Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

To offices of tender courtesy.

We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.

Shy. I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose; And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn,

To have the due and forfeit of my bond:
If you deny it, let the danger light.
Upon your charter, and your city's freedom.
You'll ask me, why I rather choose to have
A weight of carrion flesh, than to receive
Three thousand ducats: I'll not answer that:
But, say, it is my humour; Is it answer'd?
What if my house be troubled with a rat,
And I be pleas'd to give ten thousand ducats
To have it ban'd? What, are you answer'd yet?
Some men there are, love not a gaping pig ;
Some, that are mad, if they behold a cat ;
And others, when the bag-pipe sings i' the nose,
Cannot contain their urine; For affections,
Masters of passion, sway it to the mood

Of what it likes, or loaths: Now, for your answer :
As there is no firm reason to be render'd,
Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;

Why he, a harmless necessary cat;
Why he, a woollen bag-pipe; but of force
Must yield to such inevitable shame,
As to offend himself, being offended;
So can I give no reason, nor I will not,

40

49

60

More than a lodg'd hate, and a certain loathing,
I bear Anthonio, that I follow thus

A losing suit against him. Are you answer'd?

Bass.

Bass. This is no answer, thou unfeeling man, To excuse the current of thy cruelty.

Shy. I am not bound to please thee with my an

swers.

Bass. Do all men kill the thing they do not love? Shy. Hates any man the thing he would not kill? Bass. Every offence is not a hate at first.

Shy. What, would'st thou have a serpent sting thee twice?

70

Anth. I pray you, think you question with the

Jew:

You may as well go stand upon the beach,
And bid the main flood bate his usual height;
You may as well use question with the wolf,
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb;
You may as well forbid the mountain pines
To wag their high tops, and to make no noise,
When they are fretted with the gusts of heaven;
You may as well do any thing most hard,

79

As seek to soften that (than which what's harder?)
His Jewish heart :-Therefore, I do beseech you,
Make no more offers, use no further means,
But, with all brief and plain conveniency,
Let me have judgment, and the Jew his will.
Bass. For thy three thousand ducats here is six.
Shy. If every ducat in six thousand ducats
Were in six parts, and every part a ducat,
I would not draw them, I would have my bond.
Duke. How shalt thou hope for mercy, rend'ring

none?

89

Shy. What judgment shall I dread, doing no

wrong?

You have among you many a purchas'd slave, ·
Which, like your asses, and your dogs, and mules,
You use in abject and in slavish parts,

Because you bought them :-Shall I say to you,
Let them be free, marry them to your heirs?
Why sweat they under burdens? let their beds
Be made as soft as yours, and let their palates
Be season'd with such viands? you will answer,
The slaves are ours:-So do I answer you:
The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,
Is dearly bought, is mine, and I will have it:
If you deny me, fie upon your law!

100

There is no force in the decrees of Venice:
I stand for judgment: answer; shall I have it?
Duke. Upon my power, I may dismiss this court,
Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,

Whom I have sent for to determine this,

Come here to-day.

Sala. My lord, here stays without

A messenger with letters from the doctor,
New come from Padua.

110

Duke. Bring us the letters; Call the messenger. Bass. Good cheer, Anthonio! What, man? cou

rage yet!

The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all, Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.

Anth. I am a tainted wether of the flock, Meetest for death; the weakest kind of fruit

Drops

Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me :
You cannot better be employ'd, Bassanio,
Than to live still, and write mine epitaph.

Enter NERISSA, dress'd like a Lawyer's Clerk.

120

Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario? Ner. From both, my lord: Bellario greets your grace,'

Bass. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly? Shy. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.

Gra. Not on thy soal, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,
Thou mak'st thy knife keen: but no metal can,
No, not the hangman's axe, bear half the keenness
Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?
Shy. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.
Gra. O, be thou damn'd, inexorable dog!

And for thy life let justice be accus'd.
Thou almost mak'st me waver in my faith,
To hold opinion with Pythagoras,
That souls of animals infuse themselves

Into the trunks of men: thy currish spirit

130

Govern'd a wolf, who, hang'd for human slaughter,
Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,

And, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallow'd dam,
Infus'd itself in thee; for thy desires

Are wolfish, bloody, starv'd, and ravenous.

140

Shy. 'Till thou can'st rail the seal from off my

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall
To cureless ruin.-I stand here for law.

Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend A young and learned doctor to our court :Where is he?

Ner. He attendeth here hard by,

To know your answer, whether you'll admit him. Duke. With all my heart :-some three or four of

you,

Go give him courteous conduct to this place.-
Mean time, the court shall hear Bellario's letter.

150

Your grace shall understand, that, at the receipt of your letter, I am very sick: but at the instant that your messenger came, in loving visitation was with me a young doctor of Rome, his name is Balthazar : I acquainted him with the cause in controversy between the Jew and Anthonio the merchant: we turn'd o'er many books together: he is furnish'd with my opinion; which, better'd with his own learning (the greatness whereof I cannot enough commend), comes with him, at my importunity, to fill up your grace's request in my stead. I beseech you, let his Lack of years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend estimation; for I never knew so young a body with so old an head. I leave him to your gracious acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his commendation.

Enter PORTIA, dress'd like a Doctor of Laws.

Duke. You hear the learn'd Bellario, what he

writes;

And

« AnteriorContinua »