* * * * *
Bass. This is no answer, thou unfeeling man, To excuse the current of thy cruelty.
Shy. I am not bound to please thee with my answer.
* * * * *
Ant. I pray you, think you question with
You may as well go stand upon the beach
And bid the main flood bate his usual height;
You may as well use question with the wolf
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb;
You may as well forbid the mountain pines
To wag their high tops and to make no noise,
When they are fretted with the gusts of heaven;
You may as well do any thing most hard,
As seek to soften that—than which what’s harder?—
His Jewish heart: therefore, I do beseech you,
Make no more offers, use no farther means,
But with all brief and plain conveniency
Let me have judgment, and the Jew his will.
Bass. For thy three thousand ducats here is six.
Shy, If every ducat in six thousand ducats Were in six parts, and every part a ducat, I would not draw them; I would have my bond.
Duke. How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?
Shy. What judgment shall I dread,
doing no wrong?
You have among you many a purchased slave,
Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,
You use in abject and in slavish parts,
Because you bought them: shall I say to you,
Let them be free, marry them to your heirs?
Why sweat they under burthens? let their beds
Be made as soft as yours, and let their palates
Be season’d with such viands? You will answer
“The slaves are ours:” so do I answer you;
The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,
Is dearly bought; ’tis mine, and I will have it:
If you deny me, fie upon your law!
There is no force in the decrees of Venice:
I stand for judgment: answer; shall I have it?
Duke. Upon my power, I may dismiss
Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
Whom I have sent for to determine this,
Come here to-day.
Salar. My lord, here stays without A messenger with letters from the doctor, New come from Padua.
Duke. Bring us the letters; call the messenger.
Enter NERISSA, dressed like a lawyer’s clerk.
Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario?
Ner. From both, my lord. Bellario greets your grace.
[Presenting a letter.
Bass. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?
Shy. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.
Gra. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew, Thou mak’st thy knife keen; but no metal can, No, not the hangman’s axe, bear half the keenness Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?
Shy. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.