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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.

    1Actus primus.

    Enter Anthonio, Salarino, and Salanio.

    IN sooth I know not why I am so sad,
    5It wearies me: you say it wearies you;
    But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
    What stuffe 'tis made of, whereof it is borne,
    I am to learne: and such a Want-wit sadnesse makes of
    10That I haue much ado to know my selfe.
    Sal. Your minde is tossing on the Ocean,
    There where your Argosies with portly saile
    Like Signiors and rich Burgers on the flood,
    Or as it were the Pageants of the sea,
    15Do ouer-peere the pettie Traffiquers
    That curtsie to them, do them reuerence
    As they flye by them with their wouen wings.
    Salar. Beleeue me sir, had I such venture forth,
    The better part of my affections, would
    20Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still
    Plucking the grasse to know where sits the winde,
    Peering in Maps for ports, and peers, and rodes:
    And euery obiect that might make me feare
    Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt
    25Would make me sad.
    Sal. My winde cooling my broth,
    Would blow me to an Ague, when I thought
    What harme a winde too great might doe at sea.
    I should not see the sandie houre-glasse runne,
    30But I should thinke of shallows, and of flats,
    And see my wealthy Andrew docks in sand,
    Vailing her high top lower then her ribs
    To kisse her buriall; should I goe to Church
    And see the holy edifice of stone,
    35And not bethinke me straight of dangerous rocks,
    Which touching but my gentle Vessels side
    Would scatter all her spices on the streame,
    Enrobe the roring waters with my silkes,
    And in a word, but euen now worth this,
    40And now worth nothing. Shall I haue the thought
    To thinke on this, and shall I lacke the thought
    That such a thing bechaunc'd would make me sad?
    But tell not me, I know Anthonio
    Is sad to thinke vpon his merchandize.
    45Anth. Beleeue me no, I thanke my fortune for it,
    My ventures are not in one bottome trusted,
    Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate
    Vpon the fortune of this present yeere:
    Therefore my merchandize makes me not sad.
    50Sola. Why then you are in loue.
    Anth. Fie, fie.
    Sola. Not in loue neither: then let vs say you are sad
    Because you are not merry; and 'twere as easie
    For you to laugh and leape, and say you are merry
    55Because you are not sad. Now by two-headed Ianus,
    Nature hath fram'd strange fellowes in her time:
    Some that will euermore peepe through their eyes,
    And laugh like Parrats at a bag-piper.
    And other of such vineger aspect,
    60That they'll not shew their teeth in way of smile,
    Though Nestor sweare the iest be laughable.

    Enter Bassanio, Lorenso, and Gratiano.
    Sola. Heere comes Bassanio,
    Your most noble Kinsman,
    65Gratiano, and Lorenso. Faryewell,
    We leaue you now with better company.
    Sala. I would haue staid till I had made you merry,
    If worthier friends had not preuented me.
    Ant. Your worth is very deere in my regard.
    70I take it your owne busines calls on you,
    And you embrace th' occasion to depart.
    Sal. Good morrow my good Lords.
    Bass. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? say,(when?
    You grow exceeding strange: must it be so?
    75Sal. Wee'll make our leysures to attend on yours.
    Exeunt Salarino, and Solanio.
    Lor. My Lord Bassanio, since you haue found Anthonio
    We two will leaue you, but at dinner time
    I pray you haue in minde where we must meete.
    80Bass. I will not faile you.
    Grat. You looke not well signior Anthonio,
    You haue too much respect vpon the world:
    They loose it that doe buy it with much care,
    Beleeue me you are maruellously chang'd.
    85Ant. I hold the world but as the world Gratiano,
    A stage, where euery man must play a part,
    And mine a sad one.
    Grati. Let me play the foole,
    With mirth and laughter let old wrinckles come,
    90And let my Liuer rather heate with wine,
    Then my heart coole with mortifying grones.
    Why should a man whose bloud is warme within,
    Sit like his Grandsire, cut in Alablaster?
    Sleepe when he wakes? and creep into the Iaundies