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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    of any constant man: what worse and worse?
    With leaue Bassanio I am halfe your selfe,
    and I must freely haue the halfe of any thing
    that this same paper brings you.
    1540Bass. O sweete Portia,
    heere are a few of the vnpleasant'st words
    that euer blotted paper. Gentle Lady
    when I did first impart my loue to you,
    I freely told you all the wealth I had
    1545ranne in my vaines, I was a gentleman,
    and then I told you true: and yet deere Lady
    rating my selfe at nothing, you shall see
    how much I was a Braggart, when I told you
    my state was nothing, I should then haue told you
    1550that I was worse then nothing; for indeede
    I haue ingag'd my selfe to a deere friend,
    ingag'd my friend to his meere enemie
    to feede my meanes. Heere is a letter Lady,
    the paper as the body of my friend,
    1555and euery word in it a gaping wound
    issuing life blood. But is it true Salerio
    hath all his ventures faild, what not one hit,
    from Tripolis, from Mexico and England,
    from Lisbon, Barbary, and India,
    1560and not one vessell scape the dreadfull touch
    of Merchant-marring rocks?
    Sal. Not one my Lord.
    Besides, it should appeare, that if he had
    the present money to discharge the Iew,
    1565hee would not take it: neuer did I know
    a creature that did beare the shape of man
    so keene and greedie to confound a man.
    He plyes the Duke at morning and at night,
    and doth impeach the freedome of the state
    1570if they deny him iustice. Twentie Merchants,
    the Duke himselfe, and the Magnificoes
    of greatest port haue all perswaded with him,