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Is, to come fairly off from the great debts,
Anth. I pray you, good Baffanio, let me know it;
Baff. In my school-days, when I had loft one fhaft,
The felf-fame way, with more advised watch,
I owe you much; and, like a wilful youth,
Which you did fhoot the first, I do not doubt,
Or bring your latter hazard back again,
Anth. You know me well; and herein spend but time, To wind about my love with circumstance;
And, out of doubt, you do me now more wrong,
In making queftion of my uttermoft,
Than if you had made waste of all I have:
* preft]-I am ready, prompt to undertake it.
Ball. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
And he is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth
Which makes her feat of Belmont, Colchos' ftrand,
O my Anthonio, had I but the means
That I fhould queftionlefs be fortunate.
Anth. Thou know'ft, that all my fortunes are at fea
Nor have I money, nor commodity
To raise a prefent fum: therefore go forth,
Try what my credit can in Venice do;
That shall be rack'd, even to the uttermoft,
A Room in Portia's Houfe at Belmont.
Enter Portia and Neriffa.
Por. By my troth, Neriffa, my little body is aweary of
fometimes &c.]—some time ago; have occafionally received. of my trust, or for my fake.]-on my bond, or out of friendship.
Ner. You would be, fweet madam, if your miferies were in the fame abundance as your good fortunes are: And yet, for aught I fee, they are as fick, that furfeit with too much, as they that ftarve with nothing: It is no mean happiness therefore, to be feated in the mean; fuperfluity comes fooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer, Por. Good fentences, and well pronounc'd.
Ner. They would be better, if well follow'd.
Por. If to do, were as eafy 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 inftructions: 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 devife laws for the blood; but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree: fuch a hare is madnefs the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel the cripple. But this reafoning is not in fashion to chufe me a husband:-O me, the word chufe! I may neither chufe whom I would, nor refuse whom I dislike; fo is the will of a living daughter curb'd by the will of a dead father:Is it not hard, Neriffa, that I cannot chufe one, nor refuse none?
Ner. Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men, at their death, have good infpirations; therefore, the lottery, that he hath devised in these three chefts, of gold, filver and lead, (whereof who chufes his meaning, chufes you) will, no doubt, never be chofen by any rightly, but one "who you shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely fuitors that are already come?
Por. I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou nam'st
who you shall rightly love.]-who fhall love you rightly; or whom you fhall rightly love.
them, I will defcribe them; and, according to my description, level at my affection.
Ner. First, there is the Neapolitan prince.
Por. Ay, that's a colt, indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horfe; and he makes it a great appropriation to his own good parts, that he can fhoe him himself: I am much afraid my lady his mother play'd false with a fmith.
Ner. Then, there is the county Palatine.
Por. He doth nothing but frown; as who should say, An if you will not have me, chufe: he hears merry tales, and fmiles not: I fear, he will prove the weeping philofopher when he grows old, being fo full of unmannerly 'fadness 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!
Ner. How fay you by the French lord, Monfieur Le Bon?
Por. God made him, and therefore let him pafs for a man. In truth, I know it is a fin 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
every man in no man: it a throftle fing, he falls ftrait a capering; he will fence with his own fhadow: if I fhould marry him, I fhould marry twenty husbands: If he would defpite me, I would forgive him; for if he love me to madness, I fhall never requite him.
Ner. What say you then to Faulconbridge, the young baron of England?
Por. You know, I fay nothing to him; for he underftands 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
a colt,]-a giddy, thoughtlefs youngster.
proper man's picture; But, alas! who can converfe with a dumb fhow? How oddly he is fuited! I think, he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hofe in France, his bonnet in Germany, and his behaviour every where.
Ner. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?
Por. That he hath a neighbourly charity in him; for he borrow'd a box of the ear of the Englishman, and fwore he would pay him again, when he was able: I think, the Frenchman became his furety, and feal'd under for another.
Ner. How like you the young German, the duke of Saxony's nephew?
Por. Very vilely in the morning, when he is fober; and moft vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk: when he is beft, he is a little worse than a man; and when he is worft, he is little better than a beast: an the worst fall that ever fell, I hope, I fhall make fhift to go without him.
Ner. If he fhould offer to chufe, and chufe the right casket, you should refufe to perform your father's will, if you should refufe to accept him.
Por. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, set a deep glass of Rhenish wine on the contrary cafket; for, if the devil be within, and that temptation without, I know he will chufe it. I will do any thing, Neriffa, ere I will be marry'd to a fpunge.
Ner. 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 fuit; unless you may be won by fome
and feal'd under for another.]-bound himself to give the Englishman another; alluding to the frequent affiftance, and conftant promifes given by the French to the Scots, during their contefts with the English.