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  • Title: The Merchant of Venice (Quarto 1, 1600)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Quarto 1, 1600)

    the Merchant of Venice.
    365An. Shylocke, albeit I neither lend nor borrow
    By taking nor by giuing of excesse,
    Yet to supply the ripe wants of my friend,
    Ile breake a custome: is hee yet possest
    How much ye would?
    370Shy.JI, I, three thousand ducats.
    Ant. And for three months.
    Shyl. I had forgot, three months, you told me so.
    Well then, your bond: and let me see, but heare you,
    Me thoughts you said, you neither lend nor borrow
    375Vpon aduantage.
    Ant. I doe neuer vse it.
    Shy. When Iacob grazd his Vncle Labans Sheepe,
    This Iacob from our holy Abram was
    (As his wise mother wrought in his behalfe)
    380The third possesser; I, he was the third.
    Ant. And what of him, did he take interrest?
    Shyl. No, not take interest, not as you would say
    Directly intrest, marke what Iacob did,
    VVhen Laban and himselfe were compremyzd
    385That all the eanelings which were streakt and pied
    Should fall as Iacobs hier, the Ewes being ranck
    In end of Autume turned to the Rammes,
    And when the worke of generation was
    Betweene these wolly breeders in the act,
    390The skilful sheepheard pyld me certaine wands,
    And in the dooing of the deede of kind
    He stuck them vp before the fulsome Ewes,
    Who then conceauing, did in eaning time
    Fall party-colourd lambs, and those were Iacobs.
    395This was a way to thriue, and he was blest:
    And thrift is blessing if men steale it not.
    An. This was a venture sir that Iacob serud for,
    A thing not in his power to bring to passe,
    But swayd and fashiond by the hand of heauen.
    400Was this inserted to make interrest good?
    Or is your gold and siluer ewes and rammes?