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My lord, here stays without
Duke. Bring us the letters ; Call the messenger.
The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all, Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.
Ant. I am a tainted wether of the flock, Meetest for death; the weakest kind of fruit Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me : You cannot better be employ'd, Bassanio, Than to live still, and write mine epitaph.
Enter NERISSA, dressed like a lawyer's clerk. Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario? Ner. From both my lord: Bellario greets your grace.
[Presents a letter. Bass. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly? Shy. To cat the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.
Gra. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew, Thou mak'st thy knife keen: but no metal can, No, not the hangman's ax, bear half the keenness Of thy sharp envy.3 Can no prayers pierce thee?
Shy. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make..
Gra. O, be thou darnn'd, inexorable dog!
Govern'd a wolf, who, hang'd for human slaughter,
Shy. Till thou can'st rail the seal from off my bond,
Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend
Ner. He attendeth here hard by,
Duke. With all my heart:-some three or four of you, Go give him courteous conduct to this place.Mean time, the court shall hear Bellario's letter.
(Clerk reads.) Your grace shall understand, that, at the receipt of your letter, I am very sick : but in the instant that your messenger came, in loving visitation was with me a young doctor of Rome, his name is Balthasar : I acquainted him with the cause in controversy between the Jew and Antonio the merchant : we turned o'er many books together : he is furnish'd with my opinion ; which, better'd with his own learning, (the greatness whereof I cannot enough commend,) comes with him, at my importunity, to fill up your grace's request
stead. I beseech you, let his lack of years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend estimation ; for I never knew so young a body with so old a head. I leare him to your gracious acceptance,' whose trial shall better publish his commendation,
Duke. You hear the learn'd Bellario, what he
writes : And here, I take it, is the doctor come.
Enter Portia, dressed like a doctor of laws.
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.
Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
Shylock is my name.
[Το ANTONIo. Ant. Ay, so he says. Por.
Do you confess the bond ?
Then must the Jew be merciful.
Por. The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
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?
Buss. 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.
And I beseech you, Wrest once the law to your authority : To do a great right, do a little wrong ; And curb this cruel devil of his will.
Por. It must not be; there is no power in Venice Can alter a decree established : 'Twill be recorded for a precedent ; And many an error, by the same example,
Will rush into the state: it cannot be.
Shy. A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel ! O wise young judge, how do I honour thee!
Por. I pray you, let me look upon the bond.
Shy. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven :
Why, this bond is forfeit;
Shy. When it is paid according to the tenour.-
· Ant. Most heartily I do beseech the court To give the judgment. Por.
Why then, thus it is. 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!