Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

MERCHANT OF VENICE.

ACT. I.
SCENE 1.-Venice.-- Street.
Enter ANTONIO, SALARINO, and Salan10.
Ant. In sooth, I know not why I am so sad ;
It wearies me; you say, it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn ;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.

Salar. Your mind is tossing on the ocean;
There, where your argosies * with portly sail,
Like signiors and rich burghers of the flood,
Or, as it were the pageants of the sea,
Do overpeer the petty traffickers,
That curt'sy to them, do them reverence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings.

Salan. Believe me, Sir, had I such venture forth,
The better part of my affections would
Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still
Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind ;
Peering in maps, for ports, and piers, and roads;
And every object, that might make me fear
Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt,
Would make me sad.

Salar. My wind, cooling my broth, Would blow me to an ague, when I thought What harm a wind too great might do at sea. I should not see the sandy hour-glass run, But I should think of shallows and of fats; And see my wealthy Andrew dock'd in sand, Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs, To kiss her burial. Should I go to church, And see the holy edifice of stone, And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks? * Ships of large burthen.

+ Lowering.

Which touching but my gentle vessel's side,
Would scatter all her spices on the streain;
Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks ;
And, in a word, but even now worth this,
And now worth nothing ? Shall I have the thought
To think on this; and shall I lack the thought,
That such a thing bechanced, would make me

sad?
But, tell not me;

I know, Antonio
Is sad to think upon his merchandize.

Ant. Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it,
My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,
No to one place ; nor is my whole estate
Upon the fortune of this present year:
Therefore my merchandize makes me not sad.

Saban. Why then you are in love.
Ant. Fie, fie !
Salan. Not in love neither ? Then let's say, you

are sad,
Because you are not merry : and 'twere as easy
For you, to laugh, and leap, and say you are merry,
Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed

Janus, Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time : Some that will evermore peep through their eyes, Aud laugh, like parrots, at a bag-piper; And other of such vinegar aspect, That they'll not shew their teeth in way of smile, Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.

Enter BassANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO. Salan. Here comes Bassanio, your inost noble

kinsman, Gratiano, and Lorenzo: sare you well; We leave you now with better company. Salar. I would have staid till I had made you

merry,
If worthier friends had not prevented me.

Ant. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
I take it, your own business calls on you,
And you embrace the occasion to depart.

Salar. Good morrow, my good lords.
Bass. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh ?

Say, when ?
You grow exceeding strange; Must it be so ?
Salar. We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.

[Exeunt Salarino and Salanio. Lor. My lord Bassanio, since you have found

Antonio,

We two will leave you : but, at dinner time,
I pray you, have in mind where we must meet.
Bass. I will not fail you.

Gra. You look not well, signior Antonio;
You have too much respect upon the world :
They lose it, that do buy it with much care.
Believe me, you are marvellously changed.

Ant. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano; A stage, where every man must play a part, And mine a sad one,

Gra. Let me play the Fool : With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come ; And let my liver rather heat with wine, Than my heart cool with mortifying groans. Why should a man, whose blood is warm within, Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster ? Sleep when he wakes? And creep into the jaundice By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio,I love thee, and it is my love that speaks ;There are a sort of men, whose visages Do cream and mantle, like a standing pond ; And do a wilful stillness entertain, With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit; As who should say, I am Sir Oracle, And, when I ope my lips, let no dog bark ! O, my Antonio, I do know of these, That therefore only are reputed wise, For saying nothing ; who, I am very sure, If they should speak, would almost damn those ears, Which, hearing them, would call their brothers,

fools. I'll tell thee more of this another time : But fish not with this melancholy bait, For this fool's gudgeon, this opinion.Come, good Lorenzo : fare ye well, a while ; I'll end my exhortation after dinner. Lor. Well, we will leave you then till dinner.

time: I must be one of these same dumb wise men, - For Gratiano never lets me speak. Gra. Well, keep me company but two years

more, Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.

Ant. Farewell : l'll grow a talker for this gear.
Gra. Thanks, i' faith; for silence is only commend-

able In a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible.

(Exeunt Gratiano and Lorenzo. Ant. Is that any thing now?

Bass. Gratianio speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice : his reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two busbels of chaff ; you shall seek all day ere you find them ; and, when

you have them, they are not worth the search.

Ant. Well; tell me now what lady is this same
To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
That you to-day promised to tell me of?

Bass. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
How much I have disabled mine estate,
By something shewing a more swelling port
Than my faint means would grant continuance :
Nor do I now make moan to be abridged
From such a noble rate, but my chief care
Is, to come fairly off from the great debts ;
Wherein my time, something too prodigal,
Hath left ine gaged : to you, Antonio,
I owe the most, in money, and in love ;
And from your love I have a warranty
To unburthen all my plots, and purposes,
How to get clear of all the debts I owe.

Ant. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
And, if it stand, as you yourself still do
Within the eye of honour, be assured,
My purse, my person, my extremest means
Lie all unlock'd to your occasions.
Bass. In my school-days, when I had lost one

shaft, . I shot his fellow of the self-same flight The self-same way, with more advised watch, To find the other forth; and by advent'ring both, I oft found both : I urge this childhood proof, Because what follows is pure innocence. I owe you much ; and like a wilful youth, That which I owe is lost : but if you please To shoot another arrow that self way Which you did shoot the first ; I do not doubt, As I will watch the aim, or to find both, Or bring your latter hazard back again, And thankfully rest debtor for the first. Ant. You know me well; and herein spend but

time,
To wind about my love witli circumstance;
And, out of doubt,

wrong,
In making question of my uttermost,
Than if you had made waste of all I have:
Then do but say to me what I should do,

do me

[ocr errors]

That in your knowledge may by me be done,
And I am prest* unto it: therefore, speak.

Bass. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wond'rous virtues; sometimes from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages :
Her name is Portia ; nothing undervalued
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia.
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth:
For the four winds blow in from every coast
Renowned suitors : and her sunny locks
Hang on her temples like a golden fleece ;
Which makes her seat of Belmont, Colchos' strand,
And many Jasons come in quest of her.
O my Antonio, had I but the means
To hold a rival place with one of them,
I have a mind presages me such thrift,
That I should questionless be fortunate.

Ant. Thou know'st, that all my fortunes are at sea ; Nor have I money, nor commodity To raise a present sum: therefore go forth, Try what my credit can in Venice do ; That shall be rack'd, even to the uttermost, To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia. Go, presently inquire, and so will I, Where money is; and I no question make, To have it of my trust, or for my sake. (Exeunt. SCENE II.-Belmont.-A Room in Portia's House.

Enter PORTIA and NERISSA. Por. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world.

Ner: You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are : and, yet, for aught I see, they are as sick, that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing. It is no mean happiness, therefore, to be seated in the mean ; superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer. Por. Good sentences, and well pronounced. Ner. They would be better, if well followed.

Por. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottages, princes' palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions; I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than be

• Ready.

« PoprzedniaDalej »