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The bargain of your faith, I do beseech you,
Even at that time I may be married too.

45 Bassanio. With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife.

Gratiano. I thank your lordship, you have got me one. My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours ; You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid ; You loved, I loved; for intermission 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

55 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. Portia.

Is this true, Nerissa ? Nerissa. Madam, it is, so you stand pleased withal. 60 Bassanio. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith ? Gratiano. Yes, 'faith, my lord. Bassanio. Our feast shall be much honoured in your

marriage. But who comes here ? Lorenzo and his infidel ? What, and my old Venetian friend, Salanio ?

Enter Lorenzo, Jessica, and Salanio.
Bassanio. Lorenzo and Salanio, welcome hither;
If that the youth of my new interest here
Have power to bid you welcome. [To Portia.] By your

leave.
I bid my very friends and countrymen,
Sweet Portia, welcome.
Portia.
So do I, my lord :

70 They are entirely welcome.

Lorenzo. I thank your honour. For my part, my lord, My purpose was not to have seen you here; But meeting with Salanio by the way, He did entreat me, past all saying nay,

75 To come with him along. Salanio.

I did, my lord ;
And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio
Commends him to you. [Gives Bassanio a letter.
Bassanio.

Ere I ope his letter,
S

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M

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I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth.

Salanio. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind ; 80
Nor well, unless in mind : his letter there
Will show you his estate.
Gratiano. Nerissa, cheer yon stranger; bid her welcome.
[Nerissa moves to Jessica, while Bassanio opens the

Letter. Portia notices him start and turn pale at

the opening words.
Your hand, Salanio: 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.
Salanio. I would you had won the fleece that he

hath lost !
Portia. There are some shrewd contènts in yon same

paper,
That steals the colour from Bassanio's cheek :
Some dear friend dead; else nothing in the world
Could turn so much the constitution
Of any constant man. What, worse and worse !

(She goes to Bassanio.
With leave, Bassanio; I am half yourself,
And I must freely have the half of anything 95
That this same paper brings you.

Bassanio [deeply moved]. 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 you 105
That I was worse than nothing; for, indeed,
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, Salanio ?
Have all his ventures failed ? What, not one hit ?
From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England,

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From Lisbon, Barbary, and India ?

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And not one vessel 'scape the dreadful touch
Of merchant-marring rocks?
Salanio.

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,

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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.

Jessica. When I was with him, I have heard him swear, To Tubal and to Chus, his countrymen,

131 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,

135 It will go hard with poor Antonio.

Portia. Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble ?

Bassanio. The dearest friend to me, the kindest man, The best-conditioned and unwearied spirit In doing courtesies; and one in whom

140 The ancient Roman honour more appears, Than any that draws breath in Italy.

Portia. What sum owes he the Jew ?
Bassanio. For me, three thousand ducats.
Portia.

What, no more ?
Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond; 145
Double six thousand, and then treble that,
Before a friend of this description
Shall lose a hair through Bassanio's fault.
First, go with me to church and call me wife,
And then away to Venice to your friend ;

150 For never shall you lie by Portia's side With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold To pay the petty debt twenty times over : When it is paid, bring your true friend along. My maid Nerissa and myself, meantime,

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Will live as maids and widows. Come, away;
For you shall hence upon your wedding-day:
Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheer :
Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.
But let me hear the letter of your friend.

160 [Bassanio, unable to speak, silently puts the letter in

her hand, and she reads it aloud. Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all miscarried, my creditors grow cruel, my estate is very low, my bond to the Jew is forfeit; and since, in paying it, it is impossible I should live, all debts are cleared between you and I, if I might but see you at my death. Notwithstanding, 165 use your pleasure if your love do not persuade you to come, let not my letter.'

O love, dispatch all business and be gone.
Bassanio returns to Venice at once with Salanio. When

he is gone, Portia leaves Lorenzo and Jessica in charge
of her house at Belmont, and then unfolds a new plan to

Nerissa.
Come on, Nerissa ; I have work in hand
That you yet know not of: we'll see our husbands 170
Before they think of us.
Nerissa.

Shall they see us ?
Portia. They shall, Nerissa ; but in such a habit,
That they shall think we are accomplished
With that we lack. I'll hold thee any wager,
When we are both accoutrèd like young men,

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I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
And wear my dagger with the braver grace,
And speak between the change of man and boy,
With a reed voice, and turn two mincing steps
Into a manly stride, and speak of frays

180 Like a fine bragging youth ; and tell quaint lies, How honourable ladies sought my love, Which I denying, they fell sick and died, I could not do withal; then I'll repent, And wish, for all that, that I had not killed them : And twenty of these puny lies I'll tell, That men shall swear I have discontinued school About a twelvemonth, I have within my mind A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks, Which I will practise.

185 Nerissa.

Why, shall we turn to men ? 190 Portia. But come, I'll tell thee all my whole device When I am in my coach, which stays for us At the park gate; and therefore haste away, For we must measure twenty miles to-day. [Exeunt.

IO

SCENE V. FORFEIT. Enter Shylock, Salarino, Antonio, and Gaoler. Shylock. Gaoler, look to him ; tell not me of mercy; This is the fool that lends out money gratis : Gaoler, look to him. Antonio.

Hear me yet, good Shylock. Shylock. I'll have my bond ; speak not against my

bond ! I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond. 5 Thou call’dst me dog before thou hadst a cause ; But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs : The Duke shall grant me justice. I do wonder, Thou naughty gaoler, that thou art so fond To come abroad with him at his request.

Antonio. I pray thee, hear me speak.
Shylock. I'll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak:
I'll have my bond ; and therefore speak no more.
I'll not be made a soft and dull-eyed fool,
To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield 15
To Christian intercessors. Follow not ;
I'll have no speaking : I will have my bond. [Exit.

Salarino. It is the most impenetrable cur
That ever kept with men.
Antonio.

Let him alone;
I'll follow him no more with bootless prayers.
He seeks my life; his reason well I know :
I oft delivered from his forfeitures
Many that have at times made moan to me ;
Therefore he hates me.
Salarino.

I am sure the Duke
Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.

25 Antonio. The Duke cannot deny the course of law : Well, gaoler, on. Pray God, Bassanio come To see me pay his debt, and then I care not !

[Exeunt.

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