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The Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 1

page Act 4 Scene 1 Page 12

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Grieve not that I am fall'n to this for you,
For herein Fortune shows herself more kind
Than is her custom. It is still her use
260To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
An age of poverty—from which lingering penance
Of such misery doth she cut me off.
Commend me to your honorable wife.
265Tell her the process of Antonio’s end.
Say how I loved you. Speak me fair in death.
And when the tale is told, bid her be judge
Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
Repent but you that you shall lose your friend,
270And he repents not that he pays your debt.
For if the Jew do cut but deep enough,
I’ll pay it presently with all my heart.
Don’t be sad that this happened because of you, because Lady Luck’s been nicer to me than usual. Usually she makes the unhappy man live on after he loses his wealth, to spend his old age in poverty. But in my case she’s letting me avoid that misery. Send your honorable wife my greetings, and tell her how I died and how I loved you. Speak well of me after I’m dead, and when the tale’s done, ask her to judge whether Bassanio had a friend. Be sad only at the fact that you’ll lose your friend—your friend doesn’t regret that he paid your debt. If the Jew cuts deep enough, I’ll pay it instantly with all my heart.

BASSANIO

Antonio, I am married to a wife
Which is as dear to me as life itself.
275But life itself, my wife, and all the world
Are not with me esteemed above thy life.
I would lose all—ay, sacrifice them all
Here to this devil—to deliver you.

BASSANIO

Antonio, I married a woman as dear to me as life itself. But life itself, my wife, and the whole world aren’t more valuable to me than your life is. I’d give it all up—yes, I’d sacrifice them all to this devil here—to save you.

PORTIA

Your wife would give you little thanks for that
280If she were by to hear you make the offer.

PORTIA

Your wife wouldn’t like it if she were here to hear you make that offer.

GRATIANO

I have a wife, whom I protest I love.
I would she were in heaven, so she could
Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.

GRATIANO

I have a wife I love. I wish she were in heaven so she could appeal to some power to make this dog Jew change his mind.

NERISSA

'Tis well you offer it behind her back.
285The wish would make else an unquiet house.

NERISSA

It’s nice you’re offering to sacrifice her behind her back. That wish of yours could start quite an argument back at home.