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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter the Clowne alone.
    Clowne. Certainely, my conscience will serue me to runne from
    this Iewe my Maister: the fiend is at mine elbow, and tempts me,
    saying to me, Iobbe, Launcelet Jobbe, good Launcelet, or good Iobbe,
    or good Launcelet Iobbe, vse your legges, take the start, runne a-
    550way, my conscience sayes no; take heede honest Launcelet, take
    heede honest Iobbe, or as afore-saide honest Launcelet Iobbe, doe
    not runne, scorne running with thy heeles; well, the most cora-
    gious fiend bids me packe, fia sayes the fiend, away sayes the fiend,
    for the heauens rouse vp a braue minde sayes the fiend, and runne;
    555well, my conscience hanging about the necke of my heart, sayes
    very wisely to mee: my honest friend Launcelet beeing an honest
    mans sonne, or rather an honest womans sonne, for indeede my
    Father did something smacke, something grow to; he had a kinde
    of tast; well, my conscience sayes Launcelet bouge not, bouge sayes
    560the fiend, bouge not sayes my conscience, conscience say I you
    counsaile wel, fiend say I you counsaile well, to be ruld by my con-
    science, I should stay with the Iewe my Maister, (who God blesse
    the marke) is a kinde of deuill; and to runne away from the Iewe I
    should be ruled by the fiend, who sauing your reuerence is the de-
    565uill himselfe: certainely the Iewe is the very deuill incarnation, and
    in my conscience, my conscience is but a kinde of hard consci-
    ence, to offer to counsaile mee to stay with the Iewe; the fiend
    giues the more friendly counsaile: I will runne fiend, my heeles
    are at your commaundement, I will runne.
    Enter old Gobbo with a basket.
    Gobbo. Maister young-man, you I pray you, which is the way
    to Maister Iewes?
    Launcelet. O heauens, this is my true begotten Father, who be-
    ing more then sand blinde, high grauell blinde, knowes me not, I
    575will try confusions with him.
    Gobbo. Maister young Gentleman, I pray you which is the way
    to Maister Iewes.
    Launcelet. Turne vp on your right hand at the next turning,
    but at the next turning of all on your left; marry at the very next
    580turning turne of no hand, but turne downe indirectly to the Iewes
    Gobbo. Be Gods sonties twill be a hard way to hit, can you tell
    mee whether one Launcelet that dwels with him, dwell with him
    or no.
    585Launcelet. Talke you of young Maister Launcelet, marke mee
    nowe, nowe will I raise the waters; talke you of young Maister
    Gobbo. No Maister sir, but a poore mans Sonne, his Father
    though I say't is an honest exceeding poore man, and God bee
    590thanked well to liue.
    Launce. Well, let his Father be what a will, wee talke of young
    Maister Launcelet.
    Gob. Your worships friend and Launcelet sir.
    Launce. But I pray you ergo olde man, ergo I beseech you, talke
    595you of young Maister Launcelet.
    Gob. Of Launcelet ant please your maistership.
    Launce. Ergo Maister Launcelet, talke not of maister Launcelet
    Father, for the young Gentleman according to fates and deste-
    nies, and such odd sayings, the sisters three, and such braunches of
    600learning, is indeede deceased, or as you would say in plaine termes,
    gone to heauen.
    Gobbo. Marry God forbid, the boy was the very staffe of my
    age, my very prop.
    Launcelet. Doe I looke like a cudgell or a houell post, a staffe,
    605or a prop: doe you know me Father.
    Gobbo. Alacke the day, I knowe you not young Gentleman,
    but I pray you tell mee, is my boy GOD rest his soule aliue or
    Launcelet. Doe you not know me Father.
    610Gobbo. Alack sir I am sand blind, I know you not.
    Launcelet. Nay, in deede if you had your eyes you might fayle
    of the knowing mee: it is a wise Father that knowes his ovvne
    childe. Well, olde man, I will tell you newes of your sonne, giue
    mee your blessing, trueth will come to light, muder cannot bee
    615hidde long, a mannes Sonne may, but in the ende trueth vvill
    Gobbo. Pray you sir stand vp, I am sure you are not Launcelet
    my boy.
    Launce. Pray you let's haue no more fooling, about it, but giue
    620mee your blessing: I am Launcelet your boy that was, your sonne
    that is, your child that shall be.
    Gob. I cannot thinke you are my sonne.
    Launc. I know not what I shall think of that: but I am Launce-
    623.1let the Iewes man, and I am sure Margerie your wife is my mo-
    625Gob. Her name is Margerie in deede, ile be sworne if thou bee
    Launcelet, thou art mine owne flesh and blood: Lord worshipt
    might he be, what a beard hast thou got; thou hast got more haire
    on thy chinne, then Dobbin my philhorse hase on his taile.
    Launce. It should seeme then that Dobbins taile growes back-
    630ward. I am sure hee had more haire of his taile then I haue of my
    face when I lost saw him.
    Gob. Lord how art thou changd: how doost thou and thy Ma-
    ster agree, I haue brought him a present; how gree you now?
    Launce. Well, well, but for mine owne part, as I haue set vp my
    635rest to runne away, so I will not rest till I haue runne some ground;
    my Maister's a very Iewe, giue him a present, giue him a halter, I
    am famisht in his seruice. You may tell euery finger I haue with
    my ribs: Father I am glad you are come, giue me your present to
    one Maister Bassanio, who in deede giues rare newe Lyuories, if I
    640serue not him, I will runne as farre as God has any ground. O rare
    fortune, heere comes the man, to him Father, for I am a Iewe if I
    serue the Iewe any longer.
    Enter Bassanio with a follower or two.
    Bass. You may doe so, but let it be so hasted that supper be ready
    645at the farthest by fiue of the clocke: see these Letters deliuered,
    put the Lyueries to making, and desire Gratiano to come anone to
    my lodging.
    Launce. To him Father.
    Gob. God blesse your worship.
    650Bass. Gramercie, wouldst thou ought with me.
    Gobbe. Heere's my sonne sir, a poore boy.
    Launce. Not a poore boy sir, but the rich Iewes man that would
    sir as my Father shall specifie.
    Gob. He hath a great infection sir, as one would say to serue.
    655Lau. Indeede the short and the long is, I serue the Iewe, & haue
    a desire as my Father shall specifie.
    Gob. His Maister and he (sauing your worships reuerence) are
    scarce catercosins,
    Lau. To be briefe, the very truth is, that the Iewe hauing done
    660me wrong, dooth cause me as my Father being I hope an old man
    shall frutifie vnto you.
    Gob. I haue heere a dish of Doues that I would bestow vppon
    your worship, and my sute is.
    Lau. In very briefe, the sute is impertinent to my selfe, as your
    665worship shall knowe by this honest old man, and though I say it,
    though old man, yet poore man my Father.
    Bass. One speake for both, what would you?
    Laun. Serue you sir.
    Gob. That is the very defect of the matter sir.
    670Bass. I know thee well, thou hast obtaind thy sute,
    Shylocke thy Maister spoke with me this day,
    And hath preferd thee, if it be preferment
    To leaue a rich Iewes seruice, to become
    The follower of so poore a Gentleman.
    675Clowne. The old prouerb is very well parted betweene my Maister
    Shylocke and you sir, you haue the grace of God sir, and hee
    hath enough.
    Bass. Thou speakst it well; goe Father with thy Sonne
    Take leaue of thy old Maister, and enquire
    680My lodging out, giue him a Lyuerie
    More garded then his fellowes: see it done.
    Clowne. Father in, I cannot get a seruice, no, I haue nere a tong
    in my head, wel: if any man in Italy haue a fayrer table which
    dooth offer to sweare vpon a booke, I shall haue good fortune;
    685goe too, heere's a simple lyne of life, heeres a small tryfle of wiues,
    alas, fifteene wiues is nothing, a leuen widdowes and nine maydes
    is a simple comming in for one man, and then to scape drowning
    thrice, and to be in perrill of my life with the edge of a featherbed,
    heere are simple scapes: vvell, if Fortune be a woman she's a good
    690wench for this gere: Father come, ile take my leaue of the Iewe in
    the twinkling.
    Exit Clowne.
    Bass. I pray thee good Leonardo thinke on this,
    These things being bought and orderly bestowed
    Returne in hast, for I doe feast to night
    695My best esteemd acquaintance, hie thee goe.
    Leon. My best endeuours shall be done heerein.
    Exit Leonardo.
    Enter Gratiano.
    Grati. Where's your Maister.
    Leonar. Yonder sir he walkes.
    700Grati. Signior Bassanio.
    Bass. Gratiano.
    Gra. I haue sute to you.
    Bass. You haue obtaind it.
    Gra. You must not deny me, I must goe with you to Belmont.
    705Bass. Why then you must but heare thee Gratiano,
    Thou art to wild, to rude, and bold of voyce,
    Parts that become thee happily enough,
    And in such eyes as ours appeare not faults
    But where thou art not knowne; why there they show
    710Somthing too liberall, pray thee take paine
    To allay with some cold drops of modestie
    Thy skipping spirit, least through thy wild behauiour
    I be misconstred in the place I goe to,
    And loose my hopes.
    715Gra. Signor Bassanio, heare me,
    Yf I doe not put on a sober habite,
    Talke with respect, and sweare but now and than,
    Weare prayer bookes in my pocket, looke demurely,
    Nay more, while grace is saying hood mine eyes
    720Thus with my hat, and sigh and say amen:
    Vse all the obseruance of ciuillity
    Like one well studied in a sad ostent
    To please his Grandam, neuer trust me more.
    Bass. Well, we shall see your bearing.
    725Gra. Nay but I barre to night, you shall not gage me
    By what we doe to night.
    Bass. No that were pitty,
    I would intreate you rather to put on
    Your boldest sute of mirth, for we haue friends
    730That purpose merriment: but far you well,
    I haue some busines.
    Gra. And I must to Lorenso and the rest,
    But we will visite you at supper time.