Page images


Belmont. A Grove, or green Place, before Portia's

House. Enter LORENZO, and JESSICA.



moon shines bright :-In such a night as

When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees,
And they did make no noise; in such a night,
Troilus, methinks, mounted the Trojan wall,
And sigh’d his soul toward the Grecian tents,
Where Cressid lay that night.

Jes. In such a night,
Did Thisbe fearfully o'er-trip the dew;
And saw the lion's shadow ere himself,
And ran dismay'd away.

Lor. In such a night,
Stood Dido with a willow in her hand
Upon the wild sea-banks, and wav'd her love
To come again to Carthage.

Jes. In such a night,
Medea gather'd the enchanted herbs
That did renew old Æson.

Lor. In such a night,
Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew;
And with an unthrift love did run from Venice,
As far as Belmont.



Jes. And in such a night,
Did young Lorenzo swear he lov'd her well;
Stealing her soul with many vows of faith,
And ne'er a true one.

Lor. And in such a night,
Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,
Slander her love, and he forgave it her.

Jes. I would out-night you, did no body come ;
But, hark, I hear the footing of a man.


Enter a Servant.

lor. Who comes so fast in silence of the night?
Serv. 'A friend.
Lur. A friend ? what friend ? your name, I pray

you, friend?

Serv. Stephano is my name ; and I bring word,
My mistress will before the break of day
Be here at Belmont : she doth stray about
By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays
For happy wedlock hours.

Lor. Who comes with her ?

Serv. None, but a holy herinit, and her maid. 40
I pray you, is my master yet return'd?
Lor. He is not, nor we have not heard from

But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica,
And ceremoniously let us prepare
Some welcome for the mistress of the house.

[ocr errors]




Laun. Sola, sola, wo ha, ho, sola, sola!
Lor. Who calls?

Laun. Sola! did you see master Lorenzo, and mistress Lorenza? sola, sola !

Lor. Leave hollowing, man; here.
Laun. Sola! where? where?
Lor. Here.

Laun. Tell him, there's a post come from my master, with his horn full of good news; my master will be here ere morning, sweet soul. [Exit.

Lor, Let's in, and there expect their coming. And yet no matter ;-why should we go in ? My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you, Within the house, your mistress is at hand; And bring your musick forth into the air.

[Exit Servant. How sweet the moon-light sleeps upon this bank! Here will we sit, and let the sounds of musick Creep in our ears; soft stillness, and the night, Become the touches of sweet harmony. Sit, Jessica: Look, how the floor of heaven Is thick inlay'd with pattens of bright gold; There's not the smallest orb, which thou behold's, But in his motion like an angel sings, Still quiring to the young-ey'd cherubims, Such harmony is in immortal souls ;

70 But, whilst this inuddy' vesture of decay Doth grosly close it in, we cannot hear it..



Come, ho, and wake Diana with a lrymn;
With sweetest touches pierce your inistress' ear,
And draw her home with musick.
Jes. I am never merry, when I hear sweet musick.

[Musick. Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentive : For do but note a wild and wanton herd, Or race of youthful and unhandled colts, Fetching mad bounds, bellowing, and neighing loud,

80 Which is the hot condition of their blood; If they perchance but hear a trumpet sound, Or any

air of musick touch their ears, You shall perceive them make a mutual stand, Their savage eyes turn’d to a modest gaze, By the sweet power of musick: Therefore, the poet Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and


Șince nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
But musick for the time doth change his nature :
man that hath no musick in himself,

Nor is not mov!d with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils ;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus :
Let no such man be trusted.—Mark the musick.

Enter PORTIA, and NERISSA, at a Distance. Por. That light we see, is burning in my hall. How far that little candle throws his beams !




So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
Ner. When the moon shone, we did not see the

Por. So doth the greater glory dim the less :
A substitute shines brightly as a king,
Until a king be by; and then his state
Empties itself, as doth an inland brook
Into the main of waters. Musick! hark ! [Musick.

Ner. It is your musick, madamn, of the house.

Por. Nothing is good, I see, without respect; Metlinks, it sounds niuch sweeter than by day.

Ner. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.

Por. The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark,
When neither is attended; and, I think,
The nightingale, if she should sing by day,
When every goose is cackling, would be thought
No better a musician than the wren.
How many things by season season'd are
To their right praise, and true perfection ?-
Peace! how the moon sleeps with Endymion,
And would not be awak'd!

[Musick ceases.
Lor. That is the voice,
Or I am much deceiv'd, of Portia.
Por. He knows me, as the blind man knows the

cuckow, By the bad voice.

Lor. Dear lådy, welcome home.
Por. We have been praying for aur husbands?

Which speed, we hope, the better for our words.'



« PreviousContinue »