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For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men.

      — Julius Caesar, Act III Scene 2

The Merchant of Venice

Act III

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Scene 1. Venice. A street.

Scene 2. Belmont. A room in PORTIA’S house.

Scene 3. Venice. A street.

Scene 4. Belmont. A room in PORTIA’S house.

Scene 5. The same. A garden.

---
       

Act III, Scene 1

Venice. A street.

      next scene .
---

[Enter SALANIO and SALARINO]

  • Salanio. Now, what news on the Rialto?
  • Salarino. Why, yet it lives there uncheck'd that Antonio hath 1240
    a ship of rich lading wrecked on the narrow seas;
    the Goodwins, I think they call the place; a very
    dangerous flat and fatal, where the carcasses of many
    a tall ship lie buried, as they say, if my gossip
    Report be an honest woman of her word. 1245
  • Salanio. I would she were as lying a gossip in that as ever
    knapped ginger or made her neighbours believe she
    wept for the death of a third husband. But it is
    true, without any slips of prolixity or crossing the
    plain highway of talk, that the good Antonio, the 1250
    honest Antonio,—O that I had a title good enough
    to keep his name company!—
  • Salanio. Ha! what sayest thou? Why, the end is, he hath
    lost a ship. 1255
  • Salarino. I would it might prove the end of his losses.
  • Salanio. Let me say 'amen' betimes, lest the devil cross my
    prayer, for here he comes in the likeness of a Jew.
    [Enter SHYLOCK]
    How now, Shylock! what news among the merchants? 1260
  • Shylock. You know, none so well, none so well as you, of my
    daughter's flight.
  • Salarino. That's certain: I, for my part, knew the tailor
    that made the wings she flew withal.
  • Salanio. And Shylock, for his own part, knew the bird was 1265
    fledged; and then it is the complexion of them all
    to leave the dam.
  • Salanio. That's certain, if the devil may be her judge.
  • Shylock. My own flesh and blood to rebel! 1270
  • Salanio. Out upon it, old carrion! rebels it at these years?
  • Shylock. I say, my daughter is my flesh and blood.
  • Salarino. There is more difference between thy flesh and hers
    than between jet and ivory; more between your bloods
    than there is between red wine and rhenish. But 1275
    tell us, do you hear whether Antonio have had any
    loss at sea or no?
  • Shylock. There I have another bad match: a bankrupt, a
    prodigal, who dare scarce show his head on the
    Rialto; a beggar, that was used to come so smug upon 1280
    the mart; let him look to his bond: he was wont to
    call me usurer; let him look to his bond: he was
    wont to lend money for a Christian courtesy; let him
    look to his bond.
  • Salarino. Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take 1285
    his flesh: what's that good for?
  • Shylock. To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else,
    it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and
    hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses,
    mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my 1290
    bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine
    enemies; and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath
    not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
    dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
    the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject 1295
    to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
    warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
    a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
    if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
    us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not 1300
    revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will
    resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian,
    what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian
    wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by
    Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you 1305
    teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I
    will better the instruction.

[Enter a Servant]

  • Servant. Gentlemen, my master Antonio is at his house and
    desires to speak with you both. 1310
  • Salarino. We have been up and down to seek him.

[Enter TUBAL]

  • Salanio. Here comes another of the tribe: a third cannot be
    matched, unless the devil himself turn Jew.

[Exeunt SALANIO, SALARINO, and Servant]

  • Shylock. How now, Tubal! what news from Genoa? hast thou
    found my daughter?
  • Tubal. I often came where I did hear of her, but cannot find her.
  • Shylock. Why, there, there, there, there! a diamond gone,
    cost me two thousand ducats in Frankfort! The curse 1320
    never fell upon our nation till now; I never felt it
    till now: two thousand ducats in that; and other
    precious, precious jewels. I would my daughter
    were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear!
    would she were hearsed at my foot, and the ducats in 1325
    her coffin! No news of them? Why, so: and I know
    not what's spent in the search: why, thou loss upon
    loss! the thief gone with so much, and so much to
    find the thief; and no satisfaction, no revenge:
    nor no in luck stirring but what lights on my 1330
    shoulders; no sighs but of my breathing; no tears
    but of my shedding.
  • Tubal. Yes, other men have ill luck too: Antonio, as I
    heard in Genoa,—
  • Shylock. What, what, what? ill luck, ill luck? 1335
  • Tubal. Hath an argosy cast away, coming from Tripolis.
  • Shylock. I thank God, I thank God. Is't true, is't true?
  • Tubal. I spoke with some of the sailors that escaped the wreck.
  • Shylock. I thank thee, good Tubal: good news, good news!
    ha, ha! where? in Genoa? 1340
  • Tubal. Your daughter spent in Genoa, as I heard, in one
    night fourscore ducats.
  • Shylock. Thou stickest a dagger in me: I shall never see my
    gold again: fourscore ducats at a sitting!
    fourscore ducats! 1345
  • Tubal. There came divers of Antonio's creditors in my
    company to Venice, that swear he cannot choose but break.
  • Shylock. I am very glad of it: I'll plague him; I'll torture
    him: I am glad of it.
  • Tubal. One of them showed me a ring that he had of your 1350
    daughter for a monkey.
  • Shylock. Out upon her! Thou torturest me, Tubal: it was my
    turquoise; I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor:
    I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.
  • Tubal. But Antonio is certainly undone. 1355
  • Shylock. Nay, that's true, that's very true. Go, Tubal, fee
    me an officer; bespeak him a fortnight before. I
    will have the heart of him, if he forfeit; for, were
    he out of Venice, I can make what merchandise I
    will. Go, go, Tubal, and meet me at our synagogue; 1360
    go, good Tubal; at our synagogue, Tubal.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 2

Belmont. A room in PORTIA’S house.

      next scene .
---

[Enter BASSANIO, PORTIA, GRATIANO, NERISSA, and Attendants]

  • Portia. I pray you, tarry: pause a day or two
    Before you hazard; for, in choosing wrong, 1365
    I lose your company: therefore forbear awhile.
    There's something tells me, but it is not love,
    I would not lose you; and you know yourself,
    Hate counsels not in such a quality.
    But lest you should not understand me well,— 1370
    And yet a maiden hath no tongue but thought,—
    I would detain you here some month or two
    Before you venture for me. I could teach you
    How to choose right, but I am then forsworn;
    So will I never be: so may you miss me; 1375
    But if you do, you'll make me wish a sin,
    That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes,
    They have o'erlook'd me and divided me;
    One half of me is yours, the other half yours,
    Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours, 1380
    And so all yours. O, these naughty times
    Put bars between the owners and their rights!
    And so, though yours, not yours. Prove it so,
    Let fortune go to hell for it, not I.
    I speak too long; but 'tis to peize the time, 1385
    To eke it and to draw it out in length,
    To stay you from election.
  • Bassanio. Let me choose
    For as I am, I live upon the rack.
  • Portia. Upon the rack, Bassanio! then confess 1390
    What treason there is mingled with your love.
  • Bassanio. None but that ugly treason of mistrust,
    Which makes me fear the enjoying of my love:
    There may as well be amity and life
    'Tween snow and fire, as treason and my love. 1395
  • Portia. Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack,
    Where men enforced do speak anything.
  • Bassanio. Promise me life, and I'll confess the truth.
  • Portia. Well then, confess and live.
  • Bassanio. 'Confess' and 'love' 1400
    Had been the very sum of my confession:
    O happy torment, when my torturer
    Doth teach me answers for deliverance!
    But let me to my fortune and the caskets.
  • Portia. Away, then! I am lock'd in one of them: 1405
    If you do love me, you will find me out.
    Nerissa and the rest, stand all aloof.
    Let music sound while he doth make his choice;
    Then, if he lose, he makes a swan-like end,
    Fading in music: that the comparison 1410
    May stand more proper, my eye shall be the stream
    And watery death-bed for him. He may win;
    And what is music then? Then music is
    Even as the flourish when true subjects bow
    To a new-crowned monarch: such it is 1415
    As are those dulcet sounds in break of day
    That creep into the dreaming bridegroom's ear,
    And summon him to marriage. Now he goes,
    With no less presence, but with much more love,
    Than young Alcides, when he did redeem 1420
    The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy
    To the sea-monster: I stand for sacrifice
    The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives,
    With bleared visages, come forth to view
    The issue of the exploit. Go, Hercules! 1425
    Live thou, I live: with much, much more dismay
    I view the fight than thou that makest the fray.
    [Music, whilst BASSANIO comments on the caskets to himself]
    SONG.
    Tell me where is fancy bred, 1430
    Or in the heart, or in the head?
    How begot, how nourished?
    Reply, reply.
    It is engender'd in the eyes,
    With gazing fed; and fancy dies 1435
    In the cradle where it lies.
    Let us all ring fancy's knell
    I'll begin it,—Ding, dong, bell.
  • All. Ding, dong, bell.
  • Bassanio. So may the outward shows be least themselves: 1440
    The world is still deceived with ornament.
    In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
    But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,
    Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
    What damned error, but some sober brow 1445
    Will bless it and approve it with a text,
    Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
    There is no vice so simple but assumes
    Some mark of virtue on his outward parts:
    How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false 1450
    As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
    The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars;
    Who, inward search'd, have livers white as milk;
    And these assume but valour's excrement
    To render them redoubted! Look on beauty, 1455
    And you shall see 'tis purchased by the weight;
    Which therein works a miracle in nature,
    Making them lightest that wear most of it:
    So are those crisped snaky golden locks
    Which make such wanton gambols with the wind, 1460
    Upon supposed fairness, often known
    To be the dowry of a second head,
    The skull that bred them in the sepulchre.
    Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
    To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf 1465
    Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,
    The seeming truth which cunning times put on
    To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold,
    Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;
    Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge 1470
    'Tween man and man: but thou, thou meagre lead,
    Which rather threatenest than dost promise aught,
    Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence;
    And here choose I; joy be the consequence!
  • Portia. [Aside] How all the other passions fleet to air, 1475
    As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embraced despair,
    And shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy! O love,
    Be moderate; allay thy ecstasy,
    In measure rein thy joy; scant this excess.
    I feel too much thy blessing: make it less, 1480
    For fear I surfeit.
  • Bassanio. What find I here?
    [Opening the leaden casket]
    Fair Portia's counterfeit! What demi-god
    Hath come so near creation? Move these eyes? 1485
    Or whether, riding on the balls of mine,
    Seem they in motion? Here are sever'd lips,
    Parted with sugar breath: so sweet a bar
    Should sunder such sweet friends. Here in her hairs
    The painter plays the spider and hath woven 1490
    A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men,
    Faster than gnats in cobwebs; but her eyes,—
    How could he see to do them? having made one,
    Methinks it should have power to steal both his
    And leave itself unfurnish'd. Yet look, how far 1495
    The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow
    In underprizing it, so far this shadow
    Doth limp behind the substance. Here's the scroll,
    The continent and summary of my fortune.
    [Reads] 1500
    You that choose not by the view,
    Chance as fair and choose as true!
    Since this fortune falls to you,
    Be content and seek no new,
    If you be well pleased with this 1505
    And hold your fortune for your bliss,
    Turn you where your lady is
    And claim her with a loving kiss.
    A gentle scroll. Fair lady, by your leave;
    I come by note, to give and to receive. 1510
    Like one of two contending in a prize,
    That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes,
    Hearing applause and universal shout,
    Giddy in spirit, still gazing in a doubt
    Whether these pearls of praise be his or no; 1515
    So, thrice fair lady, stand I, even so;
    As doubtful whether what I see be true,
    Until confirm'd, sign'd, ratified by you.
  • Portia. You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand,
    Such as I am: though for myself alone 1520
    I would not be ambitious in my wish,
    To wish myself much better; yet, for you
    I would be trebled twenty times myself;
    A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich;
    That only to stand high in your account, 1525
    I might in virtue, beauties, livings, friends,
    Exceed account; but the full sum of me
    Is sum of something, which, to term in gross,
    Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractised;
    Happy in this, she is not yet so old 1530
    But she may learn; happier than this,
    She is not bred so dull but she can learn;
    Happiest of all is that her gentle spirit
    Commits itself to yours to be directed,
    As from her lord, her governor, her king. 1535
    Myself and what is mine to you and yours
    Is now converted: but now I was the lord
    Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
    Queen o'er myself: and even now, but now,
    This house, these servants and this same myself 1540
    Are yours, my lord: I give them with this ring;
    Which when you part from, lose, or give away,
    Let it presage the ruin of your love
    And be my vantage to exclaim on you.
  • Bassanio. Madam, you have bereft me of all words, 1545
    Only my blood speaks to you in my veins;
    And there is such confusion in my powers,
    As after some oration fairly spoke
    By a beloved prince, there doth appear
    Among the buzzing pleased multitude; 1550
    Where every something, being blent together,
    Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy,
    Express'd and not express'd. But when this ring
    Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence:
    O, then be bold to say Bassanio's dead! 1555
  • Nerissa. My lord and lady, it is now our time,
    That have stood by and seen our wishes prosper,
    To cry, good joy: good joy, my lord and lady!
  • Gratiano. My lord Bassanio and my gentle lady,
    I wish you all the joy that you can wish; 1560
    For I am sure you can wish none from me:
    And when your honours mean to solemnize
    The bargain of your faith, I do beseech you,
    Even at that time I may be married too.
  • Bassanio. With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife. 1565
  • Gratiano. I thank your lordship, you have got me one.
    My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours:
    You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid;
    You loved, I loved for intermission.
    No more pertains to me, my lord, than you. 1570
    Your fortune stood upon the casket there,
    And so did mine too, as the matter falls;
    For wooing here until I sweat again,
    And sweating until my very roof was dry
    With oaths of love, at last, if promise last, 1575
    I got a promise of this fair one here
    To have her love, provided that your fortune
    Achieved her mistress.
  • Portia. Is this true, Nerissa?
  • Nerissa. Madam, it is, so you stand pleased withal. 1580
  • Bassanio. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?
  • Bassanio. Our feast shall be much honour'd in your marriage.
  • Gratiano. We'll play with them the first boy for a thousand ducats.
  • Nerissa. What, and stake down? 1585
  • Gratiano. 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 Salerio?
    [Enter LORENZO, JESSICA, and SALERIO, a Messenger]
    from Venice] 1590
  • Bassanio. Lorenzo and Salerio, welcome hither;
    If that the youth of my new interest here
    Have power to bid you welcome. By your leave,
    I bid my very friends and countrymen,
    Sweet Portia, welcome. 1595
  • Portia. So do I, my lord:
    They are entirely welcome.
  • Lorenzo. I thank your honour. For my part, my lord,
    My purpose was not to have seen you here;
    But meeting with Salerio by the way, 1600
    He did entreat me, past all saying nay,
    To come with him along.
  • Salerio. I did, my lord;
    And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio
    Commends him to you. 1605

[Gives Bassanio a letter]

  • Bassanio. Ere I ope his letter,
    I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth.
  • Salerio. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind;
    Nor well, unless in mind: his letter there 1610
    Will show you his estate.
  • Gratiano. Nerissa, cheer yon stranger; bid her welcome.
    Your hand, Salerio: what's the news from Venice?
    How doth that royal merchant, good Antonio?
    I know he will be glad of our success; 1615
    We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.
  • Salerio. I would you had won the fleece that he hath lost.
  • Portia. There are some shrewd contents in yon same paper,
    That steals the colour from Bassanio's cheek:
    Some dear friend dead; else nothing in the world 1620
    Could turn so much the constitution
    Of any constant man. What, worse and worse!
    With leave, Bassanio: I am half yourself,
    And I must freely have the half of anything
    That this same paper brings you. 1625
  • Bassanio. 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 1630
    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 1635
    That I was worse than nothing; for, indeed,
    I have engaged myself to a dear friend,
    Engaged my friend to his mere enemy,
    To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady;
    The paper as the body of my friend, 1640
    And every word in it a gaping wound,
    Issuing life-blood. But is it true, Salerio?
    Have all his ventures fail'd? What, not one hit?
    From Tripolis, from Mexico and England,
    From Lisbon, Barbary and India? 1645
    And not one vessel 'scape the dreadful touch
    Of merchant-marring rocks?
  • Salerio. Not one, my lord.
    Besides, it should appear, that if he had
    The present money to discharge the Jew, 1650
    He would not take it. Never did I know
    A creature, that did bear the shape of man,
    So keen and greedy to confound a man:
    He plies the duke at morning and at night,
    And doth impeach the freedom of the state, 1655
    If they deny him justice: 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. 1660
  • Jessica. When I was with him I have heard him swear
    To Tubal and to Chus, his countrymen,
    That he would rather have Antonio's flesh
    Than twenty times the value of the sum
    That he did owe him: and I know, my lord, 1665
    If law, authority and power deny not,
    It will go hard with poor Antonio.
  • Portia. Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble?
  • Bassanio. The dearest friend to me, the kindest man,
    The best-condition'd and unwearied spirit 1670
    In doing courtesies, and one in whom
    The ancient Roman honour more appears
    Than any that draws breath in Italy.
  • Portia. What sum owes he the Jew?
  • Bassanio. For me three thousand ducats. 1675
  • Portia. What, no more?
    Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond;
    Double six thousand, and then treble that,
    Before a friend of this description
    Shall lose a hair through Bassanio's fault. 1680
    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 side
    With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold
    To pay the petty debt twenty times over: 1685
    When it is paid, bring your true friend along.
    My maid Nerissa and myself meantime
    Will live as maids and widows. Come, away!
    For you shall hence upon your wedding-day:
    Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheer: 1690
    Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.
    But let me hear the letter of your friend.
  • Bassanio. [Reads] Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all
    miscarried, my creditors grow cruel, my estate is
    very low, my bond to the Jew is forfeit; and since 1695
    in paying it, it is impossible I should live, all
    debts are cleared between you and I, if I might but
    see you at my death. Notwithstanding, use your
    pleasure: if your love do not persuade you to come,
    let not my letter. 1700
  • Portia. O love, dispatch all business, and be gone!
  • Bassanio. 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,
    No rest be interposer 'twixt us twain. 1705

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 3

Venice. A street.

      next scene .
---

[Enter SHYLOCK, SALARINO, ANTONIO, and Gaoler]

  • Shylock. Gaoler, look to him: tell not me of mercy;
    This is the fool that lent out money gratis:
    Gaoler, look to him. 1710
  • Antonio. Hear me yet, good Shylock.
  • Shylock. I'll have my bond; speak not against my bond:
    I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond.
    Thou call'dst me dog before thou hadst a cause;
    But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs: 1715
    The duke shall grant me justice. I do wonder,
    Thou naughty gaoler, that thou art so fond
    To come abroad with him at his request.
  • Antonio. I pray thee, hear me speak.
  • Shylock. I'll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak: 1720
    I'll have my bond; and therefore speak no more.
    I'll not be made a soft and dull-eyed 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. 1725

[Exit]

  • Salarino. It is the most impenetrable cur
    That ever kept with men.
  • Antonio. Let him alone:
    I'll follow him no more with bootless prayers. 1730
    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.
  • Salarino. I am sure the duke 1735
    Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.
  • Antonio. The duke cannot deny the course of law:
    For the commodity that strangers have
    With us in Venice, if it be denied,
    Will much impeach the justice of his state; 1740
    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. 1745
    Well, gaoler, on. Pray God, Bassanio come
    To see me pay his debt, and then I care not!

[Exeunt]

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. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 4

Belmont. A room in PORTIA’S house.

      next scene .
---

[Enter PORTIA, NERISSA, LORENZO, JESSICA, and BALTHASAR]

  • Lorenzo. Madam, although I speak it in your presence, 1750
    You have a noble and a true conceit
    Of godlike amity; which appears most strongly
    In bearing thus the absence of your lord.
    But if you knew to whom you show this honour,
    How true a gentleman you send relief, 1755
    How dear a lover of my lord your husband,
    I know you would be prouder of the work
    Than customary bounty can enforce you.
  • Portia. I never did repent for doing good,
    Nor shall not now: for in companions 1760
    That do converse and waste the time together,
    Whose souls do bear an equal yoke Of love,
    There must be needs a like proportion
    Of lineaments, of manners and of spirit;
    Which makes me think that this Antonio, 1765
    Being the bosom lover of my lord,
    Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,
    How little is the cost I have bestow'd
    In purchasing the semblance of my soul
    From out the state of hellish misery! 1770
    This comes too near the praising of myself;
    Therefore no more of it: hear other things.
    Lorenzo, I commit into your hands
    The husbandry and manage of my house
    Until my lord's return: for mine own part, 1775
    I have toward heaven breathed a secret vow
    To live in prayer and contemplation,
    Only attended by Nerissa here,
    Until her husband and my lord's return:
    There is a monastery two miles off; 1780
    And there will we abide. I do desire you
    Not to deny this imposition;
    The which my love and some necessity
    Now lays upon you.
  • Lorenzo. Madam, with all my heart; 1785
    I shall obey you in all fair commands.
  • Portia. My people do already know my mind,
    And will acknowledge you and Jessica
    In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.
    And so farewell, till we shall meet again. 1790
  • Lorenzo. Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!
  • Jessica. I wish your ladyship all heart's content.
  • Portia. I thank you for your wish, and am well pleased
    To wish it back on you: fare you well Jessica.
    [Exeunt JESSICA and LORENZO] 1795
    Now, Balthasar,
    As I have ever found thee honest-true,
    So let me find thee still. Take this same letter,
    And use thou all the endeavour of a man
    In speed to Padua: see thou render this 1800
    Into my cousin's hand, Doctor Bellario;
    And, look, what notes and garments he doth give thee,
    Bring them, I pray thee, with imagined speed
    Unto the tranect, to the common ferry
    Which trades to Venice. Waste no time in words, 1805
    But get thee gone: I shall be there before thee.
  • Balthasar. Madam, I go with all convenient speed.

[Exit]

  • Portia. Come on, Nerissa; I have work in hand
    That you yet know not of: we'll see our husbands 1810
    Before they think of us.
  • Portia. They shall, Nerissa; but in such a habit,
    That they shall think we are accomplished
    With that we lack. I'll hold thee any wager, 1815
    When we are both accoutred like young men,
    I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
    And wear my dagger with the braver grace,
    And speak between the change of man and boy
    With a reed voice, and turn two mincing steps 1820
    Into a manly stride, and speak of frays
    Like a fine bragging youth, and tell quaint lies,
    How honourable ladies sought my love,
    Which I denying, they fell sick and died;
    I could not do withal; then I'll repent, 1825
    And wish for all that, that I had not killed them;
    And twenty of these puny lies I'll tell,
    That men shall swear I have discontinued school
    Above a twelvemonth. I have within my mind
    A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks, 1830
    Which I will practise.
  • Nerissa. Why, shall we turn to men?
  • Portia. Fie, what a question's that,
    If thou wert near a lewd interpreter!
    But come, I'll tell thee all my whole device 1835
    When I am in my coach, which stays for us
    At the park gate; and therefore haste away,
    For we must measure twenty miles to-day.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 5

The same. A garden.

       
---

[Enter LAUNCELOT and JESSICA]

  • Launcelot Gobbo. Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the father
    are to be laid upon the children: therefore, I
    promise ye, I fear you. I was always plain with
    you, and so now I speak my agitation of the matter:
    therefore be of good cheer, for truly I think you 1845
    are damned. There is but one hope in it that can do
    you any good; and that is but a kind of bastard
    hope neither.
  • Jessica. And what hope is that, I pray thee?
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you 1850
    not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.
  • Jessica. That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed: so the
    sins of my mother should be visited upon me.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Truly then I fear you are damned both by father and
    mother: thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I 1855
    fall into Charybdis, your mother: well, you are
    gone both ways.
  • Jessica. I shall be saved by my husband; he hath made me a
    Christian.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Truly, the more to blame he: we were Christians 1860
    enow before; e'en as many as could well live, one by
    another. This making Christians will raise the
    price of hogs: if we grow all to be pork-eaters, we
    shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals for money.

[Enter LORENZO]

  • Jessica. I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say: here he comes.
  • Lorenzo. I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if
    you thus get my wife into corners.
  • Jessica. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo: Launcelot and I
    are out. He tells me flatly, there is no mercy for 1870
    me in heaven, because I am a Jew's daughter: and he
    says, you are no good member of the commonwealth,
    for in converting Jews to Christians, you raise the
    price of pork.
  • Lorenzo. I shall answer that better to the commonwealth than 1875
    you can the getting up of the negro's belly: the
    Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. It is much that the Moor should be more than reason:
    but if she be less than an honest woman, she is
    indeed more than I took her for. 1880
  • Lorenzo. How every fool can play upon the word! I think the
    best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence,
    and discourse grow commendable in none only but
    parrots. Go in, sirrah; bid them prepare for dinner.
  • Lorenzo. Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are you! then bid
    them prepare dinner.
  • Lorenzo. Will you cover then, sir?
  • Lorenzo. Yet more quarrelling with occasion! Wilt thou show
    the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant? I pray
    tree, understand a plain man in his plain meaning:
    go to thy fellows; bid them cover the table, serve
    in the meat, and we will come in to dinner. 1895
  • Launcelot Gobbo. For the table, sir, it shall be served in; for the
    meat, sir, it shall be covered; for your coming in
    to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humours and
    conceits shall govern.

[Exit]

  • Lorenzo. O dear discretion, how his words are suited!
    The fool hath planted in his memory
    An army of good words; and I do know
    A many fools, that stand in better place,
    Garnish'd like him, that for a tricksy word 1905
    Defy the matter. How cheerest thou, Jessica?
    And now, good sweet, say thy opinion,
    How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio's wife?
  • Jessica. Past all expressing. It is very meet
    The Lord Bassanio live an upright life; 1910
    For, having such a blessing in his lady,
    He finds the joys of heaven here on earth;
    And if on earth he do not mean it, then
    In reason he should never come to heaven
    Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match 1915
    And on the wager lay two earthly women,
    And Portia one, there must be something else
    Pawn'd with the other, for the poor rude world
    Hath not her fellow.
  • Lorenzo. Even such a husband 1920
    Hast thou of me as she is for a wife.
  • Jessica. Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.
  • Lorenzo. I will anon: first, let us go to dinner.
  • Jessica. Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach.
  • Lorenzo. No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk; 1925
    I shall digest it.
  • Jessica. Well, I'll set you forth.

[Exeunt]

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