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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.
Bass. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wond'rous virtues; sometimes from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages;
Her name is Portia ; nothing undervalued
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia.

Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth;
For the four winds blow in from every coast
Renowned suitors.

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.

Ant. Thou know'st, that all my fortunes are at sea: Nor 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, ANT. L. BASS. R.

SCENE II.-Portia's House at Belmont.

Enter PORTIA and NERISSA, r.

Por. (c.) By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world.

Ner. (R. c.) You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are, and yet, for aught I see, they are as sick, that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing. It is no mean happiness, therefore, to be seated in the mean; superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.

Por. Good sentences, and well pronounc'd.

Ner. They would better, if well follow'd.

Por. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's

cottages, princes' palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions: I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me a husband:-O me, the word choose! I may neither choose whom I would, nor refuse whom I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curb'd by the will of a dead father:-Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none?

Ner. Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men, at their death, have good inspirations; therefore, the lottery that he hath devised in these three chests, of gold, silver, and lead, (whereof, who chooses his meaning, chooses you,) will, no doubt, never be chosen by any rightly, but one who you shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely suitors that are already come?

Por. I pray thee, over-name them; and, as thou nam'st them, I will describe them; and, according to my description, level at my affection.

Ner. First there is the Neapolitan prince.

Por. Ay, that's 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 afraid, my lady, his mother play'd false with a smith.

Ner. (c.) Then, there is the County Palatine.

Por. (R.) He doth nothing but frown; as who should say, "An if you will not have me, choose:" he hears merry tales, and smiles not: I fear he will prove the weeping philosopher when he grows old, being so full of unmannerly sadness in his youth. I had rather be married to a death's head with a bone in his mouth, than to either of these. Heaven defend me from these two! Ner. How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?

Por. Heaven made him, and therefore let him pass for a man.

Ner. How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew?

Por. 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 beasts an the worst fall that ever fell, I hope, I shall make shift to o without him.

Ner. 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.

Por. 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.

Ner. You need not fear, lady, the having any of these lords; they have acquainted me with their deter minations 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.

Por. 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 heaven grant them a fair departure.

Ner. Do you not remember, lady, fin your father's time, a Venetian, a scholar, and a soldier, that came hither in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?

Por. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio, as I think, so he was call'd.

Ner. True, madam; he, of all the men that ever my foolish eyes look'd upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.

Por. I remember him well; and I remember him worthy of thy praise.


Por. How now! what news? [Crosses to L. Bal. (L.) The four strangers seek for you, madam, to take their leave; and there is a fore-runner come from a fifth, the Prince of Morocco: who brings word, the prince, his master, will be here to-night.

Por. 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. Come, Nerissa.-Sirrah, go before. Whiles we slut the gate upon one wooer, another knocks at the door. [Exeunt, L.

SCENE III-A Street in Venice.

Shy, (c.) Three thousand ducats,-well.

Bass. (R.c.) Ay, sir, for three months.

Shy. For three months-well.

Bass. For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound.

Shy. Antonio shall become bound-well.

Bass. May you stead me? Will you pleasure me ? Shall I know your answer?

Shy. Three thousand ducats, for three months, and Antonio bound.

Bass. Your answer to that.
Shy. Antonio is a good man.

Bass. Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?

Shy. 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, squander'd abroad: but ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land rats, and water rats, water thieves, and land thieves; I mean pirates; and then, there is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks; the man is, notwithstanding, sufficient:-three thousand ducats ; -I think I may take his bond.

Bass. Be assur'd you may.

Shy. (R.) I will be assur'd, I may; and, that I may be assured, I will bethink me: [Nodding significantly] may I speak with Antonio?

Bass. (c.) If it please you to dine with us.

Shy. (R. C.) 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?

Bass. This is signior Antonio.

[Exit, L.

Shy. (L. c.) [Pointing L.] 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: (c.)
If I can catch him once upon the hip,

I will feed fat the ancient grudge 1 bear him.

He hates our sacred nation; (R.) 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!

Bass. (L.) Shylock, do you hear?

[ANT. stands L.

Shy. (R.) 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 ANT. affecting not to have seen him before.] Rest you fair, good Signior;

Your worship was the last man in our mouths.

Ant. Shylock-(c.) 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. Is he yet possess'd,

How much you would?

[To BASS. who stands L.

Shy. Ay, ay, three thousand ducats.
Ant. (c.) And for three months.

Shy. I had forgot-three months, you told me so.

[TO BASS. Well then, your bond;-[To ANT.]-and let me see, (c.)-but hear you;

Methought, you said, you neither lend, nor borrow, Upon advantage.

Ant. I do never use it.

Shy. When Jacob graz'd his uncle Laban's sheepThis Jacob from our holy Abraham was

(As his wise mother wrought in his behalf,)

The third possessor; ay, he was the third.

Ant. And what of him? did he take interest?

Shy. 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 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

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