Duke. You heare the learn'd Bellario what he writes, And heere (I take it) is the Doctor come. Giue me your hand: Came you from old Bellario? Por. I did my Lord

Du. You are welcome: take your place; Are you acquainted with the difference That holds this present question in the Court

Por. I am enformed throughly of the cause. Which is the Merchant heere? and which the Iew? Du. Anthonio and old Shylocke, both stand forth

Por. Is your name Shylocke? Iew. Shylocke is my name

Por. Of a strange nature is the sute you follow, Yet in such rule, that the Venetian Law Cannot impugne you as you do proceed. You stand within his danger, do you not? Ant. I, so he sayes

Por. Do you confesse the bond? Ant. I do

Por. Then must the Iew be mercifull

Iew. On what compulsion must I ? Tell me that

Por. The quality of mercy is not strain'd, It droppeth as the gentle raine from heauen Vpon the place beneath. It is twice blest, It blesseth him that giues, and him that takes, 'Tis mightiest in the mightiest, it becomes The throned Monarch better then his Crowne. His Scepter shewes the force of temporall power, The attribute to awe and Maiestie, Wherein doth sit the dread and feare of Kings: But mercy is aboue this sceptred sway, It is enthroned in the hearts of Kings, It is an attribute to God himselfe; And earthly power doth then shew likest Gods When mercie seasons Iustice. Therefore Iew, Though Iustice be thy plea, consider this, That in the course of Iustice, none of vs Should see saluation: we do pray for mercie, And that same prayer, doth teach vs all to render The deeds of mercie. I haue spoke thus much To mittigate the iustice of thy plea: Which if thou follow, this strict course of Venice Must needes giue sentence 'gainst the Merchant there

Shy. My deeds vpon my head, I craue the Law, The penaltie and forfeite of my bond

Por. Is he not able to discharge the money? Bas. Yes, heere I tender it for him in the Court, Yea, twice the summe, if that will not suffice, I will be bound to pay it ten times ore, On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart: If this will not suffice, it must appeare That malice beares downe truth. And I beseech you Wrest once the Law to your authority. To do a great right, do a little wrong, And curbe this cruell diuell of his will

Por. It must not be, there is no power in Venice Can alter a decree established: 'Twill be recorded for a President, And many an error by the same example, Will rush into the state: It cannot be

Iew. A Daniel come to iudgement, yea a Daniel. O wise young Iudge, how do I honour thee

Por. I pray you let me looke vpon the bond

Iew. Heere 'tis most reuerend Doctor, heere it is

Por. Shylocke, there's thrice thy monie offered thee

Shy. An oath, an oath, I haue an oath in heauen: Shall I lay periurie vpon my soule? No not for Venice

Por. Why this bond is forfeit, And lawfully by this the Iew may claime A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off Neerest the Merchants heart; be mercifull, Take thrice thy money, bid me teare the bond

Iew. When it is paid according to the tenure. It doth appeare you are a worthy Iudge: You know the Law, your exposition Hath beene most sound. I charge you by the Law, Whereof you are a well-deseruing pillar, Proceede to iudgement: By my soule I sweare, There is no power in the tongue of man To alter me: I stay heere on my bond

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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