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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    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-
    168The Merchant of Venice.
    605ning, but at the next turning of all on your left; marrie
    at the verie next turning, turne of no hand, but turn down
    indirectlie to the Iewes house.
    Gob. Be Gods sonties 'twill be a hard waie to hit, can
    you tell me whether one Launcelet that dwels with him,
    610dwell with him or no.
    Laun. Talke you of yong Master Launcelet, marke
    me now, now will I raise the waters; talke you of yong
    Maister Launcelet?
    Gob. No Maister sir, but a poore mans sonne, his Fa-
    615ther though I say't is an honest exceeding poore man,
    and God be thanked well to liue.
    Lan. Well, let his Father be what a will, wee talke of
    yong Maister Launcelet.
    Gob. Your worships friend and Launcelet.
    620Laun. But I praie you ergo old man, ergo I beseech you,
    talke you of yong Maister Launcelet.
    Gob. Of Launcelet, ant please your maistership.
    Lan. Ergo Maister Lancelet, talke not of maister Lance-
    let Father, for the yong gentleman according to fates and
    625destinies, and such odde sayings, the sisters three, & such
    branches of learning, is indeede deceased, or as you
    would say in plaine tearmes, gone to heauen.
    Gob. Marrie God forbid, the boy was the verie staffe
    of my age, my verie prop.
    630Lau. Do I look like a cudgell or a houell-post, a staffe
    or a prop: doe you know me Father.
    Gob. Alacke the day, I know you not yong Gentle-
    man, but I praie you tell me, is my boy God rest his soule
    aliue or dead.
    635Lan. Doe you not know me Father.
    Gob. Alacke sir I am sand blinde, I know you not.
    Lan. Nay, indeede if you had your eies you might
    faile of the knowing me: it is a wise Father that knowes
    his owne childe. Well, old man, I will tell you newes of
    640your son, giue me your blessing, truth will come to light,
    murder cannot be hid long, a mans sonne may, but in the
    end truth will out.
    Gob. Praie you sir stand vp, I am sure you are not
    Lancelet my boy.
    645Lan. Praie you let's haue no more fooling about
    it, but giue mee your blessing: I am Lancelet your
    boy that was, your sonne that is, your childe that
    shall be.
    Gob. I cannot thinke you are my sonne.
    650Lan. I know not what I shall thinke of that: but I am
    Lancelet the Iewes man, and I am sure Margerie your wife
    is my mother.
    Gob. Her name is Margerie indeede, Ile be sworne if
    thou be Lancelet, thou art mine owne flesh and blood:
    655Lord worshipt might he be, what a beard hast thou got;
    thou hast got more haire on thy chin, then Dobbin my
    philhorse has on his taile.
    Lan. It should seeme then that Dobbins taile
    growes backeward. I am sure he had more haire of his
    660taile then I haue of my face when I lost saw him.
    Gob. Lord how art thou chang'd: how doost thou
    and thy Master agree, I haue brought him a present; how
    gree you now?
    Lan. Well, well, but for mine owne part, as I haue set
    665vp my rest to run awaie, so I will not rest till I haue run
    some ground; my Maister's a verie Iew, giue him a pres-
    ent, giue him a halter, I am famisht in his seruice. You
    may tell euerie finger I haue with my ribs: Father I am
    glad you are come, giue me your present to one Maister
    670Bassanio, who indeede giues rare new Liuories, if I serue
    not him, I will run as far as God has anie ground. O rare
    fortune, here comes the man, to him Father, for I am a
    Iew if I serue the Iew anie longer.
    Enter Bassanio with a follower or two.
    675Bass. You may doe so, but let it be so hasted that
    supper be readie at the farthest by fiue of the clocke:
    see these Letters deliuered, put the Liueries to mak-
    ing, and desire Gratiano to come anone to my lodg-
    680Lan. To him Father.
    Gob. God blesse your worship.
    Bass. Gramercie, would'st thou ought with me.
    Gob. Here's my sonne sir, a poore boy.
    Lan. Not a poore boy sir, but the rich Iewes man that
    685would sir as my Father shall specifie.
    Gob. He hath a great infection sir, as one would say
    to serue.
    Lan. Indeede the short and the long is, I serue the
    Iew, and haue a desire as my Father shall specifie.
    690Gob. His Maister and he (sauing your worships reue-
    rence) are scarce catercosins.
    Lan. To be briefe, the verie truth is, that the Iew
    hauing done me wrong, doth cause me as my Father be-
    ing I hope an old man shall frutifie vnto you.
    695Gob. I haue here a dish of Doues that I would bestow
    vpon your worship, and my suite is.
    Lan. In verie briefe, the suite is impertinent to my
    selfe, as your worship shall know by this honest old man,
    and though I say it, though old man, yet poore man my
    Bass. One speake for both, what would you?
    Lan. Serue you sir.
    Gob. That is the verie defect of the matter sir.
    Bass. I know thee well, thou hast obtain'd thy suite,
    705Shylocke thy Maister spoke with me this daie,
    And hath prefer'd thee, if it be preferment
    To leaue a rich Iewes seruice, to become
    The follower of so poore a Gentleman.
    Clo. The old prouerbe is verie well parted betweene
    710my Maister Shylocke and you sir, you haue the grace of
    God sir, and he hath enough.
    Bass. Thou speak'st it well; go Father with thy Son,
    Take leaue of thy old Maister, and enquire
    My lodging out, giue him a Liuerie
    715More garded then his fellowes: see it done.
    Clo. Father in, I cannot get a seruice, no, I haue nere
    a tongue in my head, well: if anie man in Italie haue a
    fairer table which doth offer to sweare vpon a booke, I
    shall haue good fortune; goe too, here's a simple line
    720of life, here's a small trifle of wiues, alas, fifteene wiues
    is nothing, a leuen widdowes and nine maides is a sim-
    ple comming in for one man, and then to scape drow-
    ning thrice, and to be in perill of my life with the edge
    of a featherbed, here are simple scapes: well, if Fortune
    725be a woman, she's a good wench for this gere: Father
    come, Ile take my leaue of the Iew in the twinkling.
    Exit Clowne.
    Bass. I praie thee good Leonardo thinke on this,
    These things being bought and orderly bestowed
    730Returne in haste, for I doe feast to night
    My best esteemd acquaintance, hie thee goe.
    Leon. My best endeuors shall be done herein. Exit Le.
    Enter Gratiano.
    Gra. Where's your Maister.
    Leon. Yonder
    The Merchant of Venice. 169
    735Leon. Yonder sir he walkes.
    Gra. Signior Bassanio.
    Bas. Gratiano.
    Gra. I haue a sute to you.
    Bass. You haue obtain'd it.
    740Gra. You must not denie me, I must goe with you to
    Bass. Why then you must: but heare thee Gratiano,
    Thou art to wilde, to rude, and bold of voyce,
    Parts that become thee happily enough,
    745And in such eyes as ours appeare not faults;
    But where they are not knowne, why there they show
    Something too liberall, pray thee take paine
    To allay with some cold drops of modestie
    Thy skipping spirit, least through thy wilde behauiour
    750I be misconsterd in the place I goe to,
    And loose my hopes.
    Gra. Signor Bassanio, heare me,
    If I doe not put on a sober habite,
    Talke with respect, and sweare but now and than,
    755Weare prayer bookes in my pocket, looke demurely,
    Nay more, while grace is saying hood mine eyes
    Thus with my hat, and sigh and say Amen:
    Vse all the obseruance of ciuillitie
    Like one well studied in a sad ostent
    760To please his Grandam, neuer trust me more.
    Bas. Well, we shall see your bearing.
    Gra. Nay but I barre to night, you shall not gage me
    By what we doe to night.
    Bas. No that were pittie,
    765I would intreate you rather to put on
    Your boldest suite of mirth, for we haue friends
    That purpose merriment: but far you well,
    I haue some businesse.
    Gra. And I must to Lorenso and the rest,
    770But we will visite you at supper time. Exeunt.