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thasar. I acquainted him with the cause in controversy between the Jew and Antonio the merchant; we turned o'er many books together; he is furnished with my opinion ; which, bettered 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 1 never knew so 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 learned Bellario, what he writes. And here, I take it, is the doctor come.

Enter Portia dressed like a Doctor of Laws.
Give me your hand. Came you from old Bellario?

Por. I did, my lord.

You are welcome; take your place.
Are you acquainted with the difference
That holds this present question in the court ?

Por. I am informed thoroughly of the cause.
Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?

Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
Por. Is your name Shylock ?

Shylock is my name. Por. Of a strange nature is the suit

Yet in such rule, that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you, as you do proceed-
You stand within his danger,do you not?

[To ANTONIO Ant. Ay, so he says. Por.

Do you confess the bond ? Ant. I do. Por.

Then must the Jew be merciful. Shy. On what compulsion must I ? Tell me that. Por. The quality of mercy is not strained;

you follow

1 To impugn is to oppose, to controvert.

? i. e. within his reach or control. The phrase is thought to be derived from a similar one in the monkish Latin of the middle age.

It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath : it is twice blessed ;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's,
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation ; we do pray for mercy ;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.

I have spoke thus much,
To mitigate the justice of thy plea ;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.

Shy. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law, The penalty and forfeit of my bond.

Por. Is he not able to discharge the money?

Bass. Yes, here I tender it for him in the court; Yea, twice the sum. If that will not suffice, I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart. If this will not suffice, it must appear That malice bears down truth. And I beseech you, Wrest once the law to your authority; To do a great right, do a little wrong; And curb this cruel devil of his will.

Por. It must not be ; there is no power in Venice Can alter a decree established; 'Twill be recorded for a precedent ; And many an error, by the same example, Will rush into the state. It cannot be.



1. e. malice oppressed honesty; a true man, in old language, is an honest

We now call the jury good men and true.



Shy. A Daniel come to judgment ! Yea, a Daniel !
O wise young judge, how do I honor thee!
Por. I

pray you, let me look upon the bond.
Shy. Here'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.
Por. Shylock, there's thrice thy money offered thee.

Shy. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven.
Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
No, not for Venice.

Why, this bond is forfeit;
And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
Nearest the merchant's heart.-Be merciful :
Take thrice thy money; bid me tear the bond.

Shy. When it is paid according to the tenor.--
It doth appear, you are a worthy judge;
You know the law; your exposition
Hath been most sound. I charge you by the law,
Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar,
Proceed to judgment. By my soul, I swear,
There is no power in the tongue of man
To alter me! I stay here on my bond.

Ant. Most heartily I do beseech the court
To give the judgment.

Why, then, thus it is.
You must prepare your bosom for his knife.

Shy. O noble judge! O excellent young man !

Por. For the intent and purpose of the law
Hath full relation to the penalty,
Which here appeareth due upon the bond.

Shy. 'Tis very true. O wise and upright judge!
How much more elder art thou than thy looks!

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 expressed ; but what of that ?
'Twere good you do so much for charity.

Shy. I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond.
Por. Come, merchant, have you any thing to say ?

Ant. But little ; I am armed, and well prepared.-
Give me your hand, Bassanio ; fare you well!
Grieve not that I am fallen to this for you ;
For herein fortune shows herself more kind
Than is her custom.

It is still her use,

To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
To view with hollow eye, and wrinkled brow,
An age of poverty; from which lingering penance
Of such misery doth she cut me off.
Commend me to your honorable wife.
Tell her the process of Antonio's end ;
Say, how I loved you; speak me fair in death ;
And when the tale is told, bid her be judge,
Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
Repent not you that you shall lose your friend,
And he repents not that he pays your debt;
For, if the Jew do cut but deep enough,
I'll pay it instantly with all my heart.

Bass. Antonio, I am married to a wife,
Which is as dear to me as life itself;
But life itself, my wife, and all the world,
Are not with me esteemed above thy life.
I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all
Here to this devil, to deliver

you. 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

daughter: 'Would any of the stock of Barrabas

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 ;
The court awards it, and the law doth give it.

Shy. Most rightful judge!
Por. And you must cut this flesh from off his

breast; The law allows it, and the court awards it. Shy. Most learned judge !-A sentence: come,

prepare. Por. Tarry a little ;—there is something else.This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood; The words expressly are, a pound of flesh. Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh; But in the cutting it, if thou dost shed One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate Unto the state of Venice. Gra. O upright judge !—Mark, Jew ;-0 learned

judge! Shy. Is that the law ? Por.

Thyself shall see the act; For, as thou urgest justice, be assured, Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desir’st. Gra. O learned judge!—Mark, Jew ;-a learned

judge! Shy. I take this offer then ;-pay the bond thrice, And let the Christian go. Bass.

Here is the money. Por. The Jew shall have all justice ;-soft!--no haste;He shall have nothing but the penalty.

Gra. O Jew! An upright judge, a learned judge !

Por. Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh:
Shed thou no blood; nor cut thou less, nor more,
But just a pound of flesh. If thou tak’st more,
Or less, than a just pound,—be it but so much
As makes it light, or heavy, in the substance,

Soft ;

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