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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
Of starved people.

Por. It is almost morning,
And yet, I am sure, you are not satisfied
Of these events at full. Let us go in;
And charge us there upon inter’gatories,
And we will answer all things faithfully.

Gra. Let it be so. The first inter’gatory
That iny Nerissa shall be sworn on, is,
Whether till the next night she had rather stay,
Or go to bed now, being two hours to day;
But

were the day come, I should wish it dark,
That I were couching with the doctor's clerk.
Well, while I live, I'll fear no other thing
So sore, 'as keeping safe Nerissa's ring. [Exeunt.

Or the Merchant of Venice the style is even and easy, with few pe

culiarities of diction, or anomalies of construction.

The comic part

raises laughter, and the serious fixes expectation. The probability of

either one or the other story cannot be maintained. The union of two

actions in one event is in this drama eminently happy. Dryden was much pleased with his own address in connecting the two plots of his Spanish Friar, which yet. I believe, the critic will find excelle: uy this play.

JOHNSON

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