« PreviousContinue »
The bargain of your faith, I do beseech you,
Even at that time I may be marry'd 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 lov'd, I lov'd; for intermission
No more pertains to me, my lord, than you,
Your fortunę stood upon the casket there ; 330
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
Achiev'd her mistress.
Por. Is this true, Nerissa?
Ner. Madam, it is, so you stand pleas'd withal.
Bass. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?
Gra. Yes, 'faith, iny lord.
341 Başs. Our feast shall be much honour'd in your
Gra. We'll play with them, the first boy, for a
Ner. What, and stake down?
Gra, No; we shall ne'er win at that sport, and
But who comes here? Lorenzo, and his infidel?
What, and 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 350 Have power to bid you welcome :-By your leave, I bid nıy very friends, and countrymen, Sweet Portia, welcome.
Por. So do I, my lord ;
They are entirely welcome.
Lor. I thank your honour :-For my part, my
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.
Sale. I did, my lord,
And I have reason for it. Signior Anthonio
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 there
Will shew you his estate.
Gra. Nerissa, cheer yon' stranger; bid her wel.
Your hand, Salerio ; What's the news from Venice?
How doth that royal merchant, good Anthonio?
I know, he will be glad of our success ;
378 We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece,
Sale. Would you had won the fleece that he hath
Por. There are some shrewd contents in yon' same
That steals 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, 380
And I must freely have the half of any thing
That this same paper brings you.
Bass. O sweet Portia,
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,
I have engag'd myself to a dear friend,
Engag'd my friend to his mere enemy,
To feed my means.
Here is a letter, lady ;
The paper as the body of my friend,
And every word in it a gaping wound,
Issuing life-blood. But is it true, Salerio ?
Have all his ventures fail'd? What, not one hit? 400
From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England,
From Lisbon, Barbary, and India ?
And not one vessel 'scape the dreadful touch
Cf merchant-marring rocks?
Sale. 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 inorning, and at night;
And doth impeach the freedom of the state,
If they deny him justice: twenty merchants,
The duke himself, and the magnificoes
Of greatest port, have all persuaded with him;
But none can drive him from the envious plea
Of forfeiture, of justice, and his bond.
Jes. When I was with him, I have heard him
swear, 'To Tubal, and to Chuis, his countrymen, That he would rather have Anthonio's flesh, Than twenty times the value of the sum That he did owe him: and I know, my lord, If law, authority, and power deny not, It will go hard with poor Anthonio.
Por. Is it your dear friend, that is thus in trouble?
Bass. The dearest friend to me, the kindest man, The best condition'd and unweary'd spirit In doing courtesies; and one in whom The ancient Romàn honour 'more appears, Than any that draws breath in Italy.
Por. What sum owes he the Jew?
Bass. For me, three thousand ducats.
Por. 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 thorough 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
To 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; i
For you shall hence upon your wedding-day:
friends welcome, shew a merry cheer; Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.--But let me hear the letter of your friend. 449
Bass. [reads.) Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all miscarry'd, my creditors grow cruel, my estete is low, my bond to the few is forfeit; and since, in paying it, it is impossible I should live, all debts are cleared between you and me, if I might but see you at my death : notavithstanding, use your pleasure: if your love do not persuade you
let not my letter.
Por Q love, dispatch all business, and be gone. H н