THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
Comments on this play
Enter ANTONIO, SALARINO, and SALANIOANTONIO
In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:SALARINO
It wearies me; you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.
Your mind is tossing on the ocean;SALANIO
There, where your argosies with portly sail,
Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood,
Or, as it were, the pageants of the sea,
Do overpeer the petty traffickers,
That curtsy to them, do them reverence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings.
Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,SALARINO
The better part of my affections would
Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still
Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind,
Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads;
And every object that might make me fear
Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt
Would make me sad.
My wind cooling my brothANTONIO
Would blow me to an ague, when I thought
What harm a wind too great at sea might do.
I should not see the sandy hour-glass run,
But I should think of shallows and of flats,
And see my wealthy Andrew dock'd in sand,
Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs
To kiss her burial. Should I go to church
And see the holy edifice of stone,
And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks,
Which touching but my gentle vessel's side,
Would scatter all her spices on the stream,
Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks,
And, in a word, but even now worth this,
And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought
To think on this, and shall I lack the thought
That such a thing bechanced would make me sad?
But tell not me; I know, Antonio
Is sad to think upon his merchandise.
Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it,SALARINO
My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,
Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate
Upon the fortune of this present year:
Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad.
Why, then you are in love.ANTONIO
Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sad,SALANIO
Because you are not merry: and 'twere as easy
For you to laugh and leap and say you are merry,
Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed Janus,
Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time:
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes
And laugh like parrots at a bag-piper,
And other of such vinegar aspect
That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile,
Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.
Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO
Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman,SALARINO
Gratiano and Lorenzo. Fare ye well:
We leave you now with better company.
I would have stay'd till I had made you merry,ANTONIO
If worthier friends had not prevented me.
Your worth is very dear in my regard.SALARINO
I take it, your own business calls on you
And you embrace the occasion to depart.
Good morrow, my good lords.BASSANIO
Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? say, when?SALARINO
You grow exceeding strange: must it be so?
We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.LORENZO
Exeunt Salarino and Salanio
My Lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio,BASSANIO
We two will leave you: but at dinner-time,
I pray you, have in mind where we must meet.
I will not fail you.GRATIANO
You look not well, Signior Antonio;ANTONIO
You have too much respect upon the world:
They lose it that do buy it with much care:
Believe me, you are marvellously changed.
I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;GRATIANO
A stage where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.
Let me play the fool:LORENZO
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come,
And let my liver rather heat with wine
Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.
Why should a man, whose blood is warm within,
Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster?
Sleep when he wakes and creep into the jaundice
By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio--
I love thee, and it is my love that speaks--
There are a sort of men whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,
And do a wilful stillness entertain,
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit,
As who should say 'I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips let no dog bark!'
O my Antonio, I do know of these
That therefore only are reputed wise
For saying nothing; when, I am very sure,
If they should speak, would almost damn those ears,
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools.
I'll tell thee more of this another time:
But fish not, with this melancholy bait,
For this fool gudgeon, this opinion.
Come, good Lorenzo. Fare ye well awhile:
I'll end my exhortation after dinner.
Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time:GRATIANO
I must be one of these same dumb wise men,
For Gratiano never lets me speak.
Well, keep me company but two years moe,ANTONIO
Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.
Farewell: I'll grow a talker for this gear.GRATIANO
Thanks, i' faith, for silence is only commendableANTONIO
In a neat's tongue dried and a maid not vendible.
Exeunt GRATIANO and LORENZO
Is that any thing now?BASSANIO
Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, moreANTONIO
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.
Well, tell me now what lady is the sameBASSANIO
To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
That you to-day promised to tell me of?
'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,ANTONIO
How much I have disabled mine estate,
By something showing a more swelling port
Than my faint means would grant continuance:
Nor do I now make moan to be abridged
From such a noble rate; but my chief care
Is to come fairly off from the great debts
Wherein my time something too prodigal
Hath left me gaged. To you, Antonio,
I owe the most, in money and in love,
And from your love I have a warranty
To unburden all my plots and purposes
How to get clear of all the debts I owe.
I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;BASSANIO
And if it stand, as you yourself still do,
Within the eye of honour, be assured,
My purse, my person, my extremest means,
Lie all unlock'd to your occasions.
In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,ANTONIO
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 pure innocence.
I owe you much, and, like a wilful youth,
That which I owe is lost; but if you please
To shoot another arrow that self way
Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
As I will watch the aim, or to find both
Or bring your latter hazard back again
And thankfully rest debtor for the first.
You know me well, and herein spend but timeBASSANIO
To wind about my love with circumstance;
And out of doubt you do me now more wrong
In making question of my uttermost
Than if you had made waste of all I have:
Then do but say to me what I should do
That in your knowledge may by me be done,
And I am prest unto it: therefore, speak.
In Belmont is a lady richly left;ANTONIO
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wondrous virtues: sometimes from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages:
Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia:
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,
For the four winds blow in from every coast
Renowned suitors, and her sunny 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!
Thou know'st that all my fortunes are at sea;PORTIA
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.
ExeuntSCENE II: Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house.
Enter PORTIA and NERISSA
By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary ofNERISSA
this great world.
You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were inPORTIA
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.
Good sentences and well pronounced.NERISSA
They would be better, if well followed.PORTIA
If to do were as easy as to know what were good toNERISSA
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
o'er 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. O 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 none?
Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men at theirPORTIA
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 shall rightly love. But what
warmth is there in your affection towards any of
these princely suitors that are already come?
I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou namestNERISSA
them, I will describe them; and, according to my
description, level at my affection.
First, there is the Neapolitan prince.PORTIA
Ay, that's a colt indeed, for he doth nothing butNERISSA
talk of his horse; and he makes it a great
appropriation to his own good parts, that he can
shoe him himself. I am much afeard my lady his
mother played false with a smith.
Then there is the County Palatine.PORTIA
He doth nothing but frown, as who should say 'If youNERISSA
will not have me, choose:' he hears merry tales and
smiles not: I fear he will prove the weeping
philosopher when he grows old, being so full of
unmannerly sadness in his youth. I had rather be
married to a death's-head with a bone in his mouth
than to either of these. God defend me from these
How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?PORTIA
God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man.NERISSA
In truth, I know it is a sin to be a mocker: but,
he! why, he hath a horse better than the
Neapolitan's, a better bad habit of frowning than
the Count Palatine; he is every man in no man; if a
throstle sing, he falls straight a capering: he will
fence with his own shadow: if I should marry him, I
should marry twenty husbands. If he would despise me
I would forgive him, for if he love me to madness, I
shall never requite him.
What say you, then, to Falconbridge, the young baronPORTIA
You know I say nothing to him, for he understandsNERISSA
not me, nor I him: he hath neither Latin, French,
nor Italian, and you will come into the court and
swear that I have a poor pennyworth in the English.
He is a proper man's picture, but, alas, who can
converse with a dumb-show? How oddly he is suited!
I think he bought his doublet in Italy, his round
hose in France, his bonnet in Germany and his
behavior every where.
What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?PORTIA
That he hath a neighbourly charity in him, for heNERISSA
borrowed a box of the ear of the Englishman and
swore he would pay him again when he was able: I
think the Frenchman became his surety and sealed
under for another.
How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew?PORTIA
Very vilely in the morning, when he is sober, andNERISSA
most vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk: when
he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and
when he is worst, he is little better than a beast:
and the worst fall that ever fell, I hope I shall
make shift to go without him.
If he should offer to choose, and choose the rightPORTIA
casket, you should refuse to perform your father's
will, if you should refuse to accept him.
Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, set aNERISSA
deep glass of rhenish wine on the contrary casket,
for if the devil be within and that temptation
without, I know he will choose it. I will do any
thing, Nerissa, ere I'll be married to a sponge.
You need not fear, lady, the having any of thesePORTIA
lords: they have acquainted me with their
determinations; which is, indeed, to return to their
home and to trouble you with no more suit, unless
you may be won by some other sort than your father's
imposition depending on the caskets.
If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die asNERISSA
chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by the manner
of my father's will. I am glad this parcel of wooers
are so reasonable, for there is not one among them
but I dote on his very absence, and I pray God grant
them a fair departure.
Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, aPORTIA
Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came hither
in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?
Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, he was so called.NERISSA
True, madam: he, of all the men that ever my foolishPORTIA
eyes looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.
I remember him well, and I remember him worthy ofServant
Enter a Serving-manHow now! what news?
The four strangers seek for you, madam, to takePORTIA
their leave: and there is a forerunner come from a
fifth, the Prince of Morocco, who brings word the
prince his master will be here to-night.
If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good a
heart as I can bid the other four farewell, I should
be glad of his approach: if he have the condition
of a saint and the complexion of a devil, I had
rather he should shrive me than wive me. Come,
Nerissa. Sirrah, go before.
Whiles we shut the gates
upon one wooer, another knocks at the door.
Enter BASSANIO and SHYLOCKSHYLOCK
Three thousand ducats; well.BASSANIO
Ay, sir, for three months.SHYLOCK
For three months; well.BASSANIO
For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound.SHYLOCK
Antonio shall become bound; well.BASSANIO
May you stead me? will you pleasure me? shall ISHYLOCK
know your answer?
Three thousand ducats for three months and Antonio bound.BASSANIO
Your answer to that.SHYLOCK
Antonio is a good man.BASSANIO
Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?SHYLOCK
Oh, no, no, no, no: my meaning in saying he is aBASSANIO
good man is to have you understand me that he is
sufficient. Yet his means are in supposition: he
hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the
Indies; I understand moreover, upon the Rialto, he
hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and
other ventures he hath, squandered abroad. But ships
are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats
and water-rats, water-thieves and land-thieves, I
mean pirates, and then there is the peril of waters,
winds and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding,
sufficient. Three thousand ducats; I think I may
take his bond.
Be assured you may.SHYLOCK
I will be assured I may; and, that I may be assured,BASSANIO
I will bethink me. May I speak with Antonio?
If it please you to dine with us.SHYLOCK
Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation whichBASSANIO
your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into. I
will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you,
walk with you, and so following, but I will not eat
with you, drink with you, nor pray with you. What
news on the Rialto? Who is he comes here?
This is Signior Antonio.SHYLOCK
[Aside] How like a fawning publican he looks!BASSANIO
I hate him for he is a Christian,
But more for that in low simplicity
He lends out money gratis and brings down
The rate of usance here with us in Venice.
If I can catch him once upon the hip,
I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
He hates our sacred nation, and he rails,
Even there where merchants most do congregate,
On me, my bargains and my well-won thrift,
Which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe,
If I forgive him!
Shylock, do you hear?SHYLOCK
I am debating of my present store,ANTONIO
And, by the near guess of my memory,
I cannot instantly raise up the gross
Of full three thousand ducats. What of that?
Tubal, a wealthy Hebrew of my tribe,
Will furnish me. But soft! how many months
Do you desire?
To ANTONIORest you fair, good signior;
Your worship was the last man in our mouths.
Shylock, although I neither lend nor borrowSHYLOCK
By taking nor by giving of excess,
Yet, to supply the ripe wants of my friend,
I'll break a custom. Is he yet possess'd
How much ye would?
Ay, ay, three thousand ducats.ANTONIO
And for three months.SHYLOCK
I had forgot; three months; you told me so.ANTONIO
Well then, your bond; and let me see; but hear you;
Methought you said you neither lend nor borrow
I do never use it.SHYLOCK
When Jacob grazed his uncle Laban's sheep--ANTONIO
This Jacob from our holy Abram was,
As his wise mother wrought in his behalf,
The third possessor; ay, he was the third--
And what of him? did he take interest?SHYLOCK
No, not take interest, not, as you would say,ANTONIO
Directly interest: mark what Jacob did.
When Laban and himself were compromised
That all the eanlings which were streak'd and pied
Should fall as Jacob's hire, the ewes, being rank,
In the end of autumn turned to the rams,
And, when the work of generation was
Between these woolly breeders in the act,
The skilful shepherd peel'd me certain wands,
And, in the doing of the deed of kind,
He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes,
Who then conceiving did in eaning time
Fall parti-colour'd lambs, and those were Jacob's.
This was a way to thrive, and he was blest:
And thrift is blessing, if men steal it not.
This was a venture, sir, that Jacob served for;SHYLOCK
A thing not in his power to bring to pass,
But sway'd and fashion'd by the hand of heaven.
Was this inserted to make interest good?
Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?
I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast:ANTONIO
But note me, signior.
Mark you this, Bassanio,SHYLOCK
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
Three thousand ducats; 'tis a good round sum.ANTONIO
Three months from twelve; then, let me see; the rate--
Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you?SHYLOCK
Signior Antonio, many a time and oftANTONIO
In the Rialto you have rated me
About my moneys and my usances:
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,
For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,
And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,
And all for use of that which is mine own.
Well then, it now appears you need my help:
Go to, then; you come to me, and you say
'Shylock, we would have moneys:' you say so;
You, that did void your rheum upon my beard
And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur
Over your threshold: moneys is your suit
What should I say to you? Should I not say
'Hath a dog money? is it possible
A cur can lend three thousand ducats?' Or
Shall I bend low and in a bondman's key,
With bated breath and whispering humbleness, Say this;
'Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last;
You spurn'd me such a day; another time
You call'd me dog; and for these courtesies
I'll lend you thus much moneys'?
I am as like to call thee so again,SHYLOCK
To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too.
If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not
As to thy friends; for when did friendship take
A breed for barren metal of his friend?
But lend it rather to thine enemy,
Who, if he break, thou mayst with better face
Exact the penalty.
Why, look you, how you storm!BASSANIO
I would be friends with you and have your love,
Forget the shames that you have stain'd me with,
Supply your present wants and take no doit
Of usance for my moneys, and you'll not hear me:
This is kind I offer.
This were kindness.SHYLOCK
This kindness will I show.ANTONIO
Go with me to a notary, seal me there
Your single bond; and, in a merry sport,
If you repay me not on such a day,
In such a place, such sum or sums as are
Express'd in the condition, let the forfeit
Be nominated for an equal pound
Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken
In what part of your body pleaseth me.
Content, i' faith: I'll seal to such a bondBASSANIO
And say there is much kindness in the Jew.
You shall not seal to such a bond for me:ANTONIO
I'll rather dwell in my necessity.
Why, fear not, man; I will not forfeit it:SHYLOCK
Within these two months, that's a month before
This bond expires, I do expect return
Of thrice three times the value of this bond.
O father Abram, what these Christians are,ANTONIO
Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect
The thoughts of others! Pray you, tell me this;
If he should break his day, what should I gain
By the exaction of the forfeiture?
A pound of man's flesh taken from a man
Is not so estimable, profitable neither,
As flesh of muttons, beefs, or goats. I say,
To buy his favour, I extend this friendship:
If he will take it, so; if not, adieu;
And, for my love, I pray you wrong me not.
Yes Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.SHYLOCK
Then meet me forthwith at the notary's;ANTONIO
Give him direction for this merry bond,
And I will go and purse the ducats straight,
See to my house, left in the fearful guard
Of an unthrifty knave, and presently
I will be with you.
Hie thee, gentle Jew.BASSANIO
Exit ShylockThe Hebrew will turn Christian: he grows kind.
I like not fair terms and a villain's mind.ANTONIO
Come on: in this there can be no dismay;
My ships come home a month before the day.
Flourish of cornets. Enter the PRINCE OF MOROCCO and his train; PORTIA, NERISSA, and others attendingMOROCCO
Mislike me not for my complexion,PORTIA
The shadow'd livery of the burnish'd sun,
To whom I am a neighbour and near bred.
Bring me the fairest creature northward born,
Where Phoebus' fire scarce thaws the icicles,
And let us make incision for your love,
To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine.
I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine
Hath fear'd the valiant: by my love I swear
The best-regarded virgins of our clime
Have loved it too: I would not change this hue,
Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.
In terms of choice I am not solely ledMOROCCO
By nice direction of a maiden's eyes;
Besides, the lottery of my destiny
Bars me the right of voluntary choosing:
But if my father had not scanted me
And hedged me by his wit, to yield myself
His wife who wins me by that means I told you,
Yourself, renowned prince, then stood as fair
As any comer I have look'd on yet
For my affection.
Even for that I thank you:PORTIA
Therefore, I pray you, lead me to the caskets
To try my fortune. By this scimitar
That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince
That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,
I would outstare the sternest eyes that look,
Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth,
Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,
Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey,
To win thee, lady. But, alas the while!
If Hercules and Lichas play at dice
Which is the better man, the greater throw
May turn by fortune from the weaker hand:
So is Alcides beaten by his page;
And so may I, blind fortune leading me,
Miss that which one unworthier may attain,
And die with grieving.
You must take your chance,MOROCCO
And either not attempt to choose at all
Or swear before you choose, if you choose wrong
Never to speak to lady afterward
In way of marriage: therefore be advised.
Nor will not. Come, bring me unto my chance.PORTIA
First, forward to the temple: after dinnerMOROCCO
Your hazard shall be made.
Good fortune then!
To make me blest or cursed'st among men.
Cornets, and exeunt
Certainly my conscience will serve me to run fromGOBBO
this Jew my master. The fiend is at mine elbow and
tempts me saying to me 'Gobbo, Launcelot Gobbo, good
Launcelot,' or 'good Gobbo,' or good Launcelot
Gobbo, use your legs, take the start, run away. My
conscience says 'No; take heed,' honest Launcelot;
take heed, honest Gobbo, or, as aforesaid, 'honest
Launcelot Gobbo; do not run; scorn running with thy
heels.' Well, the most courageous fiend bids me
pack: 'Via!' says the fiend; 'away!' says the
fiend; 'for the heavens, rouse up a brave mind,'
says the fiend, 'and run.' Well, my conscience,
hanging about the neck of my heart, says very wisely
to me 'My honest friend Launcelot, being an honest
man's son,' or rather an honest woman's son; for,
indeed, my father did something smack, something
grow to, he had a kind of taste; well, my conscience
says 'Launcelot, budge not.' 'Budge,' says the
fiend. 'Budge not,' says my conscience.
'Conscience,' say I, 'you counsel well;' ' Fiend,'
say I, 'you counsel well:' to be ruled by my
conscience, I should stay with the Jew my master,
who, God bless the mark, is a kind of devil; and, to
run away from the Jew, I should be ruled by the
fiend, who, saving your reverence, is the devil
himself. Certainly the Jew is the very devil
incarnal; and, in my conscience, my conscience is
but a kind of hard conscience, to offer to counsel
me to stay with the Jew. The fiend gives the more
friendly counsel: I will run, fiend; my heels are
at your command; I will run.
Enter Old GOBBO, with a basket
Master young man, you, I pray you, which is the wayLAUNCELOT
to master Jew's?
[Aside] O heavens, this is my true-begotten father!GOBBO
who, being more than sand-blind, high-gravel blind,
knows me not: I will try confusions with him.
Master young gentleman, I pray you, which is the wayLAUNCELOT
to master Jew's?
Turn up on your right hand at the next turning, but,GOBBO
at the next turning of all, on your left; marry, at
the very next turning, turn of no hand, but turn
down indirectly to the Jew's house.
By God's sonties, 'twill be a hard way to hit. CanLAUNCELOT
you tell me whether one Launcelot,
that dwells with him, dwell with him or no?
Talk you of young Master Launcelot?GOBBO
AsideMark me now; now will I raise the waters. Talk you
of young Master Launcelot?
No master, sir, but a poor man's son: his father,LAUNCELOT
though I say it, is an honest exceeding poor man
and, God be thanked, well to live.
Well, let his father be what a' will, we talk ofGOBBO
young Master Launcelot.
Your worship's friend and Launcelot, sir.LAUNCELOT
But I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech you,GOBBO
talk you of young Master Launcelot?
Of Launcelot, an't please your mastership.LAUNCELOT
Ergo, Master Launcelot. Talk not of MasterGOBBO
Launcelot, father; for the young gentleman,
according to Fates and Destinies and such odd
sayings, the Sisters Three and such branches of
learning, is indeed deceased, or, as you would say
in plain terms, gone to heaven.
Marry, God forbid! the boy was the very staff of myLAUNCELOT
age, my very prop.
Do I look like a cudgel or a hovel-post, a staff orGOBBO
a prop? Do you know me, father?
Alack the day, I know you not, young gentleman:LAUNCELOT
but, I pray you, tell me, is my boy, God rest his
soul, alive or dead?
Do you not know me, father?GOBBO
Alack, sir, I am sand-blind; I know you not.LAUNCELOT
Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail ofGOBBO
the knowing me: it is a wise father that knows his
own child. Well, old man, I will tell you news of
your son: give me your blessing: truth will come
to light; murder cannot be hid long; a man's son
may, but at the length truth will out.
Pray you, sir, stand up: I am sure you are notLAUNCELOT
Launcelot, my boy.
Pray you, let's have no more fooling about it, butGOBBO
give me your blessing: I am Launcelot, your boy
that was, your son that is, your child that shall
I cannot think you are my son.LAUNCELOT
I know not what I shall think of that: but I amGOBBO
Launcelot, the Jew's man, and I am sure Margery your
wife is my mother.
Her name is Margery, indeed: I'll be sworn, if thouLAUNCELOT
be Launcelot, thou art mine own flesh and blood.
Lord worshipped might he be! what a beard hast thou
got! thou hast got more hair on thy chin than
Dobbin my fill-horse has on his tail.
It should seem, then, that Dobbin's tail growsGOBBO
backward: I am sure he had more hair of his tail
than I have of my face when I last saw him.
Lord, how art thou changed! How dost thou and thyLAUNCELOT
master agree? I have brought him a present. How
'gree you now?
Well, well: but, for mine own part, as I have setBASSANIO
up my rest to run away, so I will not rest till I
have run some ground. My master's a very Jew: give
him a present! give him a halter: I am famished in
his service; you may tell every finger I have with
my ribs. Father, I am glad you are come: give me
your present to one Master Bassanio, who, indeed,
gives rare new liveries: if I serve not him, I
will run as far as God has any ground. O rare
fortune! here comes the man: to him, father; for I
am a Jew, if I serve the Jew any longer.
Enter BASSANIO, with LEONARDO and other followers
You may do so; but let it be so hasted that supperLAUNCELOT
be ready at the farthest by five of the clock. See
these letters delivered; put the liveries to making,
and desire Gratiano to come anon to my lodging.
Exit a Servant
To him, father.GOBBO
God bless your worship!BASSANIO
Gramercy! wouldst thou aught with me?GOBBO
Here's my son, sir, a poor boy,--LAUNCELOT
Not a poor boy, sir, but the rich Jew's man; thatGOBBO
would, sir, as my father shall specify--
He hath a great infection, sir, as one would say, to serve--LAUNCELOT
Indeed, the short and the long is, I serve the Jew,GOBBO
and have a desire, as my father shall specify--
His master and he, saving your worship's reverence,LAUNCELOT
are scarce cater-cousins--
To be brief, the very truth is that the Jew, havingGOBBO
done me wrong, doth cause me, as my father, being, I
hope, an old man, shall frutify unto you--
I have here a dish of doves that I would bestow uponLAUNCELOT
your worship, and my suit is--
In very brief, the suit is impertinent to myself, asBASSANIO
your worship shall know by this honest old man; and,
though I say it, though old man, yet poor man, my father.
One speak for both. What would you?LAUNCELOT
Serve you, sir.GOBBO
That is the very defect of the matter, sir.BASSANIO
I know thee well; thou hast obtain'd thy suit:LAUNCELOT
Shylock thy master spoke with me this day,
And hath preferr'd thee, if it be preferment
To leave a rich Jew's service, to become
The follower of so poor a gentleman.
The old proverb is very well parted between myBASSANIO
master Shylock and you, sir: you have the grace of
God, sir, and he hath enough.
Thou speak'st it well. Go, father, with thy son.LAUNCELOT
Take leave of thy old master and inquire
My lodging out. Give him a livery
More guarded than his fellows': see it done.
Father, in. I cannot get a service, no; I haveBASSANIO
ne'er a tongue in my head. Well, if any man in
Italy have a fairer table which doth offer to swear
upon a book, I shall have good fortune. Go to,
here's a simple line of life: here's a small trifle
of wives: alas, fifteen wives is nothing! eleven
widows and nine maids is a simple coming-in for one
man: and then to 'scape drowning thrice, and to be
in peril of my life with the edge of a feather-bed;
here are simple scapes. Well, if Fortune be a
woman, she's a good wench for this gear. Father,
come; I'll take my leave of the Jew in the twinkling of an eye.
Exeunt Launcelot and Old Gobbo
I pray thee, good Leonardo, think on this:LEONARDO
These things being bought and orderly bestow'd,
Return in haste, for I do feast to-night
My best-esteem'd acquaintance: hie thee, go.
My best endeavours shall be done herein.GRATIANO
Where is your master?LEONARDO
Yonder, sir, he walks.GRATIANO
I have a suit to you.BASSANIO
You have obtain'd it.GRATIANO
You must not deny me: I must go with you to Belmont.BASSANIO
Why then you must. But hear thee, Gratiano;GRATIANO
Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice;
Parts that become thee happily enough
And in such eyes as ours appear not faults;
But where thou art not known, why, there they show
Something too liberal. Pray thee, take pain
To allay with some cold drops of modesty
Thy skipping spirit, lest through thy wild behavior
I be misconstrued in the place I go to,
And lose my hopes.
Signior Bassanio, hear me:BASSANIO
If I do not put on a sober habit,
Talk with respect and swear but now and then,
Wear prayer-books in my pocket, look demurely,
Nay more, while grace is saying, hood mine eyes
Thus with my hat, and sigh and say 'amen,'
Use all the observance of civility,
Like one well studied in a sad ostent
To please his grandam, never trust me more.
Well, we shall see your bearing.GRATIANO
Nay, but I bar to-night: you shall not gauge meBASSANIO
By what we do to-night.
No, that were pity:GRATIANO
I would entreat you rather to put on
Your boldest suit of mirth, for we have friends
That purpose merriment. But fare you well:
I have some business.
And I must to Lorenzo and the rest:
But we will visit you at supper-time.
Enter JESSICA and LAUNCELOTJESSICA
I am sorry thou wilt leave my father so:LAUNCELOT
Our house is hell, and thou, a merry devil,
Didst rob it of some taste of tediousness.
But fare thee well, there is a ducat for thee:
And, Launcelot, soon at supper shalt thou see
Lorenzo, who is thy new master's guest:
Give him this letter; do it secretly;
And so farewell: I would not have my father
See me in talk with thee.
Adieu! tears exhibit my tongue. Most beautifulJESSICA
pagan, most sweet Jew! if a Christian did not play
the knave and get thee, I am much deceived. But,
adieu: these foolish drops do something drown my
manly spirit: adieu.
Farewell, good Launcelot.
Exit LauncelotAlack, what heinous sin is it in me
To be ashamed to be my father's child!
But though I am a daughter to his blood,
I am not to his manners. O Lorenzo,
If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife,
Become a Christian and thy loving wife.
Enter GRATIANO, LORENZO, SALARINO, and SALANIOLORENZO
Nay, we will slink away in supper-time,GRATIANO
Disguise us at my lodging and return,
All in an hour.
We have not made good preparation.SALARINO
We have not spoke us yet of torchbearers.SALANIO
'Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly order'd,LORENZO
And better in my mind not undertook.
'Tis now but four o'clock: we have two hoursLAUNCELOT
To furnish us.
Enter LAUNCELOT, with a letterFriend Launcelot, what's the news?
An it shall please you to break upLORENZO
this, it shall seem to signify.
I know the hand: in faith, 'tis a fair hand;GRATIANO
And whiter than the paper it writ on
Is the fair hand that writ.
Love-news, in faith.LAUNCELOT
By your leave, sir.LORENZO
Whither goest thou?LAUNCELOT
Marry, sir, to bid my old master theLORENZO
Jew to sup to-night with my new master the Christian.
Hold here, take this: tell gentle JessicaSALANIO
I will not fail her; speak it privately.
Exit LauncelotWill you prepare you for this masque tonight?
I am provided of a torch-bearer.
Ay, marry, I'll be gone about it straight.SALANIO
And so will I.LORENZO
Meet me and GratianoSALARINO
At Gratiano's lodging some hour hence.
'Tis good we do so.GRATIANO
Exeunt SALARINO and SALANIO
Was not that letter from fair Jessica?LORENZO
I must needs tell thee all. She hath directed
How I shall take her from her father's house,
What gold and jewels she is furnish'd with,
What page's suit she hath in readiness.
If e'er the Jew her father come to heaven,
It will be for his gentle daughter's sake:
And never dare misfortune cross her foot,
Unless she do it under this excuse,
That she is issue to a faithless Jew.
Come, go with me; peruse this as thou goest:
Fair Jessica shall be my torch-beare r.
Enter SHYLOCK and LAUNCELOTSHYLOCK
Well, thou shalt see, thy eyes shall be thy judge,LAUNCELOT
The difference of old Shylock and Bassanio:--
What, Jessica!--thou shalt not gormandise,
As thou hast done with me:--What, Jessica!--
And sleep and snore, and rend apparel out;--
Why, Jessica, I say!
Who bids thee call? I do not bid thee call.LAUNCELOT
Your worship was wont to tell me thatJESSICA
I could do nothing without bidding.
Call you? what is your will?SHYLOCK
I am bid forth to supper, Jessica:LAUNCELOT
There are my keys. But wherefore should I go?
I am not bid for love; they flatter me:
But yet I'll go in hate, to feed upon
The prodigal Christian. Jessica, my girl,
Look to my house. I am right loath to go:
There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest,
For I did dream of money-bags to-night.
I beseech you, sir, go: my young master doth expectSHYLOCK
So do I his.LAUNCELOT
An they have conspired together, I will not say youSHYLOCK
shall see a masque; but if you do, then it was not
for nothing that my nose fell a-bleeding on
Black-Monday last at six o'clock i' the morning,
falling out that year on Ash-Wednesday was four
year, in the afternoon.
What, are there masques? Hear you me, Jessica:LAUNCELOT
Lock up my doors; and when you hear the drum
And the vile squealing of the wry-neck'd fife,
Clamber not you up to the casements then,
Nor thrust your head into the public street
To gaze on Christian fools with varnish'd faces,
But stop my house's ears, I mean my casements:
Let not the sound of shallow foppery enter
My sober house. By Jacob's staff, I swear,
I have no mind of feasting forth to-night:
But I will go. Go you before me, sirrah;
Say I will come.
I will go before, sir. Mistress, look out atSHYLOCK
window, for all this, There will come a Christian
boy, will be worth a Jewess' eye.
What says that fool of Hagar's offspring, ha?JESSICA
His words were 'Farewell mistress;' nothing else.SHYLOCK
The patch is kind enough, but a huge feeder;JESSICA
Snail-slow in profit, and he sleeps by day
More than the wild-cat: drones hive not with me;
Therefore I part with him, and part with him
To one that would have him help to waste
His borrow'd purse. Well, Jessica, go in;
Perhaps I will return immediately:
Do as I bid you; shut doors after you:
Fast bind, fast find;
A proverb never stale in thrifty mind.
Farewell; and if my fortune be not crost,
I have a father, you a daughter, lost.
Enter GRATIANO and SALARINO, masquedGRATIANO
This is the pent-house under which LorenzoSALARINO
Desired us to make stand.
His hour is almost past.GRATIANO
And it is marvel he out-dwells his hour,SALARINO
For lovers ever run before the clock.
O, ten times faster Venus' pigeons flyGRATIANO
To seal love's bonds new-made, than they are wont
To keep obliged faith unforfeited!
That ever holds: who riseth from a feastSALARINO
With that keen appetite that he sits down?
Where is the horse that doth untread again
His tedious measures with the unbated fire
That he did pace them first? All things that are,
Are with more spirit chased than enjoy'd.
How like a younker or a prodigal
The scarfed bark puts from her native bay,
Hugg'd and embraced by the strumpet wind!
How like the prodigal doth she return,
With over-weather'd ribs and ragged sails,
Lean, rent and beggar'd by the strumpet wind!
Here comes Lorenzo: more of this hereafter.LORENZO
Sweet friends, your patience for my long abode;JESSICA
Not I, but my affairs, have made you wait:
When you shall please to play the thieves for wives,
I'll watch as long for you then. Approach;
Here dwells my father Jew. Ho! who's within?
Enter JESSICA, above, in boy's clothes
Who are you? Tell me, for more certainty,LORENZO
Albeit I'll swear that I do know your tongue.
Lorenzo, and thy love.JESSICA
Lorenzo, certain, and my love indeed,LORENZO
For who love I so much? And now who knows
But you, Lorenzo, whether I am yours?
Heaven and thy thoughts are witness that thou art.JESSICA
Here, catch this casket; it is worth the pains.LORENZO
I am glad 'tis night, you do not look on me,
For I am much ashamed of my exchange:
But love is blind and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit;
For if they could, Cupid himself would blush
To see me thus transformed to a boy.
Descend, for you must be my torchbearer.JESSICA
What, must I hold a candle to my shames?LORENZO
They in themselves, good-sooth, are too too light.
Why, 'tis an office of discovery, love;
And I should be obscured.
So are you, sweet,JESSICA
Even in the lovely garnish of a boy.
But come at once;
For the close night doth play the runaway,
And we are stay'd for at Bassanio's feast.
I will make fast the doors, and gild myselfGRATIANO
With some more ducats, and be with you straight.
Now, by my hood, a Gentile and no Jew.LORENZO
Beshrew me but I love her heartily;ANTONIO
For she is wise, if I can judge of her,
And fair she is, if that mine eyes be true,
And true she is, as she hath proved herself,
And therefore, like herself, wise, fair and true,
Shall she be placed in my constant soul.
Enter JESSICA, belowWhat, art thou come? On, gentlemen; away!
Our masquing mates by this time for us stay.
Exit with Jessica and Salarino
Fie, fie, Gratiano! where are all the rest?GRATIANO
'Tis nine o'clock: our friends all stay for you.
No masque to-night: the wind is come about;
Bassanio presently will go aboard:
I have sent twenty out to seek for you.
I am glad on't: I desire no more delight
Than to be under sail and gone to-night.
Flourish of cornets. Enter PORTIA, with the PRINCE OF MOROCCO, and their trainsPORTIA
Go draw aside the curtains and discoverMOROCCO
The several caskets to this noble prince.
Now make your choice.
The first, of gold, who this inscription bears,PORTIA
'Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire;'
The second, silver, which this promise carries,
'Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves;'
This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt,
'Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.'
How shall I know if I do choose the right?
The one of them contains my picture, prince:MOROCCO
If you choose that, then I am yours withal.
Some god direct my judgment! Let me see;PORTIA
I will survey the inscriptions back again.
What says this leaden casket?
'Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.'
Must give: for what? for lead? hazard for lead?
This casket threatens. Men that hazard all
Do it in hope of fair advantages:
A golden mind stoops not to shows of dross;
I'll then nor give nor hazard aught for lead.
What says the silver with her virgin hue?
'Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.'
As much as he deserves! Pause there, Morocco,
And weigh thy value with an even hand:
If thou be'st rated by thy estimation,
Thou dost deserve enough; and yet enough
May not extend so far as to the lady:
And yet to be afeard of my deserving
Were but a weak disabling of myself.
As much as I deserve! Why, that's the lady:
I do in birth deserve her, and in fortunes,
In graces and in qualities of breeding;
But more than these, in love I do deserve.
What if I stray'd no further, but chose here?
Let's see once more this saying graved in gold
'Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.'
Why, that's the lady; all the world desires her;
From the four corners of the earth they come,
To kiss this shrine, this mortal-breathing saint:
The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds
Of wide Arabia are as thoroughfares now
For princes to come view fair Portia:
The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head
Spits in the face of heaven, is no bar
To stop the foreign spirits, but they come,
As o'er a brook, to see fair Portia.
One of these three contains her heavenly picture.
Is't like that lead contains her? 'Twere damnation
To think so base a thought: it were too gross
To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave.
Or shall I think in silver she's immured,
Being ten times undervalued to tried gold?
O sinful thought! Never so rich a gem
Was set in worse than gold. They have in England
A coin that bears the figure of an angel
Stamped in gold, but that's insculp'd upon;
But here an angel in a golden bed
Lies all within. Deliver me the key:
Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may!
There, take it, prince; and if my form lie there,MOROCCO
Then I am yours.
He unlocks the golden casket
O hell! what have we here?PORTIA
A carrion Death, within whose empty eye
There is a written scroll! I'll read the writing.
ReadsAll that glitters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscroll'd:
Fare you well; your suit is cold.
Cold, indeed; and labour lost:
Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost!
Portia, adieu. I have too grieved a heart
To take a tedious leave: thus losers part.
Exit with his train. Flourish of cornets
A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains, go.
Let all of his complexion choose me so.
Enter SALARINO and SALANIOSALARINO
Why, man, I saw Bassanio under sail:SALANIO
With him is Gratiano gone along;
And in their ship I am sure Lorenzo is not.
The villain Jew with outcries raised the duke,SALARINO
Who went with him to search Bassanio's ship.
He came too late, the ship was under sail:SALANIO
But there the duke was given to understand
That in a gondola were seen together
Lorenzo and his amorous Jessica:
Besides, Antonio certified the duke
They were not with Bassanio in his ship.
I never heard a passion so confused,SALARINO
So strange, outrageous, and so variable,
As the dog Jew did utter in the streets:
'My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter!
Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!
Justice! the law! my ducats, and my daughter!
A sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats,
Of double ducats, stolen from me by my daughter!
And jewels, two stones, two rich and precious stones,
Stolen by my daughter! Justice! find the girl;
She hath the stones upon her, and the ducats.'
Why, all the boys in Venice follow him,SALANIO
Crying, his stones, his daughter, and his ducats.
Let good Antonio look he keep his day,SALARINO
Or he shall pay for this.
Marry, well remember'd.SALANIO
I reason'd with a Frenchman yesterday,
Who told me, in the narrow seas that part
The French and English, there miscarried
A vessel of our country richly fraught:
I thought upon Antonio when he told me;
And wish'd in silence that it were not his.
You were best to tell Antonio what you hear;SALARINO
Yet do not suddenly, for it may grieve him.
A kinder gentleman treads not the earth.SALANIO
I saw Bassanio and Antonio part:
Bassanio told him he would make some speed
Of his return: he answer'd, 'Do not so;
Slubber not business for my sake, Bassanio
But stay the very riping of the time;
And for the Jew's bond which he hath of me,
Let it not enter in your mind of love:
Be merry, and employ your chiefest thoughts
To courtship and such fair ostents of love
As shall conveniently become you there:'
And even there, his eye being big with tears,
Turning his face, he put his hand behind him,
And with affection wondrous sensible
He wrung Bassanio's hand; and so they parted.
I think he only loves the world for him.SALARINO
I pray thee, let us go and find him out
And quicken his embraced heaviness
With some delight or other.
Do we so.
Enter NERISSA with a ServitorNERISSA
Quick, quick, I pray thee; draw the curtain straight:PORTIA
The Prince of Arragon hath ta'en his oath,
And comes to his election presently.
Flourish of cornets. Enter the PRINCE OF ARRAGON, PORTIA, and their trains
Behold, there stand the caskets, noble prince:ARRAGON
If you choose that wherein I am contain'd,
Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemnized:
But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,
You must be gone from hence immediately.
I am enjoin'd by oath to observe three things:PORTIA
First, never to unfold to any one
Which casket 'twas I chose; next, if I fail
Of the right casket, never in my life
To woo a maid in way of marriage: Lastly,
If I do fail in fortune of my choice,
Immediately to leave you and be gone.
To these injunctions every one doth swearARRAGON
That comes to hazard for my worthless self.
And so have I address'd me. Fortune nowPORTIA
To my heart's hope! Gold; silver; and base lead.
'Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.'
You shall look fairer, ere I give or hazard.
What says the golden chest? ha! let me see:
'Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.'
What many men desire! that 'many' may be meant
By the fool multitude, that choose by show,
Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach;
Which pries not to the interior, but, like the martlet,
Builds in the weather on the outward wall,
Even in the force and road of casualty.
I will not choose what many men desire,
Because I will not jump with common spirits
And rank me with the barbarous multitudes.
Why, then to thee, thou silver treasure-house;
Tell me once more what title thou dost bear:
'Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves:'
And well said too; for who shall go about
To cozen fortune and be honourable
Without the stamp of merit? Let none presume
To wear an undeserved dignity.
O, that estates, degrees and offices
Were not derived corruptly, and that clear honour
Were purchased by the merit of the wearer!
How many then should cover that stand bare!
How many be commanded that command!
How much low peasantry would then be glean'd
From the true seed of honour! and how much honour
Pick'd from the chaff and ruin of the times
To be new-varnish'd! Well, but to my choice:
'Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.'
I will assume desert. Give me a key for this,
And instantly unlock my fortunes here.
He opens the silver casket
Too long a pause for that which you find there.ARRAGON
What's here? the portrait of a blinking idiot,PORTIA
Presenting me a schedule! I will read it.
How much unlike art thou to Portia!
How much unlike my hopes and my deservings!
'Who chooseth me shall have as much as he deserves.'
Did I deserve no more than a fool's head?
Is that my prize? are my deserts no better?
To offend, and judge, are distinct officesARRAGON
And of opposed natures.
What is here?PORTIA
ReadsThe fire seven times tried this:
Seven times tried that judgment is,
That did never choose amiss.
Some there be that shadows kiss;
Such have but a shadow's bliss:
There be fools alive, I wis,
Silver'd o'er; and so was this.
Take what wife you will to bed,
I will ever be your head:
So be gone: you are sped.
Still more fool I shall appear
By the time I linger here
With one fool's head I came to woo,
But I go away with two.
Sweet, adieu. I'll keep my oath,
Patiently to bear my wroth.
Exeunt Arragon and train
Thus hath the candle singed the moth.NERISSA
O, these deliberate fools! when they do choose,
They have the wisdom by their wit to lose.
The ancient saying is no heresy,PORTIA
Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.
Come, draw the curtain, Nerissa.Servant
Enter a Servant
Where is my lady?PORTIA
Here: what would my lord?Servant
Madam, there is alighted at your gatePORTIA
A young Venetian, one that comes before
To signify the approaching of his lord;
From whom he bringeth sensible regreets,
To wit, besides commends and courteous breath,
Gifts of rich value. Yet I have not seen
So likely an ambassador of love:
A day in April never came so sweet,
To show how costly summer was at hand,
As this fore-spurrer comes before his lord.
No more, I pray thee: I am half afeardNERISSA
Thou wilt say anon he is some kin to thee,
Thou spend'st such high-day wit in praising him.
Come, come, Nerissa; for I long to see
Quick Cupid's post that comes so mannerly.
Bassanio, lord Love, if thy will it be!
Enter SALANIO and SALARINOSALANIO
Now, what news on the Rialto?SALARINO
Why, yet it lives there uncheck'd that Antonio hathSALANIO
a ship of rich lading wrecked on the narrow seas;
the Goodwins, I think they call the place; a very
dangerous flat and fatal, where the carcasses of many
a tall ship lie buried, as they say, if my gossip
Report be an honest woman of her word.
I would she were as lying a gossip in that as everSALARINO
knapped ginger or made her neighbours believe she
wept for the death of a third husband. But it is
true, without any slips of prolixity or crossing the
plain highway of talk, that the good Antonio, the
honest Antonio,--O that I had a title good enough
to keep his name company!--
Come, the full stop.SALANIO
Ha! what sayest thou? Why, the end is, he hathSALARINO
lost a ship.
I would it might prove the end of his losses.SALANIO
Let me say 'amen' betimes, lest the devil cross mySHYLOCK
prayer, for here he comes in the likeness of a Jew.
Enter SHYLOCKHow now, Shylock! what news among the merchants?
You know, none so well, none so well as you, of mySALARINO
That's certain: I, for my part, knew the tailorSALANIO
that made the wings she flew withal.
And Shylock, for his own part, knew the bird wasSHYLOCK
fledged; and then it is the complexion of them all
to leave the dam.
She is damned for it.SALANIO
That's certain, if the devil may be her judge.SHYLOCK
My own flesh and blood to rebel!SALANIO
Out upon it, old carrion! rebels it at these years?SHYLOCK
I say, my daughter is my flesh and blood.SALARINO
There is more difference between thy flesh and hersSHYLOCK
than between jet and ivory; more between your bloods
than there is between red wine and rhenish. But
tell us, do you hear whether Antonio have had any
loss at sea or no?
There I have another bad match: a bankrupt, aSALARINO
prodigal, who dare scarce show his head on the
Rialto; a beggar, that was used to come so smug upon
the mart; let him look to his bond: he was wont to
call me usurer; let him look to his bond: he was
wont to lend money for a Christian courtesy; let him
look to his bond.
Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not takeSHYLOCK
his flesh: what's that good for?
To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else,Servant
it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and
hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses,
mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my
bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine
enemies; and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath
not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not
revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will
resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian,
what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian
wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by
Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you
teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I
will better the instruction.
Enter a Servant
Gentlemen, my master Antonio is at his house andSALARINO
desires to speak with you both.
We have been up and down to seek him.SALANIO
Here comes another of the tribe: a third cannot beSHYLOCK
matched, unless the devil himself turn Jew.
Exeunt SALANIO, SALARINO, and Servant
How now, Tubal! what news from Genoa? hast thouTUBAL
found my daughter?
I often came where I did hear of her, but cannot find her.SHYLOCK
Why, there, there, there, there! a diamond gone,TUBAL
cost me two thousand ducats in Frankfort! The curse
never fell upon our nation till now; I never felt it
till now: two thousand ducats in that; and other
precious, precious jewels. I would my daughter
were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear!
would she were hearsed at my foot, and the ducats in
her coffin! No news of them? Why, so: and I know
not what's spent in the search: why, thou loss upon
loss! the thief gone with so much, and so much to
find the thief; and no satisfaction, no revenge:
nor no in luck stirring but what lights on my
shoulders; no sighs but of my breathing; no tears
but of my shedding.
Yes, other men have ill luck too: Antonio, as ISHYLOCK
heard in Genoa,--
What, what, what? ill luck, ill luck?TUBAL
Hath an argosy cast away, coming from Tripolis.SHYLOCK
I thank God, I thank God. Is't true, is't true?TUBAL
I spoke with some of the sailors that escaped the wreck.SHYLOCK
I thank thee, good Tubal: good news, good news!TUBAL
ha, ha! where? in Genoa?
Your daughter spent in Genoa, as I heard, in oneSHYLOCK
night fourscore ducats.
Thou stickest a dagger in me: I shall never see myTUBAL
gold again: fourscore ducats at a sitting!
There came divers of Antonio's creditors in mySHYLOCK
company to Venice, that swear he cannot choose but break.
I am very glad of it: I'll plague him; I'll tortureTUBAL
him: I am glad of it.
One of them showed me a ring that he had of yourSHYLOCK
daughter for a monkey.
Out upon her! Thou torturest me, Tubal: it was myTUBAL
turquoise; I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor:
I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.
But Antonio is certainly undone.SHYLOCK
Nay, that's true, that's very true. Go, Tubal, fee
me an officer; bespeak him a fortnight before. I
will have the heart of him, if he forfeit; for, were
he out of Venice, I can make what merchandise I
will. Go, go, Tubal, and meet me at our synagogue;
go, good Tubal; at our synagogue, Tubal.
Enter BASSANIO, PORTIA, GRATIANO, NERISSA, and AttendantsPORTIA
I pray you, tarry: pause a day or twoBASSANIO
Before you hazard; for, in choosing wrong,
I lose your company: therefore forbear awhile.
There's something tells me, but it is not love,
I would not lose you; and you know yourself,
Hate counsels not in such a quality.
But lest you should not understand me well,--
And yet a maiden hath no tongue but thought,--
I would detain you here some month or two
Before you venture for me. I could teach you
How to choose right, but I am then forsworn;
So will I never be: so may you miss me;
But if you do, you'll make me wish a sin,
That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes,
They have o'erlook'd me and divided me;
One half of me is yours, the other half yours,
Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours,
And so all yours. O, these naughty times
Put bars between the owners and their rights!
And so, though yours, not yours. Prove it so,
Let fortune go to hell for it, not I.
I speak too long; but 'tis to peize the time,
To eke it and to draw it out in length,
To stay you from election.
Let me choosePORTIA
For as I am, I live upon the rack.
Upon the rack, Bassanio! then confessBASSANIO
What treason there is mingled with your love.
None but that ugly treason of mistrust,PORTIA
Which makes me fear the enjoying of my love:
There may as well be amity and life
'Tween snow and fire, as treason and my love.
Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack,BASSANIO
Where men enforced do speak anything.
Promise me life, and I'll confess the truth.PORTIA
Well then, confess and live.BASSANIO
'Confess' and 'love'PORTIA
Had been the very sum of my confession:
O happy torment, when my torturer
Doth teach me answers for deliverance!
But let me to my fortune and the caskets.
Away, then! I am lock'd in one of them:ALL
If you do love me, you will find me out.
Nerissa and the rest, stand all aloof.
Let music sound while he doth make his choice;
Then, if he lose, he makes a swan-like end,
Fading in music: that the comparison
May stand more proper, my eye shall be the stream
And watery death-bed for him. He may win;
And what is music then? Then music is
Even as the flourish when true subjects bow
To a new-crowned monarch: such it is
As are those dulcet sounds in break of day
That creep into the dreaming bridegroom's ear,
And summon him to marriage. Now he goes,
With no less presence, but with much more love,
Than young Alcides, when he did redeem
The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy
To the sea-monster: I stand for sacrifice
The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives,
With bleared visages, come forth to view
The issue of the exploit. Go, Hercules!
Live thou, I live: with much, much more dismay
I view the fight than thou that makest the fray.
Music, whilst BASSANIO comments on the caskets to himselfSONG.
Tell me where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart, or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?
It is engender'd in the eyes,
With gazing fed; and fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies.
Let us all ring fancy's knell
I'll begin it,--Ding, dong, bell.
Ding, dong, bell.BASSANIO
So may the outward shows be least themselves:PORTIA
The world is still deceived with ornament.
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,
Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
What damned error, but some sober brow
Will bless it and approve it with a text,
Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
There is no vice so simple but assumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts:
How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false
As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars;
Who, inward search'd, have livers white as milk;
And these assume but valour's excrement
To render them redoubted! Look on beauty,
And you shall see 'tis purchased by the weight;
Which therein works a miracle in nature,
Making them lightest that wear most of it:
So are those crisped snaky golden locks
Which make such wanton gambols with the wind,
Upon supposed fairness, often known
To be the dowry of a second head,
The skull that bred them in the sepulchre.
Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,
The seeming truth which cunning times put on
To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold,
Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;
Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge
'Tween man and man: but thou, thou meagre lead,
Which rather threatenest than dost promise aught,
Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence;
And here choose I; joy be the consequence!
[Aside] How all the other passions fleet to air,BASSANIO
As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embraced despair,
And shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy! O love,
Be moderate; allay thy ecstasy,
In measure rein thy joy; scant this excess.
I feel too much thy blessing: make it less,
For fear I surfeit.
What find I here?PORTIA
Opening the leaden casketFair Portia's counterfeit! What demi-god
Hath come so near creation? Move these eyes?
Or whether, riding on the balls of mine,
Seem they in motion? Here are sever'd lips,
Parted with sugar breath: so sweet a bar
Should sunder such sweet friends. Here in her hairs
The painter plays the spider and hath woven
A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men,
Faster than gnats in cobwebs; but her eyes,--
How could he see to do them? having made one,
Methinks it should have power to steal both his
And leave itself unfurnish'd. Yet look, how far
The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow
In underprizing it, so far this shadow
Doth limp behind the substance. Here's the scroll,
The continent and summary of my fortune.
ReadsYou 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 your bliss,
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.
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 these pearls of praise be his or no;
So, thrice fair lady, stand I, even so;
As doubtful whether what I see be true,
Until confirm'd, sign'd, ratified by you.
You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand,BASSANIO
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 virtue, beauties, livings, friends,
Exceed account; but the full sum of me
Is sum of something, which, to term in gross,
Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractised;
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.
Madam, you have bereft me of all words,NERISSA
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:
O, then be bold to say Bassanio's dead!
My lord and lady, it is now our time,GRATIANO
That have stood by and seen our wishes prosper,
To cry, good joy: good joy, my lord and lady!
My lord Bassanio and my gentle lady,BASSANIO
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.
With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife.GRATIANO
I thank your lordship, you have got me one.PORTIA
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 more pertains to me, my lord, than you.
Your fortune stood upon the casket there,
And so did mine too, as the matter falls;
For wooing here until I sweat again,
And sweating until 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
Achieved her mistress.
Is this true, Nerissa?NERISSA
Madam, it is, so you stand pleased withal.BASSANIO
And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?GRATIANO
Yes, faith, my lord.BASSANIO
Our feast shall be much honour'd in your marriage.GRATIANO
We'll play with them the first boy for a thousand ducats.NERISSA
What, and stake down?GRATIANO
No; we shall ne'er win at that sport, and stake down.BASSANIO
But who comes here? Lorenzo and his infidel? What,
and my old Venetian friend Salerio?
Enter LORENZO, JESSICA, and SALERIO, a Messenger from Venice
Lorenzo and Salerio, welcome hither;PORTIA
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.
So do I, my lord:LORENZO
They are entirely welcome.
I thank your honour. For my part, my lord,SALERIO
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.
I did, my lord;BASSANIO
And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio
Commends him to you.
Gives Bassanio a letter
Ere I ope his letter,SALERIO
I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth.
Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind;GRATIANO
Nor well, unless in mind: his letter there
Will show you his estate.
Nerissa, cheer yon stranger; bid her welcome.SALERIO
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.
I would you had won the fleece that he hath lost.PORTIA
There are some shrewd contents in yon same paper,BASSANIO
That steals 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 anything
That this same paper brings you.
O sweet Portia,SALERIO
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 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, 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.JESSICA
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.
When I was with him I have heard him swearPORTIA
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.
Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble?BASSANIO
The dearest friend to me, the kindest man,PORTIA
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.
What sum owes he the Jew?BASSANIO
For me three thousand ducats.PORTIA
What, no more?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
To pay the petty debt twenty times over:
When it is paid, 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:
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.
[Reads] Sweet Bassanio, my ships have allPORTIA
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.
O love, dispatch all business, and be gone!BASSANIO
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.
Enter SHYLOCK, SALARINO, ANTONIO, and GaolerSHYLOCK
Gaoler, look to him: tell not me of mercy;ANTONIO
This is the fool that lent out money gratis:
Gaoler, look to him.
Hear me yet, good Shylock.SHYLOCK
I'll have my bond; speak not against my bond:ANTONIO
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 gaoler, that thou art so fond
To come abroad with him at his request.
I pray thee, hear me speak.SHYLOCK
I'll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak:SALARINO
I'll have my bond; and therefore speak no more.
I'll not be made a soft and dull-eyed fool,
To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield
To Christian intercessors. Follow not;
I'll have no speaking: I will have my bond.
It is the most impenetrable curANTONIO
That ever kept with men.
Let him alone:SALARINO
I'll follow him no more with bootless prayers.
He seeks my life; his reason well I know:
I oft deliver'd from his forfeitures
Many that have at times made moan to me;
Therefore he hates me.
I am sure the dukeANTONIO
Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.
The duke cannot deny the course of law:
For the commodity that strangers have
With us in Venice, if it be denied,
Will much impeach the justice of his 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, gaoler, on. Pray God, Bassanio come
To see me pay his debt, and then I care not!
Enter PORTIA, NERISSA, LORENZO, JESSICA, and BALTHASARLORENZO
Madam, although I speak it in your presence,PORTIA
You have a noble and a true conceit
Of godlike amity; which appears most strongly
In bearing thus the absence of your lord.
But if you knew to whom you show this honour,
How true a gentleman you send relief,
How dear a lover of my lord your husband,
I know you would be prouder of the work
Than customary bounty can enforce you.
I never did repent for doing good,LORENZO
Nor shall not now: for in companions
That do converse and waste the time together,
Whose souls do bear an equal yoke Of love,
There must be needs a like proportion
Of lineaments, of manners and of spirit;
Which makes me think that this Antonio,
Being the bosom lover of my lord,
Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,
How little is the cost I have bestow'd
In purchasing the semblance of my soul
From out the state of hellish misery!
This comes too near the praising of myself;
Therefore no more of it: hear other things.
Lorenzo, I commit into your hands
The husbandry and manage of my house
Until my lord's return: for mine own part,
I have toward heaven breathed a secret vow
To live in prayer and contemplation,
Only attended by Nerissa here,
Until her husband and my lord's return:
There is a monastery two miles off;
And there will we abide. I do desire you
Not to deny this imposition;
The which my love and some necessity
Now lays upon you.
Madam, with all my heart;PORTIA
I shall obey you in all fair commands.
My people do already know my mind,LORENZO
And will acknowledge you and Jessica
In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.
And so farewell, till we shall meet again.
Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!JESSICA
I wish your ladyship all heart's content.PORTIA
I thank you for your wish, and am well pleasedBALTHASAR
To wish it back on you: fare you well Jessica.
Exeunt JESSICA and LORENZONow, Balthasar,
As I have ever found thee honest-true,
So let me find thee still. Take this same letter,
And use thou all the endeavour of a man
In speed to Padua: see thou render this
Into my cousin's hand, Doctor Bellario;
And, look, what notes and garments he doth give thee,
Bring them, I pray thee, with imagined speed
Unto the tranect, to the common ferry
Which trades to Venice. Waste no time in words,
But get thee gone: I shall be there before thee.
Madam, I go with all convenient speed.PORTIA
Come on, Nerissa; I have work in handNERISSA
That you yet know not of: we'll see our husbands
Before they think of us.
Shall they see us?PORTIA
They shall, Nerissa; but in such a habit,NERISSA
That they shall think we are accomplished
With that we lack. I'll hold thee any wager,
When we are both accoutred like young men,
I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
And wear my dagger with the braver grace,
And speak between the change of man and boy
With a reed voice, and turn two mincing steps
Into a manly stride, and speak of frays
Like a fine bragging youth, and tell quaint lies,
How honourable ladies sought my love,
Which I denying, they fell sick and died;
I could not do withal; then I'll repent,
And wish for all that, that I had not killed them;
And twenty of these puny lies I'll tell,
That men shall swear I have discontinued school
Above a twelvemonth. I have within my mind
A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks,
Which I will practise.
Why, shall we turn to men?PORTIA
Fie, what a question's that,
If thou wert near a lewd interpreter!
But come, I'll tell thee all my whole device
When I am in my coach, which stays for us
At the park gate; and therefore haste away,
For we must measure twenty miles to-day.
Enter LAUNCELOT and JESSICALAUNCELOT
Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the fatherJESSICA
are to be laid upon the children: therefore, I
promise ye, I fear you. I was always plain with
you, and so now I speak my agitation of the matter:
therefore be of good cheer, for truly I think you
are damned. There is but one hope in it that can do
you any good; and that is but a kind of bastard
And what hope is that, I pray thee?LAUNCELOT
Marry, you may partly hope that your father got youJESSICA
not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.
That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed: so theLAUNCELOT
sins of my mother should be visited upon me.
Truly then I fear you are damned both by father andJESSICA
mother: thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I
fall into Charybdis, your mother: well, you are
gone both ways.
I shall be saved by my husband; he hath made me aLAUNCELOT
Truly, the more to blame he: we were ChristiansJESSICA
enow before; e'en as many as could well live, one by
another. This making Christians will raise the
price of hogs: if we grow all to be pork-eaters, we
shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals for money.
I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say: here he comes.LORENZO
I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, ifJESSICA
you thus get my wife into corners.
Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo: Launcelot and ILORENZO
are out. He tells me flatly, there is no mercy for
me in heaven, because I am a Jew's daughter: and he
says, you are no good member of the commonwealth,
for in converting Jews to Christians, you raise the
price of pork.
I shall answer that better to the commonwealth thanLAUNCELOT
you can the getting up of the negro's belly: the
Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.
It is much that the Moor should be more than reason:LORENZO
but if she be less than an honest woman, she is
indeed more than I took her for.
How every fool can play upon the word! I think theLAUNCELOT
best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence,
and discourse grow commendable in none only but
parrots. Go in, sirrah; bid them prepare for dinner.
That is done, sir; they have all stomachs.LORENZO
Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are you! then bidLAUNCELOT
them prepare dinner.
That is done too, sir; only 'cover' is the word.LORENZO
Will you cover then, sir?LAUNCELOT
Not so, sir, neither; I know my duty.LORENZO
Yet more quarrelling with occasion! Wilt thou showLAUNCELOT
the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant? I pray
tree, understand a plain man in his plain meaning:
go to thy fellows; bid them cover the table, serve
in the meat, and we will come in to dinner.
For the table, sir, it shall be served in; for theLORENZO
meat, sir, it shall be covered; for your coming in
to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humours and
conceits shall govern.
O dear discretion, how his words are suited!JESSICA
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 cheerest thou, Jessica?
And now, good sweet, say thy opinion,
How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio's wife?
Past all expressing. It is very meetLORENZO
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, then
In reason he should never come to heaven
Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match
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 world
Hath not her fellow.
Even such a husbandJESSICA
Hast thou of me as she is for a wife.
Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.LORENZO
I will anon: first, let us go to dinner.JESSICA
Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach.LORENZO
No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk;JESSICA
' Then, howso'er thou speak'st, 'mong other things
I shall digest it.
Well, I'll set you forth.
Enter the DUKE, the Magnificoes, ANTONIO, BASSANIO, GRATIANO, SALERIO, and othersDUKE
What, is Antonio here?ANTONIO
Ready, so please your grace.DUKE
I am sorry for thee: thou art come to answerANTONIO
A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch
uncapable of pity, void and empty
From any dram of mercy.
I have heardDUKE
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 reach, I do oppose
My patience to his fury, and am arm'd
To suffer, with a quietness of spirit,
The very tyranny and rage of his.
Go one, and call the Jew into the court.SALERIO
He is ready at the door: he comes, my lord.DUKE
Make room, and let him stand before our face.SHYLOCK
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 thou now exact'st the penalty,
Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh,
Thou wilt not only loose 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,
Enow 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.
I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose;BASSANIO
And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn
To have the due and forfeit of my bond:
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 humour: is it answer'd?
What if my 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,
Mistress of passion, sways 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?
This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,SHYLOCK
To excuse the current of thy cruelty.
I am not bound to please thee with my answers.BASSANIO
Do all men kill the things they do not love?SHYLOCK
Hates any man the thing he would not kill?BASSANIO
Every offence is not a hate at first.SHYLOCK
What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?ANTONIO
I pray you, think you question with the Jew:BASSANIO
You may as well go stand upon 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 fretten with the gusts of heaven;
You may as well do anything 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.
For thy three thousand ducats here is six.SHYLOCK
What judgment shall I dread, doingDUKE
Were in six parts and every part a ducat,
I would not draw them; I would have my bond.
How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?SHYLOCK
What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?DUKE
You have among you many a purchased slave,
Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,
You use in abject and in slavish parts,
Because you bought them: shall I say to you,
Let them be free, marry them to your heirs?
Why sweat they under burthens? let their beds
Be made as soft as yours and let their palates
Be season'd with such viands? You will answer
'The slaves are ours:' so do I answer you:
The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,
Is dearly bought; 'tis mine and I will have it.
If you deny me, fie upon your law!
There is no force in the decrees of Venice.
I stand for judgment: answer; shall I have it?
Upon my power I may dismiss this court,SALERIO
Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
Whom I have sent for to determine this,
Come here to-day.
My lord, here stays withoutDUKE
A messenger with letters from the doctor,
New come from Padua.
Bring us the letter; call the messenger.BASSANIO
Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet!ANTONIO
The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones and all,
Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.
I am a tainted wether of the flock,DUKE
Meetest for death: the weakest kind of fruit
Drops earliest to the ground; and so let me
You cannot better be employ'd, Bassanio,
Than to live still and write mine epitaph.
Enter NERISSA, dressed like a lawyer's clerk
Came you from Padua, from Bellario?NERISSA
From both, my lord. Bellario greets your grace.BASSANIO
Presenting a letter
Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?SHYLOCK
To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.GRATIANO
Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,SHYLOCK
Thou makest thy knife keen; but no metal can,
No, not the hangman's axe, bear half the keenness
Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?
No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.GRATIANO
O, be thou damn'd, inexecrable dog!SHYLOCK
And for thy life let justice be accused.
Thou almost makest me waver in my faith
To hold opinion with Pythagoras,
That souls of animals infuse themselves
Into the trunks of men: thy currish spirit
Govern'd a wolf, who, hang'd for human slaughter,
Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,
And, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallow'd dam,
Infused itself in thee; for thy desires
Are wolvish, bloody, starved and ravenous.
Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,DUKE
Thou but offend'st thy lungs to speak so loud:
Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall
To cureless ruin. I stand here for law.
This letter from Bellario doth commendNERISSA
A young and learned doctor to our court.
Where is he?
He attendeth here hard by,DUKE
To know your answer, whether you'll admit him.
With all my heart. Some three or four of youClerk
Go give him courteous conduct to this place.
Meantime the court shall hear Bellario's letter.
Your grace shall understand that at the receipt of
your letter I am very sick: but in the instant that
your messenger came, in loving visitation was with
me a young doctor of Rome; his name is Balthasar. I
acquainted him with the cause in controversy between
the Jew and Antonio the merchant: we turned o'er
many books together: he is furnished with my
opinion; which, bettered with his own learning, the
greatness whereof I cannot enough commend, comes
with him, at my importunity, to fill up your grace's
request in my stead. I beseech you, let his lack of
years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend
estimation; for I never knew so young a body with so
old a head. I leave him to your gracious
acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his
You hear the learn'd Bellario, what he writes:PORTIA
And here, I take it, is the doctor come.
Enter PORTIA, dressed like a doctor of lawsGive me your hand. Come you from old Bellario?
I did, my lord.DUKE
You are welcome: take your place.PORTIA
Are you acquainted with the difference
That holds this present question in the court?
I am informed thoroughly of the cause.DUKE
Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?
Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.PORTIA
Is your name Shylock?SHYLOCK
Shylock is my name.PORTIA
Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;ANTONIO
Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.
You stand within his danger, do you not?
Ay, so he says.PORTIA
Do you confess the bond?ANTONIO
Then must the Jew be merciful.SHYLOCK
On what compulsion must I? tell me that.PORTIA
The quality of mercy is not strain'd,SHYLOCK
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.
My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,PORTIA
The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
Is he not able to discharge the money?BASSANIO
Yes, here I tender it for him in the court;PORTIA
Yea, twice the sum: if that will not suffice,
I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er,
On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart:
If this will not suffice, it must appear
That malice bears down truth. And I beseech you,
Wrest once the law to your authority:
To do a great right, do a little wrong,
And curb this cruel devil of his will.
It must not be; there is no power in VeniceSHYLOCK
Can alter a decree established:
'Twill be recorded for a precedent,
And many an error by the same example
Will rush into the state: it cannot be.
A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel!PORTIA
O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!
I pray you, let me look upon the bond.SHYLOCK
Here 'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.PORTIA
Shylock, there's thrice thy money offer'd thee.SHYLOCK
An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven:PORTIA
Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
No, not for Venice.
Why, this bond is forfeit;SHYLOCK
And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
Nearest the merchant's heart. Be merciful:
Take thrice thy money; bid me tear the bond.
When it is paid according to the tenor.ANTONIO
It doth appear you are a worthy judge;
You know the law, your exposition
Hath been most sound: I charge you by the law,
Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar,
Proceed to judgment: by my soul I swear
There is no power in the tongue of man
To alter me: I stay here on my bond.
Most heartily I do beseech the courtPORTIA
To give the judgment.
Why then, thus it is:SHYLOCK
You must prepare your bosom for his knife.
O noble judge! O excellent young man!PORTIA
For the intent and purpose of the lawSHYLOCK
Hath full relation to the penalty,
Which here appeareth due upon the bond.
'Tis very true: O wise and upright judge!PORTIA
How much more elder art thou than thy looks!
Therefore lay bare your bosom.SHYLOCK
Ay, his breast:PORTIA
So says the bond: doth it not, noble judge?
'Nearest his heart:' those are the very words.
It is so. Are there balance here to weighSHYLOCK
I have them ready.PORTIA
Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,SHYLOCK
To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.
Is it so nominated in the bond?PORTIA
It is not so express'd: but what of that?SHYLOCK
'Twere good you do so much for charity.
I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond.PORTIA
You, merchant, have you any thing to say?ANTONIO
But little: I am arm'd and well prepared.BASSANIO
Give me your hand, Bassanio: fare you well!
Grieve not that I am fallen to this for you;
For herein Fortune shows herself more kind
Than is her custom: it is still her use
To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
An age of poverty; from which lingering penance
Of such misery doth she cut me off.
Commend me to your honourable wife:
Tell her the process of Antonio's end;
Say how I loved you, speak me fair in death;
And, when the tale is told, bid her be judge
Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
Repent but you that you shall lose your friend,
And he repents not that he pays your debt;
For if the Jew do cut but deep enough,
I'll pay it presently with all my heart.
Antonio, I am married to a wifePORTIA
Which is as dear to me as life itself;
But life itself, my wife, and all the world,
Are not with me esteem'd above thy life:
I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all
Here to this devil, to deliver you.
Your wife would give you little thanks for that,GRATIANO
If she were by, to hear you make the offer.
I have a wife, whom, I protest, I love:NERISSA
I would she were in heaven, so she could
Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.
'Tis well you offer it behind her back;SHYLOCK
The wish would make else an unquiet house.
These be the Christian husbands. I have a daughter;PORTIA
Would any of the stock of Barrabas
Had been her husband rather than a Christian!
AsideWe trifle time: I pray thee, pursue sentence.
A pound of that same merchant's flesh is thine:SHYLOCK
The court awards it, and the law doth give it.
Most rightful judge!PORTIA
And you must cut this flesh from off his breast:SHYLOCK
The law allows it, and the court awards it.
Most learned judge! A sentence! Come, prepare!PORTIA
Tarry a little; there is something else.GRATIANO
This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
The words expressly are 'a pound of flesh:'
Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh;
But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
Unto the state of Venice.
O upright judge! Mark, Jew: O learned judge!SHYLOCK
Is that the law?PORTIA
Thyself shalt see the act:GRATIANO
For, as thou urgest justice, be assured
Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desirest.
O learned judge! Mark, Jew: a learned judge!SHYLOCK
I take this offer, then; pay the bond thriceBASSANIO
And let the Christian go.
Here is the money.PORTIA
The Jew shall have all justice; soft! no haste:
He shall have nothing but the penalty.
O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!PORTIA
Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh.GRATIANO
Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more
But just a pound of flesh: if thou cut'st more
Or less than a just pound, be it but so much
As makes it light or heavy in the substance,
Or the division of the twentieth part
Of one poor scruple, nay, if the scale do turn
But in the estimation of a hair,
Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate.
A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew!PORTIA
Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.
Why doth the Jew pause? take thy forfeiture.SHYLOCK
Give me my principal, and let me go.BASSANIO
I have it ready for thee; here it is.PORTIA
He hath refused it in the open court:GRATIANO
He shall have merely justice and his bond.
A Daniel, still say I, a second Daniel!SHYLOCK
I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
Shall I not have barely my principal?PORTIA
Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture,SHYLOCK
To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.
Why, then the devil give him good of it!PORTIA
I'll stay no longer question.
The law hath yet another hold on you.
It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
If it be proved against an alien
That by direct or indirect attempts
He seek the life of any citizen,
The party 'gainst the which he doth contrive
Shall seize one half his goods; the other half
Comes to the privy coffer of the state;
And the offender's life lies in the mercy
Of the duke only, 'gainst all other voice.
In which predicament, I say, thou stand'st;
For it appears, by manifest proceeding,
That indirectly and directly too
Thou hast contrived against the very life
Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr'd
The danger formerly by me rehearsed.
Down therefore and beg mercy of the duke.
Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself:DUKE
And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state,
Thou hast not left the value of a cord;
Therefore thou must be hang'd at the state's charge.
That thou shalt see the difference of our spirits,PORTIA
I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it:
For half thy wealth, it is Antonio's;
The other half comes to the general state,
Which humbleness may drive unto a fine.
Ay, for the state, not for Antonio.SHYLOCK
Nay, take my life and all; pardon not that:PORTIA
You take my house when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house; you take my life
When you do take the means whereby I live.
What mercy can you render him, Antonio?GRATIANO
A halter gratis; nothing else, for God's sake.ANTONIO
So please my lord the duke and all the courtDUKE
To quit the fine for one half of his goods,
I am content; so he will let me have
The other half in use, to render it,
Upon his death, unto the gentleman
That lately stole his daughter:
Two things provided more, that, for this favour,
He presently become a Christian;
The other, that he do record a gift,
Here in the court, of all he dies possess'd,
Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.
He shall do this, or else I do recantPORTIA
The pardon that I late pronounced here.
Art thou contented, Jew? what dost thou say?SHYLOCK
I am content.PORTIA
Clerk, draw a deed of gift.SHYLOCK
I pray you, give me leave to go from hence;DUKE
I am not well: send the deed after me,
And I will sign it.
Get thee gone, but do it.GRATIANO
In christening shalt thou have two god-fathers:DUKE
Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more,
To bring thee to the gallows, not the font.
Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.PORTIA
I humbly do desire your grace of pardon:DUKE
I must away this night toward Padua,
And it is meet I presently set forth.
I am sorry that your leisure serves you not.BASSANIO
Antonio, gratify this gentleman,
For, in my mind, you are much bound to him.
Exeunt Duke and his train
Most worthy gentleman, I and my friendANTONIO
Have by your wisdom been this day acquitted
Of grievous penalties; in lieu whereof,
Three thousand ducats, due unto the Jew,
We freely cope your courteous pains withal.
And stand indebted, over and above,PORTIA
In love and service to you evermore.
He is well paid that is well satisfied;BASSANIO
And I, delivering you, am satisfied
And therein do account myself well paid:
My mind was never yet more mercenary.
I pray you, know me when we meet again:
I wish you well, and so I take my leave.
Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further:PORTIA
Take some remembrance of us, as a tribute,
Not as a fee: grant me two things, I pray you,
Not to deny me, and to pardon me.
You press me far, and therefore I will yield.BASSANIO
To ANTONIOGive me your gloves, I'll wear them for your sake;
To BASSANIOAnd, for your love, I'll take this ring from you:
Do not draw back your hand; I'll take no more;
And you in love shall not deny me this.
This ring, good sir, alas, it is a trifle!PORTIA
I will not shame myself to give you this.
I will have nothing else but only this;BASSANIO
And now methinks I have a mind to it.
There's more depends on this than on the value.PORTIA
The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,
And find it out by proclamation:
Only for this, I pray you, pardon me.
I see, sir, you are liberal in offersBASSANIO
You taught me first to beg; and now methinks
You teach me how a beggar should be answer'd.
Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife;PORTIA
And when she put it on, she made me vow
That I should neither sell nor give nor lose it.
That 'scuse serves many men to save their gifts.ANTONIO
An if your wife be not a mad-woman,
And know how well I have deserved the ring,
She would not hold out enemy for ever,
For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!
Exeunt Portia and Nerissa
My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring:BASSANIO
Let his deservings and my love withal
Be valued against your wife's commandment.
Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him;
Give him the ring, and bring him, if thou canst,
Unto Antonio's house: away! make haste.
Exit GratianoCome, you and I will thither presently;
And in the morning early will we both
Fly toward Belmont: come, Antonio.
Enter PORTIA and NERISSAPORTIA
Inquire the Jew's house out, give him this deedGRATIANO
And let him sign it: we'll away to-night
And be a day before our husbands home:
This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo.
Fair sir, you are well o'erta'enPORTIA
My Lord Bassanio upon more advice
Hath sent you here this ring, and doth entreat
Your company at dinner.
That cannot be:GRATIANO
His ring I do accept most thankfully:
And so, I pray you, tell him: furthermore,
I pray you, show my youth old Shylock's house.
That will I do.NERISSA
Sir, I would speak with you.PORTIA
Aside to PORTIAI'll see if I can get my husband's ring,
Which I did make him swear to keep for ever.
[Aside to NERISSA] Thou mayst, I warrant.NERISSA
We shall have old swearing
That they did give the rings away to men;
But we'll outface them, and outswear them too.
AloudAway! make haste: thou knowist where I will tarry.
Come, good sir, will you show me to this house?
Enter LORENZO and JESSICALORENZO
The moon shines bright: in such a night as this,JESSICA
When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees
And they did make no noise, in such a night
Troilus methinks mounted the Troyan walls
And sigh'd his soul toward the Grecian tents,
Where Cressid lay that night.
In such a nightLORENZO
Did Thisbe fearfully o'ertrip the dew
And saw the lion's shadow ere himself
And ran dismay'd away.
In such a nightJESSICA
Stood Dido with a willow in her hand
Upon the wild sea banks and waft her love
To come again to Carthage.
In such a nightLORENZO
Medea gather'd the enchanted herbs
That did renew old AEson.
In such a nightJESSICA
Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew
And with an unthrift love did run from Venice
As far as Belmont.
In such a nightLORENZO
Did young Lorenzo swear he loved her well,
Stealing her soul with many vows of faith
And ne'er a true one.
In such a nightJESSICA
Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,
Slander her love, and he forgave it her.
I would out-night you, did no body come;LORENZO
But, hark, I hear the footing of a man.
Who comes so fast in silence of the night?STEPHANO
A friend! what friend? your name, I pray you, friend?STEPHANO
Stephano is my name; and I bring wordLORENZO
My mistress will before the break of day
Be here at Belmont; she doth stray about
By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays
For happy wedlock hours.
Who comes with her?STEPHANO
None but a holy hermit and her maid.LORENZO
I pray you, is my master yet return'd?
He is not, nor we have not heard from him.LAUNCELOT
But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica,
And ceremoniously let us prepare
Some welcome for the mistress of the house.
Sola, sola! wo ha, ho! sola, sola!LORENZO
Sola! did you see Master Lorenzo?LORENZO
Master Lorenzo, sola, sola!
Leave hollaing, man: here.LAUNCELOT
Sola! where? where?LORENZO
Tell him there's a post come from my master, withLORENZO
his horn full of good news: my master will be here
Sweet soul, let's in, and there expect their coming.JESSICA
And yet no matter: why should we go in?
My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you,
Within the house, your mistress is at hand;
And bring your music forth into the air.
Exit StephanoHow sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
Enter MusiciansCome, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn!
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear,
And draw her home with music.
I am never merry when I hear sweet music.LORENZO
The reason is, your spirits are attentive:PORTIA
For do but note a wild and wanton herd,
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud,
Which is the hot condition of their blood;
If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound,
Or any air of music touch their ears,
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
Their savage eyes turn'd to a modest gaze
By the sweet power of music: therefore the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones and floods;
Since nought so stockish, hard and full of rage,
But music for the time doth change his nature.
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.
Enter PORTIA and NERISSA
That light we see is burning in my hall.NERISSA
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
When the moon shone, we did not see the candle.PORTIA
So doth the greater glory dim the less:NERISSA
A substitute shines brightly as a king
Unto the king be by, and then his state
Empties itself, as doth an inland brook
Into the main of waters. Music! hark!
It is your music, madam, of the house.PORTIA
Nothing is good, I see, without respect:NERISSA
Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day.
Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.PORTIA
The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark,LORENZO
When neither is attended, and I think
The nightingale, if she should sing by day,
When every goose is cackling, would be thought
No better a musician than the wren.
How many things by season season'd are
To their right praise and true perfection!
Peace, ho! the moon sleeps with Endymion
And would not be awaked.
That is the voice,PORTIA
Or I am much deceived, of Portia.
He knows me as the blind man knows the cuckoo,LORENZO
By the bad voice.
Dear lady, welcome home.PORTIA
We have been praying for our husbands' healths,LORENZO
Which speed, we hope, the better for our words.
Are they return'd?
Madam, they are not yet;PORTIA
But there is come a messenger before,
To signify their coming.
Go in, Nerissa;LORENZO
Give order to my servants that they take
No note at all of our being absent hence;
Nor you, Lorenzo; Jessica, nor you.
A tucket sounds
Your husband is at hand; I hear his trumpet:PORTIA
We are no tell-tales, madam; fear you not.
This night methinks is but the daylight sick;BASSANIO
It looks a little paler: 'tis a day,
Such as the day is when the sun is hid.
Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and their followers
We should hold day with the Antipodes,PORTIA
If you would walk in absence of the sun.
Let me give light, but let me not be light;BASSANIO
For a light wife doth make a heavy husband,
And never be Bassanio so for me:
But God sort all! You are welcome home, my lord.
I thank you, madam. Give welcome to my friend.PORTIA
This is the man, this is Antonio,
To whom I am so infinitely bound.
You should in all sense be much bound to him.ANTONIO
For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.
No more than I am well acquitted of.PORTIA
Sir, you are very welcome to our house:GRATIANO
It must appear in other ways than words,
Therefore I scant this breathing courtesy.
[To NERISSA] By yonder moon I swear you do me wrong;PORTIA
In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk:
Would he were gelt that had it, for my part,
Since you do take it, love, so much at heart.
A quarrel, ho, already! what's the matter?GRATIANO
About a hoop of gold, a paltry ringNERISSA
That she did give me, whose posy was
For all the world like cutler's poetry
Upon a knife, 'Love me, and leave me not.'
What talk you of the posy or the value?GRATIANO
You swore to me, when I did give it you,
That you would wear it till your hour of death
And that it should lie with you in your grave:
Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,
You should have been respective and have kept it.
Gave it a judge's clerk! no, God's my judge,
The clerk will ne'er wear hair on's face that had it.
He will, an if he live to be a man.NERISSA
Ay, if a woman live to be a man.GRATIANO
Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,PORTIA
A kind of boy, a little scrubbed boy,
No higher than thyself; the judge's clerk,
A prating boy, that begg'd it as a fee:
I could not for my heart deny it him.
You were to blame, I must be plain with you,BASSANIO
To part so slightly with your wife's first gift:
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger
And so riveted with faith unto your flesh.
I gave my love a ring and made him swear
Never to part with it; and here he stands;
I dare be sworn for him he would not leave it
Nor pluck it from his finger, for the wealth
That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano,
You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief:
An 'twere to me, I should be mad at it.
[Aside] Why, I were best to cut my left hand offGRATIANO
And swear I lost the ring defending it.
My Lord Bassanio gave his ring awayPORTIA
Unto the judge that begg'd it and indeed
Deserved it too; and then the boy, his clerk,
That took some pains in writing, he begg'd mine;
And neither man nor master would take aught
But the two rings.
What ring gave you my lord?BASSANIO
Not that, I hope, which you received of me.
If I could add a lie unto a fault,PORTIA
I would deny it; but you see my finger
Hath not the ring upon it; it is gone.
Even so void is your false heart of truth.NERISSA
By heaven, I will ne'er come in your bed
Until I see the ring.
Nor I in yoursBASSANIO
Till I again see mine.
If you did know to whom I gave the ring,
If you did know for whom I gave the ring
And would conceive for what I gave the ring
And how unwillingly I left the ring,
When nought would be accepted but the ring,
You would abate the strength of your displeasure.
If you had known the virtue of the ring,BASSANIO
Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
Or your own honour to contain the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
What man is there so much unreasonable,
If you had pleased to have defended it
With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
To urge the thing held as a ceremony?
Nerissa teaches me what to believe:
I'll die for't but some woman had the ring.
No, by my honour, madam, by my soul,PORTIA
No woman had it, but a civil doctor,
Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me
And begg'd the ring; the which I did deny him
And suffer'd him to go displeased away;
Even he that did uphold the very life
Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady?
I was enforced to send it after him;
I was beset with shame and courtesy;
My honour would not let ingratitude
So much besmear it. Pardon me, good lady;
For, by these blessed candles of the night,
Had you been there, I think you would have begg'd
The ring of me to give the worthy doctor.
Let not that doctor e'er come near my house:NERISSA
Since he hath got the jewel that I loved,
And that which you did swear to keep for me,
I will become as liberal as you;
I'll not deny him any thing I have,
No, not my body nor my husband's bed:
Know him I shall, I am well sure of it:
Lie not a night from home; watch me like Argus:
If you do not, if I be left alone,
Now, by mine honour, which is yet mine own,
I'll have that doctor for my bedfellow.
And I his clerk; therefore be well advisedGRATIANO
How you do leave me to mine own protection.
Well, do you so; let not me take him, then;ANTONIO
For if I do, I'll mar the young clerk's pen.
I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels.PORTIA
Sir, grieve not you; you are welcome notwithstanding.BASSANIO
Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong;PORTIA
And, in the hearing of these many friends,
I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes,
Wherein I see myself--
Mark you but that!BASSANIO
In both my eyes he doubly sees himself;
In each eye, one: swear by your double self,
And there's an oath of credit.
Nay, but hear me:ANTONIO
Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear
I never more will break an oath with thee.
I once did lend my body for his wealth;PORTIA
Which, but for him that had your husband's ring,
Had quite miscarried: I dare be bound again,
My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord
Will never more break faith advisedly.
Then you shall be his surety. Give him thisANTONIO
And bid him keep it better than the other.
Here, Lord Bassanio; swear to keep this ring.BASSANIO
By heaven, it is the same I gave the doctor!PORTIA
I had it of him: pardon me, Bassanio;NERISSA
For, by this ring, the doctor lay with me.
And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano;GRATIANO
For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor's clerk,
In lieu of this last night did lie with me.
Why, this is like the mending of highwaysPORTIA
In summer, where the ways are fair enough:
What, are we cuckolds ere we have deserved it?
Speak not so grossly. You are all amazed:ANTONIO
Here is a letter; read it at your leisure;
It comes from Padua, from Bellario:
There you shall find that Portia was the doctor,
Nerissa there her clerk: Lorenzo here
Shall witness I set forth as soon as you
And even but now return'd; I have not yet
Enter'd my house. Antonio, you are welcome;
And I have better news in store for you
Than you expect: unseal this letter soon;
There you shall find three of your argosies
Are richly come to harbour suddenly:
You shall not know by what strange accident
I chanced on this letter.
I am dumb.BASSANIO
Were you the doctor and I knew you not?GRATIANO
Were you the clerk that is to make me cuckold?NERISSA
Ay, but the clerk that never means to do it,BASSANIO
Unless he live until he be a man.
Sweet doctor, you shall be my bed-fellow:ANTONIO
When I am absent, then lie with my wife.
Sweet lady, you have given me life and living;PORTIA
For here I read for certain that my ships
Are safely come to road.
How now, Lorenzo!NERISSA
My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.
Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.LORENZO
There do I give to you and Jessica,
From the rich Jew, a special deed of gift,
After his death, of all he dies possess'd of.
Fair ladies, you drop manna in the wayPORTIA
Of starved people.
It is almost morning,GRATIANO
And yet I am sure you are not satisfied
Of these events at full. Let us go in;
And charge us there upon inter'gatories,
And we will answer all things faithfully.
Let it be so: the first inter'gatory
That my Nerissa shall be sworn on is,
Whether till the next night she had rather stay,
Or go to bed now, being two hours to day:
But were the day come, I should wish it dark,
That I were couching with the doctor's clerk.
Well, while I live I'll fear no other thing
So sore as keeping safe Nerissa's ring.