/ Home / Library / Complete Shakespeare / The Merchant of Venice / Act III Scene IV
version of this page
The Merchant of Venice: Act 3 Scene 4
Scene IV Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house.
- [Enter PORTIA, NERISSA, LORENZO, JESSICA, and
- Madam, although I speak it in your presence,
- You have a noble and a true conceit
- Of godlike amity; which appears most strongly
- In bearing thus the absence of your lord.
- But if you knew to whom you show this honour,
- How true a gentleman you send relief,
- How dear a lover of my lord your husband,
- I know you would be prouder of the work
- Than customary bounty can enforce you.
- I never did repent for doing good,
- Nor shall not now: for in companions
- That do converse and waste the time together,
- Whose souls do bear an equal yoke Of love,
- There must be needs a like proportion
- Of lineaments, of manners and of spirit;
- Which makes me think that this Antonio,
- Being the bosom lover of my lord,
- Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,
- How little is the cost I have bestow'd
- In purchasing the semblance of my soul
- From out the state of hellish misery!
- This comes too near the praising of myself;
- Therefore no more of it: hear other things.
- Lorenzo, I commit into your hands
- The husbandry and manage of my house
- Until my lord's return: for mine own part,
- I have toward heaven breathed a secret vow
- To live in prayer and contemplation,
- Only attended by Nerissa here,
- Until her husband and my lord's return:
- There is a monastery two miles off;
- And there will we abide. I do desire you
- Not to deny this imposition;
- The which my love and some necessity
- Now lays upon you.
- Madam, with all my heart;
- I shall obey you in all fair commands.
- My people do already know my mind,
- And will acknowledge you and Jessica
- In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.
- And so farewell, till we shall meet again.
- Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!
- I wish your ladyship all heart's content.
- I thank you for your wish, and am well pleased
- To wish it back on you: fare you well Jessica.
- [Exeunt JESSICA and LORENZO]
- Now, Balthasar,
- As I have ever found thee honest-true,
- So let me find thee still. Take this same letter,
- And use thou all the endeavour of a man
- In speed to Padua: see thou render this
- Into my cousin's hand, Doctor Bellario;
- And, look, what notes and garments he doth give thee,
- Bring them, I pray thee, with imagined speed
- Unto the tranect, to the common ferry
- Which trades to Venice. Waste no time in words,
- But get thee gone: I shall be there before thee.
- Madam, I go with all convenient speed.
- Come on, Nerissa; I have work in hand
- That you yet know not of: we'll see our husbands
- Before they think of us.
- Shall they see us?
- They shall, Nerissa; but in such a habit,
- That they shall think we are accomplished
- With that we lack. I'll hold thee any wager,
- When we are both accoutred like young men,
- I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
- And wear my dagger with the braver grace,
- And speak between the change of man and boy
- With a reed voice, and turn two mincing steps
- Into a manly stride, and speak of frays
- Like a fine bragging youth, and tell quaint lies,
- How honourable ladies sought my love,
- Which I denying, they fell sick and died;
- I could not do withal; then I'll repent,
- And wish for all that, that I had not killed them;
- And twenty of these puny lies I'll tell,
- That men shall swear I have discontinued school
- Above a twelvemonth. I have within my mind
- A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks,
- Which I will practise.
- Why, shall we turn to men?
- Fie, what a question's that,
- If thou wert near a lewd interpreter!
- But come, I'll tell thee all my whole device
- When I am in my coach, which stays for us
- At the park gate; and therefore haste away,
- For we must measure twenty miles to-day.