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That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh
To-morrow to my bloody creditor.
Well, goaler, on; pray God, Baffanio come
To see me pay his debt, and then I care not ! [Exeunt.

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SCENE changes to Belmont.

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Enter Portia, Neriffa, Lorenzo, Jessica, and Balthazar.

Adam, although I speak it in your presence,

You have a noble and a true conceit
of God-like amity ; which appears more 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 relief to,
How dear a lover of

my
lord
your

husband; I know, you would be prouder of the work. Than customary bounty can enforce you.

Por. I never did repent of doing good,
And shall not now; for in companions
That do converse and waste the time together,
Whose souls do bear an equal yoke of love,
There must be needs a like proportion
Of lineaments, of manners, and of spirit;
Which makes me think, that this Anthonio,
Being the bosom-lover of

my

lord,
Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,
How little is the cost I have bestowed,
In purchasing the semblance of my soul
From out the state of hellish cruelty ?
This comes too near the praising of myself; (21)
Therefore, no more of it: hear other things.-
Lorenzo, I commit into

your hands
(21) This comes too near the praising of myself;

Therefore no more of it : here other things,

Lorenzo, I commit, &c.] Thus has this passage been writ and pointed, but absurdly, thro' all the editions. Portia finding the reflections she had made came too near self-praise, begins to chide herself for it : says, she'll say no more of that fort; but call a new subject. The regulation I have made in the text was likewise prescribd by Dr. Thirlby.

The

The husbandry and manage of my house,
Until my lord's return. For mine own part,
I have tow'rd heaven breath'd a secret vow,
To live in prayer and contemplation,
Only attended by Nerisa here,
Until her husband and my lord's return.
There is a monastery two miles off,
And there we will abide. I do desire you,
Not to deny this impofition:
The which my love and some neceflity
Now lays upon you.

Lor. Madam, with all my heart;
I shall obey you in all fair commands.

Por. My people do already know my mind,
And will acknowledge you and Jessica
In place of lord Bassanio and myself.
So fare you well, 'till we shall meet again.

Lor. Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you !
Jel. I wish your ladyship all heart's content.

Por. I thank you for your wish, and am well pleas’d To wish it back on you : fare you well, felica.

[Exeunt Jes. and Lor. Now, Balthazar, As I have ever found thee honest, true, So let me find thee ftill: take this same letter, And use thou all th' endeavour of a man, In speed to Padua; see thou render this (22) Into my cousin's hand, Doctor Bellario; And look what notes and garments he doth give thee, Bring them, I pray thee, with imagin'd speed Unto the Traject, to the common ferry Which trades to Venice : waste no time in words, But get thee gone;

I shall be there before thee. (22) In speed to Mantua ;] Thus all the old copies; and thus all the modern editors implicitly after them. But 'tis evident to any diligent reader, that we must reftore, as I have done, In speed to Padua : For ir was there, and not at Mantua, Bellario liv'd. So asterwards ;-- A messenger, with letters from the Doctor, new come from Padua

-And again, Came you from Padua, from Bellario? ---And again, It comes from Padua, from Bellario.--- Besides, Padua, not Mantua, is the place of education for the civil law in Italy,

Bala

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Bal. Madam, I go with all convenient speed. (Exit.

Por. Come on, Nerisa; I have work in hand, That you yet know not of: we'll see our husbands Before they think of us.

Ner. Shall they see us ?

Por. They shall, Nerisa; but in such a habit,
That they shall think we are accomplished
With what we lack.

I'll hold thee any wager,
When we are both apparell'd like young men,
I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
And wear my dagger with the braver grace;
And speak between the change of man and boy,
With a reed voice; and turn two mincing steps
Into a manly stride ; and speak of frays,
Like a fine bragging youth; and tell quaint lies,
How honourable ladies fought my love,
Which I denying, they fell fick and dy'd,
I could not do with all: then I'll repent,
And wish, for all that, that I had not kill'd them.
And twenty of these

puny

lies I'll tell; That men shall swear, I've discontinued school Above a twelve-month. I have in

my

mind A thousand raw tricks of these bragging jacks, Which I will practise.

Ner. Shall we turn to men ?

Por. Fie, what a question's that,
If thou wert near a lewd interpreter!
But come, I'll tell thee all my whole device
When I am in iny coach, which stays for us
At the park-gate; and therefore hafte away,
For we must measure twenty miles to-day. [Exeunt.

Enter Launcelot and Jessica.
Laun. Yes, truly: for, look you, the sins of the fa-
ther are to be laid upon the children ; therefore, I pro-
mise you, I fear you. I was always plain with you ;
and so now I speak my agitation of the matter: there-
fore be of good cheer; for truly, I think you are
damn'd: there is but one hope in it that can do you
any good, and that is but a kind of bastard hope neither.

Jef.

Jef. And what hape is that, I pray thee?

Laun. Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you not, that you are not the Jew's daughter,

Jel. That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed ; so the sins of my mother should be visited upon me.

Laun. Truly, then, I fear, you are damn’d both by father and mother; thus when you fhun Scylla, (23) your father, you fall into Charybdis, your mother: well, you are gone both ways.

Fes: I shall be saved by my husband; he hath made me a christian.

Laun. Truly, the more to blame he; we were christians enough before, c'en as many as.could well live one by another: this making of christians will raise the price of hogs ; if we grow all to be pork-eaters, we shall not shortly have a rather on the coals for money.

Enter Lorenzo. Fel. I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say: here he comes.

Lor. I fall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if you

thus get my wife into corners. Jef. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo; Launcelot and I are out; he tells me flatly, there is no mercy for me in heav'n, because I am a Jew's daughter: and he says, you are no good member of the common wealth; for, in converting Jews to christians, you raise the price of pork.

(23) Thus when you shun Scylla, your father, ] By the allusion which Launcelor makes here, 'tis evident, Skakespeare was no ftranger to this Hexameter, nor the application of it;

Incidit in Scyllam, cupiens vitare Charybdim. Eraʼmus, in his Adagies, quotes this verse as one very much in vogue with the Latines; but says, he does not remember its author. I presume, it might have been founded upon the Greek proverbial sentence, likewife quoted by him, Tην Χάρυβδιν εκφυγών τη Σκύλλη στεριέπεσον. This is one of those lambics, he tells us, which were call'd, Dimetri ακέφαλοι For my own part, (throwing out this cramp definition) I think it might have been a plain Iambic, as most of the proverbial Gnomes were, and only dismounted from its numbers by the unne. cessary insertion of the articles. I would read it; Σχύλλη περιέπεσον, Χάρυβδιν εκφυγών.

Lor.

Lor. I shall answer that better to the common-wealth, than you can the getting up of the negro's belly : the Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.

Laun. It is much, that the Moor should be more than reason: but if she be less than an honest woman, she is indeed more than I took her for.

Lor. How every fool can play upon the word! I think, the best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence, and discourse grow commendable in none but parrots.

Go in, sirrah, bid them prepare for dinner.

Laun. That is done, Sir; they have all stomachs.

Lor. Good lord, what a wit-snapper are you ! then bid them prepare

dinner. Laun. That is done too, Sir; only cover is the word. Lor. Will you cover then, Sir? Laun. Not so, Sir, neither; I know

my duty. Lor. Yet more quarrelling with occafion! wilt thou shew the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant ? I pray thee, understand a plain man in his plain meaning: go to thy fellows, bid them cover the table, serve in the meat, and we will come in to dinner.

Laun. For the table, Sir, it shall be serv'd in; for the meat, Sir, it shall be covered; for your coming in to dinner, Sir, why, let it be as humours and conceits shall govern.

[Exit Laun. Lor. O dear discretion, how his words are suited ! The fool hath planted in his memory An army of good words; and I do know A many

fools that stand in better place,
Garnish'd like him, that for a tričksy word
Defy the matter : how far'st thou, Felica?
And now, good sweet, say thy opinion,
How doft thou like the lord Bassanio's wife?

Jef. Paft all expressing : it is very meet,
The lord Basanio live an upright life.
For, having such a blessing in his lady,
He finds the joys of heaven here on earth :
And if on earth he do not merit it,
In reason he should never come to heav'n.
Why, if two Gods should play fome heav'nly match,

And

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