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And leave itself unfurnished.1 Yet look, how far The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow In underprizing it, so far this shadow
Doth limp behind the substance.-Here's the scroll, The continent and summary of my fortune.
You that choose not by the view,
Chance as fair, and choose as true!
Since this fortune falls to you,
Be content and seek no new.
If you be well pleased with this,
And hold your fortune for your bliss,
Turn you where your lady is,
And claim her with a loving kiss.
A gentle scroll. Fair lady, by your leave!
I come by note, to give, and to receive.
Like one of two contending in a prize,
That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes,
Hearing applause, and universal shout,
Giddy in spirit, still gazing, in a doubt
Whether those peals of praise be his or no;
So, thrice fair lady, stand I, even so;
As doubtful whether what I see be true,
Until confirmed, signed, ratified by you.
Por. You see me, lord Bassanio, where I stand,
Such as I am. Though, for myself alone,
I would not be ambitious in my wish,
To wish myself much better; yet for you,
I would be trebled twenty times myself;
A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times
That only to stand high on your account,
I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,
Exceed account; but the full sum of me
Is sum of something; which, to term in gross,
1 i. e. unfurnished with a companion or fellow.
2 The folio reads, "Is sum of nothing," which may probably be the true reading.
Is an unlessoned girl, unschooled, unpractised;
Happy in this, she is not yet so old
But she may learn; happier than this,
She is not bred so dull but she can learn ;
Happiest of all, is, that her gentle spirit
Commits itself to yours to be directed,
As from her lord, her governor, her king.
Myself, and what is mine, to you, and yours
Is now converted. But now I was the lord
Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
Queen o'er myself; and even now, but now,
This house, these servants, and this same myself,
Are yours, my lord; I give them with this ring;
Which when you part from, lose, or give away,
Let it presage the ruin of your love,
And be my vantage to exclaim on you.
Bass. Madam, you have bereft me of all words,
Only my blood speaks to you in my veins;
And there is such confusion in my powers,
As, after some oration fairly spoke
By a beloved prince, there doth appear
Among the buzzing, pleased multitude;
Where every something, being blent together,
Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy,
Expressed, and not expressed. But when this ring
Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence;
O, then be bold to say, Bassanio's dead.
Ner. My lord and lady, it is now our time,
That have stood by, and seen our wishes prosper,
To cry, Good joy; good joy, my lord, and lady!
Gra. My lord Bassanio, and my gentle lady,
wish you all the joy that you can wish;
For, I am sure, you can wish none from me;
And, when your honors mean to solemnize
The bargain of your faith, I do beseech you,
Even at that time I may be married too.
Bass. With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife. Gra. I thank your lordship; you have got me one.
That is, none away from me; none that I shall lose, if you gain it.
My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours.
You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid;
You loved, I loved; for intermission 1
No more pertains to me, my lord, than you.
Your fortune stood upon the caskets there;
And so did mine too, as the matter falls.
For, wooing here, until I sweat again ;
And swearing, till my very roof was dry
With oaths of love; at last,-if promise last,-
I got a promise of this fair one here,
To have her love, provided that your fortune
Achieved her mistress.
Is this true, Nerissa?
Ner. Madam, it is, so you stand pleased withal.
Bass. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?
Gra. Yes, 'faith, my lord.
Bass. Our feast shall be much honored in your
Gra. We'll play with them, the first boy for a thousand ducats.
Ner. What, and stake down?
Gra. No; we shall ne'er win at that sport, and stake down.
But who comes here? Lorenzo, and his infidel?
What, and my old Venetian friend, Salerio?
Enter LORENZO, JESSICA, and SALERIO.
Bass. Lorenzo, and Salerio, welcome hither;
If that the youth of my new interest here
Have power to bid you welcome.-By your leave,
I bid my very friends and countrymen,
Sweet Portia, welcome.
So do I, my lord;
They are entirely welcome.
Lor. I thank your honor. For my part, my lord, My purpose was not to have seen you here; But meeting with Salerio by the way,
He did entreat me, past all saying nay,
To come with him along.
And I have reason for it.
Commends him to you.
I did, my lord,
[Gives BASSANIO a letter. Ere I ope his letter, I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth. Sale. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind; Nor well, unless in mind. His letter there Will show you his estate.
Gra. Nerissa, cheer yon stranger; bid her welcome Your hand, Salerio. What's the news from Venice? How doth that royal merchant, good Antonio? I know, he will be glad of our success; We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.
Sale. Would you had won the fleece that he hath lost!
Por. There are some shrewd contents in yon same
That steal the color from Bassanio's cheek.
else nothing in the world
Some dear friend dead;
Could turn so much the
Of any constant1 man. What, worse and worse ?—
With leave, Bassanio; I am half yourself,
And I must freely have the half of any thing
That this same paper brings you.
Bass. O sweet Portia, Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words That ever blotted paper! Gentle lady, When I did first impart my love to you, I freely told you, all the wealth I had Ran in my veins; I was a gentleman; And then I told you true; and yet, dear lady, Rating myself at nothing, you shall see How much I was a braggart. When I told you My state was nothing, I should then have told That I was worse than nothing; for, indeed,
1 It should be remembered that steadfast, sad, grave, sober, were ancient synonymes of constant.
I have engaged myself to a dear friend,
Engaged my friend to his mere enemy,
To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady,
The paper as the body of my friend,
And every word in it a gaping wound,
Issuing life-blood.-But is it true, Salerio?
Have all his ventures failed? What, not one hit?
From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England,
From Lisbon, Barbary, and India?
And not one vessel 'scape the dreadful touch
Of merchant-marring rocks?
Not one, my lord.
Besides, it should appear, that if he had
The present money to discharge the Jew,
He would not take it. Never did I know
A creature, that did bear the shape of man,
So keen and greedy to confound a man.
He plies the duke at morning, and at night;
And doth impeach the freedom of the state,
If they deny him justice. Twenty merchants,
The duke himself, and the magnificoes
Of greatest port, have all persuaded with him;
But none can drive him from the envious plea
Of forfeiture, of justice, and his bond.
Jes. When I was with him, I have heard him swear,
To Tubal, and to Chus, his countrymen,
That he would rather have Antonio's flesh,
Than twenty times the value of the sum
That he did owe him; and I know, my lord,
If law, authority, and power deny not,
It will go hard with poor Antonio.
Por. Is it your dear friend, that is thus in trouble?
Bass. The dearest friend to me, the kindest man,
The best conditioned and unwearied spirit
In doing courtesies; and one in whom
The ancient Roman honor more appears,
Than any that draws breath in Italy.
Por. What sum owes he the Jew?
Bass. For me, three thousand ducats.