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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    Nor none of thee thou pale and common drudge
    tweene man and man: but thou, thou meager lead
    1390vvhich rather threatenst then dost promise ought,
    thy palenes moues me more then eloquence,
    and heere choose I, ioy be the consequence.
    Por. How all the other passions fleet to ayre,
    As doubtfull thoughts, and rash imbrac'd despaire:
    1395And shyddring feare, and greene-eyed iealousie.
    O loue be moderate, allay thy extasie,
    In measure raine thy ioy, scant this excesse,
    I feele too much thy blessing, make it lesse
    for feare I surfeit.
    1400Bas. What finde I heere?
    Faire Portias counterfeit. What demy God
    hath come so neere creation? moue these eyes?
    Or whither riding on the balls of mine
    seeme they in motion? Heere are seuerd lips
    1405parted with suger breath, so sweet a barre
    should sunder such sweet friends: heere in her haires
    the Paynter playes the Spyder, and hath wouen
    a golden mesh tyntrap the harts of men
    faster then gnats in cobwebs, but her eyes
    1410how could he see to doe them? hauing made one,
    me thinkes it should haue power to steale both his
    and leaue it selfe vnfurnisht: Yet looke how farre
    the substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow
    in vnderprysing it, so farre this shadow
    1415doth limpe behind the substance. Heeres the scroule,
    the continent and summarie of my fortune.
    You that choose not by the view
    Chaunce as faire, and choose as true:
    Since this fortune falls to you,
    1420Be content, and seeke no new.
    If you be well pleasd with this,
    and hold your fortune for your blisse,
    Turne you where your Lady is,
    And claime her with a louing kis.