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Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica Look! how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;
There's not the smallest orb, which thou behold'st,
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-ey'd cherubins:
Such harmony is in immortal souls;

[Music.

But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
Fes. 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,
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 turn'd to a modest gaze,

By the sweet power of music: Therefore, the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods:
The man that hath no music in himself,

Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
Let no such man be trusted.

Enter PORTIA and NERISSA.

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.
Lor.
That is the voice,
Or I am much deceiv'd, 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' wel

fare,

Which speed, we hope, the better for our words.
Are they return'd?

Lor.
Madam, they are not yet;
But there is come a messenger before,
To signify their coming.

Por.
Go in, Nerissa,
Give order to my servants, that they take
No note at all of our being absent hence ;-
Nor you, Lorenzo;-Jessica, nor you.

[A tucket sounds. Lor. Your husband is at hand, I hear his trumpet; We are no tell-tales, madam; fear you not.

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 their Followers.

You are welcome home, my lord.

Bass. I thank you, madam: give welcome to my friend.

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 you.

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 talk apart. Gra. By yonder moon, I swear, you do me wrong; In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk.

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? 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 !-No, Heaven's my judge, The clerk will ne'er wear hair on's 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 begg'd 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 so riveted 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 begg'd it, and, indeed,
Deserv'd it too; and then the boy, his clerk,
That took some pains in writing, he begg'd mine :
And neither man, nor master, would take aught
But the two rings.

Por. What ring gave you, my lord? Not that, I hope, which you receiv'd 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.

Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth.
By heaven, I will ne'er come in your sight
Until I see the ring.

Nor I in yours,

Sweet Portia,

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 honour to retain the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
What man is there so much unreasonable,
If you had pleas'd 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;

Ner.

Till I again see mine.
Bass.

I'll die for't, but some woman had the ring.

Bass. No, by mine honour, madam, by my soul,

No woman had it, but a civil doctor,
Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me,

And begg'd the ring; the which I did deny him,
And suffer'd him to go displeas'd away;

Even he that had held up the very life

Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady?

I was enforc'd to send it after him ;

For, by these blessed candles of the night,

Had you been there, I think, you would have begg'd The ring of me to give the worthy doctor.

house:

Por. Let not that doctor e'er come near my
Since he hath got the jewel that I lov'd,
And that which you did swear to keep for me,
I will become as liberal as you :

I'll not deny him any thing I have.

Ner. Nor I his clerk; therefore be well advis'd, How you do leave me to mine own protection.

Ant. I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels. Por. Sir, grieve not you; you are welcome notwithstanding.

Bass. Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong; And, in the hearing of these many friends,

I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes,
I never more will break an oath with thee.

Ant. [To Portia] I once did lend my body for his wealth;

Which, but for him that had your husband's ring,
Had quite miscarried: I dare be bound again,
My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord

Will never more break faith advisedly.

Por. Then you shall be his surety: Give him this; And bid him keep it better than the other.

Ant. Here, lord Bassanio; swear to keep this ring. Bass. By heaven, it is the same I gave the doctor! Por. I had it of him; pardon me, Bassanio. Ner. And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano; For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor's clerk, Did give me this.

Gra. Why, this is like the mending of highways In summer, when the ways are fair enough.

Por. You are all amaz'd:

Here is a letter, read it at your leisure;

It comes from Padua, from Bellario:

There you shall find, that Portia was the doctor;

Nerissa there, her clerk.

Antonio, you are welcome;

And I have better news in store for you
Than you expect: unseal this letter soon;
There you shall find, three of your argosies
Are richly come to harbour suddenly.

Bass. Were you the doctor, and I knew you not? Gra. Were you the clerk, and yet I knew you not? Ant. Sweet lady, you have given me life, and

living;

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