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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    Not Peer Reviewed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
    Loren. Let's in, and there expect their comming.
    And yet no matter: why should we goe in.
    My friend Stephen, signifie I pray you
    vvithin the house, your mistres is at hand,
    2385and bring your musique foorth into the ayre.
    How sweet the moone-light sleepes vpon this banke,
    heere will we sit, and let the sounds of musique
    creepe in our eares soft stilnes, and the night
    become the tutches of sweet harmonie:
    2390sit Iessica, looke how the floore of heauen
    is thick inlayed with pattens of bright gold,
    there's not the smallest orbe which thou beholdst
    but in his motion like an Angell sings,
    still quiring to the young eyde Cherubins;
    2395such harmonie is in immortall soules,
    but whilst this muddy vesture of decay
    dooth grosly close it in, we cannot heare it:
    Come hoe, and wake Diana with a himne,
    vvith sweetest tutches pearce your mistres eare,
    2400and draw her home with musique.
    play Musique.
    Iessi. I am neuer merry when I heare sweet musique.
    Loren. The reason is your spirits are attentiue:
    for doe but note a wild and wanton heard
    or race of youthfull and vnhandled colts
    2405fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neghing loude,
    vvhich is the hote condition of their blood,
    if they but heare perchance a trumpet sound,
    or any ayre of musique touch their eares,
    you shall perceaue them make a mutuall stand,
    2410their sauage eyes turn'd to a modest gaze,
    by the sweet power of musique: therefore the Poet
    did faine that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods.
    Since naught so stockish hard and full of rage,
    but musique for the time doth change his nature,
    2415the man that hath no musique in himselfe,
    nor is not moued with concord of sweet sounds,
    is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoiles,