« PreviousContinue »
Than if you had made wafte of all I have.
Baff. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
Her name is Portia; nothing undervalu'd
Anth. Thou know'ft that all my fortunes are at fea;
Thrift, for thriving.
Three caskets are fet out, one of gold, another of filver, and
Enter Portia, and Neriffa.
Y my troth, Nerissa, my little body is weary of this
Ner. You would be, fweet madam, if your miseries were in the fame abundance as your good fortunes are; and yet, for ought I see, they are as fick that furfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing; therefore it is no small happiness to be feated in the mean; fuperfluity comes fooner by white hairs, and competency lives longer.
Por. Good fentences, and well pronounc'd.
Por. If to do, were as eafy as to know what were good to
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 chefts of gold, filver, and lead, (whereof who chooses his meaning, chooses you) will, no doubt, never be chofen by any rightly, but one whom you fhall rightly love.
But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely fuitors that are already come?
Por. I pray thee, overname them; and, as thou nam'st them, I will defcribe them; and, according to my description, level at my affection.
Ner. First, there is the Neapolitan prince.
Por. Ay, that's a dolt, 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 fhoe him himfelf: I am much afraid, my lady his mother play'd falfe with a fmith.
Ner. Then, there is the count Palatine.
Por. He doth nothing but frown; as who should say, if you will not have me, choose: he hears merry tales, and smiles not: I fear, he will prove the weeping philofopher when he grows old, being fo full of unmannerly fadness 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!
Ner. How fay you by the French lord, monfieur Le Boun! Por. God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man: in truth, I know it is a fin 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 fing, he falls straight a capering; he will fence with his own fhadow: if I fhould marry him, I fhould marry twentyhusbands. If he would despise me, I would forgive him; for if he love me to madness, I should never requite him.
Ner. What say you then to Faulconbridge, the young baron of England?
Por. You know, I fay nothing to him, for he understands not me, nor I him; he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian; and you may 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 converfe with a dumb fhow? how odly he is fuited! I think, he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany, and his behaviour every where. Ner. What think you of the Scottish lord his neighbour?
Por. That he hath a neighbourly charity in him; for he borrow'd 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 furety, and fealed under for another.
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 beaft; and, the worst fall that ever fell, I hope, I shall make shift to go without him.
Ner.. If he fhould offer to choose, and choose the right casket, you should refuse to perform your father's will, if you fhould refuse to accept him.
Por. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, fet 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 any thing, Neriffa, ere I will be marry'd to a spunge.
Ner. 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 fuit, unless you may be won by fome other fort than your father's impofition, depending on the caskets.
Por. If I live to be as old asSibylla, I will die as chafte as Diana, unless I be obtain'd 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 abfence, and wish them a fair departure.
Ner. Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, a Venetian, a fcholar, and a foldier, that came hither in. company of the marquifs of Montferrat?
Por. Yes, yes, it was Baffanio; as I think, he was fo called. 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. How now? what news?
Enter a Servant.
Ser. The four strangers feek 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.
Por. If I could bid the fifth welcome with fo good a heart as I can bid the other four farewel, I should be glad of his approach; if he have the condition of a faint, and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should fhrive me than wive me. Come, Neriffa. Sirrah, go before: while we shut the gate upon one wooer, another
knocks at the door.
Enter Baffanio, and Shylock. HREE thousand ducats? well. Baff. Ay, fir, for three months. Shy. For three months? well.
Bass. For the which, as I told you, Anthonio fhall be bound.
Baff. May you ftead me? will you pleasure me? fhall I know your answer?
Shy. Three thousand ducats for three months, and Anthonio bound?
Bal. Your answer to that.
Shy. Anthonio is a good man.
Baff. Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?
Shy. No, no, no, no; my meaning, in saying he is a good man, is, to have you understand me, that he is fufficient: yet his means are in supposition: he hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I understand moreover upon the Ryalto, he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and other ventures he hath, fquander'd abroad. But fhips are but boards, failers but men; there be land-rats, and water-rats, water-thieves, and land-thieves ;