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Lor. 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.
Laun. That is done, sir; they have all stomachs.
Lor. Goodly lord, what a wit-snapper are you! then
bid them prepare dinner.
Laun. That is done too, sir; only, cover is the
Lor. Will you cover then, sir ?
Laun. Not so, sir, neither; I know my duty.
Lor. Yet more quarrelling with occasion! Wilt thoa
shew the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant ? I pray
thee, understand a plain man in his plain meaning: 50
to thy fellows; bid them cover the table, serve in the
meat, and we will come in to dinner.
Laun. For the table, sir, it shall be served in; for the meat, sir, it shall be covered; for your coming to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humours and conceits shall govern.
Lor. 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
Defy the matter. How cheer'st thou, Jessica ?
And now, good sweet, say thy opinion,
How dost thou like the lord Bassanio's wife ?
Jes. Past all expressing : It is very meet,
The lord Bassanio live an upright lire;
Por, 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, it
Is reason he should never come to heaven.
Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match,
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.
Even such a husband
Hast thou of me, as she is for a wife.
Jes. Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.
Lor. I will anon; first, let us go to dinner.
Jes. Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach.
Lor. No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk:
Then, howsoe'er thou speak'st, 'mong other things
I shall digest it.
Well, I'll set you forth.
SCENE I.-Venice. A Court of Justice. Enter the DUKE, the Magnificoes; ANTONIO BASSANIO, GRATIANO, SALARINO, SALANIO, and others. Duke. What, is Antonio here? Ant. Ready, so please your grace. Duke. I am sorry for thee; thou art come to answer A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch, Uncapable of pity, void and empty From any dram of mercy. Ant.
I have heard,
Your grace hath ta'en great pains to qualify
Ilis rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate,
And that no lawful means can carry me
Out of his envy's reach, I do oppose
My patience to his fury; and am arm'd
To suffer, with a quietness of spirit,
The very tyranny and rage of his.
Duke. Go one, and call the Jew into the court.
Salan. He's ready at the door: he comes, my lord.
Duke. Make room, and let him stand before our
Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
That thou but lead'st this fashion of thy malice
To the last hour of act; and then, 'tis thought,
Thou 'll shew thy mercy, and remorse, more strange
Than is thy strange apparent cruelty:
And where thou now exact'st the
(Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh,)
Thou wilt not only lose the forfeiture,
But, touch'd with human gentleness and love,
Forgive a moiety of the principal;
Glancing an eye of pity on his losses,
That have of late so huddled on his back;
Enough to press a royal merchant down,
And pluck commiseration of his state
From brassy bosoms, and rough hearts of fint,
From stubborn Turks, and Tartars, never train'd
We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.
To offices of tender courtesy.
Shy. I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose ;
And by our hols Sabbath have I sworn,
To have the due and forfeit of my bond:
If you deny it, let the danger light
Upon your charter, and your city's freedom.
You'll ask me, why I rather choose to have
A weight of carrion flesh, than to receive
Three thousand ducats : I'll not answer that:
But, say, it is my humour : Is it answer'd ?
What If my house be troubled with a rat,
And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats
To have it baned ? What, are you answer'd get ?
Some men there are, love not a gaping pig;
Some, that are mad, if they behold a cat;
And others, when the bagpipe sings i' the nose,
Caunot contain their urine: For affection,
Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes or loathes : Now, for your answer :
As there is no firm reason to be render'd,
Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;
Why he, a harmless necessary cat ;
Why he, a swollen bagpipe ; but of force
Must yield to such inevitable shamc,
As to offend, himself being offended;
So can I give no reason, nor I will not,
More than a lodged hate, and a certain loathing,
1 bear Antonio, that I follow thus
A losing suit against him. Are you answer'd ?
Bass. This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
To excuse the current of thy cruelty.
Shy. I am not bound to please thee with my answer.
Bass. Do all men kill the things they do not love?
Shy. Hates any man the thing he would not kill ?
Bass. Every offence is not a hate at first.
Shy. What, would'st thou have a serpent sting theo
Ant. I pray you, think you question with the Jew:
You may as well go stand upon the beach,
And bid the main
flood bate his usual height;
You may as well use question with the wolf,
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb;
You may as well forbid the mountain pines
To wag their high tops, and to make no noise,
When they are fretted with the gusts
You may as well do any thing most hard,
As seek to soften that (than which what's harder ?)
His Jewish heart. Therefore, I do beseech you,
Make no more offers, use no farther means ;
Shy. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.
But, with all brief and plain conveniency,
Let me have judgment, and the Jew his will.
Bass. For thy three thousand ducats here is six.
Shy. If every ducat in six thousand ducats
I would not draw them, I would have my bond.
Duke. How shalt thou hope for mercy, rend'ring
Shy. What judgment shall I drend, doing no wrong!
You have among you many a purchased slave,
Which, like your asses, and your dogs, and mules,
You use iu abject and in slavish parts,
Because you bought them :-Shall I say to you,
Let them be free, marry them to your heirs ?
Why sweat they under burdens; let their beds
Be made as sort as yours, and let their palates
Be season'd with such viands? You will answer,
The slaves are ours :-So do I answer you:
The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,
Is dearly bought, is mine, and
will have it :
If you deny me, iy upon your law!,
There is no force in the decrees of Venice:
1 stand for judgment : answer; shall I have it?
Duke. Upon my power, I may dismiss this court,
Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
Whom I have sent for to determine this,
Come here to-day.
My lord, here stays without
A messenger with letters from the doctor,
New come from Padua.
Duke. Bring us the letters ; Call the messenger.
Bass. Good cheer, Antonio! What, man ? courage The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all, Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.
Ant. I am a fainted wether of the flock, Meetest for death; the weakest kind of fruit Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me: You cannot better be einploy'd, Bassanio. Than to live still, and write mine epitaph.
Enter NERISSA, dressed like a lawyer's clerk. Duke. Come you from Padua, from Bellario? Ner. From both, my lord : Bellario greets Fort
grace. Bass. Why dost thou het thy knife so earnestly?
(Presents a letter.) Gra. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,
Thou makest thy knife keen: but no metal can,
No, not the hangman's axe, bear hall the keenness
of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?
Shy. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.
Gra. 0, be thou damn'd, inexorable dog!
And for thy life let justice be accused.
Thou almost makest me waver in my faith,
To hold opinion with Pythagoras,
That souls of animals infuse themselves
Into the trunks of men: Thy currish spirit
Govern'd a wolf, who, hang'a for human slaughter,
Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,
And, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallow'd dam,
Infused itself in thee; for thy desires
Are wolfish, bloody, starved, and ravenous.
Shy. Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond
Thou but offend'st thy lungs to speak so loud:
Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall
To cureless ruin. I stand here for law.
Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend
A young and learned doctor to our court
Where is he?
He attendeth here hard by,
To know your answer, whether you 'll admit him.
Duke. With all my heart :-some three or four of you,
Go give him courteous conduct to this place.
Meantime, the court shall hear BeHario's letter.
(Clerk reads.) Your grace shall understand, that,
at the receipt of your letter, I am very sick, but in the
instant that your messenger came, in loving visitation
was with me a young doctor of Rome, his name is
Balthasar: I acquainted him with the cause in con-
troversy between the Jew and Antonio the merchant :
we turned o'er many books together : he is furnish'd
with my opinion, which, better d with his own learning,
(the greatness thereof I cannot enough commend,
comes with him, at my importunity to fill up your
grace's request in my stead. I beseech you, let his
lack of years he no impediment to let him lack a
rererend estimation, for I never knew so young a
body with so old a head. I leave him to your gracious
acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his com-
Duke. You hear the learn'd Bellario, what he writes :
And here, I take it, is the doctor come.
Enter PORTIA, dressed like a doctor of laws.
Give me your hand : Came you from old Bellario?