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Por. This night, methinks, is but the daylight sick,
It looks a little paler; 'tis a day,
Enter Bassanio, Antonio, Gratiano, and their
Bass. We should hold day with the Antipodes,
Por. Let me give light, but let me not be light; For a light wife doth make a heavy husband, And never be Bassanio so for me;
But God sort all!-You are welcome home, my lord. Bass. I thank you, madam: give welcome to my friend.
This is the man, this is Antonio,
To whom I am so infinitely bound.
Por. You should in all sense be much bound to him,
For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.
[Gratiano and Nerissa seem to talk apart. Gra. By yonder moon, I swear, you do me wrong; In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk: Would he were gelt that had it, for my part, Since you do take it, love, so much at heart.
Por. A quarrel, ho, already? what's the matter? Gra. About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring That she did give me; whose posy was
For all the world, like cutler's poetry
Ner. What talk you of the posy, or the value?
Ner. Ay, if a woman live to be a man.
Gra. Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,A kind of boy; a little scrubbed boy, No higher than thyself, the judge's clerk;
A prating boy, that begg'd it as a fee;
I could not for my heart deny it him.
Por. You were to blame, I must be plain with you,
To part so slightly with your wife's first gift;
Bass. Why, I were best to cut my left hand off, And swear, I lost the ring defending it. [Aside.
Gra. My lord Bassanio gave his ring away
Unto the judge that begg'd it, and, indeed, Deserv'd it too; and then the boy, his clerk, That took some pains in writing, he begg'd mine: And neither man, nor master, would take aught But the two rings.
Por. What ring gave you, my lord? Not that, I hope, which you receiv'd of me. Bass. If I could add a lie unto a fault, I would deny it; but you see, my finger Hath not the ring upon it; it is gone.
Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth. By heaven, I will ne'er come in your bed
Until I see the ring.
Nor I in yours,
If you did know to whom I gave the ring,
Till I again see mine.
Bass. No, by mine honour, madam, by my soul, No woman had it, but a civil doctor, Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me, And begg'd the ring; the which I did deny him, And suffer'd him to go displeas'd away; Even he that had held Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady? I was enforc'd to send it after him;
I was beset with shame and courtesy;
My honour would not let ingratitude
So much besmear it: Pardon me, good lady;
For, by these blessed candles of the night,
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 swear to keep for me,
I'll not deny him any thing I have,
No, not my body, nor my husband's bed:
Know him I shall, I am well sure 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,
Ner. And I his clerk; therefore be well advis'd, How you do leave me to mine own protection.
Gra. Well, do you so: let not me take him then; For, if I do, I'll mar the young clerk's pen.
Ant. I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels. Por. Sir, grieve not you; You are welcome notwithstanding.
Bass. Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong; And, in the hearing of these many friends, I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes, Wherein I see myself,
Mark you but that!
Bass. Nay, but hear me: Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear, I never more will break an oath with thee.
Ant. I once did lend my body for his wealth; Which, but for him that had your husband's ring, [To Portia. Had quite miscarried: I dare be bound again, My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord Will never more break faith advisedly.
Por. Then you shall be his surety: Give him this; And bid him keep it better than the other.
Ant. Here, lord Bassanio; swear to keep this ring. Bass. By heaven, it is the same 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 same 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 summer, where the ways are fair enough: What! are we cuckolds, ere we have deserv'd it?
Por. Speak not so grossly.-You are all amaz'd: Here is a letter, read it at your leisure; It comes from Padua, from Bellario: