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Ner. It is your musick, 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, Whep every goose is cackling, would be thought No better a musician than the wren. How many things by season seasou'd are To their right praise, and true perfection Peace, hoa! the moon sleeps with Endymion, And would not be awak'd!

[Musick ceases. Lor.

That is the voice, Or I am much deceiv'd, of Portia. Per. He knows me, as the blind man knows the

cuckoo, By the bad voice. Lor.

Dear lady, welcome home.
Por. We have been praying for our husbands'

welfare,
Which speed, we hope, the better for our words.
Are they return'd?
Lor.

Madam, they are not yet;
But there is come a messenger before,
To signify their coming.
Por.

Go in, Nerissa,
Give order to my servants, that they take
No pote at all of our being absent hence;
Nor you, Lorenzo;-Jessica, nor you.

[A tucket* sounds. 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 day-light

sick, It looks a little paler; 'tis a day, Such as the day is when the sun is hid.

* A flourish on a trumpet.

Enter Bassanio, Antonio, Gratiano, and their fol

lowers. 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

lard. 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".

[Gratiano and Nerissa seem to talk apart. Gra. 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 posy was
For all the world, like cutler's poetry
Upon a knife, Love me, and leave me not.

Ner. What talk you of the posy, 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:

• Verhal, complimentary form.

Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,
You should have been respective, and have kept it.
Gave it a judge's clerk !-but well I know,
The clerk will ne'er wear hair on his face, that had

it.
Gra. He will, an if he live to be a mau.
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 riveted so 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; Ap 'twere to me, I should be mad at it.

Bass. Why, I were best to cut my left hand off, And swear, I lost the ring defending it. (Aside.

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 inan, nor master, would take augbt 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.

Pør. Even so void is your false heart of truth.

Por

• Regardful.

By heaven, I will ne'er come in your bed
Until I see the ring
Ner.

Nor I in yours,
Till I again see mine.
Bass.

Sweet Portia,
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 naught 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 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 liave 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 pot deny him any thing I have,

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No, not my body, nor my husband's bed:
Know bim 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, wbich is yet my own,
l'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-

withstanding.
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.

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,

[To Portia. 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. llere, lord Bassanio; swear to keep this ring.
Bass, By leaven, 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;

* Advantage.

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