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Nature hath fram'd strange fellows in her time:
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes,
And laugh, like parrots, at a bag-piper;
And other of such vinegar aspect,
That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile,
Though Nestor swear the jest be l'aughable.
Enter Bassanio, Lorenzo, and Gratiano.
Salan. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble
Gratiano, and Lorenzo: Fare you well;
We leave you now with better company.
Salar, I would have staid till I had made you
If worthier friends had not prevented me.
Ant. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
I take it, your own business calls on you,
And you embrace the occasion to depart.
Salar. Good morrow, my good lords.
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.
(Ereunt Salarino and Salanio. Lor. My lord Bassanio, since you have found An.
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 llave 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,
Aud mine a sad one.
Let me play the fool:
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come;
And let my liver rather heat with wine,
Than iny heart cool with mortifying groans.
Why should a man, whose blood is warm within,
Sit like bis grandsire cut in alabaster?
Sleep when he wakes ? and creep into the jaundice
By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio,
I love thee, and it is my love that speaks;-
There are a sort of men, whose visages
Do cream and mantle, like a standing pond;
And do a wilful stillness* entertain,
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;
As who should say, I am Sir Oracle,
And, when I ope my lips, let no dog bark !
O, my Antonio, I do know of these,
That therefore only are reputed wise,
For saying nothing; who, I am very sure,
If they should speak, would almost damn those
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers, fools.
I'll tell thee more of this another time:
But fish not with this melancholy bait,
For this fool's gudgeon, this opinion.-
Come, good Lorenzo : - Fare ye well, a while;
I'll end my exhortation after dinner.
Lor. Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time:
I must be one of these same dumb wise men,
For Gratiano never lets me speak.
Gra. Well, keep me company but two years more,
Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.
Ant. Farewell: I'll grow a talker for this gear.
Gra. Thanks, i'faith; for silence is only commend.
In a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible.
[Ereunt Gratiano and Lorenzo. 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 wlicat 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 this 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,
By something showing a more swelling port
Than my faint means would grant continuance :
Nor do I now make moan to be abridg'd
From such a noble rate; but my chief care
Is, to come fairly off from the great debts,
Wherein my time, something too prodigal,
Hath left me gaged: To you, Antonio,
I owe the most, in money, and in love;
And from your love I have a warranty
To unburthen all my plots and purposes,
How to get clear of all the debts I owe.
Ant. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
And, if it stand, as you yourself still do,
Within the eye of honour, be assur'd,
My purse, my person, my extremest means,
Lie all unlock'd to your occasions.
Bass. In my school-days, when I had lost one
I shot his fellow of the self-same flight
The self-same way, with more advised watch,
To find the other forth; and by advent'ring both,
I oft found both : I urge this childhood proof,
Because what follows is pure innocence.
I owe you much; and, like a wilful youth,
That which I owe is lost: but if you please
To shoot another arrow that self way
Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
As I will watch the aim, or to find both
Or bring your latter hazard back again,
And thankfully rest debtor for the first.
Ant. You know me well; and herein spend but
To wind about my love with circumstance;
And, out of doubt, you do me now more wrongo
In making question of my uttermost,
Than if you had made waste of all I have:
Then do but say to me what I should do,
That in your knowledge may by me be done,
And I am prest* unto it: therefore, speak.
Bass. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wondrous virtues : sometimest from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages:
Her name is Portia ; nothing undervalued
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia.
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth;
For the four winds blow in from every coast
Renowned suitors : and her sunny locks
Hang on hier temples like a golden fleece;
Which makes her seat of Belmont, Colchos' strand,
And many Jasons come in quest of her..
O my Antonio, had I but the means
To hold a rival place with one of them,
I have a mind presages me such thrist,
That I should questionless be fortunate.
Ant. Thou know'st, that all my fortunes are at Nor have I money, nor commodity To raise a present sum: therefore go forth, Try what my credit can in Venice do; That shall be rack'd, even to the uttermost, To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia. Go, presently inquire, and so will I, Where money is; and I no question make, To have it of my trust, or for my sake.
Belmont. A room in Portia's house.
Enter Portia and Nerissa.
Por. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is 2-weary of this great world.
Ner. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good for. tunes 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 over 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 curb'd 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; there. fore, the lottery, that he hath devised in these threo chests, of gold, silver, and lead (whereof wlio chooses,