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Gra. (L.) [Advancing with Ner.) By yonder moon
I swear, you do me wrong ;
In faith I gave it to the judge's clerk :
Would he were hang'd that had it, for my part,
Since you do take it, love, so much at heart.
Por. A quarrel, ho, already? what's the matter?
Gra. About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring
That she did give to me; whose posy was,
For all the world, like cutler's poetry
Upon a knife, “ Love me, and leave me not."
Ner. (L.) 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 !-but well I know,
The clerk will ne'er wear hair on his face, that had it.
Gra. He will, an if he live to be a man.
Ner. Ay, if a woman live to be a man.
Gra. 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.
Por. (R.) You were to blame, I must be plain with
To part so slightly with your wife's first gift:
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger,
And riveted so 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;
And 'twere to me, I should be mad at it.
Bass. (R.) Why, I were best to cut my left hand off, And swear I lost the ring defending it. [Aside.
Gra. (L. c.) My lord Bassanio gave his ring away
Unto the judge that begg'd it, and, indeed,
Desery'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.
Por. (R. C.) What ring gave you, my lord? Not that, I hope, which you receiv'd of me.
Bass. (R.C.) 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.
Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth.
By heaven, I will ne'er come in your bed,
Until I see the ring.
Ner. Nor I in yours,
Till I again see mine.
Bass. 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 naught would be accepted but the ring,
You would abate the strength of your displeasure.
Por. If you had known the virtue of the ring,
Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
Or your own honour to retain 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.
[She walks about, Bass. follows her.
Bass. No, by mine 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 enforced to send it after him.
Had you been there, I think you would have begg'd
The ring of me to give the worthy doctor.
Por. (R.) Let not that doctor e'er come near my
Since he hath got the jewel that I lov'd,
And that which you did swear to keep for me,
I will become as liberal as you ;
I'll not deny him any thing I have,
No, not 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 my own,
I'll have that doctor for my bed-fellow.
Ner. (L.) And I his clerk; therefore be well advis'd, How you do leave me to mine own protection.
Gra. (R.) Well, do you so: let me not take him then; For, if I do, I'll mar the young clerk's pen.
Ant. (c.) I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels. Por. (R.) Sir, grieve not you: you are welcome, not
Bass. (R.) Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong ;
And, in the hearing of these many friends,
I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes,
I never more will break an oath with thee.
Ant. 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.
Por. Then you shall be his surety; give him this ; And bid him keep it better than the other.
Ant. Here, Lord Bassanio: swear to keep this ring. Bass. [ Amazed.] By heaven-it is the same I gave
the doctor! Por. I had it of him: pardon me, Bassanio : For, by this ring, the doctor lay with me.
Ner. 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. Gra. [ Amazed.] Why, this is like the mending of
In summer, where the ways are fair enough:
What! are we cuckolds, ere we have deserv'd it?
Por. (R. C.) Speak not so grossly.--You are all
Here is a letter, read it at your leisure;
It comes from Padua, from Bellario:
There you shall find, thầt Portia was the doctor;
Nerissa there, her clerk: Lorenzo here
Shall witness, I set forth as soon as you,
And but even 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.
Bass. (R.) Were you the doctor, and I knew you not?
Gra. (L.) Were you the clerk, that is to make me
cuckold? Ner. (L.) Ay; but the clerk, that never means to do it, Unless he live until he be a man.
Bass, Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow;
When I am absent, then sleep with my wife.
Ant. Sweet lady, you have given me life, and
For here I read for certain, that my ships
Are safely come to road.
My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.
Ner. 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.
Lor. (L.) Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
Of starved people.
Por. 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.
Gra. 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,
That I were couching with the doctor's clerk.
Well, while I livé, i'll fear no other thing
So sore, as keeping safe Nerissa's ring.
POSITION OF THE CHARACTERS AT THE
FALL OF THE CURTAIN.
'T, DOLBY, Printer, 17, Catherine Street, Strand, London.