The Merchant of Venice: Act 4, Scene 1
Enter the DUKE, the Magnificoes,
[SALERIO], GRATIANO, [with others].
1What, is Antonio here?
2Ready, so please your grace.
3I am sorry for thee: thou art come to answer
4A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch
5Uncapable of pity, void and empty
6From any dram of mercy.
6I have heard
7Your grace hath ta'en great pains to qualify
8His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate
9And that no lawful means can carry me
10Out of his envy's reach, I do oppose
11My patience to his fury, and am arm'd
12To suffer, with a quietness of spirit,
13The very tyranny and rage of his.
14Go one, and call the Jew into the court.
15He is ready at the door: he comes, my lord.
16Make room, and let him stand before our face.
17Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
18That thou but leadest this fashion of thy malice
19To the last hour of act; and then 'tis thought
20Thou'lt show thy mercy and remorse more strange
21Than is thy strange apparent cruelty;
22And where thou now exact'st the penalty,
23Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh,
24Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture,
25But, touch'd with human gentleness and love,
26Forgive a moi'ty of the principal;
27Glancing an eye of pity on his losses,
28That have of late so huddled on his back,
29Enow to press a royal merchant down
30And pluck commiseration of his state
31From brassy bosoms and rough hearts of flint,
32From stubborn Turks and Tartars, never train'd
33To offices of tender courtesy.
34We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.
35I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose;
36And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn
37To have the due and forfeit of my bond:
38If you deny it, let the danger light
39Upon your charter and your city's freedom.
40You'll ask me, why I rather choose to have
41A weight of carrion flesh than to receive
42Three thousand ducats: I'll not answer that:
43But, say, it is my humor: is it answer'd?
44What if my house be troubled with a rat
45And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats
46To have it ban'd? What, are you answer'd yet?
47Some men there are love not a gaping pig;
48Some, that are mad if they behold a cat;
49And others, when the bagpipe sings i' the nose,
50Cannot contain their urine: for affection,
51Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood
52Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer:
53As there is no firm reason to be render'd,
54Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;
55Why he, a harmless necessary cat;
56Why he, a woolen bagpipe; but of force
57Must yield to such inevitable shame
58As to offend, himself being offended;
59So can I give no reason, nor I will not,
60More than a lodg'd hate and a certain loathing
61I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
62A losing suit against him. Are you answer'd?
63This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
64To excuse the current of thy cruelty.
65I am not bound to please thee with my answers.
66Do all men kill the things they do not love?
67Hates any man the thing he would not kill?
68Every offence is not a hate at first.
69What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?
70I pray you, think you question with the Jew:
71You may as well go stand upon the beach
72And bid the main flood bate his usual height;
73You may as well use question with the wolf
74Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb;
75You may as well forbid the mountain pines
76To wag their high tops and to make no noise,
77When they are fretten with the gusts of heaven;
78You may as well do anything most hard,
79As seek to soften that than which what's harder?
80His Jewish heart: therefore, I do beseech you,
81Make no more offers, use no farther means,
82But with all brief and plain conveniency
83Let me have judgment and the Jew his will.
84For thy three thousand ducats here is six.
85If every ducat in six thousand ducats
86Were in six parts and every part a ducat,
87I would not draw them; I would have my bond.
88How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?
89What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?
90You have among you many a purchased slave,
91Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,
92You use in abject and in slavish parts,
93Because you bought them: shall I say to you,
94Let them be free, marry them to your heirs?
95Why sweat they under burdens? let their beds
96Be made as soft as yours and let their palates
97Be season'd with such viands? You will answer
98"The slaves are ours": so do I answer you:
99The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,
100Is dearly bought; 'tis mine and I will have it.
101If you deny me, fie upon your law!
102There is no force in the decrees of Venice.
103I stand for judgment: answer; shall I have it?
104Upon my power I may dismiss this court,
105Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
106Whom I have sent for to determine this,
107Come here today.
107My lord, here stays without
108A messenger with letters from the doctor,
109New come from Padua.
110Bring us the letter; call the messenger.
111Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet!
112The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones and all,
113Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.
114I am a tainted wether of the flock,
115Meetest for death: the weakest kind of fruit
116Drops earliest to the ground; and so let me
117You cannot better be employ'd, Bassanio,
118Than to live still and write mine epitaph.
[dressed like a lawyer's clerk].
119Came you from Padua, from Bellario?
120From both, my lord. Bellario greets your grace.
[Presenting a letter.]
121Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?
122To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.
123Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,
124Thou makest thy knife keen; but no metal can,
125No, not the hangman's axe, bear half the keenness
126Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?
127No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.
128O, be thou damn'd, inexecrable dog!
129And for thy life let justice be accused.
130Thou almost makest me waver in my faith
131To hold opinion with Pythagoras,
132That souls of animals infuse themselves
133Into the trunks of men: thy currish spirit
134Govern'd a wolf, who, hang'd for human slaughter,
135Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,
136And, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallow'd dam,
137Infused itself in thee; for thy desires
138Are wolvish, bloody, starved and ravenous.
139Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,
140Thou but offend'st thy lungs to speak so loud:
141Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall
142To cureless ruin. I stand here for law.
143This letter from Bellario doth commend
144A young and learned doctor to our court.
145Where is he?
145He attendeth here hard by,
146To know your answer, whether you'll admit him.
147With all my heart. Some three or four of you
148Go give him courteous conduct to this place.
149Meantime the court shall hear Bellario's letter.
150"Your grace shall understand that at
151the receipt of your letter I am very sick: but in
152the instant that your messenger came, in loving
153visitation was with me a young doctor of Rome;
154his name is Balthasar. I acquainted him with the
155cause in controversy between the Jew and
156Antonio the merchant: we turned o'er many books
157together: he is furnished with my opinion; which,
158bettered with his own learning, the greatness
159whereof I cannot enough commend, comes with
160him, at my importunity, to fill up your grace's
161request in my stead. I beseech you, let his lack of
162years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend
163estimation; for I never knew so young a body with
164so old a head. I leave him to your gracious
165acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his
167You hear the learn'd Bellario, what he writes:
168And here, I take it, is the doctor come.
Enter PORTIA for Balthazar.
169Give me your hand. Come you from old Bellario?
170I did, my lord.
170You are welcome: take your place.
171Are you acquainted with the difference
172That holds this present question in the court?
173I am informed throughly of the cause.
174Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?
175Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
176Is your name Shylock?
176Shylock is my name.
177Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;
178Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
179Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.
180You stand within his danger, do you not?
181Ay, so he says.
181Do you confess the bond?
182Then must the Jew be merciful.
183On what compulsion must I? tell me that.
184The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
185It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
186Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
187It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
188'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
189The throned monarch better than his crown;
190His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
191The attribute to awe and majesty,
192Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
193But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
194It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
195It is an attribute to God himself;
196And earthly power doth then show likest God's
197When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
198Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
199That, in the course of justice, none of us
200Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
201And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
202The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
203To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
204Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
205Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.
206My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,
207The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
208Is he not able to discharge the money?
209Yes, here I tender it for him in the court;
210Yea, twice the sum: if that will not suffice,
211I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er,
212On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart:
213If this will not suffice, it must appear
214That malice bears down truth.
[To the Duke.]
214And I beseech you,
215Wrest once the law to your authority:
216To do a great right, do a little wrong,
217And curb this cruel devil of his will.
218It must not be; there is no power in Venice
219Can alter a decree established:
220'Twill be recorded for a precedent,
221And many an error by the same example
222Will rush into the state: it cannot be.
223A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel!
224O wise young judge, how I do honor thee!
225I pray you, let me look upon the bond.
226Here 'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.
227Shylock, there's thrice thy money offer'd thee.
228An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven:
229Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
230No, not for Venice.
230Why, this bond is forfeit;
231And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
232A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
233Nearest the merchant's heart. Be merciful:
234Take thrice thy money; bid me tear the bond.
235When it is paid according to the tenor.
236It doth appear you are a worthy judge;
237You know the law, your exposition
238Hath been most sound: I charge you by the law,
239Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar,
240Proceed to judgment: by my soul I swear
241There is no power in the tongue of man
242To alter me: I stay here on my bond.
243Most heartily I do beseech the court
244To give the judgment.
244Why then, thus it is:
245You must prepare your bosom for his knife.
246O noble judge! O excellent young man!
247For the intent and purpose of the law
248Hath full relation to the penalty,
249Which here appeareth due upon the bond.
250'Tis very true: O wise and upright judge!
251How much more elder art thou than thy looks!
252Therefore lay bare your bosom.
252Ay, his breast:
253So says the bond: doth it not, noble judge?
254"Nearest his heart": those are the very words.
255It is so. Are there balance here to weigh
256I have them ready.
257Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,
258To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.
259Is it so nominated in the bond?
260It is not so express'd: but what of that?
261'Twere good you do so much for charity.
262I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond.
263You, merchant, have you any thing to say?
264But little: I am arm'd and well prepared.
265Give me your hand, Bassanio: fare you well!
266Grieve not that I am fallen to this for you;
267For herein Fortune shows herself more kind
268Than is her custom: it is still her use
269To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
270To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
271An age of poverty; from which lingering penance
272Of such misery doth she cut me off.
273Commend me to your honorable wife:
274Tell her the process of Antonio's end;
275Say how I loved you, speak me fair in death;
276And, when the tale is told, bid her be judge
277Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
278Repent but you that you shall lose your friend,
279And he repents not that he pays your debt;
280For if the Jew do cut but deep enough,
281I'll pay it presently with all my heart.
282Antonio, I am married to a wife
283Which is as dear to me as life itself;
284But life itself, my wife, and all the world,
285Are not with me esteem'd above thy life:
286I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all
287Here to this devil, to deliver you.
288Your wife would give you little thanks for that,
289If she were by, to hear you make the offer.
290I have a wife, whom, I protest, I love:
291I would she were in heaven, so she could
292Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.
293'Tis well you offer it behind her back;
294The wish would make else an unquiet house.
295These be the Christian husbands. I have a daughter;
296Would any of the stock of Barrabas
297Had been her husband rather than a Christian!
298We trifle time: I pray thee, pursue sentence.
299A pound of that same merchant's flesh is thine:
300The court awards it, and the law doth give it.
301Most rightful judge!
302And you must cut this flesh from off his breast:
303The law allows it, and the court awards it.
304Most learned judge! A sentence! Come, prepare!
305Tarry a little; there is something else.
306This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
307The words expressly are "a pound of flesh":
308Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh;
309But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
310One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
311Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
312Unto the state of Venice.
313O upright judge! Mark, Jew: O learned judge!
314Is that the law?
314Thyself shalt see the act:
315For, as thou urgest justice, be assured
316Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desirest.
317O learned judge! Mark, Jew: a learned judge!
318I take this offer, then; pay the bond thrice
319And let the Christian go.
319Here is the money.
321The Jew shall have all justice; soft! no haste:
322He shall have nothing but the penalty.
323O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!
324Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh.
325Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more
326But just a pound of flesh: if thou cut'st more
327Or less than a just pound, be it but so much
328As makes it light or heavy in the substance,
329Or the division of the twentieth part
330Of one poor scruple, nay, if the scale do turn
331But in the estimation of a hair,
332Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate.
333A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew!
334Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.
335Why doth the Jew pause? take thy forfeiture.
336Give me my principal, and let me go.
337I have it ready for thee; here it is.
338He hath refused it in the open court:
339He shall have merely justice and his bond.
340A Daniel, still say I, a second Daniel!
341I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
342Shall I not have barely my principal?
343Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture,
344To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.
345Why, then the devil give him good of it!
346I'll stay no longer question.
347The law hath yet another hold on you.
348It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
349If it be proved against an alien
350That by direct or indirect attempts
351He seek the life of any citizen,
352The party 'gainst the which he doth contrive
353Shall seize one half his goods; the other half
354Comes to the privy coffer of the state;
355And the offender's life lies in the mercy
356Of the duke only, 'gainst all other voice.
357In which predicament, I say, thou stand'st;
358For it appears, by manifest proceeding,
359That indirectly and directly too
360Thou hast contrived against the very life
361Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr'd
362The danger formerly by me rehears'd.
363Down therefore and beg mercy of the duke.
364Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself:
365And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state,
366Thou hast not left the value of a cord;
367Therefore thou must be hang'd at the state's charge.
368That thou shalt see the difference of our spirits,
369I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it:
370For half thy wealth, it is Antonio's;
371The other half comes to the general state,
372Which humbleness may drive unto a fine.
373Ay, for the state, not for Antonio.
374Nay, take my life and all; pardon not that:
375You take my house when you do take the prop
376That doth sustain my house; you take my life
377When you do take the means whereby I live.
378What mercy can you render him, Antonio?
379A halter gratis; nothing else, for God's sake.
380So please my lord the duke and all the court
381To quit the fine for one half of his goods,
382I am content; so he will let me have
383The other half in use, to render it,
384Upon his death, unto the gentleman
385That lately stole his daughter:
386Two things provided more, that, for this favor,
387He presently become a Christian;
388The other, that he do record a gift,
389Here in the court, of all he dies possess'd,
390Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.
391He shall do this, or else I do recant
392The pardon that I late pronounced here.
393Art thou contented, Jew? what dost thou say?
394I am content.
394Clerk, draw a deed of gift.
395I pray you, give me leave to go from hence;
396I am not well: send the deed after me,
397And I will sign it.
397Get thee gone, but do it.
398In christening shalt thou have two godfathers:
399Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more,
400To bring thee to the gallows, not the font.
401Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.
402I humbly do desire your grace of pardon:
403I must away this night toward Padua,
404And it is meet I presently set forth.
405I am sorry that your leisure serves you not.
406Antonio, gratify this gentleman,
407For, in my mind, you are much bound to him.
Exeunt Duke and his Train.
408Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend
409Have by your wisdom been this day acquitted
410Of grievous penalties; in lieu whereof,
411Three thousand ducats, due unto the Jew,
412We freely cope your courteous pains withal.
413And stand indebted, over and above,
414In love and service to you evermore.
415He is well paid that is well satisfied;
416And I, delivering you, am satisfied
417And therein do account myself well paid:
418My mind was never yet more mercenary.
419I pray you, know me when we meet again:
420I wish you well, and so I take my leave.
421Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further:
422Take some remembrance of us, as a tribute,
423Not as a fee: grant me two things, I pray you,
424Not to deny me, and to pardon me.
425You press me far, and therefore I will yield.
426Give me your gloves, I'll wear them for your sake;
427And, for your love, I'll take this ring from you:
428Do not draw back your hand; I'll take no more;
429And you in love shall not deny me this.
430This ring, good sir, alas, it is a trifle!
431I will not shame myself to give you this.
432I will have nothing else but only this;
433And now methinks I have a mind to it.
434There's more depends on this than on the value.
435The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,
436And find it out by proclamation:
437Only for this, I pray you, pardon me.
438I see, sir, you are liberal in offers
439You taught me first to beg; and now methinks
440You teach me how a beggar should be answer'd.
441Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife;
442And when she put it on, she made me vow
443That I should neither sell nor give nor lose it.
444That 'scuse serves many men to save their gifts.
445An if your wife be not a madwoman,
446And know how well I have deserved the ring,
447She would not hold out enemy for ever,
448For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!
Exeunt [Portia and Nerissa].
449My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring:
450Let his deservings and my love withal
451Be valued against your wife's commandment.
452Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him;
453Give him the ring, and bring him, if thou canst,
454Unto Antonio's house: away! make haste.
455Come, you and I will thither presently;
456And in the morning early will we both
457Fly toward Belmont: come, Antonio.