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That she did give me ; whose posy was,

For all the world, like cutler's poetry
140 Upon a knife, “ Love me, and leave me not.”

Ner. What talk you of the posy, or the value ?
You swore to me, when I did give it you,
That you would wear it till the hour of death

; And that it should lie with you in your grave : 145 Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,

You should have been respective, and have kept it.
Gave it a judge's clerk !—but well I know,
The clerk will ne'er wear hair on's face that had it.

Gra. He will, an if he live to be a man. 150 Ner. Ay, if a woman live to be a man.

Gra. Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth, —
A kind of boy ; a little scrubbed boy,
No higher than thyself, the judge's clerk ;

A prating boy, that begged it as a fee ; 155 I could not for my heart deny it him.

Por. You were to blame, I must be plain with you,
To part so slightly with your wife's first gift ;
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger

And so riveted with faith unto your flesh. 160 I gave my love a ring, and made him swear

Never to part with it ; and here he stands,—
I dare be sworn for him, he would not leave it
Nor pluck it from his finger, for the wealth

That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano, 165 You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief;

An't were to me, I should be mad at it.

Bass. Why, I were best to cut my left hand off,
And swear I lost the ring defending it.

[Asile. Gra. My Lord Bassanio gave his ring away 170 Unto the judge that begg'd it, and, indeed,

146. Respective, considerate, careful.

138. Posy or poesy, the inscription on a ring or other object. The word poesy is identical with poetry.

Deserv'd it too ; and then the boy, his clerk,
That took some pains in writing, he begged mine ;
And neither man, nor master, would take aught
But the two rings.
Por.

What ring gave you, my lord ? 175 Not that, I hope, which you receiv'd of me,

Bass. If I could add a lie unto a fault,
I would deny it ; but you see, my finger
Hath not the ring upon it, it is gone.

Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth. 180 By heaven I will ne'er come in your bed

Until I see the ring.
Ner.

Nor I in yours,
Till I again see mine.
Bass.

Sweet Portia,
If
you

did know to whom I gave the ring,
If you did know for whom I gave the ring,
185 And would conceive for what I gave the ring,

And how unwillingly I left the ring,
And nought would be accepted but the ring,
You would abate the strength of your displeasure.

Por. If you had known the virtue of the ring, 190 Or half her worthiness that gave

the ring,
Or your own honour to contain the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
What man is there so much unreasonable,
If

yoni had pleased to have defended it
195 With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
To urge the thing held as a ceremony

?
Nerissa teaches me what to believe ;
I'll die for't, but some woman had the ring.

Bass. No, by mine honour, madam, by my soul, 200 No woman had it, but a civil doctor,

191. Contain, i.e., retain.

196. The word ceremony is now used only of external and generally of unmeaning

forms. As Shakspere uses it, it comes nenr
the Latin ceremonia, and means
thing sacred."

some

Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me,
And begg'd the ring ; the which I did deny him,
And suffer'd him to go displeased away ;

Even he that had held up the very life
205 Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady ?

I was enforc'd to send it after him ;
I was beset with shame and courtesy ;
My honour would not let ingratitude

So much besmear it : Pardon me, good lady ; 210 For, by these blessed candles of the night,

Had you been there, I think, you would have begg’d
The ring of me to give the worthy doctor.

Por. Let not that doctor e'er come near my house :

Since he hath got the jewel that I lov’d,
215 And that which you did swear to keep for me,

I will become as liberal as you,
I'll not deny him anything I have,
Know him I shall, I am well sure of it :

Lie not a night from home ; watch me, like Argus, 220 If you do not, if I be left alone,

Now, by mine honour, which is yet mine own,
I'll have the doctor for my bedfellow.

Ner. And I his clerk, therefore be well advis'd,

How you do leave me to mine own protection. 225 Gra. Well, do you so : let not me take him then ;

For, if I do, I'll mar the young clerk’s pen.

Ant. I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels.
Por. Sir, grieve not you ; you are welcome notwith-

standing
Bass. Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong ;
230 And, in the hearing of these many friends,

I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes,
Wherein I see myself,—

201. Which-frequently used for who by the older writers. There are several instances in this play.

215. And that which. The insertion of

that does not here imply (as it would if strictly analysed) that a second jewel is alluded to.

But there is come a messenger before,
To signify their coming.
Por.

Go in, Nerissa ; Give order to my servants, that they take 110 No note at all of our being absent hence ;

Nor you, Lorenzo :-Jessica, nor you. [A tucket sounds.

Lor. Your husband is at hand ; I hear his trumpet :
We are no tell-tales, madam ; fear you not.

Por. This night, methinks, is but the daylight sick. 115 It looks a little paler ; 'tis a day

Such as the day is when the sun is hid.
Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and their Followers.

Bass. We should hold day with the Antipodes,
If
you

would walk in absence of the sun.

Por. Let me give light, but let me not be light ; 120 For a light wife doth make a heavy husband,

And never be Bassanio so for me ;
But God sort all !-You are welcome home, my lord.

Bass. I thank you, madam : give welcome to my friend.

This is the man, this is Antonio, 125 To whom I am so infinitely bound.

Por. You should in all sense be much bound to him,
For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.

Ant. No more than I am well acquitted of.

Por. Sir, you are very welcome to our house ; 130 It must appear in other ways than words, Therefore, I scant this breathing courtesy.

[GRA. and NER. seem to talk apart. Gra. By yonder moon, I swear you do me wrong ; In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk ;

Would he were gelt that had it, for my part, 135 Since you do take it, love, so much at heart.

Por. A quarrel, ho, already ? what's the matter ?
Gra. About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring

131. I scant this breathing courtesy, i.e., I cut short this mere verbal compliment.

That she did give me ; whose posy was,

For all the world, like cutler's poetry
140 Upon a knife, “Love me, and leave me not.”

Ner. What talk you of the posy, or the value ?
You swore to me, when I did give it you,
That you would wear it till the hour of death ;

And that it should lie with you in your grave : 145 Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,

You should have been respective, and have kept it.
Gave it a judge's clerk —but well I know,
The clerk will ne'er wear hair on's face that had it.

Gra. He will, an if he live to be a man. 150 Ner. Ay, if a woman live to be a man.

Gra. Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,
A kind of boy ; a little scrubbed boy,
No higher than thyself, the judge's clerk ;

A prating boy, that begged it as a fee; 155 I could not for my heart deny it him.

Por. You were to blame, I must be plain with you,
To part so slightly with your wife's first gift ;
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger

And so riveted with faith unto your flesh. 160 I gave my love a ring, and made him swear

Never to part with it ; and here he stands,—
I dare be sworn for him, he would not leave it
Nor pluck it from his finger, for the wealth

That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano, 165 You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief ;

An't were to me, I should be mad at it.

Bass. Why, I were best to cut my left hand off,
And swear I lost the ring defending it.

[Aside. Gra. My Lord Bassanio gave his ring away 170 Unto the judge that begg'd it, and, indeed,

146. Respective, considerate, careful.

138. Posy or poesy, the inscription on a ring or other object. The word poesy is identical with poetry.

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