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Than is her custom it is still her use,
To let the wretched man out-live his wealth,
To view with hollow eye, and wrinkled brow,
An age of poverty; fo which lin ering penance
Of such a misery doth the cut me off.
Commend me to your honourable wife:
Tell her the process of Antonio's end,
Say, how I lov'd you, speak me fair in death;
And, when the tale is told, bid her be judge,
Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
Repent not you that you shall lose your friend,
And he repents not that he pays your debt;
For if the Jew do cut but deep enough,
I'll pay it instantly with all my heart.
Bass. Antonio, I am married to a wife,
Which is as dear to me as life itself;
But life itself, my wife, and all the world,
Are not with me esteem'd above thy life:
I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all
Here to this devil, to deliver you.
Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.
Gra. A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew!
Now, int del, I have thee on the hip.
Por. Why doth the Jew pause? take thy for
Shy. Give me my principal, and let me go.
Bass. I have it ready for thee; here it is.
Por. He hath refus'd it in the open court;
He shall have merely justice, and his bond.
Gra. A Daniel, still say I; a second Daniel!-
I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
Shy. Shall I not have barely my principal?
Por. Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture,
To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.
Shy. Why then the devil give him good of it!
I'll stay no longer question.
The law hath yet another hold on you.
It is enacted in the laws of Venice,-
If it be prov'd against an alien,
Por. Your wife would give you little thanks for That by direct, or indirect attempts,
If she were by, to hear you make the offer.
Gra. I have a wife, whom I protest I love;
I would she were in heaven, so she could
Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.
Ner. 'Tis well you offer it behind her back;
The wish would make else an unquiet house.
Shy. These be the Christian husbands: I have
"Would any of the stock of Barabbas
Had been her husband, rather than a Christian!
He seek the life of any citizen,
The party, 'gainst the which he dotn contrive,
Shall seize one half his goods; the other half
Comes to the privy coffer of the state;
And the offender's life lies in the mercy
Of the duke only, 'gainst all other voice.
In which predicament, I say thou stand'st:
a For it appears by manifest proceeding,
That, indirectly, and directly too,
We trifle time: I pray thee pursue sentence.
Por. A pound of that same merchant's flesh is
The court awards it, and the law doth give it.
Shy. Most rightful judge!
Por. And you must cut this flesh from off his
The law allows it, and the court awards it.
Shy. Most learned judge!-A sentence; come,
Thou hast contriv'd against the very life
Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr'd
The danger formerly by me rehears'd.
Down, therefore, and beg mercy of the duke.
Gra. Beg, that thou may'st have leave to hang
And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state,
Thou hast not left the value of a cord;
Therefore, thou must be hang'd at the state's charge.
Duke. That thou shalt see the difference of our
I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it:
For half thy wealth, it is Antonio's ;
Which humbleness may drive unto a fine.
Por. Tarry a little ;-there is something else.-The other half comes to the general state,
This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
The words expressly are, a pound of flesh:
Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh;
But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
Unto the state of Venice.
Gra. O upright judge !-Mark, Jew ;-0 learn-
Shy. Is that the law?
Thyself shalt see the act:
For, as thou urgest justice, be assur'd,
Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desir'st.
Gra. O learned judge!-Mark, Jew;-a learned
Shy. I take this offer then ;-pay the bond thrice,
And let the Christian go.
Por. Ay, for the state; not for Antonio.
Shy. Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that
You take my house, when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house; you take my life,
When you do take the means whereby I live.
Por. What mercy can you render him, Antonio 7
Gra. A halter gratis; nothing else, for God's sake.
Ant. So please my lord the duke, and all the
To quit the fine for one half of his goods;
I am content, so he will let me have
The other half in use,-to render it,
Upon his death, unto the gentleman
That lately stole his daughter:
Two things provided more,-That, for this favour,
He presently become a Christian;
The other, that he do record a gift,
Here in the court, of all he dies possess'd,
The Jew shall have all justice ;-soft!-no haste;-Unto his son Lorenzo, and his daughter.
He shall have nothing but the penalty.
Gra. O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!
Por. Therefore, prepare thee to cut off the flesh.
Shed thou no blood; nor cut thou less, nor more,
But just a pound of flesh: if thou tak'st more,
Or less, than a just pound,-be it but so much
As makes it light, or heavy, in the substance,
Or the division of the twentieth part
Of one poor scruple; nay, if the scale do turn
But in the estimation of a hair,-
Duke. He shall do this; or else I do recant
The pardon, that I late pronounced here.
Por. Art thou contented, Jew, what dost thou
Clerk, draw a deed of gift.
Shy. I pray you, give me leave to go from hence;
I am not well; send the deed after me,
And I will sign it.
Get thee gone, but do it.
Gra. In christening thou shalt have two god-SCENE II.-The same. A street. Enter Portia fathers;
Had I been judge, thou should'st have had ten
To bring thee to the gallows, not the font.
[Exit Shylock. Duke. Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner. Pur. I humbly do desire your grace of pardon;
I must away this night toward Padua,
And it is meet, I presently set forth.
Por. Inquire the Jew's house out, give him this
And let him sign it; we'll away to-night, And be a day before our husbands home: This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo. Enter Gratiano.
Gra. Fair sir, you are well overtaken :
Duke. I am sorry, that your leisure serves you My lord Bassanio, upon more advice,'
Antonio, gratify this gentleman;
For, in my mind, you are much bound to him.
[Exeunt Duke, magnificoes, and train.
Bass. Most worthy gent eman, I and my friend,
Have by your wisdom been this day acquitted
Of grievous penalties; in lieu whereof,
Three thousand ducats, due unto the Jew,
We freely cope your courteous pains withal.
Ant. And stand indebted, over and above,
In love and service to you everinore.
Por. He is well paid, that is well satisfied;
And I, delivering you, am satisfied,
And therein do account myself well paid;
My mind was never yet more mercenary,
I pray you, know me, when we meet again;
I wish you well, and so I take my leave.
Bass, Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further;
Take some remembrance of us, as a tribute,
Not as a fee: grant me two things, I pray you,
Not to deny me, and to pardon me.
Hath sent you here this ring; and doch entreat Your company at dinner.
This ring I do accept most thankfully,
And so, I pray you, tell him: Furthermore,
pray you, show my youth old Shylock's house.
Gru. That will I do.
Sir, I would speak with you:-
I'll see if I can get my husband's ring, [To Portia.
Which I did make him swear to keep for ever.
Por. Thou may'st, I warrant: We shall have old swearing,
That they did give the rings away to men, But we'll outface them, and outswear them too. Away, make haste; thou know'st where I will tarry. Ner. Come, good sir, will you show me to this house? [Exeunt.
Enter Lorenzo and Jessica.
Por. You press me far, and therefore I will SCENE I.-Belmont. Avenue to Portia's house.
Give me your gloves, I'll wear them for your sake; (
And, for your love, I'll take this ring from you :-
Do not draw back your hand; I'll take no more;
And you in love shall not deny me this.
Bass. This ring, good sir,-alas, it is a trifle; I will not shame myself to give you this.
Por. I will have nothing else but only this; And now, methinks, I have a mind to it.
Bass. There's more depends on this, than on the value.
The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,
And find it out by proclamation;
Only for this, I pray you, pardon me.
Por. I see, sir, you are liberal in offers:
You taught me first to beg; and now, methinks,
You teach me how a beggar should be answer'd.
Bass. Good sir, this ring was given me by my
And, when she put it on, she made me vow,
That I should neither sell, nor give, nor lose it.
Por. That 'scuse serves many men to save their
An if your wife be not a mad woman,
And know how well I have deserv'd this ring,
She would not ho'd out enemy for ever,
For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!
[Exeunt Portia and Nerissa.
Ant. My lord Bassanio, let him have the ring;
Let his deservings, and my love withal,
Be valued 'gainst your wife's commandment.
Bass. Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him,
Give him the ring; and bring him, if thou canst,
Unto Antonio's house:-away, make haste.
Come, you and I will thither presently;
And in the morning early will we both
Fly toward Belmont: Come, Antonio. [Exeunt.
Lor. The moon shines bright:-In such a night
When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees,
And they did make no noise; in such a night,
Troilus, methinks, mounted the Trojan walls,
And sigh'd his soul toward the Grecian tents,
Where Cressid lay that night.
In such a night,
Did Thisbe fearfully o'ertrip the dew; And saw the lion's shadow ere himself, And ran dismay'd away.
Stood Dido with a willow in her hand
Upon the wild sea-banks, and way'd her love
To come again to Carthage.
Meden gather'd the enchanted herbs That did renew old son.
My mistress will before the break of day
Be here at Belmont: she doth stray about
By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays
For happy wedlock hours.
Who comes with her?]
Steph. None, but a holy hermit, and her maid.
I pray you, is my master yet return'd?
Lor. He is not, nor we have not heard from
But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica,
And ceremoniously let us prepare
Some welcome for the mistress of the house.
Laun. Sola, sola, wo ha, ho, soia, sola!
Lor. Who calls?
Enter Portia and Nerissa, at a distance.
Por. That light we see, is burning in my hall.
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
Ner. When the moon shone, we did not see the
Por. So doth the greater glory dim the less⚫
A substitute shines brightly as a king,
Until a king be by; and then his state
Empties itself, as doth an inland brook
Into the main of waters. Music! hark!
Ner. It is your music, madam, of the house.
Por. Nothing is good, I sec, without respect;
Methinks, it sounds much sweeter than by day.
Ner. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.
Por. The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark,
Laun. Sola! did you see master Lorenzo, and When neither is attended; and, I think,
mistress Lorenzo? sola, sola!
Lor. Leave hollaing, man; here.
Laun. Sola! where? where?
Laun. Tell him, there's a post come from my
master, with his horn full of good news; my mas-
ter will be here ere morning.
Lor. Sweet soul, let's in, and there expect their
And yet no matter;-Why should we go in?
My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you,
Within the house, your mistress is at hand;
And bring your music forth into the air.-
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears; soft stillness, and the night,
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Si, Jessica: Look, how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines' of bright gold;
There's not the smallest orb, which thou behold'st,
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-ey'd cherubins:
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.—
Come, ho, and wake Diana with a hymn;
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear,
And draw her home with music.
Jes. I am never merry, when I hear sweet music.
Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentive:
For do but note a wild and wanton herd,
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing, and neighing
Which is the hot condition of their blood;
If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound,
Or any air of music touch their ears,
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
Their savage eyes turn'd to a modest gaze,
By the sweet power of music: Therefore, the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and
Since nought so stockish, hard, and fun of rage,
But music for the time doth change his nature:
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.-Mark the music.
(1) A small flat dish, used in the administration of the Eucharist.
The nightingale, if she should sing by day,
When every goose is cackling, would be thought
No better a musician than the wren.
How many things by season season'd are
To their right praise, and true perfection!-
Peace, hoa! the moon sleeps with Endymion,
And would not be awak'd!" [Music ceases.
That is the voice,
Or I am much deceiv'd, of Portia.
Por. He knows me, as the blind man knows the
By the bad voice.
Dear lady, welcome home.
Por. We have been praying for our husbands'
Which speed, we hope, the better for our words.
Are they return'd?
Madam, they are not yet;
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 tucket2 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-light
It looks a little paler; 'tis a day,
Such as the day is when the sun is hid.
Enter Bassanio, Antonio, Gratiano, and their
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 Bassanio so for me;
But God sort all!-You are welcome home, my lord.
Bass. I thank you, madam: give welcome to
This is the man, this is Antonio,
To whom I am so infinitely bound.
Por. You should in all sense be much bound to
For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.
Ant. No more than I am well acquitted of.
Por. Sir, you are very welcome to our house:
It must appear in other ways than words,
Therefore, I scant this breathing courtesy."
[Gratiano and Nerissa seem to talk apart. Gra. By yonder moon, I swear, you do me wrong;
(2) A flourish on a trumpet.
(3) Verbal, complimentary form.
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.
For. A quarrel, ho, already? what's the inatter?
Gra. Abo it 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,
Thit 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.
Give it a judge's clerk !-but well I know,
The clerk will ne'er wear hair on his face, that
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
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 gift;
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.
Gra. My lord Bassanio 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 aught But the two rings.
What ring gave you, my lord?
Not that, I hope, which you receiv'd 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.
Till I again see mine. Bass.
Sweet Portia, 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 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 contain 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? Nerissa teaches me what to believe; I'll die for't, but some woman had the ring. Bass. No, by mine honour, madam, by my 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 him,
And suffer'd him to go displeas'd away:
Even he that had held up the very life
Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady 7
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;
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 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:
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 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 not me take him then;
For, if I do, I'll mar the young clerk's pen.
Ant. I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels.
Por. Sir, grieve not you; You are welcome
Bass. Portia, forgive me this enforc'd wrong;
And, in the hearing of these many friends,
I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes,
Wherein I see myself,-
Mark you but that! In both my eyes he doubly sees himself: In each eye one:-swear by your double self, And there's an oath of credit.
Bass. 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 wealth; Which, but for him that had your husband's ring, [To Portia. 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: Give him this; And bid him keep it better than the other. Ant. Herc, 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 amaz'd: 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, three of your argosies Are richly come to harbour suddenly: You shall not know by what strange accident
I chanced on this letter.
I am dumb.
Bass. Were you the doctor, and I knew you!
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 wife.
Ant. Sweet lady, you have given me life, and
For here I read for certain, that my ships
Are safely come to road.
My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.
Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without
There do I give to you, and Jessica,
From 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
Of starved people.
And yet, I am sure, you are not satisfied
Of these events at full: Let us go in ;
It is almost morning,
Of the Merchant of Venice the style is even and of construction. The comic part raises laughter, easy, with few peculiarities of diction, or anomalies and the serious fixes expectation. The probability of either one or the other story cannot be maintained. The union of two actions in one event is in this drama eminently happy. Dryden was much pleased with his own address in connecting the two plots of his Spanish Friar, which yet, believe, the critic will find excelled by this play.