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Merchant of Venice

I'll have my bond; speak not against my bond.

I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond.

There is no power in the tongue of man

To alter me. I stay here on my bond.

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Ay, his breast-

So says the bond; doth it not, noble judge?

'Nearest his heart,' those are the very words.

Would any of the stock of Barrabas

Had been her husband, rather than a Christian!-

We trifle time; I pray thee pursue sentence.

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.


The Jew shall have all justice. Soft! No haste.

He shall have nothing but the penalty.

if thou tak'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.

Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture

To be so taken at thy peril,

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 rehears'd.

Down, therefore, and beg mercy of the Duke.

Measure for Measure

He who the sword of heaven will bear

Should be as holy as severe;

Pattern in himself to know,

Grace to stand, and virtue go;

More nor less to others paying

Than by self-offences weighing.

Shame to him whose cruel striking

Kills for faults of his own liking!

Twice treble shame on Angelo,

To weed my vice and let his grow!

O, what may man within him hide,

Though angel on the outward side!

How may likeness, made in crimes,

Make a practice on the times,

To draw with idle spiders' strings

Most ponderous and substantial things!

Craft against vice I must apply.

With Angelo to-night shall lie

His old betrothed but despised;

So disguise shall, by th' disguised,

Pay with falsehood false exacting,

And perform an old contracting.

This deed unshapes me quite, makes me unpregnant

And dull to all proceedings. A deflow'red maid!

And by an eminent body that enforc'd

The law against it! But that her tender shame

Will not proclaim against her maiden loss,

How might she tongue me! Yet reason dares her no;

For my authority bears a so credent bulk

That no particular scandal once can touch

But it confounds the breather. He should have liv'd,

Save that his riotous youth, with dangerous sense,

Might in the times to come have ta'en revenge,

By so receiving a dishonour'd life

With ransom of such shame. Would yet he had liv'd!

Alack, when once our grace we have forgot,

Nothing goes right; we would, and we would not.


to hold, as
    'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show Virtue her own feature,
    scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his
    form and pressure. Now this overdone, or come tardy off, though
    it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious
    grieve; the censure of the which one must in your allowance
    o'erweigh a whole theatre of others.

All is not well.
    I doubt some foul play. Would the night were come!
    Till then sit still, my soul. Foul deeds will rise,
    Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes.