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Gra. Now, hy this hand, I gave it to a youth, 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.

Bas. Why, I were best to cut my left hand off, And swear I lost the ring defending it. [uside.

Gra. My lord Bassanio gave his ring away Unto the judge that begg'd it, and, indeed, Deserved 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. Por.

What ring gave you, my lord ? Not that, I hope, which you received of me.

Bas. 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.
Ner.

Nor I in yours,
Till I again see mine.
Bas.

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 naught 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 honor to contain 1 the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
What man is there so much unreasonable,
If

you had pleased to have defended it
With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
To urge the thing held as a ceremony ? 2
Nerissa teaches me what to believe.
I'll die for 't, but some woman had the ring.

Bas. No, by mine honor, 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 displeased away;
Even he that had held the very

life

up

1 Retain.

2 • To urge the demand of a thing kept on an account in some sort religious ?'--Johnson.

Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady?
I was enforced to send it after him ;
I was beset with shame and courtesy ;
My honor 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 loved, 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 honor, which is yet my own, I 'll have that doctor for

my

bedfellow. Ner. And I his clerk; therefore be well advised, 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 not

withstanding.
Bas. Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong ;
And, in the hearing of these many friends,
I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes,
Wherein I see myself,-

Por.

Mark you but that!
In both my eyes he doubly sees himself :
In each eye, one.-Swear by your double 1 self,
And there's an oath of credit.
Bas.

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. Here, lord Bassanio; swear to keep this

ring. Bas. 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 amazed. Here is a letter; read it at your leisure ;

.

Double is here used for, full of duplicity. : Advantage.

There you

It comes from Padua, from Bellario :

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 find, three of your argosies
Are richly come to harbor suddenly.
You shall not know by what strange accident
I chanced on this letter.
Ant.

I am dumb.
Bas. Were you the doctor, and I knew you

not? Gra. Were you the clerk, that is to make me

cuckold ? Ner. Ay, but the clerk, that never means to

do it, Unless he live until he be a man. Bas. 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

living;
For here I read for certain, that my ships
Are safely come to road.
Por.

How now, Lorenzo ?
My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.

Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.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.

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