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Bass. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? Say, when? You grow exceeding strange: must it be so?
Salar. We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.
[Exeunt SALARINO and SOLANIO. Lor. My lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio, We two will leave you: but, at dinner-time,
I pray you, have in mind where we must meet.
Bass. I will not fail you.
Gra. You look not well, signior Antonio; You have too much respect upon the world: They lose it that do buy it with much care: Believe me, you are marvellously chang'd.
Ant. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
A stage, where every man must play a part,
Let me play the fool:
Sleep when he wakes? and creep into the jaundice
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
That therefore only are reputed wise,
For saying nothing; when, I am very sure,
Lor. Well, we will leave you, then, till dinner-time:
I must be one of these same dumb wise men,
Gra. Well, keep me company but two years more,
Ant. Is that any thing now?
Bass. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice. His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff: you shall seek all day ere you find them; and, when you have them, they are not worth the search. Ant. Well; tell me now, what lady is the same To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage, That you to-day promis'd to tell me of? Bass. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
How much I have disabled mine estate,
Bass. In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,
And thankfully rest debtor for the first.
Ant. You know me well; and herein spend but time,
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Ant. Thou know'st that all my fortunes are at sea;
To raise a present sum: therefore go forth;
Where money is; and I no question make,
SCENE II.-BELMONT. A Room in PORTIA'S Mansion.
Enter PORTIA and NERISSA.
Por. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world.
Ner. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are: and yet, for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing it is no mean happiness, therefore, to be seated in the
mean: superfluity comes sooner by white hairs; but competency lives longer.
Por. Good sentences, and well pronounced.
Ner. They would be better, if well followed.
Por. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottages princes' palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions: I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching. The brain may devise laws for the blood; but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree: such a hare is madness, the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel, the cripple. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me a husband :-O me, the word choose! I may neither choose whom I would, nor refuse whom I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father.-Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none?
Ner. Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men, at their death, have good inspirations: therefore, the lottery, that he hath devised in these three chests of gold, silver, and lead (whereof who chooses his meaning, chooses you), will, no doubt, never be chosen by any rightly, but one whom you shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely suitors that are already come?
Por. I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou namest them, I will describe them; and, according to my description, level at my affection.
Ner. First, there is the Neapolitan prince.
Por. Ay, that's a colt, indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horse; and he makes it a great appropriation to his own good parts, that he can shoe him himself. I am much afraid, my lady his mother played false with a smith.
Ner. Then is there the county Palatine.
Por. He doth nothing but frown; as who should say, "An you will not have me, choose." He hears merry tales, and smiles not: I fear he will prove the weeping philosopher when he grows old, being so full of unmannerly sadness in his youth. I had rather be married to a death's head with a bone in his mouth, than to either of these:-God defend me from these two!
Ner. How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?
Por. God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man. In truth, I know it is a sin to be a mocker: but, he!-why, he hath a horse better than the Neapolitan's; a better bad habit of frowning than the count Palatine: he is every man in no man; if a throstle sing, he falls straight a capering: he will fence with his own shadow.
If I should marry him, I should marry twenty husbands. If he would despise me, I would forgive him; for if he love me to madness, I shall never requite him.
Ner. What say you, then, to Faulconbridge, the young baron of England?
Por. You know I say nothing to him; for he understands not me, nor I him he hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian; and you will come into the court and swear that I have a poor penny-worth in the English. He is a proper man's picture; but, alas, who can converse with a dumb show? How oddly he is suited! I think he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany, and his behaviour every where.
Ner. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?
Por. That he hath a neighbourly charity in him; for he borrowed a box of the ear of the Englishman, and swore he would pay him again when he was able: I think the Frenchman became his surety, and sealed under for another.
Ner. How like you the young German, the duke of Saxony's nephew?
Por. Very vilely in the morning, when he is sober; and most vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk when he is best, he is a little worse than a man; and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast. An the worst fall that ever fell, I hope I shall make shift to go without him.
Ner. If he should offer to choose, and choose the right casket, you should refuse to perform your father's will, if you should refuse to accept him.
Por. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, set a deep glass of Rhenish wine on the contrary casket; for, if the devil be within, and that temptation without, I know he will choose it. I will do any thing, Nerissa, ere I will be married to a spunge.
Ner. You need not fear, lady, the having any of these lords: they have acquainted me with their determinations; which is, indeed, to return to their home, and to trouble you with no more suit, unless you may be won by some other sort than your father's imposition, depending on the caskets.
Por. If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die as chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by the manner of my father's will. I am glad this parcel of wooers are so reasonable; for there is not one among them but I dote on his very absence; and I pray God grant them a fair departure.
Ner. Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came hither in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?