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The Merchant of Venice: Act 3, Scene 2

The Merchant of Venice
Act 3, Scene 2

Belmont. A room in Portia’s house.

  1. Enter Bassanio, Portia, Gratiano, Nerissa, and all their
  2. Trains.

Portia

3 - 26
  1. I pray you tarry, pause a day or two
  2. Before you hazard, for in choosing wrong
  3. I lose your company; therefore forbear a while.
  4. There’s something tells me (but it is not love)
  5. I would not lose you, and you know yourself,
  6. Hate counsels not in such a quality.
  7. But lest you should not understand me well
  8. And yet a maiden hath no tongue but thought
  9. I would detain you here some month or two
  10. Before you venture for me. I could teach you
  11. How to choose right, but then I am forsworn.
  12. So will I never be, so may you miss me,
  13. But if you do, you’ll make me wish a sin,
  14. That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes,
  15. They have o’erlook’d me and divided me:
  16. One half of me is yours, the other half yours
  17. Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours,
  18. And so all yours. O, these naughty times
  19. Puts bars between the owners and their rights!
  20. And so though yours, not yours. Prove it so,
  21. Let fortune go to hell for it, not I.
  22. I speak too long, but ’tis to peize the time,
  23. To eche it, and to draw it out in length,
  24. To stay you from election.

Bassanio

27 - 28
  1.                            Let me choose,
  2. For as I am, I live upon the rack.

Portia

29 - 30
  1. Upon the rack, Bassanio! Then confess
  2. What treason there is mingled with your love.

Bassanio

31 - 34
  1. None but that ugly treason of mistrust,
  2. Which makes me fear th’ enjoying of my love;
  3. There may as well be amity and life
  4. ’Tween snow and fire, as treason and my love.

Portia

35 - 36
  1. Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack,
  2. Where men enforced do speak any thing.

Bassanio

37
  1. Promise me life, and I’ll confess the truth.

Portia

38
  1. Well then, confess and live.

Bassanio

39 - 43
  1.                              Confess and love
  2. Had been the very sum of my confession.
  3. O happy torment, when my torturer
  4. Doth teach me answers for deliverance!
  5. But let me to my fortune and the caskets.

Portia

44 - 66
  1. Away then! I am lock’d in one of them;
  2. If you do love me, you will find me out.
  3. Nerissa and the rest, stand all aloof.
  4. Let music sound while he doth make his choice;
  5. Then if he lose he makes a swan-like end,
  6. Fading in music. That the comparison
  7. May stand more proper, my eye shall be the stream
  8. And wat’ry death-bed for him. He may win,
  9. And what is music then? Then music is
  10. Even as the flourish when true subjects bow
  11. To a new-crowned monarch; such it is
  12. As are those dulcet sounds in break of day
  13. That creep into the dreaming bridegroom’s ear,
  14. And summon him to marriage. Now he goes,
  15. With no less presence, but with much more love,
  16. Than young Alcides, when he did redeem
  17. The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy
  18. To the sea-monster. I stand for sacrifice;
  19. The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives,
  20. With bleared visages, come forth to view
  21. The issue of th’ exploit. Go, Hercules,
  22. Live thou, I live; with much, much more dismay
  23. I view the fight than thou that mak’st the fray.
  1. Here music.
  1. A song, the whilst Bassanio comments on the caskets to
  2. himself.

Singer

70 - 72
  1. Tell me where is fancy bred,
  2. Or in the heart or in the head?
  3. How begot, how nourished?

All

73
  1. Reply, reply.

Singer

74 - 78
  1. It is engend’red in the eyes,
  2. With gazing fed, and fancy dies
  3. In the cradle where it lies.
  4. Let us all ring fancy’s knell.
  5. I’ll begin it.Ding, dong, bell.

All

79
  1. Ding, dong, bell.

Bassanio

80 - 114
  1. So may the outward shows be least themselves
  2. The world is still deceiv’d with ornament.
  3. In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt
  4. But, being season’d with a gracious voice,
  5. Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
  6. What damned error but some sober brow
  7. Will bless it, and approve it with a text,
  8. Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
  9. There is no vice so simple but assumes
  10. Some mark of virtue on his outward parts.
  11. How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false
  12. As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
  13. The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars,
  14. Who inward search’d, have livers white as milk,
  15. And these assume but valor’s excrement
  16. To render them redoubted! Look on beauty,
  17. And you shall see ’tis purchas’d by the weight,
  18. Which therein works a miracle in nature,
  19. Making them lightest that wear most of it.
  20. So are those crisped snaky golden locks,
  21. Which make such wanton gambols with the wind
  22. Upon supposed fairness, often known
  23. To be the dowry of a second head,
  24. The skull that bred them in the sepulchre.
  25. Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
  26. To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
  27. Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,
  28. The seeming truth which cunning times put on
  29. To entrap the wisest. Therefore then, thou gaudy gold,
  30. Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;
  31. Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge
  32. ’Tween man and man; but thou, thou meager lead,
  33. Which rather threaten’st than dost promise aught,
  34. Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence,
  35. And here choose I. Joy be the consequence!

Portia

115 - 122
  1. Aside.
  2. How all the other passions fleet to air,
  3. As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embrac’d despair,
  4. And shudd’ring fear, and green-eyed jealousy!
  5. O love, be moderate, allay thy ecstasy,
  6. In measure rain thy joy, scant this excess!
  7. I feel too much thy blessing; make it less,
  8. For fear I surfeit.

Bassanio

123 - 159
  1.                     What find I here?
  2. Opening the leaden casket.
  3. Fair Portia’s counterfeit! What demigod
  4. Hath come so near creation? Move these eyes?
  5. Or whether, riding on the balls of mine,
  6. Seem they in motion? Here are sever’d lips,
  7. Parted with sugar breath; so sweet a bar
  8. Should sunder such sweet friends. Here in her hairs
  9. The painter plays the spider, and hath woven
  10. A golden mesh t’ entrap the hearts of men
  11. Faster than gnats in cobwebs. But her eyes
  12. How could he see to do them? Having made one,
  13. Methinks it should have power to steal both his
  14. And leave itself unfurnish’d. Yet look how far
  15. The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow
  16. In underprizing it, so far this shadow
  17. Doth limp behind the substance. Here’s the scroll,
  18. The continent and summary of my fortune.
  19. Reads.
  20. You that choose not by the view,
  21. Chance as fair, and choose as true:
  22. Since this fortune falls to you,
  23. Be content, and seek no new.
  24. If you be well pleas’d with this,
  25. And hold your fortune for your bliss,
  26. Turn you where your lady is,
  27. And claim her with a loving kiss.”
  28. A gentle scroll. Fair lady, by your leave,
  29. I come by note, to give and to receive.
  30. Like one of two contending in a prize,
  31. That thinks he hath done well in people’s eyes,
  32. Hearing applause and universal shout,
  33. Giddy in spirit, still gazing in a doubt
  34. Whether those peals of praise be his or no,
  35. So, thrice-fair lady, stand I, even so,
  36. As doubtful whether what I see be true,
  37. Until confirm’d, sign’d, ratified by you.

Portia

160 - 185
  1. You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand,
  2. Such as I am. Though for myself alone
  3. I would not be ambitious in my wish
  4. To wish myself much better, yet for you,
  5. I would be trebled twenty times myself,
  6. A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich,
  7. That only to stand high in your account,
  8. I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,
  9. Exceed account. But the full sum of me
  10. Is sum of something; which, to term in gross,
  11. Is an unlesson’d girl, unschool’d, unpractic’d,
  12. Happy in this, she is not yet so old
  13. But she may learn; happier than this,
  14. She is not bred so dull but she can learn;
  15. Happiest of all, is that her gentle spirit
  16. Commits itself to yours to be directed,
  17. As from her lord, her governor, her king.
  18. Myself, and what is mine, to you and yours
  19. Is now converted. But now I was the lord
  20. Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
  21. Queen o’er myself; and even now, but now,
  22. This house, these servants, and this same myself
  23. Are yoursmy lord’s!—I give them with this ring,
  24. Which when you part from, lose, or give away,
  25. Let it presage the ruin of your love,
  26. And be my vantage to exclaim on you.

Bassanio

186 - 196
  1. Madam, you have bereft me of all words,
  2. Only my blood speaks to you in my veins,
  3. And there is such confusion in my powers,
  4. As after some oration fairly spoke
  5. By a beloved prince, there doth appear
  6. Among the buzzing pleased multitude,
  7. Where every something, being blent together,
  8. Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy
  9. Express’d and not express’d. But when this ring
  10. Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence;
  11. O then be bold to say Bassanio’s dead!

Nerissa

197 - 199
  1. My lord and lady, it is now our time,
  2. That have stood by and seen our wishes prosper,
  3. To cry good joy. Good joy, my lord and lady!

Gratiano

200 - 205
  1. My Lord Bassanio and my gentle lady,
  2. I wish you all the joy that you can wish;
  3. For I am sure you can wish none from me;
  4. And when your honors mean to solemnize
  5. The bargain of your faith, I do beseech you
  6. Even at that time I may be married too.

Bassanio

206
  1. With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife.

Gratiano

207 - 219
  1. I thank your lordship, you have got me one.
  2. My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours:
  3. You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid;
  4. You lov’d, I lov’d; for intermission
  5. No more pertains to me, my lord, than you;
  6. Your fortune stood upon the caskets there,
  7. And so did mine too as the matter falls;
  8. For wooing here until I sweat again,
  9. And swearing till my very roof was dry
  10. With oaths of love, at last, if promise last,
  11. I got a promise of this fair one here
  12. To have her loveprovided that your fortune
  13. Achiev’d her mistress.

Portia

220
  1.                        Is this true, Nerissa?

Nerissa

221
  1. Madam, it is, so you stand pleas’d withal.

Bassanio

222
  1. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?

Gratiano

223
  1. Yes, faith, my lord.

Bassanio

224
  1. Our feast shall be much honored in your marriage.

Gratiano

225
  1. We’ll play with them the first boy for a thousand ducats.

Nerissa

226
  1. What, and stake down?

Gratiano

227 - 229
  1. No, we shall ne’er win at that sport, and stake down.
  2. But who comes here? Lorenzo and his infidel?
  3. What, and my old Venetian friend Salerio?
  1. Enter Lorenzo, Jessica, and Salerio, a messenger from
  2. Venice.

Bassanio

232 - 236
  1. Lorenzo and Salerio, welcome hither,
  2. If that the youth of my new int’rest here
  3. Have power to bid you welcome. By your leave,
  4. I bid my very friends and countrymen,
  5. Sweet Portia, welcome.

Portia

237 - 238
  1.                        So do I, my lord,
  2. They are entirely welcome.

Lorenzo

239 - 243
  1. I thank your honor. For my part, my lord,
  2. My purpose was not to have seen you here,
  3. But meeting with Salerio by the way,
  4. He did entreat me, past all saying nay,
  5. To come with him along.

Salerio

244 - 246
  1.                         I did, my lord,
  2. And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio
  3. Commends him to you.
  1. Gives Bassanio a letter.

Bassanio

248 - 249
  1.                      Ere I ope his letter,
  2. I pray you tell me how my good friend doth.

Salerio

250 - 252
  1. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind,
  2. Nor well, unless in mind. His letter there
  3. Will show you his estate.
  1. Bassanio opens the letter.

Gratiano

254 - 258
  1. Nerissa, cheer yond stranger, bid her welcome.
  2. Your hand, Salerio. What’s the news from Venice?
  3. How doth that royal merchant, good Antonio?
  4. I know he will be glad of our success;
  5. We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.

Salerio

259
  1. I would you had won the fleece that he hath lost.

Portia

260 - 267
  1. There are some shrewd contents in yond same paper
  2. That steals the color from Bassanio’s cheek
  3. Some dear friend dead, else nothing in the world
  4. Could turn so much the constitution
  5. Of any constant man. What, worse and worse!
  6. With leave, Bassanio, I am half yourself,
  7. And I must freely have the half of any thing
  8. That this same paper brings you.

Bassanio

268 - 289
  1.                                  O sweet Portia,
  2. Here are a few of the unpleasant’st words
  3. That ever blotted paper! Gentle lady,
  4. When I did first impart my love to you,
  5. I freely told you all the wealth I had
  6. Ran in my veins: I was a gentleman;
  7. And then I told you true. And yet, dear lady,
  8. Rating myself at nothing, you shall see
  9. How much I was a braggart: when I told you
  10. My state was nothing, I should then have told you
  11. That I was worse than nothing; for indeed
  12. I have engag’d myself to a dear friend,
  13. Engag’d my friend to his mere enemy,
  14. To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady,
  15. The paper as the body of my friend,
  16. And every word in it a gaping wound
  17. Issuing life-blood. But is it true, Salerio?
  18. Hath all his ventures fail’d? What, not one hit?
  19. From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England,
  20. From Lisbon, Barbary, and India,
  21. And not one vessel scape the dreadful touch
  22. Of merchant-marring rocks?

Salerio

290 - 302
  1.                            Not one, my lord.
  2. Besides, it should appear, that if he had
  3. The present money to discharge the Jew,
  4. He would not take it. Never did I know
  5. A creature that did bear the shape of man
  6. So keen and greedy to confound a man.
  7. He plies the Duke at morning and at night,
  8. And doth impeach the freedom of the state,
  9. If they deny him justice. Twenty merchants,
  10. The Duke himself, and the magnificoes
  11. Of greatest port, have all persuaded with him,
  12. But none can drive him from the envious plea
  13. Of forfeiture, of justice, and his bond.

Jessica

303 - 309
  1. When I was with him I have heard him swear
  2. To Tubal and to Chus, his countrymen,
  3. That he would rather have Antonio’s flesh
  4. Than twenty times the value of the sum
  5. That he did owe him; and I know, my lord,
  6. If law, authority, and power deny not,
  7. It will go hard with poor Antonio.

Portia

310
  1. Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble?

Bassanio

311 - 315
  1. The dearest friend to me, the kindest man,
  2. The best-condition’d and unwearied spirit
  3. In doing courtesies, and one in whom
  4. The ancient Roman honor more appears
  5. Than any that draws breath in Italy.

Portia

316
  1. What sum owes he the Jew?

Bassanio

317
  1. For me, three thousand ducats.

Portia

318 - 334
  1.                                What, no more?
  2. Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond;
  3. Double six thousand, and then treble that,
  4. Before a friend of this description
  5. Shall lose a hair through Bassanio’s fault.
  6. First go with me to church and call me wife,
  7. And then away to Venice to your friend;
  8. For never shall you lie by Portia’s side
  9. With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold
  10. To pay the petty debt twenty times over.
  11. When it is paid, bring your true friend along.
  12. My maid Nerissa and myself mean time
  13. Will live as maids and widows. Come away!
  14. For you shall hence upon your wedding-day.
  15. Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheer
  16. Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.
  17. But let me hear the letter of your friend.

Bassanio

335 - 342
  1. Reads.
  2. Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all miscarried, my creditors
  3. grow cruel, my estate is very low, my bond to the Jew is
  4. forfeit; and since in paying it, it is impossible I should
  5. live, all debts are clear’d between you and I, if I might
  6. but see you at my death. Notwithstanding, use your pleasure;
  7. if your love do not persuade you to come, let not my
  8. letter.”

Portia

343
  1. O love! Dispatch all business and be gone.

Bassanio

344 - 347
  1. Since I have your good leave to go away,
  2. I will make haste; but till I come again,
  3. No bed shall e’er be guilty of my stay,
  4. Nor rest be interposer ’twixt us twain.
  1. Exeunt.
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