Speeches (Lines) for Portia
in "Merchant of Venice"

Total: 117

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# Act, Scene, Line
(Click to see in context)
Speech text

1

I,2,195

By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of
this great world.

2

I,2,204

Good sentences and well pronounced.

3

I,2,206

If to do were as easy as to know what were good to
do, chapels had been churches and poor men's
cottages princes' palaces. It is a good divine that
follows his own instructions: I can easier teach
twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the
twenty to follow mine own teaching. The brain may
devise laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps
o'er a cold decree: such a hare is madness the
youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel the
cripple. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to
choose me a husband. O me, the word 'choose!' I may
neither choose whom I would nor refuse whom I
dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curbed
by the will of a dead father. Is it not hard,
Nerissa, that I cannot choose one nor refuse none?

4

I,2,229

I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou namest
them, I will describe them; and, according to my
description, level at my affection.

5

I,2,233

Ay, that's a colt indeed, for he doth nothing but
talk of his horse; and he makes it a great
appropriation to his own good parts, that he can
shoe him himself. I am much afeard my lady his
mother played false with a smith.

6

I,2,239

He doth nothing but frown, as who should say 'If you
will not have me, choose:' he hears merry tales and
smiles not: I fear he will prove the weeping
philosopher when he grows old, being so full of
unmannerly sadness in his youth. I had rather be
married to a death's-head with a bone in his mouth
than to either of these. God defend me from these
two!

7

I,2,248

God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man.
In truth, I know it is a sin to be a mocker: but,
he! why, he hath a horse better than the
Neapolitan's, a better bad habit of frowning than
the Count Palatine; he is every man in no man; if a
throstle sing, he falls straight a capering: he will
fence with his own shadow: if I should marry him, I
should marry twenty husbands. If he would despise me
I would forgive him, for if he love me to madness, I
shall never requite him.

8

I,2,260

You know I say nothing to him, for he understands
not me, nor I him: he hath neither Latin, French,
nor Italian, and you will come into the court and
swear that I have a poor pennyworth in the English.
He is a proper man's picture, but, alas, who can
converse with a dumb-show? How oddly he is suited!
I think he bought his doublet in Italy, his round
hose in France, his bonnet in Germany and his
behavior every where.

9

I,2,270

That he hath a neighbourly charity in him, for he
borrowed a box of the ear of the Englishman and
swore he would pay him again when he was able: I
think the Frenchman became his surety and sealed
under for another.

10

I,2,276

Very vilely in the morning, when he is sober, and
most vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk: when
he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and
when he is worst, he is little better than a beast:
and the worst fall that ever fell, I hope I shall
make shift to go without him.

11

I,2,285

Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, set a
deep glass of rhenish wine on the contrary casket,
for if the devil be within and that temptation
without, I know he will choose it. I will do any
thing, Nerissa, ere I'll be married to a sponge.

12

I,2,296

If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die as
chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by the manner
of my father's will. I am glad this parcel of wooers
are so reasonable, for there is not one among them
but I dote on his very absence, and I pray God grant
them a fair departure.

13

I,2,305

Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, he was so called.

14

I,2,308

I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of
thy praise.
[Enter a Serving-man]
How now! what news?

15

I,2,316

If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good a
heart as I can bid the other four farewell, I should
be glad of his approach: if he have the condition
of a saint and the complexion of a devil, I had
rather he should shrive me than wive me. Come,
Nerissa. Sirrah, go before.
Whiles we shut the gates
upon one wooer, another knocks at the door.

16

II,1,527

In terms of choice I am not solely led
By nice direction of a maiden's eyes;
Besides, the lottery of my destiny
Bars me the right of voluntary choosing:
But if my father had not scanted me
And hedged me by his wit, to yield myself
His wife who wins me by that means I told you,
Yourself, renowned prince, then stood as fair
As any comer I have look'd on yet
For my affection.

17

II,1,554

You must take your chance,
And either not attempt to choose at all
Or swear before you choose, if you choose wrong
Never to speak to lady afterward
In way of marriage: therefore be advised.

18

II,1,560

First, forward to the temple: after dinner
Your hazard shall be made.

19

II,7,987

Go draw aside the curtains and discover
The several caskets to this noble prince.
Now make your choice.

20

II,7,997

The one of them contains my picture, prince:
If you choose that, then I am yours withal.

21

II,7,1047

There, take it, prince; and if my form lie there,
Then I am yours.

22

II,7,1068

A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains, go.
Let all of his complexion choose me so.

23

II,9,1134

Behold, there stand the caskets, noble prince:
If you choose that wherein I am contain'd,
Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemnized:
But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,
You must be gone from hence immediately.

24

II,9,1146

To these injunctions every one doth swear
That comes to hazard for my worthless self.

25

II,9,1183

Too long a pause for that which you find there.

26

II,9,1191

To offend, and judge, are distinct offices
And of opposed natures.

27

II,9,1212

Thus hath the candle singed the moth.
O, these deliberate fools! when they do choose,
They have the wisdom by their wit to lose.

28

II,9,1217

Come, draw the curtain, Nerissa.

29

II,9,1220

Here: what would my lord?

30

II,9,1231

No more, I pray thee: I am half afeard
Thou wilt say anon he is some kin to thee,
Thou spend'st such high-day wit in praising him.
Come, come, Nerissa; for I long to see
Quick Cupid's post that comes so mannerly.

31

III,2,1364

I pray you, tarry: pause a day or two
Before you hazard; for, in choosing wrong,
I lose your company: therefore forbear awhile.
There's something tells me, but it is not love,
I would not lose you; and you know yourself,
Hate counsels not in such a quality.
But lest you should not understand me well,—
And yet a maiden hath no tongue but thought,—
I would detain you here some month or two
Before you venture for me. I could teach you
How to choose right, but I am then forsworn;
So will I never be: so may you miss me;
But if you do, you'll make me wish a sin,
That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes,
They have o'erlook'd me and divided me;
One half of me is yours, the other half yours,
Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours,
And so all yours. O, these naughty times
Put bars between the owners and their rights!
And so, though yours, not yours. Prove it so,
Let fortune go to hell for it, not I.
I speak too long; but 'tis to peize the time,
To eke it and to draw it out in length,
To stay you from election.

32

III,2,1390

Upon the rack, Bassanio! then confess
What treason there is mingled with your love.

33

III,2,1396

Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack,
Where men enforced do speak anything.

34

III,2,1399

Well then, confess and live.

35

III,2,1405

Away, then! I am lock'd in one of them:
If you do love me, you will find me out.
Nerissa and the rest, stand all aloof.
Let music sound while he doth make his choice;
Then, if he lose, he makes a swan-like end,
Fading in music: that the comparison
May stand more proper, my eye shall be the stream
And watery death-bed for him. He may win;
And what is music then? Then music is
Even as the flourish when true subjects bow
To a new-crowned monarch: such it is
As are those dulcet sounds in break of day
That creep into the dreaming bridegroom's ear,
And summon him to marriage. Now he goes,
With no less presence, but with much more love,
Than young Alcides, when he did redeem
The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy
To the sea-monster: I stand for sacrifice
The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives,
With bleared visages, come forth to view
The issue of the exploit. Go, Hercules!
Live thou, I live: with much, much more dismay
I view the fight than thou that makest the fray.
[Music, whilst BASSANIO comments on the caskets to himself]
SONG.
Tell me where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart, or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?
Reply, reply.
It is engender'd in the eyes,
With gazing fed; and fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies.
Let us all ring fancy's knell
I'll begin it,—Ding, dong, bell.

36

III,2,1475

[Aside] How all the other passions fleet to air,
As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embraced despair,
And shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy! O love,
Be moderate; allay thy ecstasy,
In measure rein thy joy; scant this excess.
I feel too much thy blessing: make it less,
For fear I surfeit.

37

III,2,1519

You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand,
Such as I am: though for myself alone
I would not be ambitious in my wish,
To wish myself much better; yet, for you
I would be trebled twenty times myself;
A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich;
That only to stand high in your account,
I might in virtue, beauties, livings, friends,
Exceed account; but the full sum of me
Is sum of something, which, to term in gross,
Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractised;
Happy in this, she is not yet so old
But she may learn; happier than this,
She is not bred so dull but she can learn;
Happiest of all is that her gentle spirit
Commits itself to yours to be directed,
As from her lord, her governor, her king.
Myself and what is mine to you and yours
Is now converted: but now I was the lord
Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
Queen o'er myself: and even now, but now,
This house, these servants and this same myself
Are yours, my lord: I give them with this ring;
Which when you part from, lose, or give away,
Let it presage the ruin of your love
And be my vantage to exclaim on you.

38

III,2,1579

Is this true, Nerissa?

39

III,2,1596

So do I, my lord:
They are entirely welcome.

40

III,2,1618

There are some shrewd contents in yon same paper,
That steals the colour from Bassanio's cheek:
Some dear friend dead; else nothing in the world
Could turn so much the constitution
Of any constant man. What, worse and worse!
With leave, Bassanio: I am half yourself,
And I must freely have the half of anything
That this same paper brings you.

41

III,2,1668

Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble?

42

III,2,1674

What sum owes he the Jew?

43

III,2,1676

What, no more?
Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond;
Double six thousand, and then treble that,
Before a friend of this description
Shall lose a hair through Bassanio's fault.
First go with me to church and call me wife,
And then away to Venice to your friend;
For never shall you lie by Portia's side
With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold
To pay the petty debt twenty times over:
When it is paid, bring your true friend along.
My maid Nerissa and myself meantime
Will live as maids and widows. Come, away!
For you shall hence upon your wedding-day:
Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheer:
Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.
But let me hear the letter of your friend.

44

III,2,1701

O love, dispatch all business, and be gone!

45

III,4,1759

I never did repent for doing good,
Nor shall not now: for in companions
That do converse and waste the time together,
Whose souls do bear an equal yoke Of love,
There must be needs a like proportion
Of lineaments, of manners and of spirit;
Which makes me think that this Antonio,
Being the bosom lover of my lord,
Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,
How little is the cost I have bestow'd
In purchasing the semblance of my soul
From out the state of hellish misery!
This comes too near the praising of myself;
Therefore no more of it: hear other things.
Lorenzo, I commit into your hands
The husbandry and manage of my house
Until my lord's return: for mine own part,
I have toward heaven breathed a secret vow
To live in prayer and contemplation,
Only attended by Nerissa here,
Until her husband and my lord's return:
There is a monastery two miles off;
And there will we abide. I do desire you
Not to deny this imposition;
The which my love and some necessity
Now lays upon you.

46

III,4,1787

My people do already know my mind,
And will acknowledge you and Jessica
In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.
And so farewell, till we shall meet again.

47

III,4,1793

I thank you for your wish, and am well pleased
To wish it back on you: fare you well Jessica.
[Exeunt JESSICA and LORENZO]
Now, Balthasar,
As I have ever found thee honest-true,
So let me find thee still. Take this same letter,
And use thou all the endeavour of a man
In speed to Padua: see thou render this
Into my cousin's hand, Doctor Bellario;
And, look, what notes and garments he doth give thee,
Bring them, I pray thee, with imagined speed
Unto the tranect, to the common ferry
Which trades to Venice. Waste no time in words,
But get thee gone: I shall be there before thee.

48

III,4,1809

Come on, Nerissa; I have work in hand
That you yet know not of: we'll see our husbands
Before they think of us.

49

III,4,1813

They shall, Nerissa; but in such a habit,
That they shall think we are accomplished
With that we lack. I'll hold thee any wager,
When we are both accoutred like young men,
I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
And wear my dagger with the braver grace,
And speak between the change of man and boy
With a reed voice, and turn two mincing steps
Into a manly stride, and speak of frays
Like a fine bragging youth, and tell quaint lies,
How honourable ladies sought my love,
Which I denying, they fell sick and died;
I could not do withal; then I'll repent,
And wish for all that, that I had not killed them;
And twenty of these puny lies I'll tell,
That men shall swear I have discontinued school
Above a twelvemonth. I have within my mind
A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks,
Which I will practise.

50

III,4,1833

Fie, what a question's that,
If thou wert near a lewd interpreter!
But come, I'll tell thee all my whole device
When I am in my coach, which stays for us
At the park gate; and therefore haste away,
For we must measure twenty miles to-day.

51

IV,1,2107

I did, my lord.

52

IV,1,2111

I am informed thoroughly of the cause.
Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?

53

IV,1,2114

Is your name Shylock?

54

IV,1,2116

Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;
Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.
You stand within his danger, do you not?

55

IV,1,2121

Do you confess the bond?

56

IV,1,2123

Then must the Jew be merciful.

57

IV,1,2125

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.

58

IV,1,2149

Is he not able to discharge the money?

59

IV,1,2159

It must not be; there is no power in Venice
Can alter a decree established:
'Twill be recorded for a precedent,
And many an error by the same example
Will rush into the state: it cannot be.

60

IV,1,2166

I pray you, let me look upon the bond.

61

IV,1,2168

Shylock, there's thrice thy money offer'd thee.

62

IV,1,2172

Why, this bond is forfeit;
And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
Nearest the merchant's heart. Be merciful:
Take thrice thy money; bid me tear the bond.

63

IV,1,2187

Why then, thus it is:
You must prepare your bosom for his knife.

64

IV,1,2190

For the intent and purpose of the law
Hath full relation to the penalty,
Which here appeareth due upon the bond.

65

IV,1,2195

Therefore lay bare your bosom.

66

IV,1,2199

It is so. Are there balance here to weigh
The flesh?

67

IV,1,2202

Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,
To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.

68

IV,1,2205

It is not so express'd: but what of that?
'Twere good you do so much for charity.

69

IV,1,2208

You, merchant, have you any thing to say?

70

IV,1,2233

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

71

IV,1,2245

A pound of that same merchant's flesh is thine:
The court awards it, and the law doth give it.

72

IV,1,2248

And you must cut this flesh from off his breast:
The law allows it, and the court awards it.

73

IV,1,2251

Tarry a little; there is something else.
This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
The words expressly are 'a pound of flesh:'
Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh;
But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
Unto the state of Venice.

74

IV,1,2261

Thyself shalt see the act:
For, as thou urgest justice, be assured
Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desirest.

75

IV,1,2268

Soft!
The Jew shall have all justice; soft! no haste:
He shall have nothing but the penalty.

76

IV,1,2272

Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh.
Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more
But just a pound of flesh: if thou cut'st more
Or less than a just pound, be it but so much
As makes it light or heavy in the substance,
Or the division of the twentieth part
Of one poor scruple, nay, if the scale do turn
But in the estimation of a hair,
Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate.

77

IV,1,2283

Why doth the Jew pause? take thy forfeiture.

78

IV,1,2286

He hath refused it in the open court:
He shall have merely justice and his bond.

79

IV,1,2291

Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture,
To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.

80

IV,1,2295

Tarry, Jew:
The law hath yet another hold on you.
It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
If it be proved against an alien
That by direct or indirect attempts
He seek the life of any citizen,
The party 'gainst the which he doth contrive
Shall seize one half his goods; the other half
Comes to the privy coffer of the state;
And the offender's life lies in the mercy
Of the duke only, 'gainst all other voice.
In which predicament, I say, thou stand'st;
For it appears, by manifest proceeding,
That indirectly and directly too
Thou hast contrived against the very life
Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr'd
The danger formerly by me rehearsed.
Down therefore and beg mercy of the duke.

81

IV,1,2322

Ay, for the state, not for Antonio.

82

IV,1,2327

What mercy can you render him, Antonio?

83

IV,1,2342

Art thou contented, Jew? what dost thou say?

84

IV,1,2344

Clerk, draw a deed of gift.

85

IV,1,2354

I humbly do desire your grace of pardon:
I must away this night toward Padua,
And it is meet I presently set forth.

86

IV,1,2368

He is well paid that is well satisfied;
And I, delivering you, am satisfied
And therein do account myself well paid:
My mind was never yet more mercenary.
I pray you, know me when we meet again:
I wish you well, and so I take my leave.

87

IV,1,2378

You press me far, and therefore I will yield.
[To ANTONIO]
Give me your gloves, I'll wear them for your sake;
[To BASSANIO]
And, for your love, I'll take this ring from you:
Do not draw back your hand; I'll take no more;
And you in love shall not deny me this.

88

IV,1,2387

I will have nothing else but only this;
And now methinks I have a mind to it.

89

IV,1,2393

I see, sir, you are liberal in offers
You taught me first to beg; and now methinks
You teach me how a beggar should be answer'd.

90

IV,1,2399

That 'scuse serves many men to save their gifts.
An if your wife be not a mad-woman,
And know how well I have deserved the ring,
She would not hold out enemy for ever,
For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!

91

IV,2,2417

Inquire the Jew's house out, give him this deed
And let him sign it: we'll away to-night
And be a day before our husbands home:
This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo.

92

IV,2,2426

That cannot be:
His ring I do accept most thankfully:
And so, I pray you, tell him: furthermore,
I pray you, show my youth old Shylock's house.

93

IV,2,2435

[Aside to NERISSA] Thou mayst, I warrant.
We shall have old swearing
That they did give the rings away to men;
But we'll outface them, and outswear them too.
[Aloud]
Away! make haste: thou knowist where I will tarry.

94

V,1,2546

That light we see is burning in my hall.
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

95

V,1,2550

So doth the greater glory dim the less:
A substitute shines brightly as a king
Unto the king be by, and then his state
Empties itself, as doth an inland brook
Into the main of waters. Music! hark!

96

V,1,2556

Nothing is good, I see, without respect:
Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day.

97

V,1,2559

The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark,
When neither is attended, and I think
The nightingale, if she should sing by day,
When every goose is cackling, would be thought
No better a musician than the wren.
How many things by season season'd are
To their right praise and true perfection!
Peace, ho! the moon sleeps with Endymion
And would not be awaked.

98

V,1,2571

He knows me as the blind man knows the cuckoo,
By the bad voice.

99

V,1,2574

We have been praying for our husbands' healths,
Which speed, we hope, the better for our words.
Are they return'd?

100

V,1,2580

Go in, Nerissa;
Give order to my servants that they take
No note at all of our being absent hence;
Nor you, Lorenzo; Jessica, nor you.

101

V,1,2587

This night methinks is but the daylight sick;
It looks a little paler: 'tis a day,
Such as the day is when the sun is hid.
[Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and]
their followers]

102

V,1,2594

Let me give light, but let me not be light;
For a light wife doth make a heavy husband,
And never be Bassanio so for me:
But God sort all! You are welcome home, my lord.

103

V,1,2601

You should in all sense be much bound to him.
For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.

104

V,1,2604

Sir, you are very welcome to our house:
It must appear in other ways than words,
Therefore I scant this breathing courtesy.

105

V,1,2611

A quarrel, ho, already! what's the matter?

106

V,1,2631

You were to blame, I must be plain with you,
To part so slightly with your wife's first gift:
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger
And so riveted with faith unto your flesh.
I gave my love a ring and made him swear
Never to part with it; and here he stands;
I dare be sworn for him he would not leave it
Nor pluck it from his finger, for the wealth
That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano,
You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief:
An 'twere to me, I should be mad at it.

107

V,1,2650

What ring gave you my lord?
Not that, I hope, which you received of me.

108

V,1,2655

Even so void is your false heart of truth.
By heaven, I will ne'er come in your bed
Until I see the ring.

109

V,1,2667

If you had known the virtue of the ring,
Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
Or your own honour to contain the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
What man is there so much unreasonable,
If you had pleased to have defended it
With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
To urge the thing held as a ceremony?
Nerissa teaches me what to believe:
I'll die for't but some woman had the ring.

110

V,1,2691

Let not that doctor e'er come near my house:
Since he hath got the jewel that I loved,
And that which you did swear to keep for me,
I will become as liberal as you;
I'll not deny him any thing I have,
No, not my body nor my husband's bed:
Know him I shall, I am well sure of it:
Lie not a night from home; watch me like Argus:
If you do not, if I be left alone,
Now, by mine honour, which is yet mine own,
I'll have that doctor for my bedfellow.

111

V,1,2707

Sir, grieve not you; you are welcome notwithstanding.

112

V,1,2712

Mark you but that!
In both my eyes he doubly sees himself;
In each eye, one: swear by your double self,
And there's an oath of credit.

113

V,1,2724

Then you shall be his surety. Give him this
And bid him keep it better than the other.

114

V,1,2728

I had it of him: pardon me, Bassanio;
For, by this ring, the doctor lay with me.

115

V,1,2736

Speak not so grossly. You are all amazed:
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
Shall witness I set forth as soon as you
And even but now return'd; I have not yet
Enter'd my house. Antonio, you are welcome;
And I have better news in store for you
Than you expect: unseal this letter soon;
There you shall find three of your argosies
Are richly come to harbour suddenly:
You shall not know by what strange accident
I chanced on this letter.

116

V,1,2760

How now, Lorenzo!
My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.

117

V,1,2768

It is almost morning,
And yet I am sure you are not satisfied
Of these events at full. Let us go in;
And charge us there upon inter'gatories,
And we will answer all things faithfully.

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