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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    How shall I know if I doe choose the right.
    Por. The one of them containes my picture Prince,
    985If you choose that, then I am yours withall.
    Mor. Some God direct my iudgement, let me see,
    I will suruay the inscriptions, backe againe:
    What saies this leaden casket?
    Who chooseth me, must giue and hazard all he hath.
    990Must giue, for what? for lead, hazard for lead?
    This casket threatens men that hazard all
    Doe it in hope of faire aduantages:
    A golden minde stoopes not to showes of drosse,
    Ile then nor giue nor hazard ought for lead.
    995What saies the Siluer with her virgin hue?
    Who chooseth me, shall get as much as he deserues.
    As much as he deserues; pause there Morocho,
    And weigh thy value with an euen hand,
    If thou beest rated by thy estimation
    1000Thou doost deserue enough, and yet enough
    May not extend so farre as to the Ladie:
    And yet to be afeard of my deseruing,
    Were but a weake disabling of my selfe.
    As much as I deserue, why that's the Lady.
    1005I doe in birth deserue her, and in fortunes,
    In graces, and in qualities of breeding:
    But more then these, in loue I doe deserue.
    What if I strai'd no farther, but chose here?
    Let's see once more this saying grau'd in gold.
    1010Who chooseth me shall gaine what many men desire:
    Why that's the Lady, all the world desires her:
    From the foure corners of the earth they come
    To kisse this shrine, this mortall breathing Saint.
    The Hircanion deserts, and the vaste wildes
    1015Of wide Arabia are as throughfares now
    For Princes to come view faire Portia.
    The waterie Kingdome, whose ambitious head
    Spets in the face of heauen, is no barre
    To stop the forraine spirits, but they come
    1020As ore a brooke to see faire Portia.
    One of these three containes her heauenly picture.
    Is't like that Lead containes her? 'twere damnation
    To thinke so base a thought, it were too grose
    To rib her searecloath in the obscure graue:
    1025Or shall I thinke in Siluer she's immur'd
    Being ten times vndervalued to tride gold;
    O sinfull thought, neuer so rich a Iem
    Was set in worse then gold! They haue in England
    A coyne that beares the figure of an Angell
    1030Stampt in gold, but that's insculpt vpon:
    But here an Angell in a golden bed
    Lies all within. Deliuer me the key:
    Here doe I choose, and thriue I as I may.
    Por. There take it Prince, and if my forme lye there
    1035Then I am yours.
    Mor. O hell! what haue we here, a carrion death,
    Within whose emptie eye there is a written scroule;
    Ile reade the writing.

    All that glisters is not gold,
    1040 Often haue you heard that told;
    Many a man his life hath sold
    But my outside to behold;
    Guilded timber doe wormes infold:
    Had you beene as wise as bold,
    1045 Yong in limbs, in iudgement old,
    Your answere had not beene inscrold,
    Fareyouwell, your suite is cold,
    Mor. Cold indeede, and labour lost,
    Then farewell heate, and welcome frost:
    1050Portia adew, I haue too grieu'd a heart
    To take a tedious leaue: thus loosers part.
    Por. A gentle riddance: draw the curtaines, go:
    Let all of his complexion choose me so.
    Enter Salarino and Solanio.
    Flo. Cornets.
    Sal. Why man I saw Bassanio vnder sayle,
    With him is Gratiano gone along;
    And in their ship I am sure Lorenzo is not.
    Sol. The villaine Iew with outcries raisd the Duke.
    1060Who went with him to search Bassanios ship.
    Sal. He comes too late, the ship was vndersaile;
    But there the Duke was giuen to vnderstand
    That in a Gondilo were seene together
    Lorenzo and his amorous Iessica.
    1065Besides, Anthonio certified the Duke
    They were not with Bassanio in his ship.
    Sol. I neuer heard a passion so confusd,
    So strange, outragious, and so variable,
    As the dogge Iew did vtter in the streets;
    1070My daughter, O my ducats, O my daughter,
    Fled with a Christian, O my Christian ducats!
    Iustice, the law, my ducats, and my daughter;
    A sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats,
    Of double ducats, stolne from me by my daughter,
    1075And iewels, two stones, two rich and precious stones,
    Stolne by my daughter: iustice, finde the girle,
    She hath the stones vpon her, and the ducats.
    Sal. Why all the boyes in Venice follow him,
    Crying his stones, his daughter, and his ducats.
    1080Sol. Let good Anthonio looke he keepe his day
    Or he shall pay for this.
    Sal. Marry well remembred,
    I reason'd with a Frenchman yesterday,
    Who told me, in the narrow seas that part
    1085The French and English, there miscaried
    A vessell of our countrey richly fraught:
    I thought vpon Anthonio when he told me,
    And wisht in silence that it were not his.
    Sol. Yo were best to tell Anthonio what you heare.
    1090Yet doe not suddainely, for it may grieue him.
    Sal. A kinder Gentleman treads not the earth,
    I saw Bassanio and Anthonio part,
    Bassanio told him he would make some speede
    Of his returne: he answered, doe not so,
    1095Slubber not businesse for my sake Bassanio,
    But stay the very riping of the time,
    And for the Iewes bond which he hath of me,
    Let it not enter in your minde of loue:
    Be merry, and imploy your chiefest thoughts
    1100To courtship, and such faire ostents of loue
    As shall conueniently become you there;
    And euen there his eye being big with teares,
    Turning his face, he put his hand behinde him,
    And with affection wondrous sencible
    1105He wrung Bassanios hand, and so they parted.
    Sol. I thinke he onely loues the world for him,
    I pray thee let vs goe and finde him out
    And quicken his embraced heauinesse
    With some delight or other.
    1110Sal. Doe we so.

    Enter Nerrissa and a Seruiture.
    Ner. Quick, quick I pray thee, draw the curtain strait,