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The Merchant of Venice

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LORENZO
Your husband is at hand. I hear his trumpet.
We are no tell-tales, madam. Fear you not.
LORENZO
Your husband’s near. I hear his trumpet. We’re not tattle-tales, madam, don’t worry.



125
PORTIA
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.
PORTIA
I think this night is just like sick daylight. It only looks a little paler. It looks like a day when the sun is hidden.
Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and their followers
GRATIANO and NERISSA move aside and talk BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and their followers enter. GRATIANO and NERISSA move aside and talk.


BASSANIO
(to PORTIA) We should hold day with the Antipodes,
If you would walk in absence of the sun.
BASSANIO
(to PORTIA) If you walked outside at night, it would be daylight here at the same time as on the other side of the world.



130
PORTIA
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.
PORTIA
I’ll give

light

“Light” could mean having loose morals.

light
to men, but I’ll never be light or unchaste. An unfaithful wife makes a husband worry, and I’ll never let Bassanio worry if I can help it. I hope God figures it all out! Welcome home, my husband.



BASSANIO
I thank you, madam. Give welcome to my friend.
This is the man, this is Antonio,
To whom I am so infinitely bound.
BASSANIO
Thank you, darling. I’d like to introduce you to my friend. This is Antonio, my dearest friend. We are closely tied.

135
PORTIA
You should in all sense be much bound to him.
For as I hear he was much bound for you.
PORTIA
You should be tied to him, since he tied himself up so much for you.

ANTONIO
No more than I am well acquitted of.
ANTONIO
But I’ve been paid back well.



140
PORTIA
Sir, you are very welcome to our house.
It must appear in other ways than words,
Therefore I scant this breathing courtesy.
PORTIA
Sir, welcome to our house. But action speaks louder than words, so I’ll cut short these polite words.

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