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Is, to come fairly off from the great debts,
Wherein my time, something too prodigal,
Hath left me gag'd: To you, Anthonio,
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.

Anth. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it ;
And, if it stand, as you yourself ftill do,
Within the eye of honour, be assurd,
My purse, my person, my extreamest means,
Lye all unlock'd to your occasions.

Ball. In my school days, when I had lost one shaft,
I shot his fellow of the self-fame fight
The self-fame way, with more advised watch,
To find the other; 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 wilful youth,
That which I owe is loft : 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.

Anth. 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 unto it: therefore, speak.

* pref]-I am ready, prompt to undertake it.


Bal. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wond'rous virtues ; 'fometimes from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages :
Her name is Portia ; nothing undervalu'd
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia.
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth ;
For the four winds blow in from every coaft
Renowned suitors : and her funny locks
Hang on her temples like a golden fleece;
Which makes her seat of Belmont, Colchos' ftrand,
And many Jafons come in quest of her.
O my Anthonio, 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.

Anth. Thou know'st, that all my fortunes are at seas
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 enquire, and so will I,
Where money is; and I no question make,
To have it " of my trust, or for my fake.


A Room in Portia's House at Belmont.

Enter Portia and Nerissa. Por. By my troth, Neriffa, my little body is aweary of this great world.

fometimes &c.]—some time ago; have occasionally received. p of my trust, or for my fake. ]-on my bond, or out of friendship.



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 fick, 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 pronounc'd. :
Ner. They would be better, if well follow'd.

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 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 fashion to chuse me a husband:-0 me, the word chuse! I may neither chuse whom I would, nor refuse whom I disike; so is the will of a living daughter curb’d by the will of a dead father:Is it not hard, Neriffa, that I cannot chuse 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 chuses his meaning, chufes 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?

Por. I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou nam'ft

* who you shall rightly love.)—who shall love you rightly; or whom you shall rightly love.


them, I will describe them; and, according to my descrip. tion, level at my affection.

Ner. First, there is the Neapolitan prince.

Por. Ay, that's oa 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 my lady his mother play'd false with a smith.

Ner. Then, there is the county Palatine.

Por. He doth nothing but frown; as who should say, An if you will not have me, chuse : he hears merry tales, and smiles not : I fear, he will prove the weeping philofopher 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 fay 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: it a throstle fing, he falls strait a capering ; he will fence with his own shadow: if I should marry him, I should marry twenty husbands : If he would despile me, I would forgive him ; for if he love me to madness, I shall never require 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 will come into the court and swear, that I have a poor pennyworth in the English. He is a

a colt,]-a giddy, thoughtless youngster.

Jadnejs ]-gravity.

proper 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 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 seal'd 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 : when he is best, he is a little worse than a man; and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast : an the worst fall that ever fell, I hope, I shall make shift to go without him.

Ner. If he should offer to chuse, and chuse the right casket, you should refuse to perform your father's will, if you should refuse to accept him.

Por. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, set 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, Nerissa, ere I will be marry'd to a ipunge.

Ner. You need not fear, lady, the having any of these lords; they have acquainted me with their determinations: which is, indeed, to return to their home, and to trouble you with no more suit ; unless you may be won by fome

9 and seald under for another. ]-bound himself to give the English. man another ;-alluding to the frequent afilistance, and constant promises given by the French to the Scots, during their contelts with the English.


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