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  • Title: The Merchant of Venice (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Janelle Jenstad

  • Copyright Janelle Jenstad. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Janelle Jenstad
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The Merchant of Venice (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Merchant of Venice.
    Hath all his ventures faild, what not one hit,
    From Tripolis, from Mexico and England,
    1625From Lisbon, Barbary, and India,
    And not one vessell scape the dreadfull touch
    Of Merchant-marring rocks?
    Sal. Not one my Lord.
    Besides, it should appeare, that if he had
    1630The present money to discharge the Iew,
    He would not take it: neuer did I know
    A creature that did beare the shape of man
    So keene and greedy to confound a man.
    He plyes the Duke at morning and at night,
    1635And doth impeach the freedome of the state
    If they deny him iustice. Twenty Merchants,
    The Duke himselfe, and the Magnificoes
    Of greatest port haue all perswaded with him,
    But none can driue him from the enuious plea
    1640Of forfeiture, of iustice, and his bond.
    Iessi. When I was with him, I haue heard him sweare
    To Tuball and to Chus, his Countri-men,
    That he would rather haue Anthonio's flesh,
    Then twenty times the value of the summe
    1645That he did owe him: and I know my Lord,
    If law, authoritie, and power denie not,
    It will goe hard with poore Anthonio.
    Por. Is it your deere friend that is thus in trouble?
    Bass. The deerest friend to me, the kindest man,
    1650The best condition'd, and vnwearied spirit
    In doing curtesies: and one in whom
    The ancient Romane honour more appeares
    Then any that drawes breath in Italie.
    Por. What summe owes he the Iew?
    1655Bass. For me three thousand ducats.
    Por. What, no more?
    Pay him sixe thousand, and deface the bond:
    Double sixe thousand, and then treble that,
    Before a friend of this description
    1660Shall lose a haire through Bassano's fault.
    First goe with me to Church, and call me wife,
    And then away to Venice to your friend:
    For neuer shall you lie by Portias side
    With an vnquiet soule. You shall haue gold
    1665To pay the petty debt twenty times ouer.
    When it is payd, bring your true friend along,
    My maid Nerrissa, and my selfe meane time
    Will liue as maids and widdowes; come away,
    For you shall hence vpon your wedding day:
    1670Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheere,
    Since you are deere bought, I will loue you deere.
    But let me heare the letter of your friend.

    Sweet Bassanio, my ships haue all miscarried, my Credi-
    tors grow cruell, my estate is very low, my bond to the Iew is
    1675forfeit, and since in paying it, it is impossible I should liue, all
    debts are cleerd betweene you and I, if I might see you at my
    death: notwithstanding, vse your pleasure, if your loue doe not
    perswade you to come, let not my letter.

    Por. O loue! dispach all busines and be gone.
    1680Bass. Since I haue your good leaue to goe away,
    I will make hast; but till I come againe,
    No bed shall ere be guilty of my stay,
    Nor rest be interposer twixt vs twaine.
    Enter the Iew, and Solanio, and Anthonio,
    and the Iaylor.
    Iew. Iaylor, looke to him, tell not me of mercy,
    This is the foole that lends out money gratis.
    Iaylor, looke to him.
    Ant. Heare me yet good Shylok.
    1690Iew. Ile haue my bond, speake not against my bond,
    I haue sworne an oath that I will haue my bond:
    Thou call'dst me dog before thou hadst a cause,
    But since I am a dog, beware my phangs,
    The Duke shall grant me iustice, I do wonder
    1695Thou naughty Iaylor, that thou art so fond
    To come abroad with him at his request.
    Ant. I pray thee heare me speake.
    Iew. Ile haue my bond, I will not heare thee speake,
    Ile haue my bond, and therefore speake no more.
    1700Ile not be made a soft and dull ey'd foole,
    To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yeeld
    To Christian intercessors: follow not,
    Ile haue no speaking, I will haue my bond.
    Exit Iew.
    Sol. It is the most impenetrable curre
    1705That euer kept with men.
    Ant. Let him alone,
    Ile follow him no more with bootlesse prayers:
    He seekes my life, his reason well I know;
    I oft deliuer'd from his forfeitures
    1710Many that haue at times made mone to me,
    Therefore he hates me.
    Sol. I am sure the Duke will neuer grant
    this forfeiture to hold.
    An. The Duke cannot deny the course of law:
    1715For the commoditie that strangers haue
    With vs in Venice, if it be denied,
    Will much impeach the iustice of the State,
    Since that the trade and profit of the citty
    Consisteth of all Nations. Therefore goe,
    1720These greefes and losses haue so bated mee,
    That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh
    To morrow, to my bloudy Creditor.
    Well Iaylor, on, pray God Bassanio come
    To see me pay his debt, and then I care not.
    Enter Portia, Nerrissa, Lorenzo, Iessica, and a man of
    Lor. Madam, although I speake it in your presence,
    You haue a noble and a true conceit
    Of god-like amity, which appeares most strongly
    1730In bearing thus the absence of your Lord.
    But if you knew to whom you shew this honour,
    How true a Gentleman you send releefe,
    How deere a louer of my Lord your husband,
    I know you would be prouder of the worke
    1735Then customary bounty can enforce you.
    Por. I neuer did repent for doing good,
    Nor shall not now: for in companions
    That do conuerse and waste the time together,
    Whose soules doe beare an egal yoke of loue.
    1740There must be needs a like proportion
    Of lyniaments, of manners, and of spirit;
    Which makes me thinke that this Anthonio
    Being the bosome louer of my Lord,
    Must needs be like my Lord. If it be so,
    1745How little is the cost I haue bestowed
    In purchasing the semblance of my soule;
    From out the state of hellish cruelty,
    This comes too neere the praising of my selfe,
    Therefore no more of it: heere other things
    1750Lorenso I commit into your hands,