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ACT I


SCENE I

Venice. A street.
Enter ANTONIO, SALARINO, and SALANIO.

Ant.
In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:

It wearies me; you say it wearies you;

But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,

What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,

I am to learn;

And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,

That I have much ado to know myself.

Salar.
Your mind is tossing on the ocean;

There, where your argosies with portly sail, (10)

Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood,

Or, as it were, the pageants of the sea,

Do overpeer the petty traffickers,

That curtsy to them, do them reverence,

As they fly by them with their woven wings.

Salan.
Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,

The better part of my affections would

Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still

Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind,

Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads; (20)

And every object that might make me fear

Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt

Would make me sad.

Salar.
My wind cooling my broth

Would blow me to an ague, when I thought

What harm a wind too great at sea might do.

I should not see the sandy hour-glass run,

But I should think of shallows and of flats,

And see my wealthy Andrew dock'd in sand,

Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs

To kiss her burial. Should I go to church (30)

And see the holy edifice of stone,

And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks,

Which touching but my gentle vessel's side,

Would scatter all her spices on the stream,

Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks,

And, in a word, but even now worth this,

And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought

To think on this, and shall I lack the thought

That such a thing bechanced would make me sad?

But tell not me; I know, Antonio (40)

Is sad to think upon his merchandise.

Ant.
Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it,

My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,

Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate

Upon the fortune of this present year:

Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad.

Salar.
Why, then you are in love.

Ant.
Fie, fie!

Salar.
Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sad,

Because you are not merry: and 'twere as easy

For you to laugh and leap and say you are merry, (50)

Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed Janus,

Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time:

Some that will evermore peep through their eyes

And laugh like parrots at a bag-piper,

And other of such vinegar aspect

That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile,

Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable. Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO.


Salan.
Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman,

Gratiano and Lorenzo. Fare ye well:

We leave you now with better company.

Salar.
60I would have stay'd till I had made you merry,

If worthier friends had not prevented me.

Ant.
Your worth is very dear in my regard.

I take it, your own business calls on you

And you embrace the occasion to depart.

Salar.
Good morrow, my good lords.

Bass.
Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? say, when?

You grow exceeding strange: must it be so?

Salar.
We'll make our leisures to attend on yours. [Exeunt Salarino and Salanio.


Lor.
My Lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio, (70)

We two will leave you: but at dinner-time,

I pray you, have in mind where we must meet.

Bass.
I will not fail you.

Gra.
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 marvellously changed.

Ant.
I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;

A stage where every man must play a part,

And mine a sad one.

Gra.
Let me play the fool:

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come, (81)

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, (90)

And do a wilful stillness entertain,

With purpose to be dress'd 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; when, I am very sure,

If they should speak, would almost damn those ears

Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools. (100)

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.

Lor.
Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time:

I must be one of these same dumb wise men,

For Gratiano never lets me speak.

Gra.
Well, keep me company but two years moe,

Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.

Ant.
110Farewell: I'll grow a talker for this gear.

Gra.
Thanks, i' faith, for silence is only commendable

In a neat's tongue dried and a maid not vendible. [Exeunt Gratiano and Lorenzo.


Ant.
Is that any thing now?

Bass.
Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of
nothing, more than any man in all Venice.
His reasons are as 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.

Ant.
Well, tell me now what lady is the same (120)

To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage

That you to-day promised to tell me of?

Bass.
'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:

Nor do I now make moan to be abridged

From such a noble rate; but my chief care

Is to come fairly off from the great debts

Wherein my time something too prodigal (130)

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.

Ant.
I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;

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 unlock'd to your occasions.

Bass.
140In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,

I shot his fellow of the self-same flight

The self-same 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 wilful 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, (150)

As I will watch the aim, or to find both

Or bring your latter hazard back again

And thankfully rest debtor for the first.

Ant.
You know me well, and herein spend but time

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, (160)

And I am prest unto it: therefore, speak.

Bass.
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 (170)

Hang on her temples like a golden fleece;

Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos' strand,

And many Jasons come in quest of her.

O 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!

Ant.
Thou know'st that all my fortunes are at sea;

Neither have I money nor commodity

To raise a present sum: therefore go forth; (180)

Try what my credit can in Venice do:

That shall be rack'd, 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.


SCENE II

Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house.
Enter PORTIA and NERISSA.

Por.
By my troth, Nerissa, my little body
is aweary of this great world.

Ner.
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 (10)
competency lives longer.

Por.
Good sentences and well pronounced.

Ner.
They would be better, if well followed.

Por.
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 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 reasoning 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 (29)
cannot choose one nor refuse none?

Ner.
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 meaning

chooses you, will, no doubt, never be chosen
by any rightly but one who shall rightly love.
But what warmth is there in your affection towards
any of these princely suitors that are
already come?

Por.
I pray thee, over-name them; and as
thou namest them, I will describe them; and,
according to my description, level at my affection.

Ner.
First, there is the Neapolitan prince.

Por.
Ay, that's a colt indeed, for he doth
nothing but talk of his horse; and he makes it
a great appropriaton to his own good parts,
that he can shoe him himself. I am much
afeard my lady his mother played false with a
smith. (49)

Ner.
Then there is the County Palatine.

Por.
He doth nothing but frown, as who
should say 'If you will not have me, choose:'
he hears merry tales and smiles not: I fear he
will prove the weeping philosopher when he
grows old, being so full of unmannerly sadness
in his youth. I had rather be married to
a death's-head with a bone in his mouth than
to either of these. God defend me from these
two!

Ner.
How say you by the French lord, (59)
Monsieur Le Bon?

Por.
God made him, and therefore let him
pass for a man. In truth, I know it is a sin to
be a mocker: but, he! why, he hath a horse
better than the Neapolitan's, a better bad
habit of frowning than the Count Palatine; he

is every man in no man; if a throstle sing, he
falls straight a capering: he will fence with
his own shadow: if I should marry him, I
should marry twenty husbands. If he would
despise me I would forgive him, for if he love (70)
me to madness, I shall never requite him.

Ner.
What say you, then, to Falconbridge,
the young baron of England?

Por.
You know I say nothing to him, for
he understands not me, nor I him: he hath
neither Latin, French, nor Italian, and you
will come into the court and swear that I have
a poor pennyworth in the English. He is a

proper man's picture, but, alas, who can converse
with a dumb-show? How oddly he is
suited! I think he bought his doublet in Italy,
his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany
and his behavior every where.

Ner.
What think you of the Scottish lord,
his neighbor?

Por.
That he hath a neighborly charity in
him, for he borrowed a box of the ear of the
Englishman and swore he would pay him
again when he was able: I think the Frenchman
became his surety and sealed under for
another.

Ner.
How like you the young German, the (91)
Duke of Saxony's nephew?

Por.
Very vilely in the morning, when he
is sober, and most vilely in the afternoon,
when he is drunk: when he is best, he is a
little worse than a man, and when he is worst,
he is little better than a beast: and the worst

fall that ever fell, I hope I shall make shift
to go without him.

Ner.
If he should offer to choose, and
choose the right casket, you should refuse to
perform your father's will, if you should refuse
to accept him.

Por.
Therefore, for fear of the worst, I
pray thee, set a deep glass of rhenish wine on
the contrary casket, for if the devil be within
and that temptation without, I know he will
choose it. I will do any thing, Nerissa, ere I'll
be married to a sponge.

Ner.
You need not fear, lady, the having
any of these lords: they have acquainted me
with their determinations; which is, indeed,
to return to their home and to trouble you
with no more suit, unless you may be won by
some other sort than your father's imposition

depending on the caskets.

Por.
If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will
die as chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by
the manner of my father's will. I am glad this
parcel of wooers are so reasonable, for there
is not one among them but I dote on his very
absence, and I pray God grant them a fair departure.

Ner.
Do you not remember, lady, in your
father's time, a Venetian, a scholar and a
soldier, that came hither in company of the
Marquis of Montferrat?

Por.
Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think,
he was so called.

Ner.
True, madam: he, of all the men that
ever my foolish eyes looked upon, was the best (131)
deserving a fair lady.

Por.
I remember him well, and I remember
him worthy of thy praise. Enter a Serving-man. How now! what news?

Serv.
The four strangers seek for you,
madam, to take their leave: and there is a
forerunner come from a fifth, the Prince of
Morocco, who brings word the prince his
(139)
master will be here to-night.

Por.
If I could bid the fifth welcome with
so good a heart as I can bid the other four
farewell, I should be glad of his approach: if
he have the condition of a saint and the complexion
of a devil, I had rather he should

shrive me than wive me.
Come, Nerissa. Sirrah, go before.

Whiles we shut the gates upon one wooer, another

knocks at the'door. [Exeunt.


SCENE III

Venice. A public place.
Enter BASSANIO and SHYLOCK.

Shy.
Three thousand ducats; well.

Bass.
Ay, sir, for three months.

Shy.
For three months; well.

Bass.
For the which, as I told you, Antonio
shall be bound.

Shy.
Antonio shall become bound; well.

Bass.
May you stead me? will you pleasure
me? shall I know your answer?

Shy.
Three thousand ducats for three (10)
months and Antonio bound.

Bass.
Your answer to that.

Shy.
Antonio is a good man.

Bass.
Have you heard any imputation to
the contrary?

Shy.
Oh, no, no, no, no: my meaning in
saying he is a good man is to have you understand
me that he is sufficient. Yet his means
are in supposition: he hath an argosy bound
to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I understand

moreover, upon the Rialto, he hath a
third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and
other ventures he hath, squandered abroad.
But ships are but boards, sailors but men:
there be land-rats and water-rats, water-thieves

and land-thieves, I mean pirates, and then
there is the peril of waters, winds and rocks.
The man is, notwithstanding, sufficient. Three
thousand ducats; I think I may take his bond. (29)

Bass.
Be assured you may.

Shy.
I will be assured I may; and, that I
may be assured, I will bethink me. May I
speak with Antonio?

Bass.
If it please you to dine with us.

Shy.
Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation

which your prophet the Nazarite conjured
the devil into. I will buy with you, sell
with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so
following, but I will not eat with you, drink
with you, nor pray with you. What news on the (40)
Rialto? Who is he comes here? Enter ANTONIO.

Bass.
This is Signior Antonio.

Shy.
[Aside]

How like a fawning publican he looks!

I hate him for he is a Christian,

But more for that in low simplicity

He lends out money gratis and brings down

The rate of usance here with us in Venice.

If I can catch him once upon the hip,

I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.

He hates our sacred nation, and he rails, (50)

Even there where merchants most do congregate,

On me, my bargains and my well-won thrift,

Which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe,

If I forgive him!

Bass.
Shylock, do you hear?

Shy.
I am debating of my present store,

And, by the near guess of my memory,

I cannot instantly raise up the gross

Of full three thousand ducats. What of that?

Tubal, a wealthy Hebrew of my tribe,

Will furnish me. But soft! how many months (60)

Do you desire? [To Ant.]
Rest you fair, good signior;

Your worship was the last man in our mouths.

Ant.
Shylock, although I neither lend nor borrow

By taking nor by giving of excess,

Yet, to supply the ripe wants of my friend,

I'll break a custom. Is he yet possess'd

How much ye would?

Shy.
Ay, ay, three thousand ducats.

Ant.
And for three months.

Shy.
I had forgot; three months; you told me so.

Well then, your bond; and let me see; but hear you;

Methought you said you neither lend nor borrow

Upon advantage.

Ant.
I do never use it.

Shy.
When Jacob grazed his uncle Laban's sheep--

This Jacob from our holy Abram was,

As his wise mother wrought in his behalf,

The third possessor; ay, he was the third--

Ant.
And what of him? did he take interest?

Shy.
No, not take interest, not, as you would say,

Directly interest: mark what Jacob did.

When Laban and himself were compromised (80)

That all the eanlings which were streak'd and pied

Should fall as Jacob's hire, the ewes, being rank,

In the end of autumn turned to the rams,

And, when the work of generation was

Between these woolly breeders in the act,

The skilful shepherd peel'd me certain wands

And, in the doing of the deed of kind,

He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes,

Who then conceiving did in eaning time

Fall parti-color'd lambs, and those were Jacob's. (90)

This was a way to thrive, and he was blest:

And thrift is blessing, if men steal it not.

Ant.
This was a venture, sir, that Jacob served for;

A thing not in his power to bring to pass,

But sway'd and fashion'd by the hand of heaven.

Was this inserted to make interest good?

Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?

Shy.
I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast:

But note me, signior.

Ant.
Mark you this, Bassanio,

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. (100)

An evil soul producing holy witness

Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,

A goodly apple rotten at the heart:

O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

Shy.
Three thousand ducats; 'tis a good round sum.

Three months from twelve; then, let me see; the rate--

Ant.
Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you?

Shy.
Signior Antonio, many a time and oft

In the Rialto you have rated me

About my moneys and my usances: (110)

Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,

For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.

You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,

And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,

And all for use of that which is mine own.

Well then, it now appears you need my help:

Go to, then; you come to me, and you say

'Shylock, we would have moneys:' you say so;

You, that did void your rheum upon my beard

And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur (120)

Over your threshold: moneys is your suit.

What should I say to you? Should I not say

'Hath a dog money? is it possible

A cur can lend three thousand ducats?' Or

Shall I bend low and in a bondman's key,

With bated breath and whispering humbleness,

Say this;

'Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last;

You spurn'd me such a day; another time

You call'd me dog; and for these courtesies

I'll lend you thus much moneys'?

Ant.
I am as like to call thee so again,

To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too.

If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not

As to thy friends; for when did friendship take

A breed for barren metal of his friend?

But lend it rather to thine enemy,

Who, if he break, thou mayst with better face

Exact the penalty.

Shy.
Why, look you, how you storm!

I would be friends with you and have your love, (140)

Forget the shames that you have stain'd me with,

Supply your present wants and take no doit

Of usance for my moneys, and you'll not hear me:

This is kind I offer.

Bass.
This were kindness.

Shy.
This kindness will I show.

Go with me to a notary, seal me there

Your single bond; and, in a merry sport,

If you repay me not on such a day,

In such a place, such sum or sums as are

Express'd in the condition, let the forfeit (150)

Be nominated for an equal pound

Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken

In what part of your body pleaseth me.

Ant.
Content, i' faith; I'll seal to such a bond

And say there is much kindness in the Jew.

Bass.
You shall not seal to such a bond for me:

I'll rather dwell in my necessity.

Ant.
Why, fear not, man; I will not forfeit it:

Within these two months, that's a month before

This bond expires, I do expect return (160)

Of thrice three times the value of this bond.

Shy.
O father Abram, what these Christians are,

Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect

The thoughts of others! Pray you, tell me this;

If he should break his day, what should I gain

By the exaction of the forfeiture?

A pound of man's flesh taken from a man

Is not so estimable, profitable neither,

As flesh of muttons, beefs, or goats. I say,

To buy his favor, I extend this friendship: (170)

If he will take it, so; if not, adieu;

And, for my love, I pray you wrong me not.

Ant.
Yes, Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.

Shy.
Then meet me forthwith at the notary's;

Give him direction for this merry bond,

And I will go and purse the ducats straight,

See to my house, left in the fearful guard

Of an unthrifty knave, and presently

I will be with you.

Ant.
Hie thee, gentle Jew. [Exit Shylock.


The Hebrew will turn Christian: he grows kind.

Bass.
I like not fair terms and a villain's mind.

Ant.
Come on: in this there can be no dismay;

My ships come home a month before the day. [Exeunt.

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