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A stage, where every man must play a part,
Let me play the fool:
Lor. Well, we will leave you, then, till dinner-time.
Gra. Well, keep me company but two years more,
Ant. Farewell: I'll grow a talker for this gear.
Gra. Thanks, i' faith; for silence is only commendable In a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible. [Exeunt GRATIAXO and LORENZO.
Ant. It is that: any thing now.
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.
Ant. Well; tell me now, what lady is the same
Bass. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
Ant. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
Bass. In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,
Or bring your latter hazard back again,
Ant. You know me well, and herein spend but time,
but say to me what I should do, That in your knowledge may by me be done, And I am prest unto it: therefore, speak.
Bass. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
Ant. Thou know'st, that all my fortunes are at sea;
Enter PORTIA and NERISSA. 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.
Por. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottages prioces' 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. The brain may devise laws for the blood; but a hot temper leaps o’er 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 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 curbed 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 whom you shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely suitors tbat are already come?
Por. I pray thee, over-name them, and as thou namest them, I will describe them; and, according to my description, 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 bis own good parts, that he can shoe him himself. I am much afraid, my lady his mother played false with a smith.
Ner. Then, is there the county Palatine.
Por. He doth nothing but frown, as who should say, “An you will not have me, choose." He hears merry tales, and smiles not: I fear he will prove the weeping philosopher 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 sin 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 sing, he falls straight a capering: he will fence with his own shadow. If I should marry him, I should marry twenty húsbands. 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 Faulconbridge, the young baron of England ?
Por. You know, I say nothing to him, for he understands not me, nor I bim: he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian; and you will come into the court and swear, that I have a poor penny-worth in the English. He is a proper man's picture; but, alas! who can converse 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 every where.
Ner. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?
Por. That he hath a neighbourly charity in him; for he borrowed a box of the ear of the Englishman, and swore he would pay him again, when he was able : I think, the Frenchman became bis surety, and sealed under for another.
Ner. How like you the young German, the duke of Saxony's nephew?