The Merchant of Venice eText - Act IV

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Act IV

Scene I

Original Text Modern Translation

[Venice]

Enter the Duke, the Magnificoes, Antonio, Bassanio, and Gratiano, [Salerio, and others]

DUKE:
What, is Antonio here?
DUKE:
What, is Antonio here?
ANTONIO:
Ready, so please your grace.
ANTONIO:
Ready, if it pleases your Grace.
DUKE:
I am sorry for thee; thou art come to answer
A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch
Uncapable of pity, void and empty(5)
From any dram of mercy.
DUKE:
I am sorry for you; you are here to answer
A rock-like opponent, an inhuman wretch,
Incapable of pity, void and empty
Of any ounce of mercy.
ANTONIO:
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(10)
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.
ANTONIO:
I have heard
Your Grace has taken great pains to modify
His stubborn course; but since he stands solid,
And that no lawful means can carry me
Out of his envy's reach, I confront
His fury with my patience, and I am ready
To suffer the very tyranny and rage of his
With a quiet spirit.
DUKE:
Go one, and call the Jew into the court.(15)
DUKE:
Go, one of you, and call the Jew into the court.
SALERIO:
He is ready at the door: he comes, my lord.
SALERIO:
He is ready at the door; he comes, my lord.

Enter Shylock

DUKE:
Make room, and let him stand before our face.
Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
That thou but lead'st this fashion of thy malice
To the last hour of act; and then, 'tis thought(20)
Thou'lt show thy mercy and remorse, more strange
Than is thy strange apparent cruelty:
And where thou now exact'st the penalty,
(Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh,)
Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture,(25)
But, touch'd with human gentleness and love,
Forgive a moiety of the principal;
Glancing an eye of pity on his losses,
That have of late so huddled on his back,
Enough to press a royal merchant down,(30)
And pluck commiseration of his state
From brassy bosoms, and rough hearts of flint,
From stubborn Turks and Tartars, never train'd
To offices of tender courtesy.
We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.(35)
DUKE:
Make room, and let him stand before us.
Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
That you only carry this kind of malice
To the very last hour of action; and then, it’s thought,
You'll show your mercy and remorse, more strangely
Than your strange apparent cruelty is;
And where you now exact the penalty,—
Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh,—
You will not only loose the default,
But, touched with human gentleness and love,
Forgive half of the borrowed amount,
Glancing with an eye of pity on his losses,
That have been so heaped on his back lately,
Enough to press a royal merchant down,
And get sympathy for his state
From brassy bosoms and rough hearts of stone,
From stubborn Turks and Tartars, never trained
To uses of tender courtesy.
We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.
SHYLOCK:
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.(40)
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 humour. is it answer'd?
What, if my house be troubled with a rat(45)
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' the nose,(50)
Cannot contain their urine: for affection,
Master 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 render'd,
Why he, cannot abide a gaping pig;(55)
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,(60)
More than a lodged hate, and a certain loathing,
I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
A losing suit against him. Are you answer'd?
SHYLOCK:
I have told your Grace of what I purpose,
And, by our holy Sabbath, I have sworn
To have the due and penalty of my promise to pay.
If you deny it, let the danger light
On your city charter and your city's freedom.
You ask me why I would rather choose to have
A weight of dead flesh than to receive
Three thousand dollars. I won’t answer that,
Only to say I feel like it: have I answered you?
What if a rat troubles my house,
And I am happy to give ten thousand dollars
To have it captured? What, aren’t you answered yet?
There are some men that don’t love a dead pig;
Some that are crazy if they see a cat;
And others, when they hear the song of the bagpipe,
Cannot hold their urine, because sympathy,
Mistress of passion, persuades passion to the mood
Of what it likes or hates. Now, for your answer:
As there is no firm reason to be given,
Why he can’t stand a dead pig;
Why he is afraid of a harmless, necessary cat;
Why he wets himself when he hears a wailing bagpipe,
Only that he must yield by force to such inevitable shame
As to offend, himself being offended;
So I can give no reason, nor will I,
More than I bear Antonio a deep-rooted hate
And a certain intense dislike, that I follow
A losing suit against him like this. Are you answered?
BASSANIO:
This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
To excuse the current of thy cruelty.(65)
BASSANIO:
This is no answer, you unfeeling man,
To excuse the flowing of your cruelty.
SHYLOCK:
I am not bound to please thee with my answers.
SHYLOCK:
I am not required to please you with my answer.
BASSANIO:
Do all men kill the things they do not love?
BASSANIO:
Do all men kill the things they don’t love?
SHYLOCK:
Hates any man the thing he would not kill?
SHYLOCK:
Does any man hate the thing he wouldn’t kill?
BASSANIO:
Every offence is not a hate at first.
BASSANIO:
Every wrong is not a hate at first.
SHYLOCK:
What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?(70)
SHYLOCK:
What! Would you have a serpent sting you twice?
ANTONIO:
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 bleat for the lamb;(75)
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 anything most hard,
As seek to soften that (than which what's harder?)(80)
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.
ANTONIO:
Please, if you think you question the Jew:
You may as well go stand on the beach,
And ask the main ocean to decrease his usual height;
You may as well use questions with the wolf,
Why he has made the mother sheep cry for the lamb;
You may as well forbid the mountain pines
To wag their high tops and to make no noise
When they are blown by the gusts of wind from the sky;
You may as well do anything almost as hard
As to seek to soften that—than what's harder?—
His Jewish heart: so, I beg you,
Make no more offers, use no farther means,
But with all brief and plain convenience.
Let me have judgment, and let the Jew have his default.
BASSANIO:
For thy three thousand ducats here is six.(85)
BASSANIO:
For your three thousand dollars, here are six.
SHYLOCK:
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.
SHYLOCK:
If every dollar in six thousand dollars
Were in six parts, and every part a dollar,
I would not take them; I want my promise to pay.
DUKE:
How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?
DUKE:
How shall you hope for mercy, giving none?
SHYLOCK:
What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?(90)
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?(95)
Why sweat they under burthens? 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,(100)
Is dearly bought; 'tis 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?
SHYLOCK:
What judgment shall I dread, if I have done no wrong?
You have many purchased slaves among you,
Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,
You use in low and in slavish ways,
Because you bought them; shall I say to you
“Let them be free, damn them to your heirs?”
Why do they sweat under burdens? Let their beds
Be made as soft as yours, and let their palates
Be seasoned with such rich meats? You will answer
“The slaves are ours.” So I answer you:
The pound of flesh which I demand of him
Is dearly bought; it’s mine, and I will have it.
If you deny me, damn your law!
There is no backbone in the laws of Venice.
I stand for judgment: answer; shall I have it?
DUKE:
Upon my power, I may dismiss this court,(105)
Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
Whom I have sent for to determine this,
Come here to-day.
DUKE:
I may dismiss this court by my power,
Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
Whom I have sent for to determine this,
Comes here today.
SALERIO:
My lord, here stays without,
A messenger with letters from the doctor,(110)
New come from Padua.
SALERIO:
My lord, There is a messenger waiting outside
With letters from the doctor,
Just now arrived from Padua.
DUKE:
Bring us the letters. Call the messenger.
DUKE:
Bring us the letters; call the messenger.
BASSANIO:
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.(115)
BASSANIO:
Cheer up, Antonio! What, man, have courage still!
The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and everything,
Before you shall lose one drop of blood for me.
ANTONIO:
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.(120)
ANTONIO:
I am a poisoned, castrated ram of the flock,
Most ready for death; the weakest kind of fruit
Drops first to the ground, and so let me.
You cannot be better employed, Bassanio,
Than to live on, and write my epitaph.

Enter Nerissa [disguised].

DUKE:
Came you, from Padua, from Bellario?
DUKE:
Did you come from Padua, from Bellario?
NERISSA:
From both, my lord: Bellario greets your grace.
NERISSA:
From both, my lord. Bellario send greetings to your Grace.
BASSANIO:
Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?
BASSANIO:
Why do you sharpen your knife so earnestly?
SHYLOCK:
To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.
SHYLOCK:
To cut the default from that bankrupt there.
GRATIANO:
Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,(125)
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?
GRATIANO:
You make your knife sharp, not on the sole of your shoe,
But on your soul, harsh Jew, but no metal can,
No, not the hangman's axe, be sharpened to half the sharpness
Of your sharp hate. Can any prayers get through to you?
SHYLOCK:
No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.
SHYLOCK:
No, none that you have sense enough to make.
GRATIANO:
O, be thou damn'd, inexecrable dog!(130)
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(135)
Govern'd a wolf, who, hang'd for human slaughter,
Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,
And, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallow'd dam,
Infus'd itself in thee; for thy desires
Are wolvish, bloody, sterved, and ravenous.(140)
GRATIANO:
Oh, damn you, stubborn dog!
And, for your life, let justice be blamed.
You almost make me change my mind,
About agreeing with Pythagoras
That the souls of animals send themselves
Into the bodies of men. Your dog-like spirit
That must have been ruled by a wolf
Hanged for killing a human, his evil soul
Falling quickly even from the gallows,
And, while you lay in your unholy mother,
Sent itself into you, because your desires
Are wolfish, bloody, starved, and hungry.
SHYLOCK:
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.
SHYLOCK:
Until you can scream the seal from off my promise to pay,
You only insult your lungs to speak so loud;
Fix your brain, good youth, or it will fall
To cureless ruin. I stand here for law.
DUKE:
This letter from Bellario doth commend(145)
A young and learned doctor to our court:—
Where is he?
DUKE:
This letter from Bellario recommends
A young and learned doctor to our court.
Where is he?
NERISSA:
He attendeth here hard by,
To know your answer, whether you'll admit him.
NERISSA:
He waits very nearby,
To know your answer, whether you'll admit him.
DUKE:
With all my heart:—Some three or four of you(150)
Go give him courteous conduct to this place.—
Meantime, the court shall hear Bellario's letter.
DUKE:
With all my heart: some three or four of you
Go, give him courteous conduct to this place.
In the meantime, the court shall hear Bellario's letter.
CLERK:
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(155)
is Balthasar: I acquainted him with the cause in controversy
between the Jew and Antonio the merchant: we turned o'er many
books together: he is furnished with my opinion; which, bettered
with his own learning (the greatness whereof I cannot enough
commend), comes with him, at my importunity, to fill up your(160)
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.(165)
CLERK:
“Your Grace shall understand that, at the receipt
of your letter, I am very sick; but, just as your
messenger came, a young doctor from Rome was visiting with
me; his name is Balthazar. I acquainted him with the cause
of the controversy between the Jew and Antonio the merchant; we
looked over many books together; he is furnished with my opinion
which, made better with his own learning,—the greatness of which I
cannot recommend enough,—comes to fulfill your Grace's request
in my place because of my illness. Please don’t let his youth be an
impediment to giving him the utmost respect,
because I never knew so young a body with so old a head. I leave him
to your gracious acceptance, whose testing shall better prove his abilities.”

Enter Portia, [disguised] Balthasar.

DUKE:
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?
DUKE:
You hear what the learned Bellario has written;
And here, I take it, is the doctor coming.
Give me your hand; do you come from old Bellario?
PORTIA:
I did, my lord.
PORTIA:
I did, my lord.
DUKE:
You are welcome: take your place.(170)
Are you acquainted with the difference
That holds this present question in the court?
DUKE:
You are welcome; take your place.
Are you acquainted with the difference of opinion
That is the present question before the court?
PORTIA:
I am informed thoroughly of the cause.
Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?
PORTIA:
I am thoroughly informed about the case.
Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?
DUKE:
Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.(175)
DUKE:
Antonio and old Shylock, both come forward.
PORTIA:
Is your name Shylock?
PORTIA:
Is your name Shylock?
SHYLOCK:
Shylock is my name.
SHYLOCK:
Shylock is my name.
PORTIA:
Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;
Yet in such rule, that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.—(180)
You stand within his danger, do you not?
PORTIA:
You pursue a suit of a strange nature,
Still, in such rule of law, that the Venetian law
Cannot fight against you as you proceed.

You stand in his danger, don’t you?

ANTONIO:
Ay, so he says.
ANTONIO:
Yes, so he says.
PORTIA:
Do you confess the bond?
PORTIA:
Do you confess the promise to pay?
ANTONIO:
I do.
ANTONIO:
I do.
PORTIA:
Then must the Jew be merciful.(185)
PORTIA:
Then must the Jew be merciful.
SHYLOCK:
On what compulsion must I? tell me that.
SHYLOCK:
On what compulsion must I? Tell me that.
PORTIA:
The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes:(190)
'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;(195)
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,(200)
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,(205)
To mitigate the justice of thy plea,
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.
PORTIA:
The quality of mercy is not restricted;
It drops as the gentle rain from heaven
On the place beneath the clouds. It is twice blessed:
It blesses him that gives mercy and him that takes mercy.
It’s most powerful in the most powerful people; it suits
The throned king better than his crown;
His royal wand shows the force of earthly power,
The quality to amaze and rule,
Where the dread and fear of kings sits;
But mercy is above the wave of this wand,
It sits on a throne in the hearts of kings,
It is a quality of God himself;
And earthly power then shows itself like God's
When mercy goes with justice. So, Jew,
Though justice is your plea, consider this,
That if we all got justice, none of us
Would see salvation; we pray for mercy,
And that same prayer teaches us all to do
The deeds of mercy. I have spoken this much
To soften the justice of your plea,
Which if you follow, this strict court of Venice
Must give a ruling against the merchant there.
SHYLOCK:
My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,
The penalty and forfeit of my bond.(210)
SHYLOCK:
My deeds on my head! I want the law,
The penalty, and penalty of my promise to pay.
PORTIA:
Is he not able to discharge the money?
PORTIA:
Is he unable to repay the money?
BASSANIO:
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:(215)
If this will not suffice, it must appear
That malice bears down truth. 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.(220)
BASSANIO:
Yes; here I brought it for him into the court;
Yes, twice the sum; if that is not enough,
I’ll swear to pay it ten times over
On penalty of the loss of my hands, my head, my heart;
If this is not enough, it must seem
That evil wins over truth. And, I beg you,
Twist the law once to your authority;
To do a great right, do a little wrong,
And deprive this cruel devil of his will.
PORTIA:
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.(225)
PORTIA:
It must not be; there is no power in Venice that
Can change an established law;
It will set a precedent,
And many errors by the same example
Will rush into the state. It cannot be.
SHYLOCK:
A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel!
O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!
SHYLOCK:
A prophet from the Bible come to judgment! Yes, a prophet!
Oh, wise young judge, how I honor you!
PORTIA:
I pray you, let me look upon the bond.
PORTIA:
Please, let me look on the promise to pay.
SHYLOCK:
Here, 'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.
SHYLOCK:
Here it’s, most reverend doctor; here it is.
PORTIA:
Shylock, there's thrice thy money offer'd thee.(230)
PORTIA:
Shylock, there's three times your money offered to you.
SHYLOCK:
An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven:
Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
No, not for Venice.
SHYLOCK:
An oath, an oath! I have an oath in heaven.
Shall I lay perjury on my soul?
No, not for Venice.
PORTIA:
Why, this bond is forfeit;
And lawfully by this the Jew may claim(235)
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.
PORTIA:
Why, this promise to pay is penalty;
And lawfully the Jew may claim
A pound of flesh by this, to be by him cut off
Nearest the merchant's heart. Be merciful.
Take three times your money; ask me to tear up the promise to pay.
SHYLOCK:
When it is paid according to the tenor.
It doth appear you are a worthy judge;(240)
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(245)
To alter me: I stay here on my bond.
SHYLOCK:
When it is paid according to the terms.
It appears you are a worthy judge;
You know the law; your explanation
Has been most sound; I charge you by the law,
Of which you are a well-deserving upholder,
Proceed to judgment. By my soul, I swear
There is no power in the voice of man
To change my mind. I wait here on my promise to pay.
ANTONIO:
Most heartily I do beseech the court
To give the judgment.
ANTONIO:
Most heartily I beg the court
To give the judgment.
PORTIA:
Why then, thus it is:
You must prepare your bosom for his knife.(250)
PORTIA:
Why then, it is like this:
You must prepare your chest for his knife.
SHYLOCK:
O noble judge! O excellent young man!
SHYLOCK:
Oh, noble judge! Oh, excellent young man!
PORTIA:
For the intent and purpose of the law,
Hath full relation to the penalty,
Which here appeareth due upon the bond;—
PORTIA:
Because the intent and purpose of the law
Has full relation to the penalty,
Which appeared here due on the promise to pay.
SHYLOCK:
'Tis very true: O wise and upright judge!(255)
How much more elder art thou than thy looks!
SHYLOCK:
It’s very true. Oh, wise and upright judge,
How much more older are you than your looks!
PORTIA:
Therefore lay bare your bosom.
PORTIA:
So, bare your chest.
SHYLOCK:
Ay, his breast:
So says the bond;—doth it not, noble judge?
Nearest his heart, those are the very words.(260)
SHYLOCK:
Yes, “his breast:”
So says the promise to pay:—does it not, noble judge?—
“Nearest his heart:” those are the very words.
PORTIA:
It is so. Are there balance here to weigh
The flesh?
PORTIA:
It is true. Are there scales here to weigh
The flesh?
SHYLOCK:
I have them ready.
SHYLOCK:
I have them ready.
PORTIA:
Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,
To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.(265)
PORTIA:
Have some surgeon nearby, Shylock, on your responsibility,
To stop his wounds, so that he won’t bleed to death.
SHYLOCK:
Is it so nominated in the bond?
SHYLOCK:
Is it so stated in the promise to pay?
PORTIA:
It is not so express'd, but what of that?
'Twere good you do so much for charity.
PORTIA:
It is not expressly stated; but so what?
It would be good for you to do so much for charity.
SHYLOCK:
I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond.
SHYLOCK:
I cannot find it; it’s not in the promise to pay.
PORTIA:
Come, merchant, have you any thing to say?(270)
PORTIA:
You, merchant, have you anything to say?
ANTONIO:
But little; I am arm'd, and well prepar'd.—
Give me your hand, Bassannio: fare you well!
Grieve not that I am fallen to this for you;
For herein Fortune shows herself more kind
Than is her custom: it is still her use,(275)
To let the wretched man out-live his wealth,
To view with hollow eye, and wrinkled brow,
An age of poverty; from which lingering penance
Of such misery doth she cut me off.
Commend me to your honourable wife:(280)
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 not you that you shall lose your friend,(285)
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.
ANTONIO:
Only little: I am ready and well prepared.
Give me your hand, Bassanio: goodbye!
Don’t grieve that I am doing this for you,
Because here Fortune shows herself more kind
Than is her habit: it is still her habit
To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
To view an age of poverty with hollow eye and wrinkled brow;
She cuts me off from the lingering repentance
Of such misery.
Commend me to your honorable wife:
Tell her the story of Antonio's end;
Say how I loved you; speak fairly about me in death;
And, when the tale is told, ask her to be the judge of
Whether Bassanio didn’t once have a love.
Only be sorry that you shall lose your friend,
And he is not sorry that he pays your debt;
Because if the Jew only cuts deep enough,
I'll pay it instantly with all my heart.
BASSANIO:
Antonio, I am married to a wife,
Which is as dear to me as life itself;(290)
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.
BASSANIO:
Antonio, I am married to a wife
Who is as dear to me as life itself;
But life itself, my wife, and all the world,
Are not worth more to me than your life;
I would lose everything, yes, sacrifice them all
Here to this devil, to save you.
PORTIA:
Your wife would give you little thanks for that,(295)
If she were by, to hear you make the offer.
PORTIA:
Your wife would give you little thanks for that,
If she were here to listen to such an offer.
GRATIANO:
I have a wife, whom I protest I love;
I would she were in heaven, so she could
Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.
GRATIANO:
I have a wife whom, I protest, I love;
I wish she were in heaven, so she could
Beg some power to change this currish Jew.
NERISSA:
'Tis well you offer it behind her back;(300)
The wish would make else an unquiet house.
NERISSA:
It’s well you offer it behind her back;
The wish would other make a noisy house.
SHYLOCK:
These be the Christian husbands: I have a
daughter;
Would any of the stock of Barrabas
Had been her husband rather, than a Christian!(305)
We trifle time; I pray thee pursue sentence.
SHYLOCK:
These are the Christian husbands! I have a daughter;
Would any of the stock of Barabbas the Thief
Had been her husband, rather than a Christian!
We are wasting time; Please, enforce sentence.
PORTIA:
A pound of that same merchant's flesh is thine;
The court awards it, and the law doth give it.
PORTIA:
A pound of that same merchant's flesh is yours.
The court awards it and the law gives it.
SHYLOCK:
Most rightful judge!
SHYLOCK:
Most rightful judge!
PORTIA:
And you must cut this flesh from off his breast;(310)
The law allows it, and the court awards it.
PORTIA:
And you must cut this flesh from off his breast.
The law allows it and the court awards it.
SHYLOCK:
Most learned judge!—A sentence! come, prepare!
SHYLOCK:
Most learned judge! A sentence! Come, get ready.
PORTIA:
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:(315)
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.(320)
PORTIA:
Wait a minute; there is something else.
This promise to pay does not give you here a jot of blood;
The words expressly are “a pound of flesh:”
Then take your promise to pay, take your pound of flesh;
But, in the cutting it, if you shed
One drop of Christian blood, your lands and goods
Are, by the laws of Venice, seized
By the state of Venice.
GRATIANO:
O upright judge!—Mark, Jew;—O
learned judge!
GRATIANO:
Oh, upright judge! Mark, Jew: Oh, learned judge!
SHYLOCK:
Is that the law?
SHYLOCK:
Is that the law?
PORTIA:
Thyself shalt see the act:
For, as thou urgest justice, be assur'd(325)
Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desirest.
PORTIA:
You yourself shall see the law;
Because, as you insist on justice, be assured
You shall have justice, more than you desire.
GRATIANO:
O learned judge!—Mark, Jew;—a learned judge!
GRATIANO:
Oh, learned judge! Mark, Jew: a learned judge!
SHYLOCK:
I take this offer then,—pay the bond thrice
And let the Christian go.
SHYLOCK:
I take this offer then: pay the promise to pay three times,
And let the Christian go.
BASSANIO:
Here is the money.(330)
BASSANIO:
Here is the money.
PORTIA:
Soft;—
The Jew shall have all justice;—soft;—no haste;—
He shall have nothing but the penalty.
PORTIA:
Wait!
The Jew shall have all justice; wait! Don’t hurry:—
He shall have nothing but the penalty.
GRATIANO:
O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!
GRATIANO:
Oh, Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!
PORTIA:
Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh.(335)
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 twentieth part(340)
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.
PORTIA:
So, get ready to cut off the flesh.
Don’t shed any blood; or cut less nor more,
Exactly just a pound of flesh: if you take more,
Or less, than a just pound, whether it is only so much
That makes it light or heavy in the substance,
Or the division of the twentieth part
Of one poor scruple; no, if the scale turns
Only by a hair,
You die, and all your goods are seized.
GRATIANO:
A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew!
Now, infidel, I have thee on the hip.(345)
GRATIANO:
A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew!
Now, infidel, I have you at a disadvantage.
PORTIA:
Why doth the Jew pause? take thy forfeiture.
PORTIA:
Why does the Jew wait? Take your penalty.
SHYLOCK:
Give me my principal, and let me go.
SHYLOCK:
Give me my principal, and let me go.
BASSANIO:
I have it ready for thee; here it is.
BASSANIO:
I have it ready for you; here it is.
PORTIA:
He hath refus'd it in the open court;
He shall have merely justice and his bond.(350)
PORTIA:
He has refused it in the open court;
He shall merely have justice, and his promise to pay.
GRATIANO:
A Daniel, still say I; a second Daniel!—
I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
GRATIANO:
A Daniel still say I; a second Daniel!
I thank you, Jew, for teaching me that word.
SHYLOCK:
Shall I not have barely my principal?
SHYLOCK:
Shall I not have just my principal?
PORTIA:
Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture,
To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.(355)
PORTIA:
You shall have nothing but the penalty
To be so taken at your own risk, Jew.
SHYLOCK:
Why, then the devil give him good of it!
I'll stay no longer question.
SHYLOCK:
Why, then the devil give him good of it!
I'll wait no longer.
PORTIA:
Tarry, Jew;
The law hath yet another hold on you.
It is enacted in the laws of Venice,—(360)
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(365)
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,(370)
That, indirectly, and directly too,
Thou hast contriv'd 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.(375)
PORTIA:
Wait, Jew. The law has yet another hold on you.
It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
That, if it is proved against an alien
That by direct or indirect attempts
He seek the life of any citizen,
The party against whom he schemes
Shall seize one half his goods; the other half
Comes to the public treasury of the state;
And the offender's life lies at the mercy
Of the Duke only, above all others.
In which predicament, I say, you stand;
Because it appears by this obvious proceeding
That indirectly, and directly too,
You have schemed against the very life
Of the defendant; and you have incurred
The danger that I just read to you.
So, kneel down, and beg mercy of the Duke.
GRATIANO:
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.
GRATIANO:
Beg that you may have permission to hang yourself;
And still, your wealth being the penalty to pay the state,
You haven’t got the value of a string left;
So you must be hanged at the state's expense.
DUKE:
That thou shalt see the difference of our spirits,(380)
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.
DUKE:
So that you shall see the difference between our beliefs,
I give you your life before you ask for it.
Because half your wealth is Antonio's,
The other half comes to the general treasury,
Which your humbleness may bring to an end.
PORTIA:
Ay, for the state; not for Antonio.(385)
PORTIA:
Yes, for the state; not for Antonio.
SHYLOCK:
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.
SHYLOCK:
No, take my life and everything, don’t pardon that:
You take my house when you take the prop
That holds my house up; you take my life
When you take the means by which I live.
PORTIA:
What mercy can you render him, Antonio?(390)
PORTIA:
What mercy can you give him, Antonio?
GRATIANO:
A halter gratis; nothing else, for God's sake!
GRATIANO:
A free rope with a nooses; nothing else, for God's sake!
ANTONIO:
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,(395)
Upon his death, unto the gentleman
That lately stole his daughter;
Two things provided more,—that for this favour,
He presently become a Christian;
The other, that he do record a gift,(400)
Here in the court, of all he dies possess'd,
Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.
ANTONIO:
So if it pleases my lord, the Duke, and all the court
To set the fine for one half of his goods,
I am content, as long as he will let me have
The other half to use, to give it,
On his death, to the gentleman
That lately stole his daughter:
Two things more, that, for this favor,
He presently becomes a Christian;
The other, that he records a gift,
Here in the court, of everything he has when he dies
To his son, Lorenzo, and his daughter.
DUKE:
He shall do this; or else I do recant
The pardon that I late pronounced here.
DUKE:
He shall do this, or else I take back
The pardon that I just pronounced here.
PORTIA:
Art thou contented, Jew? what dost thou say?(405)
PORTIA:
Are you content, Jew? What do you say?
SHYLOCK:
I am content.
SHYLOCK:
I am content.
PORTIA:
Clerk, draw a deed of gift.
PORTIA:
Clerk, draw up a deed of gift.
SHYLOCK:
I pray you give me leave to go from hence:
I am not well; send the deed after me,
And I will sign it.(410)
SHYLOCK:
Please, let me go from here;
I am not well; send the deed after me
And I’ll sign it.
DUKE:
Get thee gone, but do it.
DUKE:
Go, but do it.
GRATIANO:
In christening, shalt thou have two god-fathers;
Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more,
To bring thee to the gallows, not the font.
GRATIANO:
In your christening, you shall have two godfathers;
If I had been the judge, you should have had ten more,
To bring you to the gallows, not to the baptismal font.

Exit [Shylock]

DUKE:
Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.(415)
DUKE:
Sir, I beg you to come home with me to dinner.
PORTIA:
I humbly do desire your grace of pardon.
I must away this night toward Padua,
And it is meet I presently set forth.
PORTIA:
I humbly desire your Grace’s pardon;
I must go away tonight toward Padua,
And it is proper that I leave right away.
DUKE:
I am sorry that your leisure serves you not.
Antonio, gratify this gentleman,(420)
For, in my mind, you are much bound to him.
DUKE:
I am sorry that you cannot stay.
Antonio, thank this gentleman,
Because, in my opinion, you owe him a lot.

Exit Duke and his train.

BASSANIO:
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,(425)
We freely cope your courteous pains withal.
BASSANIO:
Most worthy gentleman, my friend and I
Have been acquitted today
Of grievous penalties by your wisdom; instead of
Three thousand dollars, due to the Jew,
We will freely pay for your courteous pains.
ANTONIO:
And stand indebted, over and above,
In love and service to you evermore.
ANTONIO:
And stand indebted, over and above,
In love and service to you forever.
PORTIA:
He is well paid that is well satisfied:
And I, delivering you, am satisfied,(430)
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.
PORTIA:
He is well paid that is well satisfied;
And I am satisfied in delivering you,
And therefore, I consider myself well paid:
My mind never wanted anything else in payment.
Please, recognize me when we meet again:
I wish you well, and so I say goodbye.
BASSANIO:
Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further;(435)
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.
BASSANIO:
Dear sir, I must attempt to pay you more forcefully;
Take some remembrance of us, as a tribute,
Not as fee. Grant me two things, please:
Don’t say no to me and pardon me.
PORTIA:
You press me far, and therefore I will yield.
[To Antonio] Give me your gloves, I'll wear them for(440)
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.(445)
PORTIA:
You push me far, and so I’ll give in.

Give me your gloves; I'll wear them for your sake.

And, for your friendship, I'll take this ring from you.
Don’t draw back your hand; I'll take no more;
And you shall not deny me this in friendship.

BASSANIO:
This ring, good sir?—alas, it is a trifle:
I will not shame myself to give you this.
BASSANIO:
This ring, good sir? Alas, it is a trifle;
I won’t embarrass myself to give you this.
PORTIA:
I will have nothing else but only this;
And now, methinks, I have a mind to it.
PORTIA:
I’ll have nothing else except this only;
And now, I think, I have a mind to have it.
BASSANIO:
There's more depends on this than on the value.(450)
The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,
And find it out by proclamation;
Only for this I pray you pardon me.
BASSANIO:
There's more that depends on this ring than its value.
I will give you the most expensive in Venice,
And find out where it is by proclamation:
Only for this ring, please, excuse me.
PORTIA:
I see, sir, you are liberal in offers:
You taught me first to beg; and now, methinks,(455)
You teach me how a beggar should be answer'd.
PORTIA:
I see, sir, you are free in making offers;
You taught me to beg first, and now I think
You teach me how to answer a beggar.
BASSANIO:
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.
BASSANIO:
Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife;
And, when she put it on, she made me vow
That I should not sell, or give, or lose it.
PORTIA:
That 'scuse serves many men to save their gifts.(460)
An if your wife be not a mad woman,
And know how well I have deserv'd the ring,
She would not hold out enemy for ever,
For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!
PORTIA:
That’s the excuse many men use to save their gifts.
And, if your wife is not a madwoman,
And knows how much I have deserved this ring,
She would not hold out in being your enemy forever
For giving it to me. Well, goodbye!

Exeunt [Portia and Nerissa]

ANTONIO:
My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring,(465)
Let his deservings, and my love withal,
Be valued 'gainst your wife's commandment.
ANTONIO:
My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring:
Let what he deserves, and with my friendship,
Be measured against your wife's commandment.
BASSANIO:
Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him;
Give him the ring; and bring him, if thou canst,
Unto Antonio's house:—away! make haste.(470)

Exit Gratiano.

Come, you and I will thither presently;
And in the morning early will we both
Fly toward Belmont: come, Antonio.
BASSANIO:
Go, Gratiano, run and catch him;
Give him the ring, and bring him, if you can,
To Antonio's house. Away! Hurry up.

Come, you and I’ll will leave presently;
And early in the morning, we will both
Fly toward Belmont. Come, Antonio.

Exeunt.

Scene II

Original Text Modern Translation

[The same]

Enter Portia and Nerissa.

PORTIA:
Inquire the Jew's house out, give him this deed,
And let him sign it; we'll away to-night,
And be a day before our husbands home.
This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo.
PORTIA:
Find the Jew's house, give him this deed,
And let him sign it; we'll leave tonight,
And be a day ahead of our husbands coming home.
This deed will be very welcome to Lorenzo.

Enter Gratiano

GRATIANO:
Fair sir, you are well o'erta'en:(5)
My Lord Bassanio, upon more advice,
Hath sent you here this ring, and doth entreat
Your company at dinner.
GRATIANO:
Good sir, you are well caught.
My Lord Bassanio, listening to more advice,
Has sent you this ring here, and asks
Your company at dinner.
PORTIA:
That cannot be:
His ring I do accept most thankfully,(10)
And so, I pray you, tell him: furthermore,
I pray you, show my youth old Shylock's house.
PORTIA:
I can’t do that:
I accept his ring most thankfully;
And please tell him so; furthermore,
Please show my youth to old Shylock's house.
GRATIANO:
That will I do.
GRATIANO:
That I will do.
NERISSA:
Sir, I would speak with you:—
I'll see if I can get my husband's ring,(15)
Which I did make him swear to keep for ever.
NERISSA:
Sir, I wish to speak with you.

I'll see if I can get my husband's ring,
Which I made him swear to keep forever.

PORTIA:
Thou may'st, I warrant we shall have old swearing,
That they did give the rings away to men;
But we'll outface them, and outswear them too.
Away! make haste; thou know'st where I will tarry.(20)
PORTIA:
You may, I guarantee it. We shall have old swearing
That they gave the rings away to men;
But we'll confront them, and outswear them too.
Away! Hurry: you know where I’ll wait for you.
NERISSA:
Come, good sir, will you show me to this house?
NERISSA:
Come, good sir, will you show me to this house?

Exeunt.