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Lor. I will anon; first let us go to dinner.
Jes. Nay, let me praise you, while I have a stomach.
Lor. No, pray thee let it serve for table-talk ;
Then, howsoe'er thou speak’st, ʼmong other things
I shall digest it.
Well, I'll set you forth. [Exeunt.
SCENE I. Venice. A Court of Justice.
Enter the Duke, the Magnificoes; Antonio, BASSANIO,
GRATIANO, SALARINO, SALANIO, and others.
Duke. What, is Antonio here?
Ant. Ready, so please your grace.
Duke. I am sorry for thee; thou art come to answer
A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch
Uncapable of pity, void and empty
From any dram of mercy.
I have heard
Your grace hath ta'en great pains to qualify
His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate,
And that no lawful means can carry me
Out of his envy's' reach, I do oppose
My patience to his fury; and am armed
To suffer, with a quietness of spirit,
The very tyranny and rage of his.
Duke. Go, one, and call the Jew into the court.
Salan. He's ready at the door; he comes, my lord.
Enter SHYLOCK. Duke. Make room, and let him stand before our face. Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
That thou but lead'st this fashion of thy malice
To the last hour of act; and then, 'tis thought,
Thou'lt show thy mercy, and remorse,' more strange
Than is thy strange apparent cruelty ;
And where” thou now exact'st the penalty,
(Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh,)
Thou wilt not only lose the forfeiture,
But, touched with human gentleness and love,
Forgive a moiety of the principal ;
Glancing an eye of pity on his losses,
That have of late so huddled on his back,
Enough to press a royal? merchant down,
And pluck commiseration of his state
From brassy bosoms, and rough hearts of flint,
From stubborn Turks, and Tartars never trained
To offices of tender courtesy.
We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.
Shy. I have possessed your grace of wþat I purpose;
And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn
To have the due and forfeit of my bond.
If you deny it, let the danger light
Upon your charter and your city's freedom.
You'll ask me why I rather choose to have
A weight of carrion flesh, than to receive
Three thousand ducats. I'll not answer that:
But say it is my humor: Is it answered ?
What if my house be troubled with a rat,
And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats
To have it baned? What, are you answered yet?
Some men there are love not a gaping pig ;
Some, that are mad, if they behold a cat;
And others, when the bagpipe sings i’ the nose,
Cannot contain their urine ; for affection,
Master of passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer.
As there is no firm reason to be rendered,
Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;
Why he, a harmless, necessary cat;
Why he, a woollen bagpipe; but of force
Must yield to such inevitable shame,
As to offend, himself being offended;
So can I give no reason, nor I will not,
More than a lodged hate, and a certain loathing
I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
A losing suit against him. Are you answered ?
Bass. This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
To excuse the current of thy cruelty.
Shy. I am not bound to please thee with my answer.
Bass. Do all men kill the things they do not love?
Shy. Hates any man the thing he would not kill ?
Bass. Every offence is not a hate at first.
Shy. What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee
Ant. I pray you, think you question ? with the Jew.
You may as well go stand upon the beach,
And bid the main flood bate his usual height;
You may as well use question with the wolf,
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb;
You may as well forbid the mountain pines
To wag their high tops, and to make no noise,
When they are fretted with the gusts of heaven;
You may as well do any thing most hard,
As seek to soften that, (than which what's harder ?)
His Jewish heart.-— Therefore I do beseech
Make no more offers, use no further means,
But, with all brief and plain conveniency,
Let me have judgment, and the Jew his will.
Bass. For thy three thousand ducats here is six.
Were in six parts, and every part a ducat,
I would not draw them; I would have my bond.
Duke. How shalt thou hope for mercy, rend'ring
Shy. What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?
You have among you many a purchased slave,
Which, like your asses, and your dogs, and mules,
You use in abject and in slavish parts,
Because you bought them.—Shall I say to you,
Let them be free; marry them to your heirs ?
Why sweat they under burdens ? Let their beds
Be made as soft as yours, and let their palates
Be seasoned with such viands? You will answer,
The slaves are ours.--So do I answer you.
The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,
Is dearly bought; 'tis mine, and I will have it.
If you deny me, fie upon your law !
There is no force in the decrees of Venice.
I stand for judgment: answer; shall I have it?
Duke. Upon my power I may dismiss this court,
Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
Whom I have sent for to determine this,
Come here to-day.
My lord, here stays without
A messenger with letters from the doctor,
New come from Padua.
Duke. Bring us the letters; call the messenger.
Bass. Good cheer, Antonio! What, man? cour-
The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all,
Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.
Ant. I am a tainted wether of the flock, Meetest for death; the weakest kind of fruit Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me. You cannot better be employed, Bassanio, Than to live still, and write mine epitaph.
Enter NERISSA, dressed like a Lawyer's Clerk. Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario? Ner. From both, my lord.
Bellario greets your grace.
[Presents a letter. Bass. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly? Shy. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.
Gra. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew, Thou mak'st thy knife keen; but no metal can, No, not the hangman's axe, bear half the keenness Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?
Shy. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.
Gra. 0, be thou damned, inexorable dog! And for thy life let justice be accused. Thou almost mak'st me waver in my faith, To hold opinion with Pythagoras, That souls of animals infuse themselves Into the trunks of men. Thy currish spirit, Governed a wolf, who, hanged for human slaughter, Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet, And, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallowed dam, Infused itself in thee ; for thy desires Are wolfish, bloody, starved, and ravenous.
Shy. Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,
Thou but offend'st thy lungs to speak so loud.
Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall
To cureless ruin.--I stand here for law.
Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend
A young and learned doctor to our court.-
Where is he?
He attendeth here hard by,
To know your answer, whether you'll admit him.
Duke. With all my heart; some three or four of you,
Go, give him courteous conduct to this place.-
Mean time the court shall hear Bellario's letter.
[Clerk reads.] Your grace shall understand, that, at the receipt of your letter, I am very sick ; but in the instant that your messenger came, in loving visitation was with me a young doctor of Rome ; his name is Bal