The Merchant of Venice
Act 4, Scene 1
Venice. A court of justice.
- Enter the Duke, the Magnificoes, Antonio, Bassanio, Salerio,
- and Gratiano with others.
- What, is Antonio here?
- Ready, so please your Grace.
Duke5 - 8
- I am sorry for thee. Thou art come to answer
- A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch,
- Uncapable of pity, void and empty
- From any dram of mercy.
Antonio9 - 16
- I have heard
- 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.
- He is ready at the door; he comes, my lord.
- Enter Shylock.
Duke20 - 38
- Make room, and let him stand before our face.
- Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
- That thou but leadest 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 exacts the penalty,
- Which is a pound of this poor merchant’s flesh,
- Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture,
- But touch’d with humane gentleness and love,
- Forgive a moi’ty 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 flints,
- From stubborn Turks, and Tartars never train’d
- To offices of tender courtesy.
- We all expect a gentle answer, Jew!
Shylock39 - 66
- I have possess’d your Grace of what I purpose,
- 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 humor, is it answer’d?
- What if my house be troubled with a rat,
- And I be pleas’d to give ten thousand ducats
- To have it ban’d? 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’ th’ 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 rend’red
- 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 lodg’d hate and a certain loathing
- I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
- A losing suit against him. Are you answered?
Bassanio67 - 68
- This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
- To excuse the current of thy cruelty.
- I am not bound to please thee with my answers.
- Do all men kill the things they do not love?
- Hates any man the thing he would not kill?
- Every offense is not a hate at first.
- What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?
Antonio74 - 87
- I pray you think you question with the Jew:
- 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 bleak 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 any thing 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.
Shylock89 - 91
- If every ducat in six thousand ducats
- 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, rend’ring none?
Shylock93 - 107
- What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?
- You have among you many a purchas’d 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 burdens? 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 as 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?
Duke108 - 111
- Upon my power I may dismiss this court,
- Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
- Whom I have sent for to determine this,
- Come here today.
Salerio112 - 114
- My lord, here stays without
- A messenger with letters from the doctor,
- New come from Padua.
- Bring us the letters; call the messenger.
Bassanio116 - 118
- Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet!
- The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all,
- Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.
Antonio119 - 123
- I am a tainted wether of the flock,
- 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?
- From both, my lord. Bellario greets your Grace.
- Presenting a letter.
- Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?
- To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.
Gratiano130 - 133
- Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,
- Thou mak’st 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.
Gratiano135 - 145
- O, be thou damn’d, inexecrable dog!
- And for thy life let justice be accus’d.
- Thou almost mak’st 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 layest in thy unhallowed dam,
- Infus’d itself in thee; for thy desires
- Are wolvish, bloody, starv’d, and ravenous.
Shylock146 - 149
- Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,
- 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.
Duke150 - 152
- This letter from Bellario doth commend
- A young and learned doctor to our court.
- Where is he?
Nerissa153 - 154
- He attendeth here hard by
- To know your answer, whether you’ll admit him.
Duke155 - 176
- With all my heart. Some three or four of you
- Go give him courteous conduct to this place.
- Mean time 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 Balthazar. I acquainted him with
- the cause in controversy between the Jew and Antonio the
- merchant. We turn’d o’er many books together. He is
- furnish’d with my opinion, which better’d 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 commendation.”
- Enter Portia for Balthazar.
- You hear the learn’d Bellario, what he writes,
- And here I take it is the doctor come.
- Give me your hand. Come you from old Bellario?
- I did, my lord.
Duke178 - 180
- You are welcome, take your place.
- Are you acquainted with the difference
- That holds this present question in the court?
Portia181 - 182
- I am informed throughly of the cause.
- Which is the merchant here? And which the Jew?
- Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
- Is your name Shylock?
- Shylock is my name.
Portia186 - 189
- Of a strange nature is the suit you follow,
- 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.
- Do you confess the bond?
- I do.
- Then must the Jew be merciful.
- On what compulsion must I? Tell me that.
Portia195 - 216
- The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
- 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.
Shylock217 - 218
- My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,
- The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
- Is he not able to discharge the money?
Bassanio220 - 230
- Yes, here I tender it for him in the court,
- 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.
- To the Duke.
- 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.
Portia231 - 235
- It must not be, there is no power in Venice
- 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.
Shylock236 - 237
- A Daniel come to judgment! Yea, a Daniel!
- O wise young judge, how I do honor thee!
- I pray you let me look upon the bond.
- Here ’tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.
- Shylock, there’s thrice thy money off’red thee.
Shylock241 - 243
- An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven!
- Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
- No, not for Venice.
Portia244 - 248
- Why, this bond is forfeit,
- 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.
Shylock249 - 256
- When it is paid according to the tenure.
- 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.
Antonio257 - 258
- Most heartily I do beseech the court
- To give the judgment.
Portia259 - 260
- Why then thus it is:
- You must prepare your bosom for his knife—
- O noble judge, O excellent young man!
Portia262 - 264
- For the intent and purpose of the law
- Hath full relation to the penalty,
- Which here appeareth due upon the bond.
Shylock265 - 266
- ’Tis very true. O wise and upright judge!
- How much more elder art thou than thy looks!
- Therefore lay bare your bosom.
Shylock268 - 270
- Ay, his breast,
- So says the bond, doth it not, noble judge?
- “Nearest his heart,” those are the very words.
Portia271 - 272
- It is so. Are there balance here to weigh
- The flesh?
- I have them ready.
Portia274 - 275
- Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,
- To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.
- Is it so nominated in the bond?
Portia277 - 278
- It is not so express’d, but what of that?
- ’Twere good you do so much for charity.
- I cannot find it, ’tis not in the bond.
- You, merchant, have you any thing to say?
Antonio281 - 298
- But little; I am arm’d and well prepar’d.
- Give me your hand, Bassanio, fare you well.
- Grieve not that I am fall’n 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 ling’ring penance
- Of such misery doth she cut me off.
- Commend me to your honorable wife,
- Tell her the process of Antonio’s end,
- Say how I lov’d 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 instantly with all my heart.
Bassanio299 - 304
- Antonio, I am married to a wife
- 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.
Portia305 - 306
- Your wife would give you little thanks for that
- If she were by to hear you make the offer.
Gratiano307 - 309
- I have a wife who I protest I love;
- I would she were in heaven, so she could
- Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.
Nerissa310 - 311
- ’Tis well you offer it behind her back,
- The wish would make else an unquiet house.
Shylock312 - 316
- These be the Christian husbands. I have a daughter—
- Would any of the stock of Barrabas
- Had been her husband rather than a Christian!
- —We trifle time. I pray thee pursue sentence.
Portia317 - 318
- A pound of that same merchant’s flesh is thine,
- The court awards it, and the law doth give it.
- Most rightful judge!
Portia320 - 321
- And you must cut this flesh from off his breast,
- The law allows it, and the court awards it.
- Most learned judge, a sentence! Come prepare!
Portia323 - 330
- Tarry a little, there is something else.
- 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!
- Is that the law?
Portia333 - 335
- Thyself shalt see the act;
- For as thou urgest justice, be assur’d
- Thou shalt have justice more than thou desir’st.
- O learned judge! Mark, Jew, a learned judge!
Shylock337 - 338
- I take this offer then; pay the bond thrice
- And let the Christian go.
- Here is the money.
Portia340 - 342
- The Jew shall have all justice. Soft, no haste.
- He shall have nothing but the penalty.
- O Jew! An upright judge, a learned judge!
Portia344 - 352
- Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh.
- Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more
- But just a pound of flesh. If thou tak’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 twentith 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.
Gratiano353 - 354
- A second Daniel! A Daniel, Jew!
- Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.
- Why doth the Jew pause? Take thy forfeiture.
- Give me my principal, and let me go.
- I have it ready for thee, here it is.
Portia358 - 359
- He hath refus’d it in the open court;
- He shall have merely justice and his bond.
Gratiano360 - 361
- A Daniel, still say I, a second Daniel!
- I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
- Shall I not have barely my principal?
Portia363 - 364
- Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture,
- To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.
Shylock365 - 366
- Why then the devil give him good of it!
- I’ll stay no longer question.
Portia367 - 384
- Tarry, Jew,
- 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 rehears’d.
- Down therefore, and beg mercy of the Duke.
Gratiano385 - 388
- Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself,
- 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.
Duke389 - 393
- That thou shalt see the difference of our spirit,
- 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.
Shylock395 - 398
- Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that:
- 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?
- A halter gratis—nothing else, for God sake.
Antonio401 - 411
- So please my lord the Duke and all the court
- 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 favor
- 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.
Duke412 - 413
- He shall do this, or else I do recant
- The pardon that I late pronounced here.
- Art thou contented, Jew? What dost thou say?
- I am content.
- Clerk, draw a deed of gift.
Shylock417 - 419
- I pray you give me leave to go from hence,
- I am not well. Send the deed after me,
- And I will sign it.
- Get thee gone, but do it.
Gratiano421 - 423
- In christ’ning shalt thou have two god-fathers:
- Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more,
- To bring thee to the gallows, not to the font.
- Exit Shylock.
- Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.
Portia426 - 428
- I humbly do desire your Grace of pardon,
- I must away this night toward Padua,
- And it is meet I presently set forth.
Duke429 - 431
- I am sorry that your leisure serves you not.
- Antonio, gratify this gentleman,
- For in my mind you are much bound to him.
- Exeunt Duke and his Train.
Bassanio433 - 437
- Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend
- 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.
Antonio438 - 439
- And stand indebted, over and above,
- In love and service to you evermore.
Portia440 - 445
- He is well paid that is well satisfied,
- 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.
Bassanio446 - 449
- Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further.
- Take some remembrance of us as a tribute,
- Not as fee. Grant me two things, I pray you,
- Not to deny me, and to pardon me.
Portia450 - 456
- You press me far, and therefore I will yield.
- To Antonio.
- Give me your gloves, I’ll wear them for your sake,
- To Bassanio.
- And 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!
Bassanio457 - 458
- This ring, good sir, alas, it is a trifle!
- I will not shame myself to give you this.
Portia459 - 460
- I will have nothing else but only this,
- And now methinks I have a mind to it.
Bassanio461 - 464
- There’s more depends on this than on the value.
- The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,
- And find it out by proclamation;
- Only for this, I pray you pardon me.
Portia465 - 467
- I see, sir, you are liberal in offers.
- You taught me first to beg, and now methinks
- You teach me how a beggar should be answer’d.
Bassanio468 - 470
- Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife,
- And when she put it on, she made me vow
- That I should neither sell, nor give, nor lose it.
Portia471 - 475
- That ’scuse serves many men to save their gifts,
- And if your wife be not a mad woman,
- And know how well I have deserv’d this ring,
- She would not hold out enemy forever
- For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!
- Exeunt Portia and Nerissa.
Antonio477 - 479
- My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring.
- Let his deservings and my love withal
- Be valued ’gainst your wive’s commandment.
Bassanio480 - 486
- Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him;
- Give him the ring, and bring him, if thou canst,
- Unto Antonio’s house. Away, make haste.
- Exit Gratiano.
- Come, you and I will thither presently,
- And in the morning early will we both
- Fly toward Belmont. Come, Antonio.