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Gra. My Lord Bassanio gave his ring away Unto the judge that begg'd it and indeed Deserved it too; and then the boy, his clerk,
180 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 received of me.
185 I would deny it; but you see my finger
Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth.
190 If you did know for whom I gave the ring
195 Por. If you had known the virtue of the ring,
2oo If you had pleased to have defended it
With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
205 Bass. No, by my honour, madam, by my soul,
210 Even he that did uphold the very life
Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady?
I was enforced to send it after him;
I was beset with shame and courtesy;
My honour would not let ingratitude 215 So much besmear it. Pardon me, good lady;
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.
Por. Let not that doctor e'er come near my house: 220 Since he hath got the jewel that I loved,
And that which you did swear to keep for me.
I will become as liberal as you;
I'll not deny him anything I have.
Bass. Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong;
Por. Mark you but that!
230 In both my eyes he doubly sees himself;
Bass. Nay, but hear me:
Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear
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. You are all amazed:
You shall not know by what strange accident
Ant. I am dumb.
Bass. Were you the doctor and I knew you not?
Ant. Sweet lady, you have given me life and living; 260 For here I read for certain that my ships Are safely come to road.
Por. How now, Lorenzo!
My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.
Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.
Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
Por. It is almost morning,
And yet I am sure you are not satisfied 270 Of these events at full. Let us go in; And charge us there upon inter'gatories, And we will answer all things faithfully.
Gra. Well, while I live I'll fear no other thing So sore as keeping safe Nerissa's ring. [Exeunt.
Act I. Scene I
Enter Salarino and Salanio. The names of these gentlemen are variously spelled in the early Folios and Quartos, and the similarity of the abbreviations there used has led modern editors to question what is the proper assignment of speeches. As the two are not important persons of the play, our uncertainty as to Shakespeare's intention need not trouble us.
5 I am to learn. We should now say, "I have to learn," i.e. "I do not know." On the line, see Introduction, IV. d.
8 ocean. A trisyllable, as in Milton's Hymn on the Nativity,
where it rhymes with "began." See Introduction, IV. h. 2.
9 argosies: large merchant ships, which, it is now supposed,
took their name from the Dalmatian seaport Ragusa, sometimes called in sixteenth-century English Arragosa. The associations of the word are rich, as these vessels had generally a precious freight.
11 pageants. Shakespeare probably had in mind here the
huge representations of divers objects — ships among them — drawn about the London streets in a procession, like the "floats" of modern times. Line 11 is parenthetical. (A pageant seems to have been, originally, the wagon or movable stage on which a single play of the Collective Mysteries was presented. The word was next applied to the short Scriptural play itself, as, for example, "the pageant of Noah's flood "; and later it was used for any gorgeous spectacle.)
12 traffickers: traders; here used, it is evident, for small trad