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To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
An age of poverty; from which lingering penance
Of such misery doth she cut me off.
Commend me to your honourable wife :
Tell her the process of Antonio's end;
Say how I lov'd you, speak me fair in death;
And, when the tale is told, bid her be judge
Whether Bassanio had not once a love.20
Repent not you that you shall lose your friend,
And he repents not that he pays your debt;
For, if the Jew do cut but deep enough,
I'll pay it instantly with all my heart.

Bass. Antonio, I am married to a wife
Which is as dear to me as life itself;
But life itself, my wife, and all the world,
Are not with me esteem'd above thy life:
I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all
Here to this devil, to deliver you.

Por. Your wife would give you little thanks for that,

If she were by, to hear you make the offer.

Gra. I have a wife, whom, I protest, I love: I would she were in heaven, so she could Entreat some power to change this currish Jew. Ner. 'Tis well you offer it behind her back ; The wish would make else an unquiet house. Shy. [Aside.] These be the Christian husbands! I have a daughter;

Would any of the stock of Barrabas 28

Had been her husband rather than a Christian!

[Aloud.] We trifle time: I pray thee, pursue


Por. A pound of that same merchant's flesh is thine:

The court awards it, and the law doth give it.
Shy. Most rightful judge!

Por. And you must cut this flesh from off his breast:

The law allows it, and the court awards it.

Shy. Most learnèd judge!—A sentence! come, prepare!

Por. Tarry a little there is something else. This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood,— The words expressly are, a pound of flesh : Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh; But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed

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The Jew shall have all justice ;-soft! no haste:He shall have nothing but the penalty.

Gra. O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!

Por. Therefore, prepare thee to cut off the flesh.

Shed thou no blood; nor cut thou less, nor more,
But just a pound of flesh if thou tak'st more
Or less than a just pound,—be it but so much
As makes it light or heavy in the substance
Or the division of the twentieth part
Of one poor scruple; nay, if the scale do turn
But in the estimation of a hair,—
Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.
Gra. A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew!
Now, infidel, I have thee on the hip.30

Por. Why doth the Jew pause? take thy forfeiture.

Shy. Give me my principal, and let me go. Bass. I have it ready for thee; here it is. Por. He hath refus'd it in the open court; He shall have merely justice and his bond. Gra. A Daniel, still say I, a second Daniel! I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word. Shy. Shall I not have barely my principal ? Por. Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture, To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.

Shy. Why, then the devil give him good of it! I'll stay no longer question."

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the stage the same accentuation of the name as did Marlowe in his "Jew of Malta;" although the spelling in the New Testament is Barabbas.' It has a fine snarling sound in Shylock's mouth, when wishing his daughter were the wife of a robber rather than of one of these Christian gentlemen.

29. I take this offer, then. Here "this" has been changed to 'his' But "this offer means the one Shylock names - "pay the bond thrice;" he having been offered various amounts. See Note 20, Act iv.

30. I have thee on the hip. See Note 61, Act i.

31. Question. Debate; controversy; dispute. See Note

10, Act iv.

It is enacted in the laws of Venice,-
If it be prov'd against an alien
That by direct or indirect attempts
He seek the life of any citizen,

The party 'gainst the which he doth contrive 32
Shall seize one half his goods; the other half
Comes to the privy coffer of the state;
And the offender's life lies in the mercy
Of the duke only, 'gainst all other voice.
In which predicament, I say, thou stand'st;
For it appears, by manifest proceeding,
That indirectly, and directly too,
Thou hast contriv'd against the very life
Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr'd
The danger formerly by me rehears'd.
Down, therefore, and beg mercy of the duke.

Gra. Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself:

And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state,
Thou hast not left the value of a cord;

Therefore thou must be hang'd at the state's charge. Duke. That thou shalt see the difference of our spirit,

I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it:
For half thy wealth, it is Antonio's;
The other half comes to the general state,
Which humbleness may drive unto a fine.

Por. Ay, for the state,-not for Antonio.33
Shy. Nay, take my life and all; pardon not that:
You take my house, when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house; you take my life,
When you do take the means whereby I live.

Por. What mercy can you render him, Antonio? Gra. A halter gratis; nothing else, for Heaven's


32. Contrive. To devise harm; to plot treacherously; to machinate. French, controuver.

33. Ay, for the state,-not for Antonio. Meaning that the portion awarded to the state may be reduced to a fine, but not that awarded to Antonio.

34. In use. In trust. Shakespeare here employs the strict legal technicality usual when property is to pass, through a third person, into the possession of another, on the death of the original owner; the third person is said to have it "in use" for the future possessor. Thus, Antonio provides that Shylock shall have the interest of this half share during his lifetime, while securing that the principal shall revert to Lorenzo at his death In return for this permission to enjoy the interest of the half share, Antonio stipulates that the Jew shall turn Christian, and shall bequeath all property that he may hereafter gain to his son-in-law. Verily, the merchant shows that he understands making an advantageous bargain; while exercising what he thinks lenity and bounty, in reply to Portia's inquiry, "What mercy can you render him, Antonio ?"

35. Else I do recant the pardon, &c. The Duke's speech, in confirmation of the merchant's sentence, is in a kindred spirit. Oh, just Shakespeare! who thus boldly showed the way in which those possessed of power exercised their arbitrary sway over the persecuted race. If he have truly depicted Jewish malignity and resentment of injustice, he has equally manifested the fact of that injustice.

36. Clerk, draw a deed of gift. If we must bring a Drama

Ant. So please my lord the duke, and all the


To quit the fine for one half of his goods;

I am content, so he will let me have

The other half in use, to render it,
Upon his death, unto the gentleman
That lately stole his daughter:

Two things provided more,-that, for this favour,
He presently become a Christian;

The other, that he do record a gift,
Here in the court, of all he dies possess'd,

Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.

Duke. He shall do this; or else I do recant The pardon that I late pronounced here.35

Por. Art thou contented, Jew? what dost thou say ?

Shy. I am content. Por.

Clerk, draw a deed of gift.38 Shy. I pray you, give me leave to go from hence; I am not well: send the deed after me, And I will sign it.

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tic Poet to book for every minute point (and that we do so with Shakespeare is one proof of his bearing the closest scrutiny, with invariable evidence of his correctness), we shall have here to imagine that the necessity for this "deed of gift" was foreseen, and that it was among the "notes," &c., furnished by Bellario; else, to believe Nerissa capable of drawing up a legal paper at a moment's warning, would be a stretch of our credulity. That Portia, from her kinsman's being a renowned lawyer, may, in intercourse with him, have gained considerable legal knowledge, we can readily conceive; but Nerissa, we think, must have had the "deed of gift" ready drawn up in her lawyer's clerk bag of papers, and merely had to produce it (or, perhaps, to copy it out: for, in the last scene, Gratiano says, "The boy, his clerk, took some pains in writing ") when called upon by her doctor-of-laws mistress. Moreover, Shakespeare, in his own incomparable way of providing for every point of verisimilitude, has, in the next speech, contrived that the deed need not be drawn up on the spot; since Shylock says, "Send the deed after me, and I will sign it." 37. Ten more. Gratiano facetiously means by these ten additional godfathers, twelve jurymen.


38. Desire your grace of pardon. A form of expression used in Shakespeare's time. See Note 22, Act iii., Night's Dream."

39. Gratify. Recompense; reward. Shakespeare elsewhere uses the word in the sense of 'show all honour and generous treatment to;' and again elsewhere in the sense of 'bestow fitting reward.' Here it seems to include both these senses;

For, in my mind, you are much bound to him.
[Exeunt DUKE, Magnificoes, and train.
Bass. Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend
Have by your wisdom been this day acquitted
Of grievous penalties; in lieu whereof,10
Three thousand ducats, due unto the Jew,
We freely cope" your courteous pains withal.
Ant. And stand indebted, over and above,
In love and service to you evermore.

Por. He is well paid that is well satisfied;
And I, delivering you, am satisfied,
And therein do account myself well paid:
My mind was never yet more mercenary.
I pray you, know me when we meet again :
I wish you well, and so I take my leave.

Bass. Dear sir, of force I must attempt you farther:

Take some remembrance of us, as a tribute,
Not as a fee: grant me two things, I pray you,——
Not to deny me, and to pardon me.

Por. You press me far, and therefore I will yield.

Give me your gloves, I'll wear them for your sake;

And, for your love, I'll take this ring from you:— Do not draw back your hand; I'll take no


And you in love shall not deny me this.

Bass. This ring, good sir,-alas! it is a trifle; I will not shame myself to give you this.

Por. I will have nothing else but only this; And now methinks I have a mind to it.

Bass. There's more depends on this than on the value.

The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,
And find it out by proclamation:

Only for this, I pray you, pardon me.

Por. I see, sir, you are liberal in offers: You taught me first to beg; and now methinks You teach me how a beggar should be answer'd. Bass. Good sir, this ring was given me by my

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40 In lieu whereof. In requital whereof.' sometime uses "in lieu," not as it is now used, for instead of,' but for in exchange for,'' as an equivalent for.' See Note 27, Act i., "Tempest."

41. Cope. Shakespeare elsewhere employs this word to express 'encounter,' or 'meet in kindly interchange of word or deed; and here it seems to include indirect reference to one of the original meanings of the word, 'a covering for the head,' so as to be employed as now would be said-'We freely crown your courteous pains withal.' Johnson explains the word here to be the same with the old verb, to cope, cowp, chap, or buy; and probably-as is usual with Shakespeare's employment of words-it has inclusive reference to all these primary meanings of "cope."

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Gra. That will I do.

42. Hold out enemy. A form of expression similar to the messenger's in the first scene of "Much Ado about Nothing," where he says to Beatrice-"I will hold friends with you, lady."

43. Commandment. This word must here be sounded like a quadrisyllable, for the sake of the rhythm; as if it were spelt 'commandement,' which it sometimes was in Shakespeare's


44. Enquire the Jew's house out. It is worth noting how Shakespeare, in his short and apparently insignificant scenes, makes them serve fullest dramatic purpose. Here, the very first thing, Portia fulfils in careful, practical, professional waythe duty of conveying the deed to Shylock for signature; and afterwards, by her desiring Gratiano to show her clerk the way * to the Jew's house, the opportunity for Nerissa to obtain her husband's ring is naturally brought about. 45. Upon more advice. farther reflection.'

'Upon more consideration;' 'on

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46. Old This word was formerly sometimes used to express 'excessive.' 'abundant.' See Note 56, Act i., "Merry Wives of Windsor," and Note 61, Act v., "Much Ado about Nothing."

1. Dulo. See Note 7, Act ii., "The Tempest." It has been gravely affirmed that "this passage contains a small instance out of many that might be brought to prove that Shakespeare was no reader of the classics." Not only does he show himself to be well acquainted with classical stories, but he invests them with a poetic heightening of his own (as, for instance, putting the "willow" in Dido's hand, as an emblem of her being forsaken); and, by introducing this assemblage of antique love-romances, and linking them on with the actual one between Lorenzo and Jessica, he gives a curiously double effect of ideality and reality to the whole occurrence; while he, at the same time, casts the rich colouring of the South, with its beauty of association and its beauty of climate, over the whole scene. Italian garden-grounds, Italian moonlight, Italian deep blue sky, Italian open-air warmth, with Italian lovers lingering out of doors until late into the night, are all brought before us in this lovely conclusion to a noble play.

2. Waft. Waved; beckoned. See Note 26, Act ii., “Comedy of Errors."

3. Eson. Father to Jason, whose wife Medea was. In compliance with her husband's request, she, being acquainted with the magical properties of plants, selected those fitted for her purpose, and, by substituting their juices for the blood of the old man, restored him to youth.

4. Unthrift. Unthrifty; prodigal; lavish.

5. Shrew. Used here for 'one who speaks chidingly,' 'one who speaks mischievously;' and with the same sportive meaning as we should now say, 'a little rogue.'

6. Before the break of day. Shakespeare's time here is managed with his usual skill. Ere her messenger has well arrived, and long "before the break of day," Portia herself comes; and soon after her, Bassanio appears; having said to his friend Antonio, at the close of Act iv., sc. 1- "In the morning early will we both fly toward Belmont ;" and evidently setting forth before the time appointed. Thus subtly does the poet convey the effect of the married lovers' eagerness to return home.

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