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Are you acquainted with the difference That holds the present question in the court? Por. I am informed thoroughly of the [Jew. Which is the merchant here, and which the Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.


Por. Is your name Shylock?
Shylock. Shylock is my name.

Por. 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?
Antonio. Ay, so he says.

Por. Do you confess the bond?

Ant. I do.

Por. Then must the Jew be merciful.

Shy. On what compulsion must I? tell me that.

Por. The quality of mercy is not strain'd; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes: 'Tis mightest in the mighty: it becomes + Reach or control.

* Oppose.

The thron'd monarch better than his crown:
It is an attribute to God himself:

And earthly power doth then show likest God's,
When mercy seasons justice. Think of 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

The deeds of mercy.


AND thou hast walk'd about, how strange a story!

In Thebe's street three thousand years ago; When the Memnonium was in all its glory, And time had not begun to overthrow Those temples, palaces, and piles stupendous, Of which the very ruins are tremendous.

Speak, for thou long enough has acted dummy, Thou hast a tongue, come, let us hear its tune;

Thou'rt standing on thy legs above ground, Mummy!

Revisiting the glimpses of the moon, Not like thin ghosts or disembodied creatures, But with thy bones, and flesh, and limbs, and features.

Tell us, for doubtless thou canst recollect, To whom should we assign the Sphinx's fame?

Was Cheops or Cephrenes architect,

Of either pyramid that bears his name? Is Pompey's Pillar really a misnomer? Had Thebes a hundred gates, as sung by Homer?

Perhaps thou wert a mason, and forbidden

By oath, to tell the mysteries of thy trade; Then say what secret melody was hidden

In Memnon's statue, which at sunrise played? Perhaps thou wert a priest, and hast been dealing

In human blood, and horrors past revealing.

Perchance that very hand now pinioned flat, Has hob-a-nobb'd with Pharoah, glass to glass;

Or dropp'd a halfpenny into Homer's hat;
Or doffed thine own to let queen Dido pass;
Or held by Solomon's own invitation,

A torch at the great temple's dedication.

I need not ask thee if that hand, when armed, Has any Roman soldier mauled or knuckled, For thou wert dead, and buried, and embalm'd, Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled ; Antiquity appears to have begun,

Long after thy primeval race was run.

Thou could'st develop, if that withered tongue
Might tell us what those sightless orbs have
How the world looked when it was fresh and
And the great deluge still had left it green;
Or was it then so old, that history's pages
Contain'd no record of its early ages?

Still silent, incommunicative elf!

Art sworn to secrecy? then keep thy vows; But prithee tell us something of thyself

Reveal the secrets of thy prison house! Since in the world of spirits thou hast slumber'd What thou hast seen, what strange adventures number'd.

Since first thy form was in this box extended, We have, above ground, seen some strange mutations;

The Roman empire has begun and ended; New worlds have risen, we have lost whole nations,

And countless kings have into dust been humbled,

While not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled.

Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head,

When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses, Marched armies o'er thy tomb, with thundering tread,

O'erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis,

And shook the pyramids with fear and wonder, When the gigantic Memnon fell asunder?

If the tomb's secrets may not be confess'd
The nature of thy private life unfold:

A heart has throbb'd beneath that leathern


And tears adown that dusky cheek have rolled; Have children climbed those knees, and kiss'd that face,

What was thy name and station, age and race?

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