The Merchant of Venice
Act 3, Scene 4
Belmont. A room in Portia’s house.
- Enter Portia, Nerissa, Lorenzo, Jessica, and Balthazar, a
- man of Portia’s.
Lorenzo3 - 11
- Madam, although I speak it in your presence,
- You have a noble and a true conceit
- Of godlike amity, which appears most strongly
- In bearing thus the absence of your lord.
- But if you knew to whom you show this honor,
- How true a gentleman you send relief,
- How dear a lover of my lord your husband,
- I know you would be prouder of the work
- Than customary bounty can enforce you.
Portia12 - 37
- I never did repent for doing good,
- Nor shall not now: for in companions
- That do converse and waste the time together,
- Whose souls do bear an egall yoke of love,
- There must be needs a like proportion
- Of lineaments, of manners, and of spirit;
- Which makes me think that this Antonio,
- Being the bosom lover of my lord,
- Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,
- How little is the cost I have bestowed
- In purchasing the semblance of my soul,
- From out the state of hellish cruelty.
- This comes too near the praising of myself,
- Therefore no more of it. Hear other things:
- Lorenzo, I commit into your hands
- The husbandry and manage of my house
- Until my lord’s return. For mine own part,
- I have toward heaven breath’d a secret vow
- To live in prayer and contemplation,
- Only attended by Nerissa here,
- Until her husband and my lord’s return.
- There is a monast’ry two miles off,
- And there we will abide. I do desire you
- Not to deny this imposition,
- The which my love and some necessity
- Now lays upon you.
Lorenzo38 - 39
- Madam, with all my heart,
- I shall obey you in all fair commands.
Portia40 - 43
- My people do already know my mind,
- And will acknowledge you and Jessica
- In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.
- So fare you well till we shall meet again.
- Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!
- I wish your ladyship all heart’s content.
Portia46 - 59
- I thank you for your wish, and am well pleas’d
- To wish it back on you. Fare you well, Jessica.
- Exeunt Jessica and Lorenzo.
- Now, Balthazar,
- As I have ever found thee honest-true,
- So let me find thee still. Take this same letter,
- And use thou all th’ endeavor of a man
- In speed to Padua. See thou render this
- Into my cousin’s hands, Doctor Bellario,
- And look what notes and garments he doth give thee,
- Bring them, I pray thee, with imagin’d speed
- Unto the traject, to the common ferry
- Which trades to Venice. Waste no time in words,
- But get thee gone. I shall be there before thee.
- Madam, I go with all convenient speed.
Portia62 - 64
- Come on, Nerissa, I have work in hand
- That you yet know not of. We’ll see our husbands
- Before they think of us.
- Shall they see us?
Portia66 - 84
- They shall, Nerissa; but in such a habit
- That they shall think we are accomplished
- With that we lack. I’ll hold thee any wager,
- When we are both accoutered like young men,
- I’ll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
- And wear my dagger with the braver grace,
- And speak between the change of man and boy
- With a reed voice, and turn two mincing steps
- Into a manly stride; and speak of frays
- Like a fine bragging youth, and tell quaint lies,
- How honorable ladies sought my love,
- Which I denying, they fell sick and died.
- I could not do withal. Then I’ll repent,
- And wish, for all that, that I had not kill’d them;
- And twenty of these puny lies I’ll tell,
- That men shall swear I have discontinued school
- Above a twelvemonth. I have within my mind
- A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks,
- Which I will practice.
- Why, shall we turn to men?
Portia86 - 91
- Fie, what a question’s that,
- If thou wert near a lewd interpreter!
- But come, I’ll tell thee all my whole device
- When I am in my coach, which stays for us
- At the park-gate; and therefore haste away,
- For we must measure twenty miles today.