« ÎnapoiContinuă »
Were in six parts, and every part a ducat,
Shy. What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong? You have among you many a purchased 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? Why sweat they under burdens? Let their beds Be made as soft as yours, and let their palates Be seasoned with such viands? You will answer, The slaves are ours. So do I answer you. The pound of flesh, which I demand of him, 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? Duke. Upon my power I may dismiss this court, Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
Whom I have sent for to determine this,
Come here to-day.
Duke. Bring us the letters; call the messenger. Bass. Good cheer, Antonio! What, man? courage yet!
The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all,
Enter NERISSA, dressed like a Lawyer's Clerk. Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario? Ner. From both, my lord. Bellario greets your [Presents a letter. Bass. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly? Shy. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there. Gra. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew, 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?
Shy. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.
That souls of animals infuse themselves
Shy. Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,
Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend A young and learned doctor to our court.— Where is he?
Ner. He attendeth here hard by, To know your answer, whether you'll admit him. Duke. With all my heart; some three or four of you, Go, give him courteous conduct to this place. Mean time the court shall hear Bellario's letter.
[Clerk reads.] 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 is Bal
thasar. 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 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 1 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.
Duke. You hear the learned Bellario, what he writes. And here, I take it, is the doctor come.—
Enter PORTIA dressed like a Doctor of Laws. Give me your hand. Came you from old Bellario? Por. I did, my lord. Duke. You are welcome; take your place Are you acquainted with the difference That holds this present question in the court?
Por. I am informed thoroughly of the cause. Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew? Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth. Por. Is your name Shylock?
Shylock is my name. Por. Of a strange nature is the suit you follow ; Yet in such rule, that the Venetian law Cannot impugn1 you, as you do proceedYou stand within his danger, do you not?
Do you confess the bond?
Ant. Ay, so he says.
Ant. I do.
Then must the Jew be merciful. Shy. On what compulsion must I? Tell me that. Por. The quality of mercy is not strained;
1 To impugn is to oppose, to controvert.
2 i. e. within his reach or control. The phrase is thought to be derived from a similar one in the monkish Latin of the middle age.
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's,
Shy. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law, The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
Por. Is he not able to discharge the money? Bass. 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. If this will not suffice, it must appear
That malice bears down truth.1 And I beseech you,
To do a great right, do a little wrong;
Por. 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.
1 i. e. malice oppressed honesty; a true man, in old language, is an honest We now call the jury good men and true.
Shy. A Daniel come to judgment! Yea, a Daniel !--O wise young judge, how do I honor thee!
Por. I pray you, let me look upon the bond. Shy. Here 'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is. Por. Shylock, there's thrice thy money offered thee. Shy. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven. Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
No, not for Venice.
Why, this bond is forfeit;
Shy. When it is paid according to the tenor.-
Ant. Most heartily I do beseech the court
Why, then, thus it is.
Shy. O noble judge! O excellent young man!
Shy. 'Tis very true. O wise and upright judge!
Ay, his breast;
So says the bond.-Doth it not, noble judge?-
Por. It is so. Are there balance here, to weigh The flesh?
I have them ready.
Por. Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge, To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.