|The Merchant of Venice
| Merchant of Venice
| Act 4, Scene 1
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Enter the DUKE, the Magnificoes, ANTONIO, BASSANIO, GRATIANO, SALERIO, and othersDUKE
What, is Antonio here?ANTONIO
Ready, so please your grace.DUKE
I am sorry for thee: thou art come to answerANTONIO
A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch
uncapable of pity, void and empty
From any dram of mercy.
I have heardDUKE
Your grace hath ta'en great pains to qualify
His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate
And that no lawful means can carry me
Out of his envy's reach, I do oppose
My patience to his fury, and am arm'd
To suffer, with a quietness of spirit,
The very tyranny and rage of his.
Go one, and call the Jew into the court.SALERIO
He is ready at the door: he comes, my lord.DUKE
Make room, and let him stand before our face.SHYLOCK
Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
That thou but lead'st this fashion of thy malice
To the last hour of act; and then 'tis thought
Thou'lt show thy mercy and remorse more strange
Than is thy strange apparent cruelty;
And where thou now exact'st the penalty,
Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh,
Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture,
But, touch'd with human gentleness and love,
Forgive a moiety of the principal;
Glancing an eye of pity on his losses,
That have of late so huddled on his back,
Enow to press a royal merchant down
And pluck commiseration of his state
From brassy bosoms and rough hearts of flint,
From stubborn Turks and Tartars, never train'd
To offices of tender courtesy.
We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.
I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose;BASSANIO
And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn
To have the due and forfeit of my bond:
If you deny it, let the danger light
Upon your charter and your city's freedom.
You'll ask me, why I rather choose to have
A weight of carrion flesh than to receive
Three thousand ducats: I'll not answer that:
But, say, it is my humour: is it answer'd?
What if my house be troubled with a rat
And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats
To have it baned? What, are you answer'd yet?
Some men there are love not a gaping pig;
Some, that are mad if they behold a cat;
And others, when the bagpipe sings i' the nose,
Cannot contain their urine: for affection,
Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer:
As there is no firm reason to be render'd,
Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;
Why he, a harmless necessary cat;
Why he, a woollen bagpipe; but of force
Must yield to such inevitable shame
As to offend, himself being offended;
So can I give no reason, nor I will not,
More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing
I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
A losing suit against him. Are you answer'd?
This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,SHYLOCK
To excuse the current of thy cruelty.
I am not bound to please thee with my answers.BASSANIO
Do all men kill the things they do not love?SHYLOCK
Hates any man the thing he would not kill?BASSANIO
Every offence is not a hate at first.SHYLOCK
What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?ANTONIO
I pray you, think you question with the Jew:BASSANIO
You may as well go stand upon the beach
And bid the main flood bate his usual height;
You may as well use question with the wolf
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb;
You may as well forbid the mountain pines
To wag their high tops and to make no noise,
When they are fretten with the gusts of heaven;
You may as well do anything most hard,
As seek to soften that--than which what's harder?--
His Jewish heart: therefore, I do beseech you,
Make no more offers, use no farther means,
But with all brief and plain conveniency
Let me have judgment and the Jew his will.
For thy three thousand ducats here is six.SHYLOCK
What judgment shall I dread, doingDUKE
Were in six parts and every part a ducat,
I would not draw them; I would have my bond.
How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?SHYLOCK
What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?DUKE
You have among you many a purchased slave,
Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,
You use in abject and in slavish parts,
Because you bought them: shall I say to you,
Let them be free, marry them to your heirs?
Why sweat they under burthens? let their beds
Be made as soft as yours and let their palates
Be season'd with such viands? You will answer
'The slaves are ours:' so do I answer you:
The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,
Is dearly bought; 'tis mine and I will have it.
If you deny me, fie upon your law!
There is no force in the decrees of Venice.
I stand for judgment: answer; shall I have it?
Upon my power I may dismiss this court,SALERIO
Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
Whom I have sent for to determine this,
Come here to-day.
My lord, here stays withoutDUKE
A messenger with letters from the doctor,
New come from Padua.
Bring us the letter; call the messenger.BASSANIO
Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet!ANTONIO
The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones and all,
Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.
I am a tainted wether of the flock,DUKE
Meetest for death: the weakest kind of fruit
Drops earliest to the ground; and so let me
You cannot better be employ'd, Bassanio,
Than to live still and write mine epitaph.
Enter NERISSA, dressed like a lawyer's clerk
Came you from Padua, from Bellario?NERISSA
From both, my lord. Bellario greets your grace.BASSANIO
Presenting a letter
Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?SHYLOCK
To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.GRATIANO
Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,SHYLOCK
Thou makest thy knife keen; but no metal can,
No, not the hangman's axe, bear half the keenness
Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?
No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.GRATIANO
O, be thou damn'd, inexecrable dog!SHYLOCK
And for thy life let justice be accused.
Thou almost makest me waver in my faith
To hold opinion with Pythagoras,
That souls of animals infuse themselves
Into the trunks of men: thy currish spirit
Govern'd a wolf, who, hang'd for human slaughter,
Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,
And, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallow'd dam,
Infused itself in thee; for thy desires
Are wolvish, bloody, starved and ravenous.
Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,DUKE
Thou but offend'st thy lungs to speak so loud:
Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall
To cureless ruin. I stand here for law.
This letter from Bellario doth commendNERISSA
A young and learned doctor to our court.
Where is he?
He attendeth here hard by,DUKE
To know your answer, whether you'll admit him.
With all my heart. Some three or four of youClerk
Go give him courteous conduct to this place.
Meantime the court shall hear Bellario's letter.
Your grace shall understand that at the receipt of
your letter I am very sick: but in the instant that
your messenger came, in loving visitation was with
me a young doctor of Rome; his name is Balthasar. I
acquainted him with the cause in controversy between
the Jew and Antonio the merchant: we turned o'er
many books together: he is furnished with my
opinion; which, bettered with his own learning, the
greatness whereof I cannot enough commend, comes
with him, at my importunity, to fill up your grace's
request in my stead. I beseech you, let his lack of
years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend
estimation; for I never knew so young a body with so
old a head. I leave him to your gracious
acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his
You hear the learn'd Bellario, what he writes:PORTIA
And here, I take it, is the doctor come.
Enter PORTIA, dressed like a doctor of lawsGive me your hand. Come you from old Bellario?
I did, my lord.DUKE
You are welcome: take your place.PORTIA
Are you acquainted with the difference
That holds this present question in the court?
I am informed thoroughly of the cause.DUKE
Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?
Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.PORTIA
Is your name Shylock?SHYLOCK
Shylock is my name.PORTIA
Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;ANTONIO
Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.
You stand within his danger, do you not?
Ay, so he says.PORTIA
Do you confess the bond?ANTONIO
Then must the Jew be merciful.SHYLOCK
On what compulsion must I? tell me that.PORTIA
The quality of mercy is not strain'd,SHYLOCK
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.
My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,PORTIA
The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
Is he not able to discharge the money?BASSANIO
Yes, here I tender it for him in the court;PORTIA
Yea, twice the sum: if that will not suffice,
I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er,
On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart:
If this will not suffice, it must appear
That malice bears down truth. And I beseech you,
Wrest once the law to your authority:
To do a great right, do a little wrong,
And curb this cruel devil of his will.
It must not be; there is no power in VeniceSHYLOCK
Can alter a decree established:
'Twill be recorded for a precedent,
And many an error by the same example
Will rush into the state: it cannot be.
A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel!PORTIA
O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!
I pray you, let me look upon the bond.SHYLOCK
Here 'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.PORTIA
Shylock, there's thrice thy money offer'd thee.SHYLOCK
An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven:PORTIA
Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
No, not for Venice.
Why, this bond is forfeit;SHYLOCK
And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
Nearest the merchant's heart. Be merciful:
Take thrice thy money; bid me tear the bond.
When it is paid according to the tenor.ANTONIO
It doth appear you are a worthy judge;
You know the law, your exposition
Hath been most sound: I charge you by the law,
Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar,
Proceed to judgment: by my soul I swear
There is no power in the tongue of man
To alter me: I stay here on my bond.
Most heartily I do beseech the courtPORTIA
To give the judgment.
Why then, thus it is:SHYLOCK
You must prepare your bosom for his knife.
O noble judge! O excellent young man!PORTIA
For the intent and purpose of the lawSHYLOCK
Hath full relation to the penalty,
Which here appeareth due upon the bond.
'Tis very true: O wise and upright judge!PORTIA
How much more elder art thou than thy looks!
Therefore lay bare your bosom.SHYLOCK
Ay, his breast:PORTIA
So says the bond: doth it not, noble judge?
'Nearest his heart:' those are the very words.
It is so. Are there balance here to weighSHYLOCK
I have them ready.PORTIA
Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,SHYLOCK
To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.
Is it so nominated in the bond?PORTIA
It is not so express'd: but what of that?SHYLOCK
'Twere good you do so much for charity.
I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond.PORTIA
You, merchant, have you any thing to say?ANTONIO
But little: I am arm'd and well prepared.BASSANIO
Give me your hand, Bassanio: fare you well!
Grieve not that I am fallen to this for you;
For herein Fortune shows herself more kind
Than is her custom: it is still her use
To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
An age of poverty; from which lingering penance
Of such misery doth she cut me off.
Commend me to your honourable wife:
Tell her the process of Antonio's end;
Say how I loved you, speak me fair in death;
And, when the tale is told, bid her be judge
Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
Repent but you that you shall lose your friend,
And he repents not that he pays your debt;
For if the Jew do cut but deep enough,
I'll pay it presently with all my heart.
Antonio, I am married to a wifePORTIA
Which is as dear to me as life itself;
But life itself, my wife, and all the world,
Are not with me esteem'd above thy life:
I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all
Here to this devil, to deliver you.
Your wife would give you little thanks for that,GRATIANO
If she were by, to hear you make the offer.
I have a wife, whom, I protest, I love:NERISSA
I would she were in heaven, so she could
Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.
'Tis well you offer it behind her back;SHYLOCK
The wish would make else an unquiet house.
These be the Christian husbands. I have a daughter;PORTIA
Would any of the stock of Barrabas
Had been her husband rather than a Christian!
AsideWe trifle time: I pray thee, pursue sentence.
A pound of that same merchant's flesh is thine:SHYLOCK
The court awards it, and the law doth give it.
Most rightful judge!PORTIA
And you must cut this flesh from off his breast:SHYLOCK
The law allows it, and the court awards it.
Most learned judge! A sentence! Come, prepare!PORTIA
Tarry a little; there is something else.GRATIANO
This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
The words expressly are 'a pound of flesh:'
Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh;
But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
Unto the state of Venice.
O upright judge! Mark, Jew: O learned judge!SHYLOCK
Is that the law?PORTIA
Thyself shalt see the act:GRATIANO
For, as thou urgest justice, be assured
Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desirest.
O learned judge! Mark, Jew: a learned judge!SHYLOCK
I take this offer, then; pay the bond thriceBASSANIO
And let the Christian go.
Here is the money.PORTIA
The Jew shall have all justice; soft! no haste:
He shall have nothing but the penalty.
O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!PORTIA
Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh.GRATIANO
Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more
But just a pound of flesh: if thou cut'st more
Or less than a just pound, be it but so much
As makes it light or heavy in the substance,
Or the division of the twentieth part
Of one poor scruple, nay, if the scale do turn
But in the estimation of a hair,
Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate.
A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew!PORTIA
Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.
Why doth the Jew pause? take thy forfeiture.SHYLOCK
Give me my principal, and let me go.BASSANIO
I have it ready for thee; here it is.PORTIA
He hath refused it in the open court:GRATIANO
He shall have merely justice and his bond.
A Daniel, still say I, a second Daniel!SHYLOCK
I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
Shall I not have barely my principal?PORTIA
Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture,SHYLOCK
To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.
Why, then the devil give him good of it!PORTIA
I'll stay no longer question.
The law hath yet another hold on you.
It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
If it be proved against an alien
That by direct or indirect attempts
He seek the life of any citizen,
The party 'gainst the which he doth contrive
Shall seize one half his goods; the other half
Comes to the privy coffer of the state;
And the offender's life lies in the mercy
Of the duke only, 'gainst all other voice.
In which predicament, I say, thou stand'st;
For it appears, by manifest proceeding,
That indirectly and directly too
Thou hast contrived against the very life
Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr'd
The danger formerly by me rehearsed.
Down therefore and beg mercy of the duke.
Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself:DUKE
And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state,
Thou hast not left the value of a cord;
Therefore thou must be hang'd at the state's charge.
That thou shalt see the difference of our spirits,PORTIA
I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it:
For half thy wealth, it is Antonio's;
The other half comes to the general state,
Which humbleness may drive unto a fine.
Ay, for the state, not for Antonio.SHYLOCK
Nay, take my life and all; pardon not that:PORTIA
You take my house when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house; you take my life
When you do take the means whereby I live.
What mercy can you render him, Antonio?GRATIANO
A halter gratis; nothing else, for God's sake.ANTONIO
So please my lord the duke and all the courtDUKE
To quit the fine for one half of his goods,
I am content; so he will let me have
The other half in use, to render it,
Upon his death, unto the gentleman
That lately stole his daughter:
Two things provided more, that, for this favour,
He presently become a Christian;
The other, that he do record a gift,
Here in the court, of all he dies possess'd,
Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.
He shall do this, or else I do recantPORTIA
The pardon that I late pronounced here.
Art thou contented, Jew? what dost thou say?SHYLOCK
I am content.PORTIA
Clerk, draw a deed of gift.SHYLOCK
I pray you, give me leave to go from hence;DUKE
I am not well: send the deed after me,
And I will sign it.
Get thee gone, but do it.GRATIANO
In christening shalt thou have two god-fathers:DUKE
Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more,
To bring thee to the gallows, not the font.
Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.PORTIA
I humbly do desire your grace of pardon:DUKE
I must away this night toward Padua,
And it is meet I presently set forth.
I am sorry that your leisure serves you not.BASSANIO
Antonio, gratify this gentleman,
For, in my mind, you are much bound to him.
Exeunt Duke and his train
Most worthy gentleman, I and my friendANTONIO
Have by your wisdom been this day acquitted
Of grievous penalties; in lieu whereof,
Three thousand ducats, due unto the Jew,
We freely cope your courteous pains withal.
And stand indebted, over and above,PORTIA
In love and service to you evermore.
He is well paid that is well satisfied;BASSANIO
And I, delivering you, am satisfied
And therein do account myself well paid:
My mind was never yet more mercenary.
I pray you, know me when we meet again:
I wish you well, and so I take my leave.
Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further:PORTIA
Take some remembrance of us, as a tribute,
Not as a fee: grant me two things, I pray you,
Not to deny me, and to pardon me.
You press me far, and therefore I will yield.BASSANIO
To ANTONIOGive me your gloves, I'll wear them for your sake;
To BASSANIOAnd, for your love, I'll take this ring from you:
Do not draw back your hand; I'll take no more;
And you in love shall not deny me this.
This ring, good sir, alas, it is a trifle!PORTIA
I will not shame myself to give you this.
I will have nothing else but only this;BASSANIO
And now methinks I have a mind to it.
There's more depends on this than on the value.PORTIA
The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,
And find it out by proclamation:
Only for this, I pray you, pardon me.
I see, sir, you are liberal in offersBASSANIO
You taught me first to beg; and now methinks
You teach me how a beggar should be answer'd.
Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife;PORTIA
And when she put it on, she made me vow
That I should neither sell nor give nor lose it.
That 'scuse serves many men to save their gifts.ANTONIO
An if your wife be not a mad-woman,
And know how well I have deserved the ring,
She would not hold out enemy for ever,
For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!
Exeunt Portia and Nerissa
My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring:BASSANIO
Let his deservings and my love withal
Be valued against your wife's commandment.
Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him;
Give him the ring, and bring him, if thou canst,
Unto Antonio's house: away! make haste.
Exit GratianoCome, you and I will thither presently;
And in the morning early will we both
Fly toward Belmont: come, Antonio.
| Merchant of Venice
| Act 4, Scene 1
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