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THE

MERCHANT OF VENICE.

ACT THE FIRST.

SCENE I.

A Street in Venice.

Enter SALARINO, ANTONIO, and SALANIO.
Ant. In sooth, I know not why I am so sad ;
It wearies me; you say, it wearies you:
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff ’tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.

Sal. Your mind is tossing on the ocean;
There, where your argosies with portly fail,
Like signiors and rich burghers of the flood,
Do over-peer the petty traffickers,
That curt'sy to them, do them rev'rence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings.

Sala. Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth.
The better part of my affections would
Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still

Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind;
Peering in maps for ports, and piers, and roads;
And every object, that might make me fear
Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt,
Would make me sad.

Sal. My wind, cooling my broth,
Would blow me to an ague, when I thought
What harm wind too great might do at sea.
I should not see the sandy hour-glass run,
But I should think of shallows, and of flats;
And see my wealthy Andrew dock'd in sand,
Vailing her high top lower than her ribs,
To kiss her burial.
Shall I have the thought
To think on this: and shall I lack the thought,
That such a thing, bechanc'd, would make me sad?
But, tell not me; I know, Antonio
Is sad to think upon his merchandize.

Ant. Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it, My ventures are not in one bottom trusted, Nor to one place; nor is

my

whole estate Upon the fortune of this present year: Therefore, my merchandize makes me not sad.

Sala. Why, then, you are in love.
Ant. Fie, fie!
Sala. Not in love neither? Then let's say, you are

sad,
Because you are not merry: and 'twere as easy
For you to laugh, and leap, and say you are merry,
Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed Janus,
Nature hath fram'd strange fellows in her time:
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes,
And laugh, like parrots, at a bagpiper;
And other of such vinegar aspect,
That they'll not show their teeth in

way

of smile, Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable. Sal. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kins

man,

say, when?

Gratiano, and Lorenzo : Fare you well.;
We leave you now with better company,

Sala. I would have staid till I had made you merry, If worı hier friends had not prevented me.

Ant. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
I take it, your own business calls on you,
And
you

embrace the occasion to depart.
Enter BASSANIO, GRATIANO, and LORENZO.
Sala. Good morrow, my good lords.
Bass. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh?

[To Sala. and Sol. You grow exceeding strange ; must it be so? Sal. We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.

[Exeunt Sol. and ȘALA. Lór. 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. Bass. I will not fail you.

Gra. You look not well, Signior Antonio; You have too much respect upon the world: They lose it, that do buy it with much care. Believe me, you are marvellously chang'd.

Ant. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
A stage, where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one,

Gra. Let me play the fool :
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come;
And let my liver rather heat with wine,
Than

my

heart cool with mortifying groans. Why should a man, whose blood is warm within, Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster? Sleep when he wakes? and creep into the jaundice By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio, I love thee, and it is my love that speaks ;There are a sort of men, whose visages Do cream and mantle, like a standing pond;

Of wondrous virtues; sometimes from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages;
Her name is Portia; nothing undervalu'd
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, presenıly inquire, and so will I,
Where money is; and I no question make,
To have it of my trust, or for my sake. [Exeunt.

SCENE II.

Portra's House at Belmont.

Enter Portia and NERISSA. Por. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world.

Ner. 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

Nor do I now make moan to be abridg’d
From such a noble rate; but my

chief care
Is, to come fairly off from the great debts,
Wherein my time, something too prodigal,
Haih left me gagʻd: to you, Antonio,
I owe the most, in money, and in love;
And from your love I have a warranty
To unburden all my plots, and purposes,
How to get clear of all the debts I owe.

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 assurd,
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, To find the other forth; and, by advent'ring both, I oft found both: I urge this childhood proof, Because what follows is pure innocence. I owe you much; and, like a wilful youth, That which I owe is lost: but, if you please To shoot another arrow thạt self way Which

you

did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
As I will watch the aim, or to find both,
Or bring your latter hazard back again,
And thankfully rest debtor for the first.
Ant. You know me well; and herein spend but

time,
To wind about my love with circumstance;
And, out of doubt, you do me now more wrong,
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 press'd unto it: therefore, speak.

Bass. In Belmont is a lady richly left, And she is fair and fairer than that word,

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