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Home > Merchant of Venice > ACT IV - SCENE I. Venice. A court of justice.

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ACT IV - SCENE I. Venice. A court of justice.
DUKE
1    What, is Antonio here?
ANTONIO
2    Ready, so please your grace.
DUKE
3    I am sorry for thee: thou art come to answer
4    A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch
5    uncapable of pity, void and empty
6    From any dram of mercy.
ANTONIO
7    I have heard
8    Your grace hath ta'en great pains to qualify
9    His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate
10   And that no lawful means can carry me
11   Out of his envy's reach, I do oppose
12   My patience to his fury, and am arm'd
13   To suffer, with a quietness of spirit,
14   The very tyranny and rage of his.
DUKE
15   Go one, and call the Jew into the court.
SALERIO
16   He is ready at the door: he comes, my lord.
Enter SHYLOCK

DUKE
17   Make room, and let him stand before our face.
18   Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
19   That thou but lead'st this fashion of thy malice
20   To the last hour of act; and then 'tis thought
21   Thou'lt show thy mercy and remorse more strange
22   Than is thy strange apparent cruelty;
23   And where thou now exact'st the penalty,
24   Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh,
25   Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture,
26   But, touch'd with human gentleness and love,
27   Forgive a moiety of the principal;
28   Glancing an eye of pity on his losses,
29   That have of late so huddled on his back,
30   Enow to press a royal merchant down
31   And pluck commiseration of his state
32   From brassy bosoms and rough hearts of flint,
33   From stubborn Turks and Tartars, never train'd
34   To offices of tender courtesy.
35   We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.
SHYLOCK
36   I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose;
37   And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn
38   To have the due and forfeit of my bond:
39   If you deny it, let the danger light
40   Upon your charter and your city's freedom.
41   You'll ask me, why I rather choose to have
42   A weight of carrion flesh than to receive
43   Three thousand ducats: I'll not answer that:
44   But, say, it is my humour: is it answer'd?
45   What if my house be troubled with a rat
46   And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats
47   To have it baned? What, are you answer'd yet?
48   Some men there are love not a gaping pig;
49   Some, that are mad if they behold a cat;
50   And others, when the bagpipe sings i' the nose,
51   Cannot contain their urine: for affection,
52   Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood
53   Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer:
54   As there is no firm reason to be render'd,
55   Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;
56   Why he, a harmless necessary cat;
57   Why he, a woollen bagpipe; but of force
58   Must yield to such inevitable shame
59   As to offend, himself being offended;
60   So can I give no reason, nor I will not,
61   More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing
62   I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
63   A losing suit against him. Are you answer'd?
BASSANIO
64   This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
65   To excuse the current of thy cruelty.
SHYLOCK
66   I am not bound to please thee with my answers.
BASSANIO
67   Do all men kill the things they do not love?
SHYLOCK
68   Hates any man the thing he would not kill?
BASSANIO
69   Every offence is not a hate at first.
SHYLOCK
70   What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?
ANTONIO
71   I pray you, think you question with the Jew:
72   You may as well go stand upon the beach
73   And bid the main flood bate his usual height;
74   You may as well use question with the wolf
75   Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb;
76   You may as well forbid the mountain pines
77   To wag their high tops and to make no noise,
78   When they are fretten with the gusts of heaven;
79   You may as well do anything most hard,
80   As seek to soften that--than which what's harder?--
81   His Jewish heart: therefore, I do beseech you,
82   Make no more offers, use no farther means,
83   But with all brief and plain conveniency
84   Let me have judgment and the Jew his will.
BASSANIO
85   For thy three thousand ducats here is six.
SHYLOCK
86   What judgment shall I dread, doing
87   Were in six parts and every part a ducat,
88   I would not draw them; I would have my bond.
DUKE
89   How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?
SHYLOCK
90   What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?
91   You have among you many a purchased slave,
92   Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,
93   You use in abject and in slavish parts,
94   Because you bought them: shall I say to you,
95   Let them be free, marry them to your heirs?
96   Why sweat they under burthens? let their beds
97   Be made as soft as yours and let their palates
98   Be season'd with such viands? You will answer
99   'The slaves are ours:' so do I answer you:
100  The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,
101  Is dearly bought; 'tis mine and I will have it.
102  If you deny me, fie upon your law!
103  There is no force in the decrees of Venice.
104  I stand for judgment: answer; shall I have it?
DUKE
105  Upon my power I may dismiss this court,
106  Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
107  Whom I have sent for to determine this,
108  Come here to-day.
SALERIO
109  My lord, here stays without
110  A messenger with letters from the doctor,
111  New come from Padua.
DUKE
112  Bring us the letter; call the messenger.
BASSANIO
113  Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet!
114  The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones and all,
115  Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.
ANTONIO
116  I am a tainted wether of the flock,
117  Meetest for death: the weakest kind of fruit
118  Drops earliest to the ground; and so let me
119  You cannot better be employ'd, Bassanio,
120  Than to live still and write mine epitaph.
Enter NERISSA, dressed like a lawyer's clerk

DUKE
121  Came you from Padua, from Bellario?
NERISSA
122  From both, my lord. Bellario greets your grace.
Presenting a letter

BASSANIO
123  Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?
SHYLOCK
124  To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.
GRATIANO
125  Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,
126  Thou makest thy knife keen; but no metal can,
127  No, not the hangman's axe, bear half the keenness
128  Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?
SHYLOCK
129  No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.
GRATIANO
130  O, be thou damn'd, inexecrable dog!
131  And for thy life let justice be accused.
132  Thou almost makest me waver in my faith
133  To hold opinion with Pythagoras,
134  That souls of animals infuse themselves
135  Into the trunks of men: thy currish spirit
136  Govern'd a wolf, who, hang'd for human slaughter,
137  Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,
138  And, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallow'd dam,
139  Infused itself in thee; for thy desires
140  Are wolvish, bloody, starved and ravenous.
SHYLOCK
141  Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,
142  Thou but offend'st thy lungs to speak so loud:
143  Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall
144  To cureless ruin. I stand here for law.
DUKE
145  This letter from Bellario doth commend
146  A young and learned doctor to our court.
147  Where is he?
NERISSA
148  He attendeth here hard by,
149  To know your answer, whether you'll admit him.
DUKE
150  With all my heart. Some three or four of you
151  Go give him courteous conduct to this place.
152  Meantime the court shall hear Bellario's letter.
Clerk
Reads
153  Your grace shall understand that at the receipt of
154  your letter I am very sick: but in the instant that
155  your messenger came, in loving visitation was with
156  me a young doctor of Rome; his name is Balthasar. I
157  acquainted him with the cause in controversy between
158  the Jew and Antonio the merchant: we turned o'er
159  many books together: he is furnished with my
160  opinion; which, bettered with his own learning, the
161  greatness whereof I cannot enough commend, comes
162  with him, at my importunity, to fill up your grace's
163  request in my stead. I beseech you, let his lack of
164  years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend
165  estimation; for I never knew so young a body with so
166  old a head. I leave him to your gracious
167  acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his
168  commendation.
DUKE
169  You hear the learn'd Bellario, what he writes:
170  And here, I take it, is the doctor come.
Enter PORTIA, dressed like a doctor of laws
171  Give me your hand. Come you from old Bellario?
PORTIA
172  I did, my lord.
DUKE
173  You are welcome: take your place.
174  Are you acquainted with the difference
175  That holds this present question in the court?
PORTIA
176  I am informed thoroughly of the cause.
177  Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?
DUKE
178  Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
PORTIA
179  Is your name Shylock?
SHYLOCK
180  Shylock is my name.
PORTIA
181  Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;
182  Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
183  Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.
184  You stand within his danger, do you not?
ANTONIO
185  Ay, so he says.
PORTIA
186  Do you confess the bond?
ANTONIO
187  I do.
PORTIA
188  Then must the Jew be merciful.
SHYLOCK
189  On what compulsion must I? tell me that.
PORTIA
190  The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
191  It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
192  Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
193  It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
194  'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
195  The throned monarch better than his crown;
196  His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
197  The attribute to awe and majesty,
198  Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
199  But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
200  It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
201  It is an attribute to God himself;
202  And earthly power doth then show likest God's
203  When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
204  Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
205  That, in the course of justice, none of us
206  Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
207  And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
208  The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
209  To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
210  Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
211  Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.
SHYLOCK
212  My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,
213  The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
PORTIA
214  Is he not able to discharge the money?
BASSANIO
215  Yes, here I tender it for him in the court;
216  Yea, twice the sum: if that will not suffice,
217  I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er,
218  On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart:
219  If this will not suffice, it must appear
220  That malice bears down truth. And I beseech you,
221  Wrest once the law to your authority:
222  To do a great right, do a little wrong,
223  And curb this cruel devil of his will.
PORTIA
224  It must not be; there is no power in Venice
225  Can alter a decree established:
226  'Twill be recorded for a precedent,
227  And many an error by the same example
228  Will rush into the state: it cannot be.
SHYLOCK
229  A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel!
230  O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!
PORTIA
231  I pray you, let me look upon the bond.
SHYLOCK
232  Here 'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.
PORTIA
233  Shylock, there's thrice thy money offer'd thee.
SHYLOCK
234  An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven:
235  Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
236  No, not for Venice.
PORTIA
237  Why, this bond is forfeit;
238  And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
239  A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
240  Nearest the merchant's heart. Be merciful:
241  Take thrice thy money; bid me tear the bond.
SHYLOCK
242  When it is paid according to the tenor.
243  It doth appear you are a worthy judge;
244  You know the law, your exposition
245  Hath been most sound: I charge you by the law,
246  Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar,
247  Proceed to judgment: by my soul I swear
248  There is no power in the tongue of man
249  To alter me: I stay here on my bond.
ANTONIO
250  Most heartily I do beseech the court
251  To give the judgment.
PORTIA
252  Why then, thus it is:
253  You must prepare your bosom for his knife.
SHYLOCK
254  O noble judge! O excellent young man!
PORTIA
255  For the intent and purpose of the law
256  Hath full relation to the penalty,
257  Which here appeareth due upon the bond.
SHYLOCK
258  'Tis very true: O wise and upright judge!
259  How much more elder art thou than thy looks!
PORTIA
260  Therefore lay bare your bosom.
SHYLOCK
261  Ay, his breast:
262  So says the bond: doth it not, noble judge?
263  'Nearest his heart:' those are the very words.
PORTIA
264  It is so. Are there balance here to weigh
265  The flesh?
SHYLOCK
266  I have them ready.
PORTIA
267  Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,
268  To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.
SHYLOCK
269  Is it so nominated in the bond?
PORTIA
270  It is not so express'd: but what of that?
271  'Twere good you do so much for charity.
SHYLOCK
272  I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond.
PORTIA
273  You, merchant, have you any thing to say?
ANTONIO
274  But little: I am arm'd and well prepared.
275  Give me your hand, Bassanio: fare you well!
276  Grieve not that I am fallen to this for you;
277  For herein Fortune shows herself more kind
278  Than is her custom: it is still her use
279  To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
280  To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
281  An age of poverty; from which lingering penance
282  Of such misery doth she cut me off.
283  Commend me to your honourable wife:
284  Tell her the process of Antonio's end;
285  Say how I loved you, speak me fair in death;
286  And, when the tale is told, bid her be judge
287  Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
288  Repent but you that you shall lose your friend,
289  And he repents not that he pays your debt;
290  For if the Jew do cut but deep enough,
291  I'll pay it presently with all my heart.
BASSANIO
292  Antonio, I am married to a wife
293  Which is as dear to me as life itself;
294  But life itself, my wife, and all the world,
295  Are not with me esteem'd above thy life:
296  I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all
297  Here to this devil, to deliver you.
PORTIA
298  Your wife would give you little thanks for that,
299  If she were by, to hear you make the offer.
GRATIANO
300  I have a wife, whom, I protest, I love:
301  I would she were in heaven, so she could
302  Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.
NERISSA
303  'Tis well you offer it behind her back;
304  The wish would make else an unquiet house.
SHYLOCK
305  These be the Christian husbands. I have a daughter;
306  Would any of the stock of Barrabas
307  Had been her husband rather than a Christian!
Aside
308  We trifle time: I pray thee, pursue sentence.
PORTIA
309  A pound of that same merchant's flesh is thine:
310  The court awards it, and the law doth give it.
SHYLOCK
311  Most rightful judge!
PORTIA
312  And you must cut this flesh from off his breast:
313  The law allows it, and the court awards it.
SHYLOCK
314  Most learned judge! A sentence! Come, prepare!
PORTIA
315  Tarry a little; there is something else.
316  This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
317  The words expressly are 'a pound of flesh:'
318  Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh;
319  But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
320  One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
321  Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
322  Unto the state of Venice.
GRATIANO
323  O upright judge! Mark, Jew: O learned judge!
SHYLOCK
324  Is that the law?
PORTIA
325  Thyself shalt see the act:
326  For, as thou urgest justice, be assured
327  Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desirest.
GRATIANO
328  O learned judge! Mark, Jew: a learned judge!
SHYLOCK
329  I take this offer, then; pay the bond thrice
330  And let the Christian go.
BASSANIO
331  Here is the money.
PORTIA
332  Soft!
333  The Jew shall have all justice; soft! no haste:
334  He shall have nothing but the penalty.
GRATIANO
335  O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!
PORTIA
336  Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh.
337  Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more
338  But just a pound of flesh: if thou cut'st more
339  Or less than a just pound, be it but so much
340  As makes it light or heavy in the substance,
341  Or the division of the twentieth part
342  Of one poor scruple, nay, if the scale do turn
343  But in the estimation of a hair,
344  Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate.
GRATIANO
345  A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew!
346  Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.
PORTIA
347  Why doth the Jew pause? take thy forfeiture.
SHYLOCK
348  Give me my principal, and let me go.
BASSANIO
349  I have it ready for thee; here it is.
PORTIA
350  He hath refused it in the open court:
351  He shall have merely justice and his bond.
GRATIANO
352  A Daniel, still say I, a second Daniel!
353  I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
SHYLOCK
354  Shall I not have barely my principal?
PORTIA
355  Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture,
356  To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.
SHYLOCK
357  Why, then the devil give him good of it!
358  I'll stay no longer question.
PORTIA
359  Tarry, Jew:
360  The law hath yet another hold on you.
361  It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
362  If it be proved against an alien
363  That by direct or indirect attempts
364  He seek the life of any citizen,
365  The party 'gainst the which he doth contrive
366  Shall seize one half his goods; the other half
367  Comes to the privy coffer of the state;
368  And the offender's life lies in the mercy
369  Of the duke only, 'gainst all other voice.
370  In which predicament, I say, thou stand'st;
371  For it appears, by manifest proceeding,
372  That indirectly and directly too
373  Thou hast contrived against the very life
374  Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr'd
375  The danger formerly by me rehearsed.
376  Down therefore and beg mercy of the duke.
GRATIANO
377  Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself:
378  And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state,
379  Thou hast not left the value of a cord;
380  Therefore thou must be hang'd at the state's charge.
DUKE
381  That thou shalt see the difference of our spirits,
382  I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it:
383  For half thy wealth, it is Antonio's;
384  The other half comes to the general state,
385  Which humbleness may drive unto a fine.
PORTIA
386  Ay, for the state, not for Antonio.
SHYLOCK
387  Nay, take my life and all; pardon not that:
388  You take my house when you do take the prop
389  That doth sustain my house; you take my life
390  When you do take the means whereby I live.
PORTIA
391  What mercy can you render him, Antonio?
GRATIANO
392  A halter gratis; nothing else, for God's sake.
ANTONIO
393  So please my lord the duke and all the court
394  To quit the fine for one half of his goods,
395  I am content; so he will let me have
396  The other half in use, to render it,
397  Upon his death, unto the gentleman
398  That lately stole his daughter:
399  Two things provided more, that, for this favour,
400  He presently become a Christian;
401  The other, that he do record a gift,
402  Here in the court, of all he dies possess'd,
403  Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.
DUKE
404  He shall do this, or else I do recant
405  The pardon that I late pronounced here.
PORTIA
406  Art thou contented, Jew? what dost thou say?
SHYLOCK
407  I am content.
PORTIA
408  Clerk, draw a deed of gift.
SHYLOCK
409  I pray you, give me leave to go from hence;
410  I am not well: send the deed after me,
411  And I will sign it.
DUKE
412  Get thee gone, but do it.
GRATIANO
413  In christening shalt thou have two god-fathers:
414  Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more,
415  To bring thee to the gallows, not the font.
Exit SHYLOCK

DUKE
416  Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.
PORTIA
417  I humbly do desire your grace of pardon:
418  I must away this night toward Padua,
419  And it is meet I presently set forth.
DUKE
420  I am sorry that your leisure serves you not.
421  Antonio, gratify this gentleman,
422  For, in my mind, you are much bound to him.
Exeunt Duke and his train

BASSANIO
423  Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend
424  Have by your wisdom been this day acquitted
425  Of grievous penalties; in lieu whereof,
426  Three thousand ducats, due unto the Jew,
427  We freely cope your courteous pains withal.
ANTONIO
428  And stand indebted, over and above,
429  In love and service to you evermore.
PORTIA
430  He is well paid that is well satisfied;
431  And I, delivering you, am satisfied
432  And therein do account myself well paid:
433  My mind was never yet more mercenary.
434  I pray you, know me when we meet again:
435  I wish you well, and so I take my leave.
BASSANIO
436  Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further:
437  Take some remembrance of us, as a tribute,
438  Not as a fee: grant me two things, I pray you,
439  Not to deny me, and to pardon me.
PORTIA
440  You press me far, and therefore I will yield.
To ANTONIO
441  Give me your gloves, I'll wear them for your sake;
To BASSANIO
442  And, for your love, I'll take this ring from you:
443  Do not draw back your hand; I'll take no more;
444  And you in love shall not deny me this.
BASSANIO
445  This ring, good sir, alas, it is a trifle!
446  I will not shame myself to give you this.
PORTIA
447  I will have nothing else but only this;
448  And now methinks I have a mind to it.
BASSANIO
449  There's more depends on this than on the value.
450  The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,
451  And find it out by proclamation:
452  Only for this, I pray you, pardon me.
PORTIA
453  I see, sir, you are liberal in offers
454  You taught me first to beg; and now methinks
455  You teach me how a beggar should be answer'd.
BASSANIO
456  Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife;
457  And when she put it on, she made me vow
458  That I should neither sell nor give nor lose it.
PORTIA
459  That 'scuse serves many men to save their gifts.
460  An if your wife be not a mad-woman,
461  And know how well I have deserved the ring,
462  She would not hold out enemy for ever,
463  For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!
Exeunt Portia and Nerissa

ANTONIO
464  My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring:
465  Let his deservings and my love withal
466  Be valued against your wife's commandment.
BASSANIO
467  Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him;
468  Give him the ring, and bring him, if thou canst,
469  Unto Antonio's house: away! make haste.
Exit Gratiano
470  Come, you and I will thither presently;
471  And in the morning early will we both
472  Fly toward Belmont: come, Antonio.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT III, SCENE VACT IV, SCENE II (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE III


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII
  • SCENE VIII
  • SCENE IX


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I

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