The Merchant of Venice By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scene 1

When it is paid according to the tenour.
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.

Most heartily I do beseech the court
To give the judgment.

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

O noble judge! O excellent young man!

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

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

Therefore, lay bare your bosom.

Ay, 'his breast':
So says the bond: — doth it not, noble judge? —
'Nearest his heart': those are the very words.

It is so. Are there balance here to weigh
The flesh?

I have them ready.

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

Is it so nominated in the bond?

It is not so express'd; but what of that?
'Twere good you do so much for charity.

I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond.

You, merchant, have you anything to say?

But little: I am arm'd and well prepar'd.
Give me your hand, Bassanio: fare you well.!
Grieve not that I am fallen 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 honourable wife:
Tell her the process of Antonio's end;
Say how I lov'd 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 instantly with all my heart.

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 esteem'd above thy life;
I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all
Here to this devil, to deliver you.

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

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

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

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.

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

Most rightful judge!

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

Most learned judge! A sentence! Come, prepare.

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.

O upright judge! Mark, Jew: O learned judge!

Is that the law?

Thyself shalt see the act;
For, as thou urgest justice, be assur'd
Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desir'st.

O learned judge! Mark, Jew: alearned judge!

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

Here is the money.

The Jew shall have all justice; soft! no haste: —
He shall have nothing but the penalty.

O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!

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 tak'st 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.

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

Why doth the Jew pause? Take thy forfeiture.

Give me my principal, and let me go.

I have it ready for thee; here it is.

He hath refus'd it in the open court;
He shall have merely justice, and his bond.

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

Shall I not have barely my principal?

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