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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.


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

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. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to chuse me a husband :-o me, the word chuse! I may neither chuse whom I would, nor refuse whom I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father:-Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot chuse 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 chuses his meaning, chuses you,) will, no doubt, never be chosen by any rightly, but one who you

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

Por. I pray thee, over-name 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 colt, 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 shoe him himself: I am much afraid, my lady, his mother, played false with a smith.

Ner. Then, there is the County Palatine.

Por. He doth nothing but frown; as who should say,

“ An' if you will not have me, chuse:" he hears


merry tales, and smiles not: I fear, he will prove the weeping philosopher, when he grows old, being so fun of unmannerly sadness in his youth. I had rather be married to a death's head with a bone in his mouth, than to either of these. Heaven defend me from these two !

Ner. How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon ?

Por. Heaven made him, and therefore let him pass for a man. In trath, I know it is a sin to be a mocker; bat 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 made hess, I shall never requite him.

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, be is a little better than a beast : an the worst fall that ever fell, I hope, I shall make shift to go without him.

Ner. If he should offer to chuse, and chuse 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 cas

for if the devil be within, and that temptation without, I know he will chuse it. I will do any thing, Nerissa, ere I will be married 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 suit; unless you may be won by some other sort than your father's imposition, depending on the caskets.

Por. If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die as chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by the manner of my father's will: I am glad this parcel of wooers are so very reasonable; for there is not one among them but I ote on his very absence, and I


Heaven grant them a fair departure.

Ner. Do not you remember, lady, in your father's time, a Venetian, a scholar, and a soldier, that came bither in company of the Marquis of Montferratt

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

Ner. True, madam; he, of all the men that ever my foolish


looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.

Por. I remember him well; and I remember him worthy of thy praise.

Enter BALTHAZAR, Por. Hów now! what news?

Bal. 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 heart as I can bid the other four farewell, I should be glad of his approach. Come, Nerissa.—Sirrah, go before.-Whiles we shut the gate upon one wooer, other knocks at the door.



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A Street in Venice.

Shy. Three thousand ducats,-well.
Bass. Ay, sir, for three months.
Shy. For three months,-well.

Bass. For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound.

Shy. Antonio shall become bound,--well.

Bass. May you stead me? Will you pleasure me? Shall I know your answer?

Shy. Three thousand ducats, for three months, and Antonio bound.

Bass: Your answer to that.
Shy. Antonio is a good man.

Bass. Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?

Shy. Ho, no, no, no, no;—my meaning, in saying he is a good man, is to have


understand me, that he is sufficient: yet his means are in supposition : he hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I understand, moreover, upon the Rialto, he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and other ventures he hath squandered abroad: but ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land rats, and water rats, water thieves, and land thieves ; I mean pirates ; and then, there is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks: the man is, notwithstanding, sufficient :three thousand ducats ;-I think, I may take his bond.

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