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No note at all of our being absent hence
Nor you, Lorenzo; Jefica, nor you. [ A Tucket sounds.
Lor. Your husband is at hand, I hear his trumpet ;
We are no tell-tales, Madam, fear you not.
For. This night, methinks, is but the day-light sick; It looks a little paler ; 'tis a day, Such as the day is when the fun is hid. Enter Bassanio, Anthonio, Gratiano, and their followers.
Bal. We should hold day with the Antipodes,
If you would walk in absence of the sun.
Por. Let me give light, but let me not be light ;
For a light wife doth make a heavy husband ;
And never be Basanio so from me ;
But God sort all! you are welcome home, my lord.
Bal. I thank you, Madam, give welcome to my friend;
This is the man, this is Anthonio,
To whom I am so infinitely bound.
Por.. You should in all sense be much bound to him, For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.
Anth. No more than I am well acquitted of.
For, Sir, you are very welcome so our house ; It must appear in other ways than words ; Therefore I scant this breathing courtefie.
Gra. By yonder moon, I swear, you do me wrong; In faith, I give it to the judge's clerk. [To Nerissa. Would he were gelt that had it, for my part, Since
do take it, love, so 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, whose poesy was
For all the world like cutler's poetry
Upon a knife ;. Love me, and leave me not.
Ner. What talk you of the posie, or the value ?
You swore. 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
You should have been respective, 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 scrubbed boy,
No higher than thy self, 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 so slightly with your wise's first gift;
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger,
And riveted with faith unto your flesh.
I gave my love a ring, and made him swear
Never to part with it ; and here he stands,
I dare be sworn for him, he would not leave it,
Nor pluck it from his finger, for the wealth
That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano,
You give your wife too unkind a cause of griefs
An 'twere to me, I should be mad at it.
Baf. Why, I were belt to cut my left hand off,
And swear, I lost the ring defending it. [ Aside.
Gra. My lord Basanio gave his ring away
Unto the Judge that begg'd it, and, indeed,
Deserved it too ; and then the boy, his clerk,
That took some pains in writing, He begg'd mine ;
And neither man, nor master, would take aught
But the two rings.
Por. What ring gave you, my lord ?
Not that, I hope, which you receiv'd of me.
Bass. If I could add a lie unto a fault,
I would deny it; but you see my Anger
Hath not the ring upon it, it is gone.
Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth.
By heaven, I will ne'er come in your bed
Until I see the ring.
Ner. Nor I' in yours,
Till I again fee mine.
Bal. Sweet Portia,
did know to whom I
did know for whom I
And would conceive for what I
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 ring,
Or your own honour to retain the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
What man is there so much unreasonable,
had pleas'd to have defended it
With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
To urge the thing held as a ceremony
Nerisa teaches me what to believe ;
I'll die for't, but some woman had the ring.
Baf. No, by mine honour, Madam, by my soul.
No woman had it, but a Civil Doctor,
Who did refuse three thousand ducats of me,
And begg'd the ring ; the which I did deny him,
And susfer'd him to go displeas'd away ;
Ev'n he, that did uphold the very life
Of my dear friend. What should I fay, sweet lady?
I was enforc'd to fend it after him ;
I was beset with shame and courtesie ;
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 Do&or.
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 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 advised,
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
Ant. I am th' unhappy subject of these quarrels.
Por. Sir, grieve not you; you are welcome, notwith-
Bal. Portia, Forgive me this enforced wrong.
And in the hearing of these many friends,
I swear to thee, ev'n by thine own fair eyes,
Wherein I see my self
Por. Mark you but that!
In both mine eyes he doubly sees himself;
In each eye, one ; swear by your double self,
And there's an oath of credit.
Baj. 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 bat for him, that had your husband's ring,
Had quite miscarry'd. I dare be bound again,
My soul upon the forfeit, that your
lord Will never more break faith advisedly.
Par. Then you shall be his surety ; give him this,
And bid him keep it better than the other.
Ant. Here, lord Bassanio, swear to keep this ring.
Bass. By heav'n, it is the fame I gave the Doctor.
Por. I had it of him : pardon me, Bassanio;
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, last night did lye with me.
Gra. Why, this is like the mending of high-ways
In summer, where the ways are fair enough :
What I 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 :
you shall find, that Portia was the Doctor;
Nerissa there, her clerk. Lorenzo, here,
Shall witness I set forth as soon as you,
And even but now return'd: I have not yet
my house. Anthonio, you are welcome :
And I have better news in store for you,
Than you expect; unseal this letter loon.
There you shall find, three of your Argosies,
Are richly come to Harbour suddenly.
You shall not know by what strange accident
I chanced oh 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 a cuckold?
Ner. Ay, but the clerk, that never means to do it,
Unless he live until he be a man.
Baf. Sweet Doctor, you shall be my 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.
Par. 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 Jessica,
From the rich Jew a special Deed of Gift,
After his death, of all he dies possess'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,
That 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, I'll fear no other thing
So sore, as keeping safe Nerisa's ring[Exeunt omnes.