Gra. My Lord Bassanio, and my gentle Lady, I wish you all the ioy that you can wish: For I am sure you can wish none from me: And when your Honours meane to solemnize The bargaine of your faith: I doe beseech you Euen at that time I may be married too

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

Gra. I thanke your Lordship, you haue got me one. My eyes my Lord can looke as swift as yours: You saw the mistres, I beheld the maid: You lou'd, I lou'd for intermission, No more pertaines to me my Lord then you; Your fortune stood vpon the caskets there, And so did mine too, as the matter falls: For wooing heere vntill I swet againe, And swearing till my very rough was dry With oathes of loue, at last, if promise last, I got a promise of this faire one heere To haue her loue: prouided that your fortune Atchieu'd her mistresse

Por. Is this true Nerrissa? Ner. Madam it is so, so you stand pleas'd withall

Bass. And doe you Gratiano meane good faith? Gra. Yes faith my Lord

Bass. Our feast shall be much honored in your marriage

Gra. Weele play with them the first boy for a thousand ducats

Ner. What and stake downe? Gra. No, we shal nere win at that sport, and stake downe. But who comes heere? Lorenzo and his Infidell? What and my old Venetian friend Salerio? Enter Lorenzo, Iessica, and Salerio.

Bas. Lorenzo and Salerio, welcome hether, If that the youth of my new interest heere Haue power to bid you welcome: by your leaue I bid my verie friends and Countrimen Sweet Portia welcome

Por. So do I my Lord, they are intirely welcome

Lor. I thanke your honor; for my part my Lord, My purpose was not to haue seene you heere, But meeting with Salerio by the way, He did intreate mee past all saying nay To come with him along

Sal. I did my Lord, And I haue reason for it, Signior Anthonio Commends him to you

Bass. Ere I ope his Letter I pray you tell me how my good friend doth

Sal. Not sicke my Lord, vnlesse it be in minde, Nor wel, vnlesse in minde: his Letter there Wil shew you his estate.

Opens the Letter.

Gra. Nerrissa, cheere yond stranger, bid her welcom. Your hand Salerio, what's the newes from Venice? How doth that royal Merchant good Anthonio; I know he will be glad of our successe, We are the Iasons, we haue won the fleece

Sal. I would you had won the fleece that hee hath lost

Por. There are some shrewd contents in yond same Paper, That steales the colour from Bassianos cheeke, Some deere friend dead, else nothing in the world Could turne so much the constitution Of any constant man. What, worse and worse? With leaue Bassanio I am halfe your selfe, And I must freely haue the halfe of any thing That this same paper brings you

Bass. O sweet Portia, Heere are a few of the vnpleasant'st words That euer blotted paper. Gentle Ladie When I did first impart my loue to you, I freely told you all the wealth I had Ran in my vaines: I was a Gentleman, And then I told you true: and yet deere Ladie, Rating my selfe at nothing, you shall see How much I was a Braggart, when I told you My state was nothing, I should then haue told you That I was worse then nothing: for indeede I haue ingag'd my selfe to a deere friend, Ingag'd my friend to his meere enemie To feede my meanes. Heere is a Letter Ladie, The paper as the bodie of my friend, And euerie word in it a gaping wound Issuing life blood. But is it true Salerio, Hath all his ventures faild, what not one hit, From Tripolis, from Mexico and England, From Lisbon, Barbary, and India, And not one vessell scape the dreadfull touch Of Merchant-marring rocks? Sal. Not one my Lord. Besides, it should appeare, that if he had The present money to discharge the Iew, He would not take it: neuer did I know A creature that did beare the shape of man So keene and greedy to confound a man. He plyes the Duke at morning and at night, And doth impeach the freedome of the state If they deny him iustice. Twenty Merchants, The Duke himselfe, and the Magnificoes Of greatest port haue all perswaded with him, But none can driue him from the enuious plea Of forfeiture, of iustice, and his bond

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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