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Commits itself to yours to be directed,
As from her lord, her governor, her king.
Myself, and what is mine, to you, and yours
Is now converted: but now I was the lord
Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
Queen o'er myself; and even now, but now,
This house, these servants, and this same myself,
Are yours, my lord; I give them with this ring;
Which when you part from, lose, or give away,
Let it presage the ruin of your love,
And be my vantage to exclaim on you.
Bass. Madam, you have bereft me of all words,
Only my blood speaks to you in my veins:
And there is such confusion in my powers,
As, after some oration fairly spoke
By a beloved prince, there doth appear
Among the buzzing pleased multitude;
Where every something, being blent together, 1
Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy,
Express'd, and not express'd: But when this ring
Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence;
O, then be bold to say, Bassanio's dead.
Ner. My lord and lady, it is now our time,
That have stood by, and seen our wishes prosper,
To cry, good joy; Good joy, my lord, and lady!
Gra. My lord Bassanio, and my gentle lady,
I wish you all the joy that you can wish;
For, I am sure, you can wish none from me:2
And, when your honours mean to solemnize
The bargain of your faith, I do beseech you,
Even at that time I may be married too.
Bass. With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife.
Gra. I thank your lordship; you have got me one. My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours: You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid; You lov’d, I lov'd; for intermission 3
being blent together,] i. e. blended. Steevens.
- you can wish none from me:] That is, none away from me; none that I shall lose, if you gain it. Fohnson.
- for intermission--] Intermission is pause, intervening time, delay. So, in Macbeth:
No more pertains to me, my lord, than you.
Your fortune stood upon the caskets there;
And so did mine too, as the matter falls:
For wooing here, until I sweat again;
And swearing, till my very roof was dry
With oaths of love; at last,—if promise last,
I got a promise of this fair one here,
To have her love, provided that your fortune
Achiev'd her mistress.
Is this true, Nerissa?
Ner. Madam, it is, so you stand pleas'd withal.
Bass. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?
Gra. Yes, 'faith, my lord.
Bass. Our feast shall be much honour'd in your mar-
riage. Gra. We'll play with them, the first boy for a thousand ducats.
Ner. What, and stake down?
Gra. No; we shall ne'er win at that sport, and stake
But who comes here? Lorenzo, and his infidel?
What, and my old Venetian friend, Salerio?
Enter LORENZO, JESSICA, and SALERIO.
Bass. Lorenzo, and Salerio, welcome hither;
If that the youth of my new interest here
Have power to bid you welcome:-By your leave,
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. Sale.
I did, my lord, And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio Commends him to you.
[Gives Bass. a letter. Bass.
Ere I ope his letter, I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth.
“ Cut short all intermission.” Steevens.
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 welcome.
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. 4
Sale. 'Would you had won the fleece that he hath lost!
Por. There are some shrewd contents in yon’ same
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.
() 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,
4 We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.] So, in Abraham Fleming's Rythme Decasyllabicall, upon this last luckie Voyage of worthie Capteine Frobisher, 1577:
“ The golden fleece (like Jason) hath he got,
“ And rich return'd saunce losse or luckless lot.” Again, in the old play of King Leir, 1605:
“ I will returne seyz'd of as rich a prize
“ As Jason, when he wanne the golden fleece.” It appears, from the registers of the Stationers' Company, that we seem to have had a version of Valerius Flaccus in 1565. In this year (whether in verse or prose is unknown) was entered to J. Purfoote: “The story of Jason, howe he gotte the golden flece, and howe he did begyle Media (Medea,) out of Laten into Englishe, by Nycholas Whyte.” Steevens.
Engag'd my friend to his mere enemy,
To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady ;
The paper as the bodys of my friend,
And every word in it a gaping wound,
Issuing life-blood.—But is it true, Salerio?
Have all his ventures faild? What, not one hit?
From 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,
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,
that draws breath in Italy.
5 The paper as the body --] I believe, the author wrote is the body. The two words are frequently confounded in the old copies. So, in the first quarto edition of this play, Act IV: “Is dearly bought, as mine,” &c. instead of-is mine. Malone.
The expression is somewhat elliptical: “ The paper as the body,” means the paper resembles the body, is as the body.
Por. What sum owes he the Jew?
Bass. For me, three thousand ducats.
What, no more?
Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond;
Double six thousand, and then treble that,
Before a friend of this description
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 ;
you shall hence upon your wedding-day:
Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheer;6
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 are cleared between you and 1,7 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.
-cheer;] i. e. countenance. So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Vol. II, p. 369:
“ That liv'd, that lov'd, that lik’d, that look’d, with cheer." See note on this passage. Steevens.
and I,] This inaccuracy, I believe, was our author's. Mr. Pope reads—and me. Malone.