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But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close us in, we cannot hear it.-
Come, ho, and wake Diana with a hymn;
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear,
And draw her home with music.
[Music. Jes. I am never merry, when I hear sweet music.
Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentive; For do but note a wild and wanton herd, Or race of youthful and unhandled colts, Fetching mad bounds, bellowing, and neighing loud, Which is the hot condition of their blood; If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound, Or any air of music touch their ears, You shall perceive them make a mutual stand, Their savage eyes turned to a modest gaze, By the sweet power of music. Therefore, the poet Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods; Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage, But music for the time doth change his nature. The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils ; The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted.-Mark the music.
Enter PORTIA and NERISSA at a distance.
Por. That light we see is burning in my hall. How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world. Ner. When the moon shone, we did not see the
candle. Por. So doth the greater glory dim the less.
1 The folio editions, and the quarto printed by Roberts, read
“Such harmony is in immortal souls ;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close in it, we cannot hear it.”
A substitute shines brightly as a king,
Until a king be by ; and then his state
Empties itself, as doth an inland brook
Into the main of waters. Music! Hark!
Ner. It is your music, madam, of the house.
Por. Nothing is good, I see, without respect;' Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day.
Ner. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.
Por. The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark,
When neither is attended; and, I think,
The nightingale, if she should sing by day,
When every goose is cackling, would be thought
No better a musician than the wren.
How many things by season seasoned are
To their right praise, and true perfection!
Peace, hoa! The moon sleeps with Endymion,
And would not be awaked!
[Music ceases. Lor.
That is the voice, Or, I am much deceived, of Portia. Por. He knows me, as the blind man knows the
cuckoo, By the bad voice. Lor.
Dear lady, welcome home.
Por. We have been praying for our husbands'
Which speed, we hope, the better for our words.
Are they returned ?
Madam, they are not yet ;
But there is come a messenger before,
To signify their coming.
Go in, Nerissa;
Give order to my servants, that they take
No note at all of our being absent hence ;
Lorenzo ;-Jessica, nor you.
[A tucket' sounds. Lor. Your husband is at hand; I hear his trumpet ; We are no telltales, madam; fear
1 Not absolutely, but relatively good, as it is modified by circumstances. 9 Toccato (Ital.), a flourish on a trumpet.
Por. This night, methinks, is but the daylight sick;
It looks a little paler; 'tis a day,
Such as a day is when the sun is hid.
Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and therr
Bass. We should hold day with the antipodes,
If you would walk in absence of the sun.
Por. Let me give light, but let me not be light;
For a light wife doth make a heavy husband,
And never be Bassanio so for me ;
But God sort all !-You are welcome home, my lord.
Bass. I thank you, madam; give welcome to my
This is the man, this is Antonio,
To whom I am so infinitely bound.
Por. You should in all sense be much bound to him,
For, as I hear, he was much bound for
Ant. No more than I am well acquitted of.
Por. Sir, you are very welcome to our house.
It must appear in other ways than words,
Therefore, I scant this breathing courtesy.
[Gratiano and Nerissa seem to talk apart.
Gra. By yonder moon, I swear, you do me wrong;
In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk.
Would he were gelt that had it, for my part,
Since you do take it, love, so much at heart.
Por. A quarrel, ho, already? What's the matter"
Gra. About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring
That she did give me; whose posy was
For all the world like cutler's poetry
Upon a knife, Love me, and leave me not.
Ner. What talk you of the posy, or the value ?
1 Shakspeare delights to trifle with this word.
2 This verbal complimentary form, made up only of breath, i. e. words.
-like cutler's poetry
Upon a knife.” Knives were formerly inscribed, by means of aqua fortis, with short sen tences in distich.
You swore to me, when I did give it you,
That you would wear it till your hour of death;
And that it should lie with you in your grave.
Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,
You should have been respective, and have kept it.
Gave it a judge's clerk !-But well I know,
The clerk will ne'er wear hair on his face that had it.
Gra. He will, an if he live to be a man.
Ner. Ay, if a woman live to be a man.
Gra. Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,-
A kind of boy; a little scrubbed boy,
No higher than thyself; the judge's clerk ;
A prating boy, that begged it as a fee:
I could not for my heart deny it him.
Por. You were to blame-I must be plain with you-
To part so slightly with your wife's first gift;
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger,
And riveted so with faith unto your flesh.
I gave my love a ring, and made him swear
Never to part with it; and here he stands;
I dare be sworn for him, he would not leave it,
Nor pluck it from his finger, for the wealth
That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano,
You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief;
An 'twere to me, I should be mad at it.
Bass. Why, I were best to cut my left hand off, And swear I lost the ring defending it. [Aside.
Gra. My lord Bassanio gave his ring away
Unto the judge that begged it, and, indeed,
Deserved it too; and then the boy, his clerk,
That took some pains in writing, he begged mine;
And neither man, nor master, would take aught
But the two rings.
What ring gave you, my lord ?
Not that, I hope, which you received of me.
Bass. If I could add a lie unto a fault, I would deny it; but you see, my finger Hath not the ring upon it; it is gone.
1 Respective, that is, considerative, regardful; not respectful or respectable, as Steevens supposed.
Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth.
By Heaven, I will ne'er come in your bed
Until I see the ring.
Ner. Nor I in yours,
Till I again see mine.
If you did know to whom I gave the ring,
If you did know for whom I gave the ring,
And would conceive for what I gave the ring,
And how unwillingly I left the ring,
When nought would be accepted but the ring,
You would abate the strength of your displeasure.
Por. If you had known the virtue of the ring,
Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
Or your own honor to contain the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
What man is there so much unreasonable,
had pleased to have defended it
With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
To urge the thing held as a ceremony ? ?
Nerissa teaches me what to believe;
l'll die for't, but some woman had the ring.
Bass. No, by mine honor, madam, by my soul,
No woman had it, but a civil doctor,
Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me,
And begged the ring; the which I did deny him,
And suffered him to go displeased away;
Even he that had held up the very life
Of my dear friend.
dear friend. What should I
What should I say, sweet lady?
I was enforced to send it after him;
I was beset with shame and courtesy ;
My honor would not let ingratitude
So much besmear it. Pardon me, good lady;
For, by these blessed candles of the night,
Had you been there, I think, you would have begged
The ring of me to give the worthy doctor.
Por. Let not that doctor e'er come near my house : Since he hath got the jewel that I loved,
1 To contain had nearly the same meaning with to retain.
? 1. e. kept in a measure religiously, or superstitiously.