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

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SALERIO

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

SALERIO

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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

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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

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BASSANIO

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

BASSANIO

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SHYLOCK

I am not bound to please thee with my answers.

SHYLOCK

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BASSANIO

Do all men kill the things they do not love?

BASSANIO

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SHYLOCK

Hates any man the thing he would not kill?

SHYLOCK

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BASSANIO

Every offense is not a hate at first.

BASSANIO

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SHYLOCK

What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?

SHYLOCK

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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

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BASSANIO

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

BASSANIO

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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

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DUKE

How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?

DUKE

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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

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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

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SALERIO

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

SALERIO

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DUKE

Bring us the letter. Call the messenger.

DUKE

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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

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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

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Enter NERISSA, disguised as a clerk

DUKE

Came you from Padua, from Bellario?

DUKE

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NERISSA

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

NERISSA

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SHYLOCK sharpens a knife on the bottom of his shoe

BASSANIO

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

BASSANIO

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SHYLOCK

To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.

SHYLOCK

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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

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SHYLOCK

No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.

SHYLOCK

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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

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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

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DUKE

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

DUKE

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NERISSA

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

NERISSA

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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

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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?

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PORTIA

I did, my lord.

PORTIA

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DUKE

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

DUKE

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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DUKE

Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.

DUKE

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PORTIA

Is your name Shylock?

PORTIA

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SHYLOCK

Shylock is my name.

SHYLOCK

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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

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ANTONIO

Ay, so he says.

ANTONIO

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PORTIA

Do you confess the bond?

PORTIA

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ANTONIO

I do.

ANTONIO

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PORTIA

Then must the Jew be merciful.

PORTIA

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SHYLOCK

On what compulsion must I? Tell me that.

SHYLOCK

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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

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SHYLOCK

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

SHYLOCK

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PORTIA

Is he not able to discharge the money?

PORTIA

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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

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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

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SHYLOCK

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

SHYLOCK

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PORTIA

I pray you, let me look upon the bond.

PORTIA

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SHYLOCK

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

SHYLOCK

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PORTIA

Shylock, there’s thrice thy money offered thee.

PORTIA

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SHYLOCK

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

SHYLOCK

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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

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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

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ANTONIO

Most heartily I do beseech the courtTo give the judgment.

ANTONIO

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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SHYLOCK

O noble judge! O excellent young man!

SHYLOCK

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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SHYLOCK

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

SHYLOCK

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PORTIA

[to ANTONIO] Therefore lay bare your bosom.

PORTIA

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SHYLOCK

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

SHYLOCK

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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SHYLOCK

I have them ready.

SHYLOCK

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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SHYLOCK

Is it so nominated in the bond?

SHYLOCK

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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SHYLOCK

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

SHYLOCK

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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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

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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

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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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

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NERISSA

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

NERISSA

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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

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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SHYLOCK

Most rightful judge!

SHYLOCK

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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SHYLOCK

Most learnèd judge, a sentence! Come, prepare.

SHYLOCK

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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

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GRATIANO

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

GRATIANO

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SHYLOCK

Is that the law?

SHYLOCK

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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GRATIANO

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

GRATIANO

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SHYLOCK

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

SHYLOCK

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BASSANIO

Here is the money.

BASSANIO

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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GRATIANO

O Jew! An upright judge, a learnèd judge!

GRATIANO

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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

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GRATIANO

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

GRATIANO

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PORTIA

Why doth the Jew pause? Take thy forfeiture.

PORTIA

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SHYLOCK

Give me my principal, and let me go.

SHYLOCK

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BASSANIO

I have it ready for thee. Here it is.

BASSANIO

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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GRATIANO

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

GRATIANO

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SHYLOCK

Shall I not have barely my principal?

SHYLOCK

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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SHYLOCK

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

SHYLOCK

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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

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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

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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

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PORTIA

Ay, for the state, not for Antonio.

PORTIA

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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

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PORTIA

What mercy can you render him, Antonio?

PORTIA

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GRATIANO

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

GRATIANO

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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

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DUKE

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

DUKE

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PORTIA

Art thou contented, Jew? What dost thou say?

PORTIA

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SHYLOCK

I am content.

SHYLOCK

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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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

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DUKE

Get thee gone, but do it.

DUKE

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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

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Exit SHYLOCK

DUKE

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

DUKE

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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

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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

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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

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ANTONIO

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

ANTONIO

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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

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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

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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

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Lorem ipsum
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BASSANIO

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

BASSANIO

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PORTIA

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

PORTIA

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Exit GRATIANO

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

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Exeunt

The merchant of venice
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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.