The Merchant of Venice




William Shakespeare





SCENE I. Venice. A street. 3

SCENE II: Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house. 10

SCENE III. Venice. A public place. 15


SCENE I. Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house. 23

SCENE II. Venice. A street. 25

SCENE III. The same. A room in SHYLOCK'S house. 34

SCENE IV. The same. A street. 35

SCENE V. The same. Before SHYLOCK'S house. 38

SCENE VI. The same. 41

SCENE VII. Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house. 45

SCENE VIII. Venice. A street. 48

SCENE IX. Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house. 51


SCENE I. Venice. A street. 55

SCENE II. Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house. 61

SCENE III. Venice. A street. 72

SCENE IV. Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house. 74

SCENE V. The same. A garden. 77

ACT IV.. 81

SCENE II. The same. A street. 101

ACT V.. 103

SCENE I. Belmont. Avenue to PORTIA'S house. 103




SCENE I. Venice. A street.






    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 at sea might do.

    I should not see the sandy hour-glass run,

    But I should think of shallows and of flats,

    And see my wealthy Andrew dock'd in sand,

    Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs

    To kiss her burial. Should I go to church

    And see the holy edifice of stone,

    And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks,

    Which touching but my gentle vessel's side,

    Would scatter all her spices on the stream,

    Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks,

    And, in a word, but even now worth this,

    And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought

    To think on this, and shall I lack the thought

    That such a thing bechanced would make me sad?

    But tell not me; I know, Antonio

    Is sad to think upon his merchandise.




    Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it,

    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 framed strange fellows in her time:

    Some that will evermore peep through their eyes

    And laugh like parrots at a bag-piper,

    And other of such vinegar aspect

    That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile,

    Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.






    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 the 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 changed.




    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 it is my love that speaks--

    There are a sort of men whose visages

    Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,

    And do a wilful stillness entertain,

    With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion

    Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit,

    As who should say 'I am Sir Oracle,

    And when I ope my lips let no dog bark!'

    O my Antonio, I do know of these

    That therefore only are reputed wise

    For saying nothing; when, I am very sure,

    If they should speak, would almost damn those ears,

    Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools.

    I'll tell thee more of this another time:

    But fish not, with this melancholy bait,

    For this fool gudgeon, this opinion.

    Come, good Lorenzo. Fare ye well awhile:

    I'll end my exhortation after dinner.




    Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time:

    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.




    Farewell: 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.






    Is that any thing 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 promised 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 abridged

    From such a noble rate; but my chief care

    Is to come fairly off from the great debts

    Wherein my time something too prodigal

    Hath left me gaged. To you, Antonio,

    I owe the most, in money and in love,

    And from your love I have a warranty

    To unburden all my plots and purposes

    How to get clear of all the debts I owe.




    I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;

    And if it stand, as you yourself still do,

    Within the eye of honour, be assured,

    My purse, my person, my extremest means,

    Lie all unlock'd to your occasions.




    In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,

    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 undervalued

    To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia:

    Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,

    For the four winds blow in from every coast

    Renowned suitors, and her sunny locks

    Hang on her temples like a golden fleece;

    Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos' strand,

    And many Jasons come in quest of her.

    O my Antonio, had I but the means

    To hold a rival place with one of them,

    I have a mind presages me such thrift,

    That I should questionless be fortunate!




    Thou know'st that all my fortunes are at sea;

    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 II: 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 comes 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 be one of the

    twenty to follow mine own teaching. The brain may

    devise laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps

    o'er a cold decree: such a hare is madness the

    youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel the

    cripple. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to

    choose me a husband. O me, the word 'choose!' I may

    neither choose whom I would nor refuse whom I

    dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curbed

    by the will of a dead father. Is it not hard,

    Nerissa, that I cannot choose one nor refuse none?




    Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men at their

    death have good inspirations: therefore the lottery,

    that he hath devised in these three chests of gold,

    silver and lead, whereof who chooses his meaning

    chooses you, will, no doubt, never be chosen by any

    rightly but one who 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 affection.




    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 played false with a smith.




    Then there is the County Palatine.




    He doth nothing but frown, as who should say 'If 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





    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 England?




    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

    behavior every where.




    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:

    and the worst fall that ever fell, I hope I shall

    make shift to go without him.




    If he should offer to choose, and choose the 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 any

    thing, Nerissa, ere I'll 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, he was so 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 Serving-man

    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 to-night.




    If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good a

    heart as I can bid the other four farewell, I should

    be glad of his approach: if he have the condition

    of a saint and the complexion of a devil, I had

    rather he should shrive me than wive me. Come,

    Nerissa. Sirrah, go before.

    Whiles we shut the gates

    upon one wooer, another knocks at the door.




SCENE III. Venice. A public place.






    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 answer?




    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?




    Oh, 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, water-thieves and land-thieves, I

    mean pirates, and then there is the peril of waters,

    winds and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding,

    sufficient. Three thousand ducats; I think I may

    take his bond.




    Be assured you may.




    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?


    Enter ANTONIO




    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?



    Rest you fair, good signior;

    Your worship was the last man in our mouths.




    Shylock, although 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. 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 grazed 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 compromised

    That all the eanlings which were streak'd and pied

    Should fall as Jacob's hire, the ewes, being rank,

    In the end of autumn turned to the rams,

    And, when the work of generation was

    Between these woolly breeders in the act,

    The skilful shepherd peel'd me certain wands,

    And, in the doing of the deed of kind,

    He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes,

    Who then conceiving did in eaning time

    Fall parti-colour'd lambs, and those were Jacob's.

    This was a way to thrive, and he was blest:

    And thrift is blessing, if men steal it not.




    This was a venture, sir, that Jacob served for;

    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 sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.

    You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,

    And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,

    And all for use of that which is mine own.

    Well then, it now appears you need my help:

    Go to, then; you come to me, and you say

    'Shylock, we would have moneys:' you say so;

    You, that did void your rheum upon my beard

    And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur

    Over your threshold: moneys is your suit

    What should I say to you? Should I not say

    'Hath a dog money? is it possible

    A cur can lend three thousand ducats?' Or

    Shall I bend low and in a bondman's key,

    With bated breath and whispering humbleness, Say this;

    'Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last;

    You spurn'd me such a day; another time

    You call'd me dog; and for these courtesies

    I'll lend you thus much moneys'?




    I am as like to call thee so again,

    To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too.

    If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not

    As to thy friends; for when did friendship take

    A breed for barren metal of his friend?

    But lend it rather to thine enemy,

    Who, if he break, thou mayst with better face

    Exact the penalty.




    Why, look you, how you storm!

    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, i' 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 will be with you.




    Hie thee, gentle Jew.


    Exit Shylock

    The 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 train; PORTIA, NERISSA, and others attending




    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 loved it too: I would not change this hue,

    Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.




    In terms of choice I am not solely 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 hedged me by his wit, to yield myself

    His wife who wins me by that means I told you,

    Yourself, renowned prince, then stood as fair

    As any comer I have look'd on yet

    For my affection.




    Even for that I thank you:

    Therefore, I pray you, lead me to the caskets

    To try my fortune. By this scimitar

    That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince

    That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,

    I would outstare the sternest eyes that look,

    Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth,

    Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,

    Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey,

    To win thee, lady. But, alas the while!

    If Hercules and Lichas play at dice

    Which is the better man, the greater throw

    May turn by fortune from the weaker hand:

    So is Alcides beaten by his page;

    And so may I, blind fortune leading me,

    Miss that which one unworthier may attain,

    And die with grieving.




    You must take your chance,

    And either not attempt to choose at all

    Or swear before you choose, if you choose wrong

    Never to speak to lady afterward

    In way of marriage: therefore be advised.




    Nor will not. Come, bring me unto my chance.




    First, forward to the temple: after dinner

    Your hazard shall be made.




    Good fortune then!

    To make me blest or cursed'st among men.


    Cornets, and exeunt


SCENE II. Venice. A street.






    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 command; I will run.


    Enter Old GOBBO, with a basket




    Master young man, you, I pray you, which is the way

    to master Jew's?




    [Aside] O heavens, this is my true-begotten father!

    who, being more than sand-blind, high-gravel blind,

    knows me not: I will try confusions with him.




    Master young gentleman, I pray you, which is the way

    to master Jew's?




    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 house.




    By 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 no?




    Talk you of young Master Launcelot?



    Mark me now; now will I raise the waters. Talk you

    of young Master Launcelot?




    No master, sir, but a poor man's son: his father,

    though I say it, is an honest exceeding poor man

    and, God be thanked, well to live.




    Well, let his father be what a' will, we talk 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 Destinies and such odd

    sayings, the Sisters Three and such branches of

    learning, is indeed deceased, or, as you would say

    in plain terms, gone to heaven.




    Marry, God forbid! the boy was the very staff of 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 at the length 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





    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 fill-horse has on his tail.




    It should seem, then, that Dobbin's tail grows

    backward: I am sure he had more hair of his tail

    than I have of my face when I last saw him.




    Lord, how art thou changed! How dost thou and 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 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 enough.




    Thou speak'st it well. Go, father, with thy son.

    Take leave of thy old master and inquire

    My lodging out. Give him a livery

    More guarded than his fellows': see it done.




    Father, in. I cannot get a service, no; I have

    ne'er a tongue in my head. Well, if any man in

    Italy have a fairer table which doth offer to swear

    upon a book, I shall have good fortune. Go to,

    here's a simple line of life: here's a small trifle

    of wives: alas, fifteen wives is nothing! eleven

    widows and nine maids is a simple coming-in for one

    man: and then to 'scape drowning thrice, and to be

    in peril of my life with the edge of a feather-bed;

    here are simple scapes. Well, if Fortune be a

    woman, she's a good wench for this gear. Father,

    come; I'll take my leave of the Jew in the twinkling of an eye.


    Exeunt Launcelot and Old Gobbo




    I pray thee, good Leonardo, think on this:

    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.


    Enter GRATIANO




    Where is your master?




    Yonder, sir, he walks.






    Signior Bassanio!








    I have a 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 behavior

    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 III. The same. A room in SHYLOCK'S house.






    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 did not play

    the knave and get thee, I am much deceived. But,

    adieu: these foolish drops do something drown my

    manly spirit: adieu.




    Farewell, good Launcelot.


    Exit Launcelot

    Alack, what heinous sin is it in me

    To be ashamed to be my father's child!

    But though I am a daughter to his blood,

    I am not to his manners. O Lorenzo,

    If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife,

    Become a Christian and thy loving wife.




SCENE IV. The same. A street.






    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 torchbearers.




    '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,


    Exit Launcelot

    Will you prepare you for this masque tonight?

    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.






    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-beare r.




SCENE V. The same. Before SHYLOCK'S house.






    Well, thou shalt see, thy eyes shall be thy judge,

    The difference of old Shylock and Bassanio:--

    What, Jessica!--thou shalt not gormandise,

    As thou hast done with me:--What, Jessica!--

    And sleep and snore, and rend apparel out;--

    Why, Jessica, I say!




    Why, Jessica!




    Who bids thee call? I do not bid thee call.




    Your worship was wont to tell me that

    I could do nothing without bidding.


    Enter Jessica




    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 reproach.




    So do I his.




    An 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 foppery enter

    My sober house. By Jacob's staff, I swear,

    I have no mind of feasting forth to-night:

    But I will go. Go you before me, sirrah;

    Say I will come.




    I will go before, sir. Mistress, look out at

    window, for all this, There will come a Christian

    boy, will be worth a Jewess' eye.






    What says that fool of Hagar's offspring, ha?




    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 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 VI. The same.


    Enter GRATIANO and SALARINO, masqued




    This is the pent-house under which Lorenzo

    Desired 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.


    Enter LORENZO




    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 ashamed of my exchange:

    But love is blind and lovers cannot see

    The pretty follies that themselves commit;

    For if they could, Cupid himself would blush

    To see me thus transformed to a boy.




    Descend, for you must be my torchbearer.




    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 obscured.




    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 more ducats, and be with you straight.


    Exit above




    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 proved herself,

    And therefore, like herself, wise, fair and true,

    Shall she be placed in my constant soul.


    Enter JESSICA, below

    What, art thou come? On, gentlemen; away!

    Our masquing mates by this time for us stay.


    Exit with Jessica and Salarino


    Enter ANTONIO




    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 VII. 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.




    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.




    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 further, but chose here?

    Let's see once more this saying graved in gold

    'Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.'

    Why, that's the lady; all the world desires her;

    From the four corners of the earth they come,

    To kiss this shrine, this mortal-breathing saint:

    The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds

    Of wide Arabia are as thoroughfares now

    For princes to come view fair Portia:

    The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head

    Spits in the face of heaven, is no bar

    To stop the foreign spirits, but they come,

    As o'er a brook, to see fair Portia.

    One of these three contains her heavenly picture.

    Is't like that lead contains her? 'Twere damnation

    To think so base a thought: it were too gross

    To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave.

    Or shall I think in silver she's immured,

    Being ten times undervalued to tried gold?

    O sinful thought! Never so rich a gem

    Was set in worse than gold. They have in England

    A coin that bears the figure of an angel

    Stamped in gold, but that's insculp'd upon;

    But here an angel in a golden bed

    Lies all within. Deliver me the key:

    Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may!




    There, take it, prince; and if my form lie there,

    Then I am yours.


    He unlocks the golden casket




    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 glitters is not gold;

    Often have you heard that told:

    Many a man his life hath sold

    But my outside to behold:

    Gilded tombs do worms enfold.

    Had you been as wise as bold,

    Young in limbs, in judgment old,

    Your answer had not been inscroll'd:

    Fare you well; your suit is cold.

    Cold, indeed; and labour lost:

    Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost!

    Portia, adieu. I have too grieved a heart

    To take a tedious leave: thus losers part.


    Exit with his train. Flourish of cornets




    A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains, go.

    Let all of his complexion choose me so.




SCENE VIII. Venice. A street.






    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 raised 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 confused,

    So strange, outrageous, and so variable,

    As the dog Jew did utter in the streets:

    'My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter!

    Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!

    Justice! the law! my ducats, and my daughter!

    A sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats,

    Of double ducats, stolen from me by my daughter!

    And jewels, two stones, two rich and precious stones,

    Stolen by my daughter! Justice! find the girl;

    She hath the stones upon her, and the ducats.'




    Why, all the boys in Venice follow him,

    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 IX. 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 solemnized:

    But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,

    You must be gone from hence immediately.




    I am enjoin'd by oath to observe three things:

    First, never to unfold to any one

    Which casket 'twas I chose; next, if I fail

    Of the right casket, never in my life

    To woo a maid in way of marriage: Lastly,

    If I do fail in fortune of my choice,

    Immediately to leave you and be gone.




    To these injunctions every one doth 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 the interior, but, like the martlet,

    Builds in the weather on the outward wall,

    Even in the force and road of casualty.

    I will not choose what many men desire,

    Because I will not jump with common spirits

    And rank me with the barbarous multitudes.

    Why, then to thee, thou silver treasure-house;

    Tell me once more what title thou dost bear:

    'Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves:'

    And well said too; for who shall go about

    To cozen fortune and be honourable

    Without the stamp of merit? Let none presume

    To wear an undeserved dignity.

    O, that estates, degrees and offices

    Were not derived corruptly, and that clear honour

    Were purchased by the merit of the wearer!

    How many then should cover that stand bare!

    How many be commanded that command!

    How much low peasantry would then be glean'd

    From the true seed of honour! and how much honour

    Pick'd from the chaff and ruin of the times

    To be new-varnish'd! Well, but to my choice:

    'Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.'

    I will assume desert. Give me a key for this,

    And instantly unlock my fortunes here.


    He opens the silver casket




    Too long a pause for that which you find there.




    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.


    Exeunt Arragon and train




    Thus hath the candle singed 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 the approaching of his lord;

    From whom he bringeth sensible regreets,

    To wit, besides commends and courteous breath,

    Gifts of rich value. Yet I have not seen

    So likely an ambassador of love:

    A day in April never came so sweet,

    To show how costly summer was at hand,

    As this fore-spurrer comes before his lord.




    No more, I pray thee: I am half 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.






    Now, what news on the Rialto?




    Why, yet it lives there uncheck'd that Antonio hath

    a ship of rich lading wrecked on the narrow seas;

    the Goodwins, I think they call the place; a very

    dangerous flat and fatal, where the carcasses of many

    a tall ship lie buried, as they say, if my gossip

    Report be an honest woman of her word.




    I would she were as lying a gossip in that as 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 name company!--




    Come, the full stop.




    Ha! what sayest thou? Why, the end is, he hath

    lost a ship.




    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.


    Enter SHYLOCK

    How now, Shylock! what news among the merchants?




    You know, 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 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 was used to come so smug upon

    the mart; let him look to his bond: he was wont to

    call me usurer; let him look to his bond: he was

    wont to lend money for a Christian courtesy; let him

    look to his bond.




    Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not 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 disgraced me, and

    hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses,

    mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my

    bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine

    enemies; and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath

    not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,

    dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with

    the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject

    to the same diseases, healed by the same means,

    warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as

    a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?

    if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison

    us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not

    revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will

    resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian,

    what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian

    wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by

    Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you

    teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I

    will better the instruction.


    Enter a Servant




    Gentlemen, my master Antonio is at his house and

    desires to speak with you both.




    We have been up and down to seek him.


    Enter TUBAL




    Here comes another of the tribe: a third cannot be

    matched, unless the devil himself turn Jew.


    Exeunt SALANIO, SALARINO, and Servant




    How now, Tubal! what news from Genoa? hast thou

    found my daughter?




    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 in luck stirring but what lights on my

    shoulders; no sighs but of my breathing; no tears

    but of my shedding.




    Yes, other men have ill luck too: Antonio, as I

    heard in Genoa,--




    What, what, what? ill luck, ill luck?




    Hath an argosy cast away, coming from Tripolis.




    I thank God, I thank God. Is't true, is't true?




    I spoke with some of the sailors that escaped the wreck.




    I thank thee, good Tubal: good news, good news!

    ha, ha! where? in Genoa?




    Your daughter spent in Genoa, as I heard, in one

    night fourscore ducats.




    Thou stickest 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, go, Tubal, and meet me at our synagogue;

    go, good Tubal; at our synagogue, Tubal.




SCENE II. Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house.






    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,

    I would not lose you; and you know yourself,

    Hate counsels not in such a quality.

    But lest you should not understand me well,--

    And yet a maiden hath no tongue but thought,--

    I would detain you here some month or two

    Before you venture for me. I could teach you

    How to choose right, but I am then forsworn;

    So will I never be: so may you miss me;

    But if you do, you'll make me wish a sin,

    That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes,

    They have o'erlook'd me and divided me;

    One half of me is yours, the other half yours,

    Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours,

    And so all yours. O, these naughty times

    Put bars between the owners and their rights!

    And so, though yours, not yours. Prove it so,

    Let fortune go to hell for it, not I.

    I speak too long; but 'tis to peize the time,

    To eke it and to draw it out in length,

    To stay you from election.




    Let me 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 the enjoying of my love:

    There may as well be amity and life

    'Tween snow and fire, as treason and my love.




    Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack,

    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 the exploit. Go, Hercules!

    Live thou, I live: with much, much more dismay

    I view the fight than thou that makest the fray.


    Music, whilst BASSANIO comments on the caskets to himself


    Tell me where is fancy bred,

    Or in the heart, or in the head?

    How begot, how nourished?

    Reply, reply.

    It is engender'd in the eyes,

    With gazing fed; and fancy dies

    In the cradle where it lies.

    Let us all ring fancy's knell

    I'll begin it,--Ding, dong, bell.




    Ding, dong, bell.




    So may the outward shows be least themselves:

    The world is still deceived with ornament.

    In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,

    But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,

    Obscures the show of evil? In religion,

    What damned error, but some sober brow

    Will bless it and approve it with a text,

    Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?

    There is no vice so simple but assumes

    Some mark of virtue on his outward parts:

    How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false

    As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins

    The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars;

    Who, inward search'd, have livers white as milk;

    And these assume but valour's excrement

    To render them redoubted! Look on beauty,

    And you shall see 'tis purchased by the weight;

    Which therein works a miracle in nature,

    Making them lightest that wear most of it:

    So are those crisped snaky golden locks

    Which make such wanton gambols with the wind,

    Upon supposed fairness, often known

    To be the dowry of a second head,

    The skull that bred them in the sepulchre.

    Thus ornament is but the guiled shore

    To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf

    Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,

    The seeming truth which cunning times put on

    To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold,

    Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;

    Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge

    'Tween man and man: but thou, thou meagre lead,

    Which rather threatenest than dost promise aught,

    Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence;

    And here choose I; joy be the consequence!




    [Aside] How all the other passions fleet to air,

    As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embraced despair,

    And shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy! O love,

    Be moderate; allay thy ecstasy,

    In measure rein thy joy; scant this excess.

    I feel too much thy blessing: make it less,

    For fear I surfeit.




    What find I here?


    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 to entrap the hearts of men,

    Faster than gnats in cobwebs; but her eyes,--

    How could he see to do them? having made one,

    Methinks it should have power to steal both his

    And leave itself unfurnish'd. Yet look, how far

    The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow

    In underprizing it, so far this shadow

    Doth limp behind the substance. Here's the scroll,

    The continent and summary of my fortune.



    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 pleased with this

    And hold your fortune for your bliss,

    Turn you where your lady is

    And claim her with a loving kiss.

    A gentle scroll. Fair lady, by your leave;

    I come by note, to give and to receive.

    Like one of two contending in a prize,

    That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes,

    Hearing applause and universal shout,

    Giddy in spirit, still gazing in a doubt

    Whether these pearls of praise be his or no;

    So, thrice fair lady, stand I, even so;

    As doubtful whether what I see be true,

    Until confirm'd, sign'd, ratified by you.




    You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand,

    Such as I am: though for myself alone

    I would not be ambitious in my wish,

    To wish myself much better; yet, for you

    I would be trebled twenty times myself;

    A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich;

    That only to stand high in your account,

    I might in virtue, beauties, livings, friends,

    Exceed account; but the full sum of me

    Is sum of something, which, to term in gross,

    Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractised;

    Happy in this, she is not yet so old

    But she may learn; happier than this,

    She is not bred so dull but she can learn;

    Happiest of all is that her gentle spirit

    Commits itself to yours to be directed,

    As from her lord, her governor, her king.

    Myself and what is mine to you and yours

    Is now converted: but now I was the lord

    Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,

    Queen o'er myself: and even now, but now,

    This house, these servants and this same myself

    Are yours, my lord: I give them with this ring;

    Which when you part from, lose, or give away,

    Let it presage the ruin of your love

    And be my vantage to exclaim on you.




    Madam, you have bereft me of all words,

    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 loved, I loved for intermission.

    No more pertains to me, my lord, than you.

    Your fortune stood upon the casket there,

    And so did mine too, as the matter falls;

    For wooing here until I sweat again,

    And sweating until my very roof was dry

    With oaths of love, at last, if promise last,

    I got a promise of this fair one here

    To have her love, provided that your fortune

    Achieved her mistress.




    Is this true, Nerissa?




    Madam, it is, so you stand pleased 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 ducats.




    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 Salerio?


    Enter LORENZO, JESSICA, and SALERIO, a Messenger from Venice




    Lorenzo and Salerio, 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 Salerio 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, Salerio: what's the news from Venice?

    How doth that royal merchant, good Antonio?

    I know he will be glad of our success;

    We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.




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




    There are some shrewd contents in yon same paper,

    That steals the colour from Bassanio's cheek:

    Some dear friend dead; else nothing in the world

    Could turn so much the constitution

    Of any constant man. What, worse and worse!

    With leave, Bassanio: I am half yourself,

    And I must freely have the half of anything

    That this same paper brings you.




    O sweet Portia,

    Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words

    That ever blotted paper! Gentle lady,

    When I did first impart my love to you,

    I freely told you, all the wealth I had

    Ran in my veins, I was a gentleman;

    And then I told you true: and yet, dear lady,

    Rating myself at nothing, you shall see

    How much I was a braggart. When I told you

    My state was nothing, I should then have told you

    That I was worse than nothing; for, indeed,

    I have engaged myself to a dear friend,

    Engaged my friend to his mere enemy,

    To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady;

    The paper as the body of my friend,

    And every word in it a gaping wound,

    Issuing life-blood. But is it true, Salerio?

    Have all his ventures fail'd? What, not one hit?

    From Tripolis, from Mexico and England,

    From Lisbon, Barbary and India?

    And not one vessel 'scape the dreadful touch

    Of merchant-marring rocks?




    Not one, my lord.

    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.




    [Reads] 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 cleared between you and I, if I might but

    see you at my death. Notwithstanding, use your

    pleasure: if your love do not persuade you to come,

    let not my letter.




    O love, dispatch all business, and be gone!




    Since I have your good leave to go away,

    I will make haste: but, till I come again,

    No bed shall e'er be guilty of my stay,

    No rest be interposer 'twixt us twain.




SCENE III. 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,

    Will much impeach the justice of his state;

    Since that the trade and profit of the city

    Consisteth of all nations. Therefore, go:

    These griefs and losses have so bated me,

    That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh

    To-morrow to my bloody creditor.

    Well, gaoler, on. Pray God, Bassanio come

    To see me pay his debt, and then I care not!




SCENE IV. Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house.






    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 bestow'd

    In purchasing the semblance of my soul

    From out the state of hellish misery!

    This comes too near the praising of myself;

    Therefore no more of it: hear other things.

    Lorenzo, I commit into your hands

    The husbandry and manage of my house

    Until my lord's return: for mine own part,

    I have toward heaven breathed a secret vow

    To live in prayer and contemplation,

    Only attended by Nerissa here,

    Until her husband and my lord's return:

    There is a monastery two miles off;

    And there will we abide. I do desire you

    Not to deny this imposition;

    The which my love and some necessity

    Now lays upon you.




    Madam, with all my heart;

    I shall obey you in all fair commands.




    My people do already know my mind,

    And will acknowledge you and Jessica

    In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.

    And so farewell, till we shall meet again.




    Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!




    I wish your ladyship all heart's content.




    I thank you for your wish, and am well pleased

    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 the endeavour of a man

    In speed to Padua: see thou render this

    Into my cousin's hand, Doctor Bellario;

    And, look, what notes and garments he doth give thee,

    Bring them, I pray thee, with imagined speed

    Unto the tranect, to the common ferry

    Which trades to Venice. Waste no time in words,

    But get thee gone: I shall be there before thee.




    Madam, I go with all convenient speed.






    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 killed them;

    And twenty of these puny lies I'll tell,

    That men shall swear I have discontinued school

    Above a twelvemonth. I have within my mind

    A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks,

    Which I will practise.




    Why, shall we turn to men?




    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 V. The same. A garden.






    Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the father

    are to be laid upon the children: therefore, I

    promise ye, I fear you. I was always plain with

    you, and so now I speak my agitation of the matter:

    therefore be of good cheer, for truly I think you

    are damned. There is but one hope in it that can do

    you any good; and that is but a kind of bastard

    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 damned 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





    Truly, the more to blame he: we were Christians

    enow before; e'en as many as could well live, one by

    another. This making Christians will raise the

    price of hogs: if we grow all to be pork-eaters, we

    shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals for money.


    Enter LORENZO




    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 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 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

    tree, understand a plain man in his plain meaning:

    go to thy fellows; bid them cover the table, serve

    in the meat, and we will come in to dinner.




    For the table, sir, it shall be served in; for 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 cheerest thou, Jessica?

    And now, good sweet, say thy opinion,

    How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio's wife?




    Past all expressing. It is very meet

    The Lord Bassanio live an upright life;

    For, having such a blessing in his lady,

    He finds the joys of heaven here on earth;

    And if on earth he do not mean it, then

    In reason he should never come to heaven

    Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match

    And on the wager lay two earthly women,

    And Portia one, there must be something else

    Pawn'd with the other, for the poor rude world

    Hath not her fellow.




    Even such a 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, howso'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, SALERIO, 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.


    Enter SHYLOCK




    Make room, and let him stand before our face.

    Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,

    That thou but lead'st this fashion of thy malice

    To the last hour of act; and then 'tis thought

    Thou'lt show thy mercy and remorse more strange

    Than is thy strange apparent cruelty;

    And where thou now exact'st the penalty,

    Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh,

    Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture,

    But, touch'd with human gentleness and love,

    Forgive a moiety of the principal;

    Glancing an eye of pity on his losses,

    That have of late so huddled on his back,

    Enow to press a royal merchant down

    And pluck commiseration of his state

    From brassy bosoms and rough hearts of flint,

    From stubborn Turks and Tartars, never train'd

    To offices of tender courtesy.

    We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.




    I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose;

    And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn

    To have the due and forfeit of my bond:

    If you deny it, let the danger light

    Upon your charter and your city's freedom.

    You'll ask me, why I rather choose to have

    A weight of carrion flesh than to receive

    Three thousand ducats: I'll not answer that:

    But, say, it is my humour: is it answer'd?

    What if my house be troubled with a rat

    And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats

    To have it baned? What, are you answer'd yet?

    Some men there are love not a gaping pig;

    Some, that are mad if they behold a cat;

    And others, when the bagpipe sings i' the nose,

    Cannot contain their urine: for affection,

    Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood

    Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer:

    As there is no firm reason to be render'd,

    Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;

    Why he, a harmless necessary cat;

    Why he, a woollen bagpipe; but of force

    Must yield to such inevitable shame

    As to offend, himself being offended;

    So can I give no reason, nor I will not,

    More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing

    I bear Antonio, that I follow thus

    A losing suit against him. Are you answer'd?




    This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,

    To excuse the current of thy cruelty.




    I am not bound to please thee with my answers.




    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 more offers, use no farther means,

    But with all brief and plain conveniency

    Let me have judgment and the Jew his will.




    For thy three thousand ducats here is six.




    What judgment shall I dread, doing

    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 purchased slave,

    Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,

    You use in abject and in slavish parts,

    Because you bought them: shall I say to you,

    Let them be free, marry them to your heirs?

    Why sweat they under burthens? let their beds

    Be made as soft as yours and let their palates

    Be season'd with such viands? You will answer

    'The slaves are ours:' so do I answer you:

    The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,

    Is dearly bought; 'tis mine and I will have it.

    If you deny me, fie upon your law!

    There is no force in the decrees of Venice.

    I stand for judgment: answer; shall I have it?




    Upon my power I may dismiss this court,

    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 letter; 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.


    Presenting 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 makest thy knife keen; but no metal can,

    No, not the hangman's axe, bear half the keenness

    Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?




    No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.




    O, be thou damn'd, inexecrable dog!

    And for thy life let justice be accused.

    Thou almost makest me waver in my faith

    To hold opinion with Pythagoras,

    That souls of animals infuse themselves

    Into the trunks of men: thy currish spirit

    Govern'd a wolf, who, hang'd for human slaughter,

    Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,

    And, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallow'd dam,

    Infused itself in thee; for thy desires

    Are wolvish, bloody, starved and ravenous.




    Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,

    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.




    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 Balthasar. I

    acquainted him with the cause in controversy between

    the Jew and Antonio the merchant: we turned o'er

    many books together: he is furnished with my

    opinion; which, bettered with his own learning, the

    greatness whereof I cannot enough commend, comes

    with him, at my importunity, to fill up your grace's

    request in my stead. I beseech you, let his lack of

    years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend

    estimation; for I never knew so young a body with so

    old a head. I leave him to your gracious

    acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his





    You hear the learn'd Bellario, what he writes:

    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 thoroughly of the cause.

    Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?




    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.

    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 tenor.

    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 any thing to say?




    But little: I am arm'd and well prepared.

    Give me your hand, Bassanio: fare you well!

    Grieve not that I am fallen to this for you;

    For herein Fortune shows herself more kind

    Than is her custom: it is still her use

    To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,

    To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow

    An age of poverty; from which lingering penance

    Of such misery doth she cut me off.

    Commend me to your honourable wife:

    Tell her the process of Antonio's end;

    Say how I loved you, speak me fair in death;

    And, when the tale is told, bid her be judge

    Whether Bassanio had not once a love.

    Repent but you that you shall lose your friend,

    And he repents not that he pays your debt;

    For if the Jew do cut but deep enough,

    I'll pay it presently with all my heart.




    Antonio, I am married to a 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 Barrabas

    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 assured

    Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desirest.




    O learned judge! Mark, Jew: a learned 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 cut'st more

    Or less than a just pound, be it but so much

    As makes it light or heavy in the substance,

    Or the division of the twentieth part

    Of one poor scruple, nay, if the scale do turn

    But in the estimation of a hair,

    Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate.




    A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew!

    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 refused 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 proved against an alien

    That by direct or indirect attempts

    He seek the life of any citizen,

    The party 'gainst the which he doth contrive

    Shall seize one half his goods; the other half

    Comes to the privy coffer of the state;

    And the offender's life lies in the mercy

    Of the duke only, 'gainst all other voice.

    In which predicament, I say, thou stand'st;

    For it appears, by manifest proceeding,

    That indirectly and directly too

    Thou hast contrived against the very life

    Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr'd

    The danger formerly by me rehearsed.

    Down therefore and beg mercy of the duke.




    Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself:

    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 the font.


    Exit SHYLOCK




    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 and his 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 a fee: grant me two things, I pray you,

    Not to deny me, and to pardon me.




    You press me far, and therefore I will yield.



    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.

    An if your wife be not a mad-woman,

    And know how well I have deserved the ring,

    She would not hold out enemy for ever,

    For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!


    Exeunt Portia and Nerissa




    My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring:

    Let his deservings and my love withal

    Be valued against your wife's commandment.




    Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him;

    Give him the ring, and bring him, if thou canst,

    Unto Antonio's house: away! make haste.


    Exit Gratiano

    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 to-night

    And be a day before our husbands home:

    This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo.


    Enter GRATIANO




    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.




    [Aside to NERISSA] 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 knowist where I will tarry.




    Come, good sir, will you show me to this house?





SCENE I. Belmont. Avenue to PORTIA'S house.






    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 Thisbe 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 loved 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.


    Enter STEPHANO




    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.






    Sola, sola! wo ha, ho! sola, sola!




    Who calls?




    Sola! did you see Master Lorenzo?

    Master Lorenzo, sola, sola!




    Leave hollaing, 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.


    Exit Stephano

    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.


    Enter Musicians

    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 moved with concord of sweet sounds,

    Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;

    The motions of his spirit are dull as night

    And his affections dark as Erebus:

    Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.


    Enter PORTIA and NERISSA




    That light we see is burning in my hall.

    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

    Unto the king be by, and then his state

    Empties itself, as doth an inland brook

    Into the main of waters. Music! hark!




    It is your music, madam, of the house.




    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 awaked.


    Music ceases




    That is the voice,

    Or I am much deceived, of Portia.




    He knows me as the blind man knows the cuckoo,

    By the bad voice.




    Dear lady, welcome home.




    We have been praying for our husbands' healths,

    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.




    [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 cutler's 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.




    [Aside] 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

    Deserved it too; and then the boy, his clerk,

    That took some pains in writing, he begg'd mine;

    And neither man nor master would take aught

    But the two rings.




    What ring gave you my lord?

    Not that, I hope, which you received 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 pleased to have defended it

    With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty

    To urge the thing held as a ceremony?

    Nerissa teaches me what to believe:

    I'll die for't but some woman had the ring.




    No, by my honour, madam, by my soul,

    No woman had it, but a civil doctor,

    Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me

    And begg'd the ring; the which I did deny him

    And suffer'd him to go displeased away;

    Even he that did uphold the very life

    Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady?

    I was enforced to send it after him;

    I was beset with shame and courtesy;

    My honour would not let ingratitude

    So much besmear it. Pardon me, good lady;

    For, by these blessed candles of the night,

    Had you been there, I think you would have begg'd

    The ring of me to give the worthy doctor.




    Let not that doctor e'er come near my house:

    Since he hath got the jewel that I loved,

    And that which you did swear to keep for me,

    I will become as liberal as you;

    I'll not deny him any thing I have,

    No, not my body nor my husband's bed:

    Know him I shall, I am well sure of it:

    Lie not a night from home; watch me like Argus:

    If you do not, if I be left alone,

    Now, by mine honour, which is yet mine own,

    I'll have that doctor for my bedfellow.




    And I his clerk; therefore be well advised

    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 highways

    In summer, where the ways are fair enough:

    What, are we cuckolds ere we have deserved it?




    Speak not so grossly. You are all amazed:

    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 bed-fellow:

    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: the first inter'gatory

    That my Nerissa shall be sworn on is,

    Whether till the next night she had rather stay,

    Or go to bed now, being two hours to day:

    But were the day come, I should wish it dark,

    That I were couching with the doctor's clerk.

    Well, while I live I'll fear no other thing

    So sore as keeping safe Nerissa's ring.