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SCENE changes to BELMONT. Three Caskets are fet out, one of gold, another of filver, and another of lead.
Enter Portia and Neriffa.
Y my troth, Neriffa, my little body is weary of this great world.
Ner. You would be, fweet madam, if your miseries were in the fame abundance as your good fortunes are; and yet, for aught I fee, they are as fick, that furfeit with too much, as they that ftarve with nothing; therefore it is no mean happiness to be feated in the mean; fuperfluity comes fooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.
Por. Good fentences, and well pronounc'd.
Por. If to do, were as eafie as to know what were good to do, chappels had been churches; and poor mens cottages, Princes' palaces. He is a good divine, that follows his own inftructions; I can eafier teach twenty what were good to be done, than to be one of the twenty to follow my own teaching. The brain may devife laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree; fuch a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counfel the cripple! But this reafoning is not in fashion to chufe me a husband: O me, the word, chufe! I may neither chufe whom I would, nor refuse whom I diflike; fo is the will of a living daughter curb'd by the will of a dead father: is it not hard, Neriffa, that I cannot chufe 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 chefts of gold, filver, and lead, (whereof who chufes his meaning, chufes you) will no doubt never be chofen by any rightly, but one whom you fhall rightly love. But what
warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely fuitors, that are already come ?
Por. I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou nam'ft them, I will defcribe them; and, according to my defcription, level at my affection.
Ner. First, there is the Neapolitan Prince.
Por. Ay, that's a Dolt, indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horfe; (3) and he makes it a great appropriation to his own good parts, that he can fhoe him himfelf: I am much afraid, my lady, his mother, play'd false with a smith.
Ner. Then, there is the Count Palatine.
Por. He doth nothing but frown, as who should say, if you will not have me, chufe: he hears merry tales, and fmiles not; I fear, he will prove the weeping philofopher when he grows old, being fo full of unmannerly fadness in his youth. I had rather be married to a death's head with a bone in his mouth, than to either of thefe. God defend me from these two!
Ner. How fay you by the French Lord, Monfieur Le Boun?
Por. God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man ; in truth, I know, it is a fin to be a mocker; but, he! why, he hath a horfe better than the Neapolitan's; a better bad habit of frowning than the Count Palatine; he is every man in no man; if a throftle fing, he falls ftrait a capering; he will fence with his
(3) Ay, that's a Colt, indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of bis horfes] Tho' all the Editions agree in this Reading, I can perceive neither Humour, nor Reasoning, in it: How does talking of Horses, or knowing how to shoe them, make a Man e'er the more a Colt? Or, if a Smith and a Lady of Figure were to have an Affair together, would a Colt be the Iffue of their Careffes? This feems to me to be Portia's Meaning. What do you tell me of the Neapolitan Prince, he is such a stupid Dunce, that, inftead of saying fine things to me, he does Nothing but talk of his Horfes. The Word, Dolt, which I have fubftituted, fully answers this Idea; and fignifies one of the most stupid and blocks of the Vulgar: and in this Acceptation it is used by our Author.
owri Shadow; if I should marry him, I should marry twenty husbands. 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 him; he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian; and you may come into the court and swear, that I have a poor pennyworth in the Enge lish. He is a proper man's picture, but, alas ! who can converse with a dumb fhow ? 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 neigh
Por. That he hath a neighbourly charity in him ; for he borrow'd a box of the ear of the Englishman, and swore he would pay him again, when he was able. I think, the Frenchman became his surety, and sealed under for another.
Ner. How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew?
Por. Very vilely in the morning when he is sober, and most vilely in the afternoon when he is drunk ; e when he is best, he is a little worse than a man; and
when he is worít, he is little better than a beaft; and the worst fall that ever fell, I hope, I shall make shift to go
without him. Ner. If he should offer to chufe, and chuse the right
you should refuse to perform your father's will, you should refuse to accept him.
Por. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, fet a deep glass of Rhenish wine on the contrary casket; for if the devil be within, and that temptation without, I know, he will chuse it. I will do any thing, Nerif Ja, ere I will be marry'd to a spunge,
Ner. You need not fear, lady, the having any of these lords : they have acquainted me with their deter
minations, which is, indeed, to return to their home, and to trouble you with no more fuit ; unless you may be won by some other sort than yoar father's impofition, depending on the caskets.
Por. If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die as chalte as Diana, unless I be obtain'd by the manner of my father's will: I am glad, this parcel of wooers are so reasonable ; for there is not one among them but I doat on his very absence, and wish them a fair de. parture.
Ner. Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came hither in company of the Marquiss of Mountferrat?
Por. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, he was so call'd.
Ner. True, Madam; he, of all the men that ever my foolish eyes look'd upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.
Por. I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of thy praise. How now? what news ?
Enter a Servant. Ser. The four strangers seek for you, madam, to take their leave; and there is a fore-runner come from a fifth, the Prince of Morocco, who brings word, the Prince, his master, will be here to night.
Por. If I could bid the fifth welcome with fo good heart as I can bid the other four farewel, I should be glad of his approach ; if he have the condition of a faint, and the complexion of a devil, I had ratber he should shrive me, than wive me. Come, Nerisa. Siro rah, go before; while we shut the gate upon one wooer, another knocks at the door.
[Exeunt. SCENE, a publick Place in Venice.
Enter Bassanio and Shylock. "Hree thousand ducats ! well.
Shy. For three months ? well.
Baff. For the which, as I told you, Anthonio fhall be bound.
Shy. Anthonio fhall become bound? well.
Baff. May you ftead me? will you pleasure me? fhall I know your anfwer?
Shy. Three thousand ducats for three months, and Anthonio bound?
Baff. Your anfwer to that.
Shy. Anthonio is a good man.
Baff. Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?
Shy. No, no, no, no; my meaning, in faying he is a good man, is to have you understand me, that he is fufficient: yet his means are in fuppofition: he hath an Argofie bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I understand moreover upon the Ryalto, he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England; and other ventures he hath, fquander'd abroad. But fhips are but boards, failors but men; there be land-rats, and water-rats, waterthieves and land-thieves; I mean, pirates; and then there is the peril of waters, winds and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding, fufficient; three thoufand ducats? I think, I may take his bond.
Baff. Be affur'd, you may.
Shy. I will be affur'd, I may; and that I may be affur'd, I will bethink me; may I fpeak with Anthonio? Baff. If it pleafe you to dine with us.
Shy. Yes, to fmell pork; to eat of the habitation, which your prophet the Nazarité conjur'd the devil into! I will buy with you, fell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and fo following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you. What news on the Ryalto? who is he, comes here?
Ba. This is Signior Anthonio.
Shy. [Afide.] How like a fawning Publican he looks! I hate him, for he is a christian :
But more, for that in low fimplicity