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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. Por.
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,
Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth.
Nor I in
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,
Bass. No, by mine honour, madam, by my soul,
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
Ant. I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels.
Mark you but that!
-wear by your double self,"
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 Porria. 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. 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 high-ways In summer, where the ways are fair enough: What! are we cuckolds, ere we have deserv'd it?
swear by your double self,] Double is here used in a bad sense for--full of duplicity.
for his wealth ;] For his advantage; to obtain his hap. piness. Wealth was, at that time, the term opposite to adversity, or calamity.
Por. Speak not so grossly.—You are all amaz’d:
I am dumb.
cuckold ? 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;
Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.--
Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
It is almost morning, .
And yet, I am sure, you are not satisfied
Gra. Let it be so; The first intergatory,
, while I live, I'll fear no other thing So sore, as keeping safe Nerissa's ring. [Exeunt.
s Of The Merchant of Venice the style is even and easy, with few peculiarities of diction, or anomalies of construction. The comick part raises laughter, 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, I believe, the critick will find excelled by this play.