Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Janelle Jenstad
Not Peer Reviewed

The Merchant of Venice (Quarto 1, 1600)


the Merchant of Venice.
doe it in hope of faire aduantages:
A golden minde stoopes not to showes of drosse,
Ile then nor giue nor hazard ought for lead.
950What sayes the siluer with her virgin hue?
Who chooseth me, shal get as much as he deserues.
As much as he deserues, pause there Morocho,
and weigh thy valew with an euen hand,
If thou beest rated by thy estimation
955thou doost deserue enough, and yet enough
May not extend so farre as to the Ladie:
And yet to be afeard of my deseruing
vvere but a weake disabling of my selfe.
As much as I deserue, why thats the Ladie.
960I doe in birth deserue her, and in fortunes,
in graces, and in qualities of breeding:
but more then these, in loue I doe deserue,
vvhat if I straid no farther, but chose heere?
Lets see once more this saying grau'd in gold:
965Who chooseth me shall gaine what many men desire:
Why thats the Ladie, all the world desires her.
From the foure corners of the earth they come
to kisse this shrine, this mortall breathing Saint.
The Hircanion deserts, and the vastie wildes
970Of wide Arabia are as throughfares now
for Princes to come view faire Portia.
The waterie Kingdome, whose ambitious head
Spets in the face of heauen, is no barre
To stop the forraine spirits, but they come
975as ore a brooke to see faire Portia.
One of these three containes her heauenly picture.
Ist like that leade containes her, twere damnation
to thinke so base a thought, it were too grosse
to ribb her serecloth in the obscure graue,
980Or shall I thinke in siluer shees immurd
beeing tenne times vndervalewed to tride gold,
O sinful thought, neuer so rich a Iem
vvas set in worse then gold. They haue in England
D3
A