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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare The Merchant of Venice

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PORTIA. O love, dispatch all business and be gone!
BASSANIO. Since I have your good leave to go away,
I will make haste; but, till I come again,
No bed shall e'er be guilty of my stay,
Nor rest be interposer 'twixt us twain. Exeunt

Venice. A street


SHYLOCK. Gaoler, look to him. Tell not me of mercy-
This is the fool that lent out money gratis.
Gaoler, look to him.
ANTONIO. Hear me yet, good Shylock.
SHYLOCK. I'll have my bond; speak not against my bond.
I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond.
Thou call'dst me dog before thou hadst a cause,
But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs;
The Duke shall grant me justice. I do wonder,
Thou naughty gaoler, that thou art so fond
To come abroad with him at his request.
ANTONIO. I pray thee hear me speak.
SHYLOCK. I'll have my bond. I will not hear thee speak;
I'll have my bond; and therefore speak no more.
I'll not be made a soft and dull-ey'd fool,
To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield,
To Christian intercessors. Follow not;
I'll have no speaking; I will have my bond. Exit
SOLANIO. It is the most impenetrable cur
That ever kept with men.
ANTONIO. Let him alone;
I'll follow him no more with bootless prayers.
He seeks my life; his reason well I know:
I oft deliver'd from his forfeitures
Many that have at times made moan to me;
Therefore he hates me.
SOLANIO. I am sure the Duke
Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.
ANTONIO. The Duke cannot deny the course of law;
For the commodity that strangers have
With us in Venice, if it be denied,
Will much impeach the justice of the state,
Since that the trade and profit of the city
Consisteth of all nations. Therefore, go;
These griefs and losses have so bated me
That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh
To-morrow to my bloody creditor.
Well, gaoler, on; pray God Bassanio come
To see me pay his debt, and then I care not. Exeunt

Belmont. PORTIA'S house


LORENZO. Madam, although I speak it in your presence,
You have a noble and a true conceit
Of godlike amity, which appears most strongly
In bearing thus the absence of your lord.
But if you knew to whom you show this honour,
How true a gentleman you send relief,
How dear a lover of my lord your husband,
I know you would be prouder of the work
Than customary bounty can enforce you.
PORTIA. I never did repent for doing good,
Nor shall not now; for in companions
That do converse and waste the time together,
Whose souls do bear an equal yoke of love,
There must be needs a like proportion
Of lineaments, of manners, and of spirit,
Which makes me think that this Antonio,
Being the bosom lover of my lord,
Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,
How little is the cost I have bestowed
In purchasing the semblance of my soul
From out the state of hellish cruelty!
This comes too near the praising of myself;
Therefore, no more of it; hear other things.
Lorenzo, I commit into your hands
The husbandry and manage of my house
Until my lord's return; for mine own part,
I have toward heaven breath'd a secret vow
To live in prayer and contemplation,
Only attended by Nerissa here,
Until her husband and my lord's return.
There is a monastery two miles off,
And there we will abide. I do desire you
Not to deny this imposition,
The which my love and some necessity
Now lays upon you.
LORENZO. Madam, with all my heart
I shall obey you in an fair commands.
PORTIA. My people do already know my mind,
And will acknowledge you and Jessica
In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.
So fare you well till we shall meet again.
LORENZO. Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!
JESSICA. I wish your ladyship all heart's content.
PORTIA. I thank you for your wish, and am well pleas'd
To wish it back on you. Fare you well, Jessica.
Now, Balthasar,
As I have ever found thee honest-true,
So let me find thee still. Take this same letter,
And use thou all th' endeavour of a man
In speed to Padua; see thou render this
Into my cousin's hands, Doctor Bellario;
And look what notes and garments he doth give thee,
Bring them, I pray thee, with imagin'd speed
Unto the traject, to the common ferry
Which trades to Venice. Waste no time in words,
But get thee gone; I shall be there before thee.
BALTHASAR. Madam, I go with all convenient speed. Exit
PORTIA. Come on, Nerissa, I have work in hand
That you yet know not of; we'll see our husbands
Before they think of us.
NERISSA. Shall they see us?
PORTIA. They shall, Nerissa; but in such a habit
That they shall think we are accomplished
With that we lack. I'll hold thee any wager,
When we are both accoutred like young men,
I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
And wear my dagger with the braver grace,
And speak between the change of man and boy
With a reed voice; and turn two mincing steps
Into a manly stride; and speak of frays
Like a fine bragging youth; and tell quaint lies,
How honourable ladies sought my love,
Which I denying, they fell sick and died-
I could not do withal. Then I'll repent,
And wish for all that, that I had not kill'd them.
And twenty of these puny lies I'll tell,
That men shall swear I have discontinued school
About a twelvemonth. I have within my mind
A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks,
Which I will practise.
NERISSA. Why, shall we turn to men?
PORTIA. Fie, what a question's that,
If thou wert near a lewd interpreter!
But come, I'll tell thee all my whole device
When I am in my coach, which stays for us
At the park gate; and therefore haste away,
For we must measure twenty miles to-day. Exeunt

Belmont. The garden


LAUNCELOT. Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the father
are to
be laid upon the children; therefore, I promise you, I fear
I was always plain with you, and so now I speak my agitation
the matter; therefore be o' good cheer, for truly I think you
damn'd. There is but one hope in it that can do you any good,
that is but a kind of bastard hope, neither.
JESSICA. And what hope is that, I pray thee?
LAUNCELOT. Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you
that you are not the Jew's daughter.
JESSICA. That were a kind of bastard hope indeed; so the sins
of my
mother should be visited upon me.
LAUNCELOT. Truly then I fear you are damn'd both by father and
mother; thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I fall into
Charybdis, your mother; well, you are gone both ways.
JESSICA. I shall be sav'd by my husband; he hath made me a
LAUNCELOT. Truly, the more to blame he; we were Christians enow

before, e'en as many as could well live one by another. This
making of Christians will raise the price of hogs; if we grow
to be pork-eaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on the
coals for money.


JESSICA. I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say; here he
LORENZO. I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if you
thus get my wife into corners.
JESSICA. Nay, you need nor fear us, Lorenzo; Launcelot and I
out; he tells me flatly there's no mercy for me in heaven,
because I am a Jew's daughter; and he says you are no good
of the commonwealth, for in converting Jews to Christians you
raise the price of pork.
LORENZO. I shall answer that better to the commonwealth than
can the getting up of the negro's belly; the Moor is with
by you, Launcelot.
LAUNCELOT. It is much that the Moor should be more than reason;
if she be less than an honest woman, she is indeed more than
took her for.
LORENZO. How every fool can play upon the word! I think the
grace of wit will shortly turn into silence, and discourse
commendable in none only but parrots. Go in, sirrah; bid them
prepare for dinner.
LAUNCELOT. That is done, sir; they have all stomachs.
LORENZO. Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are you! Then bid them
prepare dinner.
LAUNCELOT. That is done too, sir, only 'cover' is the word.
LORENZO. Will you cover, then, sir?
LAUNCELOT. Not so, sir, neither; I know my duty.
LORENZO. Yet more quarrelling with occasion! Wilt thou show the
whole wealth of thy wit in an instant? I pray thee understand
plain man in his plain meaning: go to thy fellows, bid them
the table, serve in the meat, and we will come in to dinner.
LAUNCELOT. For the table, sir, it shall be serv'd in; for the
sir, it shall be cover'd; for your coming in to dinner, sir,
let it be as humours and conceits shall govern.
LORENZO. O dear discretion, how his words are suited!
The fool hath planted in his memory
An army of good words; and I do know
A many fools that stand in better place,
Garnish'd like him, that for a tricksy word
Defy the matter. How cheer'st thou, Jessica?
And now, good sweet, say thy opinion,
How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio's wife?
JESSICA. Past all expressing. It is very meet
The Lord Bassanio live an upright life,
For, having such a blessing in his lady,
He finds the joys of heaven here on earth;
And if on earth he do not merit it,
In reason he should never come to heaven.
Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match,
And on the wager lay two earthly women,
And Portia one, there must be something else
Pawn'd with the other; for the poor rude world
Hath not her fellow.
LORENZO. Even such a husband
Hast thou of me as she is for a wife.
JESSICA. Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.
LORENZO. I will anon; first let us go to dinner.
JESSICA. Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach.
LORENZO. No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk;
Then howsome'er thou speak'st, 'mong other things
I shall digest it.
JESSICA. Well, I'll set you forth. Exeunt

Venice. The court of justice


DUKE OF VENICE. What, is Antonio here?
ANTONIO. Ready, so please your Grace.
DUKE OF VENICE. I am sorry for thee; thou art come to answer
A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch,
Uncapable of pity, void and empty
From any dram of mercy.
ANTONIO. I have heard
Your Grace hath ta'en great pains to qualify
His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate,
And that no lawful means can carry me
Out of his envy's reach, I do oppose
My patience to his fury, and am arm'd
To suffer with a quietness of spirit
The very tyranny and rage of his.
DUKE OF VENICE. Go one, and call the Jew into the court.
SALERIO. He is ready at the door; he comes, my lord.


DUKE OF VENICE. Make room, and let him stand before our face.
Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
That thou but leadest this fashion of thy malice
To the last hour of act; and then, 'tis thought,
Thou'lt show thy mercy and remorse, more strange
Than is thy strange apparent cruelty;
And where thou now exacts the penalty,
Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh,
Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture,
But, touch'd with human gentleness and love,
Forgive a moiety of the principal,
Glancing an eye of pity on his losses,
That have of late so huddled on his back-
Enow to press a royal merchant down,
And pluck commiseration of his state
From brassy bosoms and rough hearts of flint,
From stubborn Turks and Tartars, never train'd
To offices of tender courtesy.
We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.
SHYLOCK. I have possess'd your Grace of what I purpose,
And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn
To have the due and forfeit of my bond.
If you deny it, let the danger light
Upon your charter and your city's freedom.
You'll ask me why I rather choose to have
A weight of carrion flesh than to receive
Three thousand ducats. I'll not answer that,
But say it is my humour- is it answer'd?
What if my house be troubled with a rat,
And I be pleas'd to give ten thousand ducats
To have it ban'd? What, are you answer'd yet?
Some men there are love not a gaping pig;
Some that are mad if they behold a cat;
And others, when the bagpipe sings i' th' nose,
Cannot contain their urine; for affection,
Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer:
As there is no firm reason to be rend'red
Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;
Why he, a harmless necessary cat;
Why he, a woollen bagpipe, but of force
Must yield to such inevitable shame
As to offend, himself being offended;
So can I give no reason, nor I will not,
More than a lodg'd hate and a certain loathing
I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
A losing suit against him. Are you answered?
BASSANIO. This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
To excuse the current of thy cruelty.
SHYLOCK. I am not bound to please thee with my answers.
BASSANIO. Do all men kill the things they do not love?
SHYLOCK. Hates any man the thing he would not kill?
BASSANIO. Every offence is not a hate at first.
SHYLOCK. What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?
ANTONIO. I pray you, think you question with the Jew.
You may as well go stand upon the beach
And bid the main flood bate his usual height;
You may as well use question with the wolf,
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb;
You may as well forbid the mountain pines
To wag their high tops and to make no noise
When they are fretten with the gusts of heaven;
You may as well do anything most hard
As seek to soften that- than which what's harder?-
His jewish heart. Therefore, I do beseech you,
Make no moe offers, use no farther means,
But with all brief and plain conveniency
Let me have judgment, and the Jew his will.
BASSANIO. For thy three thousand ducats here is six.
SHYLOCK. If every ducat in six thousand ducats
Were in six parts, and every part a ducat,
I would not draw them; I would have my bond.
DUKE OF VENICE. How shalt thou hope for mercy, rend'ring none?
SHYLOCK. What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?
You have among you many a purchas'd slave,
Which, fike your asses and your dogs and mules,
You use in abject and in slavish parts,
Because you bought them; shall I say to you
'Let them be free, marry them to your heirs-
Why sweat they under burdens?- let their beds
Be made as soft as yours, and let their palates
Be season'd with such viands'? You will answer
'The slaves are ours.' So do I answer you:
The pound of flesh which I demand of him
Is dearly bought, 'tis mine, and I will have it.
If you deny me, fie upon your law!
There is no force in the decrees of Venice.
I stand for judgment; answer; shall I have it?
DUKE OF VENICE. Upon my power I may dismiss this court,
Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
Whom I have sent for to determine this,
Come here to-day.
SALERIO. My lord, here stays without
A messenger with letters from the doctor,
New come from Padua.
DUKE OF VENICE. Bring us the letters; call the messenger.
BASSANIO. Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet!
The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all,
Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.
ANTONIO. I am a tainted wether of the flock,
Meetest for death; the weakest kind of fruit
Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me.
You cannot better be employ'd, Bassanio,
Than to live still, and write mine epitaph.

Enter NERISSA dressed like a lawyer's clerk

DUKE OF VENICE. Came you from Padua, from Bellario?
NERISSA. From both, my lord. Bellario greets your Grace.
[Presents a letter]
BASSANIO. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?
SHYLOCK. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.
GRATIANO. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,
Thou mak'st thy knife keen; but no metal can,
No, not the hangman's axe, bear half the keenness
Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?
SHYLOCK. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.
GRATIANO. O, be thou damn'd, inexecrable dog!
And for thy life let justice be accus'd.
Thou almost mak'st me waver in my faith,
To hold opinion with Pythagoras
That souls of animals infuse themselves
Into the trunks of men. Thy currish spirit
Govern'd a wolf who, hang'd for human slaughter,
Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,
And, whilst thou layest in thy unhallowed dam,
Infus'd itself in thee; for thy desires
Are wolfish, bloody, starv'd and ravenous.
SHYLOCK. Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,
Thou but offend'st thy lungs to speak so loud;
Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall
To cureless ruin. I stand here for law.
DUKE OF VENICE. This letter from Bellario doth commend
A young and learned doctor to our court.
Where is he?
NERISSA. He attendeth here hard by
To know your answer, whether you'll admit him.
DUKE OF VENICE. With all my heart. Some three or four of you
Go give him courteous conduct to this place.
Meantime, the court shall hear Bellario's letter.
CLERK. [Reads] 'Your Grace shall understand that at the
of your letter I am very sick; but in the instant that your
messenger came, in loving visitation was with me a young
of Rome--his name is Balthazar. I acquainted him with the
in controversy between the Jew and Antonio the merchant; we
turn'd o'er many books together; he is furnished with my
which, bettered with his own learning-the greatness whereof I
cannot enough commend- comes with him at my importunity to
up your Grace's request in my stead. I beseech you let his
of years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend
for I never knew so young a body with so old a head. I leave
to your gracious acceptance, whose trial shall better publish

Enter PORTIA for BALTHAZAR, dressed like a Doctor of Laws.

DUKE OF VENICE. YOU hear the learn'd Bellario, what he writes;
And here, I take it, is the doctor come.
Give me your hand; come you from old Bellario?
PORTIA. I did, my lord.
DUKE OF VENICE. You are welcome; take your place.
Are you acquainted with the difference
That holds this present question in the court?
PORTIA. I am informed throughly of the cause.
Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?
DUKE OF VENICE. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
PORTIA. Is your name Shylock?
SHYLOCK. Shylock is my name.
PORTIA. Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;
Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.
You stand within his danger, do you not?
ANTONIO. Ay, so he says.
PORTIA. Do you confess the bond?
PORTIA. Then must the Jew be merciful.
SHYLOCK. On what compulsion must I? Tell me that.
PORTIA. The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this-
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation; we do pray for mercy,
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea,
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.
SHYLOCK. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,
The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
BASSANIO. Yes; here I tender it for him in the court;
Yea, twice the sum; if that will not suffice,
I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er
On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart;
If this will not suffice, it must appear
That malice bears down truth. And, I beseech you,
Wrest once the law to your authority;
To do a great right do a little wrong,
And curb this cruel devil of his will.
PORTIA. It must not be; there is no power in Venice
Can alter a decree established;
'Twill be recorded for a precedent,
And many an error, by the same example,
Will rush into the state; it cannot be.
SHYLOCK. A Daniel come to judgment! Yea, a Daniel!
O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!
PORTIA. I pray you, let me look upon the bond.
SHYLOCK. Here 'tis, most reverend Doctor; here it is.
PORTIA. Shylock, there's thrice thy money off'red thee.
SHYLOCK. An oath, an oath! I have an oath in heaven.
Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
No, not for Venice.
PORTIA. Why, this bond is forfeit;
And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
Nearest the merchant's heart. Be merciful.
Take thrice thy money; bid me tear the bond.
SHYLOCK. When it is paid according to the tenour.
It doth appear you are a worthy judge;
You know the law; your exposition
Hath been most sound; I charge you by the law,
Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar,
Proceed to judgment. By my soul I swear
There is no power in the tongue of man
To alter me. I stay here on my bond.
ANTONIO. Most heartily I do beseech the court
To give the judgment.
PORTIA. Why then, thus it is:
You must prepare your bosom for his knife.
SHYLOCK. O noble judge! O excellent young man!
PORTIA. For the intent and purpose of the law
Hath full relation to the penalty,
Which here appeareth due upon the bond.
SHYLOCK. 'Tis very true. O wise and upright judge,
How much more elder art thou than thy looks!
PORTIA. Therefore, lay bare your bosom.
SHYLOCK. Ay, his breast--
So says the bond; doth it not, noble judge?
'Nearest his heart,' those are the very words.
PORTIA. It is so. Are there balance here to weigh
The flesh?
SHYLOCK. I have them ready.
PORTIA. Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,
To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.
SHYLOCK. Is it so nominated in the bond?
PORTIA. It is not so express'd, but what of that?
'Twere good you do so much for charity.
SHYLOCK. I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond.
PORTIA. You, merchant, have you anything to say?
ANTONIO. But little: I am arm'd and well prepar'd.
Give me your hand, Bassanio; fare you well.
Grieve not that I am fall'n to this for you,
For herein Fortune shows herself more kind
Than is her custom. It is still her use
To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
An age of poverty; from which ling'ring penance
Of such misery doth she cut me off.
Commend me to your honourable wife;
Tell her the process of Antonio's end;
Say how I lov'd you; speak me fair in death;
And, when the tale is told, bid her be judge
Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
Repent but you that you shall lose your friend,
And he repents not that he pays your debt;
For if the Jew do cut but deep enough,
I'll pay it instantly with all my heart.
BASSANIO. Antonio, I am married to a wife
Which is as dear to me as life itself;
But life itself, my wife, and all the world,
Are not with me esteem'd above thy life;
I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all
Here to this devil, to deliver you.
PORTIA. Your wife would give you little thanks for that,
If she were by to hear you make the offer.
GRATIANO. I have a wife who I protest I love;
I would she were in heaven, so she could
Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.
NERISSA. 'Tis well you offer it behind her back;
The wish would make else an unquiet house.
SHYLOCK. [Aside] These be the Christian husbands! I have a
Would any of the stock of Barrabas
Had been her husband, rather than a Christian!--
We trifle time; I pray thee pursue sentence.
PORTIA. A pound of that same merchant's flesh is thine.
The court awards it and the law doth give it.
SHYLOCK. Most rightful judge!
PORTIA. And you must cut this flesh from off his breast.
The law allows it and the court awards it.
SHYLOCK. Most learned judge! A sentence! Come, prepare.
PORTIA. Tarry a little; there is something else.
This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood:
The words expressly are 'a pound of flesh.'
Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh;
But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
Unto the state of Venice.
GRATIANO. O upright judge! Mark, Jew. O learned judge!
SHYLOCK. Is that the law?
PORTIA. Thyself shalt see the act;
For, as thou urgest justice, be assur'd
Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desir'st.
GRATIANO. O learned judge! Mark, Jew. A learned judge!
SHYLOCK. I take this offer then: pay the bond thrice,
And let the Christian go.
BASSANIO. Here is the money.
The Jew shall have all justice. Soft! No haste.
He shall have nothing but the penalty.
GRATIANO. O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!
PORTIA. Therefore, prepare thee to cut off the flesh.
Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more
But just a pound of flesh; if thou tak'st more
Or less than a just pound- be it but so much
As makes it light or heavy in the substance,
Or the division of the twentieth part
Of one poor scruple; nay, if the scale do turn
But in the estimation of a hair-
Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.
GRATIANO. A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew!
Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.
PORTIA. Why doth the Jew pause? Take thy forfeiture.
SHYLOCK. Give me my principal, and let me go.
BASSANIO. I have it ready for thee; here it is.
PORTIA. He hath refus'd it in the open court;
He shall have merely justice, and his bond.
GRATIANO. A Daniel still say I, a second Daniel!
I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
SHYLOCK. Shall I not have barely my principal?
PORTIA. Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture
To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.
SHYLOCK. Why, then the devil give him good of it!
I'll stay no longer question.
PORTIA. Tarry, Jew.
The law hath yet another hold on you.
It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
If it be proved against an alien
That by direct or indirect attempts
He seek the life of any citizen,
The party 'gainst the which he doth contrive
Shall seize one half his goods; the other half
Comes to the privy coffer of the state;
And the offender's life lies in the mercy
Of the Duke only, 'gainst all other voice.
In which predicament, I say, thou stand'st;
For it appears by manifest proceeding
That indirectly, and directly too,
Thou hast contrived against the very life
Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr'd
The danger formerly by me rehears'd.
Down, therefore, and beg mercy of the Duke.
GRATIANO. Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself;
And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state,
Thou hast not left the value of a cord;
Therefore thou must be hang'd at the state's charge.
DUKE OF VENICE. That thou shalt see the difference of our
I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it.
For half thy wealth, it is Antonio's;
The other half comes to the general state,
Which humbleness may drive unto a fine.
PORTIA. Ay, for the state; not for Antonio.
SHYLOCK. Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that.
You take my house when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house; you take my life
When you do take the means whereby I live.
PORTIA. What mercy can you render him, Antonio?
GRATIANO. A halter gratis; nothing else, for God's sake!
ANTONIO. So please my lord the Duke and all the court
To quit the fine for one half of his goods;
I am content, so he will let me have
The other half in use, to render it
Upon his death unto the gentleman
That lately stole his daughter--
Two things provided more; that, for this favour,
He presently become a Christian;
The other, that he do record a gift,
Here in the court, of all he dies possess'd
Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.
DUKE OF VENICE. He shall do this, or else I do recant
The pardon that I late pronounced here.
PORTIA. Art thou contented, Jew? What dost thou say?
SHYLOCK. I am content.
PORTIA. Clerk, draw a deed of gift.
SHYLOCK. I pray you, give me leave to go from hence;
I am not well; send the deed after me
And I will sign it.
DUKE OF VENICE. Get thee gone, but do it.
GRATIANO. In christ'ning shalt thou have two god-fathers;
Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more,
To bring thee to the gallows, not to the font.
DUKE OF VENICE. Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.
PORTIA. I humbly do desire your Grace of pardon;
I must away this night toward Padua,
And it is meet I presently set forth.
DUKE OF VENICE. I am sorry that your leisure serves you not.
Antonio, gratify this gentleman,
For in my mind you are much bound to him.
Exeunt DUKE, MAGNIFICOES, and train.
BASSANIO. Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend
Have by your wisdom been this day acquitted
Of grievous penalties; in lieu whereof
Three thousand ducats, due unto the Jew,
We freely cope your courteous pains withal.
ANTONIO. And stand indebted, over and above,
In love and service to you evermore.
PORTIA. He is well paid that is well satisfied,
And I, delivering you, am satisfied,
And therein do account myself well paid.
My mind was never yet more mercenary.
I pray you, know me when we meet again;
I wish you well, and so I take my leave.
BASSANIO. Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further;
Take some remembrance of us, as a tribute,
Not as fee. Grant me two things, I pray you,
Not to deny me, and to pardon me.
PORTIA. You press me far, and therefore I will yield.
[To ANTONIO] Give me your gloves, I'll wear them for your
[To BASSANIO] And, for your love, I'll take this ring from
Do not draw back your hand; I'll take no more,
And you in love shall not deny me this.
BASSANIO. This ring, good sir- alas, it is a trifle;
I will not shame myself to give you this.
PORTIA. I will have nothing else but only this;
And now, methinks, I have a mind to it.
BASSANIO.. There's more depends on this than on the value.
The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,
And find it out by proclamation;
Only for this, I pray you, pardon me.
PORTIA. I see, sir, you are liberal in offers;
You taught me first to beg, and now, methinks,
You teach me how a beggar should be answer'd.
BASSANIO. Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife;
And, when she put it on, she made me vow
That I should neither sell, nor give, nor lose it.
PORTIA. That 'scuse serves many men to save their gifts.
And if your wife be not a mad woman,
And know how well I have deserv'd this ring,
She would not hold out enemy for ever
For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!
ANTONIO. My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring.
Let his deservings, and my love withal,
Be valued 'gainst your wife's commandment.
BASSANIO. Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him;
Give him the ring, and bring him, if thou canst,
Unto Antonio's house. Away, make haste. Exit GRATIANO.
Come, you and I will thither presently;
And in the morning early will we both
Fly toward Belmont. Come, Antonio. Exeunt

Venice. A street


PORTIA. Inquire the Jew's house out, give him this deed,
And let him sign it; we'll away tonight,
And be a day before our husbands home.
This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo.


GRATIANO. Fair sir, you are well o'erta'en.
My Lord Bassanio, upon more advice,
Hath sent you here this ring, and doth entreat
Your company at dinner.
PORTIA. That cannot be.
His ring I do accept most thankfully,
And so, I pray you, tell him. Furthermore,
I pray you show my youth old Shylock's house.
GRATIANO. That will I do.
NERISSA. Sir, I would speak with you.
[Aside to PORTIA] I'll see if I can get my husband's ring,
Which I did make him swear to keep for ever.
PORTIA. [To NERISSA] Thou Mayst, I warrant. We shall have old
That they did give the rings away to men;
But we'll outface them, and outswear them too.
[Aloud] Away, make haste, thou know'st where I will tarry.
NERISSA. Come, good sir, will you show me to this house?

Belmont. The garden before PORTIA'S house


LORENZO. The moon shines bright. In such a night as this,
When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees,
And they did make no noise--in such a night,
Troilus methinks mounted the Troyan walls,
And sigh'd his soul toward the Grecian tents,
Where Cressid lay that night.
JESSICA. In such a night
Did Thisby fearfully o'ertrip the dew,
And saw the lion's shadow ere himself,
And ran dismayed away.
LORENZO. In such a night
Stood Dido with a willow in her hand
Upon the wild sea-banks, and waft her love
To come again to Carthage.
JESSICA. In such a night
Medea gathered the enchanted herbs
That did renew old AEson.
LORENZO. In such a night
Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew,
And with an unthrift love did run from Venice
As far as Belmont.
JESSICA. In such a night
Did young Lorenzo swear he lov'd her well,
Stealing her soul with many vows of faith,
And ne'er a true one.
LORENZO. In such a night
Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,
Slander her love, and he forgave it her.
JESSICA. I would out-night you, did no body come;
But, hark, I hear the footing of a man.


LORENZO. Who comes so fast in silence of the night?
STEPHANO. A friend.
LORENZO. A friend! What friend? Your name, I pray you, friend?
STEPHANO. Stephano is my name, and I bring word
My mistress will before the break of day
Be here at Belmont; she doth stray about
By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays
For happy wedlock hours.
LORENZO. Who comes with her?
STEPHANO. None but a holy hermit and her maid.
I pray you, is my master yet return'd?
LORENZO. He is not, nor we have not heard from him.
But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica,
And ceremoniously let us prepare
Some welcome for the mistress of the house.


LAUNCELOT. Sola, sola! wo ha, ho! sola, sola!
LORENZO. Who calls?
LAUNCELOT. Sola! Did you see Master Lorenzo? Master Lorenzo!
LORENZO. Leave holloaing, man. Here!
LAUNCELOT. Sola! Where, where?
LAUNCELOT. Tell him there's a post come from my master with his
horn full of good news; my master will be here ere morning.
LORENZO. Sweet soul, let's in, and there expect their coming.
And yet no matter- why should we go in?
My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you,
Within the house, your mistress is at hand;
And bring your music forth into the air. Exit STEPHANO
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears; soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-ey'd cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls,
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.


Come, ho, and wake Diana with a hymn;
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear.
And draw her home with music. [Music]
JESSICA. I am never merry when I hear sweet music.
LORENZO. The reason is your spirits are attentive;
For do but note a wild and wanton herd,
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud,
Which is the hot condition of their blood--
If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound,
Or any air of music touch their ears,
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
Their savage eyes turn'd to a modest gaze
By the sweet power of music. Therefore the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods;
Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
But music for the time doth change his nature.
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull:as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.


PORTIA. That light we see is burning in my hall.
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
NERISSA. When the moon shone, we did not see the candle.
PORTIA. So doth the greater glory dim the less:
A substitute shines brightly as a king
Until a king be by, and then his state
Empties itself, as doth an inland brook
Into the main of waters. Music! hark!
NERISSA. It is your music, madam, of the house.
PORTIA. Nothing is good, I see, without respect;
Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day.
NERISSA. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.
PORTIA. The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark
When neither is attended; and I think
The nightingale, if she should sing by day,
When every goose is cackling, would be thought
No better a musician than the wren.
How many things by season season'd are
To their right praise and true perfection!
Peace, ho! The moon sleeps with Endymion,
And would not be awak'd. [Music ceases]
LORENZO. That is the voice,
Or I am much deceiv'd, of Portia.
PORTIA. He knows me as the blind man knows the cuckoo,
By the bad voice.
LORENZO. Dear lady, welcome home.
PORTIA. We have been praying for our husbands' welfare,
Which speed, we hope, the better for our words.
Are they return'd?
LORENZO. Madam, they are not yet;
But there is come a messenger before,
To signify their coming.
PORTIA.. Go in, Nerissa;
Give order to my servants that they take
No note at all of our being absent hence;
Nor you, Lorenzo; Jessica, nor you. [A tucket sounds]
LORENZO. Your husband is at hand; I hear his trumpet.
We are no tell-tales, madam, fear you not.
PORTIA. This night methinks is but the daylight sick;
It looks a little paler; 'tis a day
Such as the day is when the sun is hid.

Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and their followers.

BASSANIO. We should hold day with the Antipodes,
If you would walk in absence of the sun.
PORTIA. Let me give light, but let me not be light,
For a light wife doth make a heavy husband,
And never be Bassanio so for me;
But God sort all! You are welcome home, my lord.
BASSANIO. I thank you, madam; give welcome to my friend.
This is the man, this is Antonio,
To whom I am so infinitely bound.
PORTIA. You should in all sense be much bound to him,
For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.
ANTONIO. No more than I am well acquitted of.
PORTIA. Sir, you are very welcome to our house.
It must appear in other ways than words,
Therefore I scant this breathing courtesy.
GRATIANO. [To NERISSA] By yonder moon I swear you do me
In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk.
Would he were gelt that had it, for my part,
Since you do take it, love, so much at heart.
PORTIA. A quarrel, ho, already! What's the matter?
GRATIANO. About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring
That she did give me, whose posy was
For all the world like cutler's poetry
Upon a knife, 'Love me, and leave me not.'
NERISSA. What talk you of the posy or the value?
You swore to me, when I did give it you,
That you would wear it till your hour of death,
And that it should lie with you in your grave;
Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,
You should have been respective and have kept it.
Gave it a judge's clerk! No, God's my judge,
The clerk will ne'er wear hair on's face that had it.
GRATIANO. He will, an if he live to be a man.
NERISSA. Ay, if a woman live to be a man.
GRATIANO. Now by this hand I gave it to a youth,
A kind of boy, a little scrubbed boy
No higher than thyself, the judge's clerk;
A prating boy that begg'd it as a fee;
I could not for my heart deny it him.
PORTIA. You were to blame, I must be plain with you,
To part so slightly with your wife's first gift,
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger
And so riveted with faith unto your flesh.
I gave my love a ring, and made him swear
Never to part with it, and here he stands;
I dare be sworn for him he would not leave it
Nor pluck it from his finger for the wealth
That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano,
You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief;
An 'twere to me, I should be mad at it.
BASSANIO. [Aside] Why, I were best to cut my left hand off,
And swear I lost the ring defending it.
GRATIANO. My Lord Bassanio gave his ring away
Unto the judge that begg'd it, and indeed
Deserv'd it too; and then the boy, his clerk,
That took some pains in writing, he begg'd mine;
And neither man nor master would take aught
But the two rings.
PORTIA. What ring gave you, my lord?
Not that, I hope, which you receiv'd of me.
BASSANIO. If I could add a lie unto a fault,
I would deny it; but you see my finger
Hath not the ring upon it; it is gone.
PORTIA. Even so void is your false heart of truth;
By heaven, I will ne'er come in your bed
Until I see the ring.
NERISSA. Nor I in yours
Till I again see mine.
BASSANIO. Sweet Portia,
If you did know to whom I gave the ring,
If you did know for whom I gave the ring,
And would conceive for what I gave the ring,
And how unwillingly I left the ring,
When nought would be accepted but the ring,
You would abate the strength of your displeasure.
PORTIA. If you had known the virtue of the ring,
Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
Or your own honour to contain the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
What man is there so much unreasonable,
If you had pleas'd to have defended it
With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
To urge the thing held as a ceremony?
Nerissa teaches me what to believe:
I'll die for't but some woman had the ring.
BASSANIO. No, by my honour, madam, by my soul,
No woman had it, but a civil doctor,
Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me,
And begg'd the ring; the which I did deny him,
And suffer'd him to go displeas'd away-
Even he that had held up the very life
Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady?
I was enforc'd to send it after him;
I was beset with shame and courtesy;
My honour would not let ingratitude
So much besmear it. Pardon me, good lady;
For by these blessed candles of the night,
Had you been there, I think you would have begg'd
The ring of me to give the worthy doctor.
PORTIA. Let not that doctor e'er come near my house;
Since he hath got the jewel that I loved,
And that which you did swear to keep for me,
I will become as liberal as you;
I'll not deny him anything I have,
No, not my body, nor my husband's bed.
Know him I shall, I am well sure of it.
Lie not a night from home; watch me like Argus;
If you do not, if I be left alone,
Now, by mine honour which is yet mine own,
I'll have that doctor for mine bedfellow.
NERISSA. And I his clerk; therefore be well advis'd
How you do leave me to mine own protection.
GRATIANO. Well, do you so, let not me take him then;
For, if I do, I'll mar the young clerk's pen.
ANTONIO. I am th' unhappy subject of these quarrels.
PORTIA. Sir, grieve not you; you are welcome not withstanding.
BASSANIO. Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong;
And in the hearing of these many friends
I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes,
Wherein I see myself-
PORTIA. Mark you but that!
In both my eyes he doubly sees himself,
In each eye one; swear by your double self,
And there's an oath of credit.
BASSANIO. Nay, but hear me.
Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear
I never more will break an oath with thee.
ANTONIO. I once did lend my body for his wealth,
Which, but for him that had your husband's ring,
Had quite miscarried; I dare be bound again,
My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord
Will never more break faith advisedly.
PORTIA. Then you shall be his surety. Give him this,
And bid him keep it better than the other.
ANTONIO. Here, Lord Bassanio, swear to keep this ring.
BASSANIO. By heaven, it is the same I gave the doctor!
PORTIA. I had it of him. Pardon me, Bassanio,
For, by this ring, the doctor lay with me.
NERISSA. And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano,
For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor's clerk,
In lieu of this, last night did lie with me.
GRATIANO. Why, this is like the mending of highways
In summer, where the ways are fair enough.
What, are we cuckolds ere we have deserv'd it?
PORTIA. Speak not so grossly. You are all amaz'd.
Here is a letter; read it at your leisure;
It comes from Padua, from Bellario;
There you shall find that Portia was the doctor,
Nerissa there her clerk. Lorenzo here
Shall witness I set forth as soon as you,
And even but now return'd; I have not yet
Enter'd my house. Antonio, you are welcome;
And I have better news in store for you
Than you expect. Unseal this letter soon;
There you shall find three of your argosies
Are richly come to harbour suddenly.
You shall not know by what strange accident
I chanced on this letter.
ANTONIO. I am dumb.
BASSANIO. Were you the doctor, and I knew you not?
GRATIANO. Were you the clerk that is to make me cuckold?
NERISSA. Ay, but the clerk that never means to do it,
Unless he live until he be a man.
BASSANIO. Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow;
When I am absent, then lie with my wife.
ANTONIO. Sweet lady, you have given me life and living;
For here I read for certain that my ships
Are safely come to road.
PORTIA. How now, Lorenzo!
My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.
NERISSA. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.
There do I give to you and Jessica,
From the rich Jew, a special deed of gift,
After his death, of all he dies possess'd of.
LORENZO. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
Of starved people.
PORTIA. It is almost morning,
And yet I am sure you are not satisfied
Of these events at full. Let us go in,
And charge us there upon inter'gatories,
And we will answer all things faithfully.
GRATIANO. Let it be so. The first inter'gatory
That my Nerissa shall be sworn on is,
Whether till the next night she had rather stay,
Or go to bed now, being two hours to day.
But were the day come, I should wish it dark,
Till I were couching with the doctor's clerk.
Well, while I live, I'll fear no other thing
So sore as keeping safe Nerissa's ring. Exeunt



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