Imatges de pàgina

Lor. That is the voice,

Or I am much deceiv'd, of Portia.

Por. He knows me, as the blind man knows the cuckow,

By the bad voice.

Lor. Dear lady, welcome home.

Por. We have been praying for our husband's healths,

Which speed, we hope, the better for our words.
Are they return'd ?

Lor. Madam, they are not yet;

But there is come a meffenger before,
To fignifie their coming.

Por. Go, Neriffa,

Give order to my fervants, that they take
No note at all of our being abfent hence;
Nor you, Lorenzo; Jeffica, nor you.

[A Tucket founds. Lor. Your husband is at hand, I hear his trumpet:

We are no tell-tales, Madam, fear you not.

Por. This night, methinks, is but the day-light fick;

It looks a little paler, 'tis a day,

Such as the day is when the fun is hid.

Enter Baffanio, Anthonio, Gratiano, and their followers.

Baff. We fhould hold day with the Antipodes, If you would walk in absence of the fun.

Por. Let me give light, but let me not be light; For a light wife doth make a heavy husband; And never be Baffanio fo from me;

But God fort all! you're welcome home, my lord. Baff. I thank you, Madam: give welcome to my friend;

This is the man, this is Anthonio,

To whom I am fo infinitely bound,


Por. You fhould in all fense be much bound to


For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.

Anth. No more than I am well acquitted of. Por. Sir, you are very welcome to our houfe; It must appear in other ways than words; Therefore I fcant this breathing courtefie.

Gra. By yonder moon, I fwear, you do me wrong; In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk. [To Neriffa. Would he were gelt that had it, for my part, Since you do take it, love, fo much at heart. Por. A quarrel, ho, already! what's the matter? Gra. About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring, That she did give me, whofe poesie was For all the world like cutler's poetry Upon a knife; Love me, and leave me not.

Ner. What talk you of the poefie, or the value? You fwore to me, when I did give it you, That you would wear it 'till your hour of death, And that it should lye with you in your grave: Tho' not for me, yet for your vehement oaths, You fhould have been refpective, and have kept it. Gave it a Judge's clerk! but well I know, The clerk will ne'er wear hair on's face, that had it. Gra. He will, an' if he live to be a man. Ner. Ay, if a woman live to be a man. Gra. Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,

A kind of boy, a little fcrubbed boy,

No higher than thy felf, the Judge's clerk;

A prating boy, that begg'd it as a fee:

I could not for my heart deny it him.

Por. You were to blame, I must be plain with you, To part fo flightly with your wife's first gift; A thing ftuck on with oaths upon your finger, And riveted with faith unto your flesh. I gave my love a ring, and made him fwear Never to part with it; and here he stands,

N 3

I dare

I dare be fworn for him, he would not leave it,
Nor pluck it from his finger, for the wealth
That the world mafters. Now, in faith, Gratiano,
You give your wife too unkind a caufe of grief;
An 'twere to me, I fhould be mad at it.

Baff. Why, I were beft to cut my left hand off,
And fwear, I loft the ring defending it.

[Afide. Gra. My lord Baffanio gave his ring away Unto the Judge that begged it, and, indeed, Deferv'd it too; and then the boy, his clerk, That took fome pains in writing, He begg'd mine; And neither man, nor mafter, would take aught But the two rings.

Por. What ring gave you, my lord?

Not that, I hope, which you receiv'd of me.
Baff. If I could add a lie unto a fault,
I would deny it; but you fee my finger
Hath not the ring upon it, it is gone.

Por. Even fo void is your false heart of truth.
By heaven, I will ne'er come in
your bed

Until I fee the ring.

Ner. Nor I in yours,

'Till I again fee mine. Baff. Sweet Portia,

If you did know to whom I gave the ring,
If you did know for whom I gave the ring,
And would conceive for what I gave the ring,
And how unwillingly I left the ring,

When nought would be accepted but the ring,
You would abate the strength of your displeasure.
Por. If you had known the virtue of the ring,
Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
Or your own honour to retain the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
What man is there fo much unreasonable,
If you had pleas'd to have defended it
With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty


To urge the thing held as a ceremony?
Neriffa teaches me what to believe;

I'll die for't, but fome woman had the ring.

Baff. No, by mine honour, Madam, by my foul, No woman had it, but a Civil Doctor,

Who did refufe three thousand ducats of me,
And begg'd the ring; the which I did deny him,
And fuffer'd him to go difpleas'd away;
Ev'n he, that did uphold the very life

Of my dear friend. What should I fay, fweet lady?
I was enforc'd to fend it after him;
I was befet with fhame and courtefie;
My honour would not let ingratitude
So much befmear it. Pardon me, good lady,
And by these bleffed candles of the night,

Had you been there, I think, you would have begg'd
The ring of me to give the worthy Doctor.

Por. Let not that Doctor e'er come near my house,

Since he hath got the jewel that I lov'd,

And that which you did fwear to keep for me:
I will become as liberal as you;

I'll not deny him any thing I have,

No, not my body, nor my husband's bed;

Know him I fhall, I am well fure of it.

Lye not a night from home; watch me, like Argus:
If you do not, if I be left alone,

Now, by mine honour, which is yet my own,
I'll have that Doctor for my bedfellow.

Ner. And I his clerk; therefore be well advis'd, How you do leave me to mine own protection.

Gra. Well, do you fo; let me not take him then; For if I do, I'll mar the young clerk's pen. Ant. I am th' unhappy fubject of these quarrels. Por. Sir, grieve not you; you are welcome, notwithstanding.

Baff. Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong. And in the hearing of these many friends,

N 4

1 fwear


I swear to thee, ev'n by thine own fair eyes,
Wherein I fee myself

Por. Mark you but that!

In both mine eyes he doubly fees himself;
In each eye, one; fwear by your double self,
And there's an oath of credit!

Baff. Nay, but hear me:

Pardon this fault, and by my foul I swear,
Í never more will break an oath with thee.

Ant. I once did lend my body for his weal;
Which but for him, that had your husband's ring,
{To Portia.
Had quite mifcarry'd. I dare be bound again,
My foul upon the forfeit, that your lord
Will never more break faith advisedly.

Por. Then you fhall be his furety; give him this, And bid him keep it better than the other.

Ant. Here, lord Baffanio, fwear to keep this ring.
Baff. By heav'n, it is the fame. I
gave the Doctor.
Por. I had it of him: pardon me, Baffanio;

For by this ring the Doctor lay with me.

Ner. And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano, For that fame fcrubbed boy, the Doctor's clerk, In lieu of this, laft night did lye with me.

Gra. Why, this is like the mending of high-ways In fummer, where the ways are fair enough: What! are we cuckolds, ere we have deferv'd it? Por. Speak not fo grofsly; you are all amaz'd; Here is a letter, read it at your leisure;

It comes from Padua, from Bellario:

There you fhall find, that Portia was the Doctor;
Nerilla there, her clerk. Lorenzo, here,
Shall witness I fet forth as foon as you,
And even but now return'd: I have not yet
Enter'd my houfe. Anthonio, you are welcome;
And I have better news in store for



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