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Bass. No, by mine honour, madam, by my soul, No woman had it, but a civil doctor, Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me, And begg’d the ring; the which I did deny him, And suffer'd him to go displeas'd away; Even he that had held up the very life Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady? I was enforc'd to send it after him; I was beset with shame and courtesy; My honour would not let ingratitude So much besmear it: Pardon me, good lady; For, by these blessed candles of the night, Had
you been there, I think, you would have begg'd The ring of me to give the worthy doctor.
Por. Let not that doctor e'er come near my house: Since he hath got the jewel that I lov’d, And that which you did swear to keep for me, I will become as liberal as you; I'll not deny him any thing I have, No, not my body, nor my husband's bed: Know him I shall, I am well sure of it: Lie not a night from home; watch me, like Argus: If you do not, if I be left alone, Now, by mine honour, which is yet my own, I'll have that doctor for my bedfellow.
Ner. And I his clerk; therefore be well advis’d, How you do leave me to mine own protection.
Gra. Well, do you so: let not me take him then; For, if I do, I'll mar the young clerk's pen.
Ant. I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels. Por. Sir, grieve not you; You are welcome not
Bass. Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong; And, in the hearing of these many friends, I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes, Wherein I see myself, Por.
Nay, but hear me:
Ant. I once did lend my body for his wealth; Which, but for him that had your husband's ring,
[To Portia. Had quite miscarried: I dare be bound again, My soul upon the forfeit, that
lord Will never more break faith advisedly.
Por. Then you shall be his surety: Give him this; And bid him keep it better than the other.
Ant. Here, lord Bassanio; swear to keep this ring.
Por. I had it of him: pardon me, Bassanio;
Ner. And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano; For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor's clerk, In lieu of this, last night did lie with me.
Gra. Why, this is like the mending of highways In summer, where the ways are fair enough: What! are we cuckolds, ere we have deserv'd it?
Por. Speak not so grossly.--You are all amaz’d: Here is a letter, read it at your leisure; It comes from Padua, from Bellario:
There you shall find, that Portia was the doctor:
I am dumb.
you the doctor, and I knew you not? Gra. Were you the clerk, that is to make me
cuckold ? Ner. Ay; but the clerk, that never means to
do it, Unless he live until he be a man.
Bass. Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow;
How now, Lorenzo?
Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.There do I give to you, and Jessica, From the rich Jew, a special deed of gift, After his death, of all he dies possess’d of.
Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way Of starved people.
It is almost morning, And yet, I am sure, you are not satisfied Of these events at full: Let us go in; And charge us there upon intergatories, And we will answer all things faithfully.
Gra. Let it be so: The first intergatory, That my Nerissa shall be sworn on, is, Whether till the next night she had rather stay; Or go to bed now, being two hours to-day: But were the day come, I should wish it dark, That I were couching with the doctor's clerk. Well, while I live, I'll fear no other thing So sore, as keeping safe Nerissa's ring. [Exeunt.