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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    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.
    950What sayes the siluer with her virgin hue?
    Who chooseth me, shal get as much as he deserues.
    As much as he deserues, pause there Morocho,
    and weigh thy valew with an euen hand,
    If thou beest rated by thy estimation
    955thou doost deserue enough, and yet enough
    May not extend so farre as to the Ladie:
    And yet to be afeard of my deseruing
    vvere but a weake disabling of my selfe.
    As much as I deserue, why thats the Ladie.
    960I doe in birth deserue her, and in fortunes,
    in graces, and in qualities of breeding:
    but more then these, in loue I doe deserue,
    vvhat if I straid no farther, but chose heere?
    Lets see once more this saying grau'd in gold:
    965Who chooseth me shall gaine what many men desire:
    Why thats the Ladie, 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 vastie wildes
    970Of 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
    975as ore a brooke to see faire Portia.
    One of these three containes her heauenly picture.
    Ist like that leade containes her, twere damnation
    to thinke so base a thought, it were too grosse
    to ribb her serecloth in the obscure graue,
    980Or shall I thinke in siluer shees immurd
    beeing tenne times vndervalewed to tride gold,
    O sinful thought, neuer so rich a Iem
    vvas set in worse then gold. They haue in England