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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare The Merchant of Venice

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SCENE:
Venice, and PORTIA'S house at Belmont

ACT 1. SCENE I.
Venice. A street

Enter ANTONIO, SALERIO, and SOLANIO

ANTONIO. 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.
SALERIO. 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.
SOLANIO. 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.
SALERIO. My wind, cooling my broth,
Would blow me to an ague when I thought
What harm a wind too great might do at sea.
I should not see the sandy hour-glass run
But I should think of shallows and of flats,
And see my wealthy Andrew dock'd in sand,
Vailing her high top lower than her ribs
To kiss her burial. Should I go to church
And see the holy edifice of stone,
And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks,
Which, touching but my gentle vessel's side,
Would scatter all her spices on the stream,
Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks,
And, in a word, but even now worth this,
And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought
To think on this, and shall I lack the thought
That such a thing bechanc'd would make me sad?
But tell not me; I know Antonio
Is sad to think upon his merchandise.
ANTONIO. 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.
SOLANIO. Why then you are in love.
ANTONIO. Fie, fie!
SOLANIO. Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sad
Because you are not merry; and 'twere as easy
For you to laugh and leap and say you are merry,
Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed Janus,
Nature hath fram'd strange fellows in her time:
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes,
And laugh like parrots at a bag-piper;
And other of such vinegar aspect
That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile
Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.

Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO

Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman,
Gratiano and Lorenzo. Fare ye well;
We leave you now with better company.
SALERIO. I would have stay'd till I had made you merry,
If worthier friends had not prevented me.
ANTONIO. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
I take it your own business calls on you,
And you embrace th' occasion to depart.
SALERIO. Good morrow, my good lords.
BASSANIO. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? Say when.
You grow exceeding strange; must it be so?
SALERIO. We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.
Exeunt SALERIO and SOLANIO
LORENZO. 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.
BASSANIO. I will not fail you.
GRATIANO. You look not well, Signior Antonio;
You have too much respect upon the world;
They lose it that do buy it with much care.
Believe me, you are marvellously chang'd.
ANTONIO. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano-
A stage, where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.
GRATIANO. Let me play the fool.
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come;
And let my liver rather heat with wine
Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.
Why should a man whose blood is warm within
Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster,
Sleep when he wakes, and creep into the jaundice
By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio-
I love thee, and 'tis my love that speaks-
There are a sort of men whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,
And do a wilful stillness entertain,
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;
As who should say 'I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips let no dog bark.'
O my Antonio, I do know of these
That therefore only are reputed wise
For saying nothing; when, I am very sure,
If they should speak, would almost damn those ears
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools.
I'll tell thee more of this another time.
But fish not with this melancholy bait
For this fool gudgeon, this opinion.
Come, good Lorenzo. Fare ye well awhile;
I'll end my exhortation after dinner.
LORENZO. 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.
GRATIANO. Well, keep me company but two years moe,
Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.
ANTONIO. Fare you well; I'll grow a talker for this gear.
GRATIANO. Thanks, i' faith, for silence is only commendable
In a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible.
Exeunt GRATIANO and LORENZO
ANTONIO. Is that anything now?
BASSANIO. 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.
ANTONIO. Well; tell me now what lady is the same
To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
That you to-day promis'd to tell me of?
BASSANIO. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
How much I have disabled mine estate
By something showing a more swelling port
Than my faint means would grant continuance;
Nor do I now make moan to be abridg'd
From such a noble rate; but my chief care
Is to come fairly off from the great debts
Wherein my time, something too prodigal,
Hath left me gag'd. To you, Antonio,
I owe the most, in money and in love;
And from your love I have a warranty
To unburden all my plots and purposes
How to get clear of all the debts I owe.
ANTONIO. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
And if it stand, as you yourself still do,
Within the eye of honour, be assur'd
My purse, my person, my extremest means,
Lie all unlock'd to your occasions.
BASSANIO. 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.
ANTONIO. 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.
BASSANIO. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
And she is fair and, fairer than that word,
Of wondrous virtues. Sometimes from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages.
Her name is Portia- nothing undervalu'd
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia.
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth;
For the four winds blow in from every coast
Renowned suitors, and her sunny locks
Hang on her temples like a golden fleece,
Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos' strond,
And many Jasons come in quest of her.
O my Antonio, had I but the means
To hold a rival place with one of them,
I have a mind presages me such thrift
That I should questionless be fortunate.
ANTONIO. 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. Exeunt

SCENE 2.
Belmont. PORTIA'S house

Enter PORTIA with her waiting-woman, NERISSA

PORTIA. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this
great world.
NERISSA. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in
the
same abundance as your good fortunes are; and yet, for aught
I
see, they are as sick that surfeit with too much as they that
starve with nothing. It is no mean happiness, therefore, to
be
seated in the mean: superfluity come sooner by white hairs,
but
competency lives longer.
PORTIA. Good sentences, and well pronounc'd.
NERISSA. They would be better, if well followed.
PORTIA. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do,
chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottages princes'
palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own
instructions; I
can easier teach twenty what were good to be done than to be
one
of the twenty to follow mine own teaching. The brain may
devise
laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold
decree;
such a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of
good
counsel the cripple. But this reasoning is not in the fashion
to
choose me a husband. O me, the word 'choose'! I may neither
choose who I would nor refuse who I dislike; so is the will
of a
living daughter curb'd by the will of a dead father. Is it
not
hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none?
NERISSA. Your father was ever virtuous, and holy men at their
death
have good inspirations; therefore the lott'ry that he hath
devised in these three chests, of gold, silver, and lead-
whereof
who chooses his meaning chooses you- will no doubt never be
chosen by any rightly but one who you shall rightly love. But
what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these
princely suitors that are already come?
PORTIA. I pray thee over-name them; and as thou namest them, I
will
describe them; and according to my description, level at my
affection.
NERISSA. First, there is the Neapolitan prince.
PORTIA. 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 afear'd my lady
his
mother play'd false with a smith.
NERISSA. Then is there the County Palatine.
PORTIA. He doth nothing but frown, as who should say 'An you
will
not have me, choose.' He hears merry tales and smiles not. I
fear
he will prove the weeping philosopher when he grows old,
being so
full of unmannerly sadness in his youth. I had rather be
married
to a death's-head with a bone in his mouth than to either of
these. God defend me from these two!
NERISSA. How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?
PORTIA. 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-cap'ring; 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.
NERISSA. What say you then to Falconbridge, the young baron of
England?
PORTIA. You know I say nothing to him, for he understands not
me,
nor I him: he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian, and
you
will come into the court and swear that I have a poor
pennyworth
in the English. He is a proper man's picture; but alas, who
can
converse with a dumb-show? How oddly he is suited! I think he
bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his
bonnet
in Germany, and his behaviour everywhere.
NERISSA. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?
PORTIA. 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 seal'd under for another.
NERISSA. How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony's
nephew?
PORTIA. Very vilely in the morning when he is sober; and most
vilely in the afternoon when he is drunk. When he is best, he
is
a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little
better than a beast. An the worst fall that ever fell, I hope
I
shall make shift to go without him.
NERISSA. 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.
PORTIA. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee set a
deep
glass of Rhenish wine on the contrary casket; for if the
devil be
within and that temptation without, I know he will choose it.
I
will do anything, Nerissa, ere I will be married to a sponge.
NERISSA. 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.
PORTIA. 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.
NERISSA. 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?
PORTIA. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, so was he
call'd.
NERISSA. True, madam; he, of all the men that ever my foolish
eyes
look'd upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.
PORTIA. I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of thy
praise.

Enter a SERVINGMAN

How now! what news?
SERVINGMAN. 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.
PORTIA. If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good heart as
I
can bid the other four farewell, I should be glad of his
approach; if he have the condition of a saint and the
complexion
of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me.
Come, Nerissa. Sirrah, go before.
Whiles we shut the gate upon one wooer, another knocks at the
door. Exeunt

SCENE 3.
Venice. A public place

Enter BASSANIO With SHYLOCK the Jew

SHYLOCK. Three thousand ducats- well.
BASSANIO. Ay, sir, for three months.
SHYLOCK. For three months- well.
BASSANIO. For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound.
SHYLOCK. Antonio shall become bound- well.
BASSANIO. May you stead me? Will you pleasure me? Shall I know
your
answer?
SHYLOCK. Three thousand ducats for three months, and Antonio
bound.
BASSANIO. Your answer to that.
SHYLOCK. Antonio is a good man.
BASSANIO. Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?
SHYLOCK. Ho, no, no, no, no; my meaning in saying he is a good
man
is to have you understand me that he is sufficient; yet his
means
are in supposition: he hath an argosy bound to Tripolis,
another
to the Indies; I understand, moreover, upon the Rialto, he
hath a
third at Mexico, a fourth for England- and other ventures he
hath, squand'red 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.
BASSANIO. Be assur'd you may.
SHYLOCK. I will be assur'd I may; and, that I may be assured, I
will bethink me. May I speak with Antonio?
BASSANIO. If it please you to dine with us.
SHYLOCK. 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

BASSANIO. This is Signior Antonio.
SHYLOCK. [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!
BASSANIO. Shylock, do you hear?
SHYLOCK. I am debating of my present store,
And, by the near guess of my memory,
I cannot instantly raise up the gross
Of full three thousand ducats. What of that?
Tubal, a wealthy Hebrew of my tribe,
Will furnish me. But soft! how many months
Do you desire? [To ANTONIO] Rest you fair, good signior;
Your worship was the last man in our mouths.
ANTONIO. Shylock, albeit I neither lend nor borrow
By taking nor by giving of excess,
Yet, to supply the ripe wants of my friend,
I'll break a custom. [To BASSANIO] Is he yet possess'd
How much ye would?
SHYLOCK. Ay, ay, three thousand ducats.
ANTONIO. And for three months.
SHYLOCK. I had forgot- three months; you told me so.
Well then, your bond; and, let me see- but hear you,
Methoughts you said you neither lend nor borrow
Upon advantage.
ANTONIO. I do never use it.
SHYLOCK. When Jacob graz'd his uncle Laban's sheep-
This Jacob from our holy Abram was,
As his wise mother wrought in his behalf,
The third possessor; ay, he was the third-
ANTONIO. And what of him? Did he take interest?
SHYLOCK. No, not take interest; not, as you would say,
Directly int'rest; mark what Jacob did:
When Laban and himself were compromis'd
That all the eanlings which were streak'd and pied
Should fall as Jacob's hire, the ewes, being rank,
In end of autumn turned to the rams;
And when the work of generation was
Between these woolly breeders in the act,
The skilful shepherd pill'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.
ANTONIO. This was a venture, sir, that Jacob serv'd for;
A thing not in his power to bring to pass,
But sway'd and fashion'd by the hand of heaven.
Was this inserted to make interest good?
Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?
SHYLOCK. I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast.
But note me, signior.
ANTONIO. [Aside] 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!
SHYLOCK. Three thousand ducats- 'tis a good round sum.
Three months from twelve; then let me see, the rate-
ANTONIO. Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you?
SHYLOCK. Signior Antonio, many a time and oft
In the Rialto you have rated me
About my moneys and my usances;
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,
For suff'rance is the badge of all our tribe;
You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,
And 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 whisp'ring humbleness,
Say this:
'Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last,
You spurn'd me such a day; another time
You call'd me dog; and for these courtesies
I'll lend you thus much moneys'?
ANTONIO. 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.
SHYLOCK. 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.
BASSANIO. This were kindness.
SHYLOCK. 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.
ANTONIO. Content, in faith; I'll seal to such a bond,
And say there is much kindness in the Jew.
BASSANIO. You shall not seal to such a bond for me;
I'll rather dwell in my necessity.
ANTONIO. 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.
SHYLOCK. 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.
ANTONIO. Yes, Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.
SHYLOCK. Then meet me forthwith at the notary's;
Give him direction for this merry bond,
And I will go and purse the ducats straight,
See to my house, left in the fearful guard
Of an unthrifty knave, and presently
I'll be with you.
ANTONIO. Hie thee, gentle Jew. Exit SHYLOCK
The Hebrew will turn Christian: he grows kind.
BASSANIO. I like not fair terms and a villain's mind.
ANTONIO. Come on; in this there can be no dismay;
My ships come home a month before the day. Exeunt

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ACT 2. SCENE I.
Belmont. PORTIA'S house

Flourish of cornets. Enter the PRINCE of MOROCCO, a tawny Moor
all in white,
and three or four FOLLOWERS accordingly, with PORTIA, NERISSA,
and train

PRINCE OF Morocco. Mislike me not for my complexion,
The shadowed livery of the burnish'd sun,
To whom I am a neighbour, and near bred.
Bring me the fairest creature northward born,
Where Phoebus' fire scarce thaws the icicles,
And let us make incision for your love
To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine.
I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine
Hath fear'd the valiant; by my love, I swear
The best-regarded virgins of our clime
Have lov'd it too. I would not change this hue,
Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.
PORTIA. In terms of choice I am not solely led
By nice direction of a maiden's eyes;
Besides, the lott'ry of my destiny
Bars me the right of voluntary choosing.
But, if my father had not scanted me,
And hedg'd me by his wit to yield myself
His wife who wins me by that means I told you,
Yourself, renowned Prince, then stood as fair
As any comer I have look'd on yet
For my affection.
PRINCE OF MOROCCO. Even for that I thank you.
Therefore, I pray you, lead me to the caskets
To try my fortune. By this scimitar,
That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince,
That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,
I would o'erstare the sternest eyes that look,
Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth,
Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,
Yea, mock the lion when 'a 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.
PORTIA. You must take your chance,
And either not attempt to choose at all,
Or swear before you choose, if you choose wrong,
Never to speak to lady afterward
In way of marriage; therefore be advis'd.
PRINCE OF MOROCCO. Nor will not; come, bring me unto my chance.
PORTIA. First, forward to the temple. After dinner
Your hazard shall be made.
PRINCE OF MOROCCO. Good fortune then,
To make me blest or cursed'st among men!
[Cornets, and exeunt]

SCENE 2.
Venice. A street

Enter LAUNCELOT GOBBO

LAUNCELOT. 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 rul'd 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 incarnation; and, in my conscience, my
conscience is but a kind of hard conscience to offer to
counsel
me to stay with the Jew. The fiend gives the more friendly
counsel. I will run, fiend; my heels are at your commandment;
I
will run.

Enter OLD GOBBO, with a basket

GOBBO. Master young man, you, I pray you, which is the way to
master Jew's?
LAUNCELOT. [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.
GOBBO. Master young gentleman, I pray you, which is the way to
master Jew's?
LAUNCELOT. 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.
GOBBO. Be God's sonties, 'twill be a hard way to hit! Can you
tell
me whether one Launcelot, that dwells with him, dwell with
him or
no?
LAUNCELOT. Talk you of young Master Launcelot? [Aside] Mark
me
now; now will I raise the waters.- Talk you of young Master
Launcelot?
GOBBO. No master, sir, but a poor man's son; his father, though
I
say't, is an honest exceeding poor man, and, God be thanked,
well
to live.
LAUNCELOT. Well, let his father be what 'a will, we talk of
young
Master Launcelot.
GOBBO. Your worship's friend, and Launcelot, sir.
LAUNCELOT. But I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech you,
talk
you of young Master Launcelot?
GOBBO. Of Launcelot, an't please your mastership.
LAUNCELOT. 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.
GOBBO. Marry, God forbid! The boy was the very staff of my age,
my
very prop.
LAUNCELOT. Do I look like a cudgel or a hovel-post, a staff or
a
prop? Do you know me, father?
GOBBO. 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?
LAUNCELOT. Do you not know me, father?
GOBBO. Alack, sir, I am sand-blind; I know you not.
LAUNCELOT. Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of
the
knowing me: it is a wise father that knows his own child.
Well,
old man, I will tell you news of your son. Give me your
blessing;
truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long; a man's
son
may, but in the end truth will out.
GOBBO. Pray you, sir, stand up; I am sure you are not Launcelot
my
boy.
LAUNCELOT. Pray you, let's have no more fooling about it, but
give
me your blessing; I am Launcelot, your boy that was, your son
that is, your child that shall be.
GOBBO. I cannot think you are my son.
LAUNCELOT. 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.
GOBBO. Her name is Margery, indeed. I'll be sworn, if thou be
Launcelot, thou art mine own flesh and blood. Lord worshipp'd
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.
LAUNCELOT. 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.
GOBBO. Lord, how art thou chang'd! How dost thou and thy master
agree? I have brought him a present. How 'gree you now?
LAUNCELOT. 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 famish'd in his service; you may tell every finger I have
with
my ribs. Father, I am glad you are come; give me your present
to
one Master Bassanio, who indeed gives rare new liveries; if I
serve not him, I will run as far as God has any ground. O
rare
fortune! Here comes the man. To him, father, for I am a Jew,
if I
serve the Jew any longer.

Enter BASSANIO, with LEONARDO, with a FOLLOWER or two

BASSANIO. 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
LAUNCELOT. To him, father.
GOBBO. God bless your worship!
BASSANIO. Gramercy; wouldst thou aught with me?
GOBBO. Here's my son, sir, a poor boy-
LAUNCELOT. Not a poor boy, sir, but the rich Jew's man, that
would,
sir, as my father shall specify-
GOBBO. He hath a great infection, sir, as one would say, to
serve-
LAUNCELOT. Indeed the short and the long is, I serve the Jew,
and
have a desire, as my father shall specify-
GOBBO. His master and he, saving your worship's reverence, are
scarce cater-cousins-
LAUNCELOT. 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-
GOBBO. I have here a dish of doves that I would bestow upon
your
worship; and my suit is-
LAUNCELOT. 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.
BASSANIO. One speak for both. What would you?
LAUNCELOT. Serve you, sir.
GOBBO. That is the very defect of the matter, sir.
BASSANIO. I know thee well; thou hast obtain'd thy suit.
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.
LAUNCELOT. 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.
BASSANIO. Thou speak'st it well. Go, father, with thy son.
Take leave of thy old master, and inquire
My lodging out. [To a SERVANT] Give him a livery
More guarded than his fellows'; see it done.
LAUNCELOT. Father, in. I cannot get a service, no! I have ne'er
a
tongue in my head! [Looking on his palm] Well; if any man
in
Italy have a fairer table which doth offer to swear upon a
book- 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;
a'leven widows and nine maids is a simple coming-in for one
man.
And then to scape drowning thrice, and to be in peril of my
life
with the edge of a feather-bed-here are simple scapes. Well,
if
Fortune be a woman, she's a good wench for this gear. Father,
come; I'll take my leave of the Jew in the twinkling.
Exeunt LAUNCELOT and OLD GOBBO
BASSANIO. I pray thee, good Leonardo, think on this.
These things being bought and orderly bestowed,
Return in haste, for I do feast to-night
My best esteem'd acquaintance; hie thee, go.
LEONARDO. My best endeavours shall be done herein.

Enter GRATIANO

GRATIANO. Where's your master?
LEONARDO. Yonder, sir, he walks. Exit
GRATIANO. Signior Bassanio!
BASSANIO. Gratiano!
GRATIANO. I have suit to you.
BASSANIO. You have obtain'd it.
GRATIANO. You must not deny me: I must go with you to Belmont.
BASSANIO. Why, then you must. But hear thee, Gratiano:
Thou art too wild, too rude, and bold of voice-
Parts that become thee happily enough,
And in such eyes as ours appear not faults;
But where thou art not known, why there they show
Something too liberal. Pray thee, take pain
To allay with some cold drops of modesty
Thy skipping spirit; lest through thy wild behaviour
I be misconst'red in the place I go to
And lose my hopes.
GRATIANO. 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.
BASSANIO. Well, we shall see your bearing.
GRATIANO. Nay, but I bar to-night; you shall not gauge me
By what we do to-night.
BASSANIO. 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.
GRATIANO. And I must to Lorenzo and the rest;
But we will visit you at supper-time. Exeunt

SCENE 3.
Venice. SHYLOCK'S house

Enter JESSICA and LAUNCELOT

JESSICA. 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.
LAUNCELOT. Adieu! tears exhibit my tongue. Most beautiful
pagan,
most sweet Jew! If a Christian do not play the knave and get
thee, I am much deceived. But, adieu! these foolish drops do
something drown my manly spirit; adieu!
JESSICA. Farewell, good Launcelot. Exit LAUNCELOT
Alack, what heinous sin is it in me
To be asham'd to be my father's child!
But though I am a daughter to his blood,
I am not to his manners. O Lorenzo,
If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife,
Become a Christian and thy loving wife. Exit

SCENE 4.
Venice. A street

Enter GRATIANO, LORENZO, SALERIO, and SOLANIO

LORENZO. Nay, we will slink away in suppertime,
Disguise us at my lodging, and return
All in an hour.
GRATIANO. We have not made good preparation.
SALERIO. We have not spoke us yet of torch-bearers.
SOLANIO. 'Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly ordered;
And better in my mind not undertook.
LORENZO. 'Tis now but four o'clock; we have two hours
To furnish us.

Enter LAUNCELOT, With a letter

Friend Launcelot, what's the news?
LAUNCELOT. An it shall please you to break up this, it shall
seem
to signify.
LORENZO. I know the hand; in faith, 'tis a fair hand,
And whiter than the paper it writ on
Is the fair hand that writ.
GRATIANO. Love-news, in faith!
LAUNCELOT. By your leave, sir.
LORENZO. Whither goest thou?
LAUNCELOT. Marry, sir, to bid my old master, the Jew, to sup
to-night with my new master, the Christian.
LORENZO. 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 to-night?
I am provided of a torch-bearer.
SALERIO. Ay, marry, I'll be gone about it straight.
SOLANIO. And so will I.
LORENZO. Meet me and Gratiano
At Gratiano's lodging some hour hence.
SALERIO. 'Tis good we do so. Exeunt SALERIO and SOLANIO
GRATIANO. Was not that letter from fair Jessica?
LORENZO. I must needs tell thee all. She hath directed
How I shall take her from her father's house;
What gold and jewels she is furnish'd with;
What page's suit she hath in readiness.
If e'er the Jew her father come to heaven,
It will be for his gentle daughter's sake;
And never dare misfortune cross her foot,
Unless she do it under this excuse,
That she is issue to a faithless Jew.
Come, go with me, peruse this as thou goest;
Fair Jessica shall be my torch-bearer. Exeunt

SCENE 5.
Venice. Before SHYLOCK'S house

Enter SHYLOCK and LAUNCELOT

SHYLOCK. Well, thou shalt see; thy eyes shall be thy judge,
The difference of old Shylock and Bassanio.-
What, Jessica!- Thou shalt not gormandize
As thou hast done with me- What, Jessica!-
And sleep and snore, and rend apparel out-
Why, Jessica, I say!
LAUNCELOT. Why, Jessica!
SHYLOCK. Who bids thee call? I do not bid thee call.
LAUNCELOT. Your worship was wont to tell me I could do nothing
without bidding.

Enter JESSICA

JESSICA. Call you? What is your will?
SHYLOCK. 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.
LAUNCELOT. I beseech you, sir, go; my young master doth expect
your
reproach.
SHYLOCK. So do I his.
LAUNCELOT. And they have conspired together; I will not say you
shall see a masque, but if you do, then it was not for
nothing
that my nose fell a-bleeding on Black Monday last at six
o'clock
i' th' morning, falling out that year on Ash Wednesday was
four
year, in th' afternoon.
SHYLOCK. What, are there masques? Hear you me, Jessica:
Lock up my doors, and when you hear the drum,
And the vile squealing of the wry-neck'd fife,
Clamber not you up to the casements then,
Nor thrust your head into the public street
To gaze on Christian fools with varnish'd faces;
But stop my house's ears- I mean my casements;
Let not the sound of shallow fopp'ry enter
My sober house. By Jacob's staff, I swear
I have no mind of feasting forth to-night;
But I will go. Go you before me, sirrah;
Say I will come.
LAUNCELOT. I will go before, sir. Mistress, look out at window
for
all this.
There will come a Christian by
Will be worth a Jewess' eye. Exit
SHYLOCK. What says that fool of Hagar's offspring, ha?
JESSICA. His words were 'Farewell, mistress'; nothing else.
SHYLOCK. The patch is kind enough, but a huge feeder,
Snail-slow in profit, and he sleeps by day
More than the wild-cat; drones hive not with me,
Therefore I part with him; and part with him
To one that I would have him help to waste
His borrowed 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. Exit
JESSICA. Farewell; and if my fortune be not crost,
I have a father, you a daughter, lost. Exit

SCENE 6.
Venice. Before SHYLOCK'S house

Enter the maskers, GRATIANO and SALERIO

GRATIANO. This is the pent-house under which Lorenzo
Desired us to make stand.
SALERIO. His hour is almost past.
GRATIANO. And it is marvel he out-dwells his hour,
For lovers ever run before the clock.
SALERIO. O, ten times faster Venus' pigeons fly
To seal love's bonds new made than they are wont
To keep obliged faith unforfeited!
GRATIANO. 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 enjoyed.
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!

Enter LORENZO

SALERIO. Here comes Lorenzo; more of this hereafter.
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

JESSICA. Who are you? Tell me, for more certainty,
Albeit I'll swear that I do know your tongue.
LORENZO. Lorenzo, and thy love.
JESSICA. Lorenzo, certain; and my love indeed;
For who love I so much? And now who knows
But you, Lorenzo, whether I am yours?
LORENZO. Heaven and thy thoughts are witness that thou art.
JESSICA. Here, catch this casket; it is worth the pains.
I am glad 'tis night, you do not look on me,
For I am much asham'd of my exchange;
But love is blind, and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit,
For, if they could, Cupid himself would blush
To see me thus transformed to a boy.
LORENZO. Descend, for you must be my torch-bearer.
JESSICA. What! must I hold a candle to my shames?
They in themselves, good sooth, are too too light.
Why, 'tis an office of discovery, love,
And I should be obscur'd.
LORENZO. 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.
JESSICA. I will make fast the doors, and gild myself
With some moe ducats, and be with you straight.
Exit above

GRATIANO. Now, by my hood, a gentle, and no Jew.
LORENZO. Beshrew me, but I love her heartily,
For she is wise, if I can judge of her,
And fair she is, if that mine eyes be true,
And true she is, as she hath prov'd herself;
And therefore, like herself, wise, fair, and true,
Shall she be placed in my constant soul.

Enter JESSICA, below

What, art thou come? On, gentlemen, away;
Our masquing mates by this time for us stay.
Exit with JESSICA and SALERIO

Enter ANTONIO

ANTONIO. Who's there?
GRATIANO. Signior Antonio?
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.
GRATIANO. I am glad on't; I desire no more delight
Than to be under sail and gone to-night. Exeunt

SCENE 7.
Belmont. PORTIA's house

Flourish of cornets. Enter PORTIA, with the PRINCE OF MOROCCO,
and their trains

PORTIA. Go draw aside the curtains and discover
The several caskets to this noble Prince.
Now make your choice.
PRINCE OF MOROCCO. The first, of gold, who this inscription
bears:
'Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.'
The second, silver, which this promise carries:
'Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.'
This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt:
'Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.'
How shall I know if I do choose the right?
PORTIA. The one of them contains my picture, Prince;
If you choose that, then I am yours withal.
PRINCE OF MOROCCO. Some god direct my judgment! Let me see;
I will survey th' 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 beest rated by thy estimation,
Thou dost deserve enough, and yet enough
May not extend so far as to the lady;
And yet to be afeard of my deserving
Were but a weak disabling of myself.
As much as I deserve? Why, that's the lady!
I do in birth deserve her, and in fortunes,
In graces, and in qualities of breeding;
But more than these, in love I do deserve.
What if I stray'd no farther, but chose here?
Let's see once more this saying grav'd in gold:
'Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.'
Why, that's the lady! All the world desires her;
From the four corners of the earth they come
To kiss this shrine, this mortal-breathing saint.
The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds
Of wide Arabia are as throughfares now
For princes to come view fair Portia.
The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head
Spits in the face of heaven, is no bar
To stop the foreign spirits, but they come
As o'er a brook to see fair Portia.
One of these three contains her heavenly picture.
Is't like that lead contains her? 'Twere damnation
To think so base a thought; it were too gross
To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave.
Or shall I think in silver she's immur'd,
Being ten times 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
Stamp'd 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!
PORTIA. There, take it, Prince, and if my form lie there,
Then I am yours. [He opens the golden casket]
PRINCE OF MOROCCO. O hell! what have we here?
A carrion Death, within whose empty eye
There is a written scroll! I'll read the writing.
'All that glisters is not gold,
Often have you heard that told;
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold.
Gilded tombs do worms infold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscroll'd.
Fare you well, your suit is cold.'
Cold indeed, and labour lost,
Then farewell, heat, and welcome, frost.
Portia, adieu! I have too griev'd a heart
To take a tedious leave; thus losers part.
Exit with his train. Flourish of cornets
PORTIA. A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains, go.
Let all of his complexion choose me so. Exeunt

SCENE 8.
Venice. A street

Enter SALERIO and SOLANIO

SALERIO. Why, man, I saw Bassanio under sail;
With him is Gratiano gone along;
And in their ship I am sure Lorenzo is not.
SOLANIO. The villain Jew with outcries rais'd the Duke,
Who went with him to search Bassanio's ship.
SALERIO. 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.
SOLANIO. I never heard a passion so confus'd,
So strange, outrageous, and so variable,
As the dog Jew did utter in the streets.
'My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter!
Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!
Justice! the law! My ducats and my daughter!
A sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats,
Of double ducats, stol'n from me by my daughter!
And jewels- two stones, two rich and precious stones,
Stol'n by my daughter! Justice! Find the girl;
She hath the stones upon her and the ducats.'
SALERIO. Why, all the boys in Venice follow him,
Crying, his stones, his daughter, and his ducats.
SOLANIO. Let good Antonio look he keep his day,
Or he shall pay for this.
SALERIO. Marry, well rememb'red;
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.
SOLANIO. You were best to tell Antonio what you hear;
Yet do not suddenly, for it may grieve him.
SALERIO. 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 answered '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.
SOLANIO. 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.
SALERIO. Do we so. Exeunt

SCENE 9.
Belmont. PORTIA'S house

Enter NERISSA, and a SERVITOR

NERISSA. 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

PORTIA. Behold, there stand the caskets, noble Prince.
If you choose that wherein I am contain'd,
Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemniz'd;
But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,
You must be gone from hence immediately.
ARRAGON. 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.
PORTIA. To these injunctions every one doth swear
That comes to hazard for my worthless self.
ARRAGON. And so have I address'd me. Fortune now
To my heart's hope! Gold, silver, and base lead.
'Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.'
You shall look fairer ere I give or hazard.
What says the golden chest? Ha! let me see:
'Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.'
What many men desire- that 'many' may be meant
By the fool multitude, that choose by show,
Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach;
Which pries not to th' interior, but, like the martlet,
Builds in the weather on the outward wall,
Even in the force and road of casualty.
I will not choose what many men desire,
Because I will not jump with common spirits
And rank me with the barbarous multitudes.
Why, then to thee, thou silver treasure-house!
Tell me once more what title thou dost bear.
'Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.'
And well said too; for who shall go about
To cozen fortune, and be honourable
Without the stamp of merit? Let none presume
To wear an undeserved dignity.
O that estates, degrees, and offices,
Were not deriv'd corruptly, and that clear honour
Were purchas'd by the merit of the wearer!
How many then should cover that stand bare!
How many be commanded that command!
How much low peasantry would then be gleaned
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]
PORTIA. [Aside] Too long a pause for that which you find
there.
ARRAGON. 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?
PORTIA. To offend and judge are distinct offices
And of opposed natures.
ARRAGON. What is here? [Reads]

'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 iwis
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.'

'till more fool I shall appear
By the time I linger here.
With one fool's head I came to woo,
But I go away with two.
Sweet, adieu! I'll keep my oath,
Patiently to bear my wroth. Exit with his train

PORTIA. Thus hath the candle sing'd the moth.
O, these deliberate fools! When they do choose,
They have the wisdom by their wit to lose.
NERISSA. The ancient saying is no heresy:
Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.
PORTIA. Come, draw the curtain, Nerissa.

Enter a SERVANT

SERVANT. Where is my lady?
PORTIA. Here; what would my lord?
SERVANT. Madam, there is alighted at your gate
A young Venetian, one that comes before
To signify th' approaching of his lord,
From whom he bringeth sensible regreets;
To wit, besides commends and courteous breath,
Gifts of rich value. Yet I have not seen
So likely an ambassador of love.
A day in April never came so sweet
To show how costly summer was at hand
As this fore-spurrer comes before his lord.
PORTIA. 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.
NERISSA. Bassanio, Lord Love, if thy will it be! Exeunt

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ACT 3. SCENE I.
Venice. A street

Enter SOLANIO and SALERIO

SOLANIO. Now, what news on the Rialto?
SALERIO. Why, yet it lives there uncheck'd that Antonio hath a
ship
of rich lading wreck'd on the narrow seas; the Goodwins I
think
they call the place, a very dangerous flat and fatal, where
the
carcases of many a tall ship lie buried, as they say, if my
gossip Report be an honest woman of her word.
SOLANIO. I would she were as lying a gossip in that as ever
knapp'd
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!-
SALERIO. Come, the full stop.
SOLANIO. Ha! What sayest thou? Why, the end is, he hath lost a
ship.
SALERIO. I would it might prove the end of his losses.
SOLANIO. 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?
SHYLOCK. You knew, none so well, none so well as you, of my
daughter's flight.
SALERIO. That's certain; I, for my part, knew the tailor that
made
the wings she flew withal.
SOLANIO. And Shylock, for his own part, knew the bird was
flidge;
and then it is the complexion of them all to leave the dam.
SHYLOCK. She is damn'd for it.
SALERIO. That's certain, if the devil may be her judge.
SHYLOCK. My own flesh and blood to rebel!
SOLANIO. Out upon it, old carrion! Rebels it at these years?
SHYLOCK. I say my daughter is my flesh and my blood.
SALERIO. 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?
SHYLOCK. There I have another bad match: a bankrupt, a
prodigal,
who dare scarce show his head on the Rialto; a beggar, that
was
us'd 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.
SALERIO. Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his
flesh. What's that good for?
SHYLOCK. To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing else, it
will
feed my revenge. He hath disgrac'd me and hind'red me half a
million; laugh'd at my losses, mock'd at my gains, scorned my
nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine
enemies. And what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew
eyes?
Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections,
passions, fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons,
subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed
and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is?
If
you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not
laugh?
If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall
we
not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble
you
in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility?
Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his
sufferance
be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach
me
I will execute; and itshall go hard but I will better the
instruction.

Enter a MAN from ANTONIO

MAN. Gentlemen, my master Antonio is at his house, and desires
to
speak with you both.
SALERIO. We have been up and down to seek him.

Enter TUBAL

SOLANIO. Here comes another of the tribe; a third cannot be
match'd, unless the devil himself turn Jew.
Exeunt SOLANIO, SALERIO, and MAN
SHYLOCK. How now, Tubal, what news from Genoa? Hast thou found
my
daughter?
TUBAL. I often came where I did hear of her, but cannot find
her.
SHYLOCK. 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
hears'd at my foot, and the ducats in her coffin! No news of
them? Why, so- and I know not what's spent in the search.
Why,
thou- loss upon loss! The thief gone with so much, and so
much to
find the thief; and no satisfaction, no revenge; nor no ill
luck
stirring but what lights o' my shoulders; no sighs but o' my
breathing; no tears but o' my shedding!
TUBAL. Yes, other men have ill luck too: Antonio, as I heard in
Genoa-
SHYLOCK. What, what, what? Ill luck, ill luck?
TUBAL. Hath an argosy cast away coming from Tripolis.
SHYLOCK. I thank God, I thank God. Is it true, is it true?
TUBAL. I spoke with some of the sailors that escaped the wreck.
SHYLOCK. I thank thee, good Tubal. Good news, good news- ha,
ha!-
heard in Genoa.
TUBAL. Your daughter spent in Genoa, as I heard, one night,
fourscore ducats.
SHYLOCK. Thou stick'st a dagger in me- I shall never see my
gold
again. Fourscore ducats at a sitting! Fourscore ducats!
TUBAL. There came divers of Antonio's creditors in my company
to
Venice that swear he cannot choose but break.
SHYLOCK. I am very glad of it; I'll plague him, I'll torture
him; I
am glad of it.
TUBAL. One of them showed me a ring that he had of your
daughter
for a monkey.
SHYLOCK. 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.
TUBAL. But Antonio is certainly undone.
SHYLOCK. Nay, that's true; that's very true. Go, Tubal, fee me
an
officer; bespeak him a fortnight before. I will have the
heart of
him, if he forfeit; for, were he out of Venice, I can make
what
merchandise I will. Go, Tubal, and meet me at our synagogue;
go,
good Tubal; at our synagogue, Tubal. Exeunt

SCENE 2.
Belmont. PORTIA'S house

Enter BASSANIO, PORTIA, GRATIANO, NERISSA, and all their trains

PORTIA. I pray you tarry; pause a day or two
Before you hazard; for, in choosing wrong,
I lose your company; therefore forbear a while.
There's something tells me- but it is not love-
I would not lose you; and you know yourself
Hate counsels not in such a quality.
But lest you should not understand me well-
And yet a maiden hath no tongue but thought-
I would detain you here some month or two
Before you venture for me. I could teach you
How to choose right, but then I am forsworn;
So will I never be; so may you miss me;
But if you do, you'll make me wish a sin,
That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes!
They have o'erlook'd me and divided me;
One half of me is yours, the other half yours-
Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours,
And so all yours. O! these naughty times
Puts bars between the owners and their rights;
And so, though yours, not yours. Prove it so,
Let fortune go to hell for it, not I.
I speak too long, but 'tis to peize the time,
To eke it, and to draw it out in length,
To stay you from election.
BASSANIO. Let me choose;
For as I am, I live upon the rack.
PORTIA. Upon the rack, Bassanio? Then confess
What treason there is mingled with your love.
BASSANIO. None but that ugly treason of mistrust
Which makes me fear th' enjoying of my love;
There may as well be amity and life
'Tween snow and fire as treason and my love.
PORTIA. Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack,
Where men enforced do speak anything.
BASSANIO. Promise me life, and I'll confess the truth.
PORTIA. Well then, confess and live.
BASSANIO. '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.
PORTIA. 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 wat'ry death-bed for him. He may win;
And what is music then? Then music is
Even as the flourish when true subjects bow
To a new-crowned monarch; such it is
As are those dulcet sounds in break of day
That creep into the dreaming bridegroom's ear
And summon him to marriage. Now he goes,
With no less presence, but with much more love,
Than young Alcides when he did redeem
The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy
To the sea-monster. I stand for sacrifice;
The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives,
With bleared visages come forth to view
The issue of th' exploit. Go, Hercules!
Live thou, I live. With much much more dismay
I view the fight than thou that mak'st the fray.

A SONG

the whilst BASSANIO comments on the caskets to himself

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

BASSANIO. So may the outward shows be least themselves;
The world is still deceiv'd with ornament.
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt
But, being season'd with a gracious voice,
Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
What damned error but some sober brow
Will bless it, and approve it with a text,
Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
There is no vice so simple but assumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts.
How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false
As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars;
Who, inward search'd, have livers white as milk!
And these assume but valour's excrement
To render them redoubted. Look on beauty
And you shall see 'tis purchas'd by the weight,
Which therein works a miracle in nature,
Making them lightest that wear most of it;
So are those crisped snaky golden locks
Which make such wanton gambols with the wind
Upon supposed fairness often known
To be the dowry of a second head-
The skull that bred them in the sepulchre.
Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,
The seeming truth which cunning times put on
To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold,
Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;
Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge
'Tween man and man; but thou, thou meagre lead,
Which rather threaten'st than dost promise aught,
Thy plainness moves me more than eloquence,
And here choose I. Joy be the consequence!
PORTIA. [Aside] How all the other passions fleet to air,
As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embrac'd despair,
And shudd'ring fear, and green-ey'd jealousy!
O love, be moderate, allay thy ecstasy,
In measure rain thy joy, scant this excess!
I feel too much thy blessing. Make it less,
For fear I surfeit.
BASSANIO. [Opening the leaden casket] What find I here?
Fair Portia's counterfeit! What demi-god
Hath come so near creation? Move these eyes?
Or whether riding on the balls of mine
Seem they in motion? Here are sever'd lips,
Parted with sugar breath; so sweet a bar
Should sunder such sweet friends. Here in her hairs
The painter plays the spider, and hath woven
A golden mesh t' entrap the hearts of men
Faster than gnats in cobwebs. But her eyes-
How could he see to do them? Having made one,
Methinks it should have power to steal both his,
And leave itself unfurnish'd. Yet look how far
The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow
In underprizing it, so far this shadow
Doth limp behind the substance. Here's the scroll,
The continent and summary of my fortune.
'You that choose not by the view,
Chance as fair and choose as true!
Since this fortune falls to you,
Be content and seek no new.
If you be well pleas'd with this,
And hold your fortune for your bliss,
Turn to where your lady is
And claim her with a loving kiss.'
A gentle scroll. Fair lady, by your leave;
I come by note, to give and to receive.
Like one of two contending in a prize,
That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes,
Hearing applause and universal shout,
Giddy in spirit, still gazing in a doubt
Whether those peals of praise be his or no;
So, thrice-fair lady, stand I even so,
As doubtful whether what I see be true,
Until confirm'd, sign'd, ratified by you.
PORTIA. You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand,
Such as I am. Though for myself alone
I would not be ambitious in my wish
To wish myself much better, yet for you
I would be trebled twenty times myself,
A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich,
That only to stand high in your account
I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,
Exceed account. But the full sum of me
Is sum of something which, to term in gross,
Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractis'd;
Happy in this, she is not yet so old
But she may learn; happier than this,
She is not bred so dull but she can learn;
Happiest of all is that her gentle spirit
Commits itself to yours to be directed,
As from her lord, her governor, her king.
Myself and what is mine to you and yours
Is now converted. But now I was the lord
Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
Queen o'er myself; and even now, but now,
This house, these servants, and this same myself,
Are yours- my lord's. I give them with this ring,
Which when you part from, lose, or give away,
Let it presage the ruin of your love,
And be my vantage to exclaim on you.
BASSANIO. 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!
NERISSA. 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!
GRATIANO. 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.
BASSANIO. With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife.
GRATIANO. I thank your lordship, you have got me one.
My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours:
You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid;
You lov'd, I lov'd; for intermission
No more pertains to me, my lord, than you.
Your fortune stood upon the caskets there,
And so did mine too, as the matter falls;
For wooing here until I sweat again,
And swearing till my very roof was dry
With oaths of love, at last- if promise last-
I got a promise of this fair one here
To have her love, provided that your fortune
Achiev'd her mistress.
PORTIA. Is this true, Nerissa?
NERISSA. Madam, it is, so you stand pleas'd withal.
BASSANIO. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?
GRATIANO. Yes, faith, my lord.
BASSANIO. Our feast shall be much honoured in your marriage.
GRATIANO. We'll play with them: the first boy for a thousand
ducats.
NERISSA. What, and stake down?
GRATIANO. No; we shall ne'er win at that sport, and stake down-
But who comes here? Lorenzo and his infidel?
What, and my old Venetian friend, Salerio!

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

BASSANIO. Lorenzo and Salerio, welcome hither,
If that the youth of my new int'rest here
Have power to bid you welcome. By your leave,
I bid my very friends and countrymen,
Sweet Portia, welcome.
PORTIA. So do I, my lord;
They are entirely welcome.
LORENZO. 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.
SALERIO. I did, my lord,
And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio
Commends him to you. [Gives BASSANIO a letter]
BASSANIO. Ere I ope his letter,
I pray you tell me how my good friend doth.
SALERIO. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind;
Nor well, unless in mind; his letter there
Will show you his estate. [BASSANIO opens the letter]
GRATIANO. Nerissa, cheer yond 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.
SALERIO. I would you had won the fleece that he hath lost.
PORTIA. There are some shrewd contents in yond 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.
BASSANIO. O sweet Portia,
Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words
That ever blotted paper! Gentle lady,
When I did first impart my love to you,
I freely told you all the wealth I had
Ran in my veins- I was a gentleman;
And then I told you true. And yet, dear lady,
Rating myself at nothing, you shall see
How much I was a braggart. When I told you
My state was nothing, I should then have told you
That I was worse than nothing; for indeed
I have engag'd myself to a dear friend,
Engag'd my friend to his mere enemy,
To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady,
The paper as the body of my friend,
And every word in it a gaping wound
Issuing life-blood. But is it true, Salerio?
Hath all his ventures fail'd? What, not one hit?
From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England,
From Lisbon, Barbary, and India,
And not one vessel scape the dreadful touch
Of merchant-marring rocks?
SALERIO. 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.
JESSICA. 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.
PORTIA. Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble?
BASSANIO. 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.
PORTIA. What sum owes he the Jew?
BASSANIO. For me, three thousand ducats.
PORTIA. 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.
BASSANIO. [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 clear'd between you and I, if I
might
but see you at my death. Notwithstanding, use your pleasure;
if
your love do not persuade you to come, let not my letter.'

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