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  • Title: The Merchant of Venice (Folio 1, 1623)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Merchant of Venice.
    1Actus primus.
    Enter Anthonio, Salarino, and Salanio.
    IN sooth I know not why I am so sad,
    5It wearies me: you say it wearies you;
    But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
    What stuffe 'tis made of, whereof it is borne,
    I am to learne: and such a Want-wit sadnesse makes of
    10That I haue much ado to know my selfe.
    Sal. Your minde is tossing on the Ocean,
    There where your Argosies with portly saile
    Like Signiors and rich Burgers on the flood,
    Or as it were the Pageants of the sea,
    15Do ouer-peere the pettie Traffiquers
    That curtsie to them, do them reuerence
    As they flye by them with their wouen wings.
    Salar. Beleeue me sir, had I such venture forth,
    The better part of my affections, would
    20Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still
    Plucking the grasse to know where sits the winde,
    Peering in Maps for ports, and peers, and rodes:
    And euery obiect that might make me feare
    Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt
    25Would make me sad.
    Sal. My winde cooling my broth,
    Would blow me to an Ague, when I thought
    What harme a winde too great might doe at sea.
    I should not see the sandie houre-glasse runne,
    30But I should thinke of shallows, and of flats,
    And see my wealthy Andrew docks in sand,
    Vailing her high top lower then her ribs
    To kisse her buriall; should I goe to Church
    And see the holy edifice of stone,
    35And not bethinke me straight of dangerous rocks,
    Which touching but my gentle Vessels side
    Would scatter all her spices on the streame,
    Enrobe the roring waters with my silkes,
    And in a word, but euen now worth this,
    40And now worth nothing. Shall I haue the thought
    To thinke on this, and shall I lacke the thought
    That such a thing bechaunc'd would make me sad?
    But tell not me, I know Anthonio
    Is sad to thinke vpon his merchandize.
    45Anth. Beleeue me no, I thanke my fortune for it,
    My ventures are not in one bottome trusted,
    Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate
    Vpon the fortune of this present yeere:
    Therefore my merchandize makes me not sad.
    50Sola. Why then you are in loue.
    Anth. Fie, fie.
    Sola. Not in loue neither: then let vs say you are sad
    Because you are not merry; and 'twere as easie
    For you to laugh and leape, and say you are merry
    55Because you are not sad. Now by two-headed Ianus,
    Nature hath fram'd strange fellowes in her time:
    Some that will euermore peepe through their eyes,
    And laugh like Parrats at a bag-piper.
    And other of such vineger aspect,
    60That they'll not shew their teeth in way of smile,
    Though Nestor sweare the iest be laughable.
    Enter Bassanio, Lorenso, and Gratiano.
    Sola. Heere comes Bassanio,
    Your most noble Kinsman,
    65Gratiano, and Lorenso. Faryewell,
    We leaue you now with better company.
    Sala. I would haue staid till I had made you merry,
    If worthier friends had not preuented me.
    Ant. Your worth is very deere in my regard.
    70I take it your owne busines calls on you,
    And you embrace th' occasion to depart.
    Sal. Good morrow my good Lords.
    Bass. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? say,(when?
    You grow exceeding strange: must it be so?
    75Sal. Wee'll make our leysures to attend on yours.
    Exeunt Salarino, and Solanio.
    Lor. My Lord Bassanio, since you haue found Anthonio
    We two will leaue you, but at dinner time
    I pray you haue in minde where we must meete.
    80Bass. I will not faile you.
    Grat. You looke not well signior Anthonio,
    You haue too much respect vpon the world:
    They loose it that doe buy it with much care,
    Beleeue me you are maruellously chang'd.
    85Ant. I hold the world but as the world Gratiano,
    A stage, where euery man must play a part,
    And mine a sad one.
    Grati. Let me play the foole,
    With mirth and laughter let old wrinckles come,
    90And let my Liuer rather heate with wine,
    Then my heart coole with mortifying grones.
    Why should a man whose bloud is warme within,
    Sit like his Grandsire, cut in Alablaster?
    Sleepe when he wakes? and creep into the Iaundies
    162The Merchant of Venice.
    95By being peeuish? I tell thee what Anthonio,
    I loue thee, and it is my loue that speakes:
    There are a sort of men, whose visages
    Do creame and mantle like a standing pond,
    And do a wilfull stilnesse entertaine,
    100With purpose to be drest in an opinion
    Of wisedome, grauity, profound conceit,
    As who should say, I am sir an Oracle,
    And when I ope my lips, let no dogge barke.
    O my Anthonio, I do know of these
    105That therefore onely are reputed wise,
    For saying nothing; when I am verie sure
    If they should speake, would almost dam those eares
    Which hearing them would call their brothers fooles:
    Ile tell thee more of this another time.
    110But fish not with this melancholly baite
    For this foole Gudgin, this opinion:
    Come good Lorenzo, faryewell a while,
    Ile end my exhortation after dinner.
    Lor. Well, we will leaue you then till dinner time.
    115I must be one of these same dumbe wise men,
    For Gratiano neuer let's me speake.
    Gra. Well, keepe me company but two yeares mo,
    Thou shalt not know the sound of thine owne tongue.
    Ant. Far you well, Ile grow a talker for this geare.
    120Gra. Thankes ifaith, for silence is onely commendable
    In a neats tongue dri'd, and a maid not vendible. Exit.
    Ant. It is that any thing now.
    Bas. Gratiano speakes an infinite deale of nothing,
    more then any man in all Venice, his reasons are two
    125graines of wheate hid in two bushels of chaffe: you shall
    seeke all day ere you finde them, & when you haue them
    they are not worth the search.
    An. Well: tel me now, what Lady is the same
    To whom you swore a secret Pilgrimage
    130That you to day promis'd to tel me of?
    Bas. Tis not vnknowne to you Anthonio
    How much I haue disabled mine estate,
    By something shewing a more swelling port
    Then my faint meanes would grant continuance:
    135Nor do I now make mone to be abridg'd
    From such a noble rate, but my cheefe care
    Is to come fairely off from the great debts
    Wherein my time something too prodigall
    Hath left me gag'd: to you Anthonio
    140I owe the most in money, and in loue,
    And from your loue I haue a warrantie
    To vnburthen all my plots and purposes,
    How to get cleere of all the debts I owe.
    An. I pray you good Bassanio let me know it,
    145And if it stand as you your selfe still do,
    Within the eye of honour, be assur'd
    My purse, my person, my extreamest meanes
    Lye all vnlock'd to your occasions.
    Bass. In my schoole dayes, when I had lost one shaft
    150I shot his fellow of the selfesame flight
    The selfesame way, with more aduised watch
    To finde the other forth, and by aduenturing both,
    I oft found both. I vrge this child-hoode proofe,
    Because what followes is pure innocence.
    155I owe you much, and like a wilfull youth,
    That which I owe is lost: but if you please
    To shoote another arrow that selfe way
    Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
    As I will watch the ayme: Or to finde both,
    160Or bring your latter hazard backe againe,
    And thankfully rest debter for the first.
    An. You know me well, and herein spend but time
    To winde about my loue with circumstance,
    And out of doubt you doe more wrong
    165In making question of my vttermost
    Then if you had made waste of all I haue:
    Then doe but say to me what I should doe
    That in your knowledge may by me be done,
    And I am prest vnto it: therefore speake.
    170Bass. In Belmont is a Lady richly left,
    And she is faire, and fairer then that word,
    Of wondrous vertues, sometimes from her eyes
    I did receiue faire speechlesse messages:
    Her name is Portia, nothing vndervallewd
    175To Cato's daughter, Brutus Portia,
    Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,
    For the foure windes blow in from euery coast
    Renowned sutors, and her sunny locks
    Hang on her temples like a golden fleece,
    180Which makes her seat of Belmont Cholchos strond,
    And many Iasons come in quest of her.
    O my Anthonio, had I but the meanes
    To hold a riuall place with one of them,
    I haue a minde presages me such thrift,
    185That I should questionlesse be fortunate.
    Anth. Thou knowst that all my fortunes are at sea,
    Neither haue I money, nor commodity
    To raise a present summe, therefore goe forth
    Try what my credit can in Venice doe,
    190That shall be rackt euen to the vttermost,
    To furnish thee to Belmont to faire Portia.
    Goe presently enquire, and so will I
    Where money is, and I no question make
    To haue it of my trust, or for my sake. Exeunt.