A line-by-line translation

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice Translation Act 4, Scene 1

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Enter the DUKE, the magnificoes, ANTONIO, BASSANIO, GRATIANO, SALERIO, and others

DUKE

What, is Antonio here?

DUKE

Well, is Antonio here?

ANTONIO

Ready, so please your grace.

ANTONIO

I'm here and ready, as you please.

DUKE

I am sorry for thee. Thou art come to answer A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch Uncapable of pity, void and empty From any dram of mercy.

DUKE

I am sorry for you. You have come here to face an adversary as stubborn as a rock, an inhuman wretch incapable of pity, completely empty of a single drop of mercy.

ANTONIO

I have heard Your grace hath ta'en great pains to qualify His rigorous course. But since he stands obdurate 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.

ANTONIO

I have heard that you have tried your hardest to change his rigid mind. But since he remains stubborn and there's nothing I can do legally to escape him, I will meet his anger with patience and suffer his tyranny and rage quietly.

DUKE

Go, one, and call the Jew into the court.

DUKE

One of you men go and tell the Jew to come to the court.

SALERIO

He is ready at the door. He comes, my lord.

SALERIO

He is waiting outside the door. Here he comes, my lord.

Enter SHYLOCK

DUKE

Make room, and let him stand before our face.— Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too, That thou but lead’st this fashion of thy malice 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— Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture But—touched with human gentleness and love,— Forgive a moiety of the principal, Glancing an eye of pity on his losses That have of late so huddled on his back Eno' 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. We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.

DUKE

Make room, so that he can stand right in front of me.  Shylock, everyone thinks—and I agree—that you're just putting on a show of such malice until the very last minute, and then you will at last show some mercy and remorse, something maybe even more shocking to see from you than your cruelty. It is widely thought that you will not only forget about the penalty, a pound of this poor merchant's flesh, but will even let some of the money go, touched by human gentleness and love, out of pity for the losses that recently have come to weigh upon Antonio, which were enough to ruin a royal merchant, enough to make even the stone-hearted feel bad for him, enough to make even the stubborn Turks and Tartars, who aren't used to showing any courtesy, take pity on him. We all expect a gentle reply to this from you, 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 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 humour. Is it answered? 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, And others, when the bagpipe sings i' th' nose, Cannot contain their urine. For affection, Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer: As there is no firm reason to be rendered Why he cannot abide a gaping pig; Why he, a harmless necessary cat; Why he, a woollen bagpipe, but of force Must yield to such inevitable shame As to offend, himself being offended— 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?

SHYLOCK

Your grace, I have told you what my intention is, and I have sworn by the holy Sabbath to take what is owed to me by our legal contract. If you deny me this rightful penalty, it will reflect poorly upon your city and its freedom. I'm sure you're going to ask me why I would choose to have a pound of flesh rather than the three thousand ducats I've been offered. I won't give you any answer other than to say I just feel like it. Is that enough of an answer? What if I had a rat in my house and I felt like paying ten thousand ducats to have it killed? Is that enough of an answer for you? Some men dislike pigs, others go crazy if they see a cat, and others can't help but urinate when they hear the bagpipes. People's likes and dislikes are fickle and depend on a person's mood. Now, as for your answer: just as a man who dislikes pigs, or who dislikes a harmless cat, or who can't help but embarrassingly urinate at the sound of bagpipes, has no real reason for this, so I can give no reason, and won't give one (aside from my long-standing hate and loathing for Antonio), for following through on our agreement. Is that enough of an answer for you?

BASSANIO

This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,To excuse the current of thy cruelty.

BASSANIO

This is not a sufficient answer, you unfeeling man, to excuse your cruelty.

SHYLOCK

I am not bound to please thee with my answers.

SHYLOCK

I don't have to please you with answers.

BASSANIO

Do all men kill the things they do not love?

BASSANIO

Do all men kill things they dislike?

SHYLOCK

Hates any man the thing he would not kill?

SHYLOCK

Wouldn't everyone like to kill the things they hate?

BASSANIO

Every offense is not a hate at first.

BASSANIO

Not every act of wrongdoing must lead to hate. 

SHYLOCK

What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?

SHYLOCK

What, would you let a snake sting you 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 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, As seek to soften that—than which what’s harder?— His Jewish heart. Therefore I do beseech you Make no more offers, use no farther means, But with all brief and plain conveniency Let me have judgment and the Jew his will.

ANTONIO

[To BASSANIO] Please, are you trying to reason with the Jew? You might as well go stand on the beach and ask the tide not to come in as high as is its custom. You might as well ask the wolf why he makes the ewe cry by eating the lamb. You might as well forbid the mountain pines from swaying with their high tops and tell them to make no noise when gusts of wind blow through them. You might as well do anything impossible as try to soften his Jewish heart—is there anything harder than his heart? Therefore I ask you to make no more offers and use no more strategies to persuade him. Rather, let judgment be passed on me and let the Jew have his way without any more delay.

BASSANIO

[to SHYLOCK] For thy three thousand ducats here is six.

BASSANIO

[To Shylock] Here's six thousand ducats instead of the three thousand for you.

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.

SHYLOCK

I wouldn't take your offer if it were six times six thousand ducats. I would still take what is legally owed to me.

DUKE

How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?

DUKE

How can you hope for mercy if you don't show it yourself?

SHYLOCK

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?

SHYLOCK

Why should I worry about mercy when I've done nothing wrong? You have among you many purchased slaves that you use horribly like donkeys, dogs, or mules because you bought them. Should I tell you to free them and marry them to your heirs? Why do you make them sweat doing work? Why not let their beds be as soft as yours and let them eat the same fine foods as you? If I said that, you'd tell me that the slaves are yours. I give you the same answer. I have bought the pound of flesh that I demand from him. It is mine and I will have it. If you deny me, your laws mean nothing and there's no power to legal agreements in Venice. What's your opinion of that? Tell me what your response is.

DUKE

Upon my power I may dismiss this court, Unless Bellario, a learnèd doctor, Whom I have sent for to determine this, Come here today.

DUKE

I have the power to dismiss this court, unless Bellario, a learned doctor of law, comes here today. I have sent for him to decide about this case.

SALERIO

My lord, here stays withoutA messenger with letters from the doctor,New come from Padua.

SALERIO

My lord, there's a messenger standing just outside with letters from Bellario. He's just arrived from Padua.

DUKE

Bring us the letter. Call the messenger.

DUKE

Bring me the letter and call the messenger in.

BASSANIO

Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet!The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones and all,Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.

BASSANIO

Cheer up, Antonio! Keep your courage, man! The Jew will have all my flesh, blood, and bones before I let him take one drop of blood from you on my account.

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, Than to live still and write mine epitaph.

ANTONIO

I am like a diseased sheep in a flock, one who ought to die. The weakest fruit drops earliest to the ground. Let me drop like that fruit. The best thing you can do, Bassanio, is stay alive and write my epitaph.

Enter NERISSA, disguised as a clerk

DUKE

Came you from Padua, from Bellario?

DUKE

Have you come from Padua, from Bellario?

NERISSA

From both, my lord. Bellario greets your grace. [gives DUKE a letter]

NERISSA

Yes, from both, my lord. Bellario sends his greetings, your grace.

[NERISSA gives the DUKE a letter]

SHYLOCK sharpens a knife on the bottom of his shoe

BASSANIO

[to SHYLOCK] Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?

BASSANIO

[To SHYLOCK] Why are you sharpening your knife so eagerly?

SHYLOCK

To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.

SHYLOCK

To cut what is owed to me off of that bankrupt man over there.

GRATIANO

Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew, Thou makest 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?

GRATIANO

You should be sharpening your knife not on the sole of your shoe, harsh Jew, but on your hardened soul. But no blade, not even the executioner's axe, is half as sharp as your sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce your stubborn heart?

SHYLOCK

No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.

SHYLOCK

No, at least no prayers that you are smart enough to make.

GRATIANO

O, be thou damned, inexecrable dog, And for thy life let justice be accused! Thou almost makest me waver in my faith To hold opinion with Pythagoras That souls of animals infuse themselves 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 Are wolvish, bloody, starved, and ravenous.

GRATIANO

Oh, damn you, you relentless dog! I hope justice comes to you! You almost make me change my mind and agree with Pythagoras that the souls of animals enter the bodies of men. You have the spirit of a dog, of a wolf that was killed for killing a human, but even as it was being killed its soul left its body and entered you while you were in your mother's pregnant belly. Your desires 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.

SHYLOCK

Unless you can rip the official seal off my contract, all you're doing by speaking so loudly is hurting your own lungs. Take care of your mind, young man, or it wall fall apart with time. I support the law.

DUKE

This letter from Bellario doth commendA young and learnèd doctor to our court.Where is he?

DUKE

This letter from Bellario recommends a young and well-educated doctor of law to our court. Where is this man?

NERISSA

He attendeth here hard by To know your answer whether you’ll admit him.

NERISSA

He is waiting nearby to hear whether you'll let him into the court.

DUKE

With all my heart.—Some three or four of you Go give him courteous conduct to this place.— Meantime the court shall hear Bellario’s letter. [reads] “Your grace shall understand that at the receipt of your letter I am very sick, but in the instant that yourmessenger 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 theJew and Antonio the merchant. We turned o'er many bookstogether. 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 tolet him lack a reverend estimation, for I never knew soyoung a body with so old a head. I leave him to your gracious acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his commendation.”

DUKE

With all my heart, I'll let him in. Three or four of you go and courteously bring him here. In the meantime, the court will hear Bellario's letter.

[He reads the letter aloud]
 "Your grace should understand that at the time you are reading this I am very sick, but when your messenger came to me I happened to have a young lawyer from Rome visiting. His name is Balthazar. I told him about the controversial case between the Jew and Antonio the merchant. We consulted many law books together. He knows my opinion on the matter, which has been enriched by his own intelligence, which I can't speak of highly enough, and he brings my opinion to you in my place. I beg you, don't let his young age make you underestimate him. I have never seen a young man with so much wisdom. I hope you will welcome him graciously, and you will see how worthy of my recommendation he is."

Enter PORTIA for Balthazar, disguised as a doctor of law

You hear the learned Bellario, what he writes.And here I take it is the doctor come.—Give me your hand. Come you from old Bellario?

You all have heard what the educated Bellario has written. And I assume this is the lawyer coming now.

[To PORTIA, as Balthazar]
 Give me your hand. Have you come from old Bellario?

PORTIA

I did, my lord.

PORTIA

Yes, my lord.

DUKE

You are welcome. Take your place.Are you acquainted with the differenceThat holds this present question in the court?

DUKE

Welcome. Take your place here. Are you familiar with the different sides of the case facing the court right now?

PORTIA

I am informèd thoroughly of the cause.Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?

PORTIA

I have been thoroughly informed about the case. Which one of these men is the merchant, and which is the Jew?

DUKE

Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.

DUKE

Antonio and old Shylock, both of you come forward.

PORTIA

Is your name Shylock?

PORTIA

Is your name Shylock?

SHYLOCK

Shylock is my name.

SHYLOCK

Shylock is my name.

PORTIA

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?

PORTIA

You are pursuing a strange case, but there is nothing under Venetian law that can stop you from proceeding.

[To ANTONIO]
 You are at his mercy, aren't you?

ANTONIO

Ay, so he says.

ANTONIO

Yes, as Shylock says.

PORTIA

Do you confess the bond?

PORTIA

Do you confess that you have broken the agreement?

ANTONIO

I do.

ANTONIO

I do.

PORTIA

Then must the Jew be merciful.

PORTIA

Then the Jew must be merciful.

SHYLOCK

On what compulsion must I? Tell me that.

SHYLOCK

Why must I? Tell me why.

PORTIA

The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. 'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes 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. 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— 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, Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.

PORTIA

Mercy is not something that one is forced to practice. It falls easily like gentle rain from the sky. It is a doubly blessed thing: it blesses both the person showing mercy and the person receiving mercy. Mercy is most admirable in the mightiest men. It looks better on a king than his crown. A king's scepter is a symbol of his earthly power, a source of awe and majesty, which makes people respect and fear him. But mercy is above the power of the scepter. It dwells in the hearts of kings. It is an attribute of God himself. And earthly power resembles God's power when justice is mixed with mercy. Therefore, Jew, although you are seeking justice, consider this: if God sought justice against all of us with no mercy, we would all go to hell. We pray to God for mercy, and that same prayer should teach us all to show mercy to others. This is what I have to say against your desire to seek justice and make the strict court of Venice carry out the merchant's punishment.

SHYLOCK

My deeds upon my head. I crave the law,The penalty, and forfeit of my bond.

SHYLOCK

My deeds are my responsibility. I want the law to be upheld, the penalty, that which he must forfeit because of the loan.

PORTIA

Is he not able to discharge the money?

PORTIA

Can he not pay the money back?

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. If this will not suffice, it must appear That malice bears down truth.— [to DUKE] And I beseech you, Wrest once the law to your authority. To do a great right, do a little wrong, And curb this cruel devil of his will.

BASSANIO

Yes, here, I have the money for him in the court, even twice the sum. If that is not enough, I will pay ten times the sum of money, or else give up my hands, my head, my heart. If none of this is enough, then Shylock's malice overwhelms his honesty.

[To the DUKE]
 And I beg you, bend the law to your authority. Violate the law a little to do the right thing, and stop this cruel devil from getting what he wants. 

PORTIA

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 Will rush into the state. It cannot be.

PORTIA

He must not do that. No one in Venice is powerful enough to alter an agreed-upon decree. It would set a bad precedent, and many errors would be made by following it as an example. That cannot happen.

SHYLOCK

A Daniel come to judgment, yea, a Daniel!—O wise young judge, how I do honor thee!

SHYLOCK

A Daniel is now judging, yes, a Daniel! I honor you, wise young judge.

PORTIA

I pray you, let me look upon the bond.

PORTIA

Please, let me look at the agreement.

SHYLOCK

[giving PORTIA a document] Here ’tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.

SHYLOCK

[He gives PORTIA a document] Here it is, most honorable lawyer, here it is.

PORTIA

Shylock, there’s thrice thy money offered thee.

PORTIA

Shylock, you are being offered three times the money you are owed.

SHYLOCK

An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven.Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?No, not for Venice.

SHYLOCK

An oath, an oath, I have made an oath by heaven. Should I backtrack on my oath and make my soul guilty of perjury? No, not even for all of Venice.

PORTIA

Why, this bond is forfeit! 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.

PORTIA

Well, the penalty must be paid! The Jew may lawfully claim a pound of flesh to be cut off from near the merchant's heart. Be merciful, Shylock. Take three times the money. Tell me to tear up the agreement.

SHYLOCK

When it is paid according to the tenor. 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, Proceed to judgment. By my soul I swear There is no power in the tongue of man To alter me. I stay here on my bond.

SHYLOCK

You can tear it up after the debt has been paid. It seems that you are a worthy judge. You know the law. Your interpretation has been correct. I order you by the law, which you must obey, to go on and make judgment. By my soul I swear that nothing anyone can say can change my mind. I am here to get what is owed to me in the contract.

ANTONIO

Most heartily I do beseech the courtTo give the judgment.

ANTONIO

With all my heart I ask the court to issue its judgment.

PORTIA

Why then, thus it is: You must prepare your bosom for his knife.

PORTIA

Well, then, this is it: you must prepare your chest for his knife.

SHYLOCK

O noble judge! O excellent young man!

SHYLOCK

What a noble judge! What an excellent young man!

PORTIA

For the intent and purpose of the lawHath full relation to the penalty,Which here appeareth due upon the bond.

PORTIA

The intent and purpose of the law relates to the penalty, which has been agreed upon in the contract.

SHYLOCK

'Tis very true. O wise and upright judge!How much more elder art thou than thy looks!

SHYLOCK

That's very true. What a wise and just judge! You are wise beyond your years!

PORTIA

[to ANTONIO] Therefore lay bare your bosom.

PORTIA

[To ANTONIO] Therefore, lay bare your chest.

SHYLOCK

Ay, his breast.So says the bond. Doth it not, noble judge?“Nearest his heart”—those are the very words.

SHYLOCK

Yes, his breast. That's what the contract says. Doesn't it, noble judge? "Near his heart"—those are the very words.

PORTIA

It is so. Are there balance here to weighThe flesh?

PORTIA

That's right. Do we have a scale here to weigh the flesh?

SHYLOCK

I have them ready.

SHYLOCK

I have it ready.

PORTIA

Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,To stop his wounds lest he do bleed to death.

PORTIA

Have some surgeon on call nearby, Shylock, to stop Antonio's wound so he doesn't bleed to death.

SHYLOCK

Is it so nominated in the bond?

SHYLOCK

Is this spelled out in the contract? 

PORTIA

It is not so expressed, but what of that?'Twere good you do so much for charity.

PORTIA

It is not said explicitly, but so what? It would be good for you to do it out of charity.

SHYLOCK

I cannot find it. 'Tis not in the bond.

SHYLOCK

I can't find it in the contract. It's not in the contract.

PORTIA

[to ANTONIO] You, merchant, have you any thing to say?

PORTIA

[To ANTONIO] You, merchant, do you have 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 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 lingering penance Of such misery doth she cut me off. 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. 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 presently with all my heart.

ANTONIO

Just a little. I am ready and well prepared. Give me your hand, Bassanio. Farewell. Don't grieve because I have fallen into this misfortune on your behalf, for even in this situation Fortune has shown herself to be kinder than she usually is. She usually makes a wretched man outlive his wealth, so that when he is old and has a wrinkled brow he looks on his own poverty. She at least cuts me off from this lingering misery. Speak well of me to your honorable wife. Tell her how I met my end. Tell her how I loved you. Speak well of me after I die. And after you tell her, let her be the judge as to whether you have ever had a loving friend. Only regret that you are losing a friend, and know that your friend does not regret paying your debt for you. If the Jew cuts deeply enough, I'll gladly pay the debt with my own heart.

BASSANIO

Antonio, I am married to a wife 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.

BASSANIO

Antonio, I am married to a wife who is as dear to me as life itself. But I don't think as highly of life itself, my wife, and all the world as of your life. I would lose all of it—yes, I would sacrifice everything to this devil standing here—to rescue you.

PORTIA

Your wife would give you little thanks for thatIf she were by to hear you make the offer.

PORTIA

Your wife wouldn't be too happy to hear that, if she were around to hear you make that offer.

GRATIANO

I have a wife, whom I protest I love.I would she were in heaven, so she couldEntreat some power to change this currish Jew.

GRATIANO

I have a wife, whom I swear I love. I wish she were dead and in heaven so that she could beg some holy power to come change this beastly Jew's mind.

NERISSA

'Tis well you offer it behind her back.The wish would make else an unquiet house.

NERISSA

It's a good thing you're making this wish behind her back. Such a wish would upset her.

SHYLOCK

[aside] These be the Christian husbands. I have a daughter. Would any of the stock of Barabbas Had been her husband rather than a Christian!— We trifle time. I pray thee, pursue sentence.

SHYLOCK

[To himself] These men are such Christian husbands. I have a daughter and I wish a descendant of Barabbas had married her rather than a Christian! We're wasting time. Please, let's hear the court's sentence.

PORTIA

A pound of that same merchant’s flesh is thine. The court awards it, and the law doth give it.

PORTIA

A pound of that merchant's flesh is yours. The court awards it, and the law gives it to you.

SHYLOCK

Most rightful judge!

SHYLOCK

You are a most honest judge!

PORTIA

And you must cut this flesh from off his breast.The law allows it, and the court awards it.

PORTIA

And you must cut this flesh off of his breast. The law allows it, and the court awards this to you.

SHYLOCK

Most learnèd judge, a sentence! Come, prepare.

SHYLOCK

Such a wise judge! The right sentence! Come, get ready.

PORTIA

Tarry a little. There is something else. This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood. 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 Unto the state of Venice.

PORTIA

Hold on a second. There's something else. This agreement doesn't give you any drop of blood. The literal words are "a pound of flesh." So take what is yours, take your pound of flesh, but if in cutting it off you shed one drop of Christian blood, your lands and goods will be confiscated by the state of Venice by the city's laws.

GRATIANO

O upright judge!—Mark, Jew.—O learnèd judge!

GRATIANO

What a just judge! Listen to her, Jew. Oh you wise judge!

SHYLOCK

Is that the law?

SHYLOCK

Is that the law?

PORTIA

Thyself shalt see the act.For as thou urgest justice, be assuredThou shalt have justice more than thou desirest.

PORTIA

You'll see for yourself. Just as you are bent on absolute justice, rest assured that more justice than you want would be served for you.

GRATIANO

O learnèd judge!—Mark, Jew, a learnèd judge!

GRATIANO

What a wise judge! Look, Jew, a wise judge!

SHYLOCK

I take this offer then: pay the bond thrice And let the Christian go.

SHYLOCK

I'll take this offer, then: I'll take three times the money and let this Christian man go.

BASSANIO

Here is the money.

BASSANIO

Here is the money.

PORTIA

Soft!The Jew shall have all justice. Soft, no haste.He shall have nothing but the penalty.

PORTIA

Wait! The Jew will have all his justice. Wait, don't rush this. He will have nothing but the penalty he asked for.

GRATIANO

O Jew! An upright judge, a learnèd judge!

GRATIANO

Oh, Jew! This is an upright judge, a wise judge!

PORTIA

Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh. Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more But just a pound of flesh. If thou takest 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 But in the estimation of a hair, Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate.

PORTIA

So get ready to cut off the flesh. Don't shed any blood, and don't cut any more or less than exactly one pound of flesh. If you take more or less than a pound, even if it's just a twentieth lighter or heavier than the tiniest measure—in fact, if the scale is off by so much as a hair—you will be sentenced to death and all your goods will be confiscated.

GRATIANO

A second Daniel!—A Daniel, Jew!Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.

GRATIANO

This is a second Daniel! A Daniel, Jew! Now I've got you, you unbeliever.

PORTIA

Why doth the Jew pause? Take thy forfeiture.

PORTIA

Why is the Jew waiting? Take what's owed to you.

SHYLOCK

Give me my principal, and let me go.

SHYLOCK

Give me the money and let me go.

BASSANIO

I have it ready for thee. Here it is.

BASSANIO

I have it ready for you. Here it is.

PORTIA

He hath refused it in the open court.He shall have merely justice and his bond.

PORTIA

He has refused the money in the open court. He will have only justice and the penalty owed to him.

GRATIANO

A Daniel, still say I, a second Daniel!—I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.

GRATIANO

I'll say it again: he's a Daniel, a second Daniel! Thank you, Jew, for teaching me that phrase.

SHYLOCK

Shall I not have barely my principal?

SHYLOCK

Will I not be given back even the original amount I lent?

PORTIA

Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeitureTo be so taken at thy peril, Jew.

PORTIA

You will have nothing but the penalty owed to you, which you can take at your own peril, Jew.

SHYLOCK

Why then, the devil give him good of it!I’ll stay no longer question.

SHYLOCK

Well then, I hope the devil gets him for this! I won't stay here any longer to argue.

PORTIA

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 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, 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— 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.

PORTIA

Wait, Jew. The law has another requirement of you. It is enacted in the laws of Venice that if a foreigner is proved to have directly or indirectly attempted to kill a citizen, the citizen against whom he plotted will take half of his goods. The other half is confiscated by the state. And the guilty man's life is in the hands of the Duke alone and his mercy. And I say that this law applies to you because it seems clear that you have contrived indirectly and directly against Antonio's life and now must face the danger I just elaborated on. On your knees, then, and beg for the Duke's mercy.

GRATIANO

Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself, 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.

GRATIANO

Beg that you can have permission to hang yourself. But since your property is forfeited to the state, you don't even have enough to buy a rope to hang yourself with. Therefore you must be hanged at the state's expense.

DUKE

That thou shalt see the difference of our spirit, 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.

DUKE

I pardon your life even before you ask, Shylock, so that you can see how different my spirit is from yours. Half of your wealth belongs to Antonio. The other half goes to the state, and this may be reduced to a simple fine if you show humility.

PORTIA

Ay, for the state, not for Antonio.

PORTIA

Yes, the money due to the state can be reduced, not the money due to Antonio.

SHYLOCK

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.

SHYLOCK

No, take my life and everything. Don't pardon me. If you take the prop that holds up my house, you take my house, too. By taking the means by which I live, you'd be taking my life.

PORTIA

What mercy can you render him, Antonio?

PORTIA

What mercy can you show him, Antonio?

GRATIANO

A halter gratis, nothing else, for God’s sake.

GRATIANO

Give him rope for hanging, at no charge. 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 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 Here in the court, of all he dies possessed, Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.

ANTONIO

If it pleases my lord the Duke and the rest of the court, I am content to give up the half of his goods owed to me, as long as he gives me the other half of his wealth so that I can invest it and, upon his death, give it to the gentleman that recently eloped with his daughter. And I want two more things: that he converts to Christianity, and that he makes a will here in this court in which he leaves everything upon his death to his son-in-law Lorenzo and his daughter.

DUKE

He shall do this, or else I do recantThe pardon that I late pronouncèd here.

DUKE

He will do this, or else I will take back the pardon that I just pronounced here.

PORTIA

Art thou contented, Jew? What dost thou say?

PORTIA

Are you content, Jew? What do you say to this?

SHYLOCK

I am content.

SHYLOCK

I am content.

PORTIA

[to NERISSA] Clerk, draw a deed of gift.

PORTIA

[To NERISSA] Clerk, draw up a will.

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.

SHYLOCK

Please, give me permission to leave here. I am not well. Send the will after me, and I will sign it.

DUKE

Get thee gone, but do it.

DUKE

Go, but do sign it.

GRATIANO

[to SHYLOCK] In christening 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.

GRATIANO

[To SHYLOCK] When you are Christened, you'll have two godfathers. If it were up to me, you'd have ten more, to make twelve judges to send you to the gallows instead of the baptismal fountain.

Exit SHYLOCK

DUKE

[to PORTIA] Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.

DUKE

[To PORTIA] Sir, I invite you to come to my home for dinner with me.

PORTIA

I humbly do desire your grace of pardon.I must away this night toward Padua, And it is meet I presently set forth.

PORTIA

I must humbly beg your pardon, your grace. I must leave tonight for Padua, and I really must be getting on my way now.

DUKE

I am sorry that your leisure serves you not.—Antonio, gratify this gentleman,For in my mind you are much bound to him.

DUKE

I am sorry you don't have more free time to spend here. Antonio, thank this gentleman, for I think you owe him a lot.

Exit DUKE and his train

BASSANIO

[to PORTIA] 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 We freely cope your courteous pains withal.

BASSANIO

[To PORTIA] Most worthy gentleman, my friend and I have been acquitted of serious penalties because of your wisdom. In return for this, we gladly offer you the three thousand ducats we were going to pay to the Jew, for all your troubles.

ANTONIO

And stand indebted, over and above, In love and service to you evermore.

ANTONIO

And we stand in your debt, and are always in your loving service.

PORTIA

He is well paid that is well satisfied. And I, delivering you, am satisfied, 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.

PORTIA

Satisfaction is the best reward. And I am satisfied to have rescued you, so I feel rewarded enough. I didn't help you out of desire for payment. Please, recognize me when we meet again. I wish you well, and now I must leave.

BASSANIO

Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further. Take some remembrance of us as a tribute, Not as a fee. Grant me two things, I pray you: Not to deny me, and to pardon me.

BASSANIO

Dear sir, I must try to persuade you further. Take some remembrance of us as a gift, not payment. Grant me two things, please: don't refuse me, and pardon me for insisting.

PORTIA

You press me far and therefore I will yield. [To ANTONIO] Give me your gloves. I’ll wear them for your sake. [To BASSANIO] 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.

PORTIA

You keep urging me and so I will yield.

[To ANTONIO]
 Give me your gloves. I'll wear them for your sake.

[To BASSANIO]
 And as a token of your gratitude I'll take your ring. Do not pull back your hand. I won't take anything else, and in your gratitude you shouldn't deny me this ring.

BASSANIO

This ring, good sir—alas, it is a trifle.I will not shame myself to give you this.

BASSANIO

This ring, good sir—oh, it's a trifle. It would be shameful to give you such a worthless little thing.

PORTIA

I will have nothing else but only this.And now methinks I have a mind to it.

PORTIA

I want nothing else, only this. And now my mind is set on 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. Only for this, I pray you, pardon me.

BASSANIO

This ring is worth more than its monetary value. I will find out what is the best ring in all of Venice and give it to you. But please let me keep this one. 

PORTIA

I see, sir, you are liberal in offers. You taught me first to beg, and now methinksYou teach me how a beggar should be answered.

PORTIA

I see you make generous offers. First you told me to beg for something from you, and now you show me how a beggar is answered.

BASSANIO

Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife.And when she put it on, she made me vowThat I should neither sell nor give nor lose it.

BASSANIO

Good sir, this ring was given to me by my wife and when she put it on my hand she made me swear never to sell it or give it away or lose it.

PORTIA

That ’scuse serves many men to save their gifts. An if your wife be not a madwoman, And know how well I have deserved the ring, She would not hold out enemy forever For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you.

PORTIA

That's what many men say as an excuse not to give gifts away. And unless your wife is a crazy person, if she knows what I have done to deserve the ring she won't be mad forever at you for giving it to me. Anyway, peace be with you.

Exeunt PORTIA and NERISSA

ANTONIO

My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring.Let his deservings and my love withalBe valued against your wife’s commandment.

ANTONIO

My lord Bassanio, let him have the ring. Let my love and the fact that he deserves it outweigh your wife's command.

BASSANIO

[giving GRATIANO the ring] Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him.Give him the ring and bring him, if thou canst, Unto Antonio’s house. Away, make haste.

BASSANIO

[He gives GRATIANO the ring] Go, Gratiano, run and catch up with him. Give him the ring, and, if you can, bring him to Antonio's house. Go, hurry.

Exit GRATIANO

Come, you and I will thither presently.And in the morning early will we bothFly toward Belmont. Come, Antonio.

Come on, you and I will go to the house now. And early in the morning we will both hurry to Belmont. Come on, Antonio.

Exeunt

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Matt cosby
About the Translator: Matt Cosby
Matt Cosby graduated from Amherst College in 2011, and currently works as a writer and editor for LitCharts. He is from Florida but now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also makes art, plays the piano, and goes to dog parks.