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Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.
Ant. I am a tainted 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 employ'd, Bassanio, Than to live still, and write mine epitaph.
Enter Nerissa, dressed like a lawyer's clerk. Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario? Ner. From both my lord : Bellario greets your grace.
[Presents a letter. Bass. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly? Shy. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there. Gra. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew, Thou mak’st thy knife keen : but no metal can, No, not the hangman's ax, bear half the keenness Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?
Shy. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make. Gra. O, be thou damn’d, inexorable dog ! And for thy life let justice be accus'd. Thou almost mak’st 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'd for human slaughter, Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet, And, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallow'd dam, Infus'd itself in thee; for thy desires Are wolfish, bloody, starv'd, and ravenous.
Shy. Till thou can’st 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
Ner. He attendeth here hard by,
you, Go give him courteous conduct to this place.Mean time, the court shall hear Bellario'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 controversy between the Jew and Antonio the merchant : we turned o'er many books together: he is furnished with my opinion ; which, better'd. with his own learning, (the greatness whereof 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 be no impediment to let him lack a reverend 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 commendation.
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 ?
Por. I did, my lord.
Duke. You are welcome: take your place.
Por. I am informed throughly of the cause.
Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
Por. Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;
Por. The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
Shy. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,
Por. Is he not able to discharge the money?
Bass. Yes, here I tender it for him in the court; Yea, twice the sum : if that will not suffice, I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er, On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart : If this will not suffice, it must appear, That malice bears down truth. And I beseech you, Wrest once the law to your authority : To do a great right, do a little wrong; And curb this cruel devil of his will.
Por. It must not be ; there is no power in Venice Can alter a decree established : 'Twill be recorded for a precedent; And many an error, by the same example, Will rush into the state: it cannot be.
Shy. A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel ! O wise young judge, how do I honour thee!
Por. I pray you, let me look upon the bond.
Shy. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven : Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
No, not for Venice.
Por. Why, this bond is forfeit;
Shy. When it is paid according to the tenour.com
Ant. Most heartily I do beseech the court
Por. Why then, thus it is.
Shy. O noble judge! O excellent voung man !
Por. For the intent and purpose of the law
Shy. 'Tis very true: O wise and upright judge !. How much more elder art thou than thy looks!
Por. Therefore, lay bare your bosom.
Shy. Ay, his breast:
Por. It is so. Are there balance here, to weigh
Shy. I have them ready.