Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Janelle Jenstad
Not Peer Reviewed

The Merchant of Venice (Quarto 1, 1600)


The comicall Historie of
1425A gentle scroule: Faire Lady, by your leaue,
I come by note to giue, and to receaue,
Like one of two contending in a prize
That thinks he hath done well in peoples eyes:
Hearing applause and vniuersall shoute,
1430Giddy in spirit, still gazing in a doubt
vvhether those peales of praise be his or no,
So thrice faire Lady stand I euen so,
As doubtfull whether what I see be true,
Vntill confirmd, signd, ratified by you.
1435Por. You see me Lord Bassanio where I stand,
such as I am; though for my selfe alone
I would not be ambitious in my wish
to wish my selfe much better, yet for you,
I would be trebled twentie times my selfe,
1440a thousand times more faire, tenne thousand times
more rich, that onely to stand high in your account,
I might in vertues, beauties, liuings, friends
exceede account: but the full summe of me
is sume of something: which to terme in grosse,
1445is an vnlessond girle, vnschoold, vnpractized,
happy in this, she is not yet so old
but she may learne: happier then this,
shee is not bred so dull but she can learne;
happiest of all, is that her gentle spirit
1450commits it selfe to yours to be directed,
as from her Lord, her gouernour, her King.
My selfe, and what is mine, to you and yours
is now conuerted. But now I was the Lord
of this faire mansion, maister of my seruants,
1455Queene ore my selfe: and euen now, but now,
this house, these seruaunts, and this same my selfe
are yours, my Lords, I giue them with this ring,
vvhich when you part from, loose, or giue away,
let it presage the ruine of your loue,
1460and be my vantage to exclaime on you.
Bass. Maddam, you haue bereft me of all words,
onely