Imatges de pÓgina

Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady?
I was enforc'd to send it after him ;
I was beset with shame and courtefie;
My honour would not let ingratitude
So much besmear it. Pardon me, good lady,
And by these blessed 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 lovod,
And that which you did swear 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 shall, I am well sure 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 so; let me not take him then ; For if I do, I'll mar the young


pen. Ant. I am th’unhappy subject of these quarrels. Por. Sir, grieve not you ; you are welcome, notwith

Baf. Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong,
And in the hearing of these many friends,
I swear to thee, ey'n by thine own fair eyes,
Wherein I see


Por. Mark you but that!
In both mine eyes he doubly sees himself;
In each eye, one; fwear by your double felf,
And there's an oath of credit !

Ball. Nay, but hear me:
Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear,
I 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.


My soul

Had quite miscarry'd. I dare be bound again, upon the forfeit, that


lord Will never more break faith advisedly.

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

Ant. Here, lord Basanio, swear to keep this ring. Bal. By heav'n, it is the same I


the Doctor. Por. I had it of him : pardon me, Basanio; For by this ring the Doctor lay with me.

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

Gra. Why, this is like the mending of high-ways
In summer, where the ways are fair enough:
What! are we cuckolds, ere we have deserv'd it?

Por. Speak not so grossly ; you are all amaz'd;
Here is a letter, read it at your leisure ;
It comes from Padua, from Bellario :
There you shall find, that Portia was the Doctor ;
Nerisa there, her clerk. Lorenzo, here,
Shall witness I set forth as soon as you,
And even but now return’d: I have not yet
Enter'd my house. Anthonio, you are welcome ;
And I have better news in store for you,
Than you expect ; unseal this letter soon,
There you shall find, three of your Argofies
Are richly come to Harbour suddenly.
You shall not know by what strange accident
I chanced on this letter.

Ant. I am dumb.
Baf. Were you the Doctor, and I knew you not?
Gra. Were you the clerk, that is to make me cuckold?

Ner. Ay, but the clerk, that never means to do it,
Unless he live until he be a man.
Bal. Sweet Doctor, you shall be


bedfellow; When I am absent, then lye with my wife.

Ant. Sweet lady, you have giv'n me life and living; For here I read for certain, that my ships Are safely come to road. Por. How now, Lorenzo ?


My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.

Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.
There do I give to you and Jelica,
From the rich few, a special Deed of Gift,
After his death, of all he dies poffess'd of.

Lor. Fair ladies, you drop Manna in the way
Of starved people.

Por. It is almost morning,
And yet, I'm sure, you are not satisfy'd
Of these events at full. Let us go in,
And charge us there upon interr'gatories,
And we will answer all things faithfully.

Gra. Let it be so: the first interr’gatory,

my Nerisa shall be sworn on, is, Whether 'till the next night she had rather stay, Or

go to bed now, being two hours to day. But were the day come, I should wish it' dark, 'Till I were couching with the Doctor's clerk. Well, while I live, l’il fear no other thing So fore, as keeping safe Nerisa's ring.

[Exeunt omnes.

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