The Merchant of Venice

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 4

page Act 3 Scene 4 Page 2

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    For mine own part,
I have toward heaven breathed a secret vow
To live in prayer and contemplation,
Only attended by Nerissa here
30Until 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
35Now lays upon you.
I’ve sworn to God that I’ll live a life of prayer and contemplation until my husband returns. Only Nerissa will keep me company. There’s a monastery two miles away where we can stay. Please say you’ll agree, because I really need you to do this.

LORENZO

    Madam, with all my heart.
I shall obey you in all fair commands.

LORENZO

Madam, with all my heart. I’ll do anything you ask.

PORTIA

My people do already know my mind
And will acknowledge you and Jessica
In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.
40So fare you well till we shall meet again.

PORTIA

I’ve already spoken to my staff about this. They’ll consider you and Jessica masters of this house in place of Lord Bassanio and myself. So goodbye until we meet again.

LORENZO

Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!

LORENZO

I hope you can relax and enjoy yourself!

JESSICA

I wish your ladyship all heart’s content.

JESSICA

I hope you find peace and happiness, my lady.

PORTIA

I thank you for your wish, and am well pleased
To wish it back on you. Fare you well, Jessica.

PORTIA

Thank you. I wish you the same. Goodbye, Jessica.
Exeunt JESSICA and LORENZO
JESSICA and LORENZO exit.
45Now, Balthazar,
As I have ever found thee honest true,
So let me find thee still.
(gives BALTHAZAR a letter)
    Take this same letter,
And use thou all th' endeavour of a man
50In speed to Padua. See thou render this
Into my cousin’s hands, Doctor Bellario.
Now, Balthazar, you’ve always been honest and faithful to me, and I trust you still are. (she gives BALTHAZAR a letter) Take this letter to Padua as fast as you can. Make sure you put it into the hands of my cousin Bellario, the Doctor of Laws.