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SCENE changes to BELMONT.
Three Caskets are fet out, one of gold, another of filver, and another of lead.
Enter Portia and Neriffa.
Y my troth, Nerissa, my little body is weary of this great world.
Ner. You would be, fweet madam, if your miseries were in the fame abundance as your good fortunes are; and yet, for aught I fee, they are as fick, that furfeit with too much, as they that ftarve with nothing; therefore it is no mean happiness to be feated in the mean; fuperfluity comes fooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.
Por. Good fentences, and well pronounc'd.
Ner. They would be better, if well follow'd.
Por. If to do, were as eafie as to know what were good to do, chappels had been churches; and poor mens cottages, Princes' palaces. He is a good divine, that follows his own inftructions; I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than to be one of the twenty to follow my own teaching. The brain may devife laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree; fuch a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counfel the cripple! But this reafoning is not in fashion to chufe me a husband: O me, the word, chufe! I may neither chufe whom I would, nor refuse whom I diflike; fo is the will of a living daughter curb'd by the will of a dead father: is it not hard, Neriffa, that I cannot chuse one, nor refuse
Ner. Your father was ever virtuous, and holy men at their death have good infpirations; therefore, the lottery, that he hath devised in these three chefts of gold, filver, and lead, (whereof who chufes his meaning, chufes you) will no doubt never be chofen by any rightly, but one whom you fhall rightly love. But what warmth
warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely fuitors, that are already come?
Por. I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou nam'ft them, I will defcribe 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 horfe; (3) 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 falfe with a fmith..
Ner. Then, there is the Count Palatine.
Por. He doth nothing but frown, as who should fay, if you will not have me, chufe: he hears merry tales, and fmiles not; I fear, he will prove the weeping philofopher when he grows old, being fo 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 thefe two!
Ner. How fay you by the French Lord, Monfieur Le Boun ?
Por. God made him, and therefore let him pafs for a man ; in truth, I know, it is a fin to be a mocker; but, he! why, he hath a horfe better than the Neapolitan's; a better bad habit of frowning than the Count Palatine; he is every man in no man; if a throftle fing, he falls ftrait a capering; he will fence with his
(3) Ay, that's a Colt, indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horfe;] Tho' all the Editions agree in this Reading, I can perceive neither Humour, nor Reasoning, in it: How does talking of Horses, or knowing how to shoe them, make a Man e'er the more a Colt? Or, if a Smith and a Lady of Figure were to have an Affair together, would a Colt be the Iffue of their Careffes? This feems to me to be Portia's Meaning. What do you tell me of the Neapolitan Prince, he is such a stupid Dunce, that, instead of faying fine things to me, he does Nothing bus talk of his Horfes. The Word, Dolt, which I have substituted, fully answers this Idea; and fignifies one of the most stupid and block of the Vulgar: and in this Acceptation it is used by our Author.
own fhadow; if I fhould marry him, I fhould marry twenty husbands. If he would defpife me, I would forgive him; for if he love me to madness, I fhall never requite him.
Ner. What fay you then to Faulconbridge, the young Baron of England?
Por. You know, I fay nothing to him, for he underftands not me, nor I him; he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian; and you may come into the court and fwear, that I have a poor pennyworth in the Englib. He is a proper man's picture, but, alas! who can converfe with a dumb fhow? how oddly he is suited! I think, he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hofe in France, his bonnet in Germany, and his behaviour every where.
Ner. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?
Por. That he hath a neighbourly charity in him; for he borrow'd a box of the ear of the Englishman, and fwore he would pay him again, when he was able. I think, the Frenchman became his furety, 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 fober, and moft vilely in the afternoon when he is drunk; when he is beft, he is a little worse than a man; and when he is worft, he is little better than a beaft; and the worst fall that ever fell, I hope, I fhall make shift to go without him.
Ner. If he fhould offer to chufe, and chufe 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, fet a deep glafs of Rhenish wine on the contrary casket; for if the devil be within, and that temptation without, I know, he will chufe it. I will do any thing, Nerif fa, ere I will be marry'd to a fpunge.
Ner. You need not fear, lady, the having any of thefe lords: they have acquainted me with their deterVOL. II.
minations, which is, indeed, to return to their home, and to trouble you with no more fuit; unless you may be won by fome other fort than your father's impofition, depending on the caskets.
Por. If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die as chafte as Diana, unless I be obtain'd by the manner of my father's will: I am glad, this parcel of wooers are fo reasonable; for there is not one among them but I doat on his very abfence, and with them a fair de-parture.
Ner. Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, a Venetian, a scholar and a foldier, that came hither in company of the Marquifs of Mountferrat ?
Por. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, he was fo call'd.
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?
Enter a Servant.
Ser. The four ftrangers feek for you, madam, to take their leave; and there is a fore-runner come from a fifth, the Prince of Morocco, who brings word, the Prince, his mafter, will be here to night.
Por. If I could bid the fifth welcome with fo good heart as I can bid the other four farewel, I fhould be glad of his approach; if he have the condition of a faint, and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he fhould fhrive me, than wive me. Come, Neriffa. Sirrah, go before; while we fhut the gate upon one wooer, another knocks at the door. [Exeunt.
SCENE, a publick Place in Venice.
Enter Baffanio and Shylock.
Hree thousand ducats? well.
Shy. Th. Ay, Sir, for three months.
Shy. For three months? well.
Baff. For the which, as I told you, Anthonio shall be bound.
Shy. Anthonio fhall become bound? well.
Baff. May you ftead me? will you pleasure me? fhall I know your answer?
Shy. Three thoufand ducats for three months, and Anthonio bound?
Baff. Your answer to that.
Shy. Anthonio is a good man.
Baff. Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?
Shy. No, no, no, no; my meaning, in faying he is a good man, is to have you understand me, that he is fufficient: yet his means are in fuppofition: he hath an Argofie 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, fquander'd abroad. But fhips are but boards, failors but men; there be land-rats, and water-rats, waterthieves and land-thieves; I mean, pirates; and then there is the peril of waters, winds and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding, fufficient; three thousand ducats? I think, I may take his bond.
Baff. Be affur'd, you may.
Shy. I will be affur'd, I may; and that I may be affur'd, I will bethink me; may I fpeak with Anthonio? Baff. If it please you to dine with us.
Shy. Yes, to fmell pork; to eat of the habitation, which your prophet the Nazarite conjur'd the devil into! I will buy with you, fell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and fo following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you. news on the Ryalto? who is he, comes here? Enter Anthonio.
Baff. This is Signior Anthonio.
Shy. [Afide.] How like a fawning Publican he looks! I hate him, for he is a christian :
But more, for that in low fimplicity
He lends out mony gratis, and brings down