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Nature hath fram'd strange fellows in her time:
That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile,
Enter Bassanio, Lorenzo, and Gratiano.
Salan. Here comes Bassanio, your most nobse
Gratiano, and Lorenzo: Fare you well;
Salar. I would have staid till I had made you
If worthier friends had not prevented me.
Bass. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh?
You grow exceeding strange: Must it be so? Salar. We'll make our leisures to attend on yours. [Exeunt Salarino and Salanio. Lor. My lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio,
We two will leave you; but, at dinner-time,
I pray you, have in mind where we must meet.
Gra. You look not well, signior Antonio;
Ant. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
A stage, where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.
Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.
Sleep when he wakes? and creep into the jaundice
For saying nothing; who, I am very sure,
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers, fools.
Lor. Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time: I must be one of these same dumb wise men, For Gratiano never lets me speak.
Gra. Well, keep me company but two years more, Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue. Ant. Farewell: I'll grow a talker for this gear. Gra. Thanks, i'faith; for silence is only commend. able
In a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible. [Exeunt Gratiano and Lorenzo.
Ant. Is that any thing now?
Bass. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice: His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff; you
• Obstinate silence.
shall seek all day ere you find them; and, when you have them, they are not worth the search.
Ant. Well; tell me now, what lady is this same
Bass. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
Ant. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it; And, if it stand, as you yourself still do, Within the eye of honour, be assur'd, My purse, my person, my extremest means, Lie all unlock'd to your occasions.
Bass. In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,
I shot his fellow of the self-same flight
The self-same way, with more advised watch,
Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
Or bring your latter hazard back again,
Ant. You know me well; and herein spend but
To wind about my love with circumstance;
And, out of doubt, you do me now more wrong,
Bass. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
Her name is Portia ; nothing undervalued
I have a mind presages me such thrift,
That I should questionless be fortunate.
Ant. Thou know'st, that all my fortunes are at
Nor have I money, nor commodity
To raise a present sum: therefore go forth,
Try what my credit can in Venice do;
Belmont. A room in Portia's house.
Enter Portia and Nerissa.
Por. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is a-weary of this great world.
Ner. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good for. tunes 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 pronounced. Ner. They would be better, if well followed. 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. The brain may devise laws for the blood; but a hot temper leaps over a cold decree: such a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel the cripple. 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; there. fore, the lottery, that he hath devised in these three chests, of gold, silver, and lead (whereof who chooses,