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SCENE II.-Belmont. A Room in Portia's House.
Enter PORTIA, and NERISSA. Por. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is a-weary of this great world.
Ner. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are: And yet, for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing : It is no mean happiness, therefore, to be seated in the mean; superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.
Por. Good sentences, and well pronounced.
Por. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottages, princes' palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions: I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching. The brain may devise laws for the blood; but a hot temper leaps over a cold decree : such a hare is madness, the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel, the cripple. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me a husband :-0 me, the word choose! I may neither choose whom I would, nor refuse whom I dislike ; so is the will of a living daughter curb’d by the will of a dead father :-Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none ?
Ner. Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men, at their death, have good inspirations; therefore, the lottery, that he hath devised in these three chests, of gold, silver, and lead, (whereof who chooses his meaning, chooses you,) will, no doubt, never be chosen by any rightly, but one who you shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely suitors that are already come?
Por. I pray thee, overname them; and as thou namest them, I will describe them; and according to my description, level at my affection.
Ner. First, there is the Neapolitan prince.
Por. Ay, that's a colt, indeed, for he does nothing but talk of his horse; and he makes it a great appropriation to his own good parts, that he can shoe him himself.
Ner. Then, is there the county Palatine.
Por. He doth nothing but frown; as who should say, And if you will not have me, choose : he hears merry tales, and smiles not: I fear, he will prove the weeping philosopher when he grows old, being so full of unmannerly sadness in his youth. I had rather be married to a death's head with a bone in his mouth, than to either of these. Heaven defend me from these two !
Ner. How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon ?
have acquainted me with their determinations : which is, indeed, to return to their home, and to trouble you with no more suit; unless, you may be won by some other sort than your father's imposition, depending on the caskets.
Por. If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die as chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by the manner of my father's will: I am glad this parcel of wooers are so reasonable ; for there is not one among them but I dote on his very absence, and I pray Heaven grant them a fair departure.
Ner. Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, a Vene. tian, a scholar, and soldier, that came hither in company of the Marquis of Montferrat ?
Por. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, so was he called.
Ner. True, madam; he, of all the men that ever my foolish eyes looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.
Por. I remember him well; and I remember him worthy of thy praise.—How now! what news ?
Enter a Servant. Serv. The four strangers seek for you, madam, to take their leave: and there is a fore-runner come from a fifth, the prince of Morocco; who brings word, the prince, his master, will be here to-night.
Por. If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good heart as I can bid the other four farewell, I should be glad of his approach. Come, Nerissa.—Sirrah, go before.-Whiles we shut the gate upon one wooer, another knocks at the door.
SCENE III.-—Venice. A public Place.
Enter BASSANIO and SHYLOCK.
Bass. May you stead me? Will you pleasure me?
Shy. Three thousand ducats, for three months, and Antonio bound.
Bass. Your answer to that.
Shy. Ho, no, no, no, no ;-my meaning, in saying he is a good man, is to have you understand me, that he is sufficient : vet his means are in supposition : he hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I understand moreover upon the Rialto, he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, --and other ventures he hath, squander'd abroad ; But ships are but boards, soilors but inen: there be land-rats, and water-rats, water-thieves, and land
thieves; I mean, pirates ; and then, there is the peril of water, winds and rocks: The man is, notwithstanding, sufficient ;--three thousand ducats ;--I think, I may take his bond.
Bass. Be assured you may.
Shy. I will be assured, I may; and, that I may be assured, I will bethink me: May I speak with Antonio ?
Bass. If it please you, dine with us.
Shy. Yes, to smell pork; I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following: but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you. What news on the Rialto ? -Who is he comes here?
Shylock, do you hear ?
you desire ?—Rest you fair, good signior: [TO ANTONIO Your worship was the last man in our mouths.
Ant. Shylock, albeit I neither lend nor borrow,
Ay, ay, three thousand ducats.
Shy. I had forgot,—three months, you told me so.
Ant. I do never use it.
Shy. Three thousand ducats—’tis a good round sum, Three months from twelve, then let me see the rate.
Ant. Well, Shylock, shall we be beholden to you?
Shy. Signior Antonio, many a time and oft,
Ant. I am as like to call thee so again,
Why, look you, how you storm!
Ant. This were kindness.
This kindness will I Blow
Ant. Content, in faith ; I'll seal to such a bond, And say, there is much kindness in the Jew.
Bass. You shall not seal to such a bond for me,
Ant. Why, fear not, man; I will not forfeit it.
Shy. O father Abraham, what these Christians are,
Ant. Yes, Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.
Hie thee, gentle Jew.
Bass. I like r.ot fair terms, and a villain's mind.
Ant. Come un; in this there can be no dismay, My ships come home a month before the day.
Bassanio obtains the loan of three thousand ducats from Shylock, on the merchant': bond, with the penalty of “the pound of flesh,” as the forfeit for non-pay:nent. He then prepares for making proposals for Portia’s hand, but previous to his departure he invites his friends to an entertainment:-Shylock is also one of the invited guests.
Launcelot, a former domestic of the Jew's, has entered into the service of Bassanio, and is made the messenger between Lorenzo and Jessica, who have planned an elope ment, while Sbylock is engaged at Bassanio's feast.
SCENE V.—The same. Before Shylock's House.
Enter SHYLOCK, and LAUNCELOT.