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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    Not Peer Reviewed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. 167
    Bass. You shall not seale to such a bond for me,
    Ile rather dwell in my necessitie.
    485Ant. Why feare not man, I will not forfaite it,
    Within these two months, that's a month before
    This bond expires, I doe expect returne
    Of thrice three times the valew of this bond.
    Shy. O father Abram, what these Christians are,
    490Whose owne hard dealings teaches them suspect
    The thoughts of others: Praie you tell me this,
    If he should breake his daie, what should I gaine
    By the exaction of the forfeiture?
    A pound of mans flesh taken from a man,
    495Is not so estimable, profitable neither
    As flesh of Muttons, Beefes, or Goates, I say
    To buy his fauour, I extend this friendship,
    If he will take it, so: if not adiew,
    And for my loue I praie you wrong me not.
    500Ant. Yes Shylocke, I will seale vnto this bond.
    Shy. Then meete me forthwith at the Notaries,
    Giue him direction for this merrie bond,
    And I will goe and purse the ducats straite.
    See to my house left in the fearefull gard
    505Of an vnthriftie knaue: and presentlie
    Ile be with you. Exit.
    Ant. Hie thee gentle Iew. This Hebrew will turne
    Christian, he growes kinde.
    Bass. I like not faire teames, and a villaines minde.
    510Ant. Come on, in this there can be no dismaie,
    My Shippes come home a month before the daie.

    Actus Secundus.

    Enter Morochus a tawnie Moore all in white, and three or
    515foure followers accordingly, with Portia,
    Nerrissa, and their traine.
    Flo. Cornets.

    Mor. Mislike me not for my complexion,
    The shadowed liuerie of the burnisht sunne,
    520To whom I am a neighbour, and neere bred.
    Bring me the fairest creature North-ward borne,
    Where Phoebus fire scarce thawes the ysicles,
    And let vs make incision for your loue,
    To proue whose blood is reddest, his or mine.
    525I tell thee Ladie this aspect of mine
    Hath feard the valiant, (by my loue I sweare)
    The best regarded Virgins of our Clyme
    Haue lou'd it to: I would not change this hue,
    Except to steale your thoughts my gentle Queene.
    530Por. In tearmes of choise I am not solie led
    By nice direction of a maidens eies:
    Besides, the lottrie of my destenie
    Bars me the right of voluntarie choosing:
    But if my Father had not scanted me,
    535And hedg'd me by his wit to yeelde my selfe
    His wife, who wins me by that meanes I told you,
    Your selfe (renowned Prince) than stood as faire
    As any commer I haue look'd on yet
    For my affection.
    540Mor. Euen for that I thanke you,
    Therefore I pray you leade me to the Caskets
    To trie my fortune: By this Symitare
    That slew the Sophie, and a Persian Prince
    That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,
    545I would ore-stare the sternest eies that looke:
    Out-braue the heart most daring on the earth:
    Plucke the yong sucking Cubs from the she Beare,
    Yea, mocke the Lion when he rores for pray
    To win the Ladie. But alas, the while
    550If Hercules and Lychas plaie at dice
    Which is the better man, the greater throw
    May turne by fortune from the weaker hand:
    So is Alcides beaten by his rage,
    And so may I, blinde fortune leading me
    555Misse that which one vnworthier may attaine,
    And die with grieuing.
    Port. You must take your chance,
    And either not attempt to choose at all,
    Or sweare before you choose, if you choose wrong
    560Neuer to speake to Ladie afterward
    In way of marriage, therefore be aduis'd.
    Mor. Nor will not, come bring me vnto my chance.
    Por. First forward to the temple, after dinner
    Your hazard shall be made.
    565Mor. Good fortune then, Cornets.
    To make me blest or cursed'st among men. Exeunt.

    Enter the Clowne alone .

    Clo. Certainely, my conscience will serue me to run
    from this Iew my Maister: the fiend is at mine elbow,
    570and tempts me, saying to me, Iobbe, Launcelet Iobbe, good
    Launcelet, or good Iobbe, or good Launcelet Iobbe, vse
    your legs, take the start, run awaie: my conscience saies
    no; take heede honest Launcelet, take heed honest Iobbe,
    or as afore-said honest Launcelet Iobbe, doe not runne,
    575scorne running with thy heeles; well, the most coragi-
    ous fiend bids me packe, fia saies the fiend, away saies
    the fiend, for the heauens rouse vp a braue minde saies
    the fiend, and run; well, my conscience hanging about
    the necke of my heart, saies verie wisely to me: my ho-
    580nest friend Launcelet, being an honest mans sonne, or ra-
    ther an honest womans sonne, for indeede my Father did
    something smack, something grow too; he had a kinde of
    taste; wel, my conscience saies Lancelet bouge not, bouge
    saies the fiend, bouge not saies my conscience, conscience
    585say I you counsaile well, fiend say I you counsaile well,
    to be rul'd by my conscience I should stay with the Iew
    my Maister, (who God blesse the marke) is a kinde of di-
    uell; and to run away from the Iew I should be ruled by
    the fiend, who sauing your reuerence is the diuell him-
    590selfe: certainely the Iew is the verie diuell incarnation,
    and in my conscience, my conscience is a kinde of hard
    conscience, to offer to counsaile me to stay with the Iew;
    the fiend giues the more friendly counsaile: I will runne
    fiend, my heeles are at your commandement, I will

    Enter old Gobbo with a Basket.

    Gob. Maister yong-man, you I praie you, which is the
    waie to Maister Iewes?
    Lan. O heauens, this is my true begotten Father, who
    600being more then sand-blinde, high grauel blinde, knows
    me not, I will trie confusions with him.
    Gob. Maister yong Gentleman, I praie you which is
    the waie to Maister Iewes.
    Laun. Turne vpon your right hand at the next tur-