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Home > Merchant of Venice > ACT III - SCENE II. Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house.

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ACT III - SCENE II. Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house.
1    I pray you, tarry: pause a day or two
2    Before you hazard; for, in choosing wrong,
3    I lose your company: therefore forbear awhile.
4    There's something tells me, but it is not love,
5    I would not lose you; and you know yourself,
6    Hate counsels not in such a quality.
7    But lest you should not understand me well,--
8    And yet a maiden hath no tongue but thought,--
9    I would detain you here some month or two
10   Before you venture for me. I could teach you
11   How to choose right, but I am then forsworn;
12   So will I never be: so may you miss me;
13   But if you do, you'll make me wish a sin,
14   That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes,
15   They have o'erlook'd me and divided me;
16   One half of me is yours, the other half yours,
17   Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours,
18   And so all yours. O, these naughty times
19   Put bars between the owners and their rights!
20   And so, though yours, not yours. Prove it so,
21   Let fortune go to hell for it, not I.
22   I speak too long; but 'tis to peize the time,
23   To eke it and to draw it out in length,
24   To stay you from election.
25   Let me choose
26   For as I am, I live upon the rack.
27   Upon the rack, Bassanio! then confess
28   What treason there is mingled with your love.
29   None but that ugly treason of mistrust,
30   Which makes me fear the enjoying of my love:
31   There may as well be amity and life
32   'Tween snow and fire, as treason and my love.
33   Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack,
34   Where men enforced do speak anything.
35   Promise me life, and I'll confess the truth.
36   Well then, confess and live.
37   'Confess' and 'love'
38   Had been the very sum of my confession:
39   O happy torment, when my torturer
40   Doth teach me answers for deliverance!
41   But let me to my fortune and the caskets.
42   Away, then! I am lock'd in one of them:
43   If you do love me, you will find me out.
44   Nerissa and the rest, stand all aloof.
45   Let music sound while he doth make his choice;
46   Then, if he lose, he makes a swan-like end,
47   Fading in music: that the comparison
48   May stand more proper, my eye shall be the stream
49   And watery death-bed for him. He may win;
50   And what is music then? Then music is
51   Even as the flourish when true subjects bow
52   To a new-crowned monarch: such it is
53   As are those dulcet sounds in break of day
54   That creep into the dreaming bridegroom's ear,
55   And summon him to marriage. Now he goes,
56   With no less presence, but with much more love,
57   Than young Alcides, when he did redeem
58   The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy
59   To the sea-monster: I stand for sacrifice
60   The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives,
61   With bleared visages, come forth to view
62   The issue of the exploit. Go, Hercules!
63   Live thou, I live: with much, much more dismay
64   I view the fight than thou that makest the fray.
Music, whilst BASSANIO comments on the caskets to himself
65   Tell me where is fancy bred,
66   Or in the heart, or in the head?
67   How begot, how nourished?
68   Reply, reply.
69   It is engender'd in the eyes,
70   With gazing fed; and fancy dies
71   In the cradle where it lies.
72   Let us all ring fancy's knell
73   I'll begin it,--Ding, dong, bell.
74   Ding, dong, bell.
75   So may the outward shows be least themselves:
76   The world is still deceived with ornament.
77   In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
78   But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,
79   Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
80   What damned error, but some sober brow
81   Will bless it and approve it with a text,
82   Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
83   There is no vice so simple but assumes
84   Some mark of virtue on his outward parts:
85   How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false
86   As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
87   The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars;
88   Who, inward search'd, have livers white as milk;
89   And these assume but valour's excrement
90   To render them redoubted! Look on beauty,
91   And you shall see 'tis purchased by the weight;
92   Which therein works a miracle in nature,
93   Making them lightest that wear most of it:
94   So are those crisped snaky golden locks
95   Which make such wanton gambols with the wind,
96   Upon supposed fairness, often known
97   To be the dowry of a second head,
98   The skull that bred them in the sepulchre.
99   Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
100  To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
101  Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,
102  The seeming truth which cunning times put on
103  To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold,
104  Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;
105  Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge
106  'Tween man and man: but thou, thou meagre lead,
107  Which rather threatenest than dost promise aught,
108  Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence;
109  And here choose I; joy be the consequence!
110   How all the other passions fleet to air,
111  As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embraced despair,
112  And shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy! O love,
113  Be moderate; allay thy ecstasy,
114  In measure rein thy joy; scant this excess.
115  I feel too much thy blessing: make it less,
116  For fear I surfeit.
117  What find I here?
Opening the leaden casket
118  Fair Portia's counterfeit! What demi-god
119  Hath come so near creation? Move these eyes?
120  Or whether, riding on the balls of mine,
121  Seem they in motion? Here are sever'd lips,
122  Parted with sugar breath: so sweet a bar
123  Should sunder such sweet friends. Here in her hairs
124  The painter plays the spider and hath woven
125  A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men,
126  Faster than gnats in cobwebs; but her eyes,--
127  How could he see to do them? having made one,
128  Methinks it should have power to steal both his
129  And leave itself unfurnish'd. Yet look, how far
130  The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow
131  In underprizing it, so far this shadow
132  Doth limp behind the substance. Here's the scroll,
133  The continent and summary of my fortune.
134  You that choose not by the view,
135  Chance as fair and choose as true!
136  Since this fortune falls to you,
137  Be content and seek no new,
138  If you be well pleased with this
139  And hold your fortune for your bliss,
140  Turn you where your lady is
141  And claim her with a loving kiss.
142  A gentle scroll. Fair lady, by your leave;
143  I come by note, to give and to receive.
144  Like one of two contending in a prize,
145  That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes,
146  Hearing applause and universal shout,
147  Giddy in spirit, still gazing in a doubt
148  Whether these pearls of praise be his or no;
149  So, thrice fair lady, stand I, even so;
150  As doubtful whether what I see be true,
151  Until confirm'd, sign'd, ratified by you.
152  You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand,
153  Such as I am: though for myself alone
154  I would not be ambitious in my wish,
155  To wish myself much better; yet, for you
156  I would be trebled twenty times myself;
157  A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich;
158  That only to stand high in your account,
159  I might in virtue, beauties, livings, friends,
160  Exceed account; but the full sum of me
161  Is sum of something, which, to term in gross,
162  Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractised;
163  Happy in this, she is not yet so old
164  But she may learn; happier than this,
165  She is not bred so dull but she can learn;
166  Happiest of all is that her gentle spirit
167  Commits itself to yours to be directed,
168  As from her lord, her governor, her king.
169  Myself and what is mine to you and yours
170  Is now converted: but now I was the lord
171  Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
172  Queen o'er myself: and even now, but now,
173  This house, these servants and this same myself
174  Are yours, my lord: I give them with this ring;
175  Which when you part from, lose, or give away,
176  Let it presage the ruin of your love
177  And be my vantage to exclaim on you.
178  Madam, you have bereft me of all words,
179  Only my blood speaks to you in my veins;
180  And there is such confusion in my powers,
181  As after some oration fairly spoke
182  By a beloved prince, there doth appear
183  Among the buzzing pleased multitude;
184  Where every something, being blent together,
185  Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy,
186  Express'd and not express'd. But when this ring
187  Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence:
188  O, then be bold to say Bassanio's dead!
189  My lord and lady, it is now our time,
190  That have stood by and seen our wishes prosper,
191  To cry, good joy: good joy, my lord and lady!
192  My lord Bassanio and my gentle lady,
193  I wish you all the joy that you can wish;
194  For I am sure you can wish none from me:
195  And when your honours mean to solemnize
196  The bargain of your faith, I do beseech you,
197  Even at that time I may be married too.
198  With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife.
199  I thank your lordship, you have got me one.
200  My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours:
201  You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid;
202  You loved, I loved for intermission.
203  No more pertains to me, my lord, than you.
204  Your fortune stood upon the casket there,
205  And so did mine too, as the matter falls;
206  For wooing here until I sweat again,
207  And sweating until my very roof was dry
208  With oaths of love, at last, if promise last,
209  I got a promise of this fair one here
210  To have her love, provided that your fortune
211  Achieved her mistress.
212  Is this true, Nerissa?
213  Madam, it is, so you stand pleased withal.
214  And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?
215  Yes, faith, my lord.
216  Our feast shall be much honour'd in your marriage.
217  We'll play with them the first boy for a thousand ducats.
218  What, and stake down?
219  No; we shall ne'er win at that sport, and stake down.
220  But who comes here? Lorenzo and his infidel? What,
221  and my old Venetian friend Salerio?
222  Lorenzo and Salerio, welcome hither;
223  If that the youth of my new interest here
224  Have power to bid you welcome. By your leave,
225  I bid my very friends and countrymen,
226  Sweet Portia, welcome.
227  So do I, my lord:
228  They are entirely welcome.
229  I thank your honour. For my part, my lord,
230  My purpose was not to have seen you here;
231  But meeting with Salerio by the way,
232  He did entreat me, past all saying nay,
233  To come with him along.
234  I did, my lord;
235  And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio
236  Commends him to you.
Gives Bassanio a letter

237  Ere I ope his letter,
238  I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth.
239  Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind;
240  Nor well, unless in mind: his letter there
241  Will show you his estate.
242  Nerissa, cheer yon stranger; bid her welcome.
243  Your hand, Salerio: what's the news from Venice?
244  How doth that royal merchant, good Antonio?
245  I know he will be glad of our success;
246  We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.
247  I would you had won the fleece that he hath lost.
248  There are some shrewd contents in yon same paper,
249  That steals the colour from Bassanio's cheek:
250  Some dear friend dead; else nothing in the world
251  Could turn so much the constitution
252  Of any constant man. What, worse and worse!
253  With leave, Bassanio: I am half yourself,
254  And I must freely have the half of anything
255  That this same paper brings you.
256  O sweet Portia,
257  Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words
258  That ever blotted paper! Gentle lady,
259  When I did first impart my love to you,
260  I freely told you, all the wealth I had
261  Ran in my veins, I was a gentleman;
262  And then I told you true: and yet, dear lady,
263  Rating myself at nothing, you shall see
264  How much I was a braggart. When I told you
265  My state was nothing, I should then have told you
266  That I was worse than nothing; for, indeed,
267  I have engaged myself to a dear friend,
268  Engaged my friend to his mere enemy,
269  To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady;
270  The paper as the body of my friend,
271  And every word in it a gaping wound,
272  Issuing life-blood. But is it true, Salerio?
273  Have all his ventures fail'd? What, not one hit?
274  From Tripolis, from Mexico and England,
275  From Lisbon, Barbary and India?
276  And not one vessel 'scape the dreadful touch
277  Of merchant-marring rocks?
278  Not one, my lord.
279  Besides, it should appear, that if he had
280  The present money to discharge the Jew,
281  He would not take it. Never did I know
282  A creature, that did bear the shape of man,
283  So keen and greedy to confound a man:
284  He plies the duke at morning and at night,
285  And doth impeach the freedom of the state,
286  If they deny him justice: twenty merchants,
287  The duke himself, and the magnificoes
288  Of greatest port, have all persuaded with him;
289  But none can drive him from the envious plea
290  Of forfeiture, of justice and his bond.
291  When I was with him I have heard him swear
292  To Tubal and to Chus, his countrymen,
293  That he would rather have Antonio's flesh
294  Than twenty times the value of the sum
295  That he did owe him: and I know, my lord,
296  If law, authority and power deny not,
297  It will go hard with poor Antonio.
298  Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble?
299  The dearest friend to me, the kindest man,
300  The best-condition'd and unwearied spirit
301  In doing courtesies, and one in whom
302  The ancient Roman honour more appears
303  Than any that draws breath in Italy.
304  What sum owes he the Jew?
305  For me three thousand ducats.
306  What, no more?
307  Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond;
308  Double six thousand, and then treble that,
309  Before a friend of this description
310  Shall lose a hair through Bassanio's fault.
311  First go with me to church and call me wife,
312  And then away to Venice to your friend;
313  For never shall you lie by Portia's side
314  With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold
315  To pay the petty debt twenty times over:
316  When it is paid, bring your true friend along.
317  My maid Nerissa and myself meantime
318  Will live as maids and widows. Come, away!
319  For you shall hence upon your wedding-day:
320  Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheer:
321  Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.
322  But let me hear the letter of your friend.
323   Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all
324  miscarried, my creditors grow cruel, my estate is
325  very low, my bond to the Jew is forfeit; and since
326  in paying it, it is impossible I should live, all
327  debts are cleared between you and I, if I might but
328  see you at my death. Notwithstanding, use your
329  pleasure: if your love do not persuade you to come,
330  let not my letter.
331  O love, dispatch all business, and be gone!
332  Since I have your good leave to go away,
333  I will make haste: but, till I come again,
334  No bed shall e'er be guilty of my stay,
335  No rest be interposer 'twixt us twain.

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