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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    184The Merchant of Venice.
    Por. Let not that Doctor ere come neere my house,
    Since he hath got the iewell that I loued,
    And that which you did sweare to keepe for me,
    2650I will become as liberall as you,
    Ile not deny him any thing I haue,
    No, not my body, nor my husbands bed:
    Know him I shall, I am well sure of it.
    Lie not a night from home. Watch me like Argos,
    2655If you doe not, if I be left alone,
    Now by mine honour which is yet mine owne,
    Ile haue the Doctor for my bedfellow.
    Nerrissa. And I his Clarke: therefore be well aduis'd
    How you doe leaue me to mine owne protection.
    2660Gra. Well, doe you so: let not me take him then,
    For if I doe, ile mar the yong Clarks pen.
    Ant. I am th' vnhappy subiect of these quarrels.
    Por. Sir, grieue not you,
    You are welcome notwithstanding.
    2665Bas. Portia, forgiue me this enforced wrong,
    And in the hearing of these manie friends
    I sweare to thee, euen by thine owne faire eyes
    Wherein I see my selfe.
    Por. Marke you but that?
    2670In both my eyes he doubly sees himselfe:
    In each eye one, sweare by your double selfe,
    And there's an oath of credit.
    Bas. Nay, but heare me.
    Pardon this fault, and by my soule I sweare
    2675I neuer more will breake an oath with thee.
    Anth. I once did lend my bodie for thy wealth,
    Which but for him that had your husbands ring
    Had quite miscarried. I dare be bound againe,
    My soule vpon the forfeit, that your Lord
    2680Will neuer more breake faith aduisedlie.
    Por. Then you shall be his suretie: giue him this,
    And bid him keepe it better then the other.
    Ant. Heere Lord Bassanio, swear to keep this ring.
    Bass. By heauen it is the same I gaue the Doctor.
    2685Por. I had it of him: pardon Bassanio,
    For by this ring the Doctor lay with me.
    Ner. And pardon me my gentle Gratiano,
    For that same scrubbed boy the Doctors Clarke
    In liew of this, last night did lye with me.
    2690Gra. Why this is like the mending of high waies
    In Sommer, where the waies are faire enough:
    What, are we Cuckolds ere we haue deseru'd it.
    Por. Speake not so grossely, you are all amaz'd;
    Heere is a letter, reade it at your leysure,
    2695It comes from Padua from Bellario,
    There you shall finde that Portia was the Doctor,
    Nerrissa there her Clarke. Lorenzo heere
    Shall witnesse I set forth as soone as you,
    And but eu'n now return'd: I haue not yet
    2700Entred my house. Anthonio you are welcome,
    And I haue better newes in store for you
    Then you expect: vnseale this letter soone,
    There you shall finde three of your Argosies
    Are richly come to harbour sodainlie.
    2705You shall not know by what strange accident
    I chanced on this letter.
    Antho. I am dumbe.
    Bass. Were you the Doctor, and I knew you not?
    Gra. Were you the Clark that is to make me cuckold.
    2710Ner. I, but the Clark that neuer meanes to doe it,
    Vnlesse he liue vntill he be a man.
    Bass. (Sweet Doctor) you shall be my bedfellow,
    When I am absent, then lie with my wife.
    An. (Sweet Ladie) you haue giuen me life & liuing;
    2715For heere I reade for certaine that my ships
    Are safelie come to Rode.
    Por. How now Lorenzo?
    My Clarke hath some good comforts to for you.
    Ner. I, and Ile giue them him without a fee.
    2720There doe I giue to you and Iessica
    From the rich Iewe, a speciall deed of gift
    After his death, of all he dies possess'd of.
    Loren. Faire Ladies you drop Manna in the way
    Of starued people.
    2725Por. It is almost morning,
    And yet I am sure you are not satisfied
    Of these euents at full. Let vs goe in,
    And charge vs there vpon intergatories,
    And we will answer all things faithfully.
    2730Gra. Let it be so, the first intergatory
    That my Nerrissa shall be sworne on, is,
    Whether till the next night she had rather stay,
    Or goe to bed, now being two houres to day,
    But were the day come, I should wish it darke,
    2735Till I were couching with the Doctors Clarke.
    Well, while I liue, Ile feare no other thing
    So sore, as keeping safe Nerrissas ring.