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Salarino. We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.
[Exeunt Salarino and Salanio. Lorenzo. My Lord Bassanio, since you have found
We two will leave you ; but at dinner time,
I pray you, have in mind where we must meet.
Bassanio. I will not fail you.
Gratiano. You look not well, Signior Antonio ;
You have too much respect upon the world :
They lose it that do buy it with much care :
Believe me, you are marvelously changed.
Antonio. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano ;
A stage where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.
Let me play the fool :
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come,
And let my liver rather heat with wine
Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.
Why should a man, whose blood is warm within,
Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster ?
Sleep when he wakes, and creep into the jaundice
By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio —
I love thee, and it is my love that speaks
There are a sort of men whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,
And do a willful stillness entertain,
With purpose to be dressed in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit,
As who should say “ I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips let no dog bark !
O my Antonio, I do know of these
That therefore only are reputed wise
For saying nothing ; who, I am very sure,
If they should speak, would almost damn those ears
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools.
I'll tell thee more of this another time :
But fish not, with this melancholy bait,
For this fool gudgeon, this opinion.
Come, good Lorenzo. — Fare ye well awhile :
I'll end my exhortation after dinner.
Lorenzo. Well, we will leave you then till dinner 105
I must be one of these same dumb wise men,
For Gratiano never lets me speak.
Gratiano. Well, keep me company but two years
moe, Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue. Antonio. Farewell : I'll grow a talker for this gear. 110 Gratiano. Thanks, i' faith, for silence is only com
mendable In a neat's tongue dried and a maid not vendible.
[Exeunt Gratiano and Lorenzo. Antonio. Is that anything now?
Bassanio. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice. His reasons are as 115 two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff : you shall seek all day ere you find them, and when you have them they are not worth the search.
Antonio. Well, tell me now what lady is the same
To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
That you to-day promised to tell me of ?
Bassanio. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
How much I have disabled mine estate,
By something showing a more swelling port
Than my faint means would grant continuance :
125 Nor do I now make moan to be abridged
From such a noble rate ; but my
Is to come fairly off from the great debts
Wherein my time, something too prodigal,
Hath left me gaged. To you, Antonio,
I owe the most, in money and in love,
And from your love I have a warranty
To unburden all my plots and purposes
How to get clear of all the debts I owe.
Antonio. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it; 135
And if it stand, as you yourself still do,
Within the eye of honor, be assured,
My purse, my person, my extremest means,
Lie all unlocked to your occasions.
Bassanio. In my school days, when I had lost one 140
I shot his fellow of the selfsame flight
The selfsame way with more advised watch,
To find the other forth, and by adventuring both
I oft found both : I urge this childhood proof,
Because what follows is pure innocence.
I owe you much, and, like a willful youth,
That which I owe is lost; but if you please
To shoot another arrow that self way
Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
As I will watch the aim, or to find both
Or bring your latter hazard back again
And thankfully rest debtor for the first.
Antonio. You know me well, and herein spend but
To wind about my love with circumstance;
And out of doubt you do me now more wrong
In making question of my uttermost
Than if you had made waste of all I have:
Then do but say to me what I should do
That in your knowledge may by me be done,
And I am prest unto it: therefore, speak.
Bassanio. In Belmont is a lady richly left ;
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wondrous virtues ; sometimes from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages:
Her name is Portia ; nothing undervalued
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia:
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,
For the four winds blow in from every coast
Renowned suitors; and her sunny locks
Hang on her temples like a golden fleece ;
Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos' strand,
And many Jasons come in quest of her.
() my Antonio, had I but the means
To hold a rival place with one of them,
I have a mind presages me such thrift,
That I should questionless be fortunate!
Antonio. Thou know'st that all my fortunes are at
Neither have I money nor commodity
To raise a present sum : therefore go forth;
Try what my credit can in Venice do :
That shall be racked, even to the uttermost,
To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia.
Go, presently inquire, and so will I,
Where money is, and I no question make
To have it of my trust or for my sake. . [Exeunt.
A Room in PORTIA's House.
Enter PORTIA and NERISSA.
Portia. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world.
Nerissa. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are : and yet, for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit with too much as they that starve with nothing. It is no mean happiness, therefore, to be seated in the mean : superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.
Portia. Good sentences and well pronounced.
Nerissa. They would be better, if well followed.
Portia. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches and poor men's cottages princes' palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions: I can easier teach twenty 15 what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching. The brain may devise laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o’er a cold decree : such a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel the cripple. But this rea- 20 soning is not in the fashion to choose me a husband. O me, the word “choose " ! I may neither choose whom I would nor refuse whom I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father. Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose 25 one nor refuse none ?
Nerissa. Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men at their death have good inspirations: therefore the lottery, that he hath devised in these three chests of gold, silver, and lead, whereof who chooses his 30