I bid my very friends and countrymen,
Sweet Portia, welcome.


So do I, my lord;

They are entirely welcome.

Lor. I thank your honour:-For my part, my lord,

My purpose was not to have seen you here;
But meeting with Salerio by the way,
He did entreat me, past all saying nay,
To come with him along.


And I have reason for it.
Commends him to you.



I did, my lord,

Signior Antonio
[Gives BASSANIO a letter.
Ere I ope his letter,

I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth.
Sale. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind;
Nor well, unless in mind: his letter there

Will show you his estate.

Gra. Nerissa, cheer yon' stranger; bid her wel


Your hand, Salerio; What's the news from Venice?
How doth that royal merchant, good Antonio?
I know, he will be glad of our success;

We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.

Sale. 'Would you had won the fleece that he hath lost!

Por. There are some shrewd contents in yon' same paper,

That steal the colour from Bassanio's cheek:

Some dear friend dead; else nothing in the world Could turn so much the constitution

Of any constant man. What, worse and worse?With leave, Bassanio; I am half yourself,

And I must freely have the half of any thing

That this same paper brings you.

O sweet Portia,

Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words,

That ever blotted paper! Gentle lady,
When I did first impart my love to you,
I freely told you, all the wealth I had
Ran in my veins, I was a gentleman;

And then I told you true: and yet, dear lady,
Rating myself at nothing, you shall see

How much I was a braggart: When I told you
My state was nothing, I should then have told you
That I was worse than nothing; for, indeed,
I have engag'd myself to a dear friend,
Engag'd my friend to his mere enemy,
To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady;
paper as the body of my friend,



And every word in it a gaping wound,
Issuing life-blood.-But is it true, Salerio?
Have all his ventures fail'd? What, not one hit?
Trom Tripolis, from Mexico, and England,
From Lisbon, Barbary, and India?

And not one vessel 'scape the dreadful touch
Of merchant-marring rocks?

Not one, my lord.
Besides, it should appear, that if he had
The present money to discharge the Jew,
He would not take it: Never did I know
A creature, that did bear the shape of man,
So keen and greedy to confound a man:
He plies the duke at morning, and at night;
And doth impeach the freedom of the state,
If they deny him justice: twenty merchants,
The duke himself, and the magnificoes
Of greatest port, have all persuaded with him;
But none can drive him from the envious plea
Of forfeiture, of justice, and his bond.

Jes. When I was with him, I have heard him swear,

The paper as the body-] The expression is somewhat elliptical: "The paper as the body," means-the paper resembles the body, is as the body.

To Tubal, and to Chus, his countrymen,
That he would rather have Antonio's flesh,
Than twenty times the value of the sum
That he did owe him; and I know, my lord,
If law, authority, and power deny not,
It will go hard with poor Antonio.

Por. Is it your dear friend, that is thus in trouble? Bass. The dearest friend to me, the kindest man, The best condition'd and unwearied spirit

In doing courtesies; and one in whom
The ancient Roman honour more appears,
Than any that draws breath in Italy.
Por. What sum owes he the Jew?
Bass. For me, three thousand ducats,
Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond;
Double six thousand, and then treble that,
Before a friend of this description

What, no more?

Shall lose a hair through Bassanio's fault.
First, go with me to church, and call me wife:
And then away to Venice to your friend;
For never shall you lie by Portia's side
With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold
To pay the petty debt twenty times over;
When it is paid, bring your true friend along:
My maid Nerissa, and myself, mean time,
Will live as maids and widows. Come, away;
shall hence upon your wedding-day:
Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheer;"
Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.-
But let me hear the letter of your friend.



Bass. [Reads.] Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all miscarried, my creditors grow cruel, my estate is very low, my bond to the Jew is forfeit; and since, in paying it, it is impossible I should live, all debts

6 cheer;] i. e. countenance.

are cleared between you and I, if I might but see you at my death: notwithstanding, use your pleasure; if your love do not persuade you to come, let not my letter.

Por. O love, despatch all business, and be gone, Bass. Since I have your good leave to go away, I will make haste: but, till I come again, No bed shall e'er be guilty of my stay,

No rest be interposer 'twixt us twain. [Exeunt.


Venice. A Street.


Shy. Gaoler, look to him;-Tell not me of mercy;

This is the fool that lent out money gratis ;

Gaoler, look to him.


Hear me yet, good Shylock.

Shy. I'll have my bond; speak not against my


I have sworn an oath, that I will have my bond:
Thou call'dst me dog, before thou had'st a cause:
But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs:
The duke shall grant me justice.-I do wonder,
Thou naughty gaoler, that thou art so fond'
To come abroad with him at his request.
Ant. I pray thee, hear me speak.

Shy, I'll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak:

I'll have my bond; and therefore speak no more.
I'll not be made a soft and dull-ey'd fool,
To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield

so fond-] i, e. so foolish.

To Christian intercessors. Follow not;
I'll have no speaking; I will have my bond.

Exit SHYLOCK. Salan. It is the most impenetrable cur,

That ever kept with men.

Let him alone;

I'll follow him no more with bootless prayers.
He seeks my life; his reason well I know;
I oft deliver'd from his forfeitures

Many that have at times made moan to me;
Therefore he hates me.


I am sure, the duke Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.

Ant. The duke cannot deny the course of law;
For the commodity that strangers have
With us in Venice, if it be denied,

Will much impeach the justice of the state;
Since that the trade and profit of the city
Consisteth of all nations. Therefore, go:
These griefs and losses have so 'bated me,
That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh
To-morrow to my bloody creditor.-
Well, gaoler, on:-Pray God, Bassanio come
To see me pay his debt, and then I care not!



Belmont. A Room in Portia's House.


Lor. Madam, although I speak it in your presence,

You have a noble and a true conceit

Of god-like amity; which appears most strongly
In bearing thus the absence of your lord.

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