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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    Not Peer Reviewed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. 175

    So thrice faire Lady stand I euen so,
    As doubtfull whether what I see be true,
    1495Vntill confirm'd, sign'd, ratified by you.
    Por. You see my Lord Bassiano where I stand,
    Such as I am; though for my selfe alone
    I would not be ambitious in my wish,
    To wish my selfe much better, yet for you,
    1500I would be trebled twenty times my selfe,
    A thousand times more faire, ten thousand times
    More rich, that onely to stand high in your account,
    I might in vertues, beauties, liuings, friends,
    Exceed account: but the full summe of me
    1505Is sum of nothing: which to terme in grosse,
    Is an vnlessoned girle, vnschool'd, vnpractiz'd,
    Happy in this, she is not yet so old
    But she may learne: happier then this,
    Shee is not bred so dull but she can learne;
    1510Happiest of all, is that her gentle spirit
    Commits it selfe to yours to be directed,
    As from her Lord, her Gouernour, her King.
    My selfe, and what is mine, to you and yours
    Is now conuerted. But now I was the Lord
    1515Of this faire mansion, master of my seruants,
    Queene ore my selfe: and euen now, but now,
    This house, these seruants, and this same my selfe
    Are yours, my Lord, I giue them with this ring,
    Which when you part from, loose, or giue away,
    1520Let it presage the ruine of your loue,
    And be my vantage to exclaime on you.
    Bass. Maddam, you haue bereft me of all words,
    Onely my bloud speakes to you in my vaines,
    And there is such confusion in my powers,
    1525As after some oration fairely spoke
    By a beloued Prince, there doth appeare
    Among the buzzing pleased multitude,
    Where euery something being blent together,
    Turnes to a wilde of nothing, saue of ioy
    1530Exprest, and not exprest: but when this ring
    Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence,
    O then be bold to say Bassanio's dead.
    Ner. My Lord and Lady, it is now our time
    That haue stood by and seene our wishes prosper,
    1535To cry good ioy, good ioy my Lord and Lady.
    Gra. My Lord Bassanio, and my gentle Lady,
    I wish you all the ioy that you can wish:
    For I am sure you can wish none from me:
    And when your Honours meane to solemnize
    1540The bargaine of your faith: I doe beseech you
    Euen at that time I may be married too.
    Bass. With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife.
    Gra. I thanke your Lordship, you gaue got me one.
    My eyes my Lord can looke as swift as yours:
    1545You saw the mistres, I beheld the maid:
    You lou'd, I lou'd for intermission,
    No more pertaines to me my Lord then you;
    Your fortune stood vpon the caskets there,
    And so did mine too, as the matter falls:
    1550For wooing heere vntill I swet againe,
    And swearing till my very rough was dry
    With oathes of loue, at last, if promise last,
    I got a promise of this faire one heere
    To haue her loue: prouided that your fortune
    1555Atchieu'd her mistresse.
    Por. Is this true Nerrissa?
    Ner. Madam it is so, so you stand pleas'd withall.
    Bass. And doe you Gratiano meane good faith?
    Gra. Yes faith my Lord.
    1560Bass. Our feast shall be much honored in your mar-
    Gra. Weele play with them the first boy for a thou-
    sand ducats.
    Ner. What and stake downe?
    1565Gra. No, we shal nere win at that sport, and stake
    But who comes heere? Lorenzo and his Infidell?
    What and my old Venetian friend Salerio?

    Enter Lorenzo, Iessica, and Salerio.

    1570Bas. Lorenzo and Salerio, welcome hether,
    If that the youth of my new interest heere
    Haue power to bid you welcome: by your leaue
    I bid my verie friends and Countrimen
    Sweet Portia welcome.
    1575Por. So do I my Lord, they are intirely welcome.
    Lor. I thanke your honor; for my part my Lord,
    My purpose was not to haue seene you heere,
    But meeting with Salerio by the way,
    He did intreate mee past all saying nay
    1580To come with him along.
    Sal. I did my Lord,
    And I haue reason for it, Signior Anthonio
    Commends him to you.
    Bass. Ere I ope his Letter
    1585I pray you tell me how my good friend doth.
    Sal. Not sicke my Lord, vnlesse it be in minde,
    Nor wel, vnlesse in minde: his Letter there
    Wil shew you his estate.
    Opens the Letter.
    1590Gra. Nerrissa, cheere yond stranger, bid her welcom.
    Your hand Salerio, what's the newes from Venice?
    How doth that royal Merchant good Anthonio;
    I know he vvil be glad of our successe,
    We are the Iasons, we haue won the fleece.
    1595Sal. I would you had won the fleece that hee hath
    Por. There are some shrewd contents in yond same
    That steales the colour from Bassianos cheeke,
    1600Some deere friend dead, else nothing in the world
    Could turne so much the constitution
    Of any constant man. What, worse and worse?
    With leaue Bassanio I am halfe your selfe,
    And I must freely haue the halfe of any thing
    1605That this same paper brings you.
    Bass. O sweet Portia,
    Heere are a few of the vnpleasant'st words
    That euer blotted paper. Gentle Ladie
    When I did first impart my loue to you,
    1610I freely told you all the wealth I had
    Ran in my vaines: I was a Gentleman,
    And then I told you true: and yet deere Ladie,
    Rating my selfe at nothing, you shall see
    How much I was a Braggart, when I told you
    1615My state was nothing, I should then haue told you
    That I vvas worse then nothing: for indeede
    I haue ingag'd my selfe to a deere friend,
    Ingag'd my friend to his meere enemie
    To feede my meanes. Heere is a Letter Ladie,
    1620The paper as the bodie of my friend,
    And euerie word in it a gaping wound
    Issuing life blood. But is it true Salerio,