Abbildungen der Seite

death; notwithstanding, use your pleasure-if your love for me do not persuade you to come, let not my letter.'

[ocr errors]

7. 'Oh, my dear love,' said Portia, despatch all business, and begone; you shall have gold to pay his money twenty times over, before this kind friend shall lose a hair by my Bassanio's fault; and as you are so dearly bought, I will dearly love you.' Portia then Isaid she would be married to Bassanio before he set out, to give him a legal right to the money; and that same day they were married, and Gratiano was also married to Nerissa. And Bassanio and Gratiano, the instant they were married, set out in great haste for Venice, where Bassanio found Antonio in prison. The day of paying being past, the cruel Jew would not accept of the money which Bassanio offered him, but insisted upon having a pound of Antonio's flesh. A day was appointed to try this shocking cause before the Duke of Venice, and Bassanio awaited in dreadful suspense the event of the trial.

8. When Portia parted with her husband, she spoke cheeringly to him, and bade him bring his dear friend along with him when he returned. Yet she feared it would go hard with Antonio, and when she was left alone, she began to think and consider within herself, if she could by any means be instrumental in saving the life of her dear Bassanio's friend.

9. Being now called forth into action by the peril of her honoured husband's friend, she did nothing doubt her own powers, and by the sole guidance of her own true and perfect judgment, at once resolved to go herself to Venice, and speak in Antonio's defence. Portia had a relation who was a counsellor in the law; to this gentleman, whose name was Bellario, she wrote,

and stating the case to him, desired his opinion, and that with his advice he would also send the dress worn

by a counsellor. When the messenger returned, he brought letters from Bellario of advice how to proceed, and also everything necessary for her equipment.

10. Portia dressed herself and her maid Nerissa in men's apparel, and putting on the robes of a counsellor, she took Nerissa along with her as her clerk; and setting out immediately, they arrived at Venice on the very day of the trial. The cause was just going to be heard before the duke and senators of Venice in the senate-house, when Portia entered this high court of justice, and presented a letter from Bellario, in which that learned counsellor wrote to the duke, saying he would have come himself to plead for Antonio, but that he was prevented by sickness, and he requested that the learned young Doctor Balthasar-so he called Portia —might be permitted to plead in his stead. This the duke granted, much wondering at the youthful appearance of the stranger, who was prettily disguised by her counsellor's robes and her large wig.

[blocks in formation]

EXERCISES.-1. The Greek prefix para-, par-, means beside, near to, contrary to; as parable (literally), a placing beside, a comparison, a fable or allegory in which some doctrine is illustrated; parallel, lying side by side; paradox, that which is contrary to general opinion.

2. Analyse and parse the following: When Portia parted with her husband, she spoke cheeringly to him, and bade him bring his dear friend along with him when he returned.'

3. Make sentences of your own, and use in each one or more of the following words: Permission, apparel, disguise, suspense.



And now began this important trial. Portia saw Bassanio, but he knew her not in her disguise. He was standing beside Antonio, in an agony of distress and fear for his friend. The importance of the arduous task Portia had engaged in, gave this tender lady courage, and she boldly proceeded in the duty she had undertaken to perform.

Por. Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?
Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
Por. Is your name Shylock?


Shylock is my name.



Por. Of a strange nature is the suit you follow ;
Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you, as you do proceed.-
You stand within his danger, do you not?
Ant. Ay, so he says.


Ant. I do.


Do you confess the bond?

Then must the Jew be merciful.

Shy. On what compulsion must I? tell me that.
Por. 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 throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre 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 sceptred sway—
It is enthroned 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.
Shy. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,

The penalty and forfeit of my bond.

[blocks in formation]

Por. Is he not able to discharge the money?
Bass. 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. 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.

Por. It must not be; there is no power in Venice Can alter a decree established:


"Twill be recorded for a precedent;

And many an error, by the same example,
Will rush into the state: it cannot be.

Shy. A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel!


O wise young judge, how do I honour thee!

Por. I pray you, let me look upon the bond.
Shy. Here 'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.

Por. Shylock, there's thrice thy money offered thee. Shy. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven: Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?



No, not for Venice.

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.


Shy. 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.

To give the judgment.

Ant. Most heartily I do beseech the court


« ZurückWeiter »