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That is the voice, Or I am pruch deceived, of Portia. Por. He knows me, as the blind man knows the
cuckoo, By the bad voice. Lor.
Dear lady, welcome home.
Por. We have been praying for our husbands' wellare,
Which speed, we hope, the better for our words.
Are they return'd ?
Madam, they are not set;
But there is come a messenger before,
To signify their coming.
Go in, Nerissa,
Give order to my servants, that they take
No note at all of our being absent hence ;
Nor you, Lorenzo ;Jessica, nor you.
(A tucket sounds.) Lor. Your husband is at hand, I hear his trumpet : We are no tell tales, madam; fear you not.
Por. This night, methinks, is but the day-ligbt sick, It looks a little paler; 'tis a day, Such as the day is when the sun is hid. Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and
their Followers. Bass. We should hold day with the Antipodes, If you would walk in absence of the sun.
Por. Let me give light, but let me not be light; For a light wife doth make a heavy husband, And never be Bassano so for me; But God sort all! You are welcome home, my lord. Bass. I thank you, madam : give welcome to my
friend. This is the man, this is Antonio, To whom I am so infinitely bound.
Por. You should in all sense be much bound to him; Por, as I hear, he was much bound for you.
Ant. No more than I am well acquitted of. It must appear in other ways than words,
Por. Sir, you are very welcome to our house : Therefore I scant this breathing courtesy:
(Gratiano and Nerissa seem to talk apart.) Gra. By yonder moon, I swear you do me wrong. In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk : Would he were gelt that had it, for my part, Since you do take it, love, so much at heart.
Por. A quarrel, ho, already! what's the matter! Gra. About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring
That she did give me; whose posy was,
For all the world, like cutler's poetry
Upon a knife, Love me, and leave me not.
Ner. What talk you of the posy, or the value ?
You swore to me when I did give it you,
That you would wear it till your hour of death;
And that it should lie with you in your grave:
Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,
You should have been respective, and have kept it.
Gare it a judge's clerk! - but well I know
The clerk will ne'er wear hair on his face that had it.
Gra. He will, an if he live to be a man.
Ner. Ay, if a woman live to be a man.
Gra. Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,
A kind of boy; a little scrubbed boy,
No higher than thyself, the judge's clerk ;
A prating boy, that begg'd it as a fee ;
I could not for my heart deny it him.
Por. You were to blame, I must be plain with you,
To part so slightly with your wife's first gist;
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger,
And riveted so with faith unto your flesh.
I gave my love a ring, and made him swear
Never to part with it, and here he stands :
I dare be sworn for him, he would not leave it,
Nor pluck it from his finger, for the wealth
That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano,
You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief;
An 'twere to me, I should be mad at it.
Bass. Why, I were best to cut my left hand off,
And swear I lost the ring defending it. (Aside.)
Gra. My lord Bassanio gave his ring away
Unto the judge that begg'ä it, and, indeed,
Deserved it too ; and then the boy, his clerk,
That took some pains in writing, he begg'd mine :
And neither man nor master would take aught
But the two rings.
What ring gave you, my lord !
Not that, I hope, which you received of me.
Bass. If I could add a lie unto a fault,
I would deny it; but you see my finger
Hath not the ring upon it; it is gone.
Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth.
By Heaven, I will ne'er come in your bed
Until I see the ring.
Nor I in yours,
Till I again see mine.
If you did know to whom I gave the ring,
If you did know for whom I gave the ring,
And would conceive for what I gave the ring,
And how unwillingly I left the ring,
When naught would be accepted but the ring,
You would abate the strength of your displeasure.
Por. If you had known the virtue of the ring,
Or hall her worthiness that gave the ring,
Or your own honour to contain the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
What man is there so much anreasonable,
If you had pleased to have defended it.
with any terms of zcal, wanted the modesty
To urge the thing held as a ceremony ?
Nerissa teaches me what to believe:
I'll die for 't but some woman had the ring.
Bass. No, by mine honour, madam, by niy soul,
No woman had it, but a civil doctor,
Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me,
And begg'd the ring; the which I did deny bim,
And suffer'd him to go displeased away;
Even he that had held up the very life
of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady ?
I was enforced to send it after him;
I was beset with shame and courtesy;
My honour wonld not let ingratitude
So much besmear it: Pardon me, good lady;
For, by these blessed candles of the night,
Had you been there, I think, you would have begg'd
The ring of me to give the worthy doctor.
Por. Let not that doctor e'er come near my house;
Since he hath got the jewel that I loved,
And that which you did swear to keep for me,
I will become as liberal as you;
I'll not deny him any thing I have,
No, not my body, nor my husband's bed:
Know him I shall, I am well sure of it:
Lie not a night from home; watch me like Argus!
If you do not, if I be left alone,
Now, by mine honour, which is yet mine own,
I'll have that doctor for my bedfellow.
Ner. And I his clerk; therefore be well advised,
How you do leave me to mine own protection.
Gra. Well, do you 80 : let not me take him then;
Por, if I do, I'll mar the young clerk's per.
Ant. I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels.
Por. Sir, grieve not you; you are welcome potwith-
Bass. Portia, forgive me this enforcéd wrong;
And in the hearing of these many friends,
I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes,
Wherein I see mysell,--
Mark you but that!
In both my eyes he doubly sees himself:
In each eye one :-swear by your double sell,
And there's an oath of credit.
Nay, but hear me:
Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear,
I never mors will break an oath with thee.
Ant. I once did lend my body for his wealth;
Which, but for him that had your husband's ring,
Had quite miscarried : I dare be bound again,
My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord
Will never more break faith advisedly,
Por. Then you shall be his surety: Gire him this;
And bid him keep it better than the other.
Ant. Here, lord Bassanio, swear to keep this ring.
Bass. By Heaven, it is the same I gave the doctor!
Por. I had it of him : pardon me, Bassanio ;
For by this ring the doctor lay with me.
Ner. And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano;
For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor's clerk,
In lieu of this, last night did lie with me.
Gra. Why, this is like the mending of highways
In summer, where the ways are fair enough:
What! are we cuckolds, ere we have deserved it ?
Por. Speak not so grossly.-- You are all amazed :
Here is a letter, read it at your leisure ;
It comes from Padua, from Bellario;
There you shall find, that Portia was the doctor ;
Nerissa there, her clerk : Lorenzo here
Shall witness, I set forth as soon as you,
And but even now return'd; I have not yet
Enter'd my house - Antonio, you are welcome ;
And I have better news in store for you,
Than you expect : unseal this letter soon;
There you shall find three of your argosies
Are richly come to harbour suddenly:
You shall not know by what strange accident
I chanced on this letter.
Bass. Were you the doctor, and I knew you not?
Gra. Were you the clerk, that is to make me
Ner. Ay; but the clerk that never means to do it, Unless he live until he be a man.
Bass. Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow; When I am absent, then lie with my wise.
Ant. Sweet lady, you have given me life and living; For here I read for certain, that my ships Are safely come to road. Por.
How now, Lorenzo ? My clerk hath some good comforts too for yon.
Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee. There do I give to you, and Jessica, Prom the rich Jew, a special deed of gift, After his death, of all he dies possess'd of.
Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way or starved people. Por.
It is almost morning, And yet, I am sure, you are not satisfied or these events at full: Let us go in; And charge us there upon inter'gatories, And we will answer all things faithfully,
Gra. Let it be so: The first inter'gatory That my Nerissa shall be sworn on, is, Whether till the next night she had rather stay; Or go to bed now, being two hours to day: But were the day come, I should wish it dark, That I were couching with the doctor's clerk. Well, while I live, I'll fear no other thing So sore, ss keepiog safe Nerissa's ring. (Ereuna