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But there is come a messenger before,
To fignify their coming.

Por. Go, Nerissa,
Give order to my servants, that they take
No note at all of our being abfent hence;
Nor you, Lorenzo; Fellica, nor you. [A Tucket sounds.

Lór. Your husband is at hand, I hear his trumpet : We are no tell-tales, madam, fear your not.

Por. This night, methinks, is but the day-light fick; It looks a little paler; 'tis a day, Such as the day is when the sun is hid. Enter Bassanio, Anthonio, Gratiano, and their followers.

Baj: We should hold day with the Antipodes,
If you would walk in absence of the fun.

Por. Let me give light, but let me not be light;
For a light wife doth make a heavy husband;
And never be Bassanio fo from me;
But God fort all: you're welcome home, my Lord.

Bas: I thank you, madam: give welcome to my friend;
This is the man, this is Anthonio,
To whom I am so infinitely bound.

Por. You should in all sense be much bound to him ; For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.

Anth. No more than I am well acquitted of.
Por. Sir, you are very welcome to our house ;

in other

ways

than words; Therefore I scant this breathing courtesy.

Gra. By yonder moon, I swear, you do me wrong; In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk. [To Neriffa, Would he were gelt that had it, for my part, Since you do take it, love, 'fo '

much at heart. Por. A quarrel, ho, alreadyi! what's the matter ?

Gra. About a hoop of gold, à paltry ring,
That she did give me, whose poesy was
For all the world like cutler's poetry
Upon a knife ; Love me, and leave me rot.

Ner. What talk you of the poesy, or the value ?
You swore to me, when I did give it you,
That you would wear it 'till your hour of death,

And

It must appear

And that it should lye with you in your grave:
Tho' not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,
You should have been respective, and have kept it:
Gave it a judge's clerk! but well I know,
The clerk will ne'er wear hair on's 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 flightly with your wife's first gift ;
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger,
And rivited with faith unto your flesh.
I gave my love a ring, and inade 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.

Baj). Why, I were beft to cut my left hand off,
And swear, I lost the ring defending.it. [Afide.

Gra. My Lord Baljanio gave his ring away
Unto the judge that begg'd it, and, indeed,
Deserv'd 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 ought
But the two rings.

Por. What ring gave you, my Lord ?
Not that, I hope, which you receiv'd of me,

Bal. 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.
Ner. Nor I in yours,

: "Till

the ring;

the ring,

Till I again see mine.

Baj. Sweet Portia, If you

did know to whom I gave the ring,
If you did know for whom I gave
And would conceive for what I

gave
And how unwillingly I left the ring,
When nought 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 half her worthiness that gave the ring,
Or your own honour to retain the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
What man is there so much unreasonable,
If you had pleas'd to have defended it
With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
To

urge the thing held as a ceremony?
Nerisa teaches me what to believe;
I'll die for’t, but some woman had the ring,

Baf. No, by mine honour, madam, by my soul, No woman had it, but a Civil Doctor, Who did refuse three thousand ducats of me, And begg’d the ring; the which I did deny him, And suffer'd him to go displeas’d away ; Ev’n he, that did uphold the very life Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet Lady? I was enforc'd to send it after him I was beset with shame and courtesy; My honour would not let ingratitude So much besmear it. Pardon me, good Lady, And 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 lov'd, 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. Lye not a night from home; watch me, like Argus :

IF

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If you do not, if I be left alone,
Now, by mine honour, which is yet my own,
I'll have that Doctor for my bedfellow.

Ner. And I his clerk; therefore be well advis'd,
How

you do leave me to mine own protection. Gra. Well, do you so; let me not take him then; For if I do, I'll mar the young

clerk's

pen.
Ant. I am th' unhappy subject of these quarrels.
Por. Sir, grieve not you; you are welcome, notwith-

standing.
Baj. Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong.
And in the hearing of these many friends,
I swear to thee, ev'n by thine own fair eyes,
Wherein I see myself-

Por. Mark you but that !
In both mine eyes he doubly sees himself ;
In each eye, one; swear by your double self,
And there's an oath of credit !

Bal. Nay, but hear me :
Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear,
I never more will break an oath with thee,

Ant. I once did-lend my body for his weal; (32)
Which but for him, that had your husband's ring,

[To Portia. Had quite miscarry'd. 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 ; give him this, And bid him keep it better than the other.

Ant. Here, Lord Bassanio, swear to keep this ring. Ball. By heav'n, it is the same I

gave

the Doctor. Por. I had it of him : pardon me, Bafanio ; For by this ring the Doctor lay with me.

Ner. And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano,

(32) my body for his wealth ;) I have ventur’d, againf the authority of the copies, to substitute weal here; i.e. for his welfare, benefit. Wealıb has a more confin'd fignification. Tho' I muft own, that weal and wealtb in our author's time might be in some measure synonomous; as they are now in the words, common-weal, and common. wealıb.

For

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