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that your messenger came, in loving visitation was with me a young doctor of Rome, his name is Balthasar: I acquainted him with the cause in controversy between the Jew and Antonio the merchant: we turned o'er many books together: he is furnish'd with my opinion; which, better'd with his own learning, (the greatness whereof I cannot enough commend) comes with him, at my importunity, to fill up your grace's request in my stead. I beseech you, let his lack of years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend estimation; for I never knew 80 young a body with so old a head. I leave him to your gracious acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his commendation.
Duke. You hear the learn’d Bellario, what he writes: And here, I take it, is the doctor come.
Enter PORTIA, dressed like a doctor of laws.
Por. I did, my lord.
You are welcome: take your place.
Por. I am informed throughly of the cause.
Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
Shylock my name.
i Cannot impugn you,] To impugn, is to oppose, to controvert. So, in The Tragedy of Darius, 1603:
“ Yet though my heart woold fain impugn my word.” Again:
“If any press timpugn what I impart.” Steevens. 2 You stand within his danger,] i.e. within his reach or control. This phrase originates from another in the lowest Latin, that of. ten occurs in monastic records. Thus, (as Mr. Tyrwhitt has observed on a passage in Chaucer) See Hist. Abbat. Pipwell. ap. Monast. Angl. t. i, p. 815: “ Nec audebant Abbates eidem resistere, quia aut pro denariis aut pro bladis semper fuerunt Abbates in langerio dicti Officialis.” Thus also, in the Coruysor's Play, among the collection of Whitsun Mysteries, represented at Ches
See MS. Harl. 1013, p. 106:
Ant. Ay, so he says.
confess the bond?
Por. The quality of mercy is not strain'd ;3
- Two detters some time there were
Oughten money to an usurere, “ The one was in his daungere
• Fyve hundred poundes tolde.” Steevens. There are frequent instances in The Paston Letters of the use of this phrase in the same sense; whence it is obvious, from the common language of the time, that to be in DEBT and to be in DANGER, were synonymous terms. Henlev.
Again, in Powel's History of Wales, 1587: “- - laying for his excuse that he had offended manie noblemen of England, and therefore would not come in their danger.” Malone.
3 The quality of mercy is not strain'd; &c.] In composing these beautiful lines, it is probable that Shakspeare recollected the following verse in Ecclesiasticus, xxxv, 20: “Mercy is seasonable in the time of affliction, as clouds of rain in the time of drought.”
Douce. 4 And earthly power doth then show likest God's,
When mercy zeasons justice.] So, in King Edward III, a tragedy, 1596:
“ And kings approach the nearest unto God,
in the course of justice, none of us
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
Shy. My deeds upo my head!6 I crave the law,
Por. Is he not able to discharge the money?
Bass. Yes, here I tender it for him in the court;
Por. It must not be; there is no power in Venice
Shy. A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel! O wise young judge, how do I honour thee!
Por. I pray you, let me look upon the bond.
Shy. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven: Shall I lay perjury upon my soul? tian doctrine of salvation, and the Lord's Prayer, is a little out of character. Blackstone.
6 My deeds upon my head!] An imprecation adopted from that of the Jews to Pilate: “ His blood be on us, and our children!"
Henley. 7 Yea, twice the sum:] We should read_thrice the sum.-Portia, a few lines below, says
Shylock, there's thrice thy money offer'd thee.” And Shylock himself supports the emendation:
“I take his offer then;-pay the bond thrice.” The editions, indeed, read-this offer; but Mr. Steevens has already proposed the alteration we ought to adopt. Ritson.
malice bears down truth.] Malice oppresses honesty; a true man in old language is an honest man. We now call the jury good men and true. Johnson.
No, not for Venice.
Why, this bond is forfeit;
Shy. When it is paid according to the tenour.
Ant. Most heartily I do beseech the court
Why then, thus it is.
Shy. O noble judge! () excellent young man!
Por. For the intent and purpose of the law
Shy. 'Tis very true: O wise and upright judge!
Por. Therefore, lay bare your bosom.
Ay, his breast: So says
the bond ;-Doth it not, noble judge? Nearest his heart, those are the very words.
Por. It is so. Are there balance here, to weigh The flesh.
Shy. I have them ready.
Por. Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge, To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.
Shy. Is it so nominated in the bond?
Por. It is not so express'd; But what of that? 'Twere good you do so much for charity.
Shy. I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond.
Ant. But little; I am arm’d, and well prepar’d.-
To let the wretched man out-live his wealth,
Bass. Antonio, I am married to a wife,
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 daugh
ter; 'Would, any of the stock of Barrabas 1 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 thine;
Of such a misery-] The first folio destroys the measure by omitting the particle-a; which, nevertheless, is found in the corrected second folio, 1632. Steevens.
- the stock of Barrabas -] The name of this robber is differently spelt as well as accented in The New Testament ; (MÀ πετον, αλλά τον Βαραββάν. ήν δε ο Βαραββάς ληστής s] but Shakespeare seems to have followed the pronunciation usual to the theatre, Barabbas being sounded Barabas throughout Marlowe's Few of Malta. Our poet might otherwise have written:
“Would any of Barabbas' stock had been