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Enter Portia, dressed like a doctor of laws. Give me your hand : Came you from old Bellario?
Por. I did, my lord.
DUKE. You are welcome: take your place. Are you acquainted with the difference That holds this present question in the court ?
Por. I am informed throughly of the cause. Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew ?
DUKE. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
Shylock is my name.
Cannot IMPUGN you,] To impugn, is to oppose, to controvert. So, in the Tragedy of Darius, 1603 :
“Yet though my heart would fain impugn my word." Again :
" If any press t' impugn 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 often 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 dangerio dicti Officialis.” Thus, also, in the Corvysor's Play, among the collection of Whitsun Mysteries, represented at Chester. See MS. Harl. 1013, p.
“ Two detters some tyme 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. Henley.
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."
Ant. Ay, so he says.
Do you confess the bond ?
Then must the Jew be merciful. Shy. On what compulsion must I? tell me that.
Por. The quality of mercy is not strain'd';
Again, in our poet's Venus and Adonis :
“ Come not within his danger by your will.” 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 seasons justice.] So, in King Edward III. a tragedy, 1596:
“ And kings approach the nearest unto God,
By giving life and safety unto men.” So Sir J. Harrington, as quoted in England's Parnassus, under the head Mercie :
This noble virtue and divine
“ As in that one, he most resembleth God.”
Then come we nearest to the Gods on hie,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,-
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 8. And I beseech you,
* So quartos; folio, course. There is something extremely like this in the petition of the Convocation to Queen Elizabeth, in 1580, praying her to pardon Archbishop Grindal. “Nihil est tam populare quam bonitas: atque principes ad præpotentem Deum nullâ re propius accedunt quam offensionibus deponendis et obliviscendis injuriis.” Fuller Ch. Hist. sub ann. BLACKEWAY.
in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation :) Portia referring the Jew to the Christian 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.
8 - malice bears down truth.] Malice oppresses honesty; a
Wrest once the law to your authority :
Por. It must not be; there is no power in Venice
niel! O wise young judge, how do I * honour 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 offer'd
thee. Shy. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven: Shall I lay perjury upon my soul ? No, not for Venice. Por.
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 tenour.-
Ant. Most heartily I do beseech the court
Why then, thus it is:
* Quarto, I do. true man in old language is an honest man. jury good men and true. Johnson.
We now call the
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,
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.
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 pre
par'd. 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 out-live 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.
* So quartos ; folio, should.
† So folio; quartos, you. 9 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.