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SCENE changes to BELMONT.
Three Caskets are set out, one of gold, another of filver,
and another of lead.
Enter Portia and Nerissa. Por. Y my troth, Nerissa, my little body is weary
of this great world. · Ner. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are ; and yet, for aught I see, they are as sick, that surfeit with too much, as they that farve with nothing ;, there, fore it is no mean happiness to be seated in the mean ; fuperavity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.
Por. Good fentences, and well pronounc'd.
Por. to do, were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches; and poor mens cottages, Princes palaces. He is a good divine, that follows his own initructions ; I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than to be one of the iwenty to follow my own teaching. The brain may devise laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree ; such a harc is madness the youth, to skip o'er the ineftes of good counsel the cripple! But this reasoning is not in fashion to chuse me a husband: () me, the word, chuse ! I may neither chufe whom I would, nor refuse whom I dislike; fo is the will of a living daughter curb’d by the will of a dead father : js it not hard, Nerifa, that I cannot chuse one, nor refuse none?
Ner. Your father was ever virtuous, and holy men at their death have good inspirations ; therefore, the lottery, that he hath devised in these three chests of gold, silver, and lead, (whereof who choses his meaning, chufes you) will no doubt never be chosen by any rightly, but one whom you shall rightly love. But what
warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely suitors, that are already come ?
Por. I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou pam'it them, I will defcribe them ; and, according to my description, level at my affection. Ner. First, there is the Neapolitan Prince.
Por. Ay, that's a Dolt, indeed, for ho doth nothing but talk of his horse ; (3) and he makes it a great appropriation to his own good parts, that he can shoe him him. self: I am much afraid, my lady, his mother, play'd false with a smith.
Ner. Then, there is the Count Palatine.
Por. He doth nothing but frown, as who should fay, if you will not have me, chuse : he hears merry tales, and smiles not; I fear, he will prove the weeping philosopher when he grows old, being so full of unmannerly sadness in his youth. I had rather be married to à death's head with a bone in his mouth, than to either of these. God defend me from these two !
Ner. How say you by the French Lord, Monsieur Le Boun?
Per. God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man; in truth, I know, it is a fin to be a mocker ; but, lze! why, he hath a horse better than the Neapoliton's ; a better bad habit of frowning than the Count Palatine ; he is every man in no man; if a throstle ting, he falls ftrait a capering; he will fence with his
(3) Ay, that's a Colt, indeed, for be doth nothing but talk of bis kerje ;] Tho' all the Editions agree in this Reading, I can perceive speicher Humour, nor Reasoning, in it. How does talking of Hosses, or knowing how to moe them, make a man e'er the more a Cok? Or, if a Smith and a Lady of Figure were to have an Affair together, would a Celt be the life of their Caresses? This seems to me to be Porria's Meaning, What do you tell me of the Neapolitan Prince, be is Juch a frufid Durce, ihat, infiiod of saying fine things to me, be dees 20:hirg but talk of kis Herfes. The Word, Dolt, which I have subficuted, fully answers this Idea; and signifies one of the most fupid and blechifo of the Vulgar: and in this Asceptation it is used by our
one shadow; if I should marry him, I should marry twenty husbands. If he would despise me, I would forgive him ; for if he love me to madness, I shall never requite him.
Ner. What say you then to Faulconbridge, the young Baron of England.
Por. You know, I say nothing to him, for he understands not me, nor I him ; he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian ; and you may come into the court and swear that I have a poor pennyworth in the Engglish. He is a proper man's picture, but, alas! who can converse with a dumb show? how oddly he is suited ! I think, he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany, and his behaviour every where.
Ner. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?
Por. That he hath a neighbourly charity in him; for he borrow'd a box of the ear of the Englishman, and swore he would pay him again, when he was able. I think, the Frenchman became his surety, and sealed under for another.
Ner. How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew ?
Por. Very vilely in the morning when he is fober, and most vilely in the afternoon wien he is drunk; when he is belt, he is a little worse than a man; and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast; and the worst fall that ever fell, I hope, I shall make shift to go without him.
Ner. If he should offer to chuse, and chuse the right casket, you should refuse to perform your father's will, if you should refuse to accept him,
Por. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, ses a deep glass of Rhenish wine op the contrary caket; for if the devil be within, and that temptation without, I know, he will chuse it. I will do any thing, Nerila, ere I will be marry'd to a spunge.
Ner. You need not fear, lady, the having any of these lords : they have acquainted me with their deterVOL. II.
minations, which is, indeed, to return to their home, and to trouble you with no more suit; unless you may be won by some other fort than your father's impofition, depending on the caskets.
Por. If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die as chaste as Diana, unless I be obtain'd by the manner of my father's will: I am glad this parcel of wooers are fo' reasonable : for there is not one among them but I doat on his very absence, and with them a fair de. parture.
Ner. Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came htther in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?
Por. Yes, yes, it was Bajanio; as I think, he was fy call'd.
Ner. True, Madam; he, of all the men that ever my foolish eyes look d upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.
Por. I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of thy praise. How now? what news ?
Enter a Servant, Ser. The four strangers seek for you, madam, to take their leave ; and there is a fore-ranner come from a fifth, the Prince of Morocco, who brings word, the Prince, his master, will be here to-night.
Por. If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good heart as I can bid the other four farewel, I should be glad of his approach; if he have the condition of a saint, and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he mould Ihrive me, than wive me. Come, Neriffa Sirrah, go before ; while we shat the gate upon one woer, another knocks at the door.
[Exeunt. SCENE, a publick Place in Venice.
Ester Bassanio and Shylock,
Bal. For the which, as I told you, Anthonio shall be bound.
Shy. Anthonio shall become bound ? well.
Shy. Three thousand ducats for three months, and
Ball. Your answer to that.
good man, is to have you understand me, that he is sufficient : yet his means are in supposition: he hath an Argofie bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I understand moreover upon the Ryalto, he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England; and other ventures he hath, squander'd abroad. But ships are but boards, failors but men s there be land-rats, and water-rats, waterthieves and land-thieves; I mean, pirates; and then there is the peril of waters, winds and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding, fufficient; three thousand ducats i I think, I may take his bond.
Bal. Be allur'd, you may,
Shy. I will be assurd, I may; and that I may be assurd, I will bethink me; may I speak with Antbonio?
Baj. If it please you to dine with us.
Shy. Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation, which your prophet the Nazarite conjur'd the devil into ! I will buy with you, fell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following ; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you. What news on the R;alto ?who is he, comes here?
Bal. This is Signior Antborio.
Sby. [4fide.] How like a fawning Publicar he looks !