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O my Antonio, had I but the means
To hold a rival place with one of them,53
I have a mind presages me such thrift,54
That I should questionless be fortunate!

ANTONIO. Thou know'st that all my fortunes are at sea;
Neither have I money nor commodity 55

To raise a present sum: therefore go forth;
Try what my credit can in Venice do;

That shall be rack'd, even to the uttermost,
To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia.
Go, presently 56 inquire, and so will I,
Where money is, and I no question make
To have it of my trust or for my sake.57

SCENE II. Belmont. A room in PORTIA's house.



PORTIA. By my troth,' Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world.

NERISSA. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are: and yet, for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit with too much as they that starve with nothing. It is no mean happiness therefore, to be seated in the mean: superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer. PORTIA. Good sentences and well pronounced.

NERISSA. They would be better, if well followed.

PORTIA. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches and poor men's cottages princes' palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions: I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching. The brain may devise laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree: such a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel the cripple. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me a husband. O me, the word "choose!" I may neither choose whom I would nor refuse whom I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father. Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one nor refuse none? 2

NERISSA. Your father was ever virtuous: and holy men at their

death have good inspirations: therefore the lottery, that he hath devised in these three chests of gold, silver and lead, whereof who chooses his meaning chooses you, will, no doubt, never be chosen by any rightly but one who shall rightly love. But what warmth is there your affection towards any of these princely suitors that are already come?


PORTIA. I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou namest them, I will describe them; and, according to my description, level at3 my affection.

NERISSA. First, there is the Neapolitan prince.


Ay, that's a colt 4 indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horse; and he makes it a great appropriation 5 to his own good parts, that he can shoe him himself.

NERISSA. Then there is the County Palatine."

PORTIA. He doth nothing but frown, as who should say “If you will not have me, choose:" he hears merry tales and smiles not: I fear he will prove the weeping philosopher 7 when he grows old, being so full of unmannerly sadness 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 these two!


NERISSA. How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon? PORTIA. God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man. In truth, I know it is a sin to be a mocker: but, he! why, he hath a horse better than the Neapolitan's, a better bad habit of frowning than the Count Palatine; he is every man in no man; if a throstle sing, he falls straight a capering; he will fence with his own shadow: if I should marry him, I should marry twenty husbands. If he would despise me, I would forgive him, for if he love me to madness, I shall never requite him.

NERISSA. What say you then to Falconbridge, the young baron of England?

PORTIA. You know I say nothing to him, for he understands not me, nor I him: he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian, and you will come into the court and swear that I have a poor pennyworth in the English. He is a proper 10 man's picture, but, alas, who can converse with a dumbshow? How oddly he is suited!" I think he bought his doublet 12 in Italy, his round hose 13 in France, his bonnet 14 in Germany, and his behaviour everywhere.

NERISSA. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour? PORTIA. That he hath a neighbourly charity in him, for he bor

rowed a box of the ear of the Englishman, and swore he would pay him again when he was able: I think the Frenchman became his surety and sealed under 15 for another.

NERISSA. nephew?

How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony's

PORTIA. Very vilely in the morning, when he is sober, and most vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk: when he is best he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast: an the worst fall that ever fell, I hope I shall make shift to go without him.


NERISSA. If he should offer to choose, and choose the right casket, you should 17 refuse to perform your father's will, if you should refuse to accept him.


PORTIA. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, set a deep glass of Rhenish wine on the contrary casket, for if the devil be within and that temptation without, I know he will choose it. I will do any thing, Nerissa, ere I'll be married to a sponge.

NERISSA. You need not fear, lady, the having any of these lords : they have acquainted me with their determinations; which is indeed to return to their home and to trouble you with no more suit, unless you may be won by some other sort 19 than your father's imposition 2 depending on the caskets.


PORTIA. If I live to be as old as Sibylla,11 I will die as chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by the manner of my father's will. I am glad this parcel of wooers are so reasonable, for there is not one among them but I dote on his very absence, and I pray God grant them a fair departure.

NERISSA. Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came hither in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?

PORTIA. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, he was so called. NERISSA. True, madam: he, of all the men that ever my foolish eyes looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.

PORTIA. I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of thy praise.

How now! what news?

Enter a Serving-man.


SERVANT. The four 22 strangers seek for you, madam, to take their leave and there is a forerunner come from a fifth, the Prince of Morocco, who brings word the prince his master will be here to-night.

PORTIA. If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good a heart as I can bid the other four farewell, I should be glad of his approach: if he have the condition 23 of a saint and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive 24 me than wive me.

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Whiles we shut the gates upon one wooer, another knocks at the door.

SCENE III. Venice. A public place.


SHYLOCK. Three thousand ducats;' well.

BASSANIO. Ay, sir, for three months.

SHYLOCK. For three months; well.


BASSANIO. For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound. SHYLOCK. Antonio shall become bound; well.

BASSANIO. May you stead' me? will you pleasure me? shall I know your answer?

SHYLOCK. Three thousand ducats, for three months, and Antonio

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BASSANIO. Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?

SHYLOCK. Oh, no, no, no, no: my meaning in saying he is a good man is to have you understand me that he is sufficient. Yet his means are in supposition: he hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I understand, moreover, upon the Rialto,5 he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and other ventures he hath, squandered abroad. But ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats and water-rats, water-thieves and landthieves, I mean pirates, and then there is the peril of waters, winds and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding, sufficient. Three thousand ducats; I think I may take his bond.

BASSANIO. Be assured you may.

SHYLOCK. I will be assured I may; and, that I may be assured, I will bethink me. May I speak with Antonio?

BASSANIO. If it please you to dine with us.

SHYLOCK. Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into.7 I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following, but I

will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you.

on the Rialto? Who is he comes here?


BASSANIO. This is Signior Antonio.

What news

SHYLOCK. [Aside] How like a fawning publican he looks!

I hate him for he is a Christian,

But more for that in low simplicity

He lends out money gratis and brings down
The rate of usance here with us in Venice.


If I can catch him once upon the hip,9

I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
He hates our sacred nation, and he rails,
Even there where merchants most do congregate,
On me, my bargains and my well-won thrift,
Which he calls interest.10 Cursed be my tribe,
If I forgive him.

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SHYLOCK. I am debating of my present store,
And, by the near guess of my memory,

I cannot instantly raise up the gross
Of full three thousand ducats.

What of that?

Tubal, a wealthy Hebrew of my tribe,

Will furnish me. But soft! how many months

Do you desire? [To ANTONIO.] Rest you fair," good signior;
Your worship was the last man in our mouths.

ANTONIO. Shylock, although I neither lend nor borrow

By taking nor by giving of excess,'

Yet to supply the ripe wants


13 of my friend,

I'll break a custom. Is he yet possess'd 14

How much ye would?


Ay, ay, three thousand ducats.


And for three months.

SHYLOCK. I had forgot; three months; you told me so.

Well then, your bond; and let me see; but hear you;

Methought 15 you said you neither lend nor borrow

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SHYLOCK. When Jacob grazed his uncle Laban's sheep — This Jacob from our holy Abram was,

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