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The Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 1

page Act 5 Scene 1 Page 12

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BASSANIO

     Nay, but hear me.
Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear
I never more will break an oath with thee.

BASSANIO

No, just listen to me. If you forgive my mistake, I swear I’ll never break an oath with you again.

ANTONIO

I once did lend my body for his wealth,
250Which but for him that had your husband’s ring
Had quite miscarried. I dare be bound again,
My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord
Will never more break faith advisedly.

ANTONIO

I lent my body once to make him rich. If it hadn’t been for the gentleman who now owns your husband’s ring, my body would’ve been lost. I’d be the guarantee again, promising my soul this time as penalty, if your husband ever breaks a vow again knowingly.

PORTIA

(giving ANTONIO a ring)
255Then you shall be his surety. Give him this,
And bid him keep it better than the other.

PORTIA

(she gives ANTONIO a ring) Then you’ll be my guarantee. Give him this. And tell him to hold on to it better than the other one.

ANTONIO

(giving BASSANIO PORTIA's ring)
Here, Lord Bassanio. Swear to keep this ring.

ANTONIO

(he gives BASSANIO PORTIA’s ring) Here, Bassanio, swear that you’ll keep this ring.

BASSANIO

By heaven, it is the same I gave the doctor!

BASSANIO

My God, it’s the same one I gave the judge!

PORTIA

260I had it of him. Pardon me, Bassanio,
For by this ring, the doctor lay with me.

PORTIA

I got it from him. I’m sorry, Bassanio, but the legal expert slept with me in exchange for this ring.   

NERISSA

(taking out a ring)
And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano,
For that same scrubbèd boy, the doctor’s clerk,
265In lieu of this, last night did lie with me.

NERISSA

(she takes out a ring) And I’m sorry too, Gratiano, but that stunted lawyer’s clerk slept with me last night in exchange for this ring.

GRATIANO

Why, this is like the mending of highways
In summer where the ways are fair enough!
What, are we cuckolds ere we have deserved it?

gratiano

This is like fixing roads in the summer when they don’t need to be fixed! What, did you cheat on us before we deserved it?