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About this text

  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Gratiano, Lorenzo, Slarino, and Salanio.
    Lor. Nay, we will slinke away in supper time,
    795Disguise vs at my lodging, and returne all in an houre.
    Gra. We haue not made good preparation.
    Sal. We haue not spoke vs yet of Torch-bearers.
    Sol. 'Tis vile vnlesse it may be quaintly ordered,
    And better in my minde not vndertooke.
    800Lor. 'Tis now but foure of clock, we haue two houres
    To furnish vs; friend Lancelet what's the newes.
    Enter Lancelet with a Letter.
    Lan. And it shall please you to breake vp this, shall it
    seeme to signifie.
    805Lor. I know the hand, in faith 'tis a faire hand
    And whiter then the paper it writ on,
    I the faire hand that writ.
    Gra. Loue newes in faith.
    Lan. By your leaue sir.
    810Lor. Whither goest thou?
    Lan. Marry sir to bid my old Master the Iew to sup
    to night with my new Master the Christian.
    Lor. Hold here, take this, tell gentle Iessica
    I will not faile her, speake it priuately:
    815Go Gentlemen, will you prepare you for this Maske to
    I am prouided of a Torch-bearer.
    Exit. Clowne.
    Sal. I marry, ile be gone about it strait.
    Sol. And so will I.
    820Lor. Meete me and Gratiano at Gratianos lodging
    Some houre hence.
    Sal. 'Tis good we do so.
    Gra. Was not that Letter from faire Iessica?
    Lor. I must needes tell thee all, she hath directed
    825How I shall take her from her Fathers house,
    What gold and iewels she is furnisht with,
    What Pages suite she hath in readinesse:
    If ere the Iew her Father come to heauen,
    It will be for his gentle daughters sake;
    830And neuer dare misfortune crosse her foote,
    Vnlesse she doe it vnder this excuse,
    That she is issue to a faithlesse Iew:
    Come goe with me, pervse this as thou goest,
    Faire Iessica shall be my Torch-bearer.