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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    Not Peer Reviewed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
    but none can driue him from the enuious plea
    of forfaiture, of iustice, and his bond.
    1575Iessi. When I was with him, I haue heard him sweare
    to Tuball and to Chus, his country-men,
    that he would rather haue Anthonios flesh
    then twentie times the value of the summe
    that he did owe him: and I know my lord,
    1580if law, authoritie, and power denie not,
    it will goe hard with poore Anthonio.
    Por. Is it your deere friend that is thus in trouble?
    Bass. The deerest friend to me, the kindest man,
    the best conditiond and vnwearied spirit
    1585in dooing curtesies: and one in whom
    the auncient Romaine honour more appeares
    then any that drawes breath in Italie.
    Por. What summe owes he the Iew?
    Bass. For me three thousand ducats.
    1590Por. What no more, pay him six thousand, & deface the bond:
    double sixe thousand, and then treble that,
    before a friend of this discription
    shall lose a haire through Bassanios fault.
    First goe with me to Church, and call me wife,
    1595and then away to Venice to your friend:
    for neuer shall you lie by Portias side
    vvith an vnquiet soule. You shall haue gold
    to pay the petty debt twenty times ouer.
    When it is payd, bring your true friend along,
    1600my mayd Nerrissa, and my selfe meane time
    vvill liue as maydes and widdowes; come away,
    for you shall hence vpon your wedding day:
    bid your freends welcome, show a merry cheere,
    since you are deere bought, I will loue you deere.
    1605But let me heare the letter of your friend.

    Sweet Bassanio, my ships haue all miscaried, my Creditors growe
    cruell, my estate is very low, my bond to the Iewe is forfaite, and since in
    paying it, it is impossible I should liue, all debts are cleerd betweene you