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The Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 5 Scene 1
No Fear Act 5 Scene 1 Page 13

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PORTIA

Speak not so grossly.—You are all amazed.
270 (takes out a letter)
Here is a letter. Read it at your leisure.
It comes from Padua, from Bellario.
There you shall find that Portia was the doctor,
Nerissa there her clerk. Lorenzo here
275Shall witness I set forth as soon as you,
And even but now returned. I have not yet
Entered my house.—Antonio, you are welcome.
And I have better news in store for you
Than you expect.
280 (gives ANTONIO another letter)
   Unseal this letter soon.
There you shall find three of your argosies
Are richly come to harbor suddenly.
You shall not know by what strange accident
I chancèd on this letter.

PORTIA

Don’t be crass.—You all look confused. (she takes out a letter) Here’s a letter. Read it at your leisure. It comes from Padua, from Bellario. You’ll find out that Portia was the lawyer, and Nerissa was her clerk. Lorenzo here will testify that I left the house right when you did, and just returned. I haven’t yet entered my house.—Antonio, welcome. I have better news than you expect in store for you. (she gives ANTONIO another letter) Open this letter. You’ll find out that three of your ships have suddenly arrived in the harbor loaded with a great deal of wealth. You’ll never guess what a strange coincidence it was that I came across this letter.

ANTONIO

285I am dumb.

ANTONIO

I’m speechless.

BASSANIO

(to PORTIA) Were you the doctor and I knew you not?

BASSANIO

(to PORTIA) You were the doctor, and I didn’t even recognize you?

GRATIANO

(to NERISSA) Were you the clerk that is to make me cuckold?

GRATIANO

(to NERISSA) Were you the clerk with whom my wife’s going to cheat on me?

NERISSA

Ay, but the clerk that never means to do it
290Unless he live until he be a man.

NERISSA

Yes, but the clerk will never do it, unless he grows up to be a man.

BASSANIO

(to PORTIA) Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow.
When I am absent then lie with my wife.

BASSANIO

(to PORTIA) My sweet lawyer, you’ll be my bedfellow. When I’m not there, you can sleep with my wife.

ANTONIO

Sweet lady, you have given me life and living.
For here I read for certain that my ships
295Are safely come to road.

ANTONIO

Madam, you’ve given me life and given me a living too. I’ve read in this letter that my ships have safely come to harbor.