« PreviousContinue »
Gra. Yes, faith, my lord.
Bas. Our feast shall be much honour'd in your marriage.
Gra. We'll play with them, the first boy, for a thousand ducats.
Ner. What, and stake down?
Gra. No, we shall ne'er win at that sport, and stake down.
But who comes here? Lorenzo, and his infidel?
What, and my old Venetian friend, Salanio?
Enter Lorenzo, Jessica, and Salanio.
Baf. Lorenzo, and Salanio, welcome hither,
If that the youth of my new interest here
Have pow'r to bid you welcome. By your leave,
I bid my very friends, and countrymen,
Sweet Portia, welcome.
Por. So do I, my lord; they are entirely welcome.
Lor. I thank your honour: for my part, my lord,
My purpose was not to have seen you here;
But meeting with Salanio by the way,
He did entreat me, past all saying nay,
To come with him along.
Sal. I did, my lord;
And I have reason for't: fignior Anthonio
Commends him to you.
[gives him a letter. Bas. Ere I
I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth.
Sal. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind:
Nor well, unless in mind : his letter there
Will show you his estate.
Bassanio opens the letter.
Gra. Nerissa, cheer yond stranger : bid her welcome.
Your hand, Salanio; what's the news from Venice?
How doth that royal merchant, good Anthonio ?
I know, he will be glad of our success :
We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.
Sal. Would, you had won the fleece that he hath lost!
Por. There are some shrewd contents in yond fame paper,
That steal the colour from Bassanio's cheek:
Some dear friend dead; else nothing in the world
Could turn so much the constitution
Of any constant man. What, worse and worse!
With leave, Bassanio, I am half yourself,
And I must have the half of any thing
That this fame paper brings you.
Bas. O sweet Portia !
Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words
That ever blotted paper. Gentle lady,
When I did first impart my love to you,
I freely told you, all the wealth' I had
Ran in my veins, I was a gentleman;
And then I told you true: and yet, dear lady,
Rating myself at nothing, you shall see
How much I was a braggart: when I told you
My state was nothing, I should then have told you,
That I was worse than nothing: for, indeed,
I have engag'd myself to a dear friend;
Engag’d my friend to his mere enemy,
To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady;
paper is the body of my friend,
every word in it a gaping wound,
Issuing lifeblood. But is it true, Salanio?
Have all his ventures fail'd ? what; not one hit
From Tripolis, from Mexico, from England,
From Lisbon, Barbary, and India ?
And not one vessel ’scap'd the dreadful touch
Of merchant-marring rocks ?
Sal. Not one, my lord.
Besides, it should appear, that, if he had
The present money to discharge the Jew,
He would not take it. Never did I know
A creature, that did beat the shape of man,
So keen and greedy to confound a mán.
He plies the duke at morning, and at night,
And doth impeach the freedom of the state,
If they deny him juftice. Twenty merchants,
The duke himself, and the magnificoes
Of greatest port, have all persuaded with him,
But none can drive him from the envious plea
Of forfeiture, of justice, and his bond.
Jes. When I was with him, I have heard him fwear,
To Tubal, and to Chus, his countrymen,
That he would rather have Anthonio's flesh
Than twenty times the value of the sum
That he did owe him; and, I know, my lord,
If law, authority, and pow'r 'deny not,
It will hard with
Por..Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble? ?
Baf. The dearest friend to me, the kindeft man,
The best condition d and unweary'd fpirit
In doing courtesies; and one in whom
The ancient Roman honour more appears
that draws breath in Italy. Por. What sum owes he the Jew? Bal. For me, three thousand ducats.
Por. What, no more?
Pay him fix thousand, and deface the bond;
Double fix thousand, and then treble that,
Before a friend of this description
Shall lose a hair through my Bassanio's fault.
First, go with me to church, and call me wife,
And then away to Venice to your friend :
For never shall you lie by Portia's fide
With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold
To pay the petty debt twenty times over.
When it is pay'd, bring your true friend along.
My maid Nerissa, and myself, mean-time,
Will live as maids and widows: come, away ;
For you shall hence upon your wedding-day.*
But let me bear the letter of
Weet Baffanio, my fpips have all mifcarry'd, my
creditors grow cruel, my estate is very low, my bond to the Jew is forfeit; and fince, in paying it, it is impoffible I fbould live, all debts are cleared between you and me, if I might but see you at my death: notwithstanding, use your pleasure; if your bove do not persuade you to come, let not my letter.
Por. O lovel despatch all business, and be gone.
Bass. 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.
Enter Shylock, Solarino, Anthonio, and the Jailer.
Sby. TAILER, look to him: tell not me of mercy.
This is the fool that lent out money gratis.
Jailet, look to him.
Anth. Hear me yet, good Shylock.
Shy. I'll have my bond ; speak not against my bond:
I've sworn an oath that I will have my bond.
Thou calloft me dog, before thou hadft a cause;
But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs :
The duke shall grant me justice. I do wonder,
Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheer;
Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.
But let me hear, &c.
Thou naughty jailer, that thou art fo fond
To come abroad with him at his request.
Anth. I pray thee, hear me speak.
Shy. 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 Shylock.
Sola. It is the most impenetrable cur
That ever kept with men.
Anth. Let him alone;
I'll follow him no more with bootless pray’rs :
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.
Sola. I am sure, the duke
Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.
Anth. The duke cannot deny the course of law;
For the commodity that strangers have
With us in Venice, if it be deny’d,
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, jailer, on; pray god, Bassanio come
To see me pay his debt, and then I care not ! [Exeunt.