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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    Bass. Promise me life, and ile confesse the truth.
    Portia. Well then, confesse and liue.
    Bass. Confesse and loue
    had beene the very sum of my confession:
    1320O happy torment, when my torturer
    doth teach me aunsweres for deliuerance:
    But let me to my fortune and the caskets.
    Portia. Away then, I am lockt in one of them,
    If you doe loue me, you will finde me out.
    1325Nerryssa and the rest, stand all aloofe,
    Let musique sound while he doth make his choyse,
    Then if he loose he makes a Swan-like end,
    Fading in musique. That the comparison
    may stand more proper, my eye shall be the streame
    1330and watry death-bed for him: he may win,
    And what is musique than? Than musique is
    euen as the flourish, when true subiects bowe
    to a new crowned Monarch: Such it is,
    As are those dulcet sounds in breake of day,
    1335That creepe into the dreaming bride-groomes eare,
    And summon him to marriage. Now he goes
    vvith no lesse presence, but with much more loue
    Then young Alcides, when he did redeeme
    The virgine tribute, payed by howling Troy
    1340To the Sea-monster: I stand for sacrifice,
    The rest aloofe are the Dardanian vviues:
    With bleared visages come forth to view
    The issue of th'exploit: Goe Hercules,
    Liue thou, I liue with much much more dismay,
    1345I view the fight, then thou that mak'st the fray.

    A Song the whilst Bassanio comments on the caskets
    to himselfe.

    Tell me where is fancie bred,
    Or in the hart, or in the head,
    1350How begot, how nourished? Replie, replie.