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Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed Janus,
Nature hath fram'd strange fellows in her time :
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes,
And laugh, like parrots, at a bag-piper;
And other of such vinegar aspect,
That they'll not show their teeth in way

of smile,
Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.
Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO.
Salan. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble

kinsman, Gratiano, and Lorenzo: Fare 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 SALAR. and SALAN. 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 chang'd.

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 wilfuld 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! 0, 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: I'll grow a talker for this gear 4. 3 i. e. an obstinate silence.

4 Gear usually signifies matter, subject, or business in general. It is here, perhaps, a colloquial expression of no very determined import. It occurs again in this play, Act ii. Sc. 2: ‘If Fortune be a woman, she's a good wench for this gear.'

Gra. Thanks, i'faith; for silence is only com

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

[Ereunt GRA. and LOR. Ant. Is that any thing now?

Bass. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than

any man in all Venice: His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels 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 promis'd to tell me of ?

Bass. "Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
How much I have disabled mine estate,
By something showing a more swelling ports
Than

my faint means would grant continuance:
Nor do I now make moan to be abridg’d
From such a noble rate; but my
Is, to come fairly off from the great debts,
Wherein my time, something too prodigal,
Hath left me 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 assur’d,
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,

chief care

5 Port is state or equipage. So in The Taming of a Shrew, Act i. Sc. 1.

• Thou shalt be master, Tranio, in my stead,
Keep house, and port, and servants, as I should.'

I shot his fellow of the selfsame flight
The selfsame 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 with circumstance;
And, out of doubt, you do me now more 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,
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 wondrous virtues : sometimes 8 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

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6 This method of finding a lost arrow is prescribed by P. Crescentius in his treatise De Agricultura, lib. x. c. xxviii. and is also mentioned in Howel's Letters, vol. i. p. 183, edit. 1655, 12mo.

7 Prest, that is, ready; from the old French word of the same orthography, now prét.

Formerly.

8

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;
Neither have I money, nor commodity
To raise a present sum: therefore go forth,

my credit can in Venice do;
That shall be rack’d, even to the uttermost,
To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Porția.
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.

Try what

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 1, 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

e. superfluity sooner acquires white hairs; becomes old. We still say, how did he come by it?

li, e.

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