Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

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.

GRA.— Thanks, i’faith; for silence is only commendable In a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible.

Exeunt GRATIANO AND LORENZO.

ANT.-Is that anything 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 this same,
To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
That you to-day promised 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

my faint means would grant continuance,
Nor do I now make moan to be abridged
From such a noble rate; but my

chief care
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

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

your

Ant.— I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
And if it stand, as you yourself still do,
Within the eye of honor, be assured,
My purse, my person, my extremest means,
Lie all unlocked 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 adventuring both
I oft found both : I urge this childhood proof,
Because what follows is

pure

innocence.
I owe you much, and, like a willful 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 into it; therefore speak.

Bass.—In Belmont is a lady richly left,
And she is fair, and fairer, than that word,
Of wondrous 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 ;

quest of her.

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
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 knowest 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 racked 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.)

LXXXIX.-SCENES FROM THE MERCHANT OF

VENICE.

SHAKSPEARE.

SCENE II.Belmont. A Room in Portia's House.

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, pronounced.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

therefore, to be seated in the mean; superfluity comes sooner
by white hairs, but competency lives longer.

Por.—Good sentences and well
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 cottages 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. The brain may devise laws for the blood; but a hot temper leaps over 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 that are already come?

Por.—I pray thee overname them; and as thou namest them, I will describe them; and according to my description,

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 his own good parts, that he can shoe him himself; I am much afraid he would house me in a smithy.

level at my

for a

man.

He is every

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

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. 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 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 tnen to Faulconbridge, the young baron of England ?

Por.—You know I say nothing to him, for he i nderstands not me nor I him; he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian; and you will come into the court and swear that I have a poor pennyworth 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 behavior everywhere.

NER.–What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbor ?

Por.—That he hath a neighborly 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 his surety, and sealed under for another.

« ForrigeFortsett »