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Shylock [contemptuously). On what compulsion must I?

tell me that. Portia [stepping down from her seat]. The quality of

mercy is not strained, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath : it is twice blest,

180 It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes : 'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes The thronèd monarch better than his crown ; His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings; But mercy is above this sceptred sway, It is enthroned in the hearts of kings ; It is an attribute to God himself ; And earthly power doth then show likest God's, 190 When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew, Though justice be thy plea, consider this, That, in the course of justice, none of us Should see salvation : we do pray for mercy ; And that same prayer doth teach us all to render 195 The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much, To mitigate the justice of thy plea; Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.

Shylock. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law : The penalty and forfeit of my bond.

Portia. Is he not able to discharge the money ?

Bassanio. Yes, here I tender it for him in the court ; Yea, twice the sum : if that will not suffice, I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er,

205 On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart : If this will not suffice, it must appear That malice bears down truth. And I beseech you, Wrest once the law to your authority : To do a great right, do a little wrong ; And curb this cruel devil of his will.

Portia. It must not be ; there is no power in Venice Can alter a decree established : 'Twill be recorded for a precedent ; And many an error, by the same example, Will rush into the state : it cannot be.

Shylock. A Daniel come to judgement ! yea, a Daniel !





O wise young judge, how do I honour thee!

Portia. I pray you, let me look upon the bond. Shylock [handing the bond to her]. Here 'tis, most

reverend doctor, here it is. Portia. Shylock, there 's thrice thy money offered

thee. Shylock. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven : Shall I lay perjury upon my soul ? No, not for Venice. Portia.

Why, this bond is forfeit; And lawfully by this the Jew may claim

225 A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off Nearest the merchant's heart. Be merciful : Take thrice thy money ; bid me tear the bond.

[She takes it in the middle to tear it. Shylock [hastily). When it is paid according to the

tenor. [Portia takes it up again and re-reads it. It doth appear you are a worthy judge ;

230 You know the law, your exposition Hath been most sound : I charge you by the law, Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar, Proceed to judgement : by my soul I swear There is no power in the tongue of man

235 To alter me : I stay here on my bond.

Antonio. Most heartily I do beseech the court
To give the judgement.

Why then, thus it is :
You must prepare your bosom for his knife.

Shylock. O noble judge ! O excellent young man !

Portia. For, the intent and purpose of the law 241 Hath full relation to the penalty, Which here appeareth due upon the bond.

Shylock. 'Tis very true: O wise and upright judge ! How much more elder art thou than thy looks ! 245

Portia. Therefore, lay bare your bosom.

Aye, his breast; So says the bond :-doth it not, noble judge ? [He goes to Portia, looks at the bond in her hands, and

points to the words with his knife. * Nearest his heart': those are the very words.

Portia. It is so. Are there balance here to weigh The flesh ?

250 Shylock. I have them ready.




Portia. Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your

charge, To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.

Shylock. Is it so nominated in the bond ? Portia. It is not so expressed; but what of that ? 'Twere good you do so much for charity.

Shylock. I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond. Portia. Come, merchant, have you anything to say ?

Antonio. But little: I am armed and well prepared. Give me your hand, Bassanio : fare you well ! 260 Grieve not that I am fallen to this for you ; For herein Fortune shows herself more kind Than is her custom: it is still her use To let the wretched man outlive his wealth, To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow An age of poverty; from which lingering penance Of such a misery doth she cut me off. Commend me to your honourable wife : Tell her the process of Antonio's end ; Say how I loved you, speak me fair in death; And, when the tale is told, bid her be judge, Whether Bassanio had not once a love. Repent not you that you shall lose your friend, And he repents not that he pays your debt; For, if the Jew do cut but deep enough,


[Shylock smiles. I'll pay it instantly with all my heart.

Bassanio, Antonio, I am married to a wife
Which is as dear to me as life itself ;
But life itself, my wife, and all the world,
Are not with me esteemed above thy life :

280 I would lose all, aye, sacrifice them all Here to this devil, to deliver you.

Portia. Your wife would give you little thanks for that, If she were by, to hear you make the offer.

Gratiano. I have a wife, whom, I protest, I love: I would she were in heaven, so she could

286 Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.

Nerissa. 'Tis well you offer it behind her back; The wish would make else an unquiet house. Shylock (speaking bitterly to himself in a low voice).

These be the Christian husbands ! I have a daughter; Would any of the stock of Barrabas


Had been her husband, rather than a Christian ! [Aloud.] We trifle time : I pray thee, pursue sentence.

Portia. A pound of that same merchant's flesh is thine : The court awards it, and the law doth give it. 295

Shylock. Most rightful judge !

Portia. And you must cut this flesh from off his breast : The law allows it, and the court awards it. Shylock. Most learnèd judge! A sentence! Come,

prepare !

[He steps up to Antonio. The crowd give a cry of horror. Portia [interposing]. Tarry a little ; there is something else.

(Shylock stops, puzzled. 300 This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood; The words expressly are 'a pound of flesh': Then take thy bond, take thou thy 'pound of flesh';

[Shylock nods in agreement. But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods 305 Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate Unto the state of Venice,

[He starts back, dropping the knife. Gratiano. O upright judge! Mark, Jew : O learned judge !

(Laughter. Shylock [choking]. Is that the law ? Portia.

Thyself shalt see the Act : For, as thou urgest justice, be assured

310 Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desirest. Gratiano. O learnèd judge! Mark, Jew : a learned judge.

The crowd laugh and cheer. Shylock (gasping out the words with a great effort]. I take

this offer, then-pay the bond thrice, – And let the Christian go.

Bassanio Churrying forward]. Here is the money. Portia [laying her hand on his arm, and stopping him]. Soft!

315 The Jew shall have all justice ; soft! no haste : He shall have nothing but the penalty.

Gratiano. O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge !

Portia, Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh. Shed thou no blood; nor cut thou less, nor more, 320 But just a pound of flesh :. if thou tak'st more, Or less, than a just pound—be it so much As makes it light or heavy in the substance

Or the division of the twentieth part
Of one poor scruple,-nay, if the scale do turn

325 But in the estimation of a hairThou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.

Gratiano. A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew! Now, infidel, I have thee on the hip.

[Shylock stands dazed. Portia. Why doth the Jew pause ? take thy forfeiture.

330 Shylock. Give me my principal, and let me go. Bassanio. I have it ready for thee; here it is.

[Shylock snatches at the bag. Portia. He hath refused it in the open court : He shall have merely justice, and his bond.

[She gives him the bond again; he lets it fall. Gratiano (seizing the bag again]. A Daniel, still say I; a second Daniel !

335 I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.

Shylock. Shail I not have barely my principal ?

Portia. Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture, To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.

Shylock. Why, then the devil give him good of it! I'll stay no longer question.

[He turns to go. Portia.

Tarry, Jew :

341 The law hath yet another hold on you.

[The Officers stop him. It is enacted in the laws of Venice, If it be proved against an alien

[Opening a law-book, and quoting. That by direct or indirect attempts

345 He seek the life of any citizen, The party 'gainst the which he doth contrive Shall seize one half his goods ; [a loud cry from Shylock]

the other half Comes to the privy coffer of the state ; And the offender's life lies in the mercy

350 Of the Duke only, 'gainst all other voice.

[She lays down the book. In which predicament, I say, thou stand'st; For it appears, by manifest proceeding, That indirectly, and directly too, Thou hast contrived against the very life

355 Of the defendant; and thou hast incurred

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