Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

The husbandry and manage of my house,
Until my lord's return : for mine own part,
I have toward heaven breath'd a secret vow,
To live in prayer and contemplation,
Only attended by Nerissa here,
Until her husband and my lord's return:
There is a monastery two miles off,
And there we will abide. I desire you,
Not to deny this imposition;
The which my love, and some necessity,
Now lays upon you.

Lor. Madam, with all my heart;
I shall obey you in all fair commands.

Por. My people do already know my mind,
And will acknowledge you and Jessica
In place of lord Bassanio and myself.
So fare you well, till we shall meet again.
Lor. Fair thoughts, and happy words, attend on

you! Jes. I wish your ladyship all heart's content.

Por. I thank you for your wish, and am well pleased To wish it back on you : fare you well, Jessica.

[Exeunt Jessica and LORENZO. Now, Balthazar, As I have ever found thee honest, true, So let me find thee still : Take this same letter, And use thou all the endeavour of a man, In speed to Padua; see thou render this Into my cousin's hand, doctor Bellario; And, look, what notes and garments he doth give thee, Bring them, I pray thee, with imagin’d speed Unto the tranect, to the common ferry,

Which trades to Venice :-waste no time in words,
But get thee gone; I shall be there before thee.
Balth. Madam, I go with all convenient speed.

[Erit.
Por. Come on, Nerissa; I have work on hand,
That you yet know not of: we'll see our husbands,
Before they think of us.

Ner. Shall they see us ?

Por. They shall, Nerissa ; but, in such a habit,
That they shall think we are accomplished
With what we lack. I'll hold thee any wager,
When we are both accouter'd like young men,
I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
And wear my dagger with the braver grace;
And speak, between the change of man and boy,
With a reed voice; and turn two mincing steps
Into a manly stride ; and speak of frays,
Like a fine bragging youth: and tell quaint lies,
How honourable ladies sought my love,
Which I denying, they fell sick and died ;
I could not do with all ;-then I'll repent,
And wish, for all that, that I had not kill'd them:
And twenty of these puny lies I'll tell,
That men shall swear, I have discontinued school
Above a twelvemonth :-I have within my mind
A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks,
Which I will practise.

Ner. Why, shall we turn to men ?

Por. Fye! what a question's that,
If thou wert near a lewd interpreter?
But come, I'll tell thee all my whole device
When I am in my coach, which stays for us

At the park gate ; and therefore haste away,
For we must measure twenty miles to-day.

[Exeunt.

[blocks in formation]

Enter LAUNCELot and Jessica. · Laun. Yes, truly :-for, look you, the sins of the father are to be laid upon the children; therefore, I promise you, I fear you. I was always plain with you, and so now I speak my agitation of the matter : Therefore, be of good cheer ; for, truly, I think, you are damned. There is but one hope in it that can do you any good ; and that is but a kind of bastard hope neither.

Jes. And what hope is that, I pray thee?

Laun. Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.

Jes. That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed; so the sins of my mother should be visited upon me.

Laun. Truly, then I fear you are damned both by father and mother: thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother : well, you are gone both ways.

Jes. I shall be saved by my husband; he hath made me a Christian.

Laun. Truly, the more to blame he: we were Christians enough before; e'en as many as could well live, one by another: This making of Christians will raise the price of hogs; if we grow all to be pork-eaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals for money.

[ocr errors]

Enter LORENZO. Jes. I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say ; here he comes.

Lor. I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if you thus get my wife into corners.

Jes. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo; Launcelot and I are out: he tells me flatly, there is no mercy for me in heaven, because I am a Jew's daughter: and he says, you are no good member of the commonwealth ; for, in converting Jews to Christians, you raise the price of pork.

Lor. I shall answer that better to the commonwealth, than you can the getting up of the negro's belly : the Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.

Laun. It is much, that the Moor should be more than reason: but if she be less than an honest woman, she is, indeed, more than I took her for.

Lor. How every fool can play upon the word ! I think, the best grace of wit will turn into silence; and discourse grow commendable in none only but parrots.-Go in, sirrah ; bid them prepare for dinner.

Laun. That is done, sir; they have all stomachs.

Lor. Goodly lord, what a wit-snapper are you ! then bid them prepare dinner.

Laun. That is done too, sir; only, cover is the word. · Lor. Will you cover then, sir? Laun. Not so, sir, neither; I know my duty.

Lor. Yet more quarrelling with occasion ! Wilt thou show the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant?

VOL. XII.

I pray thee, understand a plain man in his plain meaning: go to thy fellows; bid them cover the table, serve in the meat, and we will come in to dinner.

Laun. For the table, sir, it shall be served in; for the meat, sir, it shall be covered ; for your coming in to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humours and conceits shall govern.

[Exit LAUNCELOT.
Lor. O dear discretion, how his words are suited!
The fool hath planted in his memory
An army of good words: And I do know
A many fools, that stand in better place,
Garnish'd like him, that for a tricksy word
Defy the matter. How cheer'st thou, Jessica ?
And now, good sweet, say, thy opinion,
How dost thou like the lord Bassanio's wife?
· Jes. Past all expressing : It is very meet,
The lord Bassanio live an upright life;
For, having such a blessing in his lady,
He finds the joys of heaven here on earth;
And, if on earth he do not mean it, it
Is reason he should never come to heaven.
Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match,
And on the wager lay two earthly women,
And Portia one, there must be something else
Pawn’d with the other; for the poor rude world
Hath not her fellow.

Lor. Even such a husband
Hast thou of me, as she is for a wife.

Jes. Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.
Lor. I will anon; first, let us go to dinner.
Jes. Nay, let me praise you, while I have a stomach.

« ZurückWeiter »