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Than if


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 prest unto it: therefore, speak.

Bal. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wondrous virtues; sometime from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages :
Her name is Portia; nothing undervalu'd
To Cato's daughter, BrutusPortia :
Nor is the wide world ign'rant of her worth;
For the four winds blow in from every coast
Renowned suitors: and her sunny locks
Hang on her temples like a golden fleece,
Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos' strond,
And many Jasons come in quest of her.
O my Anthonio, had I but the means
To hold a rival place with one of them,
I have a mind presages me suchothrift,
That I should questionless be fortunate.

Anth. 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 uttermoft,
To furnish thee to Belmont to fair Portia :
Go, presently inquire, and so will I,
Where money is; and I no question make
To have it of my trust, or for my fake.



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Three caskets are set out, one of gold, another of filver, and

another of lead.

Enter Portia, and Neriffa.
Port. Y my troth, Nerissa, my little body is weary of this


. ,

great world.

Ner. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the fame abundance as your good fortunes are; and yet, for ought I see, they are as sick that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing; therefore it is no small happiness to be seated in the mean ; superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, and competency lives longer.

Por. Good sentences, and well pronounc'd.
Ner. They would be better, if well follow’d.

Por. If to do, were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor mens cottages princes’ palaces. He 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 o’er 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 fashion to choose me a husband: o me, the word choose! I


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, Nerisa, that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none?

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 chests of gold, silver, and lead, (whereof who chooses his meaning, chooses you) will, no doubt, never be chosen by any rightly, but one whom you shall rightly love.

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But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely suitors that are already come?

Por. I pray thee, overname them; and, as thou nam'st them, I will describe 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 himself: I am much afraid, my lady his mother play'd false with a smith.

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 philosopher when he grows old, being so 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 say you by the French lord, monsieur Le Boun!

Por. God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man : in truth, I know it is a sin 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 sing, he falls straight a capering; he will fence with his own shadow : if I should marry him, I should marry twenty. husbands. 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 say 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 converse with a dumb show? how odly he is suited! 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 Scottis lord his neighbour ?


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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 surety, 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 should offer to choose, and choose the right casket, you should refuse to perform your father's will, if you

should refuse to accept him.

Por. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, set 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, Nerissa, 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 ;i which is, indeed, to return to their home, and to trouble you with no more suit, unless you may be won by some other fort than your father's imposition, depending on the caskets.

Por. If I live to be as old asSibylla, I will die as chaste 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 absence, and wish them a fair departure.

Ner. Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, a Venetian, a scholar, and a soldier, that came hither in company of the marquifs of Montferrat ?

Por. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, he was so 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 ?


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Enter a Servant. Ser. The four strangers seek 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 so 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 saint, and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me. Come, Nerisa. Sirrah,


before: while we shut the gate upon one wooer, another knocks at the door.


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your answer


Enter Bassanio, and Shylock.
Shy. THREE thousand ducats ? well.

Bas. Ay, sir, for three months.
Shy. For three months ? well.
Baf. For the which, as I told you, Anthonio shall be bound.
Shy. Anthonio shall become bound? well.
Bas. May you stead me? will you pleasure me? shall I know

Shy. Three thousand ducats for three months, and Anthonio

Bas. Your answer to that.
Shy. Anthonio is a good man.
Bas. Have

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 sufficient : yet his means
are in supposition : he hath an argoly 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,
squander'd abroad. But ships are but boards, failers but men;
there be land-rats, and water-rats, water-thieves, and land-thieves;

you heard

I mean,

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