Internet Shakespeare Editions

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


Actus Quintus.
Enter Lorenzo and Iessica.
2405Lor. The moone shines bright. In such a night as this,
When the sweet winde did gently kisse the trees,
And they did make no nnyse, in such a night
Troylus me thinkes mounted the Troian walls,
And sigh'd his soule toward the Grecian tents
2410Where Cressed lay that night.
Ies. In such a night
Did Thisbie fearefully ore-trip the dewe,
And saw the Lyons shadow ere himselfe,
And ranne dismayed away.
2415Loren. In such a night
Stood Dido with a Willow in her hand
Vpon the wilde sea bankes, and waft her Loue
To come againe to Carthage.
Ies. In such a night
2420Medea gathered the inchanted hearbs
That did renew old Eson.
Loren. In such a night
Did Iessica steale from the wealthy Iewe,
And with an Vnthrift Loue did runne from Venice,
2425As farre as Belmont.
Ies. In such a night
Did young Lorenzo sweare he lou'd her well,
Stealing her soule with many vowes of faith,
And nere a true one.
2430Loren. In such a night
Did pretty Iessica (like a little shrow)
Slander her Loue, and he forgaue it her.
Iessi. I would out-night you did no body come:
But harke, I heare the footing of a man.
2435
Enter Messenger.
Lor. Who comes so fast in silence of the night?
Mes. A friend.
Loren. A friend, what friend? your name I pray you
Mes. Stephano is my name, and I bring word
2440My Mistresse will before the breake of day
Be heere at Belmont, she doth stray about
By holy crosses where she kneeles and prayes
For happy wedlocke houres.
Loren. Who comes with her?
2445Mes. None but a holy Hermit and her maid:
I pray you it my Master yet rnturn'd?
Loren. He is not, nor we haue not heard from him,
But goe we in I pray thee Iessica,
And ceremoniously let vs vs prepare
2450Some welcome for the Mistresse of the house,
Enter Clowne.
Clo. Sola, sola: wo ha ho, sola, sola.
Loren. Who calls?
Clo. Sola, did you see M. Lorenzo, & M. Lorenzo, sola,
2455Lor. Leaue hollowing man, heere.
Clo. Sola, where, where?
Lor. Heere?
Clo. Tel him ther's a Post come from my Master, with
his horne full of good newes, my Master will be here ere
2460morning sweet soule.
Loren. Let's in, and there expect their comming.
And yet no matter: why should we goe in?
My friend Stephen, signifie pray you
Within the house, your Mistresse is at hand,
2465And bring your musique foorth into the ayre.
How sweet the moone-light sleepes vpon this banke,
Heere will we sit, and let the sounds of musicke
Creepe in our eares soft stilnes, and the night
Become the tutches of sweet harmonie:
2470Sit Iessica, looke how the floore of heauen
Is thicke inlayed with pattens of bright gold,
There's not the smallest orbe which thou beholdst
But in his motion like an Angell sings,
Still quiring to the young eyed Cherubins;
2475Such harmonie is in immortall soules,
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grosly close in it, we cannot heare it:
Come hoe, and wake Diana with a hymne,
With sweetest tutches pearce your Mistresse eare,
2480And draw her home with musicke.
Iessi. I am neuer merry when I heare sweet musique.
Play musicke.
Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentiue:
For doe but note a wilde and wanton heard
2485Or race of youthful and vnhandled colts,
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud,
Which is the hot condition of their bloud,
If they but heare perchance a trumpet sound,
Or any ayre of musicke touch their eares,
2490You shall perceiue them make a mutuall stand,
Their sauage eyes turn'd to a modest gaze,
By the sweet power of musicke: therefore the Poet
Did faine that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods.
Since naught so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
2495But musicke for time doth change his nature,
The man that hath no musicke in himselfe,
Nor is not moued with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoyles,
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
2500And his affections darke as Erobus,
Let no such man be trusted: marke the musicke.
Enter Portia and Nerrissa.
Por. That light we see is burning in my hall:
How farre that little candell throwes his beames,
2505So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
Ner. When the moone shone we did not see the can
Por. So doth the greater glory dim the lesse,
A substitute shines brightly as a King
Vntill a King be by, and then his state
2510Empties it selfe, as doth an inland brooke
Into the maine of waters: musique, harke.
Musicke.
Ner. It is your musicke Madame of the house.
Por. Nothing is good I see without respect,
Methinkes it sounds much sweeter then by day?
2515Ner. Silence bestowes that vertue on it Madam.
Por. The Crow doth sing as sweetly as the Larke
When neither is attended: and I thinke
The Nightingale if she should sing by day
When euery Goose is cackling, would be thought
2520No better a Musitian then the Wren?
How many things by season, season'd are
To their right praise, and true perfection:
Peace, how the Moone sleepes with Endimion,
And would not be awak'd.
2525
Musicke ceases.
Lor. That is the voice,
Or I am much deceiu'd of Portia.
Por. He knowes me as the blinde man knowes the
Cuckow by the bad voice?
2530Lor. Deere Lady welcome home?
Por. We haue bene praying for our husbands welfare
Which speed we hope the better for our words,
Are they return'd?
Lor. Madam, they are not yet:
2535But there is come a Messenger before
To signifie their comming.
Por. Go in Nerrissa,
Giue order to my seruants, that they take
No note at all of our being absent hence,
2540Nor you Lorenzo, Iessica nor you.
A Tucket sounds.
Lor. Your husband is at hand, I heare his Trumpet,
We are no tell-tales Madam, feare you not.
Por. This night methinkes is but the daylight sicke,
2545It lookes a little paler, 'tis a day,
Such as the day is, when the Sun is hid.
Enter Bassanio, Anthonio, Gratiano, and their
Followers.
Bas. We should hold day with the Antipodes,
2550If you would walke in absence of the sunne.
Por. Let me giue light, but let me not be light,
For a light wife doth make a heauie husband,
And neuer be Bassanio so for me,
But God sort all: you are welcome home my Lord.
2555Bass. I thanke you Madam, giue welcom to my friend
This is the man, this is Anthonio,
To whom I am so infinitely bound.
Por. You should in all sence be much bound to him,
For as I heare he was much bound for you.
2560Anth. No more then I am wel acquitted of.
Por. Sir, you are verie welcome to our house:
It must appeare in other waies then words,
Therefore I scant this breathing curtesie.
Gra. By yonder Moone I sweare you do me wrong,
2565Infaith I gaue it to the Iudges Clearke,
Would he were gelt that had it for my part,
Since you do take it Loue so much at hart.
Por. A quarrel hoe alreadie, what's the matter?
Gra. About a hoope of Gold, a paltry Ring
2570That she did giue me, whose Poesie was
For all the world like Cutlers Poetry
Vpon a knife; Loue mee, and leaue mee not.
Ner. What talke you of the Poesie or the valew:
You swore to me when I did giue it you,
2575That you would weare it til the houre of death,
And that it should lye with you in your graue,
Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,
You should haue beene respectiue and haue kept it.
Gaue it a Iudges Clearke: but wel I know
2580The Clearke wil nere weare haire on's face that had it.
Gra. He wil, and if he liue to be a man.
Nerrissa. I, if a Woman liue to be a man.
Gra. Now by this hand I gaue it to a youth,
A kinde of boy, a little scrubbed boy,
2585No higher then thy selfe, the Iudges Clearke,
A prating boy that begg'd it as a Fee,
I could not for my heart deny it him.
Por. You were too blame, I must be plaine with you,
To part so slightly with your wiues first gift,
2590A thing stucke on with oathes vpon your finger,
And so riueted with faith vnto your flesh.
I gaue my Loue a Ring, and made him sweare
Neuer to part with it, and heere he stands:
I dare be sworne for him, he would not leaue it,
2595Nor plucke it from his finger, for the wealth
That the world masters. Now in faith Gratiano,
You giue your wife too vnkinde a cause of greefe,
And 'twere to me I should be mad at it.
Bass. Why I were best to cut my left hand off,
2600And sweare I lost the Ring defending it.
Gra. My Lord Bassanio gaue his Ring away
Vnto the Iudge that beg'd it, and indeede
Deseru'd it too: and then the Boy his Clearke
That tooke some paines in writing, he begg'd mine,
2605And neyther man nor master would take ought
But the two Rings.
Por. What Ring gaue you my Lord?
Not that I hope which you receiu'd of me.
Bass. If I could adde a lie vnto a fault,
2610I would deny it: but you see my finger
Hath not the Ring vpon it, it is gone.
Por. Euen so voide is your false heart of truth.
By heauen I wil nere come in your bed
Vntil I see the Ring.
2615Ner. Nor I in yours, til I againe see mine.
Bass. Sweet Portia,
If you did know to whom I gaue the Ring,
If you did know for whom I gaue the Ring,
And would conceiue for what I gaue the Ring,
2620And how vnwillingly I left the Ring,
When nought would be accepted but the Ring,
You would abate the strength of your displeasure?
Por. If you had knowne the vertue of the Ring,
Or halfe her worthinesse that gaue the Ring,
2625Or your owne honour to containe the Ring,
You would not then haue parted with the Ring:
What man is there so much vnreasonable,
If you had pleas'd to haue defended it
With any termes of Zeale: wanted the modestie
2630To vrge the thing held as a ceremonie:
Nerrissa teaches me what to beleeue,
Ile die for't, but some Woman had the Ring?
Bass. No by mine honor Madam, by my soule
No Woman had it, but a ciuill Doctor,
2635Which did refuse three thousand Ducates of me,
And beg'd the Ring; the which I did denie him,
And suffer'd him to go displeas'd away:
Euen he that had held vp the verie life
Of my deere friend. What should I say sweete Lady?
2640I was inforc'd to send it after him,
I was beset with shame and curtesie,
My honor would not let ingratitude
So much besmeare it. Pardon me good Lady,
And by these blessed Candles of the night,
2645Had you bene there, I thinke you would haue beg'd
The Ring of me, to giue the worthie Doctor?
Por. Let not that Doctor ere come neere my house,
Since he hath got the iewell that I loued,
And that which you did sweare to keepe for me,
2650I will become as liberall as you,
Ile not deny him any thing I haue,
No, not my body, nor my husbands bed:
Know him I shall, I am well sure of it.
Lie not a night from home. Watch me like Argos,
2655If you doe not, if I be left alone,
Now by mine honour which is yet mine owne,
Ile haue the Doctor for my bedfellow.
Nerrissa. And I his Clarke: therefore be well aduis'd
How you doe leaue me to mine owne protection.
2660Gra. Well, doe you so: let not me take him then,
For if I doe, ile mar the yong Clarks pen.
Ant. I am th' vnhappy subiect of these quarrels.
Por. Sir, grieue not you,
You are welcome notwithstanding.
2665Bas. Portia, forgiue me this enforced wrong,
And in the hearing of these manie friends
I sweare to thee, euen by thine owne faire eyes
Wherein I see my selfe.
Por. Marke you but that?
2670In both my eyes he doubly sees himselfe:
In each eye one, sweare by your double selfe,
And there's an oath of credit.
Bas. Nay, but heare me.
Pardon this fault, and by my soule I sweare
2675I neuer more will breake an oath with thee.
Anth. I once did lend my bodie for thy wealth,
Which but for him that had your husbands ring
Had quite miscarried. I dare be bound againe,
My soule vpon the forfeit, that your Lord
2680Will neuer more breake faith aduisedlie.
Por. Then you shall be his suretie: giue him this,
And bid him keepe it better then the other.
Ant. Heere Lord Bassanio, swear to keep this ring.
Bass. By heauen it is the same I gaue the Doctor.
2685Por. I had it of him: pardon Bassanio,
For by this ring the Doctor lay with me.
Ner. And pardon me my gentle Gratiano,
For that same scrubbed boy the Doctors Clarke
In liew of this, last night did lye with me.
2690Gra. Why this is like the mending of high waies
In Sommer, where the waies are faire enough:
What, are we Cuckolds ere we haue deseru'd it.
Por. Speake not so grossely, you are all amaz'd;
Heere is a letter, reade it at your leysure,
2695It comes from Padua from Bellario,
There you shall finde that Portia was the Doctor,
Nerrissa there her Clarke. Lorenzo heere
Shall witnesse I set forth as soone as you,
And but eu'n now return'd: I haue not yet
2700Entred my house. Anthonio you are welcome,
And I haue better newes in store for you
Then you expect: vnseale this letter soone,
There you shall finde three of your Argosies
Are richly come to harbour sodainlie.
2705You shall not know by what strange accident
I chanced on this letter.
Antho. I am dumbe.
Bass. Were you the Doctor, and I knew you not?
Gra. Were you the Clark that is to make me cuckold.
2710Ner. I, but the Clark that neuer meanes to doe it,
Vnlesse he liue vntill he be a man.
Bass. (Sweet Doctor) you shall be my bedfellow,
When I am absent, then lie with my wife.
An. (Sweet Ladie) you haue giuen me life & liuing;
2715For heere I reade for certaine that my ships
Are safelie come to Rode.
Por. How now Lorenzo?
My Clarke hath some good comforts to for you.
Ner. I, and Ile giue them him without a fee.
2720There doe I giue to you and Iessica
From the rich Iewe, a speciall deed of gift
After his death, of all he dies possess'd of.
Loren. Faire Ladies you drop Manna in the way
Of starued people.
2725Por. It is almost morning,
And yet I am sure you are not satisfied
Of these euents at full. Let vs goe in,
And charge vs there vpon intergatories,
And we will answer all things faithfully.
2730Gra. Let it be so, the first intergatory
That my Nerrissa shall be sworne on, is,
Whether till the next night she had rather stay,
Or goe to bed, now being two houres to day,
But were the day come, I should wish it darke,
2735Till I were couching with the Doctors Clarke.
Well, while I liue, Ile feare no other thing
So sore, as keeping safe Nerrissas ring.
Exeunt.