Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Janelle Jenstad
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The Merchant of Venice (Quarto 1, 1600)


Enter Clowne and Iessica.
Clowne. Yes truly, for looke you, the sinnes of the Father are to
be laid vpon the children, therefore I promise you, I feare you, I
1750was alwaies plaine with you, and so now I speake my agitation of
the matter: therefore be a good chere, for truly I thinke you are
damnd, there is but one hope in it that can doe you any good, and
that is but a kinde of bastard hope neither.
Iessica. And what hope is that I pray thee?
1755Clowne. Marry you may partly hope that your Father got you
not, that you are not the Iewes daughter.
Iessica. That were a kind of bastard hope in deede, so the sinnes
of my mother should be visited vpon me.
Clowne. Truly then I feare you are damnd both by father and
1760mother: thus when I shun Scilla your father, I fall into Caribdis
your mother; well, you are gone both wayes.
Iessica. I shall be sau'd by my husband, he hath made me a Chri
stian?
Clowne. Truly the more to blame he, we were Christians enow
1765before, in as many as could well liue one by another: this making
of Christians will raise the price of Hogs, if we grow all to be pork
eaters, we shall not shortly haue a rasher on the coles for mony.
Enter Lorenzo.
Iessi. Ile tell my husband Launcelet what you say, here he come?
1770Loren. I shall grow iealious of you shortly Launcelet, if you thus
get my wife into corners?
Iessica. Nay, you neede not feare vs Lorenzo, Launcelet and I are
out, he tells me flatly there's no mercy for mee in heauen, because
I am a Iewes daughter: and he sayes you are no good member of
1775the common-wealth, for in conuerting Iewes to Christians, you
raise the price of porke.
Loren. I shall aunswere that better to the common-wealth than
you can the getting vp of the Negroes belly: the Moore is vvith
child by you Launcelet?
1780Clowne. It is much that the Moore should be more then rea-
son: but if she be lesse then an honest woman, she is indeede more
then I tooke her for.
Loren. How euery foole can play vpon the word, I thinke the
best grace of wit will shortly turne into silence, and discourse grow
1785commendable in none onely but Parrats: goe in sirra, bid them
prepare for dinner?
Clowne. That is done sir, they haue all stomacks?
Loren. Goodly Lord what a wit snapper are you, than bid them
prepare dinner?
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. Well, ile set you forth.
Exit.