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meaning chooses you, will, no doubt, never be chosen by any rightly but one who shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection towards any
of these princely suitors that are already come?
Portia. I pray thee, overname them; and as thou 35 namest them, I will describe them; and, according to my description, level at my affection.
Nerissa. First, there is the Neapolitan prince.
Portia. Aye, that's a colt indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horse; and he makes it a great appro- 40 priation to his own good parts, that he can shoe him himself.
Nerissa. Then there is the County Palatine.
Portia. He doth nothing but frown, as who should say, “ An you will not have me, choose : he hears 45 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. God defend me from these 50 two!
Nerissa. How say you by the French lord, Monsieur le Bon?
Portia. God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man. In truth, I know it is a sin to be a mocker : 55 but, he! why, he hath a horse better than the Neapolitan's, a better bad habit of frowning than the Count Palatine; he is every man in no man; if a throstle sing, he falls straight a-capering : he will fence with his own shadow : if I should marry him, I should 60 marry twenty husbands. If he would despise me, I would forgive him, for if he love me to madness, I shall never requite him,
Nerissa. What say you, then, to Falconbridge, the young baron of England ?
Portia. You know I say nothing to him, for he understands not me, nor I him : he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian, and you will come into the court and swear that I have a poor pennyworth in the English. He is a proper man's picture, but, alas, who can converse 70 with a dumb show? How oddly he is suited! I think he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany, and his behavior everywhere.
Nerissa. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbor ?
Portia. That he hath a neighborly charity in him, for he borrowed a box of the ear of the Englishman and swore he would pay him again when he was able : I think the Frenchman became his surety and sealed under for another.
Nerissa. How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew ?
Portia. Very vilely in the morning, when he is sober, and most vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk : when he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and 85 when he is worst, he is little better than a beast : an the worst fall that ever fell, I hope I shall make shift to go without him.
Nerissa. If he should offer to choose, and choose the right casket, you should refuse to perform your father's 90 will, if you should refuse to accept him.
Portia. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, set a deep glass of Rhenish wine on the contrary casket, for if the devil be within and that temptation without, I know he will choose it. I will do anything, Nerissa, 95 ere I'll be married to a sponge.
Nerissa. You need not fear, lady, the having any of these lords: they have acquainted me with their determinations; which is, indeed, to return to their home and to trouble you with no more suit, unless you 100 may be won by some other sort than your father's imposition depending on the caskets.
Portia. 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 105 so reasonable, for there is not one among them but I dote on his very absence, and I pray God grant them a fair departure.
Nerissa. Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came 110 hither in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?
Portia. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, so was he called.
Nerissa. True, madam : he, of all the men that ever my foolish eyes looked upon, was the best deserving a 115
Portia. I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of thy praise.
Enter a Servant. How now! what news ?
Servant. The four strangers seek for you, madam, to 120 take their leave: and there is a forerunner come from a fifth, the Prince of Morocco, who brings word the prince his master will be here to-night.
Portia. If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good a heart as I can bid the other four farewell, I 125 should be glad of his approach : if he have the condition of a saint and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me.
Come, Nerissa. Sirrah, go before. Whiles we shut the gates upon one wooer, another 130 knocks at the door.
A Public Place.
Enter BASSANIO and SHYLOCK.
Shylock. Three thousand ducats; well.
Bassanio. Aye, sir, for three months.
Shylock. For three months; well.
Bassanio. For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound.
Shylock. Antonio shall become bound; well.
Bassanio. May you stead me ? will you pleasure me?
HENRY IRVING AS SHYLOCK shall I know your answer ?
Shylock. Three thousand ducats for three months 15 and Antonio bound.
Bassanio. Your answer to that.
Bassanio. Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?
Shylock. Oh, no, no, no, no : my meaning in saying he is a good man is to have you understand me that he is sufficient. Yet his means are in supposition : he hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I understand, moreover, upon the Rialto, he 25 hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and other
ventures he hath, squandered abroad. But ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land rats and water rats, land thieves and water thieves, I mean pirates, and then there is the peril of waters, winds 30 and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding, sufficient. Three thousand ducats ; I think I may take his bond.
Bassanio. Be assured you may.
Shylock. I will be assured I may; and, that I may be assured, I will bethink me. May I speak with 35 Antonio?
Bassanio. If it please you to dine with us.
Shylock. Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into. I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with 40 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?
Bassanio. This is Signior Antonio.