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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    Not Peer Reviewed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. 181
    Por. Tarry Iew,
    2265The Law hath yet another hold on you.
    It is enacted in the Lawes of Venice,
    If it be proued against an Alien,
    That by direct, or indirect attempts
    He seeke the life of any Citizen,
    2270The party gainst the which he doth contriue,
    Shall seaze one halfe his goods, the other halfe
    Comes to the priuie coffer of the State,
    And the offenders life lies in the mercy
    Of the Duke onely, gainst all other voice.
    2275In which predicament I say thou standst:
    For it appeares by manifest proceeding,
    That indirectly, and directly to,
    Thou hast contriu'd against the very life
    Of the defendant: and thou hast incur'd
    2280The danger formerly by me rehearst.
    Downe therefore, and beg mercy of the Duke.
    Gra. Beg that thou maist haue leaue to hang thy selfe,
    And yet thy wealth being forfeit to the state,
    Thou hast not left the value of a cord,
    2285Therefore thou must be hang'd at the states charge.
    Duk. That thou shalt see the difference of our spirit,
    I pardon thee thy life before thou aske it:
    For halfe thy wealth, it is Anthonio's,
    The other halfe comes to the generall state,
    2290Which humblenesse may driue vnto a fine.
    Por. I for the state, not for Anthonio.
    Shy. Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that,
    You take my house, when you do take the prop
    That doth sustaine my house: you take my life
    2295When you doe take the meanes whereby I liue.
    Por. What mercy can you render him Anthonio?
    Gra. A halter gratis, nothing else for Gods sake.
    Ant. So please my Lord the Duke, and all the Court
    To quit the fine for one halfe of his goods,
    2300I am content: so he will let me haue
    The other halfe in vse, to render it
    Vpon his death, vnto the Gentleman
    That lately stole his daughter.
    Two things prouided more, that for this fauour
    2305He presently become a Christian:
    The other, that he doe record a gift
    Heere in the Court of all he dies possest
    Vnto his sonne Lorenzo, and his daughter.
    Duk. He shall doe this, or else I doe recant
    2310The pardon that I late pronounced heere.
    Por. Art thou contented Iew? what dost thou say?
    Shy. I am content.
    Por. Clarke, draw a deed of gift.
    Shy. I pray you giue me leaue to goe from hence,
    2315I am not well, send the deed after me,
    And I will signe it.
    Duke. Get thee gone, but doe it.
    Gra. In christning thou shalt haue two godfathers,
    Had I been iudge, thou shouldst haue had ten more,
    2320To bring thee to the gallowes, not to the font. Exit.
    Du. Sir I intreat you with me home to dinner.
    Por. I humbly doe desire your Grace of pardon,
    I must away this night toward Padua,
    And it is meete I presently set forth.
    2325Duk. I am sorry that your leysure serues you not:
    Anthonio, gratifie this gentleman,
    For in my minde you are much bound to him.
    Exit Duke and his traine.
    Bass. Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend
    2330Haue by your wisedome beene this day acquitted
    Of greeuous penalties, in lieu whereof,
    Three thousand Ducats due vnto the Iew
    We freely cope your curteous paines withall.
    An. And stand indebted ouer and aboue
    2335In loue and seruice to you euermore.
    Por. He is well paid that is well satisfied,
    And I deliuering you, am satisfied,
    And therein doe account my selfe well paid,
    My minde was neuer yet more mercinarie.
    2340I pray you know me when we meete againe,
    I wish you well, and so I take my leaue.
    Bass. Deare sir, of force I must attempt you further,
    Take some remembrance of vs as a tribute,
    Not as fee: grant me two things, I pray you
    2345Not to denie me, and to pardon me.
    Por. You presse mee farre, and therefore I will yeeld,
    Giue me your gloues, Ile weare them for your sake,
    And for your loue Ile take this ring from you,
    Doe not draw backe your hand, ile take no more,
    2350And you in loue shall not deny me this?
    Bass. This ring good sir, alas it is a trifle,
    I will not shame my selfe to giue you this.
    Por. I wil haue nothing else but onely this,
    And now methinkes I haue a minde to it.
    2355Bas. There's more depends on this then on the valew,
    The dearest ring in Venice will I giue you,
    And finde it out by proclamation,
    Onely for this I pray you pardon me.
    Por. I see sir you are liberall in offers,
    2360You taught me first to beg, and now me thinkes
    You teach me how a beggar should be answer'd.
    Bas. Good sir, this ring was giuen me by my wife,
    And when she put it on, she made me vow
    That I should neither sell, nor giue, nor lose it.
    2365Por. That scuse serues many men to saue their gifts,
    And if your wife be not a mad woman,
    And know how well I haue deseru'd this ring,
    Shee would not hold out enemy for euer
    For giuing it to me: well, peace be with you. Exeunt.
    2370Ant. My L. Bassanio, let him haue the ring,
    Let his deseruings and my loue withall
    Be valued against your wiues commandement.
    Bass. Goe Gratiano, run and ouer-take him,
    Giue him the ring, and bring him if thou canst
    2375Vnto Anthonios house, away, make haste. Exit Grati.
    Come, you and I will thither presently,
    And in the morning early will we both
    Flie toward Belmont, come Anthonio. Exeunt.

    Enter Portia and Nerrissa.

    2380Por. Enquire the Iewes house out, giue him this deed,
    And let him signe it, wee'll away to night,
    And be a day before our husbands home:
    This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo.
    Enter Gratiano.
    2385Gra. Faire sir, you are well ore-tane:
    My L. Bassanio vpon more aduice,
    Hath sent you heere this ring, and doth intreat
    Your company at dinner.
    Por. That cannot be;
    2390His ring I doe accept most thankfully,
    And so I pray you tell him: furthermore,
    I pray you shew my youth old Shylockes house.
    Gra. That will I doe.
    Ner. Sir, I would speake with you:
    Q Ile