The Merchant of Venice

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Original text
Act IV, Scene I
Enter the Duke, the Magnificoes, Anthonio, Bassanio,
and Gratiano.

Duke.
What, is Anthonio heere?

Ant.
Ready, so please your grace?

Duke.
I am sorry for thee, thou art come to answere
A stonie aduersary, an inhumane wretch,
Vncapable of pitty, voyd, and empty
From any dram of mercie.

Ant.
I haue heard
Your Grace hath tane great paines to qualifie
His rigorous course: but since he stands obdurate,
And that no lawful meanes can carrie me
Out of his enuies reach, I do oppose
My patience to his fury, and am arm'd
To suffer with a quietnesse of spirit,
The very tiranny and rage of his.

Du.
Go one and cal the Iew into the Court.

Sal.
He is ready at the doore, he comes my Lord.
Enter Shylocke.

Du.
Make roome, and let him stand before our face.
Shylocke the world thinkes, and I thinke so to
That thou but leadest this fashion of thy mallice
To the last houre of act, and then 'tis thought
Thou'lt shew thy mercy and remorse more strange,
Than is thy strange apparant cruelty;
And where thou now exact'st the penalty,
Which is a pound of this poore Merchants flesh,
Thou wilt not onely loose the forfeiture,
But touch'd with humane gentlenesse and loue:
Forgiue a moytie of the principall,
Glancing an eye of pitty on his losses
That haue of late so hudled on his backe,
Enow to presse a royall Merchant downe;
And plucke commiseration of his state
From brassie bosomes, and rough hearts of flints,
From stubborne Turkes and Tarters neuer traind
To offices of tender curtesie,
We all expect a gentle answer Iew?

Iew.
I haue possest your grace of what I purpose,
And by our holy Sabbath haue I sworne
To haue the due and forfeit of my bond.
If you denie it, let the danger light
Vpon your Charter, and your Cities freedome.
You'l aske me why I rather choose to haue
A weight of carrion flesh, then to receiue
Three thousand Ducats? Ile not answer that:
But say it is my humor; Is it answered?
What if my house be troubled with a Rat,
And I be pleas'd to giue ten thousand Ducates
To haue it bain'd? What, are you answer'd yet?
Some men there are loue not a gaping Pigge:
Some that are mad, if they behold a Cat:
And others, when the bag-pipe sings i'th nose,
Cannot containe their Vrine for affection.
Masters of passion swayes it to the moode
Of what it likes or loaths, now for your answer:
As there is no firme reason to be rendred
Why he cannot abide a gaping Pigge?
Why he a harmlesse necessarie Cat?
Why he a woollen bag-pipe: but of force
Must yeeld to such ineuitable shame,
As to offend himselfe being offended:
So can I giue no reason, nor I will not,
More then a lodg'd hate, and a certaine loathing
I beare Anthonio, that I follow thus
A loosing suite against him? Are you answered?

Bass.
This is no answer thou vnfeeling man,
To excuse the currant of thy cruelty.

Iew.
I am not bound to please thee with my answer.

Bass.
Do all men kil the things they do not loue?

Iew.
Hates any man the thing he would not kill?

Bass.
Euerie offence is not a hate at first.

Iew.
What wouldst thou haue a Serpent sting thee twice?

Ant.
I pray you thinke you question with the Iew:
You may as well go stand vpon the beach,
And bid the maine flood baite his vsuall height,
Or euen as well vse question with the Wolfe,
The Ewe bleate for the Lambe:
You may as well forbid the Mountaine Pines
To wagge their high tops, and to make no noise
When they are fretted with the gusts of heauen:
You may as well do any thing most hard,
As seeke to soften that, then which what harder?
His Iewish heart. Therefore I do beseech you
Make no more offers, vse no farther meanes,
But with all briefe and plaine conueniencie
Let me haue iudgement, and the Iew his will.

Bas.
For thy three thousand Ducates heere is six.

Iew.
If euerie Ducat in sixe thousand Ducates
Were in sixe parts, and euery part a Ducate,
I would not draw them, I would haue my bond?

Du.
How shalt thou hope for mercie, rendring none?

Iew.
What iudgement shall I dread doing no wrong?
You haue among you many a purchast slaue,
Which like your Asses, and your Dogs and Mules,
You vse in abiect and in slauish parts,
Because you bought them. Shall I say to you,
Let them be free, marrie them to your heires?
Why sweate they vnder burthens? Let their beds
Be made as soft as yours: and let their pallats
Be season'd with such Viands: you will answer
The slaues are ours. So do I answer you.
The pound of flesh which I demand of him
Is deerely bought, 'tis mine, and I will haue it.
If you deny me; fie vpon your Law,
There is no force in the decrees of Venice;
I stand for iudgement, answer, Shall I haue it?

Du.
Vpon my power I may dismisse this Court,
Vnlesse Bellario a learned Doctor,
Whom I haue sent for to determine this,
Come heere to day.

Sal.
My Lord, heere stayes without
A Messenger with Letters from the Doctor,
New come from Padua.

Du.
Bring vs the Letters, Call the Messengers.

Bass.
Good cheere Anthonio. What man, corage yet:
The Iew shall haue my flesh, blood, bones, and all,
Ere thou shalt loose for me one drop of blood.

Ant.
I am a tainted Weather of the flocke,
Meetest for death, the weakest kinde of fruite
Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me;
You cannot better be employ'd Bassanio,
Then to liue still, and write mine Epitaph.
Enter Nerrissa.

Du.
Came you from Padua from Bellario?

Ner.
From both. My Lord Bellario greets your Grace.

Bas.
Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?

Iew.
To cut the forfeiture from that bankrout there.

Gra.
Not on thy soale: but on thy soule harsh Iew
Thou mak'st thy knife keene: but no mettall can,
No, not the hangmans Axe beare halfe the keennesse
Of thy sharpe enuy. Can no prayers pierce thee?

Iew.
No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.

Gra.
O be thou damn'd, inexecrable dogge,
And for thy life let iustice be accus'd:
Thou almost mak'st me wauer in my faith;
To hold opinion with Pythagoras,
That soules of Animals infuse themselues
Into the trunkes of men. Thy currish spirit
Gouern'd a Wolfe, who hang'd for humane slaughter,
Euen from the gallowes did his fell soule fleet;
And whil'st thou layest in thy vnhallowed dam,
Infus'd it selfe in thee: For thy desires
Are Woluish, bloody, steru'd, and rauenous.

Iew.
Till thou canst raile the seale from off my bond
Thou but offend'st thy Lungs to speake so loud:
Repaire thy wit good youth, or it will fall
To endlesse ruine. I stand heere for Law.

Du.
This Letter from Bellario doth commend
A yong and Learned Doctor in our Court;
Where is he?

Ner.
He attendeth heere hard by
To know your answer, whether you'l admit him.

Du.
With all my heart. Some three or four of you
Go giue him curteous conduct to this place,
Meane time the Court shall heare Bellarioes Letter.
YOur Grace shall vnderstand, that at the receite of
your Letter I am very sicke: but in the instant that your
messenger came, in louing visitation, was with me a young
Doctor of Rome, his name is Balthasar: I acquained
him with the cause in Controuersie, betweene the Iew and
Anthonio the Merchant: We turn'd ore many Bookes together:
hee is furnished with my opinion, which bettred
with his owne learning, the greatnesse whereof I cannot
enough commend, comes with him at my importunity, to fill
vp your Graces request in my sted. I beseech you, let his
lacke of years be no impediment to let him lacke a reuerend
estimation: for I neuer knewe so yong a body, with so old a
head. I leaue him to your gracious acceptance, whose trial
shall better publish his commendation.
Enter Portia for Balthazar.

Duke.
You heare the learn'd Bellario what he writes,
And heere (I take it) is the Doctor come.
Giue me your hand: Came you from old Bellario?

Por.
I did my Lord.

Du.
You are welcome: take your place;
Are you acquainted with the difference
That holds this present question in the Court.

Por.
I am enformed throughly of the cause.
Which is the Merchant heere? and which the Iew?

Du.
Anthonio and old Shylocke, both stand forth.

Por.
Is your name Shylocke?

Iew.
Shylocke is my name.

Por.
Of a strange nature is the sute you follow,
Yet in such rule, that the Venetian Law
Cannot impugne you as you do proceed.
You stand within his danger, do you not?

Ant.
I, so he sayes.

Por.
Do you confesse the bond?

Ant.
I do.

Por.
Then must the Iew be mercifull.

Iew.
On what compulsion must I? Tell me that.

Por.
The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle raine from heauen
Vpon the place beneath. It is twice blest,
It blesseth him that giues, and him that takes,
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest, it becomes
The throned Monarch better then his Crowne.
His Scepter shewes the force of temporall power,
The attribute to awe and Maiestie,
Wherein doth sit the dread and feare of Kings:
But mercy is aboue this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of Kings,
It is an attribute to God himselfe;
And earthly power doth then shew likest Gods
When mercie seasons Iustice. Therefore Iew,
Though Iustice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of Iustice, none of vs
Should see saluation: we do pray for mercie,
And that same prayer, doth teach vs all to render
The deeds of mercie. I haue spoke thus much
To mittigate the iustice of thy plea:
Which if thou follow, this strict course of Venice
Must needes giue sentence 'gainst the Merchant there.

Shy.
My deeds vpon my head, I craue the Law,
The penaltie and forfeite of my bond.

Por.
Is he not able to discharge the money?

Bas.
Yes, heere I tender it for him in the Court,
Yea, twice the summe, if that will not suffice,
I will be bound to pay it ten times ore,
On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart:
If this will not suffice, it must appeare
That malice beares downe truth. And I beseech you
Wrest once the Law to your authority.
To do a great right, do a little wrong,
And curbe this cruell diuell of his will.

Por.
It must not be, there is no power in Venice
Can alter a decree established:
'Twill be recorded for a President,
And many an error by the same example,
Will rush into the state: It cannot be.

Iew.
A Daniel come to iudgement, yea a Daniel.
O wise young Iudge, how do I honour thee.

Por.
I pray you let me looke vpon the bond.

Iew.
Heere 'tis most reuerend Doctor, heere it is.

Por.
Shylocke, there's thrice thy monie offered thee.

Shy.
An oath, an oath, I haue an oath in heauen:
Shall I lay periurie vpon my soule?
No not for Venice.

Por.
Why this bond is forfeit,
And lawfully by this the Iew may claime
A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
Neerest the Merchants heart; be mercifull,
Take thrice thy money, bid me teare the bond.

Iew.
When it is paid according to the tenure.
It doth appeare you are a worthy Iudge:
You know the Law, your exposition
Hath beene most sound. I charge you by the Law,
Whereof you are a well-deseruing pillar,
Proceede to iudgement: By my soule I sweare,
There is no power in the tongue of man
To alter me: I stay heere on my bond.

An.
Most heartily I do beseech the Court
To giue the iudgement.

Por.
Why then thus it is:
you must prepare your bosome for his knife.

Iew.
O noble Iudge, O excellent yong man.

Por.
For the intent and purpose of the Law
Hath full relation to the penaltie,
Which heere appeareth due vpon the bond.

Iew.
'Tis verie true: O wise and vpright Iudge,
How much more elder art thou then thy lookes?

Por.
Therefore lay bare your bosome.

Iew.
I, his brest,
So sayes the bond, doth it not noble Iudge?
Neerest his heart, those are the very words.

Por.
It is so: Are there ballance heere to weigh
the flesh?

Iew.
I haue them ready.

Por.
Haue by some Surgeon Shylock on your charge
To stop his wounds, least he should bleede to death.

Iew.
It is not nominated in the bond?

Por.
It is not so exprest: but what of that?
'Twere good you do so much for charitie.

Iew.
I cannot finde it, 'tis not in the bond.

Por.
Come Merchant, haue you any thing to say?

Ant.
But little: I am arm'd and well prepar'd.
Giue me your hand Bassanio, fare you well.
Greeue not that I am falne to this for you:
For heerein fortune shewes her selfe more kinde
Then is her custome. It is still her vse
To let the wretched man out-liue his wealth,
To view with hollow eye, and wrinkled brow
An age of pouerty. From which lingring penance
Of such miserie, doth she cut me off:
Commend me to your honourable Wife,
Tell her the processe of Anthonio's end:
Say how I lou'd you; speake me faire in death:
And when the tale is told, bid her be iudge,
Whether Bassanio had not once a Loue:
Repent not you that you shall loose your friend,
And he repents not that he payes your debt.
For if the Iew do cut but deepe enough,
Ile pay it instantly, with all my heart.

Bas.
Anthonio, I am married to a wife,
Which is as deere to me as life it selfe,
But life it selfe, my wife, and all the world,
Are not with me esteem'd aboue thy life.
I would loose all, I sacrifice them all
Heere to this deuill, to deliuer you.

Por.
Your wife would giue you little thanks for that
If she were by to heare you make the offer.

Gra.
I haue a wife whom I protest I loue,
I would she were in heauen, so she could
Intreat some power to change this currish Iew.

Ner.
'Tis well you offer it behinde her backe,
The wish would make else an vnquiet house.

Iew.
These be the Christian husbands: I haue a daughter
Would any of the stocke of Barrabas
Had beene her husband, rather then a Christian.
We trifle time, I pray thee pursue sentence.

Por.
A pound of that same marchants flesh is thine,
The Court awards it, and the law doth giue it.

Iew.
Most rightfull Iudge.

Por.
And you must cut this flesh from off his breast,
The Law allowes it, and the Court awards it.

Iew.
Most learned Iudge, a sentence, come prepare.

Por.
Tarry a little, there is something else,
This bond doth giue thee heere no iot of bloud,
The words expresly are a pound of flesh:
Then take thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh,
But in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian bloud, thy lands and goods
Are by the Lawes of Venice confiscate
Vnto the state of Venice.

Gra.
O vpright Iudge, / Marke Iew, ô learned Iudge.

Shy.
Is that the law?

Por.
Thy selfe shalt see the Act:
For as thou vrgest iustice, be assur'd
Thou shalt haue iustice more then thou desirest.

Gra.
O learned Iudge, mark Iew, a learned Iudge.

Iew.
I take this offer then, pay the bond thrice,
And let the Christian goe.

Bass.
Heere is the money.

Por.
Soft,
the Iew shall haue all iustice, soft, no haste,
He shall haue nothing but the penalty.

Gra.
O Iew, an vpright Iudge, a learned Iudge.

Por.
Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh,
Shed thou no bloud, nor cut thou lesse nor more
But iust a pound of flesh: if thou tak'st more
Or lesse then a iust pound, be it so much
As makes it light or heauy in the substance,
Or the deuision of the twentieth part
Of one poore scruple, nay if the scale doe turne
But in the estimation of a hayre,
Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.

Gra.
A second Daniel, a Daniel Iew,
Now infidell I haue thee on the hip.

Por.
Why doth the Iew pause, take thy forfeiture.

Shy.
Giue me my principall, and let me goe.

Bass.
I haue it ready for thee, heere it is.

Por.
He hath refus'd it in the open Court,
He shall haue meerly iustice and his bond.

Gra.
A Daniel still say I, a second Daniel,
I thanke thee Iew for teaching me that word.

Shy.
Shall I not haue barely my principall?

Por.
Thou shalt haue nothing but the forfeiture,
To be taken so at thy perill Iew.

Shy.
Why then the Deuill giue him good of it:
Ile stay no longer question.

Por.
Tarry Iew,
The Law hath yet another hold on you.
It is enacted in the Lawes of Venice,
If it be proued against an Alien,
That by direct, or indirect attempts
He seeke the life of any Citizen,
The party gainst the which he doth contriue,
Shall seaze one halfe his goods, the other halfe
Comes to the priuie coffer of the State,
And the offenders life lies in the mercy
Of the Duke onely, gainst all other voice.
In which predicament I say thou standst:
For it appeares by manifest proceeding,
That indirectly, and directly to,
Thou hast contriu'd against the very life
Of the defendant: and thou hast incur'd
The danger formerly by me rehearst.
Downe therefore, and beg mercy of the Duke.

Gra.
Beg that thou maist haue leaue to hang thy selfe,
And yet thy wealth being forfeit to the state,
Thou hast not left the value of a cord,
Therefore thou must be hang'd at the states charge.

Duk.
That thou shalt see the difference of our spirit,
I pardon thee thy life before thou aske it:
For halfe thy wealth, it is Anthonio's,
The other halfe comes to the generall state,
Which humblenesse may driue vnto a fine.

Por.
I for the state, not for Anthonio.

Shy.
Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that,
You take my house, when you do take the prop
That doth sustaine my house: you take my life
When you doe take the meanes whereby I liue.

Por.
What mercy can you render him Anthonio?

Gra.
A halter gratis, nothing else for Gods sake.

Ant.
So please my Lord the Duke, and all the Court
To quit the fine for one halfe of his goods,
I am content: so he will let me haue
The other halfe in vse, to render it
Vpon his death, vnto the Gentleman
That lately stole his daughter.
Two things prouided more, that for this fauour
He presently become a Christian:
The other, that he doe record a gift
Heere in the Court of all he dies possest
Vnto his sonne Lorenzo, and his daughter.

Duk.
He shall doe this, or else I doe recant
The pardon that I late pronounced heere.

Por.
Art thou contented Iew? what dost thou say?

Shy.
I am content.

Por.
Clarke, draw a deed of gift.

Shy.
I pray you giue me leaue to goe from hence,
I am not well, send the deed after me,
And I will signe it.

Duke.
Get thee gone, but doe it.

Gra.
In christning thou shalt haue two godfathers,
Had I been iudge, thou shouldst haue had ten more,
To bring thee to the gallowes, not to the font.
Exit.

Du.
Sir I intreat you with me home to dinner.

Por.
I humbly doe desire your Grace of pardon,
I must away this night toward Padua,
And it is meete I presently set forth.

Duk.
I am sorry that your leysure serues you not:
Anthonio, gratifie this gentleman,
For in my minde you are much bound to him.
Exit Duke and his traine.

Bass.
Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend
Haue by your wisedome beene this day acquitted
Of greeuous penalties, in lieu whereof,
Three thousand Ducats due vnto the Iew
We freely cope your curteous paines withall.

An.
And stand indebted ouer and aboue
In loue and seruice to you euermore.

Por.
He is well paid that is well satisfied,
And I deliuering you, am satisfied,
And therein doe account my selfe well paid,
My minde was neuer yet more mercinarie.
I pray you know me when we meete againe,
I wish you well, and so I take my leaue.

Bass.
Deare sir, of force I must attempt you further,
Take some remembrance of vs as a tribute,
Not as fee: grant me two things, I pray you
Not to denie me, and to pardon me.

Por.
You presse mee farre, and therefore I will yeeld,
Giue me your gloues, Ile weare them for your sake,
And for your loue Ile take this ring from you,
Doe not draw backe your hand, ile take no more,
And you in loue shall not deny me this?

Bass.
This ring good sir, alas it is a trifle,
I will not shame my selfe to giue you this.

Por.
I wil haue nothing else but onely this,
And now methinkes I haue a minde to it.

Bas.
There's more depends on this then on the valew,
The dearest ring in Venice will I giue you,
And finde it out by proclamation,
Onely for this I pray you pardon me.

Por.
I see sir you are liberall in offers,
You taught me first to beg, and now me thinkes
You teach me how a beggar should be answer'd.

Bas.
Good sir, this ring was giuen me by my wife,
And when she put it on, she made me vow
That I should neither sell, nor giue, nor lose it.

Por.
That scuse serues many men to saue their gifts,
And if your wife be not a mad woman,
And know how well I haue deseru'd this ring,
Shee would not hold out enemy for euer
For giuing it to me: well, peace be with you.
Exeunt.

Ant.
My L. Bassanio, let him haue the ring,
Let his deseruings and my loue withall
Be valued against your wiues commandement.

Bass.
Goe Gratiano, run and ouer-take him,
Giue him the ring, and bring him if thou canst
Vnto Anthonios house, away, make haste.
Exit Grati.
Come, you and I will thither presently,
And in the morning early will we both
Flie toward Belmont, come Anthonio.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act IV, Scene II
Enter Portia and Nerrissa.

Por.
Enquire the Iewes house out, giue him this deed,
And let him signe it, wee'll away to night,
And be a day before our husbands home:
This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo.
Enter Gratiano.

Gra.
Faire sir, you are well ore-tane:
My L. Bassanio vpon more aduice,
Hath sent you heere this ring, and doth intreat
Your company at dinner.

Por.
That cannot be;
His ring I doe accept most thankfully,
And so I pray you tell him: furthermore,
I pray you shew my youth old Shylockes house.

Gra.
That will I doe.

Ner.
Sir, I would speake with you:
Ile see if I can get my husbands ring
Which I did make him sweare to keepe for euer.

Por.

Thou maist I warrant, we shal haue old swearing
That they did giue the rings away to men;
But weele out-face them, and out-sweare them to:
Away, make haste, thou know'st where I will tarry.

Ner.
Come good sir, will you shew me to this house.
Exeunt.
Modern text
Act IV, Scene I
Enter the Duke, the magnificoes, Antonio, Bassanio,
Salerio, and Gratiano with others

DUKE
What, is Antonio here?

ANTONIO
Ready, so please your grace.

DUKE
I am sorry for thee. Thou art come to answer
A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch,
Uncapable of pity, void and empty
From any dram of mercy.

ANTONIO
I have heard
Your grace hath ta'en great pains to qualify
His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate,
And that no lawful means can carry me
Out of his envy's reach, I do oppose
My patience to his fury, and am armed
To suffer with a quietness of spirit
The very tyranny and rage of his.

DUKE
Go one, and call the Jew into the court.

SALERIO
He is ready at the door; he comes, my lord.
Enter Shylock

DUKE
Make room, and let him stand before our face.
Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
That thou but lead'st this fashion of thy malice
To the last hour of act, and then 'tis thought
Thou'lt show thy mercy and remorse more strange
Than is thy strange apparent cruelty;
And where thou now exacts the penalty,
Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh,
Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture,
But touched with human gentleness and love,
Forgive a moiety of the principal,
Glancing an eye of pity on his losses,
That have of late so huddled on his back,
Enow to press a royal merchant down
And pluck commiseration of his state
From brassy bosoms and rough hearts of flint,
From stubborn Turks and Tartars never trained
To offices of tender courtesy.
We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.

SHYLOCK
I have possessed 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 answered?
What if my house be troubled with a rat
And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats
To have it baned? What, are you answered yet?
Some men there are love not a gaping pig,
Some that are mad if they behold a cat,
And others, when the bagpipe sings i'th' nose,
Cannot contain their urine; for affection,
Master of passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer:
As there is no firm reason to be rendered
Why he cannot abide a gaping pig,
Why he a harmless necessary cat,
Why he a woollen bagpipe, 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,
More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing
I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
A losing suit against him. Are you answered?

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

SHYLOCK
I am not bound to please thee with my answers.

BASSANIO
Do all men kill the things they do not love?

SHYLOCK
Hates any man the thing he would not kill?

BASSANIO
Every offence is not a hate at first.

SHYLOCK
What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?

ANTONIO
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 fretten with the gusts of heaven;
You may as well do anything most hard
As seek to soften that – than which what's harder? –
His Jewish heart. Therefore I do beseech you
Make no more offers, use no farther means,
But with all brief and plain conveniency
Let me have judgement, and the Jew his will.

BASSANIO
For thy three thousand ducats here is six.

SHYLOCK
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, rendering none?

SHYLOCK
What judgement shall I dread, doing no wrong?
You have among you many a purchased 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 seasoned 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, 'tis mine, and I will have it.
If you deny me, fie upon your law!
There is no force in the decrees of Venice.
I stand for judgement. 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 today.

SALERIO
My lord, here stays without
A messenger with letters from the doctor,
New come from Padua.

DUKE
Bring us the letters. Call the messenger.

BASSANIO
Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet!
The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all,
Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.

ANTONIO
I am a tainted wether of the flock,
Meetest for death. The weakest kind of fruit
Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me.
You cannot better be employed, Bassanio,
Than to live still, and write mine epitaph.
Enter Nerissa dressed like a lawyer's clerk

DUKE
Came you from Padua, from Bellario?

NERISSA
From both, my lord. Bellario greets your grace.
She presents a letter

BASSANIO
Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?

SHYLOCK
To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.

GRATIANO
Not on thy sole, 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?

SHYLOCK
No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.

GRATIANO
O be thou damned, inexecrable dog,
And for thy life let justice be accused!
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
Governed a wolf who, hanged for human slaughter,
Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,
And whilst thou layest in thy unhallowed dam,
Infused itself in thee; for thy desires
Are wolvish, bloody, starved, and ravenous.

SHYLOCK
Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,
Thou but offend'st thy lungs to speak so loud.
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?

NERISSA
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.
Meantime the court shall hear Bellario's letter.

CLERK
Your grace shall understand that at the receipt of
your letter I am very sick; but in the instant that your
messenger came, in loving visitation was with me a young
doctor of Rome. His name is Balthasar. I acquainted
him with the cause in controversy between the Jew and
Antonio the merchant. We turned o'er many books together.
He is furnished with my opinion which, bettered
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 a
head. I leave him to your gracious acceptance, whose trial
shall better publish his commendation.
Enter Portia as Balthasar, dressed like a Doctor of Laws

DUKE
You hear the learn'd Bellario, what he writes,
And here, I take it, is the doctor come.
Give me your hand. Come you from old Bellario?

PORTIA
I did, my lord.

DUKE
You are welcome; take your place.
Are you acquainted with the difference
That holds this present question in the court?

PORTIA
I am informed thoroughly of the cause.
Which is the merchant here? And which the Jew?

DUKE
Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.

PORTIA
Is your name Shylock?

SHYLOCK
Shylock is my name.

PORTIA
Of a strange nature is the suit you follow,
Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.
(to Antonio) You stand within his danger, do you not?

ANTONIO
Ay, so he says.

PORTIA
Do you confess the bond?

ANTONIO
I do.

PORTIA
Then must the Jew be merciful.

SHYLOCK
On what compulsion must I? Tell me that.

PORTIA
The quality of mercy is not strained,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest,
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest, it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown.
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself,
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this:
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy,
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea,
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.

SHYLOCK
My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,
The penalty and forfeit of my bond.

PORTIA
Is he not able to discharge the money?

BASSANIO
Yes, here I tender it for him in the court,
Yea, twice the sum. If that will not suffice,
I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er
On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart.
If this will not suffice, it must appear
That malice bears down truth. And I beseech you,
Wrest once the law to your authority,
To do a great right, do a little wrong,
And curb this cruel devil of his will.

PORTIA
It must not be. There is no power in Venice
Can alter a decree established.
'Twill be recorded for a precedent,
And many an error by the same example
Will rush into the state. It cannot be.

SHYLOCK
A Daniel come to judgement! Yea, a Daniel!
O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!

PORTIA
I pray you let me look upon the bond.

SHYLOCK
Here 'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.

PORTIA
Shylock, there's thrice thy money offered thee.

SHYLOCK
An oath, an oath! I have an oath in heaven;
Shall I lay perjury upon my soul!
No, not for Venice!

PORTIA
Why, this bond is forfeit,
And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
Nearest the merchant's heart. Be merciful,
Take thrice thy money, bid me tear the bond.

SHYLOCK
When it is paid, according to the tenour.
It doth appear you are a worthy judge,
You know the law, your exposition
Hath been most sound. I charge you by the law,
Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar,
Proceed to judgement. By my soul I swear
There is no power in the tongue of man
To alter me. I stay here on my bond.

ANTONIO
Most heartily I do beseech the court
To give the judgement.

PORTIA
Why then, thus it is:
You must prepare your bosom for his knife.

SHYLOCK
O noble judge! O excellent young man!

PORTIA
For the intent and purpose of the law
Hath full relation to the penalty,
Which here appeareth due upon the bond.

SHYLOCK
'Tis very true. O wise and upright judge!
How much more elder art thou than thy looks!

PORTIA
Therefore lay bare your bosom.

SHYLOCK
Ay, his breast,
So says the bond, doth it not, noble judge?
‘ Nearest his heart,’ those are the very words.

PORTIA
It is so. Are there balance here to weigh
The flesh?

SHYLOCK
I have them ready.

PORTIA
Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,
To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.

SHYLOCK
Is it so nominated in the bond?

PORTIA
It is not so expressed, but what of that?
'Twere good you do so much for charity.

SHYLOCK
I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond.

PORTIA
You, merchant, have you anything to say?

ANTONIO
But little. I am armed and well prepared.
Give me your hand, Bassanio, fare you well.
Grieve not that I am fallen to this for you,
For herein Fortune shows herself more kind
Than is her custom; it is still her use
To let the wretched man outlive his wealth
To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
An age of poverty, from which lingering penance
Of such misery doth she cut me off.
Commend me to your honourable wife,
Tell her the process of Antonio's end,
Say how I loved you, speak me fair in death,
And when the tale is told, bid her be judge
Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
Repent but you that you shall lose your friend,
And he repents not that he pays your debt,
For if the Jew do cut but deep enough,
I'll pay it presently with all my heart.

BASSANIO
Antonio, I am married to a wife
Which is as dear to me as life itself,
But life itself, my wife, and all the world
Are not with me esteemed above thy life.
I would lose all, ay sacrifice them all
Here to this devil, to deliver you.

PORTIA
Your wife would give you little thanks for that
If she were by to hear you make the offer.

GRATIANO
I have a wife who I protest I love;
I would she were in heaven, so she could
Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.

NERISSA
'Tis well you offer it behind her back,
The wish would make else an unquiet house.

SHYLOCK
These be the Christian husbands! I have a daughter;
Would any of the stock of Barrabas
Had been her husband, rather than a Christian.
We trifle time. I pray thee pursue sentence.

PORTIA
A pound of that same merchant's flesh is thine,
The court awards it, and the law doth give it.

SHYLOCK
Most rightful judge!

PORTIA
And you must cut this flesh from off his breast,
The law allows it, and the court awards it.

SHYLOCK
Most learned judge! A sentence! Come, prepare!

PORTIA
Tarry a little, there is something else.
This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
The words expressly are ‘a pound of flesh'.
Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh,
But in the cutting it if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
Are by the laws of Venice confiscate
Unto the state of Venice.

GRATIANO
O upright judge! Mark, Jew. O learned judge!

SHYLOCK
Is that the law?

PORTIA
Thyself shalt see the act,
For, as thou urgest justice, be assured
Thou shalt have justice more than thou desir'st.

GRATIANO
O learned judge! Mark, Jew. A learned judge!

SHYLOCK
I take this offer then. Pay the bond thrice
And let the Christian go.

BASSANIO
Here is the money.

PORTIA
Soft!
The Jew shall have all justice. Soft, no haste,
He shall have nothing but the penalty.

GRATIANO
O Jew! An upright judge, a learned judge!

PORTIA
Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh.
Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more
But just a pound of flesh. If thou tak'st more
Or less than a just pound, be it but so much
As makes it light or heavy in the substance
Or the division of the twentieth part
Of one poor scruple, nay, if the scale do turn
But in the estimation of a hair,
Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.

GRATIANO
A second Daniel! A Daniel, Jew!
Now, infidel, I have you on the hip!

PORTIA
Why doth the Jew pause? Take thy forfeiture.

SHYLOCK
Give me my principal, and let me go.

BASSANIO
I have it ready for thee; here it is.

PORTIA
He hath refused it in the open court.
He shall have merely justice and his bond.

GRATIANO
A Daniel, still say I, a second Daniel!
I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.

SHYLOCK
Shall I not have barely my principal?

PORTIA
Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture,
To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.

SHYLOCK
Why, then the devil give him good of it!
I'll stay no longer question.

PORTIA
Tarry, Jew!
The law hath yet another hold on you.
It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
If it be proved against an alien
That by direct or indirect attempts
He seek the life of any citizen,
The party 'gainst the which he doth contrive
Shall seize one half his goods, the other half
Comes to the privy coffer of the state,
And the offender's life lies in the mercy
Of the Duke only, 'gainst all other voice,
In which predicament I say thou stand'st,
For it appears by manifest proceeding
That indirectly, and directly too,
Thou hast contrived against the very life
Of the defendant, and thou hast incurred
The danger formerly by me rehearsed.
Down therefore, and beg mercy of the Duke.

GRATIANO
Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself,
And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state,
Thou hast not left the value of a cord,
Therefore thou must be hanged at the state's charge.

DUKE
That thou shalt see the difference of our spirit,
I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it.
For half thy wealth, it is Antonio's,
The other half comes to the general state,
Which humbleness may drive unto a fine.

PORTIA
Ay, for the state, not for Antonio.

SHYLOCK
Nay, take my life and all! Pardon not that!
You take my house when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house. You take my life
When you do take the means whereby I live.

PORTIA
What mercy can you render him, Antonio?

GRATIANO
A halter gratis! Nothing else, for God's sake!

ANTONIO
So please my lord the Duke and all the court
To quit the fine for one half of his goods,
I am content, so he will let me have
The other half in use, to render it
Upon his death unto the gentleman
That lately stole his daughter.
Two things provided more: that for this favour
He presently become a Christian;
The other, that he do record a gift
Here in the court of all he dies possessed
Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.

DUKE
He shall do this, or else I do recant
The pardon that I late pronounced here.

PORTIA
Art thou contented, Jew? What dost thou say?

SHYLOCK
I am content.

PORTIA
Clerk, draw a deed of gift.

SHYLOCK
I pray you, give me leave to go from hence,
I am not well; send the deed after me,
And I will sign it.

DUKE
Get thee gone, but do it.

GRATIANO
In christ'ning shalt thou have two godfathers.
Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more,
To bring thee to the gallows, not the font.
Exit Shylock

DUKE
Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.

PORTIA
I humbly do desire your grace of pardon.
I must away this night toward Padua,
And it is meet I presently set forth.

DUKE
I am sorry that your leisure serves you not.
Antonio, gratify this gentleman,
For in my mind you are much bound to him.
Exit Duke and his train

BASSANIO
Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend
Have by your wisdom been this day acquitted
Of grievous penalties, in lieu whereof
Three thousand ducats due unto the Jew
We freely cope your courteous pains withal.

ANTONIO
And stand indebted, over and above,
In love and service to you evermore.

PORTIA
He is well paid that is well satisfied,
And I delivering you am satisfied,
And therein do account myself well paid:
My mind was never yet more mercenary.
I pray you know me when we meet again,
I wish you well, and so I take my leave.

BASSANIO
Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further.
Take some remembrance of us as a tribute,
Not as fee. Grant me two things, I pray you:
Not to deny me, and to pardon me.

PORTIA
You press me far, and therefore I will yield.
Give me your gloves, I'll wear them for your sake.
Bassanio takes off his gloves
And for your love I'll take this ring from you.
Do not draw back your hand, I'll take no more,
And you in love shall not deny me this.

BASSANIO
This ring, good sir, alas, it is a trifle!
I will not shame myself to give you this.

PORTIA
I will have nothing else but only this,
And now methinks I have a mind to it.

BASSANIO
There's more depends on this than on the value.
The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,
And find it out by proclamation.
Only for this, I pray you pardon me.

PORTIA
I see, sir, you are liberal in offers.
You taught me first to beg, and now methinks
You teach me how a beggar should be answered.

BASSANIO
Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife,
And when she put it on she made me vow
That I should neither sell nor give nor lose it.

PORTIA
That 'scuse serves many men to save their gifts,
An if your wife be not a madwoman,
And know how well I have deserved this ring,
She would not hold out enemy for ever
For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!
Exeunt Portia and Nerissa

ANTONIO
My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring.
Let his deservings, and my love withal,
Be valued 'gainst your wife's commandment.

BASSANIO
Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him,
Give him the ring and bring him if thou canst
Unto Antonio's house. Away, make haste.
Exit Gratiano
Come, you and I will thither presently,
And in the morning early will we both
Fly toward Belmont. Come, Antonio.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act IV, Scene II
Enter Portia and Nerissa, disguised as before

PORTIA
Inquire the Jew's house out, give him this deed,
And let him sign it. We'll away tonight
And be a day before our husbands home.
This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo.
Enter Gratiano

GRATIANO
Fair sir, you are well o'erta'en.
My Lord Bassanio upon more advice
Hath sent you here this ring, and doth entreat
Your company at dinner.

PORTIA
That cannot be.
His ring I do accept most thankfully,
And so I pray you tell him. Furthermore,
I pray you show my youth old Shylock's house.

GRATIANO
That will I do.

NERISSA
Sir, I would speak with you.
(aside to Portia) I'll see if I can get my husband's ring,
Which I did make him swear to keep for ever.

PORTIA
(aside to Nerissa)
Thou mayst, I warrant. We shall have old swearing
That they did give the rings away to men,
But we'll outface them, and outswear them too.
Away, make haste. Thou know'st where I will tarry.

NERISSA
Come, good sir, will you show me to this house?
Exeunt
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2020 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL