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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    2395Ile see if I can get my husbands ring
    Which I did make him sweare to keepe for euer.
    Por. Thou maist I warrant, we shal haue old swearing
    That they did giue the rings away to men;
    But weele out-face them, and out-sweare them to:
    2400Away, make haste, thou know'st where I will tarry.
    Ner. Come good sir, will you shew me to this house.

    Actus Quintus.

    Enter Lorenzo and Iessica.
    2405Lor. The moone shines bright. In such a night as this,
    When the sweet winde did gently kisse the trees,
    And they did make no nnyse, in such a night
    Troylus me thinkes mounted the Troian walls,
    And sigh'd his soule toward the Grecian tents
    2410Where Cressed lay that night.
    Ies. In such a night
    Did Thisbie fearefully ore-trip the dewe,
    And saw the Lyons shadow ere himselfe,
    And ranne dismayed away.
    2415Loren. In such a night
    Stood Dido with a Willow in her hand
    Vpon the wilde sea bankes, and waft her Loue
    To come againe to Carthage.
    Ies. In such a night
    2420Medea gathered the inchanted hearbs
    That did renew old Eson.
    Loren. In such a night
    Did Iessica steale from the wealthy Iewe,
    And with an Vnthrift Loue did runne from Venice,
    2425As farre as Belmont.
    Ies. In such a night
    Did young Lorenzo sweare he lou'd her well,
    Stealing her soule with many vowes of faith,
    And nere a true one.
    2430Loren. In such a night
    Did pretty Iessica (like a little shrow)
    Slander her Loue, and he forgaue it her.
    Iessi. I would out-night you did no body come:
    But harke, I heare the footing of a man.

    Enter Messenger.
    Lor. Who comes so fast in silence of the night?
    Mes. A friend.
    Loren. A friend, what friend? your name I pray you
    Mes. Stephano is my name, and I bring word
    2440My Mistresse will before the breake of day
    Be heere at Belmont, she doth stray about
    By holy crosses where she kneeles and prayes
    For happy wedlocke houres.
    Loren. Who comes with her?
    2445Mes. None but a holy Hermit and her maid:
    I pray you it my Master yet rnturn'd?
    Loren. He is not, nor we haue not heard from him,
    But goe we in I pray thee Iessica,
    And ceremoniously let vs vs prepare
    2450Some welcome for the Mistresse of the house,

    Enter Clowne.

    Clo. Sola, sola: wo ha ho, sola, sola.
    Loren. Who calls?
    Clo. Sola, did you see M. Lorenzo, & M. Lorenzo, sola,
    2455Lor. Leaue hollowing man, heere.
    Clo. Sola, where, where?
    Lor. Heere?
    Clo. Tel him ther's a Post come from my Master, with
    his horne full of good newes, my Master will be here ere
    2460morning sweet soule.
    Loren. Let's in, and there expect their comming.
    And yet no matter: why should we goe in?
    My friend Stephen, signifie pray you
    Within the house, your Mistresse is at hand,
    2465And bring your musique foorth into the ayre.
    How sweet the moone-light sleepes vpon this banke,
    Heere will we sit, and let the sounds of musicke
    Creepe in our eares soft stilnes, and the night
    Become the tutches of sweet harmonie:
    2470Sit Iessica, looke how the floore of heauen
    Is thicke inlayed with pattens of bright gold,
    There's not the smallest orbe which thou beholdst
    But in his motion like an Angell sings,
    Still quiring to the young eyed Cherubins;
    2475Such harmonie is in immortall soules,
    But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
    Doth grosly close in it, we cannot heare it:
    Come hoe, and wake Diana with a hymne,
    With sweetest tutches pearce your Mistresse eare,
    2480And draw her home with musicke.
    Iessi. I am neuer merry when I heare sweet musique.
    Play musicke.
    Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentiue:
    For doe but note a wilde and wanton heard
    2485Or race of youthful and vnhandled colts,
    Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud,
    Which is the hot condition of their bloud,
    If they but heare perchance a trumpet sound,
    Or any ayre of musicke touch their eares,
    2490You shall perceiue them make a mutuall stand,
    Their sauage eyes turn'd to a modest gaze,
    By the sweet power of musicke: therefore the Poet
    Did faine that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods.
    Since naught so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
    2495But musicke for time doth change his nature,
    The man that hath no musicke in himselfe,
    Nor is not moued with concord of sweet sounds,
    Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoyles,
    The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
    2500And his affections darke as Erobus,
    Let no such man be trusted: marke the musicke.

    Enter Portia and Nerrissa.

    Por. That light we see is burning in my hall:
    How farre that little candell throwes his beames,
    2505So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
    Ner. When the moone shone we did not see the can
    Por. So doth the greater glory dim the lesse,
    A substitute shines brightly as a King
    Vntill a King be by, and then his state
    2510Empties it selfe, as doth an inland brooke
    Into the maine of waters: musique, harke.
    Ner. It is your musicke Madame of the house.
    Por. Nothing is good I see without respect,
    Methinkes it sounds much sweeter then by day?
    2515Ner. Silence bestowes that vertue on it Madam.
    Por. The Crow doth sing as sweetly as the Larke