Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Janelle Jenstad
Not Peer Reviewed

The Merchant of Venice (Quarto 1, 1600)


the Merchant of Venice.
Nor none of thee thou pale and common drudge
tweene man and man: but thou, thou meager lead
1390vvhich rather threatenst then dost promise ought,
thy palenes moues me more then eloquence,
and heere choose I, ioy be the consequence.
Por. How all the other passions fleet to ayre,
As doubtfull thoughts, and rash imbrac'd despaire:
1395And shyddring feare, and greene-eyed iealousie.
O loue be moderate, allay thy extasie,
In measure raine thy ioy, scant this excesse,
I feele too much thy blessing, make it lesse
for feare I surfeit.
1400Bas. What finde I heere?
Faire Portias counterfeit. What demy God
hath come so neere creation? moue these eyes?
Or whither riding on the balls of mine
seeme they in motion? Heere are seuerd lips
1405parted with suger breath, so sweet a barre
should sunder such sweet friends: heere in her haires
the Paynter playes the Spyder, and hath wouen
a golden mesh tyntrap the harts of men
faster then gnats in cobwebs, but her eyes
1410how could he see to doe them? hauing made one,
me thinkes it should haue power to steale both his
and leaue it selfe vnfurnisht: Yet looke how farre
the substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow
in vnderprysing it, so farre this shadow
1415doth limpe behind the substance. Heeres the scroule,
the continent and summarie of my fortune.
You that choose not by the view
Chaunce as faire, and choose as true:
Since this fortune falls to you,
1420Be content, and seeke no new.
If you be well pleasd with this,
and hold your fortune for your blisse,
Turne you where your Lady is,
And claime her with a louing kis.
F.
Bass.