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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 ! 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. Salar.
My lord, here stays without A messenger with letters from the doctor, New come from Padua.
Duke. Bring us the letters ; Call the messenger. Bass. Good cheer, Antonio! What, man?
courage yet! The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all, Ere thou shalt loose for me one drop of blood.
Ant. I am a tainted wether of the flock, Meetest for death; the weakest kind of frut 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, dressed like a lawyer's clerk. Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario? Ner. From both, my lord: Bellario greets your grace.
(Presents a letter. Bass. Why dost thou whet thy knife so ear
Shy. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt
there. Gra. 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?
Shy. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.
Gra. O, be thou damn'd, inexorable dog.
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.
(Clerk reads. 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 Balthazar: Í acquainted him with the cause in controversy between the Jew ana
Antonio the merchant: we turned 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 a head. I leave him to your gracious acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his commendation. Duke. You hear the learn'd Bellario, what he
writes : And here, I take it, is the doctor come.
Enter Portia, dressed like a doctor of laws. Give me your hand : Came you from old Bellario?
Por. 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 ?
Por. I am informed throughly of the cause. Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?
Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
Shylock is my name. Por. Of a strange nature is the suit you follow; Yet in such rule, that the Venetian law Cannot impugnl you, as you do proceed.-You stand within his danger,2 do you not?
(To Antonio. Ant. Ay, so he says. Por.
Do you confess the bond ? | Ant. I do.
Por. Then must the Jew be merciful. Shy. On what compulsion must I? tell me that
Por. The quality of mercy is not strain'd; It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
(1) Oppose. (2) Reach or control.
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd;
there. Shy. My deed's upon my head! I crave the law, The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
Por. Is he not able to discharge the money ?
Bass. 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.
Por. 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. Shy. A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Dan
O wise young jucige, how do I honour thee!
Por. I pray you, let me look upon the bond. Shy. Here'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is. Pur. Shylock, there's thrice thy money offer'd
Why, this bond is forfeit ;
Shy. When it is paid according to the tenor.–
Ant. Most heartily I do beseech the court
" Why then, thus it is. You must prepare your bosom for his knife:
Shy. O noble judge! O excellent young man !
Por. For the intent and purpose of the law
Tis very true: O wise and
Por. Therefore, lay bare your bosom.
Ay, his breast: So says the bond ;-Doth it not, noble judge?Nearest his heart, those are the very words.
Por. It is so. Are there balance here, to weigh The flesh ?
Shy. I have them ready.