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SCENE IV. Belmont. A Room in Portia's House.
Enter Portia, NERISSA, LORENZO, JESSICA, and BALTHAZAR.
Lor. Madam, although I speak it in your presence, You have a noble and a true conceit Of godlike amity; which appears most strongly In bearing thus the absence of
lord your husband, I know, you would be prouder of the work, Than customary bounty can enforce you.
Por. I never did repent for doing good,
1 The word lineaments was used with great laxity by our ancient writers.
% This term was anciently synonymous with friend.
The which my love, and some necessity,
Madam, with all my heart
Por. My people do already know my mind,
Lor. Fair thoughts, and happy hours, attend on you.
Por. I thank you for your wish, and am well pleased To wish it back on you ; fare you well, Jessica.
[Exeunt Jessica and Lorenzo. Now, Balthazar, As I have ever found thee honest, true, So let me find thee still. Take this same letter, And use thou all the endeavor of a man, In speed to Padua; see thou render this Into my cousin's hand, doctor Bellario; And, look, what notes and garments he doth give thee, Bring them, I pray thee, with imagined speed Unto the tranect, to the common ferry Which trades to Venice.-Waste no time in words, But get thee gone.
I shall be there before thee. Balth. Madam, I go with all convenient speed.
Shall they see us ?
1 i. e. with the celerity of imagination.
2 This word can only be illustrated at present by conjecture. It evidently implies the name of a place where the passage-boat set out, and is in some way derived from “ įranare (Ital.), to pass or swim over:” perhaps, therefore, tranetto signified a little fording place or ferry, and hence the English word tranect; but no other instance of its use has yet occurred.
I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
Why, shall we turn to men ?
SCENE V. The same.
Enter LAUNCELOT and JESSICA. Laun. Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the father are to be laid upon the children; therefore, I promise you, I fear you. I was always plain with you, and so now I speak my agitation of the matter. Therefore, be of good cheer; for, truly, I think, you are damned. There is but one hope in it that can do you any good; and that is but a kind of bastard hope neither.
1 “I could not help it.”
“ The king is sickly, weak, and melancholy,
Jes. And what hope is that, I pray thee?
Laun. Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.
Jes. That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed ; so the sins of my mother should be visited upon me.
Laun. Truly then I fear you are damned both by father and mother; thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother. Well, you are gone both ways.
Jes. I shall be saved by my husband; he hath made me a Christian.
Laun. Truly, the more to blame he; we wer Christians enough before ; e'en as many as could well live, one by another. This making of Christians will raise the price of hogs; if we grow all to be pork-eaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals
Enter LORENZO. Jes. I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say ; here he comes.
Lor. I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if
get my wife into corners. Jes. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo; Launcelot and I are out. He tells me flatly, there is no mercy for me in heaven, because I am a Jew's daughter; and he says you are no good member of the commonwealth ; for, in converting Jews to Christians, you raise the price of pork.
Lor. I shall answer that better to the commonwealth, than you can the getting up of the negro's belly. The Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.
Laun. It is much, that the Moor should be more than reason ; but if she be less than an honest woman, she is, indeed, more than I took her for.
Lor. How every fool can play upon the word! I think, the best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence; and discourse grow commendable in none only but parrots.-Go in, sirrah; bid them prepare for dinner.
Laun. That is done, sir; they have all stomachs.
Lor. Goodly lord, what a wit-snapper are you ! Then bid them prepare dinner.
Laun. That is done, too, sir; only, cover is the word.
Lor. Will you cover then, sir ?
Lor. Yet more quarrelling with occasion! Wilt thou show the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant ? I pray thee, understand a plain man in his plain meaning. Go to thy fellows; bid them cover the table, serve in the meat, and we will come in to dinner.
Laun. For the table, sir, it shall be served in ; for the meat, sir, it shall be covered ; for your coming in to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humors and conceits .
[Exit LAUNCELOT. Lor. O dear discretion, how his words are suited! The fool hath planted in his memory An army of good words; and I do know A many fools, that stand in better place, Garnished like him, that for a tricksy word Defy the matter. How cheer'st thou, Jessica ! And now, good sweet, say thy opinion; How dost thou like the lord Bassanio's wife?
Jes. Past all expressing. It is very meet, The lord Bassanio live an upright life; For, having such a blessing in his lady, He finds the joys of heaven here on earth; And, if on earth he do not mean it, it Is reason he should never come to heaven. Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match, And on the wager lay two earthly women, And Portia one, there must be something else Pawned with the other; for the poor rude world Hath not her fellow. Lor.
Even such a husband Hast thou of me, as she is for a wife.
Jes. Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.
1 i. e, suited or fitted to each other, arranged.