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Never to part with it; and here he stands;
I dare be fworn for him, he would not leave it,
Nor pluck it from his finger, for the wealth
That the world mafters. Now, in faith, Gratiano,
You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief;
An 'twere to me I fhould be mad at it.
Bass. Why, I were beft to cut my left hand off, And fwear, I loft the ring defending it.
Gra. My lord Bassanio gave his ring away
Unto the judge that begg'd it, and, indeed,
Deferv'd it too; and then the boy, his clerk,
That took fome pains in writing, he begg'd mine;
And neither man, nor master, would take ought
But the two rings.
Por. What ring gave you, my lord?
Not that, I hope, which you receiv'd of me.
Baff. If I could add a lie unto a fault,
I would deny it; but, you fee, my finger
Hath not the ring upon it, it is gone.
Por. Even fo void is your false heart of truth.
By heaven, I will ne'er come in your bed
Until I see the ring.
Ner. Nor I in yours till I again fee mine.
Baff. Sweet Portia,
you did know to whom I
If you did know for whom I
And would conceive for what I
And how unwillingly I left the ring,
When nought would be accepted but the ring,
You would abate the ftrength of your displeasure.
Por. If you had known the virtue of the ring,
Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
Or your own honour to retain the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
What man is there fo much unreasonable,
If you had pleas'd to have defended it
With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
To urge the thing held as a ceremony?
Neriffa teaches me what to believe;
I'll die for't, but fome woman had the ring.
Baff. No, by mine honour, madam, by my foul,
No woman had it, but a civil doctor,
Who did refuse three thousand ducats of me,
And begg'd the ring; the which I did deny him,
And fuffer'd him to go difpleas'd away;
Ev'n he that did uphold the very life
Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady?
I was enforc'd to fend it after him ;
I was beset with fhame and courtesy;
My honour would not let ingratitude
So much befmear it. Pardon me, good lady;
And, by these blessed candles of the night,
Had you been there, I think, you would have begg'd
The ring of me, to give the worthy doctor.
Por. Let not that doctor e'er come near my house,
Since he hath got the jewel that I lov'd,
And that which you did fwear to keep for me:
I will become as liberal as you,
I'll not deny him any thing I have,
No, not my body, nor my husband's bed;
Know him I fhall, I am well fure of it.
Lie not a night from home; watch me like Argus: you do not, if I be left alone,
Now by mine honour, which is yet my own,
I'll have that doctor for my bedfellow.
Ner. And I his clerk; therefore be well advis'd
How you do leave me to mine own protection.
Gra. Well, do you fo; let me not take him then;
For, If I do, I'll mar the young clerk's pen.
Anth. I am th' unhappy fubject of these quarrels.
Por. Sir, grieve not you; you are welcome notwithstanding.
Baff. Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong:
And, in the hearing of these many friends,
I swear to thee, ev'n by thine own fair eyes,
Wherein I see myself —
Por. Mark you but that!
In both mine eyes he doubly fees himself;
In each eye one: fwear by your double self,
And there's an oath of credit!
Baff. Nay, but hear me:
Pardon this fault, and by my foul I fwear,
I never more will break an oath with thee.
Anth. I once did lend my body for his wealth,
Which but for him that had your husband's ring
Had quite miscarry'd. I dare be bound again,
My foul upon the forfeit, that your lord
Will never more break faith advisedly.
Por. Then you fhall be his furety; give him this,
And bid him keep it better than the other.
Anth. Here, lord Baffanio, fwear to keep this ring.
Baff. By heav'n, it is the fame I gave the doctor.
Por. I had it of him: pardon me, Bassanio;
For by this ring, the doctor lay with me.
Ner. And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano;
For that fame scrubbed boy, the doctor's clerk,
In lieu of this, last night did lie with me.
Gra. Why, this is like the mending of highways
In fummer, where the ways are fair enough:
What, are we cuckolds ere we have deferv'd it?
Por. Speak not fo grofsly; you are all amaz'd;
Here is a letter, read it at your leisure;
It comes from Padua, from Bellario:
There you fhall find that Portia was the doctor,
Neriffa there, her clerk. Lorenzo here
Shall witness, I fet forth as foon as you,
And even but now return'd: I have not yet
Enter'd my house. Anthonio, you are welcome,
And I have better news in ftore for you
Than you expect: unfeal this letter foon;
There shall find, three of your argofies
Are richly come to harbour fuddenly.
You shall not know by what strange accident
I chanced on this letter.
Anth. I am dumb.
Bass. Were you the doctor, and I knew you not?
Gra. Were you the clerk that is to make me cuckold?
Ner. Ay, but the clerk that never means to do it,
Unless he live until he be a man.
Baff. Sweet doctor, you fhall be my bedfellow;
When I am absent, then lie with my wife.
Anth. Sweet lady, you have giv'n me life and living;
For here I read for certain, that my ships
Are fafely come to road.
Por. How now, Lorenzo?
My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.
Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.
There do I give to you and Jeffica,
From the rich few, a fpecial deed of gift,
After his death, of all he dies poffefs'd of.
Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
Of ftarved people.
Por. It is almoft morning,
And yet, I'm fure, you are not fatisfy'd
Of these events at full. Let us go in,
And charge us there on interrogatories,
And we will answer all things faithfully.
Grat. Let it be fo: the firft interrogatory,
That my Neriffa fhall be fworn on, is,
Whether till the next night she had rather stay,
Or go to bed now, being two hours to day.
But were the day come, I fhould wish it dark,
Till I were couching with the doctor's clerk.
Well, while I live, I'll fear no other thing
So fore, as keeping fafe Nerissa's ring.