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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 comciall Historie of
    cannot impugne you as you doe proceed.
    You stand within his danger, doe you not.
    An. I, so he sayes.
    Por. Doe you confesse the bond?
    2015An. I doe.
    Por. Then must the Iew be mercifull.
    Shy. On what compulsion must I, tell me that.
    Por. The qualitie of mercie is not straind,
    it droppeth as the gentle raine from heauen
    2020vpon the place beneath: it is twise blest,
    it blesseth him that giues, and him that takes,
    tis mightiest in the mightiest, it becomes
    the throned Monarch better then his crowne.
    His scepter showes the force of temporall power,
    2025the attribut to awe and maiestie,
    vvherein doth sit the dread and feare of Kings:
    but mercie is aboue this sceptred sway,
    it is enthroned in the harts of Kings,
    it is an attribut to God himselfe;
    2030and earthly power doth then show likest gods
    vvhen mercie seasons iustice: therefore Iew,
    though iustice be thy plea, consider this,
    that in the course of iustice, none of vs
    should see saluation: vve doe pray for mercy,
    2035and that same prayer, doth teach vs all to render
    the deedes of mercie. I haue spoke thus much
    to mittigate the iustice of thy plea,
    vvhich if thou follow, this strict Court of Venice
    must needes giue sentence gainst the Merchant there.
    2040Shy. My deeds vpon my head, I craue the law,
    the penalty and forfaite of my bond.
    Por. Is he not able to discharge the money?
    Bass. Yes, heere I tender it for him in the Court,
    yea, twise the summe, if that will not suffise,
    2045I will be bound to pay it ten times ore
    on forfait of my hands, my head, my hart,
    if this will not suffise, it must appeare