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Enter Portia, Neriffa, Lorenzo, Jessica, and Belthazar.
Lor. ADAM, although I speak it in your presence,

You have a noble and a true conceit
Of godlike amity, which appears strongly
In bearing thus the absence of

your

lord.
But, if you knew to whom you show this honour,
How true a gentleman you send relief to,
How dear a lover of

my lord your husband,
I know, you would be prouder of the work,
Than customary bounty can enforce you.

Por. I never did repent of doing good,
And shall not now; for in companions
That do converse and waste the time together,
Whose souls do bear an equal yoke of love,
There must be needs a like proportion
Of lineaments, of manners, and of spirit;
Which makes me think, that this Anthonio,
Being the bosom-lover of my lord,
Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,
How little is the coft I have bestowed
In purchasing the semblance of my soul
From out the state of hellish cruelty !
This comes too near the praising of myself;
Therefore, no more of it: hear other things :
Lorenzo, I commit into your hands
The husbandry and manage of my house,
Until my lord's return.

For mine own part,
I have tow'rd heaven breath'd a secret vow,,
To live in prayer and contemplation,
Only attended by Nerissa here,

Until

Until her husband and my lord's return.
There is a monastery two miles off,
And there we will abide. I do desire you
Not to deny this imposition,
The which

my

love and some necessity Now lay 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 Jeffica
In place of lord Bassanio and myself.
So fare you well till we shall meet again.

Lor. Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you !
Jef. I wish your ladyship all heart's content.
Por. I thank

you

for your wish, and am well pleas'd To wish it back on you: fare you well, Jeffica. [Exe. Jes. & Lor. Now, Balthazar, As I have ever found thee honeft, true, So let me find thee ftill: take this fame letter, And use thou all th’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 traject, to the common ferry Which trades to Venice : waste no time in words, But get thee gone; I shall be there before thee.

Bal. Madam, I go with all convenient speed. [Exit. Por. Come on, Nerissa; I have work in hand That you yet know not of: we'll see our husbands Before they think of us.

Ner. Shall they fee 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 apparell'd like young men,

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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 dy'd,
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've discontinued school
Above a twelvemonth. I have in my mind
A thousand raw tricks of these bragging jacks,
Which I will practise.

Ner. Shall we turn to men ?

Por. Fie! 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 halte away,
For we must measure twenty miles to-day.

[Exeunt.

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SCENE VI.

Enter Launcelot, and Jessica. Laun. Yes, truly: for, look you, the sins of the father are to be lay'd 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 damn’d: 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

you are not the Jew's daughter.

not, that

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

Laun. Truly, then, I fear, you are damn'd both by father and mother : thus when you shun Scylla, your father, you fall into Charibdis, 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 porkeaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals

for money.

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.

Jej. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo; Launcelot and I are out: he tells me flatly, there is no mercy for me in heav'n, 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 a word! I think, the best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence; and discourse grow commendable in none but parrots. Go in, sirrah, bid them prepare for dinner.

Laun. That is done, fir; they have all stomachs.
Lor. Good lord, what a witsnapper are you! then bid them

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prepare dinner.

Laun. That is done too, fir; only cover is the word.
Lor. Will you cover then, fir ?

Laun.

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

Laun. For the table, sir, it shall be serv'd in; for the meat, fir, it shall be covered; for your coming in to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humours and conceits shall govern. [Exit Laun.

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 far'st thou, Jeffica?
And now, good sweet, say thy opinion,
How dost thou like the lord Bassanio's wife?

Jef. Past all expressing: it is very meet
The lord Basanio 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 merit it,
In reason he should never come to heav'n.
Why, if two gods should play some heav'nly 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.
Jef

. Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.
Lor. I will anon: first, let us go to dinner.
fel

. Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach.
Lor. No, pray thee, let it ferve for tabletalk ;
Then, howsoe'er thou speak’st, ʼmong other things,
Jes. Well, I'll set you forth.

[Exeunt.

ACT

I shall digest it.

H 2

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