ANTONIO AND SHYLOCK: THE TRIAL.
(From "The Merchant of Venice.")
(WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE was born at Stratford-on-Avon, April, 1564 ; died there, April 23, 1816. About 1587 he went to London and became an actor. By 1589 he collaborated in play-writing ; about 1593 he began to work alone, later reviving his plays with others' work expunged. “Love's Labour's Lost" (1589) was his first, “King Henry VIII.” (1613) his last. He was a theater manager for many years, but perhaps retired a year or two before death. ]
Scene: Venice. — A Court of Justice.
Present: DUKE, ANTONIO, BASSANIO, GRATIANO, and others.
Make room, and let him stand before our face.
Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
That thou but lead'st this fashion of thy malice
To the last hour of act; and then, 'tis thought,
Thou'lt show thy mercy, and remorse, more strange
Than is thy strange apparent cruelty :
And where thou now exact'st the penalty
(Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh),
Thou wilt not only lose the forfeiture,
But, touched with human gentleness and love,
Forgive a moiety of the principal ;
Glancing an eye of pity on his losses,
That have of late so huddled on his back;
Enough to press a royal merchant down,
And pluck commiseration of his state
From brassy bosoms, and rough hearts of flint,
From stubborn Turks, and Tartars, never trained
To offices of tender courtesy.
We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.
I have possessed your grace of what I purpose;
And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn,
To have the due and forfeit of
If you deny it, let the danger light
Upon your charter, and your city's freedom.
You'll ask me, why I rather choose to have
A weight of carrion flesh, than to receive
Three thousand ducats : I'll not answer that: