Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Janelle Jenstad
Not Peer Reviewed

The Merchant of Venice (Folio 1, 1623)


1725
Enter Portia, Nerrissa, Lorenzo, Iessica, and a man of
Portias.
Lor. Madam, although I speake it in your presence,
You haue a noble and a true conceit
Of god-like amity, which appeares most strongly
1730In bearing thus the absence of your Lord.
But if you knew to whom you shew this honour,
How true a Gentleman you send releefe,
How deere a louer of my Lord your husband,
I know you would be prouder of the worke
1735Then customary bounty can enforce you.
Por. I neuer did repent for doing good,
Nor shall not now: for in companions
That do conuerse and waste the time together,
Whose soules doe beare an egal yoke of loue.
1740There must be needs a like proportion
Of lyniaments, of manners, and of spirit;
Which makes me thinke that this Anthonio
Being the bosome louer of my Lord,
Must needs be like my Lord. If it be so,
1745How little is the cost I haue bestowed
In purchasing the semblance of my soule;
From out the state of hellish cruelty,
This comes too neere the praising of my selfe,
Therefore no more of it: heere other things
1750Lorenso I commit into your hands,
The husbandry and mannage of my house,
Vntill my Lords returne; for mine owne part
I haue toward heauen breath'd a secret vow,
To liue in prayer and contemplation,
1755Onely attended by Nerrissa heere,
Vntill her husband and my Lords returne:
There is a monastery too miles off,
And there we will abide. I doe desire you
Not to denie this imposition,
1760The which my loue and some necessity
Now layes vpon you.
Lorens. Madame, with all my heart,
I shall obey you in all faire commands.
Por. My people doe already know my minde,
1765And will acknowledge you and Iessica
In place of Lord Bassanio and my selfe.
So far you well till we shall meete againe.
Lor. Faire thoughts & happy houres attend on you.
Iessi. I wish your Ladiship all hearts content.
1770Por. I thanke you for your wish, and am well pleas'd
To wish it backe on you: faryouwell Iessica.
Exeunt.
Now Balthaser, as I haue euer found thee honest true,
So let me finde thee still: take this same letter,
And vse thou all the indeauor of a man,
1775In speed to Mantua, see thou render this
Into my cosins hand, Doctor Belario,
And looke what notes and garments he doth giue thee,
Bring them I pray thee with imagin'd speed
Vnto the Tranect, to the common Ferrie
1780Which trades to Venice; waste no time in words,
But get thee gone, I shall be there before thee.
Balth. Madam, I goe with all conuenient speed.
Por. Come on Nerissa, I haue worke in hand
That you yet know not of; wee'll see our husbands
1785Before they thinke of vs?
Nerrissa. Shall they see vs?
Portia. They shall Nerrissa: but in such a habit,
That they shall thinke we are accomplished
With that we lacke; Ile hold thee any wager
1790When we are both accoutered like yong men,
Ile proue the prettier fellow of the two,
And weare my dagger with the brauer grace,
And speake betweene the change of man and boy,
With a reede voyce, and turne two minsing steps
1795Into a manly stride; and speake of frayes
Like a fine bragging youth: and tell quaint lyes
How honourable Ladies sought my loue,
Which I denying, they fell sicke and died.
I could not doe withall: then Ile repent,
1800And wish for all that, that I had not kil'd them;
And twentie of these punie lies Ile tell,
That men shall sweare I haue discontinued schoole
Aboue a twelue moneth: I haue within my minde
A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Iacks,
1805Which I will practise.
Nerris. Why, shall wee turne to men?
Portia. Fie, what a questions that?
If thou wert nere a lewd interpreter:
But come, Ile tell thee all my whole deuice
1810When I am in my coach, which stayes for vs
At the Parke gate; and therefore haste away,
For we must measure twentie miles to day.
Exeunt.