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Which is as dear to me as life itself;
Por. Your wife would give you little thanks for that, If she were by, to hear you make the offer.
Gra. I have a wife, whom, I protest, I love; I would she were in heaven, so she could Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.
Ner. 'Tis well you offer it behind her back; The wish would make else an unquiet house. Shy. These be the christian husbands: I have a
of the stock of Barrabas 21 Had been her husband, rather than a Christian!
[Aside. We trifle time: I pray thee, pursue sentence. Por. A pound of that same merchant's flesh is
Shy. Most rightful judge!
breast; The law allows it, and the court awards it. Shy. Most learned judge!-A sentence: come,
prepare Por. Tarry a little there is something else.This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood; The words expressly are, a pound of flesh: Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh; But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
21 Shakspeare seems to have followed the pronunciation usual to the theatre, Barabbas being sounded Barabas throughout Marlowe's Jew of Malta.
Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
Thyself shall see the act: For, as thou urgest justice, be assur’d, Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desir’st. Gra. O learned judge!—Mark, Jew ;-a learned
judge! Shy. I take this offer then;-pay the bond thrice, And let the Christian go. Bass.
Here is the money. Por. Soft; The Jew shall have all justice :-soft!--no haste; He shall have nothing but the penalty.
Gra. O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!
Por. Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh 22, Shed thou no blood; nor cut thou less, nor more, But just a pound of flesh: if thou tak’st more, Or less, than a just pound,-be it but so much As makes it light, or heavy, in the substance, Or the division of the twentieth part Of one poor scruple; nay, if the scale do turn But in the estimation of a hair, Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.
Gra. A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew!
Por. Why doth the Jew pause ? take thy forfeiture.
22 Balthasar Gracian, the celebrated Spanish Jesuit, in his Hero, relates a similar judgment, which he attributes to the great Turk. Gregorio Leti in his Life of Sixtus V. has another story of the kind. The papacy of Sixtus began in 1583, and ended in 1599. The passages may be found in the Variorum Shakspeare.
Por. He hath refus'd it in the open court; He shall have merely justice, and his bond.
Gra. A Daniel, still say I; a second Daniel! I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
Shy. Shall I not have barely my principal?
Por. Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture, To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.
Shy. Why then the devil give him good of it!
thyself: And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state, Thou hast not left the value of a cord; Therefore, thou must be hang'd at the state's charge. Duke. That thou shalt see the difference of our
spirit, I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it: For half thy wealth, it is Antonio's;
The other half comes to the general state,
Por. Ay, for the state; not for Antonio.
Shy. Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that: You take my house, when you do take the prop That doth sustain my house; you take
you do take the means whereby I live.
Duke. He shall do this; or else I do recant
Por. Art thou contented,Jew, what dost thou say?
Clerk, draw a deed of gift.
Get thee gone, but do it.
23 Antonio's offer has been variously explained. It appears to be that he will quit his share of the fine, as the duke has already done that portion due to the state, if Shylock will let him have it in use (i, e. at interest) during his life, to render it at his death to Lorenzo.
Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more R4; To bring thee to the gallows, not to the font.
[Exit SHYLOCK. Duke. Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.
Por. I humbly do desire your grace of pardon; I must away this night toward Padua, And it is meet I presently set forth. Duke. I am sorry that your
leisure serves you not. Antonio, gratify this gentleman; For, in my mind, you are much bound to him.
[Exeunt Duke, Magnificoes, and Train. Bass. Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend Have by your wisdom been this day acquitted Of grievous penalties; in lieu whereof, Three thousand ducats, due unto the Jew, We freely cope your courteous pains withal.
Ant. And stand indebted, over and above,
Por. He is well paid that is well satisfied;
Bass. Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further;
24 i. e. a jury of twelve men to condemn him. This appears to have been an old joke. So in the Devil is an Ass, by Ben Jonson:
-I will leave you To your godfathers in law. Let twelve men work. And in Bullein's Dialogue of the Fever Pestilence, 1564, one of the speakers, to show his mean opinion of an ostler at an inn, says: 'I did see him aske blessinge to xii godfathers at once.'
We have here a reference to the English trial by jury inapplicable to the forms of a Venetian trial.