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Ner. From both my lord: Bellario greets your grace.
[Presents a letter. Bass. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly? Shy. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt
there. Gra. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew s6, Thou mak'st thy knife keen: but no metal can, No, not the hangman's ax, bear half the keenness Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?
Shy. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make. Gra. O, be thou damn'd, inexorable dog! And for thy life let justice be accus'd. Thou almost mak’st me waver in my faith, To hold opinion with Pythagoras, That souls of animals infuse themselves Into the trunks of men: thy currish spirit Govern'd a wolf, who, hang'd for human slaughter, Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet, And, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallow'd dam, Infus'd itself in thee; for thy desires Are wolfish, bloody, starv'd and ravenous.
Shy. Till thou can'st rail the seal from off my bond,
Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend
Ner. He attendeth here hard by,
Duke. With all my heart:-some threeor four of you, Go give him courteous conduct to this place, Mean time, the court shall hear Bellario's letter.
[Clerk reads.] Your grace shall understand, that, at the receipt of your letter, I am very sick: but in the instant that your messenger came, in loving visitation was with me a young doctor of Rome, his name is Balthasar: I acquainted him with the cause in controversy between the Jew and Antonio the merchant: we turn'd o'er many books together : he is furnish'd with my opinion; which, better'd 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 stead. I beseech you, let his lack of years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend estimation; for I never knew so young a body with so old a head. I leave him to your gracious acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his commendation.
Duke. You hear the learn'd Bellario, what he
writes: And here, I take it, is the doctor come.
Enter Portia, dressed like a doctor of laws. Give me your hand: Camè you from old Bellario?
Por. I did, my lord.
Duke. You are welcome: take your place. Are you acquainted with the difference That holds this present question in the court?
• Por. I am informed throughly of the cause.
Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
Shylock is my name.
Do you confess the bond?
Por. The quality of mercy is not strain d;
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Shy. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law, The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
Por. Is he not able to discharge the money?
Bass. Yes, here I tender it for him in the court; Yea, twice the sum: if that will not suffice, I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er, On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart: If this will not suffice, it must appear That malice bears down truth s7. And I beseech you, Wrest once the law to your authority: To do a great right, do a little wrong; And curb this cruel devil of his will.
Por. It must not be; there is no power in Venice Can alter a decree established: 'Twill be recorded for a precedent; And many an error, by the same example, Will rush into the state: it cannot be. Shy. A Daniel come to judgement! yea, a Da
niel!O wise young judge, how do I honour thee! . Por. I pray you, let me look upon the bond. Shy. Here 'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is. Por. Shylock, there's thrice thy money offer'd thee. VOL. III.
Shy. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven:
Por. .. Why, this bond is forfeit;
Shy. When it is paid according to the tenour, -
Ant. Most heartily I do beseech the court
: Why then, thus it is. You must prepare your bosom for his knife:
Shy. O noble judge! O excellent young man!
Por. For the intent and purpose of the law
Por. Therefore, lay bare your bosom.
Ay, his breast: So says the bond ;-Doth it not, noble judge? Nearest his heart, those are the very words.