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Why should a man whose blood is warm within,
Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster ?
Sleep when he wakes ? and creep into the jaundice
By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio, –
I love thee, and it is my love that speaks ;
There are a sort of men, whose visages
Do cream and mantle, like a standing pond;
And do a wilful stillness 3 entertain,
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;
As who should say, I am Sir Oracle,
And, when I ope my lips, let no dog bark !
0, my Antonio, I do know of these,
That therefore only are reputed wise,
For saying nothing; who, I am very sure,
If they should speak, would almost dam those ears,
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers,

fools,
I'll tell thee more of this another time :
But fish not, with this melancholy bait,
For this fool's gudgeon, this opinion.
Come, good Lorenzo:- Fare

ye

well, a while; I'll end my exhortation after dinner. Lor. Well, we will leave you then till dinner

time : I must be one of these same dumb wise men, For Gratiano never lets me speak.

Gra. Well keep me company but two years more, Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue. Ant. Farewell: I'll grow a talker for this gear.

[Exeunt GRATIANO and LORENZO. Bass. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice : His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff; you shall seek all day ere you find them : and, when you have them, they are not worth the search.

Obstinate silence.

my

care

Ant. Well; tell me now, what lady is this same
To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
That you to-day promis'd to tell me of?
Bass. 'Tis not unknown to

you,

Antonio,
How much I have disabled mine estate,
By something showing a more swelling port
Than faint means would grant continuance :
Nor do I now make moan to be abridg'd
From such a noble rate; but my

chief
Is, to come fairly off from the great debts,
Wherein my time, something too prodigal,
Hath left me gaged: To you, Antonio,
I owe the most, in money, and in love;
And from

your

love I have a warranty To unburthen all my plots, and purposes, How to get clear of all the debts I owe.

Ant. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it; And, if it stand, as you yourself still do, Within the eye of honour, be assured, My purse, my person, my extremest means, Lie all unlock'd to your occasions. Bass. In my school-days, when I had lost one

shaft, I shot his fellow of the self-same flight The self-same way, with more advised watch, To find the other forth; and by advent'ring both, I oft found both : I urge this childhood proof, Because what follows is pure innocence.

I owe you much; and, like a wilful youth, ! That which I owe is lost: but if

you please To shoot another arrow that self way Which

you

did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
As I will watch the aim, or to find both,
Or bring your latter hazard back again,
And thankfully rest debtor for the first

.
Ant. You know me well; and herein spend but

time, To wind about my love with circumstance ; And, out of doubt, you do me now more wrong,

In making question of my uttermost,
Than if you had made waste of all I have:
Then do but say to me what I should do,
That in your knowledge may by me be done,
And I am prest 4 unto it: therefore, speak.

Bass. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wond'rous virtues ; sometimes 5 from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages :
Her name is Portia ; nothing undervalued
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia.
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth ;
For the four winds blow in from every coast
Renowned suitors : and her sunny locks
Hang on her temples like a golden fleece;
Which makes her seat of Belmont, Colchos' strand,
And many Jasons come in quest of her.
O my Antonio, had I but the means
To hold a rival place with one of them,
I have a mind presages me such thrift,
That I should questionless be fortunate.
Ant. Thou know’st, that all my fortunes are at

sea;
Nor have I money, nor commodity
To raise a present sum :

therefore forth,
Try what my credit can in Venice do ;
That shall be rack’d, even to the uttermost,
To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia.
Go, presently inquire, and so will I,
Where money is; and I no question make,
To have it of my trust, or for my

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sake. [Exeunt.

4 Ready.

5 Formerly

SCENE II.

Belmont. A Room in Portia's House.

Enter PORTIA and NERISSA.

and.

res

Por. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world.

Ner. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are : And yet, for aught I see, they are as sick, that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing : It is no mean happiness therefore, to be seated in the mean; superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer. Por. Good sentences, and well pronounced. Ner. They would be better, if well followed.

Por. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottåges, princes' palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions : I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me a husband :-O me, the word choose ! I may neither choose 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 choose one, nor refuse none ?

Ner. Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men, at their death, have good inspirations; therefore, the lottery, that he hath devised in these three chests, of gold, silver, and lead, (whereof who chooses his meaning, chooses you,) will, no doubt, never be chosen by any rightly, but one who you shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely suitors that are already come?

In making question of my uttermost,
Than if you had made waste of all I have:
Then do but say to me what I should do,
That in your knowledge may by me be done,
And I am prest 4 unto it: therefore, speak.

Bass. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wond'rous virtues; sometimes • from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages :
Her name is Portia ; nothing undervalued
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia.
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth ;
For the four winds blow in from every coast
Renowned suitors : and her

sunny

locks Hang on her temples like a golden fleece; Which makes her seat of Belmont, Colchos' strand, And

many Jasons come in quest of her.
O my Antonio, had I but the means
To hold a rival place with one of them,
I have a mind presages me such thrift,
That I should questionless be fortunate.
Ant. Thou know'st, that all my fortunes are at

sea;
Nor have I money, nor commodity
To raise a present sum : therefore go forth,
Try what my credit can in Venice do;
That shall be rack’d, even to the uttermost,
To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia.
Go, presently inquire, and so will I,
Where money is; and I no question make,
To have it of my trust, or for my

sake. [Exeunt.

4 Ready.

5 Formerly.

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