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The Merchant of Venice: Act 3, Scene 4

The Merchant of Venice
Act 3, Scene 4

Belmont. A room in Portia’s house.

  1. Enter Portia, Nerissa, Lorenzo, Jessica, and Balthazar, a
  2. man of Portia’s.

Lorenzo

3 - 11
  1. Madam, although I speak it in your presence,
  2. You have a noble and a true conceit
  3. Of godlike amity, which appears most strongly
  4. In bearing thus the absence of your lord.
  5. But if you knew to whom you show this honor,
  6. How true a gentleman you send relief,
  7. How dear a lover of my lord your husband,
  8. I know you would be prouder of the work
  9. Than customary bounty can enforce you.

Portia

12 - 37
  1. I never did repent for doing good,
  2. Nor shall not now: for in companions
  3. That do converse and waste the time together,
  4. Whose souls do bear an egall yoke of love,
  5. There must be needs a like proportion
  6. Of lineaments, of manners, and of spirit;
  7. Which makes me think that this Antonio,
  8. Being the bosom lover of my lord,
  9. Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,
  10. How little is the cost I have bestowed
  11. In purchasing the semblance of my soul,
  12. From out the state of hellish cruelty.
  13. This comes too near the praising of myself,
  14. Therefore no more of it. Hear other things:
  15. Lorenzo, I commit into your hands
  16. The husbandry and manage of my house
  17. Until my lord’s return. For mine own part,
  18. I have toward heaven breath’d a secret vow
  19. To live in prayer and contemplation,
  20. Only attended by Nerissa here,
  21. Until her husband and my lord’s return.
  22. There is a monast’ry two miles off,
  23. And there we will abide. I do desire you
  24. Not to deny this imposition,
  25. The which my love and some necessity
  26. Now lays upon you.

Lorenzo

38 - 39
  1.                    Madam, with all my heart,
  2. I shall obey you in all fair commands.

Portia

40 - 43
  1. My people do already know my mind,
  2. And will acknowledge you and Jessica
  3. In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.
  4. So fare you well till we shall meet again.

Lorenzo

44
  1. Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!

Jessica

45
  1. I wish your ladyship all heart’s content.

Portia

46 - 59
  1. I thank you for your wish, and am well pleas’d
  2. To wish it back on you. Fare you well, Jessica.
  3. Exeunt Jessica and Lorenzo.
  4. Now, Balthazar,
  5. As I have ever found thee honest-true,
  6. So let me find thee still. Take this same letter,
  7. And use thou all th’ endeavor of a man
  8. In speed to Padua. See thou render this
  9. Into my cousin’s hands, Doctor Bellario,
  10. And look what notes and garments he doth give thee,
  11. Bring them, I pray thee, with imagin’d speed
  12. Unto the traject, to the common ferry
  13. Which trades to Venice. Waste no time in words,
  14. But get thee gone. I shall be there before thee.

Balthazar

60
  1. Madam, I go with all convenient speed.
  1. Exit.

Portia

62 - 64
  1. Come on, Nerissa, I have work in hand
  2. That you yet know not of. We’ll see our husbands
  3. Before they think of us.

Nerissa

65
  1.                          Shall they see us?

Portia

66 - 84
  1. They shall, Nerissa; but in such a habit
  2. That they shall think we are accomplished
  3. With that we lack. I’ll hold thee any wager,
  4. When we are both accoutered like young men,
  5. I’ll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
  6. And wear my dagger with the braver grace,
  7. And speak between the change of man and boy
  8. With a reed voice, and turn two mincing steps
  9. Into a manly stride; and speak of frays
  10. Like a fine bragging youth, and tell quaint lies,
  11. How honorable ladies sought my love,
  12. Which I denying, they fell sick and died.
  13. I could not do withal. Then I’ll repent,
  14. And wish, for all that, that I had not kill’d them;
  15. And twenty of these puny lies I’ll tell,
  16. That men shall swear I have discontinued school
  17. Above a twelvemonth. I have within my mind
  18. A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks,
  19. Which I will practice.

Nerissa

85
  1.                        Why, shall we turn to men?

Portia

86 - 91
  1. Fie, what a question’s that,
  2. If thou wert near a lewd interpreter!
  3. But come, I’ll tell thee all my whole device
  4. When I am in my coach, which stays for us
  5. At the park-gate; and therefore haste away,
  6. For we must measure twenty miles today.
  1. Exeunt.
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