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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    Not Peer Reviewed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
    hee seekes my life, his reason well I know;
    I oft deliuerd from his forfeytures
    many that haue at times made mone to me,
    1645therefore he hates me.
    Sal. I am sure the Duke will neuer grant
    this forfaiture to hold.
    An. The Duke cannot denie the course of law:
    for the commoditie that strangers haue
    1650vvith vs in Venice, if it be denyed,
    will much impeach the iustice of the state,
    since that the trade and profit of the citty
    consisteth of all Nations. Therefore goe,
    these griefes and losses haue so bated me
    1655that I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh
    to morrow, to my bloody Creditor.
    Well Iaylor on, pray God Bassanio come
    to see me pay his debt, and then I care not.
    Enter Portia, Nerrissa, Lorenzo, Iessica, and a
    1660man of Portias.
    Lor. Maddam, although I speake it in your presence,
    you haue a noble and a true conceite
    of god-like amitie, which appeares most strongly
    in bearing thus the absence of your Lord.
    1665But if you knew to whom you show this honour,
    how true a gentleman you send releefe,
    how deere a louer of my Lord your husband,
    I know you would be prouder of the worke
    then customarie bountie can enforce you.
    1670Por. I neuer did repent for dooing good,
    nor shall not now: for in companions
    that doe conuerse and wast the time together,
    vvhose soules doe beare an egall yoke of loue,
    there must be needes a like proportion
    1675of lyniaments, of manners, and of spirit;
    vvhich makes me thinke that this Anthonio
    beeing the bosome louer of my Lord,
    must needes be like my Lord. If it be so,