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Gra. Yes, faith, my lord.
Baff. Our feaft fhall be much honour'd in your marriage.
Gra. We'll' play with them, the first boy, for a thousand ducats.
Ner. What, and ftake down?
Gra. No, we shall ne'er win at that sport, and stake down.
But who comes here? Lorenzo, and his infidel?
What, and my old Venetian friend, Salanio?
Enter Lorenzo, Jeffica, and Salanio.
Baff. Lorenzo, and Salanio, welcome hither,
If that the youth of my new interest here
Have pow'r to bid you welcome. By your leave,
I bid my 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 lord,
My purpose was not to have seen you here;
But meeting with Salanio by the way,
He did entreat me, past all saying nay,
To come with him along.
Sal. I did, my lord;
And I have reason for't: fignior Anthonio
Commends him to you.
Baff. Ere I ope his letter,
I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth.
Sal. Not fick, my lord, unless it be in mind::
Nor well, unless in mind: his letter there
Will fhow you his estate.
Baffanio opens the letter.
Gra. Neriffa, cheer yond stranger: bid her welcome. Your hand, Salanio; what's the news from Venice? How doth that royal merchant, good Anthonio?
I know, he will be glad of our fuccess:
We are the Jafons, we have won the fleece.
Sal. Would, you had won the fleece that he hath loft! Por. There are fome fhrewd contents in yond fame paper, That steal the colour from Bassanio's cheek:
Some dear friend dead; else nothing in the world
Could turn fo much the conftitution
Of any conftant man. What, worse and worse!
With leave, Bassanio, I am half yourself,
And I must have the half of any thing
That this fame paper brings you.
Baff. O fweet Portia !
Here are a few of the unpleasant'ft 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 fhall fee
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 is the body of my friend,
And every word in it a gaping wound,
Iffuing lifeblood. But is it true, Salanio?
Have all his ventures fail'd? what, not one hit
From Tripolis, from Mexico, from England,
From Lisbon, Barbary, and India?
And not one veffel 'fcap'd the dreadful touch
Of merchant-marring rocks?
Sal. Not one, my lord.
Befides, it should appear, that, if he had
The prefent 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 morning, and at night,
And doth impeach the freedom of the state,
If they deny him juftice. Twenty merchants,
The duke himself, and the magnificoes
Of greatest port, have all perfuaded with him,
But none can drive him from the envious plea
Of forfeiture, of justice, and his bond.
Jef. When I was with him, I have heard him fwear,
To Tubal, and to Chus, his countrymen,
That he would rather have Anthonio's flesh
Than twenty times the value of the fum
That he did owe him; and, I know, my lord,
If law, authority, and pow'r 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 kindeft man,
The best condition'd and unweary'd spirit
In doing courtefies; and one in whom'
The ancient Roman honour more appears
Than any that draws breath in Italy.
Por. What fum owes he the Jew?
Bass. For me, three thousand ducats.
Por. What, no more?
Pay him fix thousand, and deface the bond;
Double fix thousand, and then treble that,
Before a friend of this defcription
Shall lofe a hair through my Baffanio's fault.
First, go with me to church, and call me wife,
And then away to Venice to your friend:
For never fhall you lie by Portia's fide
With an unquiet foul. You fhall have gold
the petty debt twenty times over.
When it is pay'd, bring your true friend along.
My maid Nerissa, and myfelf, mean-time,
Will live as maids and widows: come, away;
For you shall hence upon your wedding-day.*
But let me hear the letter of your friend.
Weet Baffanio, my ships have all mifcarry'd, my creditors grow cruel, my eftate is very low, my bond to the Jew is forfeit; and fince, in paying it, it is impoffible I fbould live, all debts are cleared between you and me, if I might but fee you at my death: notwithstanding, ufe your pleasure; if your love do not perfuade you to come, let not my letter.
Por. O love! defpatch all business, and be gone.
Baff. Since I have your good leave to go away,
I will make hafte; but, till I come again,
No bed shall e'er be guilty of my stay,
Nor reft be interpofer 'twixt us twain.
Enter Shylock, Solarino, Anthonio, and the Jailer.
Shy. TAILER, look to him: tell not me of mercy.
This is the fool that lent out money gratis.
Jailer, look to him.
Anth. Hear me yet, good Shylock.
Shy. I'll have my bond; fpeak not against my bond:
I've fworn an oath that I will have my bond.
Thou call'dft me dog, before thou hadst a cause;
But, fince I am a dog, beware my fangs:
The duke fhall grant me juftice. I do wonder,
- your wedding-day.
Bid your friends welcome, fhow a merry cheer;
Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.
But let me hear, &c.
Thou naughty jailer, that thou art so fond
To come abroad with him at his request.
Anth. I pray thee, hear me speak.
Shy. I'll have my bond: I will not hear thee speak :
I'll have my bond; and therefore speak no more:
I'll not be made a foft and dull-ey'd fool,
To shake the head, relent, and figh, and yield
To chriftian interceffors. Follow not;
I'll have no speaking; I will have my bond.
Sola. It is the most impenetrable cur
That ever kept with men.
Anth. Let him alone;
I'll follow him no more with bootless pray'rs :
He seeks my life; his reason well I know;
I oft deliver'd from his forfeitures
Many that have at times made moan to me;
Therefore he hates me.
Sola. I am fure, the duke
Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.
Anth. The duke cannot deny the course of law;
For the commodity that ftrangers have
With us in Venice, if it be deny'd,
Will much impeach the justice of the state;
Since that the trade and profit of the city
Confisteth of all nations. Therefore, go;
These griefs and loffes have fo 'bated me,
That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh
To-morrow to my bloody creditor.
Well, jailer, on; pray god, Baffanio come
To fee me pay his debt, and then I care not!