The Most Serene Republic, and its laws.

Monday, 10 February, Year 6 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

ACT I. SCENE III. Venicei. A public place.

SHYLOCK: Three thousand ducats; well.
BASSANIO: Ay, sir, for three months.

SHYLOCK: For three months; well.
BASSANIO: For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound.

SHYLOCK: Antonio shall become bound; well.
BASSANIO: May you stead me? Will you pleasure me? Shall I know your answer?

SHYLOCK: Three thousand ducats for three months and Antonio bound.
BASSANIO: Your answer to that.

SHYLOCK: Antonio is a good man.
BASSANIO: Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?

SHYLOCK: Oh, no, no, no, no: my meaning in saying he is a good man is to have you understand me that he is sufficient. Yet his means are in supposition: he hath an argosyii bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I understand moreover, upon the Rialto, he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and other ventures he hath, squandered abroad. But ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats and water-rats, water-thieves and land-thieves, I mean pirates, and then there is the peril of waters, winds and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding, sufficient. Three thousand ducats; I think I may take his bond.
BASSANIO: Be assured you may.

SHYLOCK: I will be assured I may; and, that I may be assured, I will bethink me. May I speak with Antonio?
BASSANIO: If it please you to dine with us.

SHYLOCK: Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into. I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following, but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you. What news on the Rialto? Who is he comes here?


BASSANIO: This is Signior Antonio.
SHYLOCK: [Aside] How like a fawning publican he looks! I hate him for he is a Christian, but more for that in low simplicity he lends out money gratis and brings down the rate of usance here with us in Venice. If I can catch him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him. He hates our sacred nation, and he rails, even there where merchants most do congregate, on me, my bargains and my well-won thrift, which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe, If I forgive him!

BASSANIO: Shylock, do you hear?
SHYLOCK: I am debating of my present store, and, by the near guess of my memory, I cannot instantly raise up the gross of full three thousand ducats. What of that? Tubal, a wealthy Hebrew of my tribe, will furnish me. But soft! How many months do you desire? [To ANTONIO] Rest you fair, good signior; your worship was the last man in our mouths.

ANTONIO: Shylock, although I neither lend nor borrow by taking nor by giving of excess, yet, to supply the ripe wants of my friend, I'll break a custom. Is he yet possess'd how much ye would?
SHYLOCK: Ay, ay, three thousand ducats.

ANTONIO: And for three months.
SHYLOCK: I had forgot; three months; you told me so. Well then, your bond; and let me see; but hear you: methought you said you neither lend nor borrow upon advantage.

ANTONIO: I do never use it.
SHYLOCK: When Jacob grazed his uncle Laban's sheep -- this Jacob from our holy Abram was, as his wise mother wrought in his behalf, the third possessor; ay, he was the third...

ANTONIO: And what of him? Did he take interest?
SHYLOCK: No, not take interest, not, as you would say, directly interest: mark what Jacob did. When Laban and himself were compromised that all the eanlings which were streak'd and piediii should fall as Jacob's hireiv, the ewes, being rankv, in the end of autumn turned to the rams, and, when the work of generation was between these woolly breeders in the act, the skilful shepherd peel'd me certain wands, and, in the doing of the deed of kind, he stuck them up before the fulsome ewes, who then conceiving did in eaning time fall parti-colour'd lambs, and those were Jacob's. This was a way to thrive, and he was blest: and thrift is blessing, if men steal it not.

ANTONIO : This was a venture, sir, that Jacob served for; a thing not in his power to bring to pass, but sway'd and fashion'd by the hand of heaven. Was this inserted to make interest good? Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?vi
SHYLOCK: I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast: But note me, signior.

ANTONIO: Mark you this, Bassanio, the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek, a goodly apple rotten at the heart: o, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
SHYLOCK: Three thousand ducats; 'tis a good round sum. Three months from twelve; then, let me see; the rate...

ANTONIO: Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you?
SHYLOCK: Signior Antonio, many a time and oft in the Rialto you have rated me about my moneys and my usances. Still have I borne it with a patient shrug, for sufferance is the badge of all our tribe. You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, and spit upon my Jewish gaberdine, and all for use of that which is mine own. Well then, it now appears you need my help: go to, then; you come to me, and you say 'Shylock, we would have moneys:' you say so; you, that did void your rheum upon my beard and foot me as you spurn a stranger cur over your threshold: moneys is your suit. What should I say to you? Should I not say 'Hath a dog money? Is it possible a cur can lend three thousand ducats?' Or shall I bend low and in a bondman's key, with bated breath and whispering humbleness, say this; 'Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last; You spurn'd me such a day; another time you call'd me dog; and for these courtesies I'll lend you thus much moneys'?

ANTONIO: I am as like to call thee so again, to spit on thee again, to spurn thee too. If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not as to thy friends; for when did friendship take a breed for barren metal of his friend? But lend it rather to thine enemy, who, if he break, thou mayst with better face exact the penalty.
SHYLOCK: Why, look you, how you storm! I would be friends with you and have your love, forget the shames that you have stain'd me with, supply your present wants and take no doit of usance for my moneys, and you'll not hear me: This is kind I offer.

BASSANIO: This were kindness.
SHYLOCK: This kindness will I show. Go with me to a notary, seal me there your single bond; and, in a merry sport, if you repay me not on such a day, in such a place, such sum or sums as are express'd in the condition, let the forfeit be nominated for an equal pound of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken in what part of your body pleaseth me.

ANTONIO : Content, I' faith: I'll seal to such a bond and say there is much kindness in the Jew.
BASSANIO: You shall not seal to such a bond for me: I'll rather dwell in my necessity.
ANTONIO: Why, fear not, man; I will not forfeit it: within these two months, that's a month before this bond expires, I do expect return of thrice three times the value of this bond.
SHYLOCK: O father Abram, what these Christians are, whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect the thoughts of others! Pray you, tell me this: if he should break his day, what should I gain by the exaction of the forfeiture? A pound of man's flesh taken from a man is not so estimable, profitable neither, as flesh of muttons, beefs, or goats. I say, to buy his favour, I extend this friendship: if he will take it, so; if not, adieu; And, for my love, I pray you wrong me not.

ANTONIO: Yes Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.
SHYLOCK: Then meet me forthwith at the notary's; give him direction for this merry bond, and I will go and purse the ducats straight, see to my house, left in the fearful guard of an unthrifty knave, and presently I will be with you.

ANTONIO: Hie thee, gentle Jew.
Exit Shylock

ANTONIO: The Hebrew will turn Christian: he grows kind.
BASSANIO: I like not fair terms and a villain's mind.
ANTONIO: Come on: in this there can be no dismay; my ships come home a month before the day.


ACT IV. SCENE I. Venice. A court of justice.

Enter the DUKE, the Magnificoes, ANTONIO, BASSANIO, GRATIANO, SALERIO, and others.

DUKE: What, is Antonio here?
ANTONIO: Ready, so please your grace.
DUKE: I am sorry for thee: thou art come to answer a stony adversary, an inhuman wretch uncapable of pity, void and empty from any dram of mercy.
ANTONIO: I have heard your grace hath ta'en great pains to qualify his rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate and that no lawful means can carry me out of his envy's reach, I do oppose my patience to his fury, and am arm'd to suffer, with a quietness of spirit, the very tyranny and rage of his.
DUKE: Go one, and call the Jew into the court.
SALERIO : He is ready at the door: he comes, my lord.


DUKE: Make room, and let him stand before our face. Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too, that thou but lead'st this fashion of thy malice to the last hour of act; and then 'tis thought thou'lt show thy mercy and remorse more strange than is thy strange apparent cruelty; And where thou now exact'st the penalty, which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh, thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture, but, touch'd with human gentleness and love, forgive a moiety of the principal; Glancing an eye of pity on his losses, that have of late so huddled on his back, enow to press a royal merchant down and pluck commiseration of his state from brassy bosoms and rough hearts of flint, from stubborn Turks and Tartars, never train'd to offices of tender courtesy. We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.
SHYLOCK: I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose; And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn to have the due and forfeit of my bond: if you deny it, let the danger light upon your charter and your city's freedom. You'll ask me, why I rather choose to have a weight of carrion flesh than to receive three thousand ducats. I'll not answer that, but, say, it is my humour. Is it answer'd? What if my house be troubled with a rat and I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats to have it baned? What, are you answer'd yet? Some men there are love not a gaping pig; some, that are mad if they behold a cat; and others, when the bagpipe sings i' the nose cannot contain their urine: for affection, mistress of passion, sways it to the mood of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer: as there is no firm reason to be render'd, why he cannot abide a gaping pig; why he, a harmless necessary cat; why he, a woollen bagpipe; but of force must yield to such inevitable shame as to offend, himself being offended; so can I give no reason, nor I will not, more than a lodged hate and a certain loathing I bear Antonio, that I follow thus a losing suit against him. Are you answer'd?

BASSANIO: This is no answer, thou unfeeling man, to excuse the current of thy cruelty.
SHYLOCK: I am not bound to please thee with my answers.

BASSANIO: Do all men kill the things they do not love?
SHYLOCK: Hates any man the thing he would not kill?

BASSANIO: Every offence is not a hate at first.
SHYLOCK: What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?

ANTONIO: I pray you, think you question with the Jew: 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 fretten with the gusts of heaven; you may as well do anything 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.
BASSANIO : For thy three thousand ducats here is six.
SHYLOCK: What judgment shall I dread, doing ? 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?
SHYLOCK: 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?


BASSANIO: Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?
SHYLOCK: To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.

GRATIANO: Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew, thou makest 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?
SHYLOCK: No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.

GRATIANO: O, be thou damn'd, inexecrable dog! And for thy life let justice be accused. Thou almost makest me waver in my faith to hold opinion with Pythagoras, that souls of animals infuse themselves into the trunks of men: thy currish spirit govern'd a wolf, who, hang'd for human slaughter, even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet, and, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallow'd dam, infused itself in thee; for thy desires rre wolvish, bloody, starved and ravenous.
SHYLOCK: Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond, thou but offend'st thy lungs to speak so loud: repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall to cureless ruin. I stand here for law.

That's it. That's all.

  1. The first, the original, the only. Serenìsima Repùblica Vèneta, a city state that stood sovereign, almighty, the source of everthing right, good and proper for the entire world. A thousand years it reigned all that there was, perched upon the strength of signature and the indomitable power of commerce therein contained.

    After three short and readily forgotten centuries of barbaric darkness that coincide with the rise and fall of that false republic in our Western colonies, today we have a new dawn. The signature goes deeper, and so with it everything right, good and proper springs again. The Serenissima is reborn.

    And we shall have our pound of flesh, of thy fair flesh, from closest to thy heart. []

  2. A small fleet. []
  3. Not of one color. []
  4. Ie, become his pay []
  5. Ewes, ie female sheep, smell when in heat. []
  6. Antonio of course flatly misses Shylock's point, being much too preoccupied with following what stereotypes he's formed of the other's position to actually... you know... like listen to what that position'd be. The point brought isn't that gold is like sheep and thus therefore the use of gold entitles one to fruit over time as the keeping of a herd entitles one to lambs. The point is that there is wisdom in the manner in which a thing is to be used, and that wisdom is to be rewarded. Much subtler a thing, and in the end that which defeats the christian's bizarre notions on the subject in very practice, to this very day. []
Category: Cuvinte Sfiinte
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