Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Janelle Jenstad
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The Merchant of Venice (Folio 1, 1623)


Enter the Clowne alone .
Clo. Certainely, my conscience will serue me to run
from this Iew my Maister: the fiend is at mine elbow,
570and tempts me, saying to me, Iobbe, Launcelet Iobbe, good
Launcelet, or good Iobbe, or good Launcelet Iobbe, vse
your legs, take the start, run awaie: my conscience saies
no; take heede honest Launcelet, take heed honest Iobbe,
or as afore-said honest Launcelet Iobbe, doe not runne,
575scorne running with thy heeles; well, the most coragi-
ous fiend bids me packe, fia saies the fiend, away saies
the fiend, for the heauens rouse vp a braue minde saies
the fiend, and run; well, my conscience hanging about
the necke of my heart, saies verie wisely to me: my ho-
580nest friend Launcelet, being an honest mans sonne, or ra-
ther an honest womans sonne, for indeede my Father did
something smack, something grow too; he had a kinde of
taste; wel, my conscience saies Lancelet bouge not, bouge
saies the fiend, bouge not saies my conscience, conscience
585say I you counsaile well, fiend say I you counsaile well,
to be rul'd by my conscience I should stay with the Iew
my Maister, (who God blesse the marke) is a kinde of di-
uell; and to run away from the Iew I should be ruled by
the fiend, who sauing your reuerence is the diuell him-
590selfe: certainely the Iew is the verie diuell incarnation,
and in my conscience, my conscience is a kinde of hard
conscience, to offer to counsaile me to stay with the Iew;
the fiend giues the more friendly counsaile: I will runne
fiend, my heeles are at your commandement, I will
595runne.
Enter old Gobbo with a Basket.
Gob. Maister yong-man, you I praie you, which is the
waie to Maister Iewes?
Lan. O heauens, this is my true begotten Father, who
600being more then sand-blinde, high grauel blinde, knows
me not, I will trie confusions with him.
Gob. Maister yong Gentleman, I praie you which is
the waie to Maister Iewes.
Laun. Turne vpon your right hand at the next tur-
605ning, but at the next turning of all on your left; marrie
at the verie next turning, turne of no hand, but turn down
indirectlie to the Iewes house.
Gob. Be Gods sonties 'twill be a hard waie to hit, can
you tell me whether one Launcelet that dwels with him,
610dwell with him or no.
Laun. Talke you of yong Master Launcelet, marke
me now, now will I raise the waters; talke you of yong
Maister Launcelet?
Gob. No Maister sir, but a poore mans sonne, his Fa-
615ther though I say't is an honest exceeding poore man,
and God be thanked well to liue.
Lan. Well, let his Father be what a will, wee talke of
yong Maister Launcelet.
Gob. Your worships friend and Launcelet.
620Laun. But I praie you ergo old man, ergo I beseech you,
talke you of yong Maister Launcelet.
Gob. Of Launcelet, ant please your maistership.
Lan. Ergo Maister Lancelet, talke not of maister Lance-
let Father, for the yong gentleman according to fates and
625destinies, and such odde sayings, the sisters three, & such
branches of learning, is indeede deceased, or as you
would say in plaine tearmes, gone to heauen.
Gob. Marrie God forbid, the boy was the verie staffe
of my age, my verie prop.
630Lau. Do I look like a cudgell or a houell-post, a staffe
or a prop: doe you know me Father.
Gob. Alacke the day, I know you not yong Gentle-
man, but I praie you tell me, is my boy God rest his soule
aliue or dead.
635Lan. Doe you not know me Father.
Gob. Alacke sir I am sand blinde, I know you not.
Lan. Nay, indeede if you had your eies you might
faile of the knowing me: it is a wise Father that knowes
his owne childe. Well, old man, I will tell you newes of
640your son, giue me your blessing, truth will come to light,
murder cannot be hid long, a mans sonne may, but in the
end truth will out.
Gob. Praie you sir stand vp, I am sure you are not
Lancelet my boy.
645Lan. Praie you let's haue no more fooling about
it, but giue mee your blessing: I am Lancelet your
boy that was, your sonne that is, your childe that
shall be.
Gob. I cannot thinke you are my sonne.
650Lan. I know not what I shall thinke of that: but I am
Lancelet the Iewes man, and I am sure Margerie your wife
is my mother.
Gob. Her name is Margerie indeede, Ile be sworne if
thou be Lancelet, thou art mine owne flesh and blood:
655Lord worshipt might he be, what a beard hast thou got;
thou hast got more haire on thy chin, then Dobbin my
philhorse has on his taile.
Lan. It should seeme then that Dobbins taile
growes backeward. I am sure he had more haire of his
660taile then I haue of my face when I lost saw him.
Gob. Lord how art thou chang'd: how doost thou
and thy Master agree, I haue brought him a present; how
gree you now?
Lan. Well, well, but for mine owne part, as I haue set
665vp my rest to run awaie, so I will not rest till I haue run
some ground; my Maister's a verie Iew, giue him a pres-
ent, giue him a halter, I am famisht in his seruice. You
may tell euerie finger I haue with my ribs: Father I am
glad you are come, giue me your present to one Maister
670Bassanio, who indeede giues rare new Liuories, if I serue
not him, I will run as far as God has anie ground. O rare
fortune, here comes the man, to him Father, for I am a
Iew if I serue the Iew anie longer.
Enter Bassanio with a follower or two.
675Bass. You may doe so, but let it be so hasted that
supper be readie at the farthest by fiue of the clocke:
see these Letters deliuered, put the Liueries to mak-
ing, and desire Gratiano to come anone to my lodg-
ing.
680Lan. To him Father.
Gob. God blesse your worship.
Bass. Gramercie, would'st thou ought with me.
Gob. Here's my sonne sir, a poore boy.
Lan. Not a poore boy sir, but the rich Iewes man that
685would sir as my Father shall specifie.
Gob. He hath a great infection sir, as one would say
to serue.
Lan. Indeede the short and the long is, I serue the
Iew, and haue a desire as my Father shall specifie.
690Gob. His Maister and he (sauing your worships reue-
rence) are scarce catercosins.
Lan. To be briefe, the verie truth is, that the Iew
hauing done me wrong, doth cause me as my Father be-
ing I hope an old man shall frutifie vnto you.
695Gob. I haue here a dish of Doues that I would bestow
vpon your worship, and my suite is.
Lan. In verie briefe, the suite is impertinent to my
selfe, as your worship shall know by this honest old man,
and though I say it, though old man, yet poore man my
700Father.
Bass. One speake for both, what would you?
Lan. Serue you sir.
Gob. That is the verie defect of the matter sir.
Bass. I know thee well, thou hast obtain'd thy suite,
705Shylocke thy Maister spoke with me this daie,
And hath prefer'd thee, if it be preferment
To leaue a rich Iewes seruice, to become
The follower of so poore a Gentleman.
Clo. The old prouerbe is verie well parted betweene
710my Maister Shylocke and you sir, you haue the grace of
God sir, and he hath enough.
Bass. Thou speak'st it well; go Father with thy Son,
Take leaue of thy old Maister, and enquire
My lodging out, giue him a Liuerie
715More garded then his fellowes: see it done.
Clo. Father in, I cannot get a seruice, no, I haue nere
a tongue in my head, well: if anie man in Italie haue a
fairer table which doth offer to sweare vpon a booke, I
shall haue good fortune; goe too, here's a simple line
720of life, here's a small trifle of wiues, alas, fifteene wiues
is nothing, a leuen widdowes and nine maides is a sim-
ple comming in for one man, and then to scape drow-
ning thrice, and to be in perill of my life with the edge
of a featherbed, here are simple scapes: well, if Fortune
725be a woman, she's a good wench for this gere: Father
come, Ile take my leaue of the Iew in the twinkling.
Exit Clowne.
Bass. I praie thee good Leonardo thinke on this,
These things being bought and orderly bestowed
730Returne in haste, for I doe feast to night
My best esteemd acquaintance, hie thee goe.
Leon. My best endeuors shall be done herein.
Exit Le.
Enter Gratiano.
Gra. Where's your Maister.
735Leon. Yonder sir he walkes.
Gra. Signior Bassanio.
Bas. Gratiano.
Gra. I haue a sute to you.
Bass. You haue obtain'd it.
740Gra. You must not denie me, I must goe with you to
Belmont.
Bass. Why then you must: but heare thee Gratiano,
Thou art to wilde, to rude, and bold of voyce,
Parts that become thee happily enough,
745And in such eyes as ours appeare not faults;
But where they are not knowne, why there they show
Something too liberall, pray thee take paine
To allay with some cold drops of modestie
Thy skipping spirit, least through thy wilde behauiour
750I be misconsterd in the place I goe to,
And loose my hopes.
Gra. Signor Bassanio, heare me,
If I doe not put on a sober habite,
Talke with respect, and sweare but now and than,
755Weare prayer bookes in my pocket, looke demurely,
Nay more, while grace is saying hood mine eyes
Thus with my hat, and sigh and say Amen:
Vse all the obseruance of ciuillitie
Like one well studied in a sad ostent
760To please his Grandam, neuer trust me more.
Bas. Well, we shall see your bearing.
Gra. Nay but I barre to night, you shall not gage me
By what we doe to night.
Bas. No that were pittie,
765I would intreate you rather to put on
Your boldest suite of mirth, for we haue friends
That purpose merriment: but far you well,
I haue some businesse.
Gra. And I must to Lorenso and the rest,
770But we will visite you at supper time.
Exeunt.