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Enter Portia, Neriffa, Lorenzo, Jeffica, and Belthazar.

ADAM, although I speak it in your presence,
You have a noble and a true conceit


Of godlike amity, which appears strongly

In bearing thus the absence of your lord.

But, if you knew to whom you show this honour,
How true a gentleman you send relief to,
How dear a lover of my lord your husband,
I know, you would be prouder of the work,
Than customary bounty can enforce you.
Por. I never did repent of doing good,.
And shall not now; for in companions
That do converse and waste the time together,
Whofe fouls do bear an equal yoke of love,
There must be needs a like proportion
Of lineaments, of manners, and of fpirit;
Which makes me think, that this Anthonio,
Being the bofom-lover of my lord,
Muft needs be like my lord. If it be so,
How little is the coft I have bestowed
In purchasing the semblance of my foul
From out the state of hellifh cruelty!
This comes too near the praifing of myself;
Therefore, no more of it: hear other things:.
Lorenzo, I commit into your hands

The husbandry and manage of my house,
Until my lord's return. For mine own part,
I have tow'rd heaven breath'd a fecret vow,
To live in prayer and contemplation,
Only attended by Neriffa here,

Until her husband and my lord's return.
There is a monaftery two miles off,
And there we will abide. I do defire you
Not to deny this impofition,

The which my love and fome neceffity
Now lay upon you.

Lor. Madam, with all

my heart


I fhall obey you in all fair commands.

Por. My people do already know my mind, And will acknowledge you and effica

In place of lord Bassanio and myself.

So fare you well till we fhall meet again.

Lor. Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!

Jef. I wish your ladyfhip all heart's content.

Por. I thank you for your wifh, and am well pleas'd

To wish it back on you: fare you well, Jeffica. [Exe. Jes. & Lor.

Now, Balthazar,

As I have ever found thee honeft, true,

So let me find thee ftill: take this fame letter,

And use thou all th' endeavour of a man,

In fpeed to Padua; fee thou render this

Into my coufin's hand, doctor Bellario;

And, look, what notes and garments he doth give thee,
Bring them, I pray thee, with imagin'd speed

Unto the traject, to the common ferry

Which trades to Venice: wafte no time in words,

But get thee gone; I fhall be there before thee.

Bal. Madam, I go with all convenient speed. Por. Come on, Nerija; I have work in hand That you yet know not of: we'll fee our hufbands Before they think of us.

Ner. Shall they see us?

Por. They fhall, Neriffa; but in such a habit,
That they fhall think we are accomplished
With what we lack. I'll hold thee any wager,
When we are both apparell'd like young men,


I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two,

And wear my dagger with the braver grace;
And speak, between the change of man and boy,
With a reed voice; and turn two mincing steps
Into a manly stride; and speak of frays
Like a fine bragging youth; and tell quaint lies,
How honourable ladies fought my love,
Which I denying, they fell fick, and dy'd,
I could not do with all: then I'll repent,
And wifh, for all that, that I had not kill'd them.
And twenty of thefe puny lies I'll tell;

That men fhall fwear, I've difcontinued school
Above a twelvemonth. I have in my mind

A thousand raw tricks of these bragging jacks,
Which I will practise.

Ner. Shall we turn to men?

Por. Fie! what a question's that,

If thou wert near a lewd interpreter !
But come, I'll tell thee all my whole device
When I am in my coach, which stays for us
At the park gate; and therefore haste away,
For we must measure twenty miles to-day.


Enter Launcelot, and Jeffica.


Laun. Yes, truly: for, look you, the fins of the father are to be lay'd upon the children; therefore, I promise you, I fear you. I was always plain with you; and fo now I speak my agitation of the matter: therefore be of good cheer; for, truly, I think, you are damn'd: there is but one hope in it that can do you any good; and that is but a kind of bastard-hope neither.

Jef. And what hope is that, I pray thee?

Laun. Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.

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Jef. That were a kind of bastard-hope, indeed: fo the fins of my mother should be vifited upon me.

Laun. Truly, then, I fear, you are damn'd both by father and mother: thus when you fhun Scylla, your father, you fall into Charibdis, your mother: well, you are gone both ways.

Jef. I fhall be faved by my husband; he hath made me a christian.

Laun. Truly, the more to blame he; we were christians enough before, e'en as many as could well live one by another: this making of christians will raise the price of hogs; if we grow all to be porkeaters, we fhall not fhortly have a rafher on the coals for money.

Enter Lorenzo.

Jef. I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you fay: here he


Lor. I fhall grow jealous of you fhortly, Launcelot, if you thus get my wife into corners.

Jef. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo; Launcelot and I are out: he tells me flatly, there is no mercy for me in heav'n, because I am a few's daughter: and he says, you are no good member of the commonwealth; for, in converting Jews to chriftians, you raise the price of pork.

Lor. I fhall answer that better to the commonwealth than you can the getting up of the negro's belly: the Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.

Laun. It is much that the Moor fhould be more than reason: but if fhe be less than an honest woman, fhe is, indeed, more than I took her for.

Lor. How every fool can play upon a word! I think, the best grace of wit will fhortly turn into filence; and discourse grow commendable in none but parrots. Go in, firrah, bid them prepare for dinner.

Laun. That is done, fir; they have all stomachs.

Lor. Good lord, what a witsnapper are you! then bid them prepare dinner.

Laun. That is done too, fir; only cover is the word.
Lor. Will you cover then, fir?


Laun. Not fo, fir, neither; I know my duty.

Lor. Yet more quarrelling with occafion! wilt thou show the whole wealth of thy wit in an inftant? I pray thee, understand a plain man in his plain meaning: go to thy fellows, bid them cover the table, ferve in the meat, and we will come in to dinner.

Laun. For the table, fir, it fhall be ferv'd in; for the meat, fir, it fhall be covered; for your coming in to dinner, fir, why, let it be as humours and conceits fhall govern. [Exit Laun. Lor. O dear discretion, how his words are fuited! The fool hath planted in his memory

An army of good words; and I do know
A many fools that ftand in better place,
Garnish'd like him, that for a tricksy word
Defy the matter. How far'ft thou, Jeffica?
And now, good sweet, fay thy opinion,
How doft thou like the lord Bassanio's wife?
Jef. Paft all expreffing: it is
very meet
The lord Bassanio live an upright life:
For, having fuch a blessing in his lady,
He finds the joys of heaven here on earth:
And if on earth he do not merit it,

In reafon he should never come to heav'n.

Why, if two gods fhould play fome heav'nly match,
And on the wager lay two earthly women,
And Portia one, there must be something else
Pawn'd with the other; for the poor rude world
Hath not her fellow.

Lor. Even fuch a husband

Haft thou of me, as fhe is for a wife.

Jef. Nay, but afk my opinion too of that.
Lor. I will anon: firft, let us go to dinner.

Jef. Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach.
Lor. No, pray thee, let it ferve for tabletalk;

Then, howfoe'er thou speak'ft, 'mong other things,
I fhall digeft it.

Jef. Well, I'll fet you forth.

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