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“ You that choose not by the view,
Chance as fair, and choose as true !
Since this fortune falls to you,
Be content, and seek no new.
If you be well pleas'd 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 :-Fair lady, by your leave ; [Kissing her.
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, even so;
As doubtful whether what I see be true,
Until confirm'd, sign'd, ratified by you.
Portia. 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 myself; A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich; That only to stand high on your account, I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends, Exceed account: but the full sum of me Is sum of something; which, to term in gross, Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractis'd : Happy in this, she is not yet so old But she may learn; 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 yours
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 from, lose, or give away,
Let it presage the ruin of your love,
And be my vantage to exclaim on you.
Bassanio. 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 express'd : But when this ring
Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence;
0, then be bold to say, Bassanio's dead.
Portia. 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
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.
Portia. Is it your dear friend, that is thus in trouble?
Bassanio. The dearest friend to me, the kindest man,
The best condition'd and unwearied spirit
In doing courtesies; and one in whom
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.
What, no more?
Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond;
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
For never shall you lie by Portia's side
With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold
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, show a merry cheer;
Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.-
But let me hear the letter of
friend. Bassanio (reads). “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, use your pleasure : if your love do not persuade you to come, let not my letter.”
Portia. O love, despatch all business, and be gone.
Bassanio. Since I have your good leave to go away,
I will make haste: but, till I come again,
No bed shall e'er be guilty of my stay,
Nor rest be interposer 'twixt us twain. [Exeunt.
Act IV. SCENE I.-A Court of Justice.
Portia. Then must the Jew be merciful.
Shylock. On what compulsion must I ? tell me that.
Portia. The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath : it is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes :
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned 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,
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
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
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.
Portia. Why, this bond is forfeit;
And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
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.
Portia. Tarry a little :-there is something else. — This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood; The words expressly are, a pound of flesh : Take then thy bond; take thou thy pound of flesh; But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate Unto the state of Venice.
Portia. Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh, Shed thou no blood; nor cut thou less, nor more, But just a pound of flesh: if thou tak'st more, Or less, than just a pound,—be it but 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 But in the estimation of a hair,Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.
Portia. He is well paid that is well satisfied ;
And I, delivering you, am satisfied,
And therein doth account myself well paid;
My mind was never yet more mercenary.
I pray you know me, when we meet again;
I wish you well, and so I take my leave.