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Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt,
Would make me sad.
Salar. My wind, cooling my broth, Would blow me to an ague, when I thought What harm a wind too great might do at sea. I should not see the sandy hour-glass run, But I should think of shallows and of flats, And see my wealthy Andrew docked in sand, Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs, To kiss her burial. Should I go to church, And see the holy edifice of stone, And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks, Which, touching but my gentle vessel's side, Would scatter all her spices on the stream, Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks, And, in a word, but even now worth this, And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought To think on this; and shall I lack the thought,
That such a thing, bechanced, would make me sad? But tell not me; I know Antonio
Is sad to think upon his merchandise.
Ant. Believe me, no. I thank my fortune for it, My ventures are not in one bottom trusted, Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate Upon the fortune of this present year; Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad. Salan. Why, then, you are in love. Ant. Fie, fie! Salan. Not in love neither? Then let's say, you are sad,
Because you are not merry; and 'twere as easy
Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time;
1 To vail is to lower, to let fall; from the French, avaler.
That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile,
Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO. Salan. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman,
Gratiano, and Lorenzo. Fare you well;
Salar. I would have staid till I had made you
If worthier friends had not prevented me.
Bass. Good seigniors both, when shall we laugh?
You grow exceeding strange. exceeding strange. Must it be so? Salar. We'll make our leisures to attend on yours. [Exeunt SALAR. and Salan. Lor. My lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio,
We two will leave you; but, at dinner-time,
pray you, have in mind where we must meet. Bass. I will not fail you.
Gra. You look not well, seignior Antonio. You have too much respect upon the world. They lose it, that do buy it with much care. Believe me, you are marvellously changed.
Ant. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano; A stage, where every man must play a part, And mine a sad one.
Let me play the fool.
By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio,—
That therefore only are reputed wise,
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.1 Gra. Thanks, i'faith; for silence is only commendable
In a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible. [Exeunt GRA. and LOR.
Ant. Is that any thing 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
1 Gear usually signifies matter, subject, or business in general. It is here, perhaps, a colloquial expression of no very determined import. It occurs again in this play, Act ii. Sc. 2: "If Fortune be a woman, she's a good wench for this gear."
To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
Bass. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
Ant. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
My purse, my person, my extremest means,
Bass. In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,
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,
Ant. You know me well; and herein spend but
To wind about my love with circumstance;
And out of doubt, you do me now more wrong,
In making question of my uttermost,
That in your knowledge may by me be done,
Her name is Portia ; nothing undervalued
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth;
Ant. Thou know'st, that all my fortunes are at sea; Neither have I money, nor commodity To raise a present sum. Therefore go 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.
SCENE II. Belmont.
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;
1 Prest, that is, ready; from the old French word of the same orthography, now pret.