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6 The slaves are ours :

so do I answer you: 95 The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,

Is dearly bought; 'tis mine and I will have it.
If you deny me, fie upon your law !
There is no force in the decrees of Venice.

I stand for judgement: answer; shall I have it? 100 Duke. Upon my power I may dismiss this court,

Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
Whom I have sent for to determine this,
Come here to-day.
Salan.

My lord, here stays without
A messenger with letters from the doctor,
105 New come from Padua.

Duke. Bring us the letters; call the messenger.

Bass. Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet! The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all,

Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood. 110 Ant. I am a tainted wether of the flock,

Meetest for death: the weakest kind of fruit
Drops earliest to the ground; and so let me:
You cannot better be employ’d, Bassanio,
Than to live still and write mine epitaph.

Enter NERISSA, dressed like a lawyer's clerk.

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Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario ?
Ner. From both, my lord. Bellario greets your grace.

[Presenting a letter
Bass. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly ?
Shy. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.

Gra. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew, 120 Thou makest thy knife keen ; but no metal can,

No, not the hangman's axe, bear half the keenness
Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?

Shy. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.

135

Gra. 0, be thou damn'd, inexecrable dog! 125 And for thy life let justice be accused. Thou almost makest me waver in my

faith To hold opinion with Pythagoras, That souls of animals infuse themselves

Into the trunks of men: thy currish spirit
130 Govern’d a wolf, who, hang’d for human slaughter,

Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,
And, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallow'd dam,
Infused itself in thee; for thy desires
Are wolvish, bloody, starved and ravenous.

Shy. Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,
Thou but offend'st thy lungs to speak so loud :
Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall
To cureless ruin. I stand here for law.

Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend
140 A young and learned doctor to our court.
Where is he?
Ner.

He attendeth here hard by,
To know your answer, whether you'll admit him.

Duke. With all my heart. Some three or four of you Go give him courteous conduct to this place. 145 Meantime the court shall hear Bellario's letter.

Clerk. [Reads] Your grace shall understand that at the receipt of your letter I am very sick: but in the instant that your messenger came, in loving visitation was with me

a young doctor of Rome; his name is Balthasar. 150 quainted him with the cause in controversy between the

Jew and Antonio the merchant: we turned o'er many books together: he is furnished with my opinion; which, bettered with his own learning, the greatness whereof I cannot

enough commend, comes with him, at my importunity, to 155 fill up your grace's request in my stead. I beseech you, let

his lack of years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend estimation ; for I never knew so young a body with so

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old a head. I leave him to your gracious acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his commendation.

Duke. You hear the learn’d Bellario, what he writes : And here, I take it, is the doctor come.

160

:

Enter PORTIA, dressed like a doctor of laws.

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Give me your hand. Come you from old Bellario ?

Por. I did, my lord.

Duke. You are welcome: take your place. 165 Are you acquainted with the difference That holds this present question in the court ?

Por. I am informed throughly of the cause. Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew ?

Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.

Por. Is your name Shylock ?
170
Shy.

Shylock is my name.
Por. Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;
Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.
You stand within his danger, do you not ?

Ant. Ay, so he says.
175
Por.

Do
you

confess the bond ?
Ant. I do.
Por.

Then must the Jew be merciful.
Shy. On what compulsion must I? tell me that.

Por. The quality of mercy is not strain’d, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven 180 Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes : 'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown;

His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, 185 The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself;
190 And earthly power doth then show likest God's

When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us

Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy ;
195 And that same prayer doth teach us all to rendei

The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice

Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there. 200 Shy. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law, The penalty and forfeit of my bond.

Por. Is he not able to discharge the money ?

Bass. Yes, here I tender it for him in the court;
Yea, twice the sum: if that will not suffice,
205 I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er,

On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart:
If this will not suffice, it must appear
That malice bears down truth. And I beseech you,

Wrest once the law to your authority : 210 To do a great right, do a little wrong, And curb this cruel devil of his will.

Por. It must not be: there is no power in Venice Can alter a decree established :

'Twill be recorded for a precedent, 215 And many an error by the same example Will rush into the state: it cannot be.

Shy. A Daniel come to judgement! yea, a Daniel ! O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!

Por. I pray you, let me look upon the bond. 220 Shy. Here 'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.

Por. Shylock, there's thrice thy money offer'd thee.

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Shy. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven:
Shall I lay perjury upon my soul ?
No, not for Venice.
Por.

Why, this bond is forfeit; 225 And lawfully by this the Jew may claim

A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
Nearest the merchant's heart. Be merciful:
Take thrice thy money ; bid me tear the bond.

Shy. When it is paid according to the tenour. 230 It doth appear you are a worthy judge;

You know the law, your exposition
Hath been most sound: I charge you by the law,
Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar,

Proceed to judgement: by my soul I swear
235 There is no power in the tongue of man
To alter me: I stay here on my bond.

Ant. Most heartily I do beseech the court
To give the judgement.
Por.

Why then, thus it is:
You must prepare your bosom for his knife.

Shy. O noble judge! O excellent young man !

Por. For the intent and purpose of the law
Hath full relation to the penalty,
Which here appeareth due upon the bond.

Shy. 'Tis very true: 0 wise and upright judge! 245 How much more elder art thou than thy looks !

Por. Therefore lay bare your bosom.
Shy.

Ay, his breast: So says the bond : doth it not, noble judge ? “Nearest his heart: those are the

Por. It is so. Are there balance here to weigh 250 The flesh ?

Shy. I have them ready.

Por. Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge, To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.

240

very words.

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