1597 The Merchant Of Venice
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But stay the very riping of the time;
And for the Jew's bond which he hath of me,
Let it not enter in your mind of love;
Be merry, and employ your chiefest thoughts
To courtship, and such fair ostents of love
As shall conveniently become you there.'
And even there, his eye being big with tears,
Turning his face, he put his hand behind him,
And with affection wondrous sensible
He wrung Bassanio's hand; and so they parted.
SOLANIO. I think he only loves the world for him.
I pray thee, let us go and find him out,
And quicken his embraced heaviness
With some delight or other.
SALERIO. Do we so. Exeunt
Belmont. PORTIA'S house
Enter NERISSA, and a SERVITOR
NERISSA. Quick, quick, I pray thee, draw the curtain straight;
The Prince of Arragon hath ta'en his oath,
And comes to his election presently.
Flourish of cornets. Enter the PRINCE OF ARRAGON,
PORTIA, and their trains
PORTIA. Behold, there stand the caskets, noble Prince.
If you choose that wherein I am contain'd,
Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemniz'd;
But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,
You must be gone from hence immediately.
ARRAGON. I am enjoin'd by oath to observe three things:
First, never to unfold to any one
Which casket 'twas I chose; next, if I fail
Of the right casket, never in my life
To woo a maid in way of marriage;
If I do fail in fortune of my choice,
Immediately to leave you and be gone.
PORTIA. To these injunctions every one doth swear
That comes to hazard for my worthless self.
ARRAGON. And so have I address'd me. Fortune now
To my heart's hope! Gold, silver, and base lead.
'Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.'
You shall look fairer ere I give or hazard.
What says the golden chest? Ha! let me see:
'Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.'
What many men desire- that 'many' may be meant
By the fool multitude, that choose by show,
Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach;
Which pries not to th' interior, but, like the martlet,
Builds in the weather on the outward wall,
Even in the force and road of casualty.
I will not choose what many men desire,
Because I will not jump with common spirits
And rank me with the barbarous multitudes.
Why, then to thee, thou silver treasure-house!
Tell me once more what title thou dost bear.
'Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.'
And well said too; for who shall go about
To cozen fortune, and be honourable
Without the stamp of merit? Let none presume
To wear an undeserved dignity.
O that estates, degrees, and offices,
Were not deriv'd corruptly, and that clear honour
Were purchas'd by the merit of the wearer!
How many then should cover that stand bare!
How many be commanded that command!
How much low peasantry would then be gleaned
From the true seed of honour! and how much honour
Pick'd from the chaff and ruin of the times,
To be new varnish'd! Well, but to my choice.
'Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.'
I will assume desert. Give me a key for this,
And instantly unlock my fortunes here.
[He opens the silver casket]
PORTIA. [Aside] Too long a pause for that which you find there.
ARRAGON. What's here? The portrait of a blinking idiot
Presenting me a schedule! I will read it.
How much unlike art thou to Portia!
How much unlike my hopes and my deservings!
'Who chooseth me shall have as much as he deserves.'
Did I deserve no more than a fool's head?
Is that my prize? Are my deserts no better?
PORTIA. To offend and judge are distinct offices
And of opposed natures.
ARRAGON. What is here? [Reads]
'The fire seven times tried this;
Seven times tried that judgment is
That did never choose amiss.
Some there be that shadows kiss,
Such have but a shadow's bliss.
There be fools alive iwis
Silver'd o'er, and so was this.
Take what wife you will to bed,
I will ever be your head.
So be gone; you are sped.'
Still more fool I shall appear
By the time I linger here.
With one fool's head I came to woo,
But I go away with two.
Sweet, adieu! I'll keep my oath,
Patiently to bear my wroth. Exit with his train
PORTIA. Thus hath the candle sing'd the moth.
O, these deliberate fools! When they do choose,
They have the wisdom by their wit to lose.
NERISSA. The ancient saying is no heresy:
Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.
PORTIA. Come, draw the curtain, Nerissa.
Enter a SERVANT
SERVANT. Where is my lady?
PORTIA. Here; what would my lord?
SERVANT. Madam, there is alighted at your gate
A young Venetian, one that comes before
To signify th' approaching of his lord,
From whom he bringeth sensible regreets;
To wit, besides commends and courteous breath,
Gifts of rich value. Yet I have not seen
So likely an ambassador of love.
A day in April never came so sweet
To show how costly summer was at hand
As this fore-spurrer comes before his lord.
PORTIA. No more, I pray thee; I am half afeard
Thou wilt say anon he is some kin to thee,
Thou spend'st such high-day wit in praising him.
Come, come, Nerissa, for I long to see
Quick Cupid's post that comes so mannerly.
NERISSA. Bassanio, Lord Love, if thy will it be! Exeunt
ACT III. SCENE I.
Venice. A street
Enter SOLANIO and SALERIO
SOLANIO. Now, what news on the Rialto?
SALERIO. Why, yet it lives there uncheck'd that Antonio hath a ship
of rich lading wreck'd on the narrow seas; the Goodwins I think
they call the place, a very dangerous flat and fatal, where the
carcases of many a tall ship lie buried, as they say, if my
gossip Report be an honest woman of her word.
SOLANIO. I would she were as lying a gossip in that as ever knapp'd
ginger or made her neighbours believe she wept for the death of a
third husband. But it is true, without any slips of prolixity or
crossing the plain highway of talk, that the good Antonio, the
honest Antonio- O that I had a title good enough to keep his name
SALERIO. Come, the full stop.
SOLANIO. Ha! What sayest thou? Why, the end is, he hath lost a
SALERIO. I would it might prove the end of his losses.
SOLANIO. Let me say amen betimes, lest the devil cross my prayer,
for here he comes in the likeness of a Jew.
How now, Shylock? What news among the merchants?
SHYLOCK. You knew, none so well, none so well as you, of my
SALERIO. That's certain; I, for my part, knew the tailor that made
the wings she flew withal.
SOLANIO. And Shylock, for his own part, knew the bird was flidge;
and then it is the complexion of them all to leave the dam.
SHYLOCK. She is damn'd for it.
SALERIO. That's certain, if the devil may be her judge.
SHYLOCK. My own flesh and blood to rebel!
SOLANIO. Out upon it, old carrion! Rebels it at these years?
SHYLOCK. I say my daughter is my flesh and my blood.
SALERIO. There is more difference between thy flesh and hers than
between jet and ivory; more between your bloods than there is
between red wine and Rhenish. But tell us, do you hear whether
Antonio have had any loss at sea or no?
SHYLOCK. There I have another bad match: a bankrupt, a prodigal,
who dare scarce show his head on the Rialto; a beggar, that was
us'd to come so smug upon the mart. Let him look to his bond. He
was wont to call me usurer; let him look to his bond. He was wont
to lend money for a Christian courtesy; let him look to his bond.
SALERIO. Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his
flesh. What's that good for?
SHYLOCK. To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing else, it will
feed my revenge. He hath disgrac'd me and hind'red me half a
million; laugh'd at my losses, mock'd at my gains, scorned my
nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine
enemies. And what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes?
Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections,
passions, fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons,
subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed
and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If
you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we