, presently inquire, and so will I, Where money is; and I no question make, To have it of my trust, or for my sake. [Exeunt.
Belmont. A room in Portia's house.
Enter PORTIA and NERISSA.
weary of this
Por. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is 8
great world. Ner. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good
fortunes are: 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. The brain may
devise laws for the blood; but a hot temper leaps over a cold decree ; such a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel the cripple. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me a husband.-0 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 Done?
Ner. 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