Merchant of Venice (1923) Yale/Text/Act III

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ACT THIRD

 

Scene One

[Venice. A Street]

Enter Salanio and Salarino.

 

Salan. Now, what news on the Rialto?

Salar. Why, yet it lives there unchecked that
Antonio hath a ship of rich lading wracked on
the narrow seas; the Goodwins, I think they call 4
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. 8

Salan. I would she were as lying a gossip in
that as ever knapped ginger, or made her neigh-
bours believe she wept for the death of a third
husband. But it is true,—without any slips of 12
prolixity or crossing the plain highway of talk,
—that the good Antonio, the honest Antonio,—
O, that I had a title good enough to keep his
name company!— 16

Salar. Come, the full stop.

Salan. Ha! what sayst thou? Why, the end
is, he hath lost a ship.

Salar. I would it might prove the end of his 20
losses.

Salan. Let me say 'amen' betimes, lest the
devil cross my prayer, for here he comes in the
likeness of a Jew. 24

Enter Shylock.

How now, Shylock! what news among the
merchants?

Shy. You knew, none so well, none so well as
you, of my daughter's flight. 28

Salar. That's certain: I, for my part, knew
the tailor that made the wings she flew withal.

Salan. And Shylock, for his own part, knew
the bird was fledged; and then it is the com- 32
plexion
of them all to leave the dam.

Shy. She is damned for it.

Salar. That's certain, if the devil may be her
judge. 3

Shy. My own flesh and blood to rebel!

Salan. Out upon it, old carrion! rebels it at
these years?

Shy. I say my daughter is my flesh and 40
blood.

Salar. There is more difference between thy
flesh and hers than between jet and ivory; more
between your bloods than there is between red 44
wine and Rhenish. But tell us, do you hear
whether Antonio have had any loss at sea
or no?

Shy. There I have another bad match: a 48
bankrupt, a prodigal, who dare scarce show his
head on the Rialto; a beggar, that was used to
come so smug upon the mart; let him look to his
bond: he was wont to call me usurer; let him look 52
to his bond: he was wont to lend money for a
Christian courtesy; let him look to his bond.

Salar. Why, I am sure, if he forfeit thou
wilt not take his flesh: what's that good for? 56

Shy. To bait fish withal: if it feed nothing
else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced
me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at
my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my 60
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, affec- 64
tions, passions? fed with the same food, hurt
with the same weapons, subject to the same dis-
eases, healed by the same means, warmed and
cooled by the same winter and summer, as a 68
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 72
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 76
villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall
go hard but I will better the instruction.

Enter a man from Antonio.

Man. Gentlemen, my master Antonio is at his
house, and desires to speak with you both. 80

Salar. We have been up and down to seek
him.

Enter Tubal.

Salan. Here comes another of the tribe: a
third cannot be matched, unless the devil him- 4
self turn Jew.

Exeunt Gentlemen [i.e. Salanio, Salarino, and Antonio's man].

Shy. How now, Tubal! what news from Ge-
noa? Hast thou found my daughter?

Tub. I often came where I did hear of her, 88
but cannot find her.

Shy. 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 92
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 96
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 100
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. 104

Tub. Yes, other men have ill luck too. An-
tonio, as I heard in Genoa,—

Shy. What, what, what? ill luck, ill luck?

Tub. —hath an argosy cast away, coming 108
from Tripolis.

Shy. I thank God! I thank God! Is it true?
is it true?

Tub. I spoke with some of the sailors that 112
escaped the wrack.

Shy. I thank thee, good Tubal. Good news,
good news! ha, ha! Where? in Genoa?

Tub. Your daughter spent in Genoa, as I 116
heard, one night, fourscore ducats.

Shy. Thou stick'st a dagger in me: I shall
never see my gold again: fourscore ducats at a
sitting! fourscore ducats! 120

Tub. There came divers of Antonios creditors
in my company to Venice, that swear he cannot
choose but break.

Shy. I am very glad of it: I'll plague him; 124
I'll torture him: I am glad of it.

Tub. One of them showed me a ring that he
had of your daughter for a monkey.

Shy. Out upon her! Thou torturest me, 128
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.

Tub. But Antonio is certainly undone. 132

Shy. 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 for-
feit; for, were he out of Venice, I can make what 136
merchandise I will. Go, go, Tubal, and meet me
at our synagogue; go, good Tubal; at our syna-
gogue, Tubal. Exeunt.


 

Scene Two

[Belmont. A Room in Portia's House]

Enter Bassanio, Portia, Gratiano, [Nerissa,] and all their Train.

 

Por. I pray you, tarry: pause a day or two
Before you hazard; for, in choosing wrong,
I lose your company: therefore, forbear awhile.
There's something tells me, but it is not love, 4
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,— 8
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; 12
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, 16
Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours,
And so all yours. O! these naughty times
Put bars between the owners and their rights;
And so, though yours, not yours. Prove it so, 20
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.

Bass.Let me choose; 24
For as I am, I live upon the rack.

Por. Upon the rack, Bassanio! then confess
What treason there is mingled with your love.

Bass. None but that ugly treason of mistrust, 28
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.

Por. Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack, 32
Where men enforced do speak anything.

Bass. Promise me life, and I'll confess the truth.

Por. Well then, confess, and live.

Bass.'Confess' and 'love'
Had been the very sum of my confession: 36
O happy torment, when my torturer
Doth teach me answers for deliverance!
But let me to my fortune and the caskets.

Por. Away then! I am lock'd in one of them: 40
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, 44
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 48
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, 52
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 56
To the sea-monster: I stand for sacrifice;
The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives,
With bleared visages, come forth to view
The issue of the exploit. Go, Hercules! 60
Live thou, I live: with much, much more dismay
I view the fight than thou that mak'st the fray.

Here Music. A Song the whilst Bassanio comments on the caskets to himself.

'Tell me where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart or in the head? 64
How begot, how nourished?
Reply, reply.
It is engender'd in the eyes,
With gazing fed; and fancy dies 68
In the cradle where it lies.
Let us all ring fancy's knell:
I'll begin it,—Ding, dong, bell.

All. Ding, dong, bell. 72

Bass. 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, 76
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? 80
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 84
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, 88
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 92
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. 96
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 100
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, 104
Which rather threat'nest than dost promise aught,
Thy plainness moves me more than eloquence,
And here choose I: joy be the consequence!

Por. [Aside.] How all the other passions fleet to air,
As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embrac'd despair, 109
And shuddering fear, and green-ey'd jealousy.
O love! be moderate; allay thy ecstasy;
In measure rain thy Joy; scant this excess; 112
I feel too much thy blessing; make it less,
For fear I surfeit!

Bass.What find I here?

[Opening the leaden casket.]

Fair Portia's counterfeit! What demi-god
Hath come so near creation? Move these eyes? 116
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 121
A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men
Faster than gnats in cobwebs: but her eyes!—
How could he see to do them? having made one, 124
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 128
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! 132
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, 136
Turn you 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. 140
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 144
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. 148

Por. 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 152
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, 156
I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,
Exceed account: but the full sum of me
Is sum of nothing; which, to term in gross,
Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractis'd; 160
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 164
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 168
Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
Queen o'er myself; and even now, but now,
This house, these servants, and this same myself
Are yours, my lord. I give them with this ring; 172
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.

Bass. Madam, you have bereft me of all words, 176
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 180
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 184
Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence:
O! then be bold to say Bassanio's dead.

Ner. My lord and lady, it is now our time,
That have stood by and seen our wishes prosper, 188
To cry, good joy. Good joy, my lord and lady!

Gra. 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: 192
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.

Bass. With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife.

Gra. I thank your lordship, you have got me one. 197
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 200
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, 204
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 208
Achiev'd her mistress.

Por.Is this true, Nerissa?

Ner. Madam, it is, so you stand pleas'd withal.

Bass. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?

Gra. Yes, faith, my lord. 212

Bass. Our feast shall be much honour'd in your marriage.

Gra. We'll play with them the first boy for a thousand ducats.

Ner. What! and stake down? 216

Gra. 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? 220

Enter Lorenzo, Jessica, and Salanio.

Bass. 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, 224
Sweet Portia, welcome.

Por.So do I, my lord:
They are entirely welcome.

Lor. I thank your honour. For my part, my lord,
My purpose was not to have seen you here; 228
But meeting with Salanio by the way,
He did entreat me, past all saying nay,
To come with him along.

Salan.I did, my lord,
And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio 232
Commends him to you. [Gives Bassanio a letter.]

Bass.Ere I ope his letter,
I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth.

Salan. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind;
Nor well, unless in mind: his letter there 234
Will show you his estate.

[Bassanio] Opens the Letter.

Gra. Nerissa, cheer yon stranger; bid her welcome.
Your hand, Salanio. What's the news from Venice?
How doth that royal merchant, good Antonio? 240
I know he will be glad of our success;
We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.

Salan. I would you had won the fleece that he hath lost.

Por. There are some shrewd contents in yon same paper, 244
That steals the colour from Bassanio's cheek:
Some dear friend dead, else nothing in the world
Could turn so much the constitution
Of any constant man. What, worse and worse! 248
With leave, Bassanio; I am half yourself,
And I must freely have the half of anything
That this same paper brings you.

Bass.O sweet Portia!
Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words 252
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: 256
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 260
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; 264
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? 268
From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England,
From Lisbon, Barbary, and India?
And not one vessel 'scape the dreadful touch
Of merchant-marring rocks?

Salan.Not one, my lord. 272
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, 276
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, 280
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. 284

Jes. 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 288
That he did owe him; and I know, my lord,
If law, authority, and power deny not,
It will go hard with poor Antonio.

Por. Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble?

Bass. The dearest friend to me, the kindest man, 293
The best-condition'd and unwearied spirit
In doing courtesies, and one in whom
The ancient Roman honour more appears 296
Than any that draws breath in Italy.

Por. What sum owes he the Jew?

Bass. For me, three thousand ducats.

Por.What, no more?
Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond; 300
Double six thousand, and then treble that,
Before a friend of this description
Shall lose a hair thorough Bassanio's fault.
First go with me to church and call me wife, 304
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: 308
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. 312
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.

Bass. "Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all mis- 316
carried, my creditors grow cruel, my estate is very
low, my bond to the Jew is forfeit; and since, in
paying it, it is impossible I should live, all debts
are cleared between you and I, if I might but see 320
you at my death. Notwithstanding, use your
pleasure: if your love do not persuade you to come,
let not my letter.'

Por. O love, dispatch all business, and be gone! 324

Bass. 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. Exeunt.


 

Scene Three

[Venice. A Street]

Enter the Jew, and Salarino, and Antonio, and the Gaoler.

 

Shy. Gaoler, look to him: tell not me of mercy;
This is the fool that lent out money gratis:
Gaoler, look to him.

Ant. Hear me yet, good Shylock.

Shy. Ill have my bond; speak not against my bond:
I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond. 5
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, 8
Thou naughty gaoler, that thou art so fond
To come abroad with him at his request.

Ant. I pray thee, hear me speak.

Shy. I'll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak:
I'll have my bond, and therefore speak no more. 13
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; 16
I'll have no speaking; I will have my bond.

Exit Jew.

Salar. It is the most impenetrable cur
That ever kept with men.

Ant.Let him alone:
I'll follow him no more with bootless prayers. 20
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.

Salar. I am sure the duke 24
Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.

Ant. The duke cannot deny the course of law:
For the commodity that strangers have
With us in Venice, if it be denied, 28
'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, 32
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! 36

Exeunt.


 

Scene Four

[Belmont. A Room in Portia's House]

Enter Portia, Nerissa, Lorenzo, Jessica, and a man of Portia's [Balthazar].

 

Lor. 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. 4
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 8
Than customary bounty can enforce you.

Por. I never did repent for doing good,
Nor shall not now: for in companions
That do converse and waste the time together, 12
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, 16
Being the bosom lover of my lord,
Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,
How little is the cost I have bestow'd
In purchasing the semblance of my soul 20
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 24
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, 28
Only attended by Nerissa here,
Until her husband and my lord's return.
There is a monastery two miles off,
And there will we abide. I do desire you 32
Not to deny this imposition,
The which my love and some necessity
Now lays upon you.

Lor.Madam, with all my heart:
I shall obey you in all fair commands. 36

Por. 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. 40

Lor. Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!

Jes. I wish your ladyship all heart's content.

Por. I thank you for your wish, and am well pleas'd
To wish it back on you: fare you well, Jessica. 44

Exeunt [Jessica and Lorenzo].

Now, Balthazar,
As I have ever found thee honest-true,
So let me find thee still. Take this same letter,
And use thou all the endeavour of a man 48
In speed to Padua: see thou render this
Into my cousin's hand, Doctor Bellario;
And, look, what notes and garments he doth give thee,
Bring them, I pray thee, with imagin'd speed 52
Unto the tranect, to the common ferry
Which trades to Venice. Waste no time in words,
But get thee gone: I shall be there before thee.

Balth. Madam, I go with all convenient speed. 56

[Exit.]

Por. Come on, Nerissa: I have work in hand
That you yet know not of: we'll see our husbands
Before they think of us.

Ner.Shall they see us?

Por. They shall, Nerissa; but in such a habit 60
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, 64
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 68
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, 72
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
Above a twelvemonth. I have within my mind 76
A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks,
Which I will practise.

Ner.Why, shall we turn to men?

Por. Fie, what a question's that,
If thou wert near a lewd interpreter! 80
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. 84

Exeunt.


 

Scene Five

[The Same. A Garden]

Enter Clown and Jessica.

 

Laun. Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of
the father are to be laid upon the children; there-
fore, I promise you, I fear you. I was always
plain with you, and so now I speak my agitation 4
of the matter: therefore be of good cheer; for,
truly, I think you are damned. There is but one
hope in it that can do you any good, and that is
but a kind of bastard hope neither. 8

Jes. And what hope is that, I pray thee?

Laun. Marry, you may partly hope that your
father got you not, that you are not the Jew's
daughter. 12

Jes. That were a kind of bastard hope, in-
deed: so the sins of my mother should be visited
upon me.

Laun. Truly then I fear you are damned both 16
by father and mother: thus when I shun Scylla,
your father, I fall into Charybdis
, your mother:
well, you are gone both ways.

Jes. I shall be saved by my husband; he hath 20
made me a Christian.

Laun. 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 Chris- 24
tians 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.

Jes. I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you 28
say: here he comes.

Enter Lorenzo.

Lor. I shall grow jealous of you shortly,
Launcelot, if you thus get my wife into cor-
ners. 32

Jes. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo:
Launcelot and I are out. He tells me flatly,
there is no mercy for me in heaven, because I
am a Jew's daughter: and he says you are no 36
good member of the commonwealth, for, in con-
verting Jews to Christians, you raise the price of
pork.

Lor. I shall answer that better to the com- 40
monwealth than you can the getting up of the
negro's belly: the Moor is with child by you,
Launcelot.

Laun. It is much that the Moor should be 44
more than reason; but if she be less than an
honest woman, she is indeed more than I took
her for.

Lor. How every fool can play upon the word! 48
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. 52

Laun. That is done, sir; they have all
stomachs.

Lor. Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are
you! then bid them prepare dinner. 56

Laun. That is done too, sir; only, 'cover' is
the word.

Lor. Will you cover, then, sir?

Laun. Not so, sir, neither; I know my duty. 60

Lor. 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 64
them cover the table, serve in the meat, and we
will come in to dinner.

Laun. For the table, sir, it shall be served in;
for the meat, sir, it shall be covered; for your 68
coming in to dinner, sir, why, let it be as hu-
mours
and conceits shall govern. Exit Clown.

Lor. O dear discretion, how his words are suited!
The fool hath planted in his memory 72
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? 76
And now, good sweet, say thy opinion;
How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio's wife?

Jes. Past all expressing. It is very meet,
The Lord Bassanio live an upright life, 80
For, having such a blessing in his lady,
He finds the joys of heaven here on earth;
And if on earth he do not mean it, then
In reason he should never come to heaven. 84
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 88
Hath not her fellow.

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

Jes. Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.

Lor. I will anon; first, let us go to dinner. 92

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

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

Jes. Well, I'll set you forth. Exeunt.

 

Footnotes to Act III


Scene One

3 wracked: wrecked
4 narrow seas: English Channel
10 knapped: munched (pronounce the 'k')
30 withal: with; cf. n.
32 complexion: disposition
74 humility: sufferance
99 Why thou; cf. n.
115 Where? in Genoa?; cf. n.
134 fee . . . officer: engage a sheriff's officer for me
137 merchandise: business


Scene Two

6 Hate prompts no such advice
15 o'erlook'd: looked over, i.e., bewitched
20, 21 Prove it so, etc.; cf. n.
22 peise: weigh down, retard
23 eke: add to
28 mistrust: doubt, uncertainty
29 fear: feel apprehensive about
30 amity and life: affectionate intercourse
49 flourish: trumpets at coronations
54, 55 With . . . Alcides; cf. n.
54 presence: dignity of person
58 Dardanian: Trojan
63 fancy: love
79 approve: prove, ratify
81 simple: pure, unmixed
82 his: its
87 excrement: excrescence
91 lightest: i.e., most frivolous
92 crisped: curled
94 Upon supposed fairness; cf. n.
97 guiled: guileful
99 Veiling, etc.; cf. n.
102 Midas: all he touched, including food, turned to gold
109 As: such as
112 rain; cf. n.
126 unfurnish'd: unaccompanied by its mate
130 continent: that which contains
140 note: authorization in writing
158 account: calculation
159 term in gross: sum up
161 Happy: fortunate
175 vantage: opportunity, occasion
177 Only: an adjective, my blood only
192 from me: at my expense
200 intermission; cf. n.
204 until . . . again: with all my power
205 roof: roof of my mouth
220 Salanio; cf. n.
224 very: true
237 estate: state, condition
244 shrewd: evil
247 constitution: frame of mind, equanimity
248 constant: steadfast
263 mere: absolute
268 hit: successful venture
277 confound: destroy
279 freedom: equal rights
281 magnificoes: magnates
282 port: station
283 envious: hateful
294 unwearied: most unwearied
300 deface: cancel by writing across
303 thorough: through
313 cheer: face


Scene Three

1 Gaoler: sailor
9 naughty: good-for-naught
19 kept: dwelt
26 deny: refuse
27 commodity: trading facilities
30 trade and profit: profitable trade
32 bated: thinned


Scene Four

2 conceit: conception
9 customary bounty: ordinary benevolence
enforce: cause to be
20 semblance . . . soul; cf. n.
25 husbandry and manage: care and management
33 deny this imposition: decline this charge
50 cousin's: any collateral kin
52 imagin'd speed: speed of thought
53 tranect; cf. n.
56 convenient: becoming
61 accomplished: equipped
72 could not do withal: could not help it


Scene Five

3 fear: fear for
4 agitation: i.e., cogitation
8 neither: too
17, 18 Scylla . . . Charybdis: dangers confronting Ulysses
20 husband; cf. n.
57 cover: cf. n.
61 quarrelling with occasion: splitting hairs at every opportunity
69 humours: whims
71 suited: elaborately dressed
76 Defy the matter: spoil the thought
How cheer'st thou: what cheer?
83 mean it: cf. n.
88 Pawn'd: staked