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Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer.
Bass. This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
Shij. I am not bound to please thee with my answer.
twice? Ant. I pray you,
you question with the Jew.
Bass. For thy three thousand ducats here is six.
1 It was usual to cover with woollen cloth the bag of this instrument The old copies read woollen : the conjectural reading swollen was proposed by sir J. Hawkins. 2 Converse.
Were in six parts, and every part a ducat,
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, ,
My lord, here stays without
Duke. Bring us the letters; call the messenger.
The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all,
Ant. I am a tainted wether of the flock,
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 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 damned, inexorable dog!
Shy. Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,
Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend
He attendeth here hard by,
Duke. With all my heart; some three or four of you,
[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 Bal
thasar. 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 1 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 learned Bellario, what he writes. And here, I take it, is the doctor come.
Enter Portia dressed like a Doctor of Laws.
Por. I did, my lord.
You are welcome; take your place
Por. I am informed thoroughly of the cause.
Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
Shylock is my name. Por. Of a strange nature is the suit you
[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 strained;
1 To impugn is to oppose, to controvert
2 i. e. within his reach or control. The phrase is thought to be derived from a similar one in the monkish Latin of the middle age.
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
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.
1 1. e. malice oppressed honesty; a true man, in old language, is an honest man. We now call the jury good men and true.
VOL. II. 30