The Merchant of Venice

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Original text
Act I, Scene I
Enter Anthonio, Salarino, and Salanio.

Anthonio.
IN sooth I know not why I am so sad,
It wearies me: you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuffe 'tis made of, whereof it is borne,
I am to learne:
and such a Want-wit sadnesse makes of mee,
That I haue much ado to know my selfe.

Sal.
Your minde is tossing on the Ocean,
There where your Argosies with portly saile
Like Signiors and rich Burgers on the flood,
Or as it were the Pageants of the sea,
Do ouer-peere the pettie Traffiquers
That curtsie to them, do them reuerence
As they flye by them with their wouen wings.

Salar.
Beleeue me sir, had I such venture forth,
The better part of my affections, would
Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still
Plucking the grasse to know where sits the winde,
Peering in Maps for ports, and peers, and rodes:
And euery obiect that might make me feare
Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt
Would make me sad.

Sal.
My winde cooling my broth,
Would blow me to an Ague, when I thought
What harme a winde too great might doe at sea.
I should not see the sandie houre-glasse runne,
But I should thinke of shallows, and of flats,
And see my wealthy Andrew docks in sand,
Vailing her high top lower then her ribs
To kisse her buriall; should I goe to Church
And see the holy edifice of stone,
And not bethinke me straight of dangerous rocks,
Which touching but my gentle Vessels side
Would scatter all her spices on the streame,
Enrobe the roring waters with my silkes,
And in a word, but euen now worth this,
And now worth nothing. Shall I haue the thought
To thinke on this, and shall I lacke the thought
That such a thing bechaunc'd would make me sad?
But tell not me, I know Anthonio
Is sad to thinke vpon his merchandize.

Anth.
Beleeue me no, I thanke my fortune for it,
My ventures are not in one bottome trusted,
Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate
Vpon the fortune of this present yeere:
Therefore my merchandize makes me not sad.

Sola.
Why then you are in loue.

Anth.
Fie, fie.

Sola.
Not in loue neither: then let vs say you are sad
Because you are not merry; and 'twere as easie
For you to laugh and leape, and say you are merry
Because you are not sad. Now by two-headed Ianus,
Nature hath fram'd strange fellowes in her time:
Some that will euermore peepe through their eyes,
And laugh like Parrats at a bag-piper.
And other of such vineger aspect,
That they'll not shew their teeth in way of smile,
Though Nestor sweare the iest be laughable.
Enter Bassanio, Lorenso, and Gratiano.
Heere comes Bassanio, / Your most noble Kinsman,
Faryewell,
We leaue you now with better company.

Sala.
I would haue staid till I had made you merry,
If worthier friends had not preuented me.

Ant.
Your worth is very deere in my regard.
I take it your owne busines calls on you,
And you embrace th' occasion to depart.

Sal.
Good morrow my good Lords.

Bass.
Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? say, when?
You grow exceeding strange: must it be so?

Sal.
Wee'll make our leysures to attend on yours.
Exeunt Salarino, and Solanio.

Lor.
My Lord Bassanio, since you haue found Anthonio
We two will leaue you, but at dinner time
I pray you haue in minde where we must meete.

Bass.
I will not faile you.

Grat.
You looke not well signior Anthonio,
You haue too much respect vpon the world:
They loose it that doe buy it with much care,
Beleeue me you are maruellously chang'd.

Ant.
I hold the world but as the world Gratiano,
A stage, where euery man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.

Grati.
Let me play the foole,
With mirth and laughter let old wrinckles come,
And let my Liuer rather heate with wine,
Then my heart coole with mortifying grones.
Why should a man whose bloud is warme within,
Sit like his Grandsire, cut in Alablaster?
Sleepe when he wakes? and creep into the Iaundies
By being peeuish? I tell thee what Anthonio,
I loue thee, and it is my loue that speakes:
There are a sort of men, whose visages
Do creame and mantle like a standing pond,
And do a wilfull stilnesse entertaine,
With purpose to be drest in an opinion
Of wisedome, grauity, profound conceit,
As who should say, I am sir an Oracle,
And when I ope my lips, let no dogge barke.
O my Anthonio, I do know of these
That therefore onely are reputed wise,
For saying nothing; when I am verie sure
If they should speake, would almost dam those eares
Which hearing them would call their brothers fooles:
Ile tell thee more of this another time.
But fish not with this melancholly baite
For this foole Gudgin, this opinion:
Come good Lorenzo, faryewell a while,
Ile end my exhortation after dinner.

Lor.
Well, we will leaue you then till dinner time.
I must be one of these same dumbe wise men,
For Gratiano neuer let's me speake.

Gra.
Well, keepe me company but two yeares mo,
Thou shalt not know the sound of thine owne tongue.

Ant.
Far you well, Ile grow a talker for this geare.

Gra.
Thankes ifaith, for silence is onely commendable
In a neats tongue dri'd, and a maid not vendible.
Exit.

Ant.
It is that any thing now.

Bas.
Gratiano speakes an infinite deale of nothing,
more then any man in all Venice, his reasons are two
graines of wheate hid in two bushels of chaffe: you shall
seeke all day ere you finde them, & when you haue them
they are not worth the search.

An.
Well: tel me now, what Lady is the same
To whom you swore a secret Pilgrimage
That you to day promis'd to tel me of?

Bas.
Tis not vnknowne to you Anthonio
How much I haue disabled mine estate,
By something shewing a more swelling port
Then my faint meanes would grant continuance:
Nor do I now make mone to be abridg'd
From such a noble rate, but my cheefe care
Is to come fairely off from the great debts
Wherein my time something too prodigall
Hath left me gag'd: to you Anthonio
I owe the most in money, and in loue,
And from your loue I haue a warrantie
To vnburthen all my plots and purposes,
How to get cleere of all the debts I owe.

An.
I pray you good Bassanio let me know it,
And if it stand as you your selfe still do,
Within the eye of honour, be assur'd
My purse, my person, my extreamest meanes
Lye all vnlock'd to your occasions.

Bass.
In my schoole dayes, when I had lost one shaft
I shot his fellow of the selfesame flight
The selfesame way, with more aduised watch
To finde the other forth, and by aduenturing both,
I oft found both. I vrge this child-hoode proofe,
Because what followes is pure innocence.
I owe you much, and like a wilfull youth,
That which I owe is lost: but if you please
To shoote another arrow that selfe way
Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
As I will watch the ayme: Or to finde both,
Or bring your latter hazard backe againe,
And thankfully rest debter for the first.

An.
You know me well, and herein spend but time
To winde about my loue with circumstance,
And out of doubt you doe more wrong
In making question of my vttermost
Then if you had made waste of all I haue:
Then doe but say to me what I should doe
That in your knowledge may by me be done,
And I am prest vnto it: therefore speake.

Bass.
In Belmont is a Lady richly left,
And she is faire, and fairer then that word,
Of wondrous vertues, sometimes from her eyes
I did receiue faire speechlesse messages:
Her name is Portia, nothing vndervallewd
To Cato's daughter, Brutus Portia,
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,
For the foure windes blow in from euery coast
Renowned sutors, and her sunny locks
Hang on her temples like a golden fleece,
Which makes her seat of Belmont Cholchos strond,
And many Iasons come in quest of her.
O my Anthonio, had I but the meanes
To hold a riuall place with one of them,
I haue a minde presages me such thrift,
That I should questionlesse be fortunate.

Anth.
Thou knowst that all my fortunes are at sea,
Neither haue I money, nor commodity
To raise a present summe, therefore goe forth
Try what my credit can in Venice doe,
That shall be rackt euen to the vttermost,
To furnish thee to Belmont to faire Portia.
Goe presently enquire, and so will I
Where money is, and I no question make
To haue it of my trust, or for my sake.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act I, Scene II
Enter Portia with her waiting woman Nerissa.

Portia.
By my troth Nerrissa, my little body is a wearie of
this great world.

Ner.
You would be sweet Madam, if your miseries
were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are:
and yet for ought I see, they are as sicke that surfet with
too much, as they that starue with nothing; it is no smal
happinesse therefore to bee seated in the meane, superfluitie
comes sooner by white haires, but competencie liues
longer.

Portia.
Good sentences, and well pronounc'd.

Ner.
They would be better if well followed.

Portia.
If to doe were as easie as to know what were good
to doe, Chappels had beene Churches, and poore mens
cottages Princes Pallaces: it is a good Diuine that followes
his owne instructions; I can easier teach twentie what were
good to be done, then be one of the twentie to follow
mine owne teaching: the braine may deuise lawes for the
blood, but a hot temper leapes ore a colde decree, such a
hare is madnesse the youth, to skip ore the meshes of good
counsaile the cripple; but this reason is not in f
ashion to choose me a husband: O mee, the word
choose, I may neither choose whom I would, nor refuse
whom I dislike, so is the wil of a liuing daughter curb'd
by the will of a dead father: it is not hard Nerrissa, that I
cannot choose one, nor refuse none.

Ner.
Your father was euer vertuous, and holy men at
their death haue good inspirations, therefore the lotterie
that hee hath deuised in these three chests of gold, siluer,
and leade, whereof who chooses his meaning, chooses you,
wil no doubt neuer be chosen by any rightly, but one
who you shall rightly loue: but what warmth is there in
your affection towards any of these Princely suters that
are already come?

Por.
I pray thee ouer-name them, and as thou namest
them, I will describe them, and according to my description
leuell at my affection.

Ner.
First there is the Neopolitane Prince.

Por.
I that's a colt indeede, for he doth nothing but
talke of his horse, and hee makes it a great appropriation to
his owne good parts that he can shoo him himselfe: I am
\much afraid my Ladie his mother plaid false with a
Smyth.

Ner.
Than is there the Countie Palentine.

Por.
He doth nothing but frowne (as who should say,
and you will not haue me, choose: he heares merrie tales
and smiles not, I feare hee will proue the weeping Phylosopher
when he growes old, being so full of vnmannerly
sadnesse in his youth.) I had rather to be married to a deaths head
with a bone in his mouth, then to either of these:
God defend me from these two.

Ner.
How say you by the French Lord, Mounsier Le
Boune?

Pro.
God made him, and therefore let him passe for a
man, in truth I know it is a sinne to be a mocker, but he,
why he hath a horse better then the Neopolitans, a better
bad habite of frowning then the Count Palentine, he is
euery man in no man, if a Trassell sing, he fals straight
a capring, he will fence with his own shadow. If I
should marry him, I should marry twentie husbands: if
hee would despise me, I would forgiue him, for if he loue
me to madnesse, I should neuer requite him.

Ner.
What say you then to Fauconbridge, the yong
Baron of England?

Por.
You know I say nothing to him, for hee vnderstands
not me, nor I him: he hath neither Latine, French,
nor Italian, and you will come into the Court & sweare
that I haue a poore pennie-worth in the English: hee is a
proper mans picture, but alas who can conuerse with a
dumbe show? how odly he is suited, I thinke he bought
his doublet in Italie, his round hose in France, his bonnet
in Germanie, and his behauiour euery where.

Ner.
What thinke you of the other Lord his
neighbour?

Por.
That he hath a neighbourly charitie in him, for he
borrowed a boxe of the eare of the Englishman, and swore
he would pay him againe when hee was able: I thinke the
Frenchman became his suretie, and seald vnder for
another.

Ner.
How like you the yong Germaine, the Duke of
Saxonies Nephew?

Por.
Very vildely in the morning when hee is sober, and
most vildely in the afternoone when hee is drunke: when he
is best, he is a little worse then a man, and when he is
worst, he is little better then a beast: and the worst fall
that euer fell, I hope I shall make shift to goe without him.

Ner.
If he should offer to choose, and choose the right
Casket, you should refuse to performe your Fathers will,
if you should refuse to accept him.

Por.
Therefore for feare of the worst, I pray thee set a
deepe glasse of Reinish-wine on the contrary Casket, for if
the diuell be within, and that temptation without, I know
he will choose it. I will doe any thing Nerrissa ere I will be
married to a spunge.

Ner.
You neede not feare Lady the hauing any of these
Lords, they haue acquainted me with their determinations,
which is indeede to returne to their home, and to
trouble you with no more suite, vnlesse you may be won
by some other sort then your Fathers imposition,
depending on the Caskets.

Por.
If I liue to be as olde as Sibilla, I will dye as chaste
as Diana: vnlesse I be obtained by the manner of my
Fathers will: I am glad this parcell of wooers are so
reasonable, for there is not one among them but I doate
on his verie absence: and I wish them a faire
departure.

Ner.
Doe you not remember Ladie in your Fathers
time, a Venecian, a Scholler and a Souldior that came
hither in companie of the Marquesse of Mountferrat?

Por.
Yes, yes, it was Bassanio, as I thinke, so was hee
call'd.

Ner.
True Madam, hee of all the men that euer my
foolish eyes look'd vpon, was the best deseruing a faire
Lady.

Por.
I remember him well, and I remember him
worthy of thy praise.
Enter a Seruingman.

Ser.
The foure Strangers seeke you Madam to
take their leaue: and there is a fore-runner come from a
fift, the Prince of Moroco, who brings word the Prince
his Maister will be here to night.

Por.
If I could bid the fift welcome with so good
heart as I can bid the other foure farewell, I should be
glad of his approach: if he haue the condition of a Saint,
and the complexion of a diuell, I had rather hee should
shriue me then wiue me. Come Nerrissa, sirra go
before; whiles wee shut the gate vpon one wooer, another
knocks at the doore.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act I, Scene III
Enter Bassanio with Shylocke the Iew.

Shy.
Three thousand ducates, well.

Bass.
I sir, for three months.

Shy.
For three months, well.

Bass.
For the which, as I told you, Anthonio shall be
bound.

Shy.
Anthonio shall become bound, well.

Bass.
May you sted me? Will you pleasure me?
Shall I know your answere.

Shy.
Three thousand ducats for three months, and
Anthonio bound.

Bass.
Your answere to that.

Shy.
Anthonio is a good man.

Bass.
Haue you heard any imputation to the
contrary.

Shy.
Ho no, no, no, no: my meaning in saying he
is a good man, is to haue you vnderstand me that he is
sufficient, yet his meanes are in supposition: he hath
an Argosie bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies, I
vnderstand moreouer vpon the Ryalta, he hath a third
at Mexico, a fourth for England, and other ventures hee
hath squandred abroad, but ships are but boords,
Saylers but men, there be land rats, and water rats, water
theeues, and land theeues, I meane Pyrats, and then there
is the perrill of waters, windes, and rocks: the man is
notwithstanding sufficient, three thousand ducats, I thinke
I may take his bond.

Bas.
Be assured you may.

Iew.
I will be assured I may: and that I may be
assured, I will bethinke mee, may I speake with Anthonio?

Bass.
If it please you to dine with vs.

Iew.
Yes, to smell porke, to eate of the habitation
which your Prophet the Nazarite coniured the diuell into:
I will buy with you, sell with you, talke with you, walke
with you, and so following: but I will not eate with you,
drinke with you, nor pray with you. What newes on the
Ryalta, who is he comes here?
Enter Anthonio.

Bass.
This is signior Anthonio.

Iew.

How like a fawning publican he lookes.
I hate him for he is a Christian:
But more, for that in low simplicitie
He lends out money gratis, and brings downe
The rate of vsance here with vs in Venice.
If I can catch him once vpon the hip,
I will feede fat the ancient grudge I beare him.
He hates our sacred Nation, and he railes
Euen there where Merchants most doe congregate
On me, my bargaines, and my well-worne thrift,
Which he cals interrest: Cursed be my Trybe
If I forgiue him.

Bass.
Shylock, doe you heare.

Shy.
I am debating of my present store,
And by the neere gesse of my memorie
I cannot instantly raise vp the grosse
Of full three thousand ducats: what of that?
Tuball a wealthy Hebrew of my Tribe
Will furnish me; but soft, how many months
Doe you desire? Rest you faire good signior,
Your worship was the last man in our mouthes.

Ant.
Shylocke, albeit I neither lend nor borrow
By taking, nor by giuing of excesse,
Yet to supply the ripe wants of my friend,
Ile breake a custome: is he yet possest
How much he would?

Shy.
I, I, three thousand ducats.

Ant.
And for three months.

Shy.
I had forgot, three months, you told me so.
Well then, your bond: and let me see, but heare you,
Me thoughts you said, you neither lend nor borrow
Vpon aduantage.

Ant.
I doe neuer vse it.

Shy.
When Iacob graz'd his Vncle Labans sheepe,
This Iacob from our holy Abram was
(As his wise mother wrought in his behalfe)
The third possesser; I, he was the third.

Ant.
And what of him, did he take interrest?

Shy.
No, not take interest, not as you would say
Directly interest, marke what Iacob did,
When Laban and himselfe were compremyz'd
That all the eanelings which were streakt and pied
Should fall as Iacobs hier, the Ewes being rancke,
In end of Autumne turned to the Rammes,
And when the worke of generation was
Betweene these woolly breeders in the act,
The skilfull shepheard pil'd me certaine wands,
And in the dooing of the deede of kinde,
He stucke them vp before the fulsome Ewes,
Who then conceauing, did in eaning time
Fall party-colour'd lambs, and those were Iacobs.
This was a way to thriue, and he was blest:
And thrift is blessing if men steale it not.

Ant.
This was a venture sir that Iacob seru'd for,
A thing not in his power to bring to passe,
But sway'd and fashion'd by the hand of heauen.
Was this inserted to make interrest good?
Or is your gold and siluer Ewes and Rams?

Shy.
I cannot tell, I make it breede as fast,
But note me signior.

Ant.
Marke you this Bassanio,
The diuell can cite Scripture for his purpose,
An euill soule producing holy witnesse,
Is like a villaine with a smiling cheeke,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O what a goodly outside falsehood hath.

Shy.
Three thousand ducats, 'tis a good round sum.
Three months from twelue, then let me see the rate.

Ant.
Well Shylocke, shall we be beholding to you?

Shy.
Signior Anthonio, many a time and oft
In the Ryalto you haue rated me
About my monies and my vsances:
Still haue I borne it with a patient shrug,
(For suffrance is the badge of all our Tribe.)
You call me misbeleeuer, cut-throate dog,
And spet vpon my Iewish gaberdine,
And all for vse of that which is mine owne.
Well then, it now appeares you neede my helpe:
Goe to then, you come to me, and you say,
Shylocke, we would haue moneyes, you say so:
You that did voide your rume vpon my beard,
And foote me as you spurne a stranger curre
Ouer your threshold, moneyes is your suite.
What should I say to you? Should I not say,
Hath a dog money? Is it possible
A curre should lend three thousand ducats? or
Shall I bend low, and in a bond-mans key
With bated breath, and whispring humblenesse,
Say this:
Faire sir, you spet on me on Wednesday last;
You spurn'd me such a day; another time
You cald me dog: and for these curtesies
Ile lend you thus much moneyes.

Ant.
I am as like to call thee so againe,
To spet on thee againe, to spurne thee too.
If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not
As to thy friends, for when did friendship take
A breede of barraine mettall of his friend?
But lend it rather to thine enemie,
Who if he breake, thou maist with better face
Exact the penalties.

Shy.
Why looke you how you storme,
I would be friends with you, and haue your loue,
Forget the shames that you haue staind me with,
Supplie your present wants, and take no doite
Of vsance for my moneyes, and youle not heare me,
This is kinde I offer.

Bass.
This were kindnesse.

Shy.
This kindnesse will I showe,
Goe with me to a Notarie, seale me there
Your single bond, and in a merrie sport
If you repaie me not on such a day,
In such a place, such sum or sums as are
Exprest in the condition, let the forfeite
Be nominated for an equall pound
Of your faire flesh, to be cut off and taken
In what part of your bodie it pleaseth me.

Ant.
Content infaith, Ile seale to such a bond,
And say there is much kindnesse in the Iew.

Bass.
You shall not seale to such a bond for me,
Ile rather dwell in my necessitie.

Ant.
Why feare not man, I will not forfaite it,
Within these two months, that's a month before
This bond expires, I doe expect returne
Of thrice three times the valew of this bond.

Shy.
O father Abram, what these Christians are,
Whose owne hard dealings teaches them suspect
The thoughts of others: Praie you tell me this,
If he should breake his daie, what should I gaine
By the exaction of the forfeiture?
A pound of mans flesh taken from a man,
Is not so estimable, profitable neither
As flesh of Muttons, Beefes, or Goates, I say
To buy his fauour, I extend this friendship,
If he will take it, so: if not adiew,
And for my loue I praie you wrong me not.

Ant.
Yes Shylocke, I will seale vnto this bond.

Shy.
Then meete me forthwith at the Notaries,
Giue him direction for this merrie bond,
And I will goe and purse the ducats straite.
See to my house left in the fearefull gard
Of an vnthriftie knaue: and presentlie
Ile be with you.
Exit.

Ant.
Hie thee gentle Iew.
This Hebrew will turne Christian, he growes kinde.

Bass.
I like not faire teames, and a villaines minde.

Ant.
Come on, in this there can be no dismaie,
My Shippes come home a month before the daie.
Exeunt.
Modern text
Act I, Scene I
Enter Antonio, Salerio, and Solanio

ANTONIO
In sooth I know not why I am so sad.
It wearies me, you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me
That I have much ado to know myself.

SALERIO
Your mind is tossing on the ocean,
There where your argosies with portly sail,
Like signors and rich burghers on the flood,
Or as it were the pageants of the sea,
Do overpeer the petty traffickers
That curtsy to them, do them reverence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings.

SOLANIO
Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,
The better part of my affections would
Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still
Plucking the grass to know where sits the wind,
Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads,
And every object that might make me fear
Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt
Would make me sad.

SALERIO
My wind cooling my broth
Would blow me to an ague when I thought
What harm a wind too great might do at sea.
I should not see the sandy hour-glass run
But I should think of shallows and of flats,
And see my wealthy Andrew docked in sand,
Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs
To kiss her burial. Should I go to church
And see the holy edifice of stone
And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks,
Which touching but my gentle vessel's side
Would scatter all her spices on the stream,
Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks,
And in a word, but even now worth this,
And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought
To think on this, and shall I lack the thought
That such a thing bechanced would make me sad?
But tell not me; I know Antonio
Is sad to think upon his merchandise.

ANTONIO
Believe me, no. I thank my fortune for it
My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,
Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate
Upon the fortune of this present year.
Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad.

SOLANIO
Why then you are in love.

ANTONIO
Fie, fie!

SOLANIO
Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sad
Because you are not merry; and 'twere as easy
For you to laugh and leap, and say you are merry
Because you are not sad. Now by two-headed Janus,
Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time:
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes
And laugh like parrots at a bagpiper,
And other of such vinegar aspect
That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile
Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.
Enter Bassanio, Lorenzo, and Gratiano
Here comes Bassanio your most noble kinsman,
Gratiano, and Lorenzo. Fare ye well;
We leave you now with better company.

SALERIO
I would have stayed till I had made you merry,
If worthier friends had not prevented me.

ANTONIO
Your worth is very dear in my regard.
I take it your own business calls on you,
And you embrace th' occasion to depart.

SALERIO
Good morrow, my good lords.

BASSANIO
Good signors both, when shall we laugh? Say, when?
You grow exceeding strange. Must it be so?

SALERIO
We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.
Exeunt Salerio and Solanio

LORENZO
My Lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio,
We two will leave you; but at dinner-time
I pray you have in mind where we must meet.

BASSANIO
I will not fail you.

GRATIANO
You look not well, Signor Antonio.
You have too much respect upon the world;
They lose it that do buy it with much care.
Believe me, you are marvellously changed.

ANTONIO
I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano,
A stage where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.

GRATIANO
Let me play the fool;
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come,
And let my liver rather heat with wine
Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.
Why should a man whose blood is warm within
Sit, like his grandsire cut in alabaster?
Sleep when he wakes? And creep into the jaundice
By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio,
I love thee, and 'tis my love that speaks:
There are a sort of men whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,
And do a wilful stillness entertain
With purpose to be dressed in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit,
As who should say, ‘ I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark.’
O my Antonio, I do know of these
That therefore only are reputed wise
For saying nothing, when, I am very sure
If they should speak, would almost damn those ears,
Which hearing them would call their brothers fools.
I'll tell thee more of this another time.
But fish not with this melancholy bait
For this fool gudgeon, this opinion.
Come, good Lorenzo. Fare ye well awhile;
I'll end my exhortation after dinner.

LORENZO
Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time.
I must be one of these same dumb wise men,
For Gratiano never lets me speak.

GRATIANO
Well, keep me company but two years more,
Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.

ANTONIO
Fare you well; I'll grow a talker for this gear.

GRATIANO
Thanks, i'faith, for silence is only commendable
In a neat's tongue dried and a maid not vendible.
Exeunt Gratiano and Lorenzo

ANTONIO
Is that anything now?

BASSANIO
Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing,
more than any man in all Venice. His reasons are as two
grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff: you shall
seek all day ere you find them, and when you have them
they are not worth the search.

ANTONIO
Well, tell me now what lady is the same
To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
That you today promised to tell me of?

BASSANIO
'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
How much I have disabled mine estate
By something showing a more swelling port
Than my faint means would grant continuance.
Nor do I now make moan to be abridged
From such a noble rate; but my chief care
Is to come fairly off from the great debts
Wherein my time, something too prodigal,
Hath left me gaged. To you, Antonio,
I owe the most in money and in love,
And from your love I have a warranty
To unburden all my plots and purposes
How to get clear of all the debts I owe.

ANTONIO
I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it,
And if it stand as you yourself still do,
Within the eye of honour, be assured
My purse, my person, my extremest means
Lie all unlocked to your occasions.

BASSANIO
In my schooldays, when I had lost one shaft,
I shot his fellow of the self-same flight
The self-same way, with more advised watch,
To find the other forth; and by adventuring both
I oft found both. I urge this childhood proof
Because what follows is pure innocence.
I owe you much, and like a wilful youth,
That which I owe is lost; but if you please
To shoot another arrow that self way
Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
As I will watch the aim, or to find both
Or bring your latter hazard back again
And thankfully rest debtor for the first.

ANTONIO
You know me well, and herein spend but time
To wind about my love with circumstance;
And out of doubt you do me now more wrong
In making question of my uttermost
Than if you had made waste of all I have.
Then do but say to me what I should do
That in your knowledge may by me be done,
And I am prest unto it. Therefore speak.

BASSANIO
In Belmont is a lady richly left,
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wondrous virtues. Sometimes from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages.
Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia;
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,
For the four winds blow in from every coast
Renowned suitors, and her sunny locks
Hang on her temples like a golden fleece,
Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos' strond,
And many Jasons come in quest of her.
O my Antonio, had I but the means
To hold a rival place with one of them,
I have a mind presages me such thrift
That I should questionless be fortunate.

ANTONIO
Thou know'st that all my fortunes are at sea,
Neither have I money, nor commodity
To raise a present sum. Therefore go forth;
Try what my credit can in Venice do,
That shall be racked even to the uttermost
To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia.
Go presently inquire, and so will I,
Where money is; and I no question make
To have it of my trust or for my sake.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act I, Scene II
Enter Portia with her waiting-woman, Nerissa

PORTIA
By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of
this great world.

NERISSA
You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries
were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are;
and yet for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit with
too much as they that starve with nothing. It is no mean
happiness, therefore, to be seated in the mean; superfluity
comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives
longer.

PORTIA
Good sentences, and well pronounced.

NERISSA
They would be better if well followed.

PORTIA
If to do were as easy as to know what were good
to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's
cottages princes' palaces. It is a good divine that follows
his own instructions. I can easier teach twenty what were
good to be done than be one of the twenty to follow
mine own teaching. The brain may devise laws for the
blood, but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree, such a
hare is madness the youth to skip o'er the meshes of good
counsel the cripple. But this reasoning is not in the
fashion to choose me a husband. O me, the word
‘ choose ’! I may neither choose who I would nor refuse
who I dislike, so is the will of a living daughter curbed
by the will of a dead father. Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I
cannot choose one, nor refuse none?

NERISSA
Your father was ever virtuous, and holy men at
their death have good inspirations. Therefore the lottery
that he hath devised in these three chests of gold, silver,
and lead, whereof who chooses his meaning chooses you,
will no doubt never be chosen by any rightly but one
who you shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in
your affection towards any of these princely suitors that
are already come?

PORTIA
I pray thee overname them, and as thou namest
them I will describe them and, according to my description
level at my affection.

NERISSA
First, there is the Neapolitan prince.

PORTIA
Ay, that's a colt indeed, for he doth nothing but
talk of his horse, and he makes it a great appropriation to
his own good parts that he can shoe him himself. I am
much afeard my lady his mother played false with a
smith.

NERISSA
Then there is the County Palatine.

PORTIA
He doth nothing but frown, as who should say,
‘ An you will not have me, choose.’ He hears merry tales
and smiles not. I fear he will prove the weeping philosopher
when he grows old, being so full of unmannerly
sadness in his youth. I had rather be married to a death's-head
with a bone in his mouth than to either of these.
God defend me from these two!

NERISSA
How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le
Bon?

PORTIA
God made him and therefore let him pass for a
man. In truth, I know it is a sin to be a mocker, but he,
why he hath a horse better than the Neapolitan's, a better
bad habit of frowning than the Count Palatine; he is
every man in no man. If a throstle sing, he falls straight
a-capering: he will fence with his own shadow. If I
should marry him, I should marry twenty husbands. If
he would despise me, I would forgive him, for if he love
me to madness, I shall never requite him.

NERISSA
What say you then to Falconbridge, the young
baron of England?

PORTIA
You know I say nothing to him, for he understands
not me, nor I him. He hath neither Latin, French,
nor Italian, and you will come into the court and swear
that I have a poor pennyworth in the English. He is a
proper man's picture, but, alas, who can converse with a
dumb-show? How oddly he is suited! I think he bought
his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonnet
in Germany and his behaviour everywhere.

NERISSA
What think you of the Scottish lord, his
neighbour?

PORTIA
That he hath a neighbourly charity in him, for he
borrowed a box of the ear of the Englishman and swore
he would pay him again when he was able. I think the
Frenchman became his surety and sealed under for
another.

NERISSA
How like you the young German, the Duke of
Saxony's nephew?

PORTIA
Very vilely in the morning when he is sober and
most vilely in the afternoon when he is drunk. When he
is best he is a little worse than a man, and when he is
worst he is little better than a beast. An the worst fall
that ever fell, I hope I shall make shift to go without him.

NERISSA
If he should offer to choose, and choose the right
casket, you should refuse to perform your father's will
if you should refuse to accept him.

PORTIA
Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee set a
deep glass of Rhenish wine on the contrary casket, for if
the devil be within and that temptation without, I know
he will choose it. I will do anything, Nerissa, ere I will be
married to a sponge.

NERISSA
You need not fear, lady, the having any of these
lords. They have acquainted me with their determinations,
which is indeed to return to their home and to
trouble you with no more suit, unless you may be won
by some other sort than your father's imposition,
depending on the caskets.

PORTIA
If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die as chaste
as Diana unless I be obtained by the manner of my
father's will. I am glad this parcel of wooers are so
reasonable, for there is not one among them but I dote
on his very absence, and I pray God grant them a fair
departure.

NERISSA
Do you not remember, lady, in your father's
time, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came
hither in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?

PORTIA
Yes, yes, it was Bassanio, as I think, so was he
called.

NERISSA
True, madam. He, of all the men that ever my
foolish eyes looked upon, was the best deserving a fair
lady.

PORTIA
I remember him well, and I remember him
worthy of thy praise.
Enter a Servingman
How now, what news?

SERVINGMAN
The four strangers seek for you, madam, to
take their leave, and there is a forerunner come from a
fifth, the Prince of Morocco, who brings word the Prince
his master will be here tonight.

PORTIA
If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good
heart as I can bid the other four farewell, I should be
glad of his approach. If he have the condition of a saint
and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should
shrive me than wive me. Come, Nerissa. Sirrah, go
before. Whiles we shut the gate upon one wooer, another
knocks at the door.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act I, Scene III
Enter Bassanio with Shylock the Jew

SHYLOCK
Three thousand ducats, well.

BASSANIO
Ay, sir, for three months.

SHYLOCK
For three months, well.

BASSANIO
For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be
bound.

SHYLOCK
Antonio shall become bound, well.

BASSANIO
May you stead me? Will you pleasure me?
Shall I know your answer?

SHYLOCK
Three thousand ducats for three months, and
Antonio bound.

BASSANIO
Your answer to that.

SHYLOCK
Antonio is a good man.

BASSANIO
Have you heard any imputation to the
contrary?

SHYLOCK
Ho no, no, no, no! My meaning in saying he
is a good man is to have you understand me that he is
sufficient. Yet his means are in supposition. He hath
an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I
understand, moreover, upon the Rialto, he hath a third
at Mexico, a fourth for England, and other ventures he
hath squandered abroad. But ships are but boards,
sailors but men; there be land rats and water rats, water
thieves and land thieves, I mean pirates; and then there
is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks. The man is,
notwithstanding, sufficient. Three thousand ducats; I think
I may take his bond.

BASSANIO
Be assured you may.

SHYLOCK
I will be assured I may; and, that I may be
assured, I will bethink me. May I speak with Antonio?

BASSANIO
If it please you to dine with us.

SHYLOCK
Yes, to smell pork, to eat of the habitation
which your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into.
I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk
with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you,
drink with you, nor pray with you. What news on the
Rialto? Who is he comes here?
Enter Antonio

BASSANIO
This is Signor Antonio.

SHYLOCK
(aside)
How like a fawning publican he looks.
I hate him for he is a Christian;
But more, for that in low simplicity
He lends out money gratis and brings down
The rate of usance here with us in Venice.
If I can catch him once upon the hip,
I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
He hates our sacred nation and he rails
Even there where merchants most do congregate,
On me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift,
Which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe
If I forgive him.

BASSANIO
Shylock, do you hear?

SHYLOCK
I am debating of my present store,
And, by the near guess of my memory
I cannot instantly raise up the gross
Of full three thousand ducats. What of that?
Tubal, a wealthy Hebrew of my tribe,
Will furnish me. But soft, how many months
Do you desire? (To Antonio) Rest you fair, good signor!
Your worship was the last man in our mouths.

ANTONIO
Shylock, although I neither lend nor borrow
By taking nor by giving of excess,
Yet to supply the ripe wants of my friend,
I'll break a custom. (To Bassanio) Is he yet possessed
How much ye would?

SHYLOCK
Ay, ay, three thousand ducats.

ANTONIO
And for three months.

SHYLOCK
I had forgot – three months, you told me so.
Well then, your bond. And let me see; but hear you,
Methought you said you neither lend nor borrow
Upon advantage.

ANTONIO
I do never use it.

SHYLOCK
When Jacob grazed his uncle Laban's sheep –
This Jacob from our holy Abram was,
As his wise mother wrought in his behalf,
The third possessor; ay, he was the third –

ANTONIO
And what of him? Did he take interest?

SHYLOCK
No, not take interest, not as you would say
Directly interest. Mark what Jacob did:
When Laban and himself were compromised
That all the eanlings which were streaked and pied
Should fall as Jacob's hire, the ewes being rank,
In the end of autumn turned to the rams;
And when the work of generation was
Between these woolly breeders in the act,
The skilful shepherd peeled me certain wands,
And in the doing of the deed of kind
He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes,
Who then conceiving, did in eaning time
Fall parti-coloured lambs, and those were Jacob's.
This was a way to thrive, and he was blest,
And thrift is blessing if men steal it not.

ANTONIO
This was a venture, sir, that Jacob served for,
A thing not in his power to bring to pass,
But swayed and fashioned by the hand of heaven.
Was this inserted to make interest good?
Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?

SHYLOCK
I cannot tell, I make it breed as fast.
But note me, signor –

ANTONIO
Mark you this, Bassanio,
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

SHYLOCK
Three thousand ducats, 'tis a good round sum.
Three months from twelve, then, let me see, the rate –

ANTONIO
Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you?

SHYLOCK
Signor Antonio, many a time and oft
In the Rialto you have rated me
About my moneys and my usances.
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,
For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,
And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,
And all for use of that which is mine own.
Well then, it now appears you need my help.
Go to then. You come to me and you say,
‘ Shylock, we would have moneys,’ you say so,
You, that did void your rheum upon my beard
And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur
Over your threshold, moneys is your suit.
What should I say to you? Should I not say,
‘ Hath a dog money? Is it possible
A cur can lend three thousand ducats?’ Or
Shall I bend low, and in a bondman's key,
With bated breath and whispering humbleness,
Say this:
‘ Fair sir, you spat on me on Wednesday last,
You spurned me such a day, another time
You called me dog, and for these courtesies
I'll lend you thus much moneys ’?

ANTONIO
I am as like to call thee so again,
To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too.
If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not
As to thy friends, for when did friendship take
A breed for barren metal of his friend?
But lend it rather to thine enemy,
Who if he break, thou mayst with better face
Exact the penalty.

SHYLOCK
Why look you, how you storm!
I would be friends with you and have your love,
Forget the shames that you have stained me with,
Supply your present wants, and take no doit
Of usance for my moneys, and you'll not hear me.
This is kind I offer.

BASSANIO
This were kindness.

SHYLOCK
This kindness will I show.
Go with me to a notary, seal me there
Your single bond, and, in a merry sport,
If you repay me not on such a day,
In such a place, such sum or sums as are
Expressed in the condition, let the forfeit
Be nominated for an equal pound
Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken
In what part of your body pleaseth me.

ANTONIO
Content, in faith. I'll seal to such a bond
And say there is much kindness in the Jew.

BASSANIO
You shall not seal to such a bond for me;
I'll rather dwell in my necessity.

ANTONIO
Why fear not, man; I will not forfeit it.
Within these two months – that's a month before
This bond expires – I do expect return
Of thrice three times the value of this bond.

SHYLOCK
O father Abram, what these Christians are,
Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect
The thoughts of others! Pray you tell me this:
If he should break his day, what should I gain
By the exaction of the forfeiture?
A pound of man's flesh taken from a man
Is not so estimable, profitable neither,
As flesh of muttons, beefs, or goats. I say
To buy his favour I extend this friendship.
If he will take it, so; if not, adieu.
And for my love I pray you wrong me not.

ANTONIO
Yes, Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.

SHYLOCK
Then meet me forthwith at the notary's;
Give him direction for this merry bond,
And I will go and purse the ducats straight,
See to my house, left in the fearful guard
Of an unthrifty knave, and presently
I'll be with you.
Exit

ANTONIO
Hie thee, gentle Jew.
The Hebrew will turn Christian; he grows kind.

BASSANIO
I like not fair terms and a villain's mind.

ANTONIO
Come on. In this there can be no dismay;
My ships come home a month before the day.
Exeunt
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