« PreviousContinue »
Music, whilst BASSANIO comments on the caskets
1. Tell me, where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart, or in the head ?
How begot, how nourished ? Reply.
2. It is engender'd in the eyes,
With gazing fed; and fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies :
Let us all ring fancy's knell;
I'll begin it,Ding, dong, bell. All,
Ding, dong, bell. Bass. - So may the outward shows be least themThe world is still deceived with ornament. [selves; In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt, But, being seasond with a gracious voice, Obscures the show of evil? In religion, What damned error, but some sober brow Will bless it, and approve it with a text, Hiding the grossness with fair ornament ! There is no vice so simple, but assumes Some mark of virtue on his outward parts. How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins The beards of Hercules, and frowning Mars; Who, inward search'd, have livers white as milk ! And these assume but valour's excrement, To render them redoubted. Look on beauty, And you shall see 'tis purchased by the weight; Which therein works a miracle in nature, Making them lightest that wear most of it: So are those crisped snaky golden locks, Which make such wanton gambols with the wind, Upon supposed fairness, often knoth To be the dowry of a second head, The scull that bred them, in the sepulchre. Thus ornament is but the guiled shore To a most dangerous sea ; the beauteous scarf Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word, The seeming truth which cunning times put on To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold, Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee : Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge Tween man and nan: but thou, thou meagre lead,
Which rather threat'nest, than doth promise aught,
Thy plainness moves me more than eloquence,
And here choose I : Joy be the consequence!
Por. How all the other passions fleet to air,
As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embraced despair,
And shudd'ring fear, and green-eyed jealousy:
O love, be moderate, allay thy ecstass,
Irr measure rain thy joy, scant this excess;
I feel too much thy blessing, make it less,
For fear I surfeit!
What find I here?
(Opening the leaden caskel.)
Fair Portia's counterfeit? What demi-god
Hath come so near creation ? Move these eyes ?
Or whether, riding on the balls of mine,
Seem they in motion ? . Here are sever'd lips,
Parted with sugar breath; so sweet a bar
Should sunder such sweet friends : Here in her hairs
The painter plays the spider; and hath woven
A golden mesh lo entrap the hearts of men,
Faster than gnats in cobwebs : But her eyes, -
How could he see to do them having made one.
Methinks, it should have power to steal both his,
And leave itself unfurnish'd: Yet look, how far
The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow
In underprizing it, so far this shadow
Doth limp behind the substance. Here's the scroll,
The continent and summary of my fortune.
You that choose not by the view,
Chance as fair, and choose as true!
Since this fortune falls to you,
Be conteni, and seek no neto.
If you be well pleased with this,
And hold your fortune for your bliss,
Turn you where your lady is,
And claim her with a loving kiss.
A gentle scroll ;-Pair lady, by your leave;
I come by note, to give and to receive.
Like one of two contending in a prize,
That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes,
Hearing applause, and universal shout,
Giddy in spirit, still gazing, in a doubt
Whether those peals of praise be his or no;
So, thrice fair lady, stand i, ezen so;
As doubtful whether what I see be true,
Until confirm'd, sign'd, ratified by you.
Por. You see me, lord Bassanio, where I stand,
Such as I am : though, for myself alone,
I would not be ambitious in my wish,
To wish myself much better ; yet, for you,
I would be trebled twenty times mysell;
A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times
That only to stand high on your account,
I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,
Bxceed account: but the full sum of me
Is sum of something; which, to term in gross,
Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, anpractised:
Happy in this, she is not yet so old
But she may learn; and happier than this,
She is not bred so dull but she can learn ;
Happiest of all, is, that her gentle spirit
Commits itself to yours to be directed,
As from her lord, her governor, her king.
Myself, and what is mine, to you and your's
Is now converted: but now I was the lord
of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
Queen o'er myself; and even now, but now,
This house, these servants, and this same myself,
Are yours, my lord; I give them with this ring ;
Which when you part fron, lose, or give away,
Let it presage the ruin of your love,
And be my vantage to exclaim on you.
Bass. Madam, you have bereft me of all words,
Only my blood speaks to you in my veins :
And there is such confusion in my powers,
As, after some oration fairly spoke
By a beloved prince, there doth appear
Among the buzzing pleased multitude;
Where every something, being blent together,
Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy,
Express'd, and not expressid : But when this ring
Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence ;
O, then be bold to say, Bassanio's dead.
Ner. My lord and lady, it is now our time.
That have stood by, and seen our wishes prosper,
To cry, good joy : Good joy, my lord and lady!
Gra. My lord Bassanio, and my gentle lady,
I wish you all the joy that you can wish;
For I am sure, you can wish none from me:
And, when your honours mean to solemnize
The bargain of your faith, I do beseech you,
Even at that time I may be married too.
Bass. With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife.
' Gra. 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
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.
Is this true, Nerissa!
Ner. Madan, it is, so you stand pleased withal.
Bass. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?
Gra. Yes, 'faith, my lord.
Bass. Our seast shall be much honour'd in your marriage.
Gra. We'll play with them, the first bog for a thousand ats.
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, my old Venetian friend, Salerio ?
Enter LORENZO, JESSICA, and SALERIO.
Bass. 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.
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 entreat me, past all saying nay,
To come with him along.
I did, my lord,
And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio
Commends him to you.
(Gives Bassanio a letter.) Bass.
Ere I ope his letter,
I pray you tell me how my good friend doth.
Sale. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind;
Nor well, unless in mind : his letter tliere
Will show you his estate.
Gra. Nerissa, cheer yon' stranger; bid her welcome.
Your hand, Salerio : 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 flecce.
Sale. 'Would you bad won the fleece that he hath
Por. There are some shrewd contents in yon' same
That steal the colour from Bassanio's cheek :
Some dear friend dead; else nothing in the world
Could turn so much the constitution
or any constant mar..
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.
O, sweet Portis,
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
That I was worse than nothing; for, indeed,
have engaged myself to a dear friend,
Engaged my friend to his mere enemy,
Here is a letter, lady;
The paper as the body of my friend,
and every word in it á 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?
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,
The duke himself and the magnificoes