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Jes. I would out-night you, did no body come; But, hark, I hear the footing of a man.

Enter STEPHANO.

25 Lor. Who comes so fast in silence of the night ?

Steph. A friend.
Lor. A friend! what friend ? your name, I pray you,

friend?
Steph. Stephano is my name; and I bring word
My mistress will before the break of day
30 Be here at Belmont: she doth stray about

By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays
For happy wedlock hours.
Lor.

Who comes with her ?
Steph. None but a holy hermit and her maid.
I pray you, is my master yet return'd?
35 Lor. He is not, nor we have not heard from him.
But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica,

Ι
And ceremoniously let us prepare
Some welcome for the mistress of the house.

Enter LAUNCELOT.

Laun. Sola, sola! wo ha, ho! sola, sola! 40 Lor. Who calls ?

Laun. Sola ! did you see Master Lorenzo ?
Master Lorenzo, sola, sola!

Lor. Leave hollaing, man: here.
Laun. Sola! where? where?
Lor. Here.

Laun. Tell him there's a post come from my master, with his horn full of good news: my master will be here ere morning

[Exit. Lor. Sweet soul, let's in, and there expect their coming. 60 And yet no matter: why should we go in ?

45

My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you,
Within the house, your mistress is at hand;
And bring your music forth into the air. [Exit STEPHANO.

How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank ! 55 Here will we sit and let the sounds of music ·

Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven

Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold :
60 There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st

But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;

But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
65 Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.

Enter Musicians.

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. 70 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;
75 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
80 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, 85 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 mau be trusted. Mark the music.

Enter PORTIA and NERISSA.

Por. That light we see is burning in my hall. . 90 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 :
A substitute shines brightly as a king
95 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: 100 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,
105 When every goose is cackling, would be thought

No better a musician than the wren.
How many things by season season'd are
To their right praise and true perfection!
Peace, ho! the moon sleeps with Endymion,
And would not be awaked.

[Music ceases. 110 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' healths,
115 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
120 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; 125 It looks a little paler: 'tis a day,

Such as the day is when the sun is hid.

Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and their followers.

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;
130 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 friend. This is the man, this is Antonio, 135 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: 140 It must appear in other ways than words,

Therefore I scant this breathing courtesy.

Gra. [To Ner.] 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? 145 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?
150 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.
155 Gave it a judge's clerk! no, God'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, 160 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, 165 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;
170 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. [Aside] Why, I were best to cut my left hand off, And swear I lost the ring defending it.

175

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