Bitter sadness doth permeate the air of this fateful day. For bad news cometh from Lorenzo and Jessica of Signior Antonio and his ships. Bring fourth due payment Antonio’s ships hath not, and now, in mournful grief, Antonio’s flesh ’tis at the hand of Shylock. Soon to reap revenge Shylock doth possess power and authority, and poor Bassanio lieth in tears; in hot, fateful tears, those of anguish and of rage, for he hath become beside himself with anger, outraged and possessed with mighty pain. Bewildered and confused, Bassanio leadeth two lives, and yet they are but one. Tangled up in trials which cometh from Antonio, yet here prepareth to soon wed a bride. In all her richness hath Portia offered to pay the sum of Antonios debt, yea even twice the sum, and begs Bassanio marry her at once, then after leave forth to become company unto Antonio, for his trial ’tis soon to come.
Bassanio hast won Portia’s hand! Of all, it ‘twas the lead casket which hath held the heiress’ picture. For not gold whose inscription beareth ‘Who chooses me shall gain what many men desire;’ nor silver whose inscription readeth ‘Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.’ Yet inscribed thence in that casket made of lead wast ‘Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.’ Cunning and wise Bassanio hath faired! A wedding, in haste, shalt soon be prepared.
Blinded must I have been, for Portia, while beauty-laden might she be, doth have a mistress, a fair creature so named Narissa. A wondrous and worthwhile trip hast this indeed become! Ahh…the beautiful maiden, a heavenly pearl, shineth like the sun doth she…clothed in elegance…that matron of Portia… Sea nymph, black-haired beauty, why hath mine eyes not yet become entranced in thy entangling heart? Rejoice today, rejoice to-morrow! Possess I joy, not one drop of sorrow!
Arrived unto Belmont, we doth make haste. Bassanio leading, his heart in a race. Unto the fair Portia, Bassanio doth ascend, and there learneth of her father’s challenge. For he who chooseth the casket that ‘tis right, wins her hand; yet he who chooseth wrong, no mistress wilt he gain. No wed for he, not now, nor ever; the loser forever hast lost. Three caskets lay awaiting, one of silver, one of gold, one cladden with lead: Bassanio’s fate lie in this choice alone. I pray thee, dear Bassanio, choose well!
Inform you of recent events wilt I, for last night Jessica, disguised as a boy, fled from her father Shylock’s to elope with Lorenzo. A great deal of ducats took with her did she, and with Lorenzo the happiest joy could I see. Away to Belmont go I, companion of Bassanio, where he wilt woo the virtuous Portia.
Fie Fie! What tangled troubles tingle from mine lips! A pound of flesh? An unruly agreement! But ships at sea to pay in time they shalt! Thence, I recount, the journey of dear Bassanio and Antonio hath led them to that retched Shylock. A Jewish moneylender! 3000 ducats in 3 months. 3000 ducats in 3 months or a pound of flesh be removed from Antonio’s chest! Bassanio’s counsel cometh to no avail, Antonio’s pride victor, forever sealed is the bond. A worrisome deal, Signior Antonio thinketh not. Ships out at sea in haste due to return such a cost. Antonio’s credit, Bassanio’s gain, and he soon leaves to win Portia, with wealth he wilt feign!
What fate has come upon dear Bassanio? An admirable companion, not a foe and yet not one ducat upon him bestow? And to fair Portia cannot even grasp, for profits to pursue her, even those he doth lack. What wilt he do? What will I do? Console him? I possess not one drop of words in the entirety of the world that could assist Signior Bassanio out of this mortifying predicament. And yet, the words doth flow, but to no avail. To win and to wed the mistress he doth pursue an impossible task it would appear. But halt! There doth lie one Signior Antonio whose ships art out at sea, a wealth of help he just might keep! A well credited soul, whose name wilt go far in a loan! Depart we must at once and once for all! To Signior Antonio’s presence, we now must flee or Bassanio’s dreams might all at once fall!