Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Janelle Jenstad
Not Peer Reviewed

The Merchant of Venice (Quarto 1, 1600)


The comicall Historie of
1790Clowne. That is done to sir, onely couer is the word.
Loren. Will you couer than sir?
Clowne. Not so sir neither, I know my duty.
Loren. Yet more quarrelling with occasion, wilt thou shewe
the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant; I pray thee vnderstand a
1795plaine man in his plaine meaning: goe to thy fellowes, bid them
couer the table, serue in the meate, and we will come in to dinner.
Clowne. For the table sir, it shall be seru'd in, for the meate sir, it
shall be couerd, for your comming in to dinner sir, why let it be as
humors and conceites shall gouerne.
Exit Clowne.
1800Loren. O deare discretion, how his words are suted,
The foole hath planted in his memorie
an Armie of good words, and I doe know
a many fooles that stand in better place,
garnisht like him, that for a tricksie word
1805defie the matter: how cherst thou Iessica,
And now good sweet say thy opinion,
How doost thou like the Lord Bassanios wife?
Iessi. Past all expressing, it is very meete
the Lord Bassanio liue an vpright life
1810For hauing such a blessing in his Lady,
he findes the ioyes of heauen heere on earth,
And if on earth he doe not meane it, it
in reason he should neuer come to heauen?
Why, if two Gods should play some heauenly match,
1815and on the wager lay two earthly women,
And Portia one: there must be somthing else
paund with the other, for the poore rude world
hath not her fellow.
Loren. Euen such a husband
1820hast thou of me, as she is for wife.
Iessi. Nay, but aske my opinion to of that?
Loren. I will anone, first let vs goe to dinner?
Iessi. Nay, let me praise you while I haue a stomack?
Loren. No pray thee, let it serue for table talke,
1825Then how so mere thou speakst mong other things,
I shall disgest it?
Iessi.