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The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare [Craig, Oxford edition]

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THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

by William Shakespeare

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

THE DUKE OF VENICE
THE PRINCE OF MOROCCO, suitor to Portia
THE PRINCE OF ARRAGON, suitor to Portia
ANTONIO, a merchant of Venice
BASSANIO, his friend
SALANIO, friend to Antonio and Bassanio
SALARINO, friend to Antonio and Bassanio
GRATIANO, friend to Antonio and Bassanio
LORENZO, in love with Jessica
SHYLOCK, a rich Jew
TUBAL, a Jew, his friend
LAUNCELOT GOBBO, a clown, servant to Shylock
OLD GOBBO, father to Launcelot
LEONARDO, servant to Bassanio
BALTHASAR, servant to Portia
STEPHANO, servant to Portia

PORTIA, a rich heiress
NERISSA, her waiting-maid
JESSICA, daughter to Shylock

Magnificoes of Venice, Officers of the Court of Justice,
Gaoler, Servants to Portia, and other Attendants

SCENE: Partly at Venice, and partly at Belmont, the seat of
Portia, on the
Continent

ACT 1.

SCENE I. Venice. A street

[Enter ANTONIO, SALARINO, and SALANIO]

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.

SALARINO.
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.

SALANIO.
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.

SALARINO.
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.

SALARINO.
Why, then you are in love.

ANTONIO.
Fie, fie!

SALARINO.
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.]

SALANIO.
Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman,
Gratiano, and Lorenzo. Fare ye well;
We leave you now with better company.

SALARINO.
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.

SALARINO.
Good morrow, my good lords.

BASSANIO.
Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? Say when.
You grow exceeding strange; must it be so?

SALARINO.
We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.

[Exeunt SALARINO and SALANIO.]

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. A room in PORTIA'S house

[Enter PORTIA and 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 pronounced.

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 afeard 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-capering; he will fence with
his own shadow; if I should marry him, I should marry twenty
husbands. If he would despise me, I would forgive him; for if he
love me to madness, I shall never requite him.

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 sealed 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 called.

NERISSA.
True, madam; he, of all the men that ever my foolish eyes
looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.

PORTIA.
I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of thy praise.

[Enter a SERVANT.]

How now! what news?

SERVANT.
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 and SHYLOCK.]

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, squandered abroad. But ships are but boards, sailors but
men; there be land-rats and water-rats, land-thieves and
water-thieves,--I mean pirates,--and then there is the peril of
waters, winds, and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding,
sufficient. Three thousand ducats- I think I may take his bond.

BASSANIO.
Be assured you may.

SHYLOCK.
I will be assured 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,
Methought 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 interest; mark what Jacob did.
When Laban and himself were compromis'd
That all the eanlings which were streak'd and pied
Should fall as Jacob's hire, the ewes, being rank,
In end of autumn turned to the rams;
And when the work of generation was
Between these woolly breeders in the act,
The skilful shepherd peel'd me certain wands,
And, in the doing of the deed of kind,
He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes,
Who, then conceiving, did in eaning time
Fall parti-colour'd lambs, and those were Jacob's.
This was a way to thrive, and he was blest;
And thrift is blessing, if men steal it not.

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.
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 spet upon my Jewish gaberdine,
And all for use of that which is mine own.
Well then, it now appears you need my help;
Go to, then; you come to me, and you say
'Shylock, we would have moneys.' You say so:
You that did void your rheum upon my beard,
And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur
Over your threshold; moneys is your suit.
What should I say to you? Should I not say
'Hath a dog money? Is it possible
A cur can lend three thousand ducats?' Or
Shall I bend low and, in a bondman's key,
With bated breath and whisp'ring humbleness,
Say this:--
'Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last;
You spurn'd me such a day; another time
You call'd me dog; and for these courtesies
I'll lend you thus much moneys?'

ANTONIO.
I am as like to call thee so again,
To spet on thee again, to spurn thee too.
If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not
As to thy friends,--for when did friendship take
A breed for barren metal of his friend?--
But lend it rather to thine enemy;
Who if he break thou mayst with better face
Exact the penalty.

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]

This 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]

ACT 2.

SCENE I. Belmont. A room in PORTIA's house.

[Flourish of cornets. Enter the PRINCE of MOROCCO, and his
Followers;
PORTIA, NERISSA, and Others of her train.]

PRINCE OF Morocco.
Mislike me not for my complexion,
The shadow'd livery of the burnish'd sun,
To whom I am a neighbour, and near bred.
Bring me the fairest creature northward born,
Where Phoebus' fire scarce thaws the icicles,
And let us make incision for your love
To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine.
I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine
Hath fear'd the valiant; by my love, I swear
The best-regarded virgins of our clime
Have lov'd it too. I would not change this hue,
Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.

PORTIA.
In terms of choice I am not solely led
By nice direction of a maiden's eyes;
Besides, the lottery of my destiny
Bars me the right of voluntary choosing;
But, if my father had not scanted me
And hedg'd me by his wit, to yield myself
His wife who wins me by that means I told you,
Yourself, renowned Prince, then stood as fair
As any comer I have look'd on yet
For my affection.

PRINCE OF MOROCCO.
Even for that I thank you:
Therefore, I pray you, lead me to the caskets
To try my fortune. By this scimitar,--
That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince,
That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,--
I would o'erstare the sternest eyes that look,
Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth,
Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,
Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey,
To win thee, lady. But, alas the while!
If Hercules and Lichas play at dice
Which is the better man, the greater throw
May turn by fortune from the weaker hand:
So is Alcides beaten by his page;
And so may I, blind Fortune leading me,
Miss that which one unworthier may attain,
And die with grieving.

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 ruled by my conscience, I should stay with
the Jew my master, who, God bless the mark! is a kind of devil;
and, to run away from the Jew, I should be ruled by the fiend,
who, saving your reverence! is the devil himself. Certainly the
Jew is the very devil incarnal; and, in my conscience, my
conscience is but a kind of hard conscience, to offer to counsel
me to stay with the Jew. The fiend gives the more friendly
counsel: I will run, fiend; my heels are at your commandment; I
will run.

[Enter OLD GOBBO, with a basket]

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 worshipped
might he be, what a beard hast thou got! Thou hast got more hair
on thy chin than Dobbin my thill-horse has on his tail.

LAUNCELOT.
It should seem, then, that Dobbin's tail grows backward;
I am sure he had more hair on his tail than I have on my face
when I last saw him.

GOBBO.
Lord! how art thou changed! 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 famished in his service; you may tell every finger I have with
my ribs. Father, I am glad you are come; give me your present to
one Master Bassanio, who indeed gives rare new liveries. If I
serve not him, I will run as far as God has any ground. O rare
fortune! Here comes the man: to him, father; for I am a Jew, if I
serve the Jew any longer.

[Enter BASSANIO, with LEONARDO, with and other Followers.]

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 of an eye.

[Exeunt LAUNCELOT and OLD GOBBO.]

BASSANIO.
I pray thee, good Leonardo, think on this:
These things being bought and orderly bestow'd,
Return in haste, for I do feast to-night
My best esteem'd acquaintance; hie thee, go.

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 misconstrued 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. The same. A room in 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. The same. A street

[Enter GRATIANO, LORENZO, SALARINO, and SALANIO.]

LORENZO.
Nay, we will slink away in supper-time,
Disguise us at my lodging, and return
All in an hour.

GRATIANO.
We have not made good preparation.

SALARINO.
We have not spoke us yet of torch-bearers.

SALANIO.
'Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly order'd,
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.

SALARINO.
Ay, marry, I'll be gone about it straight.

SALANIO.
And so will I.

LORENZO.
Meet me and Gratiano
At Gratiano's lodging some hour hence.

SALARINO.
'Tis good we do so.

[Exeunt SALARINO and SALANIO.]

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. The same. 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' the morning, falling out that year on Ash-Wednesday was four
year in the 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 LAUNCELOT.]

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 borrow'd purse. Well, Jessica, go in;
Perhaps I will return immediately:
Do as I bid you, shut doors after you:
'Fast bind, fast find,'
A proverb never stale in thrifty mind.

[Exit.]

JESSICA.
Farewell; and if my fortune be not crost,
I have a father, you a daughter, lost.

[Exit.]

SCENE 6. The same.

[Enter GRATIANO and SALARINO, masqued.]

GRATIANO.
This is the pent-house under which Lorenzo
Desir'd us to make stand.

SALARINO.
His hour is almost past.

GRATIANO.
And it is marvel he out-dwells his hour,
For lovers ever run before the clock.

SALARINO.
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 enjoy'd.
How like a younker or a prodigal
The scarfed bark puts from her native bay,
Hugg'd and embraced by the strumpet wind!
How like the prodigal doth she return,
With over-weather'd ribs and ragged sails,
Lean, rent, and beggar'd by the strumpet wind!

SALARINO.
Here comes Lorenzo; more of this hereafter.

[Enter LORENZO.]

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 Gentile, 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.]

What, art thou come? On, gentlemen, away!
Our masquing mates by this time for us stay.

[Exit with JESSICA and SALARINO.]

[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. A room in 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 the inscriptions back again.
What says this leaden casket?
'Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.'
Must give: for what? For lead? Hazard for lead!
This casket threatens; men that hazard all
Do it in hope of fair advantages:
A golden mind stoops not to shows of dross;
I'll then nor give nor hazard aught for lead.
What says the silver with her virgin hue?
'Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.'
As much as he deserves! Pause there, Morocco,
And weigh thy value with an even hand.
If thou be'st rated by thy estimation,
Thou dost deserve enough, and yet enough
May not extend so far as to the lady;
And yet to be afeard of my deserving
Were but a weak disabling of myself.
As much as I deserve! Why, that's the lady:
I do in birth deserve her, and in fortunes,
In graces, and in qualities of breeding;
But more than these, in love I do deserve.
What if I stray'd no farther, but chose here?
Let's see once more this saying grav'd in gold:
'Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.'
Why, that's the lady: all the world desires her;
From the four corners of the earth they come,
To kiss this shrine, this mortal-breathing saint:
The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds
Of wide Arabia are as throughfares now
For princes to come view fair Portia:
The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head
Spits in the face of heaven, is no bar
To stop the foreign spirits, but they come
As o'er a brook to see fair Portia.
One of these three contains her heavenly picture.
Is't like that lead contains her? 'Twere damnation
To think so base a thought; it were too gross
To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave.
Or shall I think in silver she's immur'd,
Being ten times undervalu'd to tried gold?
O sinful thought! Never so rich a gem
Was set in worse than gold. They have in England
A coin that bears the figure of an angel
Stamped in gold; but that's insculp'd upon;
But here an angel in a golden bed
Lies all within. Deliver me the key;
Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may!

PORTIA.
There, take it, prince, and if my form lie there,
Then I am yours.

[He unlocks the golden casket.]

PRINCE OF MOROCCO.
O hell! what have we here?
A carrion Death, within whose empty eye
There is a written scroll! I'll read the writing.

'All that glisters is not gold,
Often have you heard that told;
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms infold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscroll'd:
Fare you well, your suit is cold.'

Cold indeed; and labour lost:
Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost!
Portia, adieu! I have too griev'd a heart
To take a tedious leave; thus losers part.

[Exit with his train. Flourish of cornets.]

PORTIA.
A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains: go.
Let all of his complexion choose me so.

[Exeunt.]

SCENE 8. Venice. A street

[Enter SALARINO and SALANIO.]

SALARINO.
Why, man, I saw Bassanio under sail;
With him is Gratiano gone along;
And in their ship I am sure Lorenzo is not.

SALANIO.
The villain Jew with outcries rais'd the Duke,
Who went with him to search Bassanio's ship.

SALARINO.
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.

SALANIO.
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.'

SALARINO.
Why, all the boys in Venice follow him,
Crying, his stones, his daughter, and his ducats.

SALANIO.
Let good Antonio look he keep his day,
Or he shall pay for this.

SALARINO.
Marry, well remember'd.
I reason'd with a Frenchman yesterday,
Who told me,--in the narrow seas that part
The French and English,--there miscarried
A vessel of our country richly fraught.
I thought upon Antonio when he told me,
And wish'd in silence that it were not his.

SALANIO.
You were best to tell Antonio what you hear;
Yet do not suddenly, for it may grieve him.

SALARINO.
A kinder gentleman treads not the earth.
I saw Bassanio and Antonio part:
Bassanio told him he would make some speed
Of his return. He answer'd 'Do not so;
Slubber not business for my sake, Bassanio,
But stay the very riping of the time;
And for the Jew's bond which he hath of me,
Let it not enter in your mind of love:
Be merry, and employ your chiefest thoughts
To courtship, and such fair ostents of love
As shall conveniently become you there.'
And even there, his eye being big with tears,
Turning his face, he put his hand behind him,
And with affection wondrous sensible
He wrung Bassanio's hand; and so they parted.

SALANIO.
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.

SALARINO.
Do we so.

[Exeunt.]

SCENE 9. Belmont. A room in PORTIA's house.

[Enter NERISSA, with 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 glean'd
From the true seed of honour; and how much honour
Pick'd from the chaff and ruin of the times
To be new varnish'd! Well, but to my choice:
'Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.'
I will assume desert. Give me a key for this,
And instantly unlock my fortunes here.

[He opens the silver casket.]

PORTIA.
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?

'The fire seven times tried this;
Seven times tried that judgment is
That did never choose amiss.
Some there be that shadows kiss;
Such have but a shadow's bliss;
There be fools alive, I wis,
Silver'd o'er, and so was this.
Take what wife you will to bed,
I will ever be your head:
So be gone; you are sped.'

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

[Exit ARAGON with his train.]

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.]

ACT 3.

SCENE I. Venice. A street

[Enter SALANIO and SALARINO.]

SALANIO.
Now, what news on the Rialto?

SALARINO.
Why, yet it lives there unchecked that Antonio hath a ship
of rich lading wrack'd on the narrow seas; the Goodwins, I think
they call the place, a very dangerous flat and fatal, where the
carcasses of many a tall ship lie buried, as they say, if my
gossip Report be an honest woman of her word.

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

SALARINO.
Come, the full stop.

SALANIO.
Ha! What sayest thou? Why, the end is, he hath lost a
ship.

SALARINO.
I would it might prove the end of his losses.

SALANIO.
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.

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

SALANIO.
And Shylock, for his own part, knew the bird was fledged;
and then it is the complexion of them all to leave the dam.

SHYLOCK.
She is damned for it.

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

SHYLOCK.
My own flesh and blood to rebel!

SALANIO.
Out upon it, old carrion! Rebels it at these years?

SHYLOCK.
I say my daughter is my flesh and my blood.

SALARINO.
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 used
to come so smug upon the mart; let him look to his bond: he
was wont to call me usurer; let him look to his bond: he was wont
to lend money for a Christian courtesy; let him look to his bond.

SALARINO.
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 villaiy you teach me
I will execute; and it shall go hard but I will better the
instruction.

[Enter a Servant.]

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