Enter Portia, Nerrissa, Lorenzo, Iessica, and a man of Portias.

Lor. Madam, although I speake it in your presence, You haue a noble and a true conceit Of god-like amity, which appeares most strongly In bearing thus the absence of your Lord. But if you knew to whom you shew this honour, How true a Gentleman you send releefe, How deere a louer of my Lord your husband, I know you would be prouder of the worke Then customary bounty can enforce you

Por. I neuer did repent for doing good, Nor shall not now: for in companions That do conuerse and waste the time together, Whose soules doe beare an egal yoke of loue. There must be needs a like proportion Of lyniaments, of manners, and of spirit; Which makes me thinke that this Anthonio Being the bosome louer of my Lord, Must needs be like my Lord. If it be so, How little is the cost I haue bestowed In purchasing the semblance of my soule; From out the state of hellish cruelty, This comes too neere the praising of my selfe, Therefore no more of it: heere other things Lorenso I commit into your hands, The husbandry and mannage of my house, Vntill my Lords returne; for mine owne part I haue toward heauen breath'd a secret vow, To liue in prayer and contemplation, Onely attended by Nerrissa heere, Vntill her husband and my Lords returne: There is a monastery too miles off, And there we will abide. I doe desire you Not to denie this imposition, The which my loue and some necessity Now layes vpon you

Lorens. Madame, with all my heart, I shall obey you in all faire commands

Por. My people doe already know my minde, And will acknowledge you and Iessica In place of Lord Bassanio and my selfe. So far you well till we shall meete againe

Lor. Faire thoughts & happy houres attend on you

Iessi. I wish your Ladiship all hearts content

Por. I thanke you for your wish, and am well pleas'd To wish it backe on you: faryouwell Iessica.


Now Balthaser, as I haue euer found thee honest true, So let me finde thee still: take this same letter, And vse thou all the indeauor of a man, In speed to Mantua, see thou render this Into my cosins hand, Doctor Belario, And looke what notes and garments he doth giue thee, Bring them I pray thee with imagin'd speed Vnto the Tranect, to the common Ferrie Which trades to Venice; waste no time in words, But get thee gone, I shall be there before thee

Balth. Madam, I goe with all conuenient speed

Por. Come on Nerissa, I haue worke in hand That you yet know not of; wee'll see our husbands Before they thinke of vs? Nerrissa. Shall they see vs? Portia. They shall Nerrissa: but in such a habit, That they shall thinke we are accomplished With that we lacke; Ile hold thee any wager When we are both accoutered like yong men, Ile proue the prettier fellow of the two, And weare my dagger with the brauer grace, And speake betweene the change of man and boy, With a reede voyce, and turne two minsing steps Into a manly stride; and speake of frayes Like a fine bragging youth: and tell quaint lyes How honourable Ladies sought my loue, Which I denying, they fell sicke and died. I could not doe withall: then Ile repent, And wish for all that, that I had not kil'd them; And twentie of these punie lies Ile tell, That men shall sweare I haue discontinued schoole Aboue a twelue moneth: I haue within my minde A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Iacks, Which I will practise

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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