The Merchant of Venice
- THE DUKE OF VENICE
- THE PRINCE OF MOROCCO, suitor to Portia
- THE PRINCE OF ARRAGON, suitor to Portia
- ANTONIO, a merchant of Venice
- BASSANIO, his friend
- SALANIO, friend to Antonio and Bassanio
- SALARINO, friend to Antonio and Bassanio
- GRATIANO, friend to Antonio and Bassanio
- LORENZO, in love with Jessica
- SHYLOCK, a rich Jew
- TUBAL, a Jew, his friend
- LAUNCELOT GOBBO, a clown, servant to Shylock
- OLD GOBBO, father to Launcelot
- LEONARDO, servant to Bassanio
- BALTHASAR, servant to Portia
- STEPHANO, servant to Portia
- PORTIA, a rich heiress
- NERISSA, her waiting-maid
- JESSICA, daughter to Shylock
- Magnificoes of Venice, Officers of the Court of Justice, Gaoler, Servants to Portia, and other Attendants
SCENE: Partly at Venice, and partly at Belmont, the seat of Portia, on the Continent.
- 1 ACT 1.
- 2 ACT 2.
- 2.1 SCENE I. Belmont. A room in PORTIA’s house.
- 2.2 SCENE 2. Venice. A street
- 2.3 SCENE 3. The same. A room in SHYLOCK’s house.
- 2.4 SCENE 4. The same. A street
- 2.5 SCENE 5. The same. Before SHYLOCK’S house
- 2.6 SCENE 6. The same.
- 2.7 SCENE 7. Belmont. A room in PORTIA’s house.
- 2.8 SCENE 8. Venice. A street
- 2.9 SCENE 9. Belmont. A room in PORTIA’s house.
- 3 ACT 3.
- 4 ACT 4.
- 5 ACT 5.
- 6 See also
SCENE I. Venice. A street
[Enter ANTONIO, SALARINO, and SALANIO]
- In sooth, I know not why I am so sad;
- 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;
- 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,
- 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 broth
- Would blow me to an ague, when I thought
- What harm a wind too great might do at sea.
- 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 bechanc’d 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,
- 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.
- Fie, fie!
- Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sad
- 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 fram’d 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,
- Gratiano, and Lorenzo. Fare ye well;
- We leave you now with better company.
- I would have stay’d till I had made you merry,
- If worthier friends had not prevented me.
- Your worth is very dear in my regard.
- I take it your own business calls on you,
- And you embrace th’ occasion to depart.
- Good morrow, my good lords.
- Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? Say when.
- You grow exceeding strange; must it be so?
- We’ll make our leisures to attend on yours.
[Exeunt SALARINO and SALANIO.]
- My Lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio,
- We two will leave you; but at dinner-time,
- I pray you, have in mind where we must meet.
- I will not fail you.
- You look not well, Signior Antonio;
- You have too much respect upon the world;
- They lose it that do buy it with much care.
- Believe me, you are marvellously chang’d.
- I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
- A stage, where every man must play a part,
- And mine a sad one.
- Let me play the fool;
- 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 ’tis 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.
- I must be one of these same dumb wise men,
- For Gratiano never lets me speak.
- Well, keep me company but two years moe,
- Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.
- Fare you well; I’ll grow a talker for this gear.
- Thanks, i’ faith, for silence is only commendable
- In a neat’s tongue dried, and a maid not vendible.
[Exeunt GRATIANO and LORENZO.]
- Is that anything now?
- Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than
- any man in all Venice. His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid
- in, two bushels of chaff: you shall seek all day ere you find
- them, and when you have them they are not worth the search.
- Well; tell me now what lady is the same
- To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
- That you to-day promis’d to tell me of?
- ’Tis not unknown to you, 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 abridg’d
- 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 gag’d. 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;
- And if it stand, as you yourself still do,
- Within the eye of honour, be assur’d
- My purse, my person, my extremest means,
- Lie all unlock’d to your occasions.
- In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,
- I shot his fellow of the self-same flight
- The self-same way, with more advised watch,
- To find the other forth; and by adventuring both
- I oft found both. I urge this childhood proof,
- Because what follows is 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 time
- 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,
- 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 undervalu’d
- 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’ strond,
- 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;
- 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.
SCENE 2. Belmont. A room in PORTIA’S house
[Enter PORTIA and NERISSA.]
- By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this
- great world.
- You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the
- same abundance as your good fortunes are; and yet, for aught I
- see, they are as sick that surfeit with too much as they that
- starve with nothing. It is no mean happiness, therefore, to be
- seated in the mean: superfluity come sooner by white hairs, but
- competency lives longer.
- Good sentences, and well pronounced.
- They would be better, if well followed.
- If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do,
- chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottages princes’
- palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions; I
- can easier teach twenty what were good to be done than to 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 who I would nor refuse who I dislike; so is the will of a
- living daughter curb’d 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 their death
- have good inspirations; therefore the lott’ry that he hath
- devised in these three chests, of gold, silver, and lead, whereof
- who chooses his meaning chooses you, will no doubt never be
- chosen by any rightly but one who you shall rightly love. But
- what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these
- princely suitors that are already come?
- I pray thee over-name them; and as thou namest them, I will
- describe them; and according to my description, level at my
- First, there is the Neapolitan prince.
- Ay, that’s a colt indeed, for he doth nothing but 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 play’d false with a smith.
- Then is there the County Palatine.
- He doth nothing but frown, as who should say ‘An you 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 two!
- How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?
- God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man. 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 baron of
- You know I say nothing to him, for he understands 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 behaviour everywhere.
- What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?
- That he hath a neighbourly charity in him, for he 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?
- Very vilely in the morning when he is sober, and 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. An 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 right 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 a 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 anything, Nerissa, ere I will be married to a sponge.
- You need not fear, lady, the having any of these 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 as 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, a Venetian, a
- scholar and a soldier, that came hither in company of the Marquis
- of Montferrat?
- Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, so was he called.
- True, madam; he, of all the men that ever my foolish eyes
- looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.
- I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of thy praise.
[Enter a SERVANT.]
- How now! what news?
- The four strangers seek for you, madam, to take 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
- If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good 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 gate upon one wooer, another knocks at the
SCENE 3. Venice. A public place
[Enter BASSANIO and SHYLOCK.]
- Three thousand ducats; well?
- Ay, sir, for three months.
- For three months; well?
- For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound.
- Antonio shall become bound; well?
- May you stead me? Will you pleasure me? Shall I know your
- Three thousand ducats, for three months, and Antonio bound.
- Your answer to that.
- Antonio is a good man.
- Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?
- Ho, no, no, no, no: my meaning in saying he is a 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, land-thieves and
- water-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.
- I will be assured I may; and, that I may be assured, I
- will bethink me. May I speak with Antonio?
- If it please you to dine with us.
- Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which 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.
- [Aside] How like a fawning publican he looks!
- 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?
- I am debating of my present store,
- 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 ANTONIO] Rest you fair, good signior;
- Your worship was the last man in our mouths.
- Shylock, albeit I neither lend nor borrow
- By taking nor by giving of excess,
- Yet, to supply the ripe wants of my friend,
- I’ll break a custom. [To BASSANIO] Is he yet possess’d
- How much ye would?
- Ay, ay, three thousand ducats.
- And for three months.
- I had forgot; three months; you told me so.
- Well then, your bond; and, let me see. But hear you,
- Methought you said you neither lend nor borrow
- Upon advantage.
- I do never use it.
- When Jacob graz’d his uncle Laban’s sheep,—
- 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?
- No, not take interest; not, as you would say,
- Directly interest; mark what Jacob did.
- When Laban and himself were compromis’d
- That all the eanlings which were streak’d and pied
- Should fall as Jacob’s hire, the ewes, being rank,
- In 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 serv’d for;
- 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.
- But note me, signior.
- Mark you this, Bassanio,
- 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.
- Three months from twelve; then let me see the rate.
- Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you?
- Signior Antonio, many a time and oft
- In the Rialto you have rated me
- About my moneys and my usances;
- Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,
- For suff’rance is the badge of all our tribe;
- You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,
- And spet 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 whisp’ring 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,
- To spet 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!
- 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.
- This kindness will I show.
- 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, in faith; I’ll seal to such a bond,
- And say there is much kindness in the Jew.
- You shall not seal to such a bond for me;
- I’ll rather dwell in my necessity.
- Why, fear not, man; I will not forfeit it;
- 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,
- 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.
- Then meet me forthwith at the notary’s;
- 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’ll be with you.
- Hie thee, gentle Jew.
- This Hebrew will turn Christian: he grows kind.
- I like not fair terms and a villain’s mind.
- Come on; in this there can be no dismay;
- My ships come home a month before the day.
SCENE I. Belmont. A room in PORTIA’s house.
[Flourish of cornets. Enter the PRINCE of MOROCCO, and his Followers; PORTIA, NERISSA, and Others of her train.]
PRINCE OF Morocco.
- Mislike me not for my complexion,
- 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 lov’d it too. I would not change this hue,
- Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.
- In terms of choice I am not solely led
- 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 hedg’d 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.
PRINCE OF MOROCCO.
- Even for that I thank you:
- 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 o’erstare 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,
- 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 advis’d.
PRINCE OF MOROCCO.
- Nor will not; come, bring me unto my chance.
- First, forward to the temple: after dinner
- Your hazard shall be made.
PRINCE OF MOROCCO.
- Good fortune then!
- To make me blest or cursed’st among men!
[Cornets, and exeunt.]
SCENE 2. Venice. A street
[Enter LAUNCELOT GOBBO.]
- Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from 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 commandment; I
- will run.
[Enter OLD GOBBO, with a basket]
- Master young man, you, I pray you; which is the way to Master
- [Aside] O heavens! This is my true-begotten father, who, being
- than sand-blind, high-gravel blind, knows me not: I will try
- confusions with him.
- Master young gentleman, I pray you, which is the way to Master
- Turn up on your right hand at the next turning, but, 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
- Be God’s sonties, ’twill be a hard way to hit. Can you tell
- me whether one Launcelot, that dwells with him, dwell with him or
- Talk you of young Master Launcelot? [Aside] Mark me
- now; now will I raise the waters. Talk you of young Master
- No master, sir, but a poor man’s son; his father, though I
- say’t, is an honest exceeding poor man, and, God be thanked, well
- to live.
- Well, let his father be what ’a will, we talk of young
- Master Launcelot.
- Your worship’s friend, and Launcelot, sir.
- But I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech you, talk
- you of young Master Launcelot?
- Of Launcelot, an’t please your mastership.
- Ergo, Master Launcelot. Talk not of Master Launcelot,
- father; for the young gentleman,—according to Fates and
- 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 my age, my
- very prop.
- Do I look like a cudgel or a hovel-post, a staff or a prop? Do
- you know me, father?
- Alack the day! I know you not, young gentleman; but I pray
- you tell me, is my boy—God rest his soul!—alive or dead?
- Do you not know me, father?
- Alack, sir, I am sand-blind; I know you not.
- Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of 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 in the end truth will out.
- Pray you, sir, stand up; I am sure you are not Launcelot, my boy.
- Pray you, let’s have no more fooling about it, but give
- me your blessing; I am Launcelot, your boy that was, your son
- that is, your child that shall be.
- I cannot think you are my son.
- I know not what I shall think of that; but I am 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 thou 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 thill-horse has on his tail.
- It should seem, then, that Dobbin’s tail grows backward;
- I am sure he had more hair on his tail than I have on my face
- when I last saw him.
- Lord! how art thou changed! How dost thou and thy master
- agree? I have brought him a present. How ’gree you now?
- Well, well; but, for mine own part, as I have set 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, with and other Followers.]
- You may do so; but let it be so hasted that supper 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.
- God bless your worship!
- Gramercy; wouldst thou aught with me?
- Here’s my son, sir, a poor boy—
- Not a poor boy, sir, but the rich Jew’s man, that would,
- sir,—as my father shall specify—
- He hath a great infection, sir, as one would say, to serve—
- Indeed the short and the long is, I serve the Jew, and
- have a desire, as my father shall specify—
- His master and he, saving your worship’s reverence, are
- scarce cater-cousins—
- To be brief, the very truth is that the Jew, having 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 upon your
- worship; and my suit is—
- In very brief, the suit is impertinent to myself, as
- 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?
- Serve you, sir.
- That is the very defect of the matter, sir.
- I know thee well; thou hast obtain’d thy suit.
- 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 my master
- Shylock and you, sir: you have the grace of God, sir, and he hath
- Thou speak’st it well. Go, father, with thy son.
- Take leave of thy old master, and inquire
- My lodging out. [To a SERVANT] Give him a livery
- More guarded than his fellows’; see it done.
- Father, in. I cannot get a service, no! I have ne’er a
- tongue in my head! [Looking on his palm] Well; if any man in
- Italy have a fairer table which doth offer to swear upon a book,
- 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;
- a’leven 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:
- 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.
- Where’s your master?
- Yonder, sir, he walks.
- Signior Bassanio!—
- I have suit to you.
- You have obtain’d it.
- You must not deny me: I must go with you to Belmont.
- Why, then you must. But hear thee, 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 behaviour
- I be misconstrued in the place I go to,
- And lose my hopes.
- Signior Bassanio, hear me:
- 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.
- Nay, but I bar to-night; you shall not gauge me
- By what we do to-night.
- No, that were pity;
- 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.
SCENE 3. The same. A room in SHYLOCK’s house.
[Enter JESSICA and LAUNCELOT.]
- I am sorry thou wilt leave my father so:
- 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 beautiful pagan,
- most sweet Jew! If a Christian do 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.
- Alack, what heinous sin is it in me
- To be asham’d 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.
SCENE 4. The same. A street
[Enter GRATIANO, LORENZO, SALARINO, and SALANIO.]
- Nay, we will slink away in supper-time,
- Disguise us at my lodging, and return
- All in an hour.
- We have not made good preparation.
- We have not spoke us yet of torch-bearers.
- ’Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly order’d,
- And better in my mind not undertook.
- ’Tis now but four o’clock; we have two hours
- To furnish us.
[Enter LAUNCELOT, With a letter.]
- Friend Launcelot, what’s the news?
- An it shall please you to break up this, it shall seem
- to signify.
- I know the hand; in faith, ’tis a fair hand,
- And whiter than the paper it writ on
- Is the fair hand that writ.
- Love news, in faith.
- By your leave, sir.
- Whither goest thou?
- Marry, sir, to bid my old master, the Jew, to sup
- to-night with my new master, the Christian.
- Hold, here, take this. Tell gentle Jessica
- I will not fail her; speak it privately.
- Go, gentlemen,
- Will you prepare you for this masque to-night?
- I am provided of a torch-bearer.
- Ay, marry, I’ll be gone about it straight.
- And so will I.
- Meet me and Gratiano
- At Gratiano’s lodging some hour hence.
- ’Tis good we do so.
[Exeunt SALARINO and SALANIO.]
- Was not that letter from fair Jessica?
- 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-bearer.
SCENE 5. The same. Before SHYLOCK’S house
[Enter SHYLOCK and LAUNCELOT.]
- Well, thou shalt see; thy eyes shall be thy judge,
- The difference of old Shylock and Bassanio:—
- What, Jessica!—Thou shalt not gormandize,
- As thou hast done with me;—What, Jessica!—
- And sleep and snore, and rend apparel out—
- Why, Jessica, I say!
- Why, Jessica!
- Who bids thee call? I do not bid thee call.
- Your worship was wont to tell me I could do nothing
- without bidding.
- Call you? What is your will?
- I am bid forth to supper, Jessica:
- 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 expect your
- So do I his.
- And they have conspired together; I will not say you
- 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:
- 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 fopp’ry 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 at window for all this;
- There will come a Christian by
- Will be worth a Jewess’ eye.
- What says that fool of Hagar’s offspring, ha?
- His words were ‘Farewell, mistress’; nothing else.
- The patch is kind enough, but a huge feeder;
- 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 I 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.
SCENE 6. The same.
[Enter GRATIANO and SALARINO, masqued.]
- This is the pent-house under which Lorenzo
- Desir’d us to make stand.
- His hour is almost past.
- And it is marvel he out-dwells his hour,
- For lovers ever run before the clock.
- O! ten times faster Venus’ pigeons fly
- To seal love’s bonds new made than they are wont
- To keep obliged faith unforfeited!
- That ever holds: who riseth from a feast
- 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.
- Sweet friends, your patience for my long abode;
- 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,
- Albeit I’ll swear that I do know your tongue.
- Lorenzo, and thy love.
- Lorenzo, certain; and my love indeed,
- 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.
- Here, catch this casket; it is worth the pains.
- I am glad ’tis night, you do not look on me,
- For I am much asham’d 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 torch-bearer.
- What! must I hold a candle to my shames?
- They in themselves, good sooth, are too-too light.
- Why, ’tis an office of discovery, love,
- And I should be obscur’d.
- So are you, sweet,
- 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 myself
- With some moe ducats, and be with you straight.
- Now, by my hood, a Gentile, and no Jew.
- Beshrew me, but I love her heartily;
- 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 prov’d herself;
- And therefore, like herself, wise, fair, and true,
- Shall she be placed in my constant soul.
What, art thou come? On, gentlemen, away!
- Our masquing mates by this time for us stay.
[Exit with JESSICA and SALARINO.]
- Who’s there?
- Signior Antonio!
- Fie, fie, Gratiano! where are all the rest?
- ’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.
SCENE 7. Belmont. A room in PORTIA’s house.
[Flourish of cornets. Enter PORTIA, with the PRINCE OF MOROCCO, and their trains.]
- Go draw aside the curtains and discover
- The several caskets to this noble prince.
- Now make your choice.
PRINCE OF MOROCCO.
- The first, of gold, who this inscription bears:
- ‘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;
- If you choose that, then I am yours withal.
PRINCE OF MOROCCO.
- Some god direct my judgment! Let me see;
- 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 farther, but chose here?
- Let’s see once more this saying grav’d 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 throughfares 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 immur’d,
- Being ten times undervalu’d 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,
- Then I am yours.
[He unlocks the golden casket.]
PRINCE OF MOROCCO.
- O hell! what have we here?
- A carrion Death, within whose empty eye
- There is a written scroll! I’ll read the writing.
- ‘All that glisters 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 infold.
- 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 griev’d 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.
SCENE 8. Venice. A street
[Enter SALARINO and SALANIO.]
- Why, man, I saw Bassanio under sail;
- With him is Gratiano gone along;
- And in their ship I am sure Lorenzo is not.
- The villain Jew with outcries rais’d the Duke,
- Who went with him to search Bassanio’s ship.
- He came too late, the ship was under sail;
- 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 confus’d,
- 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, stol’n from me by my daughter!
- And jewels! two stones, two rich and precious stones,
- Stol’n by my daughter! Justice! find the girl!
- She hath the stones upon her and the ducats.’
- Why, all the boys in Venice follow him,
- Crying, his stones, his daughter, and his ducats.
- Let good Antonio look he keep his day,
- Or he shall pay for this.
- Marry, well remember’d.
- 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;
- Yet do not suddenly, for it may grieve him.
- A kinder gentleman treads not the earth.
- 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.
- I pray thee, let us go and find him out,
- And quicken his embraced heaviness
- With some delight or other.
- Do we so.
SCENE 9. Belmont. A room in PORTIA’s house.
[Enter NERISSA, with a SERVITOR.]
- Quick, quick, I pray thee, draw the curtain straight;
- 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:
- If you choose that wherein I am contain’d,
- Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemniz’d;
- 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:
- 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;
- If I do fail in fortune of my choice,
- Immediately to leave you and be gone.
- To these injunctions every one doth swear
- That comes to hazard for my worthless self.
- And so have I address’d me. Fortune now
- 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 th’ 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 deriv’d corruptly, and that clear honour
- Were purchas’d 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.
- What’s here? The portrait of a blinking idiot,
- 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 offices,
- And of opposed natures.
- What is here?
- ‘The 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.
[Exit ARAGON with his train.]
- Thus hath the candle sing’d the moth.
- O, these deliberate fools! When they do choose,
- They have the wisdom by their wit to lose.
- The ancient saying is no heresy:
- ‘Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.’
- Come, draw the curtain, Nerissa.
[Enter a SERVANT.]
- Where is my lady?
- Here; what would my lord?
- Madam, there is alighted at your gate
- A young Venetian, one that comes before
- To signify th’ 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 afeard
- 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!
SCENE I. Venice. A street
[Enter SALANIO and SALARINO.]
- Now, what news on the Rialto?
- Why, yet it lives there unchecked that Antonio hath a ship
- of rich lading wrack’d 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 ever 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
- Come, the full stop.
- Ha! What sayest thou? Why, the end is, he hath lost a
- I would it might prove the end of his losses.
- Let me say ‘amen’ betimes, lest the devil cross my prayer,
- for here he comes in the likeness of a Jew.
- How now, Shylock! What news among the merchants?
- You knew, none so well, none so well as you, of my
- daughter’s flight.
- That’s certain; I, for my part, knew the tailor that made
- the wings she flew withal.
- And Shylock, for his own part, knew the bird was fledged;
- and then it is the complexion of them all to leave the dam.
- She is damned for it.
- That’s certain, if the devil may be her judge.
- My own flesh and blood to rebel!
- Out upon it, old carrion! Rebels it at these years?
- I say my daughter is my flesh and my blood.
- There is more difference between thy flesh and hers 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, a prodigal,
- who dare scarce show his head on the Rialto; a beggar, that 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 take his
- flesh: what’s that good for?
- To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else, it will
- feed my revenge. He hath disgrac’d me and hind’red me half a
- million; laugh’d at my losses, mock’d 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 villainy you teach me
- I will execute; and it shall go hard but I will better the
[Enter a Servant.]
- Gentlemen, my master Antonio is at his house, and desires to
- speak with you both.
- We have been up and down to seek him.
- Here comes another of the tribe: a third cannot be
- match’d, unless the devil himself turn Jew.
[Exeunt SALANIO, SALARINO, and Servant.]
- How now, Tubal! what news from Genoa? Hast thou found my
- I often came where I did hear of her, but cannot find her.
- Why there, there, there, there! A diamond gone, 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 ill 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 I heard in
- What, what, what? Ill luck, ill luck?
- —hath an argosy cast away, coming from Tripolis.
- I thank God! I thank God! Is it true, is it true?
- I spoke with some of the sailors that escaped the wrack.
- I thank thee, good Tubal. Good news, good news! ha, ha!
- Where? in Genoa?
- Your daughter spent in Genoa, as I heard, one night,
- fourscore ducats.
- Thou stick’st a dagger in me: I shall never see my gold
- again: fourscore ducats at a sitting! Fourscore ducats!
- There came divers of Antonio’s creditors in my company to
- Venice that swear he cannot choose but break.
- I am very glad of it; I’ll plague him, I’ll torture him; I
- am glad of it.
- One of them showed me a ring that he had of your daughter
- for a monkey.
- Out upon her! Thou torturest me, Tubal: It was my
- 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.
- 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, Tubal, and meet me at our synagogue; go,
- good Tubal; at our synagogue, Tubal.
SCENE 2. Belmont. A room in PORTIA’s house.
[Enter BASSANIO, PORTIA, GRATIANO, NERISSA, and Attendants.]
- I pray you tarry; pause a day or two
- Before you hazard; for, in choosing wrong,
- I lose your company; therefore forbear a while.
- 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 then I am 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
- Puts 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 peise the time,
- To eke it, and to draw it out in length,
- To stay you from election.
- Let me choose;
- For as I am, I live upon the rack.
- Upon the rack, Bassanio! Then confess
- What treason there is mingled with your love.
- None but that ugly treason of mistrust,
- Which makes me fear th’ 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,
- Where men enforced do speak anything.
- Promise me life, and I’ll confess the truth.
- Well then, confess and live.
- ‘Confess’ and ‘love’
- 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:
- 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 th’ exploit. Go, Hercules!
- Live thou, I live. With much much more dismay
- I view the fight than thou that mak’st the fray.
[A Song, whilst BASSANIO comments on the caskets to himself.]
- Tell me where is fancy bred,
- Or in the heart or in the head,
- How begot, how nourished?
- Reply, reply.
- It is engend’red 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.
- [ALL.] Ding, dong, bell.
- So may the outward shows be least themselves:
- The world is still deceiv’d with ornament.
- In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt
- But, being season’d 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 purchas’d 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 threaten’st than dost promise aught,
- Thy plainness moves me more than eloquence,
- And here choose I: joy be the consequence!
- [Aside] How all the other passions fleet to air,
- As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embrac’d despair,
- And shuddering fear, and green-ey’d jealousy!
- O love! be moderate; allay thy ecstasy;
- In measure rain thy joy; scant this excess;
- I feel too much thy blessing; make it less,
- For fear I surfeit!
- What find I here? [Opening the leaden casket.]
- Fair 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 t’ 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.
- ‘You 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 pleas’d with this,
- And hold your fortune for your bliss,
- Turn to where your lady is
- And claim her with a loving kiss.’
A gentle scroll. Fair lady, by your leave; [Kissing her.]
- 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 those peals 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,
- Such as I am: though for myself alone
- I would not be ambitious in my wish
- To wish myself much better, yet for you
- I would be trebled twenty times myself,
- A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times
- More rich;
- That only to stand high in your account,
- I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,
- Exceed account. But the full sum of me
- Is sum of something which, to term in gross,
- Is an unlesson’d girl, unschool’d, unpractis’d;
- Happy in this, she is not yet so old
- But she may learn; happier than this,
- She is not bred so dull but she can learn;
- Happiest of all is that her gentle spirit
- Commits itself to yours to be directed,
- As from her lord, her governor, her king.
- Myself and what is mine to you and yours
- Is now converted. But now I was the lord
- Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
- Queen o’er myself; and even now, but now,
- This house, these servants, and this same myself,
- Are yours- my lord’s. 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,
- 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,
- 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,
- 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.
- I thank your lordship, you have got me one.
- My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours:
- You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid;
- You lov’d, I lov’d; for intermission
- No more pertains to me, my lord, than you.
- Your fortune stood upon the caskets there,
- And so did mine too, as the matter falls;
- For wooing here until I sweat again,
- And swearing till my very roof was dry
- With oaths of love, at last, if promise last,
- I got a promise of this fair one here
- To have her love, provided that your fortune
- Achiev’d her mistress.
- Is this true, Nerissa?
- Madam, it is, so you stand pleas’d withal.
- And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?
- Yes, faith, my lord.
- Our feast shall be much honour’d in your marriage.
- We’ll play with them the first boy for a thousand
- What! and stake down?
- No; we shall ne’er win at that sport, and stake down.
- But who comes here? Lorenzo and his infidel?
- What, and my old Venetian friend, Salanio!
[Enter LORENZO, JESSICA, and SALANIO.]
- Lorenzo and Salanio, welcome hither,
- If that the youth of my new interest here
- Have power to bid you welcome. By your leave,
- I bid my very friends and countrymen,
- Sweet Portia, welcome.
- So do I, my lord;
- They are entirely welcome.
- I thank your honour. For my part, my lord,
- My purpose was not to have seen you here;
- But meeting with Salanio by the way,
- He did entreat me, past all saying nay,
- To come with him along.
- I did, my lord,
- And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio
- Commends him to you.
[Gives BASSANIO a letter]
- Ere I ope his letter,
- I pray you tell me how my good friend doth.
- Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind;
- Nor well, unless in mind; his letter there
- Will show you his estate.
- Nerissa, cheer yon stranger; bid her welcome.
- Your hand, Salanio. 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.
- There are some shrewd contents in yon same paper.
- That steal the colour from Bassanio’s cheek:
- Some dear friend dead, else nothing in the world
- Could turn so much the constitution
- Of any constant man. What, worse and worse!
- With leave, Bassanio: I am half yourself,
- And I must freely have the half of anything
- That this same paper brings you.
- O sweet Portia!
- Here are a few of the unpleasant’st words
- That ever blotted paper. Gentle lady,
- When I did first impart my love to you,
- I freely told you all the wealth I had
- Ran in my veins, I was a gentleman;
- And then I told you true. And yet, dear lady,
- Rating myself at nothing, you shall see
- How much I was a braggart. When I told you
- My state was nothing, I should then have told you
- That I was worse than nothing; for indeed
- I have engag’d myself to a dear friend,
- Engag’d my friend to his mere enemy,
- To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady,
- The paper as the body of my friend,
- And every word in it a gaping wound
- Issuing life-blood. But is it true, Salanio?
- Hath all his ventures fail’d? What, not one hit?
- From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England,
- From Lisbon, Barbary, and India?
- And not one vessel scape the dreadful touch
- Of merchant-marring rocks?
- Not one, my lord.
- Besides, it should appear that, if he had
- The present money to discharge the Jew,
- He would not take it. Never did I know
- A creature that did bear the shape of man,
- So keen and greedy to confound a man.
- He plies the duke at morning and at night,
- And doth impeach the freedom of the state,
- If they deny him justice. Twenty merchants,
- The duke himself, and the magnificoes
- Of greatest port, have all persuaded with him;
- But none can drive him from the envious plea
- Of forfeiture, of justice, and his bond.
- When I was with him, I have heard him swear
- To Tubal and to Chus, his countrymen,
- That he would rather have Antonio’s flesh
- Than twenty times the value of the sum
- That he did owe him; and I know, my lord,
- If law, authority, and power, deny not,
- It will go hard with poor Antonio.
- Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble?
- The dearest friend to me, the kindest man,
- The best condition’d and unwearied spirit
- In doing courtesies; and one in whom
- The ancient Roman honour more appears
- Than any that draws breath in Italy.
- What sum owes he the Jew?
- For me, three thousand ducats.
- What! no more?
- Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond;
- Double six thousand, and then treble that,
- Before a friend of this description
- Shall lose a hair through 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.
- ‘Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all miscarried,
- my creditors grow cruel, my estate is very low, my bond to the
- Jew is forfeit; and since, in paying it, it is impossible I
- should live, all debts are clear’d 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!
- Since I have your good leave to go away,
- I will make haste; but, till I come again,
- No bed shall e’er be guilty of my stay,
- Nor rest be interposer ’twixt us twain.
SCENE 3. Venice. A street
[Enter SHYLOCK, SALARINO, ANTONIO, and Gaoler.]
- Gaoler, look to him. Tell not me of mercy;
- This is the fool that lent out money gratis:
- Gaoler, look to him.
- Hear me yet, good Shylock.
- I’ll have my bond; speak not against my bond.
- 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.
- I’ll have my bond. I will not hear thee speak;
- I’ll have my bond; and therefore speak no more.
- I’ll not be made a soft and dull-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 cur
- That ever kept with men.
- Let him alone;
- 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 Duke
- 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,
- ’Twill much impeach the justice of the state,
- Since that the trade and profit of the city
- Consisteth of all nations. Therefore, go;
- These griefs and losses have so bated me
- That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh
- To-morrow to my bloody creditor.
- Well, gaoler, on; pray God Bassanio come
- To see me pay his debt, and then I care not.
SCENE 4. Belmont. A room in PORTIA’s house.
[Enter PORTIA, NERISSA, LORENZO, JESSICA, and BALTHASAR.]
- Madam, although I speak it in your presence,
- 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,
- 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 bestowed
- In purchasing the semblance of my soul
- From out the state of hellish cruelty!
- 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 breath’d 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 we will 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
- I shall obey you in an fair commands.
- My people do already know my mind,
- And will acknowledge you and Jessica
- In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.
- So fare you well till we shall meet again.
- Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!
- I wish your ladyship all heart’s content.
- I thank you for your wish, and am well pleas’d
- To wish it back on you. Fare you well, Jessica.
[Exeunt JESSICA and LORENZO.]
- Now, Balthasar,
- As I have ever found thee honest-true,
- So let me find thee still. Take this same letter,
- And use thou all th’ endeavour of a man
- In speed to Padua; see thou render this
- Into my cousin’s hands, Doctor Bellario;
- And look what notes and garments he doth give thee,
- Bring them, I pray thee, with imagin’d speed
- Unto the traject, 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.
- Come on, Nerissa, I have work in hand
- That you yet know not of; we’ll see our husbands
- Before they think of us.
- Shall they see us?
- They shall, Nerissa; but in such a habit
- 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 kill’d them.
- And twenty of these puny lies I’ll tell,
- That men shall swear I have discontinu’d school
- About 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?
- 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.
SCENE 5. The same. A garden.
[Enter LAUNCELOT and JESSICA.]
- Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the father are to
- be laid upon the children; therefore, I promise you, 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
- damn’d. There is but one hope in it that can do you any good, and
- that is but a kind of bastard hope neither.
- And what hope is that, I pray thee?
- Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you not,
- that you are not the Jew’s daughter.
- That were a kind of bastard hope indeed; so the sins of my
- mother should be visited upon me.
- Truly then I fear you are damn’d both by father and
- 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 a Christian.
- Truly, the more to blame he; we were Christians enow
- before, e’en as many as could well live one by another. This
- making of 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.
- I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if you
- thus get my wife into corners.
- Nay, you need nor fear us, Lorenzo; Launcelot and I are
- out; he tells me flatly there’s 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 than 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; 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 the 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.
- Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are you! Then bid them
- prepare dinner.
- That is done too, sir, only ‘cover’ is the word.
- Will you cover, then, sir?
- Not so, sir, neither; I know my duty.
- Yet more quarrelling with occasion! Wilt thou show the
- whole wealth of thy wit in an instant? I pray thee 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 the 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!
- The fool hath planted in his memory
- An army of good words; and I do know
- A many fools that stand in better place,
- Garnish’d like him, that for a tricksy word
- Defy the matter. How cheer’st thou, Jessica?
- And now, good sweet, say thy opinion,
- How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio’s wife?
- Past all expressing. It is very meet
- The Lord Bassanio live an upright life,
- For, having such a blessing in his lady,
- He finds the joys of heaven here on earth;
- And if on earth he do not merit it,
- 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 husband
- Hast thou of me as she is for a wife.
- Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.
- I will anon; first let us go to dinner.
- Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach.
- No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk;
- Then howsoe’er thou speak’st, ’mong other things
- I shall digest it.
- Well, I’ll set you forth.
SCENE I. Venice. A court of justice
[Enter the DUKE: the Magnificoes; ANTONIO, BASSANIO, GRATIANO, SALARINO, SALANIO, and Others.]
- What, is Antonio here?
- Ready, so please your Grace.
- I am sorry for thee; thou art come to answer
- A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch,
- Uncapable of pity, void and empty
- From any dram of mercy.
- I have heard
- Your Grace hath ta’en great pains to qualify
- His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate,
- And that no lawful means can carry me
- Out of his envy’s 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.
- He is ready at the door; he comes, my lord.
- Make room, and let him stand before our face.
- Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
- That thou but leadest 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 exacts 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,
- 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 pleas’d to give ten thousand ducats
- To have it ban’d? 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 wauling 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 lodg’d hate and a certain loathing
- I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
- A losing suit against him. Are you answered?
- This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
- To excuse the current of thy cruelty.
- I am not bound to please thee with my answer.
- Do all men kill the things they do not love?
- Hates any man the thing he would not kill?
- Every offence is not a hate at first.
- What! wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?
- I pray you, think you question with the Jew:
- 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 moe 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.
- If every ducat in six thousand ducats
- Were in six parts, and every part a ducat,
- I would not draw them; I would have my bond.
- How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?
- What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?
- You have among you many a purchas’d slave,
- Which, fike 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 burdens? 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,
- Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
- Whom I have sent for to determine this,
- Come here to-day.
- My lord, here stays without
- A messenger with letters from the doctor,
- New come from Padua.
- Bring us the letters; call the messenger.
- Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet!
- 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,
- 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?
- From both, my lord. Bellario greets your Grace.
[Presents a letter.]
- Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?
- To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.
- Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,
- Thou mak’st 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.
- O, be thou damn’d, inexecrable dog!
- And for thy life let justice be accus’d.
- Thou almost mak’st 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,
- Infus’d itself in thee; for thy desires
- Are wolfish, bloody, starv’d and ravenous.
- Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,
- 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 commend
- A young and learned doctor to our court.
- Where is he?
- He attendeth here hard by,
- To know your answer, whether you’ll admit him.
DUKE OF VENICE.
- With all my heart: some three or four of you
- 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 Balthazar. I acquainted him with the cause
- in controversy between the Jew and Antonio the merchant; we
- turn’d 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;
- And here, I take it, is the doctor come.
[Enter PORTIA, dressed like a doctor of laws.]
- Give me your hand; come you from old Bellario?
- I did, my lord.
- You are welcome; take your place.
- Are you acquainted with the difference
- That holds this present question in the court?
- I am informed throughly of the cause.
- Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?
DUKE OF VENICE.
- Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
- Is your name Shylock?
- Shylock is my name.
- Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;
- Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
- Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.
- [To ANTONIO.] You stand within his danger, do you not?
- Ay, so he says.
- Do you confess the bond?
- I do.
- Then must the Jew be merciful.
- On what compulsion must I? Tell me that.
- The quality of mercy is not strain’d;
- 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,
- The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
- Is he not able to discharge the money?
- Yes; here I tender it for him in the court;
- 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 Venice
- 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!
- O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!
- I pray you, let me look upon the bond.
- Here ’tis, most reverend doctor; here it is.
- Shylock, there’s thrice thy money offer’d thee.
- An oath, an oath! I have an oath in heaven.
- Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
- No, not for Venice.
- Why, this bond is forfeit;
- 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 tenour.
- 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 court
- To give the judgment.
- Why then, thus it is:
- You must prepare your bosom for his knife.
- O noble judge! O excellent young man!
- For the intent and purpose of the law
- Hath full relation to the penalty,
- Which here appeareth due upon the bond.
- ’Tis very true. O wise and upright judge,
- How much more elder art thou than thy looks!
- Therefore, lay bare your bosom.
- Ay, ‘his breast’:
- 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 weigh
- The flesh?
- I have them ready.
- Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,
- To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.
- Is it so nominated in the bond?
- It is not so express’d; but what of that?
- ’Twere good you do so much for charity.
- I cannot find it; ’tis not in the bond.
- You, merchant, have you anything to say?
- But little: I am arm’d and well prepar’d.
- 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 lov’d 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 instantly with all my heart.
- Antonio, I am married to a wife
- 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,
- If she were by to hear you make the offer.
- I have a wife whom, I protest, I love;
- 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;
- The wish would make else an unquiet house.
- These be the Christian husbands! I have a daughter;
- Would any of the stock of Barabbas
- Had been her husband, rather than a Christian!
- We trifle time; I pray thee, pursue sentence.
- A pound of that same merchant’s flesh is thine.
- The court awards it and the law doth give it.
- Most rightful judge!
- And you must cut this flesh from off his breast.
- The law allows it and the court awards it.
- Most learned judge! A sentence! Come, prepare.
- Tarry a little; there is something else.
- 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!
- Is that the law?
- Thyself shalt see the act;
- For, as thou urgest justice, be assur’d
- Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desir’st.
- O learned judge! Mark, Jew: alearned judge!
- I take this offer then: pay the bond thrice,
- And let the Christian go.
- Here is the money.
- The Jew shall have all justice; soft! no haste:—
- He shall have nothing but the penalty.
- O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!
- Therefore, prepare thee to cut off the flesh.
- Shed thou no blood; nor cut thou less nor more,
- But just a pound of flesh: if thou tak’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!
- Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.
- Why doth the Jew pause? Take thy forfeiture.
- Give me my principal, and let me go.
- I have it ready for thee; here it is.
- He hath refus’d it in the open court;
- He shall have merely justice, and his bond.
- A Daniel still say I; a second Daniel!
- I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
- Shall I not have barely my principal?
- Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture
- To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.
- Why, then the devil give him good of it!
- I’ll stay no longer question.
- Tarry, Jew.
- The law hath yet another hold on you.
- It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
- If it be prov’d 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 rehears’d.
- Down, therefore, and beg mercy of the duke.
- Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself;
- 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,
- 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.
- Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that:
- 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?
- A halter gratis; nothing else, for God’s sake!
- So please my lord the Duke and all the court
- 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 recant
- The pardon that I late pronounced here.
- Art thou contented, Jew? What dost thou say?
- I am content.
- Clerk, draw a deed of gift.
- I pray you, give me leave to go from hence;
- I am not well; send the deed after me
- And I will sign it.
- Get thee gone, but do it.
- In christening shalt thou have two god-fathers;
- Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more,
- To bring thee to the gallows, not to the font.
- Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.
- I humbly do desire your Grace of pardon;
- I must away this night toward Padua,
- And it is meet I presently set forth.
- I am sorry that your leisure serves you not.
- Antonio, gratify this gentleman,
- For in my mind you are much bound to him.
[Exeunt DUKE, Magnificoes, and Train.]
- Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend
- 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,
- In love and service to you evermore.
- He is well paid that is well satisfied;
- 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;
- Take some remembrance of us, as a tribute,
- Not as 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.
- Give me your gloves, I’ll wear them for your sake.
- And, 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;
- I will not shame myself to give you this.
- I will have nothing else but only this;
- And now, methinks, I have a mind to it.
- There’s more depends on this than on the value.
- 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 offers;
- 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;
- 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.
- And if your wife be not a mad-woman,
- And know how well I have deserv’d this 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:
- Let his deservings, and my love withal,
- Be valued ’gainst 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.
- Come, you and I will thither presently;
- And in the morning early will we both
- Fly toward Belmont. Come, Antonio.
SCENE II. The same. A street
[Enter PORTIA and NERISSA.]
- Inquire the Jew’s house out, give him this deed,
- And let him sign it; we’ll away tonight,
- And be a day before our husbands home.
- This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo.
- Fair sir, you are well o’erta’en.
- My Lord Bassanio, upon more advice,
- Hath sent you here this ring, and doth entreat
- Your company at dinner.
- That cannot be:
- 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.
- Sir, I would speak with you.
- [Aside to PORTIA.]
- I’ll see if I can get my husband’s ring,
- Which I did make him swear to keep for ever.
- Thou Mayst, I warrant. We shall have old swearing
- That they did give the rings away to men;
- But we’ll outface them, and outswear them too.
- Away! make haste: thou know’st where I will tarry.
- Come, good sir, will you show me to this house?
SCENE I. Belmont. The avenue to PORTIA’s house.
[Enter LORENZO and JESSICA.]
- The moon shines bright: in such a night as this,
- 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 night
- Did Thisby fearfully o’ertrip the dew,
- And saw the lion’s shadow ere himself,
- And ran dismay’d away.
- In such a night
- 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 night
- Medea gather’d the enchanted herbs
- That did renew old AEson.
- In such a night
- Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew,
- And with an unthrift love did run from Venice
- As far as Belmont.
- In such a night
- Did young Lorenzo swear he lov’d her well,
- Stealing her soul with many vows of faith,—
- And ne’er a true one.
- In such a night
- Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,
- Slander her love, and he forgave it her.
- I would out-night you, did no body come;
- But, hark, I hear the footing of a man.
- Who comes so fast in silence of the night?
- A friend.
- A friend! What friend? Your name, I pray you, friend?
- Stephano is my name, and I bring word
- 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?
- None but a holy hermit and her maid.
- I pray you, is my master yet return’d?
- He is not, nor we have not heard from him.
- But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica,
- And ceremoniously let us prepare
- Some welcome for the mistress of the house.
LAUNCELOT. Sola, sola! wo ha, ho! sola, sola!
- Who calls?
- Sola! Did you see Master Lorenzo? Master Lorenzo! Sola, sola!
- Leave holloaing, man. Here!
- Sola! Where? where?
- Tell him there’s a post come from my master with his
- horn full of good news; my master will be here ere morning.
- Sweet soul, let’s in, and there expect their coming.
- 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.
- How 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.
- Come, 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.
- The reason is, your spirits are attentive;
- 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 mov’d 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, at a distance.]
- That light we see is burning in my hall.
- 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.
- So doth the greater glory dim the less:
- A substitute shines brightly as a king
- Until a 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.
- Nothing is good, I see, without respect:
- Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day.
- Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.
- The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark
- 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 awak’d!
- That is the voice,
- Or I am much deceiv’d, of Portia.
- He knows me as the blind man knows the cuckoo,
- By the bad voice.
LORENZO. Dear lady, welcome home.
- We have been praying for our husbands’ welfare,
- Which speed, we hope, the better for our words.
- Are they return’d?
- Madam, they are not yet;
- But there is come a messenger before,
- To signify their coming.
- Go in, Nerissa:
- 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.
- We are no tell-tales, madam, fear you not.
- This night methinks is but the daylight sick;
- 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,
- If you would walk in absence of the sun.
- Let me give light, but let me not be light,
- 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:
- This is the man, this is Antonio,
- To whom I am so infinitely bound.
- You should in all sense be much bound to him,
- For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.
- No more than I am well acquitted of.
- Sir, you are very welcome to our house.
- It must appear in other ways than words,
- Therefore I scant this breathing courtesy.
GRATIANO. [To NERISSA]
- By yonder moon I swear you do me wrong;
- 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?
- About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring
- That she did give me, whose posy was
- For all the world like cutlers’ poetry
- Upon a knife, ‘Love me, and leave me not.’
- What talk you of the posy, or the value?
- 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.
- Ay, if a woman live to be a man.
- Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,
- 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,—
- 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.
- Why, I were best to cut my left hand off,
- And swear I lost the ring defending it.
- My Lord Bassanio gave his ring away
- Unto the judge that begg’d it, and indeed
- Deserv’d 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?
- Not that, I hope, which you receiv’d of me.
- If I could add a lie unto a fault,
- 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;
- By heaven, I will ne’er come in your bed
- Until I see the ring.
- Nor I in yours
- Till I again see mine.
- Sweet Portia,
- 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,
- 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 pleas’d 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,
- 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 displeas’d away;
- Even he that had held up the very life
- Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady?
- I was enforc’d 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;
- 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 anything 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 mine bedfellow.
- And I his clerk; therefore be well advis’d
- How you do leave me to mine own protection.
- Well, do you so: let not me take him then;
- For, if I do, I’ll mar the young clerk’s pen.
- I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels.
- Sir, grieve not you; you are welcome notwithstanding.
- Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong;
- 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!
- 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:
- 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,
- 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 this,
- And bid him keep it better than the other.
- Here, Lord Bassanio, swear to keep this ring.
- By heaven! it is the same I gave the doctor!
- I had it of him: pardon me, Bassanio,
- For, by this ring, the doctor lay with me.
- And pardon me, my gentle 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 high ways
- In summer, where the ways are fair enough.
- What! are we cuckolds ere we have deserv’d it?
- Speak not so grossly. You are all amaz’d:
- 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.
- Were you the doctor, and I knew you not?
- Were you the clerk that is to make me cuckold?
- Ay, but the clerk that never means to do it,
- Unless he live until he be a man.
- Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow:
- When I am absent, then lie with my wife.
- Sweet lady, you have given me life and living;
- For here I read for certain that my ships
- Are safely come to road.
- How now, Lorenzo!
- My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.
- Ay, and I’ll give them him without a fee.
- 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 way
- Of starved people.
- It is almost morning,
- 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: he first inter’gatory
- That my Nerissa shall be sworn on is,
- Whe’r 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,
- Till 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.
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.