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140 A gentle scroll. Fair lady, by your leave;

I come by note, to give and to receive.
Like one of two contending in a prize,
That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes,

Hearing applause and universal shout, 145 Giddy in spirit, still gazing in a doubt

Whether those peals of praise be his or no:
So, thrice-fair lady, stand I, even so;
As doubtful whether what I see be true,

Until confirm’d, sign’d, ratified by you. 150 Por. You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand,

Such as I am: though for myself alone
I would not be ambitious in my wish,
To wish myself much better; yet, for you

I would be trebled twenty times myself; 155 A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times

More rich;
That only to stand high in your account,
I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,

Exceed account; but the full sum of me
160 Is sum of something, which, to term in gross,

Is an unlesson’d girl, unschool'd, unpractised,
Happy in this, she is not yet so old
But she may learn; happier then in this,

She is not bred so dull but she can learn; 165 Happiest of all in that her gentle spirit

Commits itself to yours to be directed,
As from her lord, her governor, her king.
Myself and what is mine to you and yours

Is now converted: but now I was the lord 170 Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,

Queen o'er myself; and even now, but now,
This house, these servants and this same myself
Are yours, my lord : I give them with this ring;
Which when you part from, lose, or give away,

175 Let it presage the ruin of your love And be my vantage to exclaim on you.

Bass. Madam, you have bereft me of all words, Only my blood speaks to you in my veins;

And there is such confusion in my powers, 180 As, after some oration fairly spoke

By a beloved prince, there doth appear
Among the buzzing pleased multitude;
Where every something, being blent together,

Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy, 185 Express'd and not express’d. But when this ring

Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence: 0, then be bold to say Bassanio's dead !

Ner. My lord and lady, it is now our time, That have stood by and seen our wishes prosper, 190 To cry, good joy : good joy, my lord and lady!

Gra. My lord Bassanio and my gentle lady,
I wish you all the joy that you can wish;
For I am sure you can wish none from me:

And when your honours mean to solemnize 195 The bargain of your faith, I do beseech you, Even at that time I may be married too.

Bass. With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife.

Gra. I thank your lordship, you have got me one. My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours: 200 You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid ;

You loved, I loved : for intermission
No more pertains to me, my lord, than you.
Your fortune stood upon the casket there,

And so did mine too, as the matter falls; 205 For wooing here until I sweat again,

And swearing till my very roof was dry
With oaths of love, at last, if promise last,
I got a promise of this fair one here

To have her love, provided that your fortune

Achieved her mistress. 210 Por.

Is this true, Nerissa ?
Ner. Madam, it is, so you stand pleased withal.
Bass. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith ?
Gra. Yes, faith, my lord.

Bass. Our feast shall be much honour'd in your marriage. 215 Gra. But who comes here? Lorenzo and his infidel ?

What, and my old Venetian friend Salanio ?


Bass. Lorenzo and Salanio, welcome hither:
If that the youth of my new interest here

Have power to bid you welcome. By your leave,
220 I bid my very friends and countrymen,
Sweet Portia, welcome.

So do I, my lord :
They are entirely welcome.

Lor. I thank your honour. For my part, my lord,
My purpose was not to have seen you here;
225 But meeting with Salanio by the way,

He did intreat me, past all saying nay,
To come with him along.

I did, my lord :
And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio
Commends him to you.

[Gives Bassanio a letter. Bass.

Ere I ope his letter, 230 I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth.

Salan. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind ;
Nor well, unless in mind : his letter there
Will show you his estate.

Gra. Nerissa, cheer yon stranger; bid her welcome. 235 Your hand, Salanio: what's the news from Venice?

How doth that royal merchant, good Antonio ?


I know he will be glad of our success;
We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.

Salan. I would you had won the fleece that he hath lost.

Por. There are some shrewd contents in yon same paper, That steals the colour from Bassanio's cheek: Some dear friend dead; else nothing in the world Could turn so much the constitution

Of any constant man. What, worse and worse! 245 With leave, Bassanio; I am half yourself,

And I must freely have the half of anything
That this same paper brings you.

O sweet Portia,
Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words

That ever blotted paper! Gentle lady, 250 When I did first impart my love to you,

I freely told you, all the wealth I had
Ran in my veins, I was a gentleman;
And then I told you true: and yet, dear. lady,

Rating myself at nothing, you shall see
255 How much I was a braggart. When I told you

My state was nothing, I should then have told you
That I was worse than nothing; for, indeed,
I have engaged myself to a dear friend,

Engaged my friend to his mere enemy,
260 To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady;

The paper as the body of my friend,
And every word in it a gaping wound,
Issuing life-blood. But is it true, Salanio ?

Have all his ventures fail'd? What, not one hit ? 265 From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England,

From Lisbon, Barbary, and India ?
And not one vessel ’scape the dreadful touch
Of merchant-marring rocks ?

Not one, my lord.
Besides, it should appear, that if he had



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270 The present money to discharge the Jew,

He would not take it. Never did I know
A creature, that did bear the shape of man,
So keen and greedy to confound a man:

He plies the duke at morning and at night, 275 And doth impeach the freedom of the state,

If they deny him justice: twenty merchants,
The duke himself, and the magnificoes
Of greatest port, have all persuaded with him;

But none can drive him from the envious plea 280 Of forfeiture, of justice, and his bond.

Jes. When I was with him I have heard him swear
To Tubal and to Chus, his countrymen,
That he would rather have Antonio's flesh

Than twenty times the value of the sum
285 That he did owe him: and I know, my lord,

If law, authority, and power deny not,
It will go hard with poor Antonio.

Por. Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble ?

Bass. The dearest friend to me, the kindest man, 290 The best-condition'd and unwearied spirit

In doing courtesies, and one in whom
The ancient Roman honour more appears
Than any that draws breath in Italy.

Por. What sum owes he the Jew ?
Bass. For me three thousand ducats.

What, no more?
Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond;
Double six thousand, and then treble that,
Before a friend of this description

Shall lose a hair through Bassanio's fault.
300 First go with me to church and call me wife,

And then away to Venice to your friend;
For never shall you lie by Portia's side
With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold


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