The Merchant of Venice: Act 3, Scene 4
Enter PORTIA, NERISSA, LORENZO,
JESSICA, and [BALTHASAR] a man of
1Madam, although I speak it in your presence,
2You have a noble and a true conceit
3Of godlike amity; which appears most strongly
4In bearing thus the absence of your lord.
5But if you knew to whom you show this honor,
6How true a gentleman you send relief,
7How dear a lover of my lord your husband,
8I know you would be prouder of the work
9. bounty: benevolence. enforce: urge upon.
9Than customary bounty can enforce you.
10I never did repent for doing good,
11Nor shall not now: for in companions
12. waste: spend.
12That do converse and waste the time together,
13. egall: equal.
13Whose souls do bear an egall yoke of love,
14. needs: of necessity. proportion: agreement, correspondence.
14There must be needs a like proportion
15Of lineaments, of manners and of spirit;
16Which makes me think that this Antonio,
17Being the bosom lover of my lord,
18Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,
19How little is the cost I have bestow'd
20. the semblance of my soul: i.e., Antonio, so like my Bassanio.
20In purchasing the semblance of my soul
21From out the state of hellish misery!
22This comes too near the praising of myself;
23Therefore no more of it: hear other things.
24Lorenzo, I commit into your hands
25. husbandry and manage: care and management of the household.
25The husbandry and manage of my house
26Until my lord's return: for mine own part,
27I have toward heaven breathed a secret vow
28To live in prayer and contemplation,
29Only attended by Nerissa here,
30Until her husband and my lord's return:
31There is a monastery two miles off;
32And there will we abide. I do desire you
33. deny this imposition: refuse this charge imposed.
33Not to deny this imposition;
34The which my love and some necessity
35Now lays upon you.
35Madam, with all my heart;
36I shall obey you in all fair commands.
37My people do already know my mind,
38And will acknowledge you and Jessica
39In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.
40And so farewell, till we shall meet again.
41Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!
42I wish your ladyship all heart's content.
43I thank you for your wish, and am well pleased
44To wish it back on you: fare you well Jessica.
Exeunt [Jessica and Lorenzo].
46As I have ever found thee honest-true,
47So let me find thee still. Take this same letter,
48And use thou all th' endeavor of a man
49. Padua: A famed center for the study of civil law.
49In speed to Padua: see thou render this
50. cousin's: kinsman's.
50Into my cousin's hand, Doctor Bellario;
51. look what: whatever.
51And look what notes and garments he doth give thee,
52. imagin'd speed: speed of imagination, as quick as thought. 53. traject: Explained as from Italian traghetto, "ferry." common: public. 54. trades: plies back and forth.
52Bring them, I pray thee, with imagined speed
53Unto the traject, to the common ferry
54Which trades to Venice. Waste no time in words,
55But get thee gone: I shall be there before thee.
56. convenient: due, appropriate.
56Madam, I go with all convenient speed.
57Come on, Nerissa; I have work in hand
58That you yet know not of: we'll see our husbands
59Before they think of us.
59Shall they see us?
60. a habit: apparel, garb.
60They shall, Nerissa; but in such a habit,
61. accomplished: supplied, equipped.
61That they shall think we are accomplished
62With that we lack. I'll hold thee any wager,
63When we are both accoutred like young men,
64I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
65And wear my dagger with the braver grace,
66And speak between the change of man and boy
67With a reed voice, and turn two mincing steps
68Into a manly stride, and speak of frays
69. quaint: skillfully contrived, elaborate.
69Like a fine bragging youth, and tell quaint lies,
70How honorable ladies sought my love,
71Which I denying, they fell sick and died;
72. do withal: help it.
72I could not do withal; then I'll repent,
73And wish for all that, that I had not killed them;
74. puny: petty. childish.
74And twenty of these puny lies I'll tell,
75‑76. I have discontinued school / Above a twelvemonth: I have been out of school at least a year. Portia is being ironic. 77. Jacks: ill-mannered fellows.
75That men shall swear I have discontinued school
76Above a twelvemonth. I have within my mind
77A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks,
78. turn to: turn into. Portia makes Nerissa's phrase into a bawdy joke.
78Which I will practice.
78Why, shall we turn to men?
79Fie, what a question's that,
80If thou wert near a lewd interpreter!
81But come, I'll tell thee all my whole device
82When I am in my coach, which stays for us
83At the park gate; and therefore haste away,
84For we must measure twenty miles today.