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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    178The Merchant of Venice.
    1880How dost thou like the Lord Bassiano's wife?
    Iessi. Past all expressing, it is very meete
    The Lord Bassanio liue an vpright life
    For hauing such a blessing in his Lady,
    He findes the ioyes of heauen heere on earth,
    1885And if on earth he doe not meane it, it
    Is reason he should neuer come to heauen?
    Why, if two gods should play some heauenly match,
    And on the wager lay two earthly women,
    And Portia one: there must be something else
    1890Paund with the other, for the poore rude world
    Hath not her fellow.
    Loren. Euen such a husband
    Hast thou of me, as she is for a wife.
    Ies. Nay, but aske my opinion to of that?
    1895Lor. I will anone, first let vs goe to dinner?
    Ies. Nay, let me praise you while I haue a stomacke?
    Lor. No pray thee, let it serue for table talke,
    Then how som ere thou speakst 'mong other things,
    I shall digest it?
    1900Iessi. Well, Ile set you forth. Exeunt.

    Actus Quartus.

    Enter the Duke, the Magnificoes, Anthonio, Bassanio, and

    Duke. What, is Anthonio heere?
    1905Ant. Ready, so please your grace?
    Duke. I am sorry for thee, thou art come to answere
    A stonie aduersary, an inhumane wretch,
    Vncapable of pitty, voyd, and empty
    From any dram of mercie.
    1910Ant. I haue heard
    Your Grace hath tane great paines to qualifie
    His rigorous course: but since he stands obdurate,
    And that no lawful meanes can carrie me
    Out of his enuies reach, I do oppose
    1915My patience to his fury, and am arm'd
    To suffer with a quietnesse of spirit,
    The very tiranny and rage of his.
    Du. Go one and cal the Iew into the Court.
    Sal. He is ready at the doore, he comes my Lord.

    1920Enter Shylocke.
    Du. Make roome, and let him stand before our face.
    Shylocke the world thinkes, and I thinke so to
    That thou but leadest this fashion of thy mallice
    To the last houre of act, and then 'tis thought
    1925Thou'lt shew thy mercy and remorse more strange,
    Than is thy strange apparant cruelty;
    And where thou now exact'st the penalty,
    Which is a pound of this poore Merchants flesh,
    Thou wilt not onely loose the forfeiture,
    1930But touch'd with humane gentlenesse and loue:
    Forgiue a moytie of the principall,
    Glancing an eye of pitty on his losses
    That haue of late so hudled on his backe,
    Enow to presse a royall Merchant downe;
    1935And plucke commiseration of his state
    From brassie bosomes, and rough hearts of flints,
    From stubborne Turkes and Tarters neuer traind
    To offices of tender curtesie,
    We all expect a gentle answer Iew?
    1940Iew. I haue possest your grace of what I purpose,
    And by our holy Sabbath haue I sworne
    To haue the due and forfeit of my bond.
    If you denie it, let the danger light
    Vpon your Charter, and your Cities freedome.
    1945You'l aske me why I rather choose to haue
    A weight of carrion flesh, then to receiue
    Three thousand Ducats? Ile not answer that:
    But say it is my humor; Is it answered?
    What if my house be troubled with a Rat,
    1950And I be pleas'd to giue ten thousand Ducates
    To haue it bain'd? What, are you answer'd yet?
    Some men there are loue not a gaping Pigge:
    Some that are mad, if they behold a Cat:
    And others, when the bag-pipe sings i'th nose,
    1955Cannot containe their Vrine for affection.
    Masters of passion swayes it to the moode
    Of what it likes or loaths, now for your answer:
    As there is no firme reason to be rendred
    Why he cannot abide a gaping Pigge?
    1960Why he a harmlesse necessarie Cat?
    Why he a woollen bag-pipe: but of force
    Must yeeld to such ineuitable shame,
    As to offend himselfe being offended:
    So can I giue no reason, nor I will not,
    1965More then a lodg'd hate, and a certaine loathing
    I beare Anthonio, that I follow thus
    A loosing suite against him? Are you answered?
    Bass. This is no answer thou vnfeeling man,
    To excuse the currant of thy cruelty.
    1970Iew. I am not bound to please thee with my answer.
    Bass. Do all men kil the things they do not loue?
    Iew. Hates any man the thing he would not kill?
    Bass. Euerie offence is not a hate at first.
    Iew. What wouldst thou haue a Serpent sting thee
    Ant. I pray you thinke you question with the Iew:
    You may as well go stand vpon the beach,
    And bid the maine flood baite his vsuall height,
    Or euen as well vse question with the Wolfe,
    1980The Ewe bleate for the Lambe:
    You may as well forbid the Mountaine Pines
    To wagge their high tops, and to make no noise
    When they are fretted with the gusts of heauen:
    You may as well do any thing most hard,
    1985As seeke to soften that, then which what harder?
    His Iewish heart. Therefore I do beseech you
    Make no more offers, vse no farther meanes,
    But with all briefe and plaine conueniencie
    Let me haue iudgement, and the Iew his will.
    1990Bas. For thy three thousand Ducates heere is six.
    Iew. If euerie Ducat in sixe thousand Ducates
    Were in sixe parts, and euery part a Ducate,
    I would not draw them, I would haue my bond?
    Du. How shalt thou hope for mercie, rendring none?
    1995Iew. What iudgement shall I dread doing no wrong?
    You haue among you many a purchast slaue,
    Which like your Asses, and your Dogs and Mules,
    You vse in abiect and in slauish parts,
    Because you bought them. Shall I say to you,
    2000Let them be free, marrie them to your heires?
    Why sweate they vnder burthens? Let their beds
    Be made as soft as yours: and let their pallats
    Be season'd with such Viands: you will answer