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The Merchant of Venice
Act 4, scene 1

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Entire Play

Antonio, the merchant in The Merchant of Venice, secures a loan from Shylock for his friend Bassanio, who seeks to court…

Act 1, scene 1

Antonio, a Venetian merchant, has invested all his wealth in trading expeditions. Bassanio, his friend and kinsman, asks him for…

Act 1, scene 2

At Portia’s estate of Belmont, Portia and Nerissa talk over Portia’s frustration at being unable to choose her own husband….

Act 1, scene 3

In Venice Bassanio goes to Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, to borrow, in Antonio’s name, 3,000 ducats. Shylock hates Antonio but…

Act 2, scene 1

At Belmont the Prince of Morocco greets Portia, who tells him the terms of the contest: if he chooses the…

Act 2, scene 2

In Venice Shylock’s servant, Lancelet Gobbo, debates whether he should find a new master. Lancelet’s father comes in search of…

Act 2, scene 3

Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, says good-bye to Lancelet and gives him a letter for Lorenzo, a friend of Bassanio. In a…

Act 2, scene 4

Lorenzo, Gratiano, Solanio, and Salarino try to arrange a masque for Bassanio’s dinner that night. Lancelet brings Lorenzo Jessica’s letter…

Act 2, scene 5

Lancelet brings Shylock an invitation to dinner at Bassanio’s. Shylock grudgingly accepts and commands Jessica to guard their house carefully….

Act 2, scene 6

Gratiano and Salarino wait for Lorenzo near Shylock’s house. As soon as Lorenzo arrives, he calls Jessica, who throws him…

Act 2, scene 7

At Belmont the Prince of Morocco attempts to choose the right chest and win Portia. He picks the gold one…

Act 2, scene 8

In Venice Solanio and Salarino discuss the latest news: Shylock’s torment over the loss of his daughter and the treasures…

Act 2, scene 9

At Belmont the Prince of Arragon attempts to win Portia by choosing the silver chest, but finds in it the…

Act 3, scene 1

In Venice Solanio and Salarino have learned that the Italian ship wrecked in the English Channel was Antonio’s. Shylock enters…

Act 3, scene 2

Portia advises Bassanio to postpone choosing for fear he should make the wrong choice. Bassanio declares himself unable to live…

Act 3, scene 3

Antonio seeks out Shylock in an effort to get the moneylender to listen to him. But Shylock insists that the…

Act 3, scene 4

Portia entrusts the management of her household to Lorenzo and pretends to leave with Nerissa for a house of an…

Act 3, scene 5

Lancelet, the clown, makes jokes at the expense of Jessica and then Lorenzo. Jessica praises Portia and jokes with Lorenzo.

Act 4, scene 1

In court at Venice, Shylock demands that the terms of his bond be fulfilled. Portia enters as a doctor of…

Act 4, scene 2

Gratiano gives the disguised Portia Bassanio’s ring. Nerissa decides to try to obtain from Gratiano the ring that she had…

Act 5, scene 1

Portia and Nerissa return to Belmont. When Bassanio and Gratiano also return, bringing Antonio with them, Portia and Nerissa “discover”…

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Scene 1
Enter the Duke, the Magnificoes, Antonio, Bassanio,
Salerio, and Gratiano, with Attendants.


DUKE What, is Antonio here?
ANTONIO Ready, so please your Grace.
DUKE 
 I am sorry for thee. Thou art come to answer
 A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch,
5 Uncapable of pity, void and empty
 From any dram of mercy.
ANTONIO  I have heard
 Your Grace hath ta’en great pains to qualify
 His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate,
10 And that no lawful means can carry me
 Out of his envy’s reach, I do oppose
 My patience to his fury, and am armed
 To suffer with a quietness of spirit
 The very tyranny and rage of his.
DUKE 
15 Go, one, and call the Jew into the court.
SALERIO 
 He is ready at the door. He comes, my lord.

Enter Shylock.

DUKE 
 Make room, and let him stand before our face.—
141

143
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ACT 4. SC. 1

 Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
 That thou but leadest this fashion of thy malice
20 To the last hour of act, and then, ’tis thought,
 Thou ’lt show thy mercy and remorse more strange
 Than is thy strange apparent cruelty;
 And where thou now exacts the penalty,
 Which is a pound of this poor merchant’s flesh,
25 Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture,
 But, touched with humane gentleness and love,
 Forgive a moi’ty of the principal,
 Glancing an eye of pity on his losses
 That have of late so huddled on his back,
30 Enow to press a royal merchant down
 And pluck commiseration of his state
 From brassy bosoms and rough hearts of flint,
 From stubborn Turks, and Tartars never trained
 To offices of tender courtesy.
35 We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.
SHYLOCK 
 I have possessed 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
40 Upon your charter and your city’s freedom!
 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 humor. Is it answered?
45 What if my house be troubled with a rat,
 And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats
 To have it baned? What, are you answered yet?
 Some men there are love not a gaping pig,
 Some that are mad if they behold a cat,
50 And others, when the bagpipe sings i’ th’ nose,
 Cannot contain their urine; for affection
 Masters oft passion, sways it to the mood

145
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ACT 4. SC. 1

 Of what it likes or loathes. Now for your answer:
 As there is no firm reason to be rendered
55 Why he cannot abide a gaping pig,
 Why he a harmless necessary cat,
 Why he a woolen bagpipe, but of force
 Must yield to such inevitable shame
 As to offend, himself being offended,
60 So can I give no reason, nor I will not,
 More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing
 I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
 A losing suit against him. Are you answered?
BASSANIO 
 This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
65 To excuse the current of thy cruelty.
SHYLOCK 
 I am not bound to please thee with my answers.
BASSANIO 
 Do all men kill the things they do not love?
SHYLOCK 
 Hates any man the thing he would not kill?
BASSANIO 
 Every offence is not a hate at first.
SHYLOCK 
70 What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?
ANTONIO, to Bassanio 
 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
75 Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb;
 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
80 As seek to soften that than which what’s harder?—
 His Jewish heart. Therefore I do beseech you

147
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ACT 4. SC. 1

 Make no more offers, use no farther means,
 But with all brief and plain conveniency
 Let me have judgment and the Jew his will.
BASSANIO 
85 For thy three thousand ducats here is 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.
DUKE 
 How shalt thou hope for mercy, rend’ring none?
SHYLOCK 
90 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
95 “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:
100 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 
105 Upon my power I may dismiss this court
 Unless Bellario, a learnèd doctor
 Whom I have sent for to determine this,
 Come here today.
SALERIO  My lord, here stays without
110 A messenger with letters from the doctor,
 New come from Padua.

149
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ACT 4. SC. 1

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
115 Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood!
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 employed, Bassanio,
120 Than to live still and write mine epitaph.

Enter Nerissa, disguised as a lawyer’s clerk.

DUKE 
 Came you from Padua, from Bellario?
NERISSA, as Clerk 
 From both, my lord. Bellario greets your Grace.
Handing him a paper, which he reads, aside, while
Shylock sharpens his knife on the sole of his shoe.

BASSANIO 
 Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?
SHYLOCK 
 To cut the forfeiture from that bankrout there.
GRATIANO 
125 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?
SHYLOCK 
 No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.
GRATIANO 
130 O, be thou damned, inexecrable dog,
 And for thy life let justice be accused;
 Thou almost mak’st me waver in my faith,
 To hold opinion with Pythagoras

151
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ACT 4. SC. 1

 That souls of animals infuse themselves
135 Into the trunks of men. Thy currish spirit
 Governed a wolf who, hanged for human slaughter,
 Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,
 And whilst thou layest in thy unhallowed dam,
 Infused itself in thee, for thy desires
140 Are wolfish, bloody, starved, and ravenous.
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.
DUKE 
145 This letter from Bellario doth commend
 A young and learnèd doctor to our court.
 Where is he?
NERISSA, as Clerk  He attendeth here hard by
 To know your answer whether you’ll admit him.
DUKE 
150 With all my heart.—Some three or four of you
 Go give him courteous conduct to this place.
Attendants exit.
 Meantime the court shall hear Bellario’s letter.
He reads.
 Your Grace shall understand that, at the receipt of
 your letter, I am very sick, but in the instant that your
155 messenger came, in loving visitation was with me a
 young doctor of Rome. His name is Balthazar. 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,
160 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 I

153
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ACT 4. SC. 1

165 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.


 You hear the learnèd Bellario what he writes.

Enter Portia for Balthazar, disguised as a doctor of
laws, with Attendants.


 And here I take it is the doctor come.—
170 Give me your hand. Come you from old Bellario?
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 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?
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
175 I am informèd throughly of the cause.
 Which is the merchant here? And which the Jew?
DUKE 
 Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 Is your name Shylock?
SHYLOCK  Shylock is my name.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
180 Of a strange nature is the suit you follow,
 Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
 Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.
 To Antonio. You stand within his danger, do you
 not?
ANTONIO 
185 Ay, so he says.
PORTIA, as Balthazar  Do you confess the bond?
ANTONIO 
 I do.
PORTIA, as Balthazar  Then must the Jew be merciful.
SHYLOCK 
 On what compulsion must I? Tell me that.

155
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ACT 4. SC. 1

PORTIA, as Balthazar 
190 The quality of mercy is not strained.
 It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
 Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
 It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
 ’Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
195 The thronèd monarch better than his crown.
 His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
 The attribute to awe and majesty
 Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
 But mercy is above this sceptered sway.
200 It is enthronèd 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,
 Though justice be thy plea, consider this:
205 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
 To mitigate the justice of thy plea,
210 Which, if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
 Must needs give sentence ’gainst the merchant
 there.
SHYLOCK 
 My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,
 The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
215 Is he not able to discharge 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.
220 If this will not suffice, it must appear

157
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ACT 4. SC. 1

 That malice bears down truth. To the Duke. And I
 beseech you,
 Wrest once the law to your authority.
 To do a great right, do a little wrong,
225 And curb this cruel devil of his will.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 It must not be. There is no power in Venice
 Can alter a decree establishèd;
 ’Twill be recorded for a precedent
 And many an error by the same example
230 Will rush into the state. It cannot be.
SHYLOCK 
 A Daniel come to judgment! Yea, a Daniel.
 O wise young judge, how I do honor thee!
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 I pray you let me look upon the bond.
SHYLOCK 
 Here ’tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.
Handing Portia a paper.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
235 Shylock, there’s thrice thy money offered thee.
SHYLOCK 
 An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven!
 Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
 No, not for Venice!
PORTIA, as Balthazar  Why, this bond is forfeit,
240 And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
 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.
SHYLOCK 
 When it is paid according to the tenor.
245 It doth appear you are a worthy judge;
 You know the law; your exposition
 Hath been most sound. I charge you by the law,
 Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar,

159
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ACT 4. SC. 1

 Proceed to judgment. By my soul I swear
250 There is no power in the tongue of man
 To alter me. I stay here on my bond.
ANTONIO 
 Most heartily I do beseech the court
 To give the judgment.
PORTIA, as Balthazar  Why, then, thus it is:
255 You must prepare your bosom for his knife—
SHYLOCK 
 O noble judge! O excellent young man!
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 For the intent and purpose of the law
 Hath full relation to the penalty,
 Which here appeareth due upon the bond.
SHYLOCK 
260 ’Tis very true. O wise and upright judge,
 How much more elder art thou than thy looks!
PORTIA, as Balthazar, to Antonio 
 Therefore lay bare your bosom—
SHYLOCK  Ay, his breast!
 So says the bond, doth it not, noble judge?
265 “Nearest his heart.” Those are the very words.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 It is so.
 Are there balance here to weigh the flesh?
SHYLOCK I have them ready.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,
270 To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.
SHYLOCK 
 Is it so nominated in the bond?
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 It is not so expressed, but what of that?
 ’Twere good you do so much for charity.
SHYLOCK 
 I cannot find it. ’Tis not in the bond.

161
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ACT 4. SC. 1

PORTIA, as Balthazar 
275 You, merchant, have you anything to say?
ANTONIO 
 But little. I am armed and well prepared.—
 Give me your hand, Bassanio. Fare you well.
 Grieve not that I am fall’n to this for you,
 For herein Fortune shows herself more kind
280 Than is her custom: it is still her use
 To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
 To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
 An age of poverty, from which ling’ring penance
 Of such misery doth she cut me off.
285 Commend me to your honorable wife,
 Tell her the process of Antonio’s end,
 Say how I loved you, speak me fair in death,
 And when the tale is told, bid her be judge
 Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
290 Repent but you that you shall lose your friend
 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.
BASSANIO 
 Antonio, I am married to a wife
295 Which is as dear to me as life itself,
 But life itself, my wife, and all the world
 Are not with me esteemed above thy life.
 I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all
 Here to this devil, to deliver you.
PORTIA, aside 
300 Your wife would give you little thanks for that
 If she were by to hear you make the offer.
GRATIANO 
 I have a wife who I protest I love.
 I would she were in heaven, so she could
 Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.

163
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ACT 4. SC. 1

NERISSA, aside 
305 ’Tis well you offer it behind her back.
 The wish would make else an unquiet house.
SHYLOCK 
 These be the Christian husbands! I have a
 daughter—
 Would any of the stock of Barabbas
310 Had been her husband, rather than a Christian!
 We trifle time. I pray thee, pursue sentence.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 A pound of that same merchant’s flesh is thine:
 The court awards it, and the law doth give it.
SHYLOCK Most rightful judge!
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
315 And you must cut this flesh from off his breast:
 The law allows it, and the court awards it.
SHYLOCK 
 Most learnèd judge! A sentence!—Come, prepare.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 Tarry a little. There is something else.
 This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood.
320 The words expressly are “a pound of flesh.”
 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
325 Unto the state of Venice.
GRATIANO 
 O upright judge!—Mark, Jew.—O learnèd judge!
SHYLOCK 
 Is that the law?
PORTIA, as Balthazar  Thyself shalt see the act.
 For, as thou urgest justice, be assured
330 Thou shalt have justice more than thou desir’st.
GRATIANO 
 O learnèd judge!—Mark, Jew, a learnèd judge!

165
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ACT 4. SC. 1

SHYLOCK 
 I take this offer then. Pay the bond thrice
 And let the Christian go.
BASSANIO  Here is the money.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
335 Soft! The Jew shall have all justice. Soft, no haste!
 He shall have nothing but the penalty.
GRATIANO 
 O Jew, an upright judge, a learnèd judge!
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh.
 Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more
340 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
 Of one poor scruple—nay, if the scale do turn
345 But in the estimation of a hair,
 Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.
GRATIANO 
 A second Daniel! A Daniel, Jew!
 Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 Why doth the Jew pause? Take thy forfeiture.
SHYLOCK 
350 Give me my principal and let me go.
BASSANIO 
 I have it ready for thee. Here it is.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 He hath refused it in the open court.
 He shall have merely justice and his bond.
GRATIANO 
 A Daniel still, say I! A second Daniel!—
355 I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
SHYLOCK 
 Shall I not have barely my principal?

167
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ACT 4. SC. 1

PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture
 To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.
SHYLOCK 
 Why, then, the devil give him good of it!
360 I’ll stay no longer question.He begins to exit.
PORTIA, as Balthazar  Tarry, Jew.
 The law hath yet another hold on you.
 It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
 If it be proved against an alien
365 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
 Comes to the privy coffer of the state,
370 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
 That indirectly, and directly too,
375 Thou hast contrived against the very life
 Of the defendant, and thou hast incurred
 The danger formerly by me rehearsed.
 Down, therefore, and beg mercy of the Duke.
GRATIANO 
 Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself!
380 And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state,
 Thou hast not left the value of a cord;
 Therefore thou must be hanged at the state’s
 charge.
DUKE 
 That thou shalt see the difference of our spirit,
385 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.

169
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ACT 4. SC. 1

PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 Ay, for the state, not for Antonio.
SHYLOCK 
390 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.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 What mercy can you render him, Antonio?
GRATIANO 
395 A halter gratis, 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
400 Upon his death unto the gentleman
 That lately stole his daughter.
 Two things provided more: that for this favor
 He presently become a Christian;
 The other, that he do record a gift,
405 Here in the court, of all he dies possessed
 Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.
DUKE 
 He shall do this, or else I do recant
 The pardon that I late pronouncèd here.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 Art thou contented, Jew? What dost thou say?
SHYLOCK 
410 I am content.
PORTIA, as Balthazar  Clerk, draw 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.
DUKE 415 Get thee gone, but do it.

171
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ACT 4. SC. 1

GRATIANO 
 In christ’ning shalt thou have two godfathers.
 Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more,
 To bring thee to the gallows, not to the font.
Shylock exits.
DUKE, to Portia as Balthazar 
 Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
420 I humbly do desire your Grace of pardon.
 I must away this night toward Padua,
 And it is meet I presently set forth.
DUKE 
 I am sorry that your leisure serves you not.—
 Antonio, gratify this gentleman,
425 For in my mind you are much bound to him.
The Duke and his train exit.
BASSANIO, to Portia as Balthazar 
 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
430 We freely cope your courteous pains withal.
ANTONIO 
 And stand indebted, over and above,
 In love and service to you evermore.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 He is well paid that is well satisfied,
 And I, delivering you, am satisfied,
435 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.
She begins to exit.
BASSANIO 
 Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further.
440 Take some remembrance of us as a tribute,

173
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ACT 4. SC. 1

 Not as fee. Grant me two things, I pray you:
 Not to deny me, and to pardon me.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 You press me far, and therefore I will yield.
 Give me your gloves; I’ll wear them for your sake—
445 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.
BASSANIO 
 This ring, good sir? Alas, it is a trifle.
 I will not shame myself to give you this.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
450 I will have nothing else but only this.
 And now methinks I have a mind to it.
BASSANIO 
 There’s more depends on this than on the value.
 The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,
 And find it out by proclamation.
455 Only for this, I pray you pardon me.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 I see, sir, you are liberal in offers.
 You taught me first to beg, and now methinks
 You teach me how a beggar should be answered.
BASSANIO 
 Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife,
460 And when she put it on, she made me vow
 That I should neither sell nor give nor lose it.
PORTIA, as Balthazar 
 That ’scuse serves many men to save their gifts.
 And if your wife be not a madwoman,
 And know how well I have deserved this ring,
465 She would not hold out enemy forever
 For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you.
Portia and Nerissa exit.
ANTONIO 
 My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring.

175
The Merchant of Venice
ACT 4. SC. 2

 Let his deservings and my love withal
 Be valued ’gainst your wife’s commandment.
BASSANIO 
470 Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him.
 Give him the ring, and bring him if thou canst
 Unto Antonio’s house. Away, make haste.
Gratiano exits.
 Come, you and I will thither presently,
 And in the morning early will we both
475 Fly toward Belmont.—Come, Antonio.
They exit.