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Bassanio. Good sir, this ring was given me by my wise; And when she put it on, she made me vow ·That I should neither sell nor give nor lose it.

Portia. That 'scuse serves many men to save their gifts. An if your wife be not a mad-woman, And know how well I have deserved the ring, She would not hold out enemy for ever, For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!

[Exeunt Portia and Nerissa, Antonio. My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring: Let his deservings and my love withal Be valued 'gainst your wife's commandment.

Bassanio. Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him ; Give him the ring, and bring him, if thou canst, Unto Antonio's house: away! make haste. [Exit Gratiario. Come, you and I will thither presently ; And in the morning early will we both Fly toward Belmont: come, Antonio.



SCENE II. The same. A street.

Enter PORTIA ond NERISSA. Portia. Inquire the Jew's house out, give him this deed And let him sign it: we'll away to-night And be a day before our husbands home: This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo.

Gratiano. Fair sir, you are well o’erta'en :
My Lord Bassanio upon more advice
Hath sent you here this ring, and doth entreat
Your company at dinner.

That cannot be:
His ring I do accept most thankfully:
And so, I pray you, tell him: furthermore,
I pray you, show my youth old Shylock's house.


Gratiano. That will I do.

Sir, I would speak with you.
[ Aside to Portia] I'll see if I can get my husband's ring,
Which I did make him swear to keep for ever.
Portia. [Aside to Nerissa] Thou may’st, I warrant. We

shall have old swearing That they did give the rings away to men; But we'll outface them, and outswear them too. [ Aloud] Away! make haste: thou know'st where I will

tarry. Nerissa. Come, good sir, will you shew me to this 'nouse?

[Exeunt. 19

SCENE I. Belmont, Avenue to Portia's house.

Lor. The moon shines bright: in such a night as this,
When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees
And they did make no noise, in such a night
Troilus methinks mounted the Troyan walls
And sigh’d his soul toward the Grecian tents,
Where Cressid lay that night.

In such a night
Did Thisbe fearfully o’ertrip the dew
And saw the lion's shadow ere himself
And ran dismay'd away.

In such a night
Stood Dido with a willow in her hand

Upon the wild sea banks and waft her love
To come again to Carthage.

In such a night
Medea gather'd the enchanted herbs
That did renew old Æson.

In such a night
Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew

And with an unthrift love did run from Venice
As far as Belmont.

In such a night
Did young Lorenzo swear he loved her well,
Stealing her soul with many vows of faith
And ne'er a true one.

In such a night
Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,
Slander her love, and he forgave it her.

Jessica. I would out-night you, did no body come; But, hark, I hear the footing of a man.


Lorenzo. Who comes so fast in silence of the night?
Stephano. A friend.
Lorenzo. A friend! what friend? your name, I pray

you, friend?
Stephano. Stephano is my name; and I bring word
My mistress will before the break of day
Be here at Belmont: she doth stray about

By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays
For happy wedlock hours.

Who comes with her? Stephano. None but a holy hermit and her maid. I pray you, is my master yet return’d?

Lorenzo. He is not, nor we have not heard from him. But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica, And ceremoniously let us prepare Some welcome for the mistress of the house.

Launcelot. Sola, sola! wo ha, ho! sola, sola !
Lorenzo. Who calls ?

40 Launcelot. Sola! did you see Master Lorenzo ? Master Lorenzo, sola, sola!

Lorenzo. Leave hollaing, man: here.

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Launcelot. Sola! where? where ?
Lorenzo. Here.

Launcelot. Tell him there's a post come from my master, with his horn full of good news: my master will be here ere morning.

[Exii. Lor. Sweet soul, let's in, and there expect their coming. And yet no matter : why should we go in ?

My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you,
Within the house, your mistress is at hand;
And bring your music forth into the air. [Exit Stephano.
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.


Enter Musicians.
Come, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn :
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear .
And draw her home with music.

[Music. Jessica. I am never merry when I hear sweet music.

Lorenzo. The reason is, your spirits are attentive: 70
For do but note a wild and wanton herd,
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud,
Which is the hot condition of their blood;
If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound,
Or any air of music touch their ears,
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
Their savage eyes turn’d to a modest gaze

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By the sweet power of music: therefore the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones and floods;
Since nought so stockish, hard and full of rage,
But music for the time doth change his nature.
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.

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Portia. That light we see is burning in my hall.
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

Ner. When the moon shone, we did not see the candle.

Portia. So doth the greater glory dim the less :
A substitute shines brightly as a king
Until a king be by, and then his state
Empties itself, as doth an inland brook
Into the main of waters. Music! hark !

Nerissa. It is your music, madam, of the house.

Portia. Nothing is good, I see, without respect: Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day.

Nerissa. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.

Portia. The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark
When neither is attended, and I think
The nightingale, if she should sing by day,
When every goose is cackling, would be thought
No better a musician than the wren.
How many things by season season'd are
To their right praise and true perfection!
Peace, ho! the moon sleeps with Endymion
And would not be awaked.

[Music ceases. Lorenzo.

That is the voice, Or I am much deceived, of Portia.


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