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Enter the Duke, the Senators, Anthonio, Baffanio, Gratiano,
Solarino, and Salanio.
HAT, is Anthonio here?
Anth. Ready, fo please your grace.
Duke. I'm forry for thee; thou art come to anfwer
A ftony adversary, an inhuman wretch,
Uncapable of pity, void and empty
From any dram of mercy.
Anth. I have heard,
hath ta'en great pains to qualify
His rig'rous course; but fince he stands obdurate,
And that no lawful means can carry me
Out of his envy's reach, I do oppofe
My patience to his fury, and am arm'd
To fuffer, with a quietness of spirit,
The very tyranny and rage of his.
Duke. Go one, and call the few into the court.
Sal. He's ready at the door: he comes, my lord.
Duke. Make room, and let him ftand before our face.
Shylock, the world thinks, and I think fo too,
That thou but lead'st this fashion of thy malice
To the laft hour of act, and then, 'tis thought,
Thoul't show thy mercy, and remorfe, more strange
Than is thy ftrange apparent cruelty.
And, where thou now exact'ft the penalty,
Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh,
Thou wilt not only lose the forfeiture,
But, touch'd with human gentleness and love,
Forgive a moiety of the principal;
Glancing an eye of pity on his loffes,
That have of late fo hudled on his back;
Enough to press a royal merchant down,
And pluck commiferation of his ftate
From braffy bofoms, and rough hearts of flint,
From ftubborn Turks, and Tartars, never train'd
To offices of tender courtesy.
We all expect a gentle anfwer, Jew.
Shy. I have poffefs'd your grace of what I purpose;
And by our holy fabbath have I fworn,
To have the due and forfeit of my bond.
you deny it, let the danger light
Upon your charter, and your city's freedom.
You'll ask me, why I rather choose to have
A weight of carrion flesh, than to receive
Three thousand ducats? I'll not answer that.
But, fay, it is my humour; is it answered?
What if my house be troubled with a rat,
And I be pleas'd to give ten thousand ducats
To have it bane'd? what, are you answer'd yet?
Some men there are, love not a gaping pig;
Some, that are mad if they behold a cat;
And others, when the bagpipe fings i' th' nose,
Cannot contain their urine for affection."
Masterless paffion sways us to the mood
Of what it likes, or loaths. Now for your answer:
As there is no firm reason to be render'd,
Why he cannot abide a gaping pig,
Why he a harmless neceffary cat,
Why he a woollen bagpipe, but of force
Muft yield to fuch inevitable fhame,
As to offend, himself being offended;
So can I give no reason, nor I will not,
* That is, they are so affected with it.
More than a lodg'd hate, and a certain loathing,
I bear Anthonio, that I follow thus
A lofing fuit against him. Are you answered?
Baff. This is no anfwer, thou unfeeling man,
T'excuse the current of thy cruelty.
Shy. I am not bound to please thee with
Baff. Do all men kill the thing they do not love?
Shy. Hates any man the thing he would not kill?
Baff. Ev'ry offence is not a hate at firft.
Shy. What, would'st thou have a serpent fting thee twice ?
Anth. I pray you, think you queftion with a Jew.
You may as well go ftand the beach,
And bid the main flood 'bate his ufual height;
You may as well ufe queftion with the wolf,
When you behold the ewe bleat for the lamb;
You may as well forbid the mountain pines
To wag their high tops, and to make a noife
When they are fretted with the gusts of heav'n;
You may as well do any thing most hard,
As feek to foften that (than which what's harder?)
His Jewish heart. Therefore, I do befeech you,
Make no more offers, ufe no farther means,
But, with all brief and plain conveniency,
Let me have judgment, and the few his will.
Baff. For thy three thousand ducats here is fix.
Shy. If ev'ry ducat in fix thousand ducats
Were in fix parts, and ev'ry part a ducat,
I would not draw them, I would have my bond.
Duke. How fhalt thou hope for mercy, rend'ring none? Shy. What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong? You have among you many a purchas'd slave,
Which, like your affes, and your dogs, and mules,
You use in abject and in flavish part,
Because you bought them. Shall I fay to you,
Let them be free, marry them to your heirs?
Why sweat they under burdens? let their beds
Duke. Bring us the letters; call the meffengers.
Baff. Good cheer, Anthonio! what, man, courage yet!
The few fhall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all,
Ere thou fhalt lofe for me one drop of blood.
Anth. I am a tainted weather of the flock,
Meeteft for death: the weakest kind of fruit
Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me.
You cannot better be employ'd, Baffanio,
Than to live ftill, and write mine epitaph.
Enter Neriffa drefs'd like a lawyer's clerk.
Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario?
Ner. From both, my lord: Bellario greets your grace.
Baff. Why doft thou whet thy knife fo earnestly?
[the Jew whetting his knife on the fole of his fhoe.
Shy. To cut the forfeit from that bankrupt there.
Gra. Not on thy fole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,
Thou mak'ft thy knife keen; for no metal can,
No not the hangman's axe, bear half the keennefs
Of thy fharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?
Shy. No, none that thou haft wit enough to make,
Gra. O, be thou damn'd, inexorable dog,
And for thy life let juftice be accus'd!
Thou almoft mak'ft me waver in my faith,
To hold opinion with Pythagoras,
That fouls of animals infufe themfelves
Into the trunks of men. Thy currish spirit
Govern'd a wolf, who, hang'd for human flaughter,
Ev'n from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,
And, whilst thou lay'ft in thy unhallow'd dam,
Infus'd itself in thee; for thy defires
Are wolfish, bloody, ftarv'd, and ravenous.
Shy. Till thou canft rail the feal from off my bond,
Thou but offend'ft thy lungs to speak fo loud.
Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall
To cureless ruin. I ftand here for law.
Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend
and learned doctor to our court.
Where is he?
Ner. He attendeth here hard by
To know your anfwer, whether you'll admit him.
Duke. With all my heart. Some three or four of you,
Go, give him courteous conduct to this place :
Meantime, the court fhall hear Bellario's letter.
OUR grace fall understand, that, at the receipt of your letter,
I am very fick but at the inftant that your messenger came, in loving vifitation was with me a young doctor of Rome, his name is Balthafar: I acquainted him with the cause in controverfy between the Jew and Anthonio the merchant. We turn'd o'er many books together: he is furnish'd with my opinion; which, bettered with his own learning, (the greatness whereof I cannot enough commend) comes with him at my importunity, to fill up your grace's request in my ftead. I beseech you, let his lack of years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend estimation; for I never knew fo young a body