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You swore to me, when I did give it you,
would wear it till your hour of death ;
Gra. He will, an if he live to be a man.
Gra. Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,-
Por. You were to blame—Í must be plain with you-
gave my love a ring, and made him swear
Bass. Why, I were best to cut my left hand off, And swear I lost the ring defending it. [Aside.
Gra. My lord Bassanio gave his ring away
What ring gave you, my lord ?
Bass. If I could add a lie unto a fault, I would deny it; but you see, my finger Hath not the ring upon it; it is gone.
1 Respective, that is considerative, regardful; not respectful or respectable, as Steevens supposed.
Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth.
Ner. Nor I in yours,
you did know to whom I gave the ring,
Por. If you had known the virtue of the ring,
Bass. No, by mine honor, madam, by my soul,
dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady ?
you been there, I think, you would have begged The ring of me to give the worthy doctor. Por. Let not that doctor e’er come near my
house : Since he hath got the jewel that I loved,
1 To contain had nearly the same meaning with to retain. 2 i. e. kept in a measure religiously, or superstitiously.
And that which you did swear to keep for me,
Ner. And I his clerk ; therefore be well advised,
Gra. Well, do you so; let not me take him then; For if I do, I'll mar the young
Ant. I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels.
Mark you but that!
Nay, but hear me.
Ant. I once did lend my body for his wealth ;2
[To PORTIA. Had quite miscarried. I dare be bound again, My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord Will never more break faith advisedly.
Por. Then you shall be his surety. Give him this; And bid him keep it better than the other.
Ant. Here, lord Bassanio; swear to keep this ring. Bass. By Heaven, it is the same I gave the doctor!
1 Double is here used for deceitful, full of duplicity.
2 i. e. for his advantage. VOL. II.
Por. I had it of him. Pardon me, Bassanio, For by this ring the doctor lay with me.
Ner. And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano; For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor's clerk, In lieu of this, last night did lie with me.
Gra. Why, this is like the mending of highways In summer, where the ways are fair enough ; What! are we cuckolds, ere we have deserved it?
Por. Speak not so grossly.—You are all amazed. Here is a letter; read it at your leisure ; It comes from Padua, from Bellario; There you shall find, that Portia was the doctor ; Nerissa there, her clerk. Lorenzo here Shall witness, I set forth as soon as you, And but even now returned. I have not yet Entered my house.—Antonio, you are welcome , And I have better news in store for you, Than you expect. Unseal this letter soon; There you shall find, three of your argosies Are richly come to harbor suddenly ; You shall not know by what strange accident I chanced on this letter. Ant.
I am dumb. Bass. Were you the doctor, and I knew you not ? Gra. Were you the clerk, that is to make me
cuckold ? Ner. Ay; but the clerk that never means to do it; Unless he live until he be a man.
Bass. Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow; When I am absent, then lie with my wife.
Ant. Sweet lady, you have given me life, and living; For here I read for certain, that my ships Are safely come to road. Por.
How now, Lorenzo ? My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.
Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.There do I give to you, and Jessica, From the rich Jew, a special deed of gift, After his death, of all he dies possessed of.
Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
Por. It is almost morning,
Gra. Let it be so. The first intergatory