Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Janelle Jenstad
Not Peer Reviewed

The Merchant of Venice (Quarto 1, 1600)


The comicall Historie of
255worth in the English: hee is a proper mans picture, but alas vvho
can conuerse with a dumbe show? how odly hee is suted, I thinke
he bought his doublet in Italie, his round hose in Fraunce, his bon-
net in Germanie, and his behauiour euery where.
Nerrissa. What thinke you of the Scottish Lorde his neigh-
260bour?
Portia. That hee hath a neyghbourlie charitie in him, for hee
borrowed a boxe of the eare of the Englishman, and swore hee
would pay him againe when he was able: I think the Frenchman
became his suretie, and seald vnder for another.
265Ner. How like you the young Germaine, the Duke of Saxo-
nies nephew?
Por. Very vildlie in the morning when hee is sober, and most
vildly in the afternoone when he is drunke: when he is best, he is
a little worse then a man, & when he is worst he is little better then
270a beast, and the worst fall that euer fell, I hope I shall make shift
to goe without him.
Ner. Yf hee shoulde offer to choose, and choose the right Cas-
ket, you should refuse to performe your Fathers will, if you should
refuse to accept him.
275Portia. Therefore for feare of the worst, I pray thee set a deepe
glasse of Reynishe vvine on the contrarie Casket, for if the deuill
be within, and that temptation without, I knowe hee will choose
it. I will doe any thing Nerrissa ere I will be married to a spunge.
Nerrissa. You neede not feare Ladie the hauing anie of these
280Lords, they haue acquainted me with theyr determinations, which
is indeede to returne to theyr home, and to trouble you with no
more sute, vnlesse you may be wonne by some other sort thē your
Fathers imposition, depending on the Caskets.
Por. Yf I liue to be as old as Sibilla, I will die as chast as Diana,
285vnlesse I be obtained by the maner of my Fathers will: I am glad
this parcell of wooers are so reasonable, for there is not one among
them but I doate on his very absence: & I pray God graunt them
a faire departure.
Nerrissa. Doe you not remember Lady in your Fathers time, a
290Venecian a Scholler & a Souldiour that came hether in companie
of the Marquesse of Mountferrat?
Portia.