Imatges de pÓgina

Of my dear friend. What fhould I fay, fweet Lady?
I was enforc'd to fend it after him ;

I was befet with fhame and courtesy;
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.

Lie 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.

Anth. I am th' unhappy subject of these quarrels. Por. Sir, grieve not you; you are welcome, notwith standing.

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

I fwear 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; íwear 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,
I never more will break an oath with thee.

Anth. 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.

Anth. 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 lie 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 leifure;

It comes from Padua, from Bellario:

There you fhall find that Portia was the Doctor;
Neriffa 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 ftore for you,
Than you expect; unfeal this letter foon,
There you fhall find, three of your Argofies
Are richly come to harbour suddenly.
You fhall not know by what ftrange accident
I chanced on this letter.

Anth. 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.

Baff. Sweet Doctor, you shall be my bedfellow; When I am abfent, then lie with my wife.

Anth. Sweet lady, you have giv'n me life and living; For here I read for certain, that my fhips

Are fafely come to road.

Por. How now, Lorenzo ?


My clerk hath fome good comforts too for you.
Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.
There do I give to you and effica,

From the rich few, a fpecial deed of gift,
After his death, of all he dies poffefs'd of.
Lor. Fair ladies, you drop Manna in the way
Of starved people.

Por. It is almoft morning,

And yet, I'm fure, you are not fatisfy'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 fo: the firft interr'gatory,
That my Nerifa fhall be fworn 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 fhould wish it dark,
"Till I were couching with the doctor's clerk.
Well, while I live, I'll fear no other thing
So fore, as keeping fafe Neriffa's ring.

[Exeunt omnes

[blocks in formation]



« AnteriorContinua »