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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 comicall Historie of
    That did neuer choose amis,
    Some there be that shadowes kis.
    Such haue but a shadowes blis:
    There be fooles aliue Iwis
    1135Siluerd o're, and so was this.
    Take what wife you will to bed,
    J will euer be your head:
    So be gone, you are sped.

    Arrag. Still more foole I shall appeare
    1140By the time I linger heere,
    With one fooles head I came to woo,
    But I goe away with two.
    Sweet adiew, ile keepe my oath,
    Paciently to beare my wroath.
    1145Portia. Thus hath the candle singd the moath:
    O these deliberate fooles when they doe choose,
    They haue the wisedome by their wit to loose.
    Nerriss. The auncient saying is no herisie,
    Hanging and wiuing goes by destinie.
    1150Portia. Come draw the curtaine Nerrissa.
    Enter Messenger.
    Mess. Where is my Lady.
    Portia. Heere, what would my Lord?
    Mess. Madame, there is a-lighted at your gate
    1155A young Venetian, one that comes before
    To signifie th'approching of his Lord,
    From whom he bringeth sensible regreets;
    To wit, (besides commends and curtious breath)
    Gifts of rich valiew; yet I haue not seene
    1160So likely an Embassador of loue.
    A day in Aprill neuer came so sweete
    To show how costly Sommer was at hand,
    As this fore-spurrer comes before his Lord.
    Portia. No more I pray thee, I am halfe a-feard
    1165Thou wilt say anone he is some kin to thee,
    Thou spendst such high day wit in praysing him:
    Come