Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1190. Two Argosies
(Antonio’s and Shakespeare’s)
By Wallace Bruce
“THE DUCATS take! I ’ll sign the bond to-day:
  No storm can wreck Antonio’s white-winged fleet;
My stately ships secure ride every bay
  From Tripolis to Indies’ golden seat.
The ducats take, Bassanio, go thy way;        5
  Thy Portia win, and bid me to the feast;
Ten thousand men Antonio’s nod obey,
  And of ten thousand Shylock is the least.
I ’ll sign the bond, thy words cannot avail,
  No chance can reach the wealth I share with thee:        10
I stand secure, let cruel fortune rail
  Till Venice sleeps beneath bright Adria’s sea.”
    Fate heard the boast—a thousand vessels lay
    ’Mid rocks and sands to waves an idle prey.
The dramas take! That bond at least is sure;        15
  Twelve thousand words more dear than ducats are
Outride the storms of ages and endure,
  Safe anchored here within the shifting bar
Of changing speech. Eternal now his tongue,
  By right divine, sways all the world with grace:        20
Great bond of all—the words sweet Shakespeare sung;
  His commerce brings the nations face to face.
His dramas take! Their wealth shall still survive;
  His argosies care not for time or fate;
All else may pass, and crowding centuries strive,        25
  That bond alone is not determinate.
    In him proud Albion lives entire and hale,
    Her titled language crowned in high entail.


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