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The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

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That steales the colour from Bassianos cheeke,
Some deere friend dead, else nothing in the world
Could turne so much the constitution
Of any constant man. What, worse and worse?
With leaue Bassanio I am halfe your selfe,
And I must freely haue the halfe of any thing
That this same paper brings you

Bass. O sweet Portia,
Heere are a few of the vnpleasant'st words
That euer blotted paper. Gentle Ladie
When I did first impart my loue to you,
I freely told you all the wealth I had
Ran in my vaines: I was a Gentleman,
And then I told you true: and yet deere Ladie,
Rating my selfe at nothing, you shall see
How much I was a Braggart, when I told you
My state was nothing, I should then haue told you
That I was worse then nothing: for indeede
I haue ingag'd my selfe to a deere friend,
Ingag'd my friend to his meere enemie
To feede my meanes. Heere is a Letter Ladie,
The paper as the bodie of my friend,
And euerie word in it a gaping wound
Issuing life blood. But is it true Salerio,
Hath all his ventures faild, what not one hit,
From Tripolis, from Mexico and England,
From Lisbon, Barbary, and India,
And not one vessell scape the dreadfull touch
Of Merchant-marring rocks?
Sal. Not one my Lord.
Besides, it should appeare, that if he had
The present money to discharge the Iew,
He would not take it: neuer did I know
A creature that did beare the shape of man
So keene and greedy to confound a man.
He plyes the Duke at morning and at night,
And doth impeach the freedome of the state
If they deny him iustice. Twenty Merchants,
The Duke himselfe, and the Magnificoes
Of greatest port haue all perswaded with him,
But none can driue him from the enuious plea
Of forfeiture, of iustice, and his bond

Iessi. When I was with him, I haue heard him sweare
To Tuball and to Chus, his Countri-men,
That he would rather haue Anthonio's flesh,
Then twenty times the value of the summe
That he did owe him: and I know my Lord,
If law, authoritie, and power denie not,
It will goe hard with poore Anthonio

Por. Is it your deere friend that is thus in trouble?
Bass. The deerest friend to me, the kindest man,
The best condition'd, and vnwearied spirit
In doing curtesies: and one in whom
The ancient Romane honour more appeares
Then any that drawes breath in Italie

Por. What summe owes he the Iew?
Bass. For me three thousand ducats

Por. What, no more?
Pay him sixe thousand, and deface the bond:
Double sixe thousand, and then treble that,
Before a friend of this description
Shall lose a haire through Bassanio's fault.
First goe with me to Church, and call me wife,
And then away to Venice to your friend:
For neuer shall you lie by Portias side
With an vnquiet soule. You shall haue gold
To pay the petty debt twenty times ouer.
When it is payd, bring your true friend along,
My maid Nerrissa, and my selfe meane time
Will liue as maids and widdowes; come away,
For you shall hence vpon your wedding day:
Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheere,
Since you are deere bought, I will loue you deere.
But let me heare the letter of your friend.
Sweet Bassanio, my ships haue all miscarried, my Creditors
grow cruell, my estate is very low, my bond to the Iew is
forfeit, and since in paying it, it is impossible I should liue, all
debts are cleerd between you and I, if I might see you at my
death: notwithstanding, vse your pleasure, if your loue doe not
perswade you to come, let not my letter

Por. O loue! dispach all busines and be gone

Bass. Since I haue your good leaue to goe away,
I will make hast; but till I come againe,
No bed shall ere be guilty of my stay,
Nor rest be interposer twixt vs twaine.


Enter the Iew, and Solanio, and Anthonio, and the Iaylor.

Iew. Iaylor, looke to him, tell not me of mercy,
This is the foole that lends out money gratis.
Iaylor, looke to him

Ant. Heare me yet good Shylok

Iew. Ile haue my bond, speake not against my bond,
I haue sworne an oath that I will haue my bond:
Thou call'dst me dog before thou hadst a cause,
But since I am a dog, beware my phangs,
The Duke shall grant me iustice, I do wonder
Thou naughty Iaylor, that thou art so fond
To come abroad with him at his request

Ant. I pray thee heare me speake

Iew. Ile haue my bond, I will not heare thee speake,
Ile haue my bond, and therefore speake no more,
Ile not be made a soft and dull ey'd foole,
To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yeeld
To Christian intercessors: follow not,
Ile haue no speaking, I will haue my bond.

Exit Iew.

Sol. It is the most impenetrable curre
That euer kept with men

Ant. Let him alone,
Ile follow him no more with bootlesse prayers:
He seekes my life, his reason well I know;
I oft deliuer'd from his forfeitures
Many that haue at times made mone to me,
Therefore he hates me

Sol. I am sure the Duke will neuer grant
this forfeiture to hold

An. The Duke cannot deny the course of law:
For the commoditie that strangers haue
With vs in Venice, if it be denied,
Will much impeach the iustice of the State,
Since that the trade and profit of the citty
Consisteth of all Nations. Therefore goe,
These greefes and losses haue so bated mee,
That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh
To morrow, to my bloudy Creditor.
Well Iaylor, on, pray God Bassanio come
To see me pay his debt, and then I care not.


Enter Portia, Nerrissa, Lorenzo, Iessica, and a man of Portias.

Lor. Madam, although I speake it in your presence,
You haue a noble and a true conceit
Of god-like amity, which appeares most strongly
In bearing thus the absence of your Lord.
But if you knew to whom you shew this honour,
How true a Gentleman you send releefe,
How deere a louer of my Lord your husband,
I know you would be prouder of the worke
Then customary bounty can enforce you

Por. I neuer did repent for doing good,
Nor shall not now: for in companions
That do conuerse and waste the time together,
Whose soules doe beare an egal yoke of loue.
There must be needs a like proportion
Of lyniaments, of manners, and of spirit;
Which makes me thinke that this Anthonio
Being the bosome louer of my Lord,
Must needs be like my Lord. If it be so,
How little is the cost I haue bestowed
In purchasing the semblance of my soule;
From out the state of hellish cruelty,
This comes too neere the praising of my selfe,
Therefore no more of it: heere other things
Lorenso I commit into your hands,
The husbandry and mannage of my house,
Vntill my Lords returne; for mine owne part
I haue toward heauen breath'd a secret vow,
To liue in prayer and contemplation,
Onely attended by Nerrissa heere,
Vntill her husband and my Lords returne:
There is a monastery too miles off,
And there we will abide. I doe desire you
Not to denie this imposition,
The which my loue and some necessity
Now layes vpon you

Lorens. Madame, with all my heart,
I shall obey you in all faire commands

Por. My people doe already know my minde,
And will acknowledge you and Iessica
In place of Lord Bassanio and my selfe.
So far you well till we shall meete againe

Lor. Faire thoughts & happy houres attend on you

Iessi. I wish your Ladiship all hearts content

Por. I thanke you for your wish, and am well pleas'd
To wish it backe on you: faryouwell Iessica.


Now Balthaser, as I haue euer found thee honest true,
So let me finde thee still: take this same letter,
And vse thou all the indeauor of a man,
In speed to Mantua, see thou render this
Into my cosins hand, Doctor Belario,
And looke what notes and garments he doth giue thee,
Bring them I pray thee with imagin'd speed
Vnto the Tranect, to the common Ferrie
Which trades to Venice; waste no time in words,
But get thee gone, I shall be there before thee

Balth. Madam, I goe with all conuenient speed

Por. Come on Nerissa, I haue worke in hand
That you yet know not of; wee'll see our husbands
Before they thinke of vs?
Nerrissa. Shall they see vs?
Portia. They shall Nerrissa: but in such a habit,
That they shall thinke we are accomplished
With that we lacke; Ile hold thee any wager
When we are both accoutered like yong men,
Ile proue the prettier fellow of the two,
And weare my dagger with the brauer grace,
And speake betweene the change of man and boy,
With a reede voyce, and turne two minsing steps
Into a manly stride; and speake of frayes
Like a fine bragging youth: and tell quaint lyes
How honourable Ladies sought my loue,
Which I denying, they fell sicke and died.
I could not doe withall: then Ile repent,
And wish for all that, that I had not kil'd them;
And twentie of these punie lies Ile tell,
That men shall sweare I haue discontinued schoole
Aboue a twelue moneth: I haue within my minde
A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Iacks,
Which I will practise

Nerris. Why, shall wee turne to men?
Portia. Fie, what a questions that?
If thou wert nere a lewd interpreter:
But come, Ile tell thee all my whole deuice
When I am in my coach, which stayes for vs
At the Parke gate; and therefore haste away,
For we must measure twentie miles to day.


Enter Clowne and Iessica.

Clown. Yes truly; for looke you, the sinnes of the Father
are to be laid vpon the children, therefore I promise
you, I feare you, I was alwaies plaine with you, and so
now I speake my agitation of the matter: therfore be of
good cheere, for truly I thinke you are damn'd, there is
but one hope in it that can doe you anie good, and that is
but a kinde of bastard hope neither

Iessica. And what hope is that I pray thee?
Clow. Marrie you may partlie hope that your father
got you not, that you are not the Iewes daughter

Ies. That were a kinde of bastard hope indeed, so the
sins of my mother should be visited vpon me

Clow. Truly then I feare you are damned both by father
and mother: thus when I shun Scilla your father, I
fall into Charibdis your mother; well, you are gone both

Ies. I shall be sau'd by my husband, he hath made me
a Christian

Clow. Truly the more to blame he, we were Christians
enow before, e'ne as many as could wel liue one by another:
this making of Christians will raise the price of
Hogs, if wee grow all to be porke-eaters, wee shall not
shortlie haue a rasher on the coales for money.
Enter Lorenzo.

Ies. Ile tell my husband Lancelet what you say, heere
he comes

Loren. I shall grow iealous of you shortly Lancelet,
if you thus get my wife into corners?
Ies. Nay, you need not feare vs Lorenzo, Launcelet
and I are out, he tells me flatly there is no mercy for mee
in heauen, because I am a Iewes daughter: and hee saies
you are no good member of the common wealth, for
in conuerting Iewes to Christians, you raise the price
of Porke

Loren. I shall answere that better to the Commonwealth,
than you can the getting vp of the Negroes bellie:
the Moore is with childe by you Launcelet?
Clow. It is much that the Moore should be more then
reason: but if she be lesse then an honest woman, shee is
indeed more then I tooke her for

Loren. How euerie foole can play vpon the word, I
thinke the best grace of witte will shortly turne into silence,
and discourse grow commendable in none onely
but Parrats: goe in sirra, bid them prepare for dinner?
Clow. That is done sir, they haue all stomacks?
Loren. Goodly Lord, what a witte-snapper are you,
then bid them prepare dinner

Clow. That is done to sir, onely couer is the word

Loren. Will you couer than sir?
Clow. Not so sir neither, I know my dutie

Loren. Yet more quarreling with occasion, wilt thou
shew the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant; I pray
thee vnderstand a plaine man in his plaine meaning: goe
to thy fellowes, bid them couer the table, serue in the
meat, and we will come in to dinner

Clow. For the table sir, it shall be seru'd in, for the
meat sir, it shall bee couered, for your comming in to
dinner sir, why let it be as humors and conceits shall gouerne.

Exit Clowne.

Lor. O deare discretion, how his words are suted,
The foole hath planted in his memory
An Armie of good words, and I doe know
A many fooles that stand in better place,
Garnisht like him, that for a tricksie word
Defie the matter: how cheer'st thou Iessica,
And now good sweet say thy opinion,
How dost thou like the Lord Bassiano's wife?
Iessi. Past all expressing, it is very meete
The Lord Bassanio liue an vpright life
For hauing such a blessing in his Lady,
He findes the ioyes of heauen heere on earth,
And if on earth he doe not meane it, it
Is reason he should neuer come to heauen?
Why, if two gods should play some heauenly match,
And on the wager lay two earthly women,
And Portia one: there must be something else
Paund with the other, for the poore rude world
Hath not her fellow

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

Ies. Nay, but aske my opinion to of that?
Lor. I will anone, first let vs goe to dinner?
Ies. Nay, let me praise you while I haue a stomacke?
Lor. No pray thee, let it serue for table talke,
Then how som ere thou speakst 'mong other things,
I shall digest it?
Iessi. Well, Ile set you forth.


Actus Quartus.

Enter the Duke, the Magnificoes, Anthonio, Bassanio, and

Duke. What, is Anthonio heere?
Ant. Ready, so please your grace?
Duke. I am sorry for thee, thou art come to answere
A stonie aduersary, an inhumane wretch,
Vncapable of pitty, voyd, and empty
From any dram of mercie

Ant. I haue heard
Your Grace hath tane great paines to qualifie
His rigorous course: but since he stands obdurate,
And that no lawful meanes can carrie me
Out of his enuies reach, I do oppose
My patience to his fury, and am arm'd
To suffer with a quietnesse of spirit,
The very tiranny and rage of his

Du. Go one and cal the Iew into the Court

Sal. He is ready at the doore, he comes my Lord.
Enter Shylocke.

Du. Make roome, and let him stand before our face.
Shylocke the world thinkes, and I thinke so to
That thou but leadest this fashion of thy mallice
To the last houre of act, and then 'tis thought
Thou'lt shew thy mercy and remorse more strange,
Than is thy strange apparant cruelty;
And where thou now exact'st the penalty,
Which is a pound of this poore Merchants flesh,
Thou wilt not onely loose the forfeiture,
But touch'd with humane gentlenesse and loue:
Forgiue a moytie of the principall,
Glancing an eye of pitty on his losses
That haue of late so hudled on his backe,
Enow to presse a royall Merchant downe;
And plucke commiseration of his state
From brassie bosomes, and rough hearts of flints,
From stubborne Turkes and Tarters neuer traind
To offices of tender curtesie,
We all expect a gentle answer Iew?
Iew. I haue possest your grace of what I purpose,
And by our holy Sabbath haue I sworne
To haue the due and forfeit of my bond.
If you denie it, let the danger light
Vpon your Charter, and your Cities freedome.
You'l aske me why I rather choose to haue
A weight of carrion flesh, then to receiue
Three thousand Ducats? Ile not answer that:
But say it is my humor; Is it answered?
What if my house be troubled with a Rat,
And I be pleas'd to giue ten thousand Ducates
To haue it bain'd? What, are you answer'd yet?
Some men there are loue not a gaping Pigge:
Some that are mad, if they behold a Cat:
And others, when the bag-pipe sings i'th nose,
Cannot containe their Vrine for affection.
Masters of passion swayes it to the moode
Of what it likes or loaths, now for your answer:
As there is no firme reason to be rendred
Why he cannot abide a gaping Pigge?
Why he a harmlesse necessarie Cat?
Why he a woollen bag-pipe: but of force
Must yeeld to such ineuitable shame,
As to offend himselfe being offended:
So can I giue no reason, nor I will not,
More then a lodg'd hate, and a certaine loathing
I beare Anthonio, that I follow thus
A loosing suite against him? Are you answered?
Bass. This is no answer thou vnfeeling man,
To excuse the currant of thy cruelty

Iew. I am not bound to please thee with my answer

Bass. Do all men kil the things they do not loue?
Iew. Hates any man the thing he would not kill?
Bass. Euerie offence is not a hate at first

Iew. What wouldst thou haue a Serpent sting thee
Ant. I pray you thinke you question with the Iew:
You may as well go stand vpon the beach,
And bid the maine flood baite his vsuall height,
Or euen as well vse question with the Wolfe,
The Ewe bleate for the Lambe:
You may as well forbid the Mountaine Pines
To wagge their high tops, and to make no noise
When they are fretted with the gusts of heauen:
You may as well do any thing most hard,
As seeke to soften that, then which what harder?
His Iewish heart. Therefore I do beseech you
Make no more offers, vse no farther meanes,
But with all briefe and plaine conueniencie
Let me haue iudgement, and the Iew his will

Bas. For thy three thousand Ducates heere is six

Iew. If euerie Ducat in sixe thousand Ducates
Were in sixe parts, and euery part a Ducate,
I would not draw them, I would haue my bond?
Du. How shalt thou hope for mercie, rendring none?
Iew. What iudgement shall I dread doing no wrong?
You haue among you many a purchast slaue,
Which like your Asses, and your Dogs and Mules,
You vse in abiect and in slauish parts,
Because you bought them. Shall I say to you,
Let them be free, marrie them to your heires?
Why sweate they vnder burthens? Let their beds
Be made as soft as yours: and let their pallats
Be season'd with such Viands: you will answer
The slaues are ours. So do I answer you.
The pound of flesh which I demand of him
Is deerely bought, 'tis mine, and I will haue it.
If you deny me; fie vpon your Law,
There is no force in the decrees of Venice;
I stand for iudgement, answer, Shall I haue it?
Du. Vpon my power I may dismisse this Court,
Vnlesse Bellario a learned Doctor,
Whom I haue sent for to determine this,
Come heere to day

Sal. My Lord, heere stayes without
A Messenger with Letters from the Doctor,
New come from Padua

Du. Bring vs the Letters, Call the Messengers

Bass. Good cheere Anthonio. What man, corage yet:
The Iew shall haue my flesh, blood, bones, and all,
Ere thou shalt loose for me one drop of blood

Ant. I am a tainted Weather of the flocke,
Meetest for death, the weakest kinde of fruite
Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me;
You cannot better be employ'd Bassanio,
Then to liue still, and write mine Epitaph.
Enter Nerrissa.

Du. Came you from Padua from Bellario?
Ner. From both.
My Lord Bellario greets your Grace

Bas. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?
Iew. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrout there

Gra. Not on thy soale: but on thy soule harsh Iew
Thou mak'st thy knife keene: but no mettall can,
No, not the hangmans Axe beare halfe the keennesse
Of thy sharpe enuy. Can no prayers pierce thee?
Iew. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make

Gra. O be thou damn'd, inexecrable dogge,
And for thy life let iustice be accus'd:
Thou almost mak'st me wauer in my faith;
To hold opinion with Pythagoras,
That soules of Animals infuse themselues
Into the trunkes of men. Thy currish spirit
Gouern'd a Wolfe, who hang'd for humane slaughter,
Euen from the gallowes did his fell soule fleet;
And whil'st thou layest in thy vnhallowed dam,
Infus'd it selfe in thee: For thy desires
Are Woluish, bloody, steru'd, and rauenous

Iew. Till thou canst raile the seale from off my bond
Thou but offend'st thy Lungs to speake so loud:
Repaire thy wit good youth, or it will fall
To endlesse ruine. I stand heere for Law

Du. This Letter from Bellario doth commend
A yong and Learned Doctor in our Court;
Where is he?
Ner. He attendeth heere hard by
To know your answer, whether you'l admit him

Du. With all my heart. Some three or four of you
Go giue him curteous conduct to this place,
Meane time the Court shall heare Bellarioes Letter.
Your Grace shall vnderstand, that at the receite of your
Letter I am very sicke: but in the instant that your messenger
came, in louing visitation, was with me a yong Doctor
of Rome, his name is Balthasar: I acquainted him with
the cause in Controuersie, betweene the Iew and Anthonio
the Merchant: We turn'd ore many Bookes together: hee is
furnished with my opinion, which bettred with his owne learning,
the greatnesse whereof I cannot enough commend, comes
with him at my importunity, to fill vp your Graces request in
my sted. I beseech you, let his lacke of years be no impediment
to let him lacke a reuerend estimation: for I neuer knewe so
yong a body, with so old a head. I leaue him to your gracious
acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his commendation.
Enter Portia for Balthazar.

Duke. You heare the learn'd Bellario what he writes,
And heere (I take it) is the Doctor come.
Giue me your hand: Came you from old Bellario?
Por. I did my Lord

Du. You are welcome: take your place;
Are you acquainted with the difference
That holds this present question in the Court

Por. I am enformed throughly of the cause.
Which is the Merchant heere? and which the Iew?
Du. Anthonio and old Shylocke, both stand forth

Por. Is your name Shylocke?
Iew. Shylocke is my name

Por. Of a strange nature is the sute you follow,
Yet in such rule, that the Venetian Law
Cannot impugne you as you do proceed.
You stand within his danger, do you not?
Ant. I, so he sayes

Por. Do you confesse the bond?
Ant. I do

Por. Then must the Iew be mercifull

Iew. On what compulsion must I ? Tell me that

Por. The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle raine from heauen
Vpon the place beneath. It is twice blest,
It blesseth him that giues, and him that takes,
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest, it becomes
The throned Monarch better then his Crowne.
His Scepter shewes the force of temporall power,
The attribute to awe and Maiestie,
Wherein doth sit the dread and feare of Kings:
But mercy is aboue this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of Kings,
It is an attribute to God himselfe;
And earthly power doth then shew likest Gods
When mercie seasons Iustice. Therefore Iew,
Though Iustice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of Iustice, none of vs
Should see saluation: we do pray for mercie,
And that same prayer, doth teach vs all to render
The deeds of mercie. I haue spoke thus much
To mittigate the iustice of thy plea:
Which if thou follow, this strict course of Venice
Must needes giue sentence 'gainst the Merchant there

Shy. My deeds vpon my head, I craue the Law,
The penaltie and forfeite of my bond

Por. Is he not able to discharge the money?
Bas. Yes, heere I tender it for him in the Court,
Yea, twice the summe, if that will not suffice,
I will be bound to pay it ten times ore,
On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart:
If this will not suffice, it must appeare
That malice beares downe truth. And I beseech you
Wrest once the Law to your authority.
To do a great right, do a little wrong,
And curbe this cruell diuell of his will

Por. It must not be, there is no power in Venice
Can alter a decree established:
'Twill be recorded for a President,
And many an error by the same example,
Will rush into the state: It cannot be

Iew. A Daniel come to iudgement, yea a Daniel.
O wise young Iudge, how do I honour thee

Por. I pray you let me looke vpon the bond

Iew. Heere 'tis most reuerend Doctor, heere it is

Por. Shylocke, there's thrice thy monie offered thee

Shy. An oath, an oath, I haue an oath in heauen:
Shall I lay periurie vpon my soule?
No not for Venice

Por. Why this bond is forfeit,
And lawfully by this the Iew may claime
A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
Neerest the Merchants heart; be mercifull,
Take thrice thy money, bid me teare the bond

Iew. When it is paid according to the tenure.
It doth appeare you are a worthy Iudge:
You know the Law, your exposition
Hath beene most sound. I charge you by the Law,
Whereof you are a well-deseruing pillar,
Proceede to iudgement: By my soule I sweare,
There is no power in the tongue of man
To alter me: I stay heere on my bond

An. Most heartily I do beseech the Court
To giue the iudgement

Por. Why then thus it is:
You must prepare your bosome for his knife

Iew. O noble Iudge, O excellent yong man

Por. For the intent and purpose of the Law
Hath full relation to the penaltie,
Which heere appeareth due vpon the bond

Iew. 'Tis verie true: O wise and vpright Iudge,
How much more elder art thou then thy lookes?
Por. Therefore lay bare your bosome

Iew. I, his brest,
So sayes the bond, doth it not noble Iudge?
Neerest his heart, those are the very words

Por. It is so: Are there ballance heere to weigh the
Iew. I haue them ready

Por. Haue by some Surgeon Shylock on your charge
To stop his wounds, least he should bleede to death

Iew. It is not nominated in the bond?
Por. It is not so exprest: but what of that?
'Twere good you do so much for charitie

Iew. I cannot finde it, 'tis not in the bond

Por. Come Merchant, haue you any thing to say?
Ant. But little: I am arm'd and well prepar'd.
Giue me your hand Bassanio, fare you well.
Greeue not that I am falne to this for you:
For heerein fortune shewes her selfe more kinde
Then is her custome. It is still her vse
To let the wretched man out-liue his wealth,
To view with hollow eye, and wrinkled brow
An age of pouerty. From which lingring penance
Of such miserie, doth she cut me off:
Commend me to your honourable Wife,
Tell her the processe of Anthonio's end:
Say how I lou'd you; speake me faire in death:
And when the tale is told, bid her be iudge,
Whether Bassanio had not once a Loue:
Repent not you that you shall loose your friend,
And he repents not that he payes your debt.
For if the Iew do cut but deepe enough,
Ile pay it instantly, with all my heart

Bas. Anthonio, I am married to a wife,
Which is as deere to me as life it selfe,
But life it selfe, my wife, and all the world,
Are not with me esteem'd aboue thy life.
I would loose all, I sacrifice them all
Heere to this deuill, to deliuer you

Por. Your wife would giue you little thanks for that
If she were by to heare you make the offer

Gra. I haue a wife whom I protest I loue,
I would she were in heauen, so she could
Intreat some power to change this currish Iew

Ner. 'Tis well you offer it behinde her backe,
The wish would make else an vnquiet house

Iew. These be the Christian husbands: I haue a daughter
Would any of the stocke of Barrabas
Had beene her husband, rather then a Christian.
We trifle time, I pray thee pursue sentence

Por. A pound of that same marchants flesh is thine,
The Court awards it, and the law doth giue it

Iew. Most rightfull Iudge

Por. And you must cut this flesh from off his breast,
The Law allowes it, and the Court awards it

Iew. Most learned Iudge, a sentence, come prepare

Por. Tarry a little, there is something else,
This bond doth giue thee heere no iot of bloud,
The words expresly are a pound of flesh:
Then take thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh,
But in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian bloud, thy lands and goods
Are by the Lawes of Venice confiscate
Vnto the state of Venice

Gra. O vpright Iudge,
Marke Iew, o learned Iudge

Shy. Is that the law?
Por. Thy selfe shalt see the Act:
For as thou vrgest iustice, be assur'd
Thou shalt haue iustice more then thou desirest

Gra. O learned Iudge, mark Iew, a learned Iudge

Iew. I take this offer then, pay the bond thrice,
And let the Christian goe

Bass. Heere is the money

Por. Soft, the Iew shall haue all iustice, soft, no haste,
He shall haue nothing but the penalty

Gra. O Iew, an vpright Iudge, a learned Iudge

Por. Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh,
Shed thou no bloud, nor cut thou lesse nor more
But iust a pound of flesh: if thou tak'st more
Or lesse then a iust pound, be it so much
As makes it light or heauy in the substance,
Or the deuision of the twentieth part
Of one poore scruple, nay if the scale doe turne
But in the estimation of a hayre,
Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate

Gra. A second Daniel, a Daniel Iew,
Now infidell I haue thee on the hip

Por. Why doth the Iew pause, take thy forfeiture

Shy. Giue me my principall, and let me goe

Bass. I haue it ready for thee, heere it is

Por. He hath refus'd it in the open Court,
He shall haue meerly iustice and his bond

Gra. A Daniel still say I, a second Daniel,
I thanke thee Iew for teaching me that word

Shy. Shall I not haue barely my principall?
Por. Thou shalt haue nothing but the forfeiture,
To be taken so at thy perill Iew

Shy. Why then the Deuill giue him good of it:
Ile stay no longer question

Por. Tarry Iew,
The Law hath yet another hold on you.
It is enacted in the Lawes of Venice,
If it be proued against an Alien,
That by direct, or indirect attempts
He seeke the life of any Citizen,
The party gainst the which he doth contriue,
Shall seaze one halfe his goods, the other halfe
Comes to the priuie coffer of the State,
And the offenders life lies in the mercy
Of the Duke onely, gainst all other voice.
In which predicament I say thou standst:
For it appeares by manifest proceeding,
That indirectly, and directly to,
Thou hast contriu'd against the very life
Of the defendant: and thou hast incur'd
The danger formerly by me rehearst.
Downe therefore, and beg mercy of the Duke

Gra. Beg that thou maist haue leaue to hang thy selfe,
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 states charge

Duk. That thou shalt see the difference of our spirit,
I pardon thee thy life before thou aske it:
For halfe thy wealth, it is Anthonio's
The other halfe comes to the generall state,
Which humblenesse may driue vnto a fine

Por. I for the state, not for Anthonio

Shy. Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that,
You take my house, when you do take the prop
That doth sustaine my house: you take my life
When you doe take the meanes whereby I liue

Por. What mercy can you render him Anthonio?
Gra. A halter gratis, nothing else for Gods sake

Ant. So please my Lord the Duke, and all the Court
To quit the fine for one halfe of his goods,
I am content: so he will let me haue
The other halfe in vse, to render it
Vpon his death, vnto the Gentleman
That lately stole his daughter.
Two things prouided more, that for this fauour
He presently become a Christian:
The other, that he doe record a gift
Heere in the Court of all he dies possest
Vnto his sonne Lorenzo, and his daughter

Duk. He shall doe this, or else I doe recant
The pardon that I late pronounced heere

Por. Art thou contented Iew? what dost thou say?
Shy. I am content

Por. Clarke, draw a deed of gift

Shy. I pray you giue me leaue to goe from hence,
I am not well, send the deed after me,
And I will signe it

Duke. Get thee gone, but doe it

Gra. In christning thou shalt haue two godfathers,
Had I been iudge, thou shouldst haue had ten more,
To bring thee to the gallowes, not to the font.

Du. Sir I intreat you with me home to dinner

Por. I humbly doe desire your Grace of pardon,
I must away this night toward Padua,
And it is meete I presently set forth

Duk. I am sorry that your leysure serues you not:
Anthonio, gratifie this gentleman,
For in my minde you are much bound to him.

Exit Duke and his traine.

Bass. Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend
Haue by your wisedome beene this day acquitted
Of greeuous penalties, in lieu whereof,
Three thousand Ducats due vnto the Iew
We freely cope your curteous paines withall

An. And stand indebted ouer and aboue
In loue and seruice to you euermore

Por. He is well paid that is well satisfied,
And I deliuering you, am satisfied,
And therein doe account my selfe well paid,
My minde was neuer yet more mercinarie.
I pray you know me when we meete againe,
I wish you well, and so I take my leaue

Bass. Deare sir, of force I must attempt you further,
Take some remembrance of vs as a tribute,
Not as fee: grant me two things, I pray you
Not to denie me, and to pardon me

Por. You presse mee farre, and therefore I will yeeld,
Giue me your gloues, Ile weare them for your sake,
And for your loue Ile take this ring from you,
Doe not draw backe your hand, ile take no more,
And you in loue shall not deny me this?
Bass. This ring good sir, alas it is a trifle,
I will not shame my selfe to giue you this

Por. I wil haue nothing else but onely this,
And now methinkes I haue a minde to it

Bas. There's more depends on this then on the valew,
The dearest ring in Venice will I giue you,
And finde it out by proclamation,
Onely for this I pray you pardon me

Por. I see sir you are liberall in offers,
You taught me first to beg, and now me thinkes
You teach me how a beggar should be answer'd

Bas. Good sir, this ring was giuen me by my wife,
And when she put it on, she made me vow
That I should neither sell, nor giue, nor lose it

Por. That scuse serues many men to saue their gifts,
And if your wife be not a mad woman,
And know how well I haue deseru'd this ring,
Shee would not hold out enemy for euer
For giuing it to me: well, peace be with you.


Ant. My L[ord]. Bassanio, let him haue the ring,
Let his deseruings and my loue withall
Be valued against your wiues commandement

Bass. Goe Gratiano, run and ouer-take him,
Giue him the ring, and bring him if thou canst
Vnto Anthonios house, away, make haste.

Exit Grati.

Come, you and I will thither presently,
And in the morning early will we both
Flie toward Belmont, come Anthonio.


Enter Portia and Nerrissa.

Por. Enquire the Iewes house out, giue him this deed,
And let him signe it, wee'll away to night,
And be a day before our husbands home:
This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo.
Enter Gratiano.

Gra. Faire sir, you are well ore-tane:
My L[ord]. Bassanio vpon more aduice,
Hath sent you heere this ring, and doth intreat
Your company at dinner

Por. That cannot be;
His ring I doe accept most thankfully,
And so I pray you tell him: furthermore,
I pray you shew my youth old Shylockes house

Gra. That will I doe

Ner. Sir, I would speake with you:
Ile see if I can get my husbands ring
Which I did make him sweare to keepe for euer

Por. Thou maist I warrant, we shal haue old swearing
That they did giue the rings away to men;
But weele out-face them, and out-sweare them to:
Away, make haste, thou know'st where I will tarry

Ner. Come good sir, will you shew me to this house.


Actus Quintus.

Enter Lorenzo and Iessica.

Lor. The moone shines bright. In such a night as this,
When the sweet winde did gently kisse the trees,
And they did make no noyse, in such a night
Troylus me thinkes mounted the Troian walls,
And sigh'd his soule toward the Grecian tents
Where Cressed lay that night

Ies. In such a night
Did Thisbie fearefully ore-trip the dewe,
And saw the Lyons shadow ere himselfe,
And ranne dismayed away

Loren. In such a night
Stood Dido with a Willow in her hand
Vpon the wilde sea bankes, and waft her Loue
To come againe to Carthage

Ies. In such a night
Medea gathered the inchanted hearbs
That did renew old Eson

Loren. In such a night
Did Iessica steale from the wealthy Iewe,
And with an Vnthrift Loue did runne from Venice,
As farre as Belmont

Ies. In such a night
Did young Lorenzo sweare he lou'd her well,
Stealing her soule with many vowes of faith,
And nere a true one

Loren. In such a night
Did pretty Iessica (like a little shrow)
Slander her Loue, and he forgaue it her

Iessi. I would out-night you did no body come:
But harke, I heare the footing of a man.
Enter Messenger.

Lor. Who comes so fast in silence of the night?
Mes. A friend

Loren. A friend, what friend? your name I pray you friend?
Mes. Stephano is my name, and I bring word
My Mistresse will before the breake of day
Be heere at Belmont, she doth stray about
By holy crosses where she kneeles and prayes
For happy wedlocke houres

Loren. Who comes with her?
Mes. None but a holy Hermit and her maid:
I pray you is my Master yet return'd?
Loren. He is not, nor we haue not heard from him,
But goe we in I pray thee Iessica,
And ceremoniously let vs prepare
Some welcome for the Mistresse of the house,
Enter Clowne.

Clo. Sola, sola: wo ha ho, sola, sola

Loren. Who calls?
Clo. Sola, did you see M[aster]. Lorenzo, & M[aster]. Lorenzo,
Lor. Leaue hollowing man, heere

Clo. Sola, where, where?
Lor. Heere?
Clo. Tel him ther's a Post come from my Master, with
his horne full of good newes, my Master will be here ere
morning sweete soule

Loren. Let's in, and there expect their comming.
And yet no matter: why should we goe in?
My friend Stephen, signifie pray you
Within the house, your Mistresse is at hand,
And bring your musique foorth into the ayre.
How sweet the moone-light sleepes vpon this banke,
Heere will we sit, and let the sounds of musicke
Creepe in our eares soft stilnes, and the night
Become the tutches of sweet harmonie:
Sit Iessica, looke how the floore of heauen
Is thicke inlayed with pattens of bright gold,
There's not the smallest orbe which thou beholdst
But in his motion like an Angell sings,
Still quiring to the young eyed Cherubins;
Such harmonie is in immortall soules,
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grosly close in it, we cannot heare it:
Come hoe, and wake Diana with a hymne,
With sweetest tutches pearce your Mistresse eare,
And draw her home with musicke

Iessi. I am neuer merry when I heare sweet musique.

Play musicke.

Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentiue:
For doe but note a wilde and wanton heard
Or race of youthful and vnhandled colts,
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud,
Which is the hot condition of their bloud,
If they but heare perchance a trumpet sound,
Or any ayre of musicke touch their eares,
You shall perceiue them make a mutuall stand,
Their sauage eyes turn'd to a modest gaze,
By the sweet power of musicke: therefore the Poet
Did faine that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods.
Since naught so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
But musicke for time doth change his nature,
The man that hath no musicke in himselfe,
Nor is not moued with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoyles,
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections darke as Erobus,
Let no such man be trusted: marke the musicke.
Enter Portia and Nerrissa.

Por. That light we see is burning in my hall:
How farre that little candell throwes his beames,
So shines a good deed in a naughty world

Ner. When the moone shone we did not see the candle?
Por. So doth the greater glory dim the lesse,
A substitute shines brightly as a King
Vntill a King be by, and then his state
Empties it selfe, as doth an inland brooke
Into the maine of waters: musique, harke.


Ner. It is your musicke Madame of the house

Por. Nothing is good I see without respect,
Methinkes it sounds much sweeter then by day?
Ner. Silence bestowes that vertue on it Madam

Por. The Crow doth sing as sweetly as the Larke
When neither is attended: and I thinke
The Nightingale if she should sing by day
When euery Goose is cackling, would be thought
No better a Musitian then the Wren?
How many things by season, season'd are
To their right praise, and true perfection:
Peace, how the Moone sleepes with Endimion,
And would not be awak'd.

Musicke ceases.

Lor. That is the voice,
Or I am much deceiu'd of Portia

Por. He knowes me as the blinde man knowes the
Cuckow by the bad voice?
Lor. Deere Lady welcome home?
Por. We haue bene praying for our husbands welfare
Which speed we hope the better for our words,
Are they return'd?
Lor. Madam, they are not yet:
But there is come a Messenger before
To signifie their comming

Por. Go in Nerrissa,
Giue order to my seruants, that they take
No note at all of our being absent hence,
Nor you Lorenzo, Iessica nor you.

A Tucket sounds.

Lor. Your husband is at hand, I heare his Trumpet,
We are no tell-tales Madam, feare you not

Por. This night methinkes is but the daylight sicke,
It lookes a little paler, 'tis a day,
Such as the day is, when the Sun is hid.
Enter Bassanio, Anthonio, Gratiano, and their Followers.

Bas. We should hold day with the Antipodes,
If you would walke in absence of the sunne

Por. Let me giue light, but let me not be light,
For a light wife doth make a heauie husband,
And neuer be Bassanio so for me,
But God sort all: you are welcome home my Lord

Bass. I thanke you Madam, giue welcom to my friend
This is the man, this is Anthonio,
To whom I am so infinitely bound

Por. You should in all sence be much bound to him,
For as I heare he was much bound for you

Anth. No more then I am wel acquitted of

Por. Sir, you are verie welcome to our house:
It must appeare in other waies then words,
Therefore I scant this breathing curtesie

Gra. By yonder Moone I sweare you do me wrong,
Infaith I gaue it to the Iudges Clearke,
Would he were gelt that had it for my part,
Since you do take it Loue so much at hart

Por. A quarrel hoe alreadie, what's the matter?
Gra. About a hoope of Gold, a paltry Ring
That she did giue me, whose Poesie was
For all the world like Cutlers Poetry
Vpon a knife; Loue mee, and leaue mee not

Ner. What talke you of the Poesie or the valew:
You swore to me when I did giue it you,
That you would weare it til the houre of death,
And that it should lye with you in your graue,
Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,
You should haue beene respectiue and haue kept it.
Gaue it a Iudges Clearke: but wel I know
The Clearke wil nere weare haire on's face that had it

Gra. He wil, and if he liue to be a man

Nerrissa. I, if a Woman liue to be a man

Gra. Now by this hand I gaue it to a youth,
A kinde of boy, a little scrubbed boy,
No higher then thy selfe, the Iudges Clearke,
A prating boy that begg'd it as a Fee,
I could not for my heart deny it him

Por. You were too blame, I must be plaine with you,
To part so slightly with your wiues first gift,
A thing stucke on with oathes vpon your finger,
And so riueted with faith vnto your flesh.
I gaue my Loue a Ring, and made him sweare
Neuer to part with it, and heere he stands:
I dare be sworne for him, he would not leaue it,
Nor plucke it from his finger, for the wealth
That the world masters. Now in faith Gratiano,
You giue your wife too vnkinde a cause of greefe,
And 'twere to me I should be mad at it

Bass. Why I were best to cut my left hand off,
And sweare I lost the Ring defending it

Gra. My Lord Bassanio gaue his Ring away
Vnto the Iudge that beg'd it, and indeede
Deseru'd it too: and then the Boy his Clearke
That tooke some paines in writing, he begg'd mine,
And neyther man nor master would take ought
But the two Rings

Por. What Ring gaue you my Lord?
Not that I hope which you receiu'd of me

Bass. If I could adde a lie vnto a fault,
I would deny it: but you see my finger
Hath not the Ring vpon it, it is gone

Por. Euen so voide is your false heart of truth.
By heauen I wil nere come in your bed
Vntil I see the Ring

Ner. Nor I in yours, til I againe see mine

Bass. Sweet Portia,
If you did know to whom I gaue the Ring,
If you did know for whom I gaue the Ring,
And would conceiue for what I gaue the Ring,
And how vnwillingly I left the Ring,
When nought would be accepted but the Ring,
You would abate the strength of your displeasure?
Por. If you had knowne the vertue of the Ring,
Or halfe her worthinesse that gaue the Ring,
Or your owne honour to containe the Ring,
You would not then haue parted with the Ring:
What man is there so much vnreasonable,
If you had pleas'd to haue defended it
With any termes of Zeale: wanted the modestie
To vrge the thing held as a ceremonie:
Nerrissa teaches me what to beleeue,
Ile die for't, but some Woman had the Ring?
Bass. No by mine honor Madam, by my soule
No Woman had it, but a ciuill Doctor,
Which did refuse three thousand Ducates of me,
And beg'd the Ring; the which I did denie him,
And suffer'd him to go displeas'd away:
Euen he that had held vp the verie life
Of my deere friend. What should I say sweete Lady?
I was inforc'd to send it after him,
I was beset with shame and curtesie,
My honor would not let ingratitude
So much besmeare it. Pardon me good Lady,
And by these blessed Candles of the night,
Had you bene there, I thinke you would haue beg'd
The Ring of me, to giue the worthie Doctor?
Por. Let not that Doctor ere come neere my house,
Since he hath got the iewell that I loued,
And that which you did sweare to keepe for me,
I will become as liberall as you,
Ile not deny him any thing I haue,
No, not my body, nor my husbands bed:
Know him I shall, I am well sure of it.
Lie not a night from home. Watch me like Argos,
If you doe not, if I be left alone,
Now by mine honour which is yet mine owne,
Ile haue the Doctor for my bedfellow

Nerrissa. And I his Clarke: therefore be well aduis'd
How you doe leaue me to mine owne protection

Gra. Well, doe you so: let not me take him then,
For if I doe, ile mar the yong Clarks pen

Ant. I am th' vnhappy subiect of these quarrels

Por. Sir, grieue not you,
You are welcome notwithstanding

Bas. Portia, forgiue me this enforced wrong,
And in the hearing of these manie friends
I sweare to thee, euen by thine owne faire eyes
Wherein I see my selfe

Por. Marke you but that?
In both my eyes he doubly sees himselfe:
In each eye one, sweare by your double selfe,
And there's an oath of credit

Bas. Nay, but heare me.
Pardon this fault, and by my soule I sweare
I neuer more will breake an oath with thee

Anth. I once did lend my bodie for thy wealth,
Which but for him that had your husbands ring
Had quite miscarried. I dare be bound againe,
My soule vpon the forfeit, that your Lord
Will neuer more breake faith aduisedlie

Por. Then you shall be his suretie: giue him this,
And bid him keepe it better then the other

Ant. Heere Lord Bassanio, swear to keep this ring

Bass. By heauen it is the same I gaue the Doctor

Por. I had it of him: pardon Bassanio,
For by this ring the Doctor lay with me

Ner. And pardon me my gentle Gratiano,
For that same scrubbed boy the Doctors Clarke
In liew of this, last night did lye with me

Gra. Why this is like the mending of high waies
In Sommer, where the waies are faire enough:
What, are we Cuckolds ere we haue deseru'd it

Por. Speake not so grossely, you are all amaz'd;
Heere is a letter, reade it at your leysure,
It comes from Padua from Bellario,
There you shall finde that Portia was the Doctor,
Nerrissa there her Clarke. Lorenzo heere
Shall witnesse I set forth as soone as you,
And but eu'n now return'd: I haue not yet
Entred my house. Anthonio you are welcome,
And I haue better newes in store for you
Then you expect: vnseale this letter soone,
There you shall finde three of your Argosies
Are richly come to harbour sodainlie.
You shall not know by what strange accident
I chanced on this letter

Antho. I am dumbe

Bass. Were you the Doctor, and I knew you not?
Gra. Were you the Clark that is to make me cuckold

Ner. I, but the Clark that neuer meanes to doe it,
Vnlesse he liue vntill he be a man

Bass. (Sweet Doctor) you shall be my bedfellow,
When I am absent, then lie with my wife

An. (Sweet Ladie) you haue giuen me life & liuing;
For heere I reade for certaine that my ships
Are safelie come to Rode

Por. How now Lorenzo?
My Clarke hath some good comforts to for you

Ner. I, and Ile giue them him without a fee.
There doe I giue to you and Iessica
From the rich Iewe, a speciall deed of gift
After his death, of all he dies possess'd of

Loren. Faire Ladies you drop Manna in the way
Of starued people

Por. It is almost morning,
And yet I am sure you are not satisfied
Of these euents at full. Let vs goe in,
And charge vs there vpon intergatories,
And we will answer all things faithfully

Gra. Let it be so, the first intergatory
That my Nerrissa shall be sworne on, is,
Whether till the next night she had rather stay,
Or goe to bed, now being two houres to day,
But were the day come, I should wish it darke,
Till I were couching with the Doctors Clarke.
Well, while I liue, Ile feare no other thing
So sore, as keeping safe Nerrissas ring.


FINIS. The Merchant of Venice.

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