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When they are fretted with the gusts of heaven;1
You may as well do any thing most hard,
As seek to soften that (than which what's harder?)
His Jewish heart:- Therefore, I do beseech you,
Make no more offers, use no further means,
But, with all brief and plain conveniency,
Let me have judgment, and the Jew his will.

Bass. For thy three thousand ducats here is six.

Shy. If every ducat in six thousand ducats
Were in six parts, and every part a ducat,
I would not draw them, I would have my bond.

Duke. How shalt 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, 2 Which, like your asses, and your dogs, and mules, You use in abject and in slavish parts, Because you bought them :-Shall I say to you, Let them be free, marry them to your heirs? Why sweat they under burdens? let their beds Be made as soft as yours, and let their palates Be season'd with such viands? You will answer, The slaves are ours:-So do I answer you: The pound of flesh, which I demand of him, Is dearly bought, is mine, s and I will have it: If you deny me, fy upon your law! There is no force in the decrees of Venice: I stand for judgment: answer; shall I have it?

Duke. Upon my power, I may dismiss this court,

1 the mountain pines

To wag their high tops, and to make no noise,

When they are fretted with the gusts of heaven;] This image seems to have been caught from Golding's version of Ovid, 1587, B. XV, p. 196: - “Such noise as pine-trees make, what time the headdy

easterne wind “Doth whizz amongst them —.” Steevens. 2 many a purchas'd slave,] This argument, considered as used to the particular persons, seems conclusive. I see not how Venetians or Englishmen, while they practise the purchase and sale of slaves, can much enforce or demand the law of doing to others as we would that they should do to us. Johnson.

3- is mine, 1 The first quarto reads-as mine, evidently a misprint for is. The other quarto and the folio--'tis mine.


Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
Whom I have sent for to determine this,
Come here to-day.

My lord, here stays without
A messenger with letters from the doctor,
New come from Padua.

Duke. Bring us the letters; Call the messenger.

Bass. Good cheer, Antonio! What, man? courage yet! The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all, Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.

Ant. I am a tainted wether of the flock, Meetest for death; the weakest kind of fruit Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me: You cannot better be employ’d, Bassanio, Than to live still, and write mine epitaph.

Enter Nerissa, dressed like a lawyer's clerk. Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario? 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 forfeitures from that bankrupt there. Gra. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,6

4_ Bellario, a learned doctor,

Whom I have sent for -] The doctor and the court are here somewhat unskilfully brought together. That the duke would, on such an occasion, consult a doctor of great reputation, is not unlikely; but how should this be foreknown by Portia ? Johnson:

I do not see any nečessity for supposing that this was foreknown by Portia. She consults Bellario as an eminent lawyer, and her relation. If the Duke had not consulted him, the only difference would have been, that she would have come into court, as an ad. vocate perhaps, instead of a judge. Tyrwhitt.

5— the forfeiture -] Read-forfeit. It occurs repeatedly in the present scene for forfeiture. Ritson.

*6 Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,] This lost jingle Mr. Theobald found again; but knew not what to make of it when he had it, as appears by his paraphrase: Though thou thinkest that thou art whetting thy knife on the sole of thy shoe, yet it is upon thy soul, thy immortal part. Absurd! the conceit is, that his soul was so hard that it had given an edge to his knife.

Warburton. So, in King Henry IV, P. II:

“ Thou hid'st a thousand daggers in thy thoughts;
" Which thou hast whetted on thy stony heart,
“ To stab at half an hour of my life.” Steevens.

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!8
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, 9
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,
Thou but offend'st thy lungs to speak so loud:
Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall
To cureless ruin.-I stand here for law.

Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend
A young and learned doctor to our court:-
Where is he?

Ner. He attendeth here hard by,
To know your answer, whether you 'll admit him.

Duke. With all my heart:—some three or 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

7 Of thy sharp envy.] Envy again, in this place, signifies hatred or malice. Steevens.

8 — inexorable dog!) All the old copies read-inexecrable. It was corrected in the third folio. Steevens.

Perhaps, however, unnecessarily. In was sometimes used in our author's time, in composition, as an augmentative or intensive particle. Malone.

. 9 t hy currish spirit

Govern'd a wolf, who, hang'd for human slaughter,] This allu. sion might have been caught from some old translation of Pliny,

who mentions a Parrhasian turned into a wolf, because he had * eaten part of a child that had been consecrated to Lycæan Jupi. 9.ter. See Goulart's Admirable Histories, 4to. 1607, pp. 390, 391.

Steevens. VOL. IV.


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 turned 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 estima. tion; for I never know so young a body with 80 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: Came you from old Bellario?

Por. I did, my lord.

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.
Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew ?

Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
Por. Is your name Shylock?

Shylock is my name.
Por. Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;
Yet in such rule, that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you,1 as you do proceed. -
You stand within his danger, do you not? [To Ant.


i Cannot impugn you,] To impugn, is to oppose, to controvert. So, in The Tragedy of Darius, 1603:

“ Yet though my heart woold fain impugn my word.” Again:

“ If any press t' impugn what I impart.” Steevens. 2 You stand within his danger,] i.e. within his reach or control. This phrase originates fron another in the lowest Latin, that of. ten occurs in monastic records. Thus, (as Mr. Tyrwhitt has observed on a passage in Chaucer) See Hist. Abbat. Pipwell. ap. Monast. Angl. t. i, p. 815: “ Nec audebant Abbates eidem resistere, quia aut pro denariis aut pro bladis semper fuerunt Abbates in dangerio dicti Officialis.” Thus also, in the Coroysor's Play, among the collection of Whitsun Mysteries, represented at Ches. ter. See MS. Harl. 1013, p. 106:

Ant. Ay, so he says.

Do you confess the bond?
Ant. I do.
Por. Then must the Jew be merciful.
Shy. On what compulsion must I ? tell me that.

Por. The quality of mercy is not strain’d ;3
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this scepter'd sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself:
And earthly power doth then show likest God's,
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation :5 we do pray for mercy;

“ Two detters some time there were
“ Oughten money to an usurere,
“ The one was in his daungere

« Fyve hundred poundes tolde.” Steevens. There are frequent instances in The Paston Letiers of the use of this phrase in the same sense; whence it is obvious, from the common language of the time, that to be in DEBT and to be in DANGER, were synonymous terms. Henley.

Again, in Powel's History of Wales, 1587 : “ - laying for his excuse that he had offended manie noblemen of England, and therefore would not come in their danger.Malone.

3 The quality of mercy is not strain'd; &c.) In composing these beautiful lines, it is probable that Shakspeare recollected the following verse in Ecclesiasticus, xxxv, 20: “Mercy is seasonable in the time of affliction, as clouds of rain in the time of drought.”

Douce. 4 And earthly power doth then show likest God's, When mercy seasons justice.] So, in King Edward III, a tra.

gedy, 1596:

“ And kings approach the nearest unto God,

“By giving life and safety unto men.” Malone. 5 — in the course of justice, none of us Should see salvation:) Portia referring the Few to the Chris

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