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a cold decree; such a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel the cripple! But this reasoning is not in falhion to chuse me a husband: O me, the word, chufe! I may neither chufe whom I would, nor refuse whom I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curb'd by the will of a dead father. Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot chuse one, nor refufe none?
Ner. Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men at their death have good inspirations: therefore the lcttery that he hath devised in these three chests of gold, silver, and lead, (whereof who chuses his meaning, chufes you,) will no doubt never be chosen by any rightly, but one whom
you shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely suitors that are already come? Por. I
pray thee, over-name them; and as thou nam'ft them, I will describe them; and, according to my defcription, level at my affection.
Ner. First, there is the Neapolitan Prince.
Por. Ay, that's a colt indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horse; and he makes it a great appropriation to his own good parts, that he can fhoe him himself. I am much afraid my Lady his mother play'd false with a smith.
Ner. Then, there is the Count Palatine.
Por. He doth nothing but frown, as who should say, If you
will not have me, chuse. He hears merry tales, and smiles not; I fear he will prove the weeping philofopher when he grows old, being so full of unmannerly sadness in his youth. I had rather be married to a death's head with a bone in his mouth, than to either of these. God defend me from these two!
Ner. How say you by the French Lord, Monsieur Le Bon?
Por. God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man; in truth, I know it is a fin to be a mocker; but, he! why, he hath a horse better than the Neapolitan's; a better bad habit of frowning than the Count Palatine; he is every man in no man; if a throstle fing, he falls strait a capering; he will fence with his own If I should marry him, I fould marry twenty.
husbands. If he would despise me, I would forgive him; for if he love me to madness, I shall never requite him.
Ner. What say you then to l'aulconbridge, the young Baron of England?
Por. You know I say nothing to him, for he underAtands not me,
I him; he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian; and you may come into the court, and swear, that I have a poor pennyworth in the English. He is a proper man's picture; but, alas! who can converfe with a dumb show? how oddly he is suited! I think he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany, and his behaviour
Ner. What think you of the Scottish Lord, his neighbour?
Por. That he hath a neighbourly charity in him; for he borrow'd a box of the ear of the Englishman, and swore he would pay him again when he was able. I think the Frenchman became his surety, and sealed under for another.
Ner. How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew?
Por. Very vilely in the morning when he is sober, and most vilely in the afternoon when he is drunk; when he is beft, he is a little worse than a man; and when he is worst, he is little better than a beaft; and the worst fall that ever fell, I hope I shall make shift to go without him.
Ncr. If he should offer to chufe, and chuse the right casket, you should refuse to perform your father's will, if you should refuse to accept him.
Por. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, set a deep glass of Rhenish wine on the contrary cask ; for if the devil be within, and that temptation without, I know he will chuse it. I will do any thing, Nerissa, ere I will be marry'd to a spunge.
Ner. You need not fear, Lady, the having any of these lords: they have acquainted me with their determinations, which is, indeed, to return to their home, and to trouble you with no more suit; unless you may
be won by some other sort than your father's imposition, depending on the caskets.
Por. If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die as chaste as Diana, unless I be obtain'd by the manner of my father's will. I am glad this parcel of wooers are fo reasonable; for there is not one among them but I doat on his very absence, and with them a fair departure.
Ner. Do you not remember, Lady, in your father's time, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came hither in company
of the Marquis of Mountferrat? Por. Yes,
it was Bassanio: as I think he was fo .call’d.
Ner. True, Madam; he, of all the men that ever my foolish
look'd upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.
Por. I remember him well, and I remember him wora thy of thy praise.' How now? what news?
Enter a Servant. Ser. The four ftrangers seek for you, Madam, to take their leave; and there is a forerunner come from a fifth, the Prince of Morocco, who brings word, the Prince his master will be here to-night.
Por. If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good heart as I can bid the other four farewell, I should be glad of his approach; if he have the condition of a faint, and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me. than wive me. Come, Neriffa. Sirrah, go
before; while we shut the gate upon one wober, another knocks at the door.
SCENE III. A public place in Venice.
Enter Bafanio and Shylock.
Bal. For the which, as I told you, Anthonio shall be bound.
Shy. Anthonio shall become bound? well. Baf. May you ftead me? will you pleasure me ? fhall answer?
I know your
Shy. Three thousand ducats for three months, and Anthonio bound?
Baj. Your answer to that.
Shy. No, no, no, no; my meaning, in saying he is a good man, is to have you understand me, that he is fufficient. Yet his means are in fuppofition: he hath an Argofie bound to Tripolis, another to the Indics; I understand more overupon the Rialto, he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England ; and other ventures he hath squander'd abroad. But thips are but boards, failors but men; there be land-rats and water-rats, waterthieves and land-thieves, I mean pirates; and then there is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding, fufficient; three thousand ducats? 1 think I
take his bond. Baf. Be aisurid you may.
Shy. I will be assur'd I may; and that I may be asfur'd, I will bethink me. May I speak with Anthonio?
Baf. If it please you to dine with us.
Sby. Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation, which your Prophet the Nazarite conjar'd the devil into! I will hoy with you, fe!l with you, taik wih you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray
What news on the Rialto? -who is he comes here!
Eriter Anthorio. Bil. This is Signior Anthonio. Shy. [ Afde.] How like a fawning Publican he looks! I hate him, for he is a Christian: But more, for that in low fimplicity He lends out money gratis, and brings down The rate of usance here with us in Venice. If I can catch him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him. He hates our sacred nation; and he rails, Ev'n there where merchants most do congregate, On me, my bargains, and my
well-won thrift, Which he calls interest. Curfed be
tribe, If I forgive him!
Bas Shylock, do you hear?
Shy. I am debating of my present store,
Your Worship was the last man in our mouths.
Anth. Shylock, although I never lend nor borrow,
Sly. Ay, ay, three thousand ducats.
Shy. I had forgot, three months you told me fo;
Shy. When Jacob graz’d his uncle Laban's fheep, This jacob from our holi Abraham rasa (As his wise mother wrought in his behalf) The third poffeffor; ay, he was the third.
Anth. And what of him? did he take intereft?
Shy. No, not take int’reft; not, as you would say,
before the fulsome ewes;