The Merchant of Venice

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 2

page Act 3 Scene 2 Page 12

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PORTIA

     What, no more?
Pay him six thousand and deface the bond!
Double six thousand, and then treble that,
Before a friend of this description
Shall lose a hair through Bassanio’s fault.
310First go with me to church and call me wife,
And then away to Venice to your friend.
For never shall you lie by Portia’s side
With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold
To pay the petty debt twenty times over.
315When it is paid, bring your true friend along.
My maid Nerissa and myself meantime
Will live as maids and widows. Come, away!
For you shall hence upon your wedding day.
Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheer.
320Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.
But let me hear the letter of your friend.

PORTIA

What, that’s all? Pay him six thousand and cancel the debt. I’d pay twelve thousand before I’d let a friend like that suffer in the slightest because of you. First come with me to church to get married. Then you can leave for Venice to see your friend. You have to go, because you’ll never sleep next to me peacefully without settling this. I’ll give you enough gold to pay back your debt twenty times over. When it’s paid, bring your friend back. Until you get back, Nerissa and I will live like virgins and widows. Come on, let’s go, because you’re going to leave me the same day we get married. Put on a happy face, and welcome your friends. Since it’s costing me a lot to marry you, I’ll think of you as even more precious. But let me hear the letter from your friend.

BASSANIO

(reads)
“Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all miscarried. My creditors grow cruel. My estate is very low. My bond to the Jew is forfeit. And since in paying it, it is impossible I should live, all debts are cleared between you and I if I might but see you at my death. Notwithstanding, use your pleasure. If your love do not persuade you to come, let not my letter.”

BASSANIO

(he reads)
“Dear Bassanio, my ships have all been wrecked. My creditors are getting mean. My money’s almost run out. I couldn’t pay my debt to the Jew on the due date. Since I’ll certainly die when he takes his collateral out of my flesh, all debts are cleared between you and me if I can just see you again before I die. In any case, do what you want. If your affection for me doesn’t convince you to come, don’t let my letter do so.”

PORTIA

O love, dispatch all business and be gone!

PORTIA

Oh, my darling, make your arrangements and go!

BASSANIO

Since I have your good leave to go away,
I will make haste. But till I come again,
No bed shall e'er be guilty of my stay,
330No rest be interposer ’twixt us twain.

BASSANIO

Since you’re letting me leave, I’ll hurry. But I won’t sleep till I get back.
Exeunt
They exit.