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Enter Bassanio, Antonio, Gratiano, and their followers.
Bass. We should hold day with the Autipodes, 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
Bass. I thank you, madam: give welcome to my friend.
This is the man, this is Antonio,
To whom I am so infinitely bound.
Por. You should in all sense be much bound to him,
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;
In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk:
Por. A quarrel, ho, already? what's the matter? Gra. About 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 1 did give it you, That you would wear it till your hour of death; And that it should lie with you in your grave:
* Verbal, complimentary form.
Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths, You should have been respective*, and have kept it. Gave it a judge's clerk!-but well I know,
The clerk will ne'er wear hair on his face, that had it.
Gra. He will, an if he live to be a man.
Gra. Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,-
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
To part so slightly with your wife's first gift;
Bass. Why, I were best to cut my left hand off, And swear, I lost the ring defending it. [Aside.
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
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.
Nor I in yours,
did know to whom I gave the ring, 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 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,
Till I again see mine.
And begg'd the ring; the which I did deny him,
Even he that had held up the very life
Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady?
I was enforc'd to send it after him;
I was beset with shame and courtesy ;
My honour would not let ingratitude
Por. Let not that doctor e'er come near my
No, not my body, nor my husband's bed:
Ner. And I his clerk; therefore be well advis'd,
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 notwithstanding.
Bass. Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong;
Mark you but that!
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,
Had quite miscarried: I dare be bound again,
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. 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,
Gra. Why, this is like the mending of highways In summer, where the ways are fair enough: What are we cuckolds, ere we have deserv'd 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,
I am dumb.
Bass. Were you the doctor, and I knew you not! 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 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.
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,
Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way