Speeches (Lines) for Nerissa in "The Merchant of Venice"

Total: 36
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# Act / Scene Speech text
1 I / 2
  • You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in
    the same abundance as yo...
  • You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in
    the same abundance as your good fortunes are: and
    yet, for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit
    with too much as they that starve with nothing. It
    is no mean happiness therefore, to be seated in the
    mean: superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but
    competency lives longer.
  • Portia. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of
    this great world.

    Nerissa. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in
    the same abundance as your good fortunes are: and
    yet, for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit
    with too much as they that starve with nothing. It
    is no mean happiness therefore, to be seated in the
    mean: superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but
    competency lives longer.

2 I / 2
  • They would be better, if well followed.
  • They would be better, if well followed.
  • Portia. Good sentences and well pronounced.

    Nerissa. They would be better, if well followed.

3 I / 2
  • Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men at their
    death have good inspira...
  • Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men at their
    death have good inspirations: therefore the lottery,
    that he hath devised in these three chests of gold,
    silver and lead, whereof who chooses his meaning
    chooses you, will, no doubt, never be chosen by any
    rightly but one who shall rightly love. But what
    warmth is there in your affection towards any of
    these princely suitors that are already come?
  • Portia. 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?

    Nerissa. Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men at their
    death have good inspirations: therefore the lottery,
    that he hath devised in these three chests of gold,
    silver and lead, whereof who chooses his meaning
    chooses you, will, no doubt, never be chosen by any
    rightly but one who shall rightly love. But what
    warmth is there in your affection towards any of
    these princely suitors that are already come?

4 I / 2
  • First, there is the Neapolitan prince.
  • First, there is the Neapolitan prince.
  • Portia. I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou namest
    them, I will describe them; and, according to my
    description, level at my affection.

    Nerissa. First, there is the Neapolitan prince.

5 I / 2
  • Then there is the County Palatine.
  • Then there is the County Palatine.
  • Portia. 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.

    Nerissa. Then there is the County Palatine.

6 I / 2
  • How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?
  • How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?
  • Portia. 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!

    Nerissa. How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?

7 I / 2
  • What say you, then, to Falconbridge, the young baron
    of England?
  • What say you, then, to Falconbridge, the young baron
    of England?
  • Portia. 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.

    Nerissa. What say you, then, to Falconbridge, the young baron
    of England?

8 I / 2
  • What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?
  • What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?
  • Portia. 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.

    Nerissa. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?

9 I / 2
  • How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew?
  • How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew?
  • Portia. 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.

    Nerissa. How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew?

10 I / 2
  • If he should offer to choose, and choose the right
    casket, you should refuse...
  • If he should offer to choose, and choose the right
    casket, you should refuse to perform your father's
    will, if you should refuse to accept him.
  • Portia. 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.

    Nerissa. If he should offer to choose, and choose the right
    casket, you should refuse to perform your father's
    will, if you should refuse to accept him.

11 I / 2
  • You need not fear, lady, the having any of these
    lords: they have acquainted...
  • You need not fear, lady, the having any of these
    lords: they have acquainted me with their
    determinations; which is, indeed, to return to their
    home and to trouble you with no more suit, unless
    you may be won by some other sort than your father's
    imposition depending on the caskets.
  • Portia. 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.

    Nerissa. You need not fear, lady, the having any of these
    lords: they have acquainted me with their
    determinations; which is, indeed, to return to their
    home and to trouble you with no more suit, unless
    you may be won by some other sort than your father's
    imposition depending on the caskets.

12 I / 2
  • Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, a
    Venetian, a scholar and...
  • Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, a
    Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came hither
    in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?
  • Portia. 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.

    Nerissa. Do you not remember, lady, in your father's time, a
    Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came hither
    in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?

13 I / 2
  • True, madam: he, of all the men that ever my foolish
    eyes looked upon, was t...
  • True, madam: he, of all the men that ever my foolish
    eyes looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.
  • Portia. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, he was so called.

    Nerissa. True, madam: he, of all the men that ever my foolish
    eyes looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.

14 II / 9
  • Quick, quick, I pray thee; draw the curtain straight:
    The Prince of Arragon...
  • Quick, quick, I pray thee; draw the curtain straight:
    The Prince of Arragon hath ta'en his oath,
    And comes to his election presently.
    [Flourish of cornets. Enter the PRINCE OF ARRAGON,]
    PORTIA, and their trains]
  • Salarino. Do we so.

    Nerissa. Quick, quick, I pray thee; draw the curtain straight:
    The Prince of Arragon hath ta'en his oath,
    And comes to his election presently.
    [Flourish of cornets. Enter the PRINCE OF ARRAGON,]
    PORTIA, and their trains]

15 II / 9
  • The ancient saying is no heresy,
    Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.
  • The ancient saying is no heresy,
    Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.
  • Portia. Thus hath the candle singed the moth.
    O, these deliberate fools! when they do choose,
    They have the wisdom by their wit to lose.

    Nerissa. The ancient saying is no heresy,
    Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.

16 II / 9
  • Bassanio, lord Love, if thy will it be!
  • Bassanio, lord Love, if thy will it be!
  • Portia. 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.

    Nerissa. Bassanio, lord Love, if thy will it be!

17 III / 2
  • My lord and lady, it is now our time,
    That have stood by and seen our wishes...
  • My lord and lady, it is now our time,
    That have stood by and seen our wishes prosper,
    To cry, good joy: good joy, my lord and lady!
  • Bassanio. Madam, you have bereft me of all words,
    Only my blood speaks to you in my veins;
    And there is such confusion in my powers,
    As after some oration fairly spoke
    By a beloved prince, there doth appear
    Among the buzzing pleased multitude;
    Where every something, being blent together,
    Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy,
    Express'd and not express'd. But when this ring
    Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence:
    O, then be bold to say Bassanio's dead!

    Nerissa. My lord and lady, it is now our time,
    That have stood by and seen our wishes prosper,
    To cry, good joy: good joy, my lord and lady!

18 III / 2
  • Madam, it is, so you stand pleased withal.
  • Madam, it is, so you stand pleased withal.
  • Portia. Is this true, Nerissa?

    Nerissa. Madam, it is, so you stand pleased withal.

19 III / 2
  • What, and stake down?
  • What, and stake down?
  • Gratiano. We'll play with them the first boy for a thousand ducats.

    Nerissa. What, and stake down?

20 III / 4
  • Shall they see us?
  • Shall they see us?
  • Portia. Come on, Nerissa; I have work in hand
    That you yet know not of: we'll see our husbands
    Before they think of us.

    Nerissa. Shall they see us?

21 III / 4
  • Why, shall we turn to men?
  • Why, shall we turn to men?
  • Portia. 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.

    Nerissa. Why, shall we turn to men?

22 IV / 1
  • From both, my lord. Bellario greets your grace.
  • From both, my lord. Bellario greets your grace.
  • Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario?

    Nerissa. From both, my lord. Bellario greets your grace.

23 IV / 1
  • He attendeth here hard by,
    To know your answer, whether you'll admit him.
  • He attendeth here hard by,
    To know your answer, whether you'll admit him.
  • Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend
    A young and learned doctor to our court.
    Where is he?

    Nerissa. He attendeth here hard by,
    To know your answer, whether you'll admit him.

24 IV / 1
  • 'Tis well you offer it behind her back;
    The wish would make else an unquiet...
  • 'Tis well you offer it behind her back;
    The wish would make else an unquiet house.
  • Gratiano. I have a wife, whom, I protest, I love:
    I would she were in heaven, so she could
    Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.

    Nerissa. 'Tis well you offer it behind her back;
    The wish would make else an unquiet house.

25 IV / 2
  • Sir, I would speak with you.
    [Aside to PORTIA]
    I'll see if I can get my...
  • Sir, I would speak with you.
    [Aside to PORTIA]
    I'll see if I can get my husband's ring,
    Which I did make him swear to keep for ever.
  • Gratiano. That will I do.

    Nerissa. Sir, I would speak with you.
    [Aside to PORTIA]
    I'll see if I can get my husband's ring,
    Which I did make him swear to keep for ever.

26 IV / 2
  • Come, good sir, will you show me to this house?
  • Come, good sir, will you show me to this house?
  • Portia. [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.

    Nerissa. Come, good sir, will you show me to this house?

27 V / 1
  • When the moon shone, we did not see the candle.
  • When the moon shone, we did not see the candle.
  • Portia. 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.

    Nerissa. When the moon shone, we did not see the candle.

28 V / 1
  • It is your music, madam, of the house.
  • It is your music, madam, of the house.
  • Portia. 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!

    Nerissa. It is your music, madam, of the house.

29 V / 1
  • Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.
  • Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.
  • Portia. Nothing is good, I see, without respect:
    Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day.

    Nerissa. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.

30 V / 1
  • What talk you of the posy or the value?
    You swore to me, when I did give it...
  • What talk you of the posy or the value?
    You swore to me, when I did give it you,
    That you would wear it till your hour of death
    And that it should lie with you in your grave:
    Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,
    You should have been respective and have kept it.
    Gave it a judge's clerk! no, God's my judge,
    The clerk will ne'er wear hair on's face that had it.
  • Gratiano. About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring
    That she did give me, whose posy was
    For all the world like cutler's poetry
    Upon a knife, 'Love me, and leave me not.'

    Nerissa. What talk you of the posy or the value?
    You swore to me, when I did give it you,
    That you would wear it till your hour of death
    And that it should lie with you in your grave:
    Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,
    You should have been respective and have kept it.
    Gave it a judge's clerk! no, God's my judge,
    The clerk will ne'er wear hair on's face that had it.

31 V / 1
  • Ay, if a woman live to be a man.
  • Ay, if a woman live to be a man.
  • Gratiano. He will, an if he live to be a man.

    Nerissa. Ay, if a woman live to be a man.

32 V / 1
  • Nor I in yours
    Till I again see mine.
  • Nor I in yours
    Till I again see mine.
  • Portia. Even so void is your false heart of truth.
    By heaven, I will ne'er come in your bed
    Until I see the ring.

    Nerissa. Nor I in yours
    Till I again see mine.

33 V / 1
  • And I his clerk; therefore be well advised
    How you do leave me to mine own p...
  • And I his clerk; therefore be well advised
    How you do leave me to mine own protection.
  • Portia. 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.

    Nerissa. And I his clerk; therefore be well advised
    How you do leave me to mine own protection.

34 V / 1
  • And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano;
    For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor's...
  • And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano;
    For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor's clerk,
    In lieu of this last night did lie with me.
  • Portia. I had it of him: pardon me, Bassanio;
    For, by this ring, the doctor lay with me.

    Nerissa. And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano;
    For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor's clerk,
    In lieu of this last night did lie with me.

35 V / 1
  • Ay, but the clerk that never means to do it,
    Unless he live until he be a ma...
  • Ay, but the clerk that never means to do it,
    Unless he live until he be a man.
  • Gratiano. Were you the clerk that is to make me cuckold?

    Nerissa. Ay, but the clerk that never means to do it,
    Unless he live until he be a man.

36 V / 1
  • Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.
    There do I give to you and Jessica...
  • Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.
    There do I give to you and Jessica,
    From the rich Jew, a special deed of gift,
    After his death, of all he dies possess'd of.
  • Portia. How now, Lorenzo!
    My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.

    Nerissa. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.
    There do I give to you and Jessica,
    From the rich Jew, a special deed of gift,
    After his death, of all he dies possess'd of.

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© Copyright 2017-2022 Shakespeare Network - Maximianno Cobra - All rights reserved.