Page images

for the meat, sir, it shall be covered ; for your coming in to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humors and conceits shall govern.

[Exit Launcelot Lor. O dear discretion, how his words are

suited ! 1
The fool hath planted in his memory
An army of good words; and I do know
A many fools, that stand in better place,
Garnish'd like him, that for a tricksy word
Defy the matter. How cheer'st thou, Jessica ?
And now, good sweet, say thy opinion :
How dost thou like the lord Bassanio's wife?

Jes. Past all expressing. It is very meet,
The lord Bassanio live an upright life;
For, having such a blessing in his lady,
He finds the joys of heaven here on earth ;
And, if on earth he do not mean it, it
Is reason he should never come to heaven.
Why, if two gods should play some heavenly

And on the wager lay two earthly women,
And Portia one, there must be something else
Pawn'd with the other; for the poor rude worlå
Hath not her fellow.

Even such a husband
Hast thou of me, as she is for a wife.

Jes. Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.
Lor. I will anon; first, let us go to dinner.

1 Well-arranged.

Jes. Nay, let me praise you, while I have a

stomach. Lor. No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk; Then, howsoe'er thou speak'st, 'mong other things I shall digest it. Jes. Well, I 'll set


forth. [Exeunt.



Venice. A court of justice. Enter the DUKE; the Magnificoes; ANTONIO, BASSANIO, GRATIANO, SALARINO, SALANIO, and others. Duke. What, is Antonio here? Ant. Ready, so please your grace. Duke. I am sorry for thee : thou art come to


A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch
Uncapable of pity, void and empty
From any dram of mercy.

I have heard,
Your grace hath ta'en great pains to qualify
His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate,
And that no lawful means can carry me
Out of his envy's 1 reach, I do oppose

* Envy in this place means hatred or malice.

[blocks in formation]

My patience to his fury; and am arm’d
To suffer, with a quietness of spirit,
The very tyranny


of his. Duke. Go one, and call the Jew into the court. Salan. He's ready at the door: he comes, my



Duke. Make room, and let him stand before our

Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
That thou but lead’st this fashion of thy malice
To the last hour of act; and then, 'tis thought,
Thou ’lt show thy mercy

and remorse


more strange Than is thy strange apparent cruelty : And, where 2 thou now exact’st the penalty, (Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh) Thou wilt not only lose the forfeiture, But, touch'd with human gentleness and love, Forgive a moiety of the principal ; Glancing an eye of pity on his losses, That have of late so huddled on his back; Enough to press a royal merchant down, And pluck commiseration of his state From brassy bosoms, and rough hearts of flint; From stubborn Turks and Tartars, never train'd To offices of tender courtesy. We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.

[blocks in formation]

Shy. I have possess'd your grace of what I pur

pose ; And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn, To have the due and forfeit of


If you deny it, let the danger light
Upon your charter, and your city's freedom.
You 'll ask me, why I rather choose to have
A weight of carrion flesh, than to receive
Three thousand ducats : I'll not answer that;
But, say, it is my humor ; is it answer'd ?
What, if


house be troubled with a rat, And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats To have it baned? What, are you answer'd yet : Some men there are, love not a gaping pig; Some, that are mad, if they behold a cat; And others, when the bagpipe sings i' the nose, Cannot contain their urine for affection : Masters of passion sway it to the mood Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for

your answer : As there is no firm reason to be render'd, Why he cannot abide a gaping pig ; Why he, a harmless, necessary cat; Why he, a woollen bagpipe; but of force Must yield to such inevitable shame, As to offend, himself being offended ; So can I give no reason, nor I will not, More than a lodged hate, and a certain loathing, I bear Antonio, that I follow thus A losing suit against him. Are you answer'd ?

Bas. This is no answer, thou unfeeling man, To excuse the current of thy cruelty.

Shy. I am not bound to please thee with my

answer. Bas. Do all men kill the things they do not love? Shy. Hates any man the thing he would not kill? Bas. Every offence is not a hate at first. Shy. What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting

thee twice ? Ant. I pray you, think you question 1 with the

You may as well go


the beach,
And bid the main flood bate his usual height ;
You may as well use question with the wolf,
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb

; You may as well forbid the mountain pines To

wag their high tops, and to make no noise, When they are fretted with the gusts of heaven ; You may as well do any thing most hard, As seek to soften that (than which what's harder ?) His Jewish heart.-—Therefore, I do beseech you, Make no more offers, use no farther means ; But, with all brief and plain conveniency, Let me have judgment, and the Jew his will.

Bas. For thy three thousand ducats here is six.

Shy. If every ducat in six thousand ducats
Were in six parts, and every part a ducat,
I would not draw them; I would have my

bond. Duke. How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering

none ?

1 Converse.

« PreviousContinue »