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

PORTIA.
Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture
To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.

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

PORTIA.
Tarry, Jew.
The law hath yet another hold on you.
It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
If it be prov'd 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 incurr'd
The danger formerly by me rehears'd.
Down, therefore, and beg mercy of the duke.

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 hang'd at the state's charge.

DUKE.
That thou shalt see the difference of our spirits,
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.

PORTIA.
Ay, for the state; not for 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.

PORTIA.
What mercy can you render him, Antonio?

GRATIANO.
A halter gratis; 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 favour,
He presently become a Christian;
The other, that he do record a gift,
Here in the court, of all he dies possess'd
Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.

DUKE.
He shall do this, or else I do recant
The pardon that I late pronounced here.

PORTIA.
Art thou contented, Jew? What dost thou say?

SHYLOCK.
I am content.

PORTIA.
Clerk, draw a deed of gift.

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.

DUKE.
Get thee gone, but do it.

GRATIANO.
In christening shalt thou have two god-fathers;
Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more,
To bring thee to the gallows, not to the font.

[Exit SHYLOCK.]

DUKE.
Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.

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

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

[Exeunt DUKE, Magnificoes, and Train.]

BASSANIO.
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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

PORTIA.
I will have nothing else but only this;
And now, methinks, I have a mind to 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.

PORTIA.
I see, sir, you are liberal in offers;
You taught me first to beg, and now methinks
You teach me how a beggar should be answer'd.

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

PORTIA.
That 'scuse serves many men to save their gifts.
And if your wife be not a mad-woman,
And know how well I have deserv'd this ring,
She would not hold out enemy for ever
For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!

[Exeunt PORTIA and NERISSA.]

ANTONIO.
My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring:
Let his deservings, and my love withal,
Be valued 'gainst your wife's commandment.

BASSANIO.
Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him;
Give him the ring, and bring him, if thou canst,
Unto Antonio's house. Away! make haste.

[Exit GRATIANO.]

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

[Exeunt.]

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