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Laun. Tell him, there's a post come from my
master, with his horn full of good news: my master will be here ere morning.
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.-
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here we will 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 patens of bright gold;
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear,
And draw her home with music.
Jes. I am never merry when I hear sweet music.
Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentive:
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,
By the sweet power of music: therefore, the poet
There's not the smallest orb, which thou be- Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and
Enter PORTIA and NERISSA, at a distance. Por. 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.
Por. 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!
Ner. It is your music, madam, of the house. Por. Nothing is good, I see, without respect : Methinks, it sounds much sweeter than by day. Ner. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam. Por. 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!-
Lor. Your husband is at hand: I hear his trumpet. We are no tell-tales, madam; fear you not.
Por. This night, methinks, is but the daylight sick;
It looks a little paler: 'tis a day,
Such as the day is when the sun is hid.
Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and their Followers.
Bass. We should hold day with the Antipodes, If you would walk in absence of the sun.
Por. Let me give light, but let me not be light; For a light wife doth make a heavy husband, And never be Bassanio so for me:
But God sort all!-You are welcome home, my lord.
Bass. I thank you, madam. Give welcome to my friend:
This is the man, this is Antonio,
To whom I am so infinitely bound.
Por. You should in all sense be much bound to him,
For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.
Ant. No more than I am well acquitted of.
Por. Sir, you are very welcome to our house:
It must appear in other ways than words,
Therefore, I scant this breathing courtesy.
Gra. [To NERISSA.] By yonder moon, I swear,
you do me wrong;
In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk :
Would he were gelt that had it, for my part,
Since you do take it, love, so much at heart.
Por. A quarrel, ho, already! what's the matter?
Gra. About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring
That she did give me; whose poesy was
For all the world, like cutlers' poetry
Upon a knife, "Love me, and leave me not."
Ner. What talk you of the poesy, or the value?
You swore to me, when I did give it you,
That you would wear it till your hour of death,
And that it should lie with you in your grave:
Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths.
You should have been respective, and have kept it
Gave it a judge's clerk! no, God's my judge,
The clerk will ne'er wear hair on's face, that had it.
Gra. He will, an if he live to be a man.
Ner. Ay, if a woman live to be a man.
Gra. Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,
A kind of boy; a little scrubbed boy,
No higher than thyself, the judge's clerk;
A prating boy, that begg'd it as a fee:
I could not for my heart deny it him.
Por. You were to blame, I must be plain with you,
To part so slightly with your wife's first gift;
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger,
And so riveted with faith unto your flesh.
I gave my love a ring, and made him swear
Never to part with it; and here he stands :
I dare be sworn for him, he would not leave it,
Nor pluck it from his finger for the wealth
That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano,
You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief:
An 'twere to me, I should be mad at it.
Bass. [Aside.] Why, I were best to cut my left
And swear I lost the ring defending it.
Gra. My lord Bassanio gave his ring away Unto the judge that begg'd it, and, indeed, Deserv'd it too; and then the boy, his clerk, That took some pains in writing, he begg'd mine; And neither man, nor master, would take aught But the two rings.
What ring, gave you, my lord?
Not that, I hope, which you receiv'd of me.
Bass. If I could add a lie unto a fault,
I would deny it; but you see, my finger
Hath not the ring upon it: it is gone.
Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth.
By heaven, I will ne'er come in your bed
Until I see the ring.
If you did know to whom I gave the ring,
If you did know for whom I gave the ring,
And would conceive for what I gave the ring,
And how unwillingly I left the ring,
When nought would be accepted but the ring,
You would abate the strength of your displeasure.
Por. If you had known the virtue of the ring,
Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
Or your own honour to contain the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
What man is there so much unreasonable,
If you had pleas'd to have defended it
With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
To urge the thing held as a ceremony?
Nerissa teaches me what to believe:
I'll die for't, but some woman had the ring.
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
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 mine 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,
For, if I do, I'll mar the young clerk's pen.
Ant. I am th' unhappy subject of these quarrels. Por. Sir, grieve not you; you are welcome notwithstanding.
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,
Mark you but that! In both my eyes he doubly sees himself; In each eye, one :-swear by your double self, And there's an oath of credit.
Bass. Nay, but hear me. Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear, I never more will break an oath with thee. Ant. I once did lend my body for his wealth, Which, but for him that had your husband's ring, Had quite miscarried: I dare be bound again. My soul upon the forfeit, that your 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
Bass. By heaven! it is the same I gave the doctor. Por. I had it of him: pardon me, Bassanio, For by this ring the doctor lay with me.
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;
Nerissa there, her clerk. Lorenzo, here,
Shall witness I set forth as soon as you,
And even but now return'd: I have not yet
Enter'd my house.-Antonio, you are welcome;
And I have better news in store for you,
Than you expect: unseal this letter soon;
There you shall find, three of your argosies
Are richly come to harbour suddenly.
You shall not know by what strange accident
I chanced on this letter.
Of these events at full. Let us go in;
And charge us there upon inter'gatories,
And we will answer all things faithfully.
Gra. Let it be so the first inter❜gatory,
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.
Till 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.