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The Merchant of Venice: Act 4, Scene 1

The Merchant of Venice
Act 4, Scene 1

Scene 1

Venice. A court of justice.

  1. Enter the Duke, the Magnificoes, Antonio, Bassanio, Salerio,
  2. and Gratiano with others.

Duke

3
  1. What, is Antonio here?

Antonio

4
  1. Ready, so please your Grace.

Duke

5 - 8
  1. I am sorry for thee. Thou art come to answer
  2. A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch,
  3. Uncapable of pity, void and empty
  4. From any dram of mercy.

Antonio

9 - 16
  1.                         I have heard
  2. Your Grace hath ta’en great pains to qualify
  3. His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate,
  4. And that no lawful means can carry me
  5. Out of his envy’s reach, I do oppose
  6. My patience to his fury, and am arm’d
  7. To suffer, with a quietness of spirit,
  8. The very tyranny and rage of his.

Duke

17
  1. Go one, and call the Jew into the court.

Salerio

18
  1. He is ready at the door; he comes, my lord.
  1. Enter Shylock.

Duke

20 - 38
  1. Make room, and let him stand before our face.
  2. Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
  3. That thou but leadest this fashion of thy malice
  4. To the last hour of act, and then ’tis thought
  5. Thou’lt show thy mercy and remorse more strange
  6. Than is thy strange apparent cruelty;
  7. And where thou now exacts the penalty,
  8. Which is a pound of this poor merchant’s flesh,
  9. Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture,
  10. But touch’d with humane gentleness and love,
  11. Forgive a moi’ty of the principal,
  12. Glancing an eye of pity on his losses,
  13. That have of late so huddled on his back,
  14. Enow to press a royal merchant down,
  15. And pluck commiseration of his state
  16. From brassy bosoms and rough hearts of flints,
  17. From stubborn Turks, and Tartars never train’d
  18. To offices of tender courtesy.
  19. We all expect a gentle answer, Jew!

Shylock

39 - 66
  1. I have possess’d your Grace of what I purpose,
  2. And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn
  3. To have the due and forfeit of my bond.
  4. If you deny it, let the danger light
  5. Upon your charter and your city’s freedom!
  6. You’ll ask me why I rather choose to have
  7. A weight of carrion flesh than to receive
  8. Three thousand ducats. I’ll not answer that;
  9. But say it is my humor, is it answer’d?
  10. What if my house be troubled with a rat,
  11. And I be pleas’d to give ten thousand ducats
  12. To have it ban’d? What, are you answer’d yet?
  13. Some men there are love not a gaping pig;
  14. Some that are mad if they behold a cat;
  15. And others, when the bagpipe sings i’ th’ nose,
  16. Cannot contain their urine: for affection,
  17. Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood
  18. Of what it likes or loathes. Now for your answer:
  19. As there is no firm reason to be rend’red
  20. Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;
  21. Why he, a harmless necessary cat;
  22. Why he, a woollen bagpipe, but of force
  23. Must yield to such inevitable shame
  24. As to offend, himself being offended;
  25. So can I give no reason, nor I will not,
  26. More than a lodg’d hate and a certain loathing
  27. I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
  28. A losing suit against him. Are you answered?

Bassanio

67 - 68
  1. This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
  2. To excuse the current of thy cruelty.

Shylock

69
  1. I am not bound to please thee with my answers.

Bassanio

70
  1. Do all men kill the things they do not love?

Shylock

71
  1. Hates any man the thing he would not kill?

Bassanio

72
  1. Every offense is not a hate at first.

Shylock

73
  1. What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?

Antonio

74 - 87
  1. I pray you think you question with the Jew:
  2. You may as well go stand upon the beach
  3. And bid the main flood bate his usual height;
  4. You may as well use question with the wolf
  5. Why he hath made the ewe bleak for the lamb;
  6. You may as well forbid the mountain pines
  7. To wag their high tops, and to make no noise
  8. When they are fretten with the gusts of heaven;
  9. You may as well do any thing most hard
  10. As seek to soften thatthan which what’s harder?—
  11. His Jewish heart! Therefore I do beseech you
  12. Make no more offers, use no farther means,
  13. But with all brief and plain conveniency
  14. Let me have judgment and the Jew his will.

Bassanio

88
  1. For thy three thousand ducats here is six.

Shylock

89 - 91
  1. If every ducat in six thousand ducats
  2. Were in six parts, and every part a ducat,
  3. I would not draw them, I would have my bond.

Duke

92
  1. How shalt thou hope for mercy, rend’ring none?

Shylock

93 - 107
  1. What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?
  2. You have among you many a purchas’d slave,
  3. Which like your asses, and your dogs and mules,
  4. You use in abject and in slavish parts,
  5. Because you bought them. Shall I say to you,
  6. Let them be free! Marry them to your heirs!
  7. Why sweat they under burdens? Let their beds
  8. Be made as soft as yours, and let their palates
  9. Be season’d with such viands?” You will answer,
  10. The slaves are ours.” So do I answer you:
  11. The pound of flesh which I demand of him
  12. Is dearly bought as mine, and I will have it.
  13. If you deny me, fie upon your law!
  14. There is no force in the decrees of Venice.
  15. I stand for judgment. Answershall I have it?

Duke

108 - 111
  1. Upon my power I may dismiss this court,
  2. Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
  3. Whom I have sent for to determine this,
  4. Come here today.

Salerio

112 - 114
  1.                  My lord, here stays without
  2. A messenger with letters from the doctor,
  3. New come from Padua.

Duke

115
  1. Bring us the letters; call the messenger.

Bassanio

116 - 118
  1. Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet!
  2. The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all,
  3. Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.

Antonio

119 - 123
  1. I am a tainted wether of the flock,
  2. Meetest for death; the weakest kind of fruit
  3. Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me.
  4. You cannot better be employ’d, Bassanio,
  5. Than to live still and write mine epitaph.
  1. Enter Nerissa dressed like a lawyer’s clerk.

Duke

125
  1. Came you from Padua, from Bellario?

Nerissa

126
  1. From both, my lord. Bellario greets your Grace.
  1. Presenting a letter.

Bassanio

128
  1. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?

Shylock

129
  1. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.

Gratiano

130 - 133
  1. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,
  2. Thou mak’st thy knife keen; but no metal can,
  3. No, not the hangman’s axe, bear half the keenness
  4. Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?

Shylock

134
  1. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.

Gratiano

135 - 145
  1. O, be thou damn’d, inexecrable dog!
  2. And for thy life let justice be accus’d.
  3. Thou almost mak’st me waver in my faith
  4. To hold opinion with Pythagoras,
  5. That souls of animals infuse themselves
  6. Into the trunks of men. Thy currish spirit
  7. Govern’d a wolf, who hang’d for human slaughter,
  8. Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,
  9. And whilst thou layest in thy unhallowed dam,
  10. Infus’d itself in thee; for thy desires
  11. Are wolvish, bloody, starv’d, and ravenous.

Shylock

146 - 149
  1. Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,
  2. Thou but offend’st thy lungs to speak so loud.
  3. Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall
  4. To cureless ruin. I stand here for law.

Duke

150 - 152
  1. This letter from Bellario doth commend
  2. A young and learned doctor to our court.
  3. Where is he?

Nerissa

153 - 154
  1.              He attendeth here hard by
  2. To know your answer, whether you’ll admit him.

Duke

155 - 176
  1. With all my heart. Some three or four of you
  2. Go give him courteous conduct to this place.
  3. Mean time the court shall hear Bellario’s letter.
  4. Reads.
  5. Your Grace shall understand that at the receipt of your
  6. letter I am very sick, but in the instant that your
  7. messenger came, in loving visitation was with me a young
  8. doctor of Rome. His name is Balthazar. I acquainted him with
  9. the cause in controversy between the Jew and Antonio the
  10. merchant. We turn’d o’er many books together. He is
  11. furnish’d with my opinion, which better’d with his own
  12. learning, the greatness whereof I cannot enough commend,
  13. comes with him, at my importunity, to fill up your Grace’s
  14. request in my stead. I beseech you let his lack of years be
  15. no impediment to let him lack a reverend estimation, for I
  16. never knew so young a body with so old a head. I leave him
  17. to your gracious acceptance, whose trial shall better
  18. publish his commendation.”
  19. Enter Portia for Balthazar.
  20. You hear the learn’d Bellario, what he writes,
  21. And here I take it is the doctor come.
  22. Give me your hand. Come you from old Bellario?

Portia

177
  1. I did, my lord.

Duke

178 - 180
  1.                 You are welcome, take your place.
  2. Are you acquainted with the difference
  3. That holds this present question in the court?

Portia

181 - 182
  1. I am informed throughly of the cause.
  2. Which is the merchant here? And which the Jew?

Duke

183
  1. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.

Portia

184
  1. Is your name Shylock?

Shylock

185
  1.                       Shylock is my name.

Portia

186 - 189
  1. Of a strange nature is the suit you follow,
  2. Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
  3. Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.—
  4. You stand within his danger, do you not?

Antonio

190
  1. Ay, so he says.

Portia

191
  1.                 Do you confess the bond?

Antonio

192
  1. I do.

Portia

193
  1.       Then must the Jew be merciful.

Shylock

194
  1. On what compulsion must I? Tell me that.

Portia

195 - 216
  1. The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
  2. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
  3. Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
  4. It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
  5. ’Tis mightiest in the mightiest, it becomes
  6. The throned monarch better than his crown.
  7. His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
  8. The attribute to awe and majesty,
  9. Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
  10. But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
  11. It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
  12. It is an attribute to God himself;
  13. And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
  14. When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
  15. Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
  16. That in the course of justice, none of us
  17. Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy,
  18. And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
  19. The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
  20. To mitigate the justice of thy plea,
  21. Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
  22. Must needs give sentence ’gainst the merchant there.

Shylock

217 - 218
  1. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,
  2. The penalty and forfeit of my bond.

Portia

219
  1. Is he not able to discharge the money?

Bassanio

220 - 230
  1. Yes, here I tender it for him in the court,
  2. Yea, twice the sum. If that will not suffice,
  3. I will be bound to pay it ten times o’er,
  4. On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart.
  5. If this will not suffice, it must appear
  6. That malice bears down truth.
  7. To the Duke.
  8.                               And I beseech you
  9. Wrest once the law to your authority:
  10. To do a great right, do a little wrong,
  11. And curb this cruel devil of his will.

Portia

231 - 235
  1. It must not be, there is no power in Venice
  2. Can alter a decree established.
  3. ’Twill be recorded for a precedent,
  4. And many an error by the same example
  5. Will rush into the state. It cannot be.

Shylock

236 - 237
  1. A Daniel come to judgment! Yea, a Daniel!
  2. O wise young judge, how I do honor thee!

Portia

238
  1. I pray you let me look upon the bond.

Shylock

239
  1. Here ’tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.

Portia

240
  1. Shylock, there’s thrice thy money off’red thee.

Shylock

241 - 243
  1. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven!
  2. Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
  3. No, not for Venice.

Portia

244 - 248
  1.                     Why, this bond is forfeit,
  2. And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
  3. A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
  4. Nearest the merchant’s heart. Be merciful,
  5. Take thrice thy money, bid me tear the bond.

Shylock

249 - 256
  1. When it is paid according to the tenure.
  2. It doth appear you are a worthy judge;
  3. You know the law, your exposition
  4. Hath been most sound. I charge you by the law,
  5. Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar,
  6. Proceed to judgment. By my soul I swear
  7. There is no power in the tongue of man
  8. To alter me: I stay here on my bond.

Antonio

257 - 258
  1. Most heartily I do beseech the court
  2. To give the judgment.

Portia

259 - 260
  1.                       Why then thus it is:
  2. You must prepare your bosom for his knife

Shylock

261
  1. O noble judge, O excellent young man!

Portia

262 - 264
  1. For the intent and purpose of the law
  2. Hath full relation to the penalty,
  3. Which here appeareth due upon the bond.

Shylock

265 - 266
  1. ’Tis very true. O wise and upright judge!
  2. How much more elder art thou than thy looks!

Portia

267
  1. Therefore lay bare your bosom.

Shylock

268 - 270
  1.                                Ay, his breast,
  2. So says the bond, doth it not, noble judge?
  3. Nearest his heart,” those are the very words.

Portia

271 - 272
  1. It is so. Are there balance here to weigh
  2. The flesh?

Shylock

273
  1.            I have them ready.

Portia

274 - 275
  1. Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,
  2. To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.

Shylock

276
  1. Is it so nominated in the bond?

Portia

277 - 278
  1. It is not so express’d, but what of that?
  2. ’Twere good you do so much for charity.

Shylock

279
  1. I cannot find it, ’tis not in the bond.

Portia

280
  1. You, merchant, have you any thing to say?

Antonio

281 - 298
  1. But little; I am arm’d and well prepar’d.
  2. Give me your hand, Bassanio, fare you well.
  3. Grieve not that I am fall’n to this for you;
  4. For herein Fortune shows herself more kind
  5. Than is her custom. It is still her use
  6. To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
  7. To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
  8. An age of poverty; from which ling’ring penance
  9. Of such misery doth she cut me off.
  10. Commend me to your honorable wife,
  11. Tell her the process of Antonio’s end,
  12. Say how I lov’d you, speak me fair in death;
  13. And when the tale is told, bid her be judge
  14. Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
  15. Repent but you that you shall lose your friend,
  16. And he repents not that he pays your debt;
  17. For if the Jew do cut but deep enough,
  18. I’ll pay it instantly with all my heart.

Bassanio

299 - 304
  1. Antonio, I am married to a wife
  2. Which is as dear to me as life itself,
  3. But life itself, my wife, and all the world,
  4. Are not with me esteem’d above thy life.
  5. I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all
  6. Here to this devil, to deliver you.

Portia

305 - 306
  1. Your wife would give you little thanks for that
  2. If she were by to hear you make the offer.

Gratiano

307 - 309
  1. I have a wife who I protest I love;
  2. I would she were in heaven, so she could
  3. Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.

Nerissa

310 - 311
  1. ’Tis well you offer it behind her back,
  2. The wish would make else an unquiet house.

Shylock

312 - 316
  1. Aside.
  2. These be the Christian husbands. I have a daughter
  3. Would any of the stock of Barrabas
  4. Had been her husband rather than a Christian!
  5. We trifle time. I pray thee pursue sentence.

Portia

317 - 318
  1. A pound of that same merchant’s flesh is thine,
  2. The court awards it, and the law doth give it.

Shylock

319
  1. Most rightful judge!

Portia

320 - 321
  1. And you must cut this flesh from off his breast,
  2. The law allows it, and the court awards it.

Shylock

322
  1. Most learned judge, a sentence! Come prepare!

Portia

323 - 330
  1. Tarry a little, there is something else.
  2. This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
  3. The words expressly are a pound of flesh.
  4. Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh,
  5. But in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
  6. One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
  7. Are by the laws of Venice confiscate
  8. Unto the state of Venice.

Gratiano

331
  1. O upright judge! Mark, Jew. O learned judge!

Shylock

332
  1. Is that the law?

Portia

333 - 335
  1.                  Thyself shalt see the act;
  2. For as thou urgest justice, be assur’d
  3. Thou shalt have justice more than thou desir’st.

Gratiano

336
  1. O learned judge! Mark, Jew, a learned judge!

Shylock

337 - 338
  1. I take this offer then; pay the bond thrice
  2. And let the Christian go.

Bassanio

339
  1.                           Here is the money.

Portia

340 - 342
  1. Soft,
  2. The Jew shall have all justice. Soft, no haste.
  3. He shall have nothing but the penalty.

Gratiano

343
  1. O Jew! An upright judge, a learned judge!

Portia

344 - 352
  1. Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh.
  2. Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more
  3. But just a pound of flesh. If thou tak’st more
  4. Or less than a just pound, be it but so much
  5. As makes it light or heavy in the substance
  6. Or the division of the twentith part
  7. Of one poor scruple, nay, if the scale do turn
  8. But in the estimation of a hair,
  9. Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.

Gratiano

353 - 354
  1. A second Daniel! A Daniel, Jew!
  2. Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.

Portia

355
  1. Why doth the Jew pause? Take thy forfeiture.

Shylock

356
  1. Give me my principal, and let me go.

Bassanio

357
  1. I have it ready for thee, here it is.

Portia

358 - 359
  1. He hath refus’d it in the open court;
  2. He shall have merely justice and his bond.

Gratiano

360 - 361
  1. A Daniel, still say I, a second Daniel!
  2. I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.

Shylock

362
  1. Shall I not have barely my principal?

Portia

363 - 364
  1. Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture,
  2. To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.

Shylock

365 - 366
  1. Why then the devil give him good of it!
  2. I’ll stay no longer question.

Portia

367 - 384
  1.                               Tarry, Jew,
  2. The law hath yet another hold on you.
  3. It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
  4. If it be proved against an alien,
  5. That by direct or indirect attempts
  6. He seek the life of any citizen,
  7. The party ’gainst the which he doth contrive
  8. Shall seize one half his goods; the other half
  9. Comes to the privy coffer of the state,
  10. And the offender’s life lies in the mercy
  11. Of the Duke only, ’gainst all other voice:
  12. In which predicament I say thou stand’st;
  13. For it appears, by manifest proceeding,
  14. That indirectly, and directly too,
  15. Thou hast contrived against the very life
  16. Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr’d
  17. The danger formerly by me rehears’d.
  18. Down therefore, and beg mercy of the Duke.

Gratiano

385 - 388
  1. Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself,
  2. And yet thy wealth being forfeit to the state,
  3. Thou hast not left the value of a cord;
  4. Therefore thou must be hang’d at the state’s charge.

Duke

389 - 393
  1. That thou shalt see the difference of our spirit,
  2. I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it.
  3. For half thy wealth, it is Antonio’s;
  4. The other half comes to the general state,
  5. Which humbleness may drive unto a fine.

Portia

394
  1. Ay, for the state, not for Antonio.

Shylock

395 - 398
  1. Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that:
  2. You take my house when you do take the prop
  3. That doth sustain my house; you take my life
  4. When you do take the means whereby I live.

Portia

399
  1. What mercy can you render him, Antonio?

Gratiano

400
  1. A halter gratisnothing else, for God sake.

Antonio

401 - 411
  1. So please my lord the Duke and all the court
  2. To quit the fine for one half of his goods,
  3. I am content; so he will let me have
  4. The other half in use, to render it
  5. Upon his death unto the gentleman
  6. That lately stole his daughter.
  7. Two things provided more, that for this favor
  8. He presently become a Christian;
  9. The other, that he do record a gift,
  10. Here in the court, of all he dies possess’d
  11. Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.

Duke

412 - 413
  1. He shall do this, or else I do recant
  2. The pardon that I late pronounced here.

Portia

414
  1. Art thou contented, Jew? What dost thou say?

Shylock

415
  1. I am content.

Portia

416
  1.               Clerk, draw a deed of gift.

Shylock

417 - 419
  1. I pray you give me leave to go from hence,
  2. I am not well. Send the deed after me,
  3. And I will sign it.

Duke

420
  1.                     Get thee gone, but do it.

Gratiano

421 - 423
  1. In christ’ning shalt thou have two god-fathers:
  2. Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more,
  3. To bring thee to the gallows, not to the font.
  1. Exit Shylock.

Duke

425
  1. Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.

Portia

426 - 428
  1. I humbly do desire your Grace of pardon,
  2. I must away this night toward Padua,
  3. And it is meet I presently set forth.

Duke

429 - 431
  1. I am sorry that your leisure serves you not.
  2. Antonio, gratify this gentleman,
  3. For in my mind you are much bound to him.
  1. Exeunt Duke and his Train.

Bassanio

433 - 437
  1. Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend
  2. Have by your wisdom been this day acquitted
  3. Of grievous penalties, in lieu whereof
  4. Three thousand ducats, due unto the Jew,
  5. We freely cope your courteous pains withal.

Antonio

438 - 439
  1. And stand indebted, over and above,
  2. In love and service to you evermore.

Portia

440 - 445
  1. He is well paid that is well satisfied,
  2. And I, delivering you, am satisfied,
  3. And therein do account myself well paid.
  4. My mind was never yet more mercenary.
  5. I pray you know me when we meet again;
  6. I wish you well, and so I take my leave.

Bassanio

446 - 449
  1. Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further.
  2. Take some remembrance of us as a tribute,
  3. Not as fee. Grant me two things, I pray you,
  4. Not to deny me, and to pardon me.

Portia

450 - 456
  1. You press me far, and therefore I will yield.
  2. To Antonio.
  3. Give me your gloves, I’ll wear them for your sake,
  4. To Bassanio.
  5. And for your love I’ll take this ring from you.
  6. Do not draw back your hand, I’ll take no more,
  7. And you in love shall not deny me this!

Bassanio

457 - 458
  1. This ring, good sir, alas, it is a trifle!
  2. I will not shame myself to give you this.

Portia

459 - 460
  1. I will have nothing else but only this,
  2. And now methinks I have a mind to it.

Bassanio

461 - 464
  1. There’s more depends on this than on the value.
  2. The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,
  3. And find it out by proclamation;
  4. Only for this, I pray you pardon me.

Portia

465 - 467
  1. I see, sir, you are liberal in offers.
  2. You taught me first to beg, and now methinks
  3. You teach me how a beggar should be answer’d.

Bassanio

468 - 470
  1. Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife,
  2. And when she put it on, she made me vow
  3. That I should neither sell, nor give, nor lose it.

Portia

471 - 475
  1. That ’scuse serves many men to save their gifts,
  2. And if your wife be not a mad woman,
  3. And know how well I have deserv’d this ring,
  4. She would not hold out enemy forever
  5. For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!
  1. Exeunt Portia and Nerissa.

Antonio

477 - 479
  1. My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring.
  2. Let his deservings and my love withal
  3. Be valued ’gainst your wive’s commandment.

Bassanio

480 - 486
  1. Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him;
  2. Give him the ring, and bring him, if thou canst,
  3. Unto Antonio’s house. Away, make haste.
  4. Exit Gratiano.
  5. Come, you and I will thither presently,
  6. And in the morning early will we both
  7. Fly toward Belmont. Come, Antonio.
  1. Exeunt.
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