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Ner. Madam, it is, so you stand pleas'd withal.
Bal. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?
Gra. Yes, 'faith, my lord.
Bas. Our feast shall be much honour'd in your marriage.
Gra. We'll play with them, the first boy, for a thousand ducats.
Ner. What, and stake down?
Gra. No; we shall ne’er win at that sport, and stake
But who comes here? Lorenzo, and his infidel?
What, and my old Venetian friend, Salerio ?
Enter Lorenzo, Jessica, and Salerio.
Bal. Lorenzo, and Salerio, welcome hither ;
If that the youth of my new interest here
Have power to bid you welcome :-By your leave,
I bid my very friends, and countrymen,
Sweet Portia, welcome.
Por. So do I, my lord;
They are entirely welcome.
Lor. I thank your honour :-For my part, my lord, My purpose was not to have seen you here;
But meeting with Salerio by the way,
· He did intreat me, past all saying nay,
To come with him along.
Sale. I did, my lord,
And I have reason for it. Signior Anthonio
Commends him to you.
[Gives Balunio a letter, Bal. Ere I ope his letter, I pray you tell me how my good friend doth.
Sale. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in inind;
Nor well, unless in mind : his letter there
Will shew you his estate.
• unless in mind : )--in its composed frame.
Gra. Nerissa, cheer yon'stranger; bid her welcome.
Your hand, Salerio ; What's the news from Venice?
How doth that royal merchant, good Anthonio ?
I know, he will be glad of our success;
We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.
Sale. Would you had won the fleece that he hath lost!
Por. There are some shrewd contents in yon' same paper,
That steals the colour from Balianio'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?-
With leave, Bassanio ; I am half yourself,
And I must freely have the half of any thing
That this same paper brings you.
Bal. O sweet Portia,
Here are a few of the unpleasantst 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
That I was worse than nothing; for, indeed,
I have engag'd myself to a dear friend,
Engag'd my friend to his meer 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, Salerio ?
Have all his ventures fail'd? What, not one hit ?
From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England,
From Lisbon, Barbary, and India ?
And not one vessel 'scape the dreadful touch
Of merchant-marring rocks?
Sale. 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 fconfound 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,
The duke himself, and the magnificoes
Of greatest port, have all 3 persuaded with him ;
But none can drive him from the envious plea
Of forfeiture, of justice, and his bond.
Fef. When I was with him, I have heard him swear,
To Tubal, and to Chus, his countrymen,
That he would rather have Anthonio's Aesh,
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,
It will go hard with poor Anthonio.
Por. Is it your dear friend, that is thus in trouble?
Bal. The dearest friend to me, the kindest man,
The best condition'd and unweary'd spirit
In doing courtesies; and one in whom
The ancient Roman honour more appears,
Than any that draws breath in Italy.
Por. What sum owes he the Jew ?
Baf. For me, three thousand ducats.
Por. What, no more?
Pay him fix thousand, and deface the bond ;
Double six thousand, and then treble that,
& persuaded )-reasoned, argued.
Before a friend of this description
Shall lose a hair thorough Bassanio's fault.
First, go with me to church, and call me wife ;
And then away to Venice to your friend;
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, mean time,
Will live as maids and widows. Come, away;
For you shall hence upon your wedding-day :
Bid your friends welcome, shew a merry cheer ;
Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.
But let me hear the letter of your friend.
Sweet Befanio, my ships have all miscarry'd, my creditors grow cruel, my estate is very low, my bond to the Jew is forfeit; and since, in paying it, it is imposible I poould live, all debts are cleared between you and me, if I might but see you at my death: notwithstanding, use your pleasure : if your love do not persuade you to come, let not my letter.
O love, dispatch all business, and be gone.
Bas Since I have your good leave to go away,
I will make halte : but, 'till I come again,
No bed shall e'er be guilty of my stay,
No rest be interposer 'twixt us twain. [Exeunt,
S CE N E III.
A Street in Venice. Enter Sbylock, Solanio, Anthonio, and the Gaoler. Shy. Gaoler, look to him ;—Tell not me of mercy ;This is the fool that lent out money gratis ; * Portia probably reads the letter herself, in relief of Bafanio's distress.
Goaler, look to him.
Anth. Hear me yet, good Shylock.
Sby. I'll have my bond ; speak not against my bond ; I have sworn an oath, that I will have my bond : Thou call’dst me dog, before thou had'st 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 i fond To come abroad with him at his request.
Anth. I pray thee, hear me speak.
Shy. 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-ey'd fool, To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield To christian intercessors. Follow not ; I'll have no speaking ; I will have my bond.
[Exit Shylock, Sol. It is the most impenetrable cur, That ever kept with men.
Anth. Let him alone;
I'll follow him no more with bootless prayers.
He seeks my life; his reason well I know;
I oft deliver'd from his ' forfeitures
Many that have at times made moan to me,
Therefore he hates me.
Sol. I am sure, the duke
Will never grant this forfeiture » to hold.
Anth. The duke cannot deny the course of law, 'For the commodity that strangers have