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Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.

Ant. 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 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 earnestly? 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 ax, 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 ! And for thy life let justice be accus'd. 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 Govern'd a wolf, who, hang'd for human slaughter, Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet, And, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallow'd dam, Infus'd itself in thee; for thy desires Are wolfish, bloody, starv'd, and ravenous.

Shy. Till thou can’st 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?

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 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, 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.
Por. Is your name Shylock?
Shy. Shylock is my name.

Por. Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;
Yet in such rule, that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you, as you do proceed.-
You stand within his danger, 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
Upon the place beneath : it is twice bless’d;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes :
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His scepter 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 scepter'd 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.

Shy. My deeds 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 Daniel ! O wise young judge, how do I honour thee!

Por. I pray you, let me look upon the bond.
Shy. Here 'tis, most reyerend doctor, here it is.
Por. Shylock, there's thrice thy money offer'd thee.

Shy. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven : Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?

No, not for Venice.

Por. 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.

Shy. When it is paid according to the tenour.com
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 judgment : by my soul I swear,
There is no power in the tongue of man
To alter me: I stay here on my bond.

Ant. Most heartily I do beseech the court
To give the judgment.

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

Shy. O noble judge! O excellent voung man !

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

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

Por. Therefore, lay bare your bosom.

Shy. 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.
Por. Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,

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