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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Clowne and Iessica.
    Clown. Yes truly; for looke you, the sinnes of the Fa-
    1815ther are to be laid vpon the children, therefore I promise
    you, I feare you, I was alwaies plaine with you, and so
    now I speake my agitation of the matter: therfore be of
    good cheere, for truly I thinke you are damn'd, there is
    but one hope in it that can doe you anie good, and that is
    1820but a kinde of bastard hope neither.
    Iessica. And what hope is that I pray thee?
    Clow. Marrie you may partlie hope that your father
    got you not, that you are not the Iewes daughter.
    Ies. That were a kinde of bastard hope indeed, so the
    1825sins of my mother should be visited vpon me.
    Clow. Truly then I feare you are damned both by fa-
    ther and mother: thus when I shun Scilla your father, I
    fall into Charibdis your mother; well, you are gone both
    1830Ies. I shall be sau'd by my husband, he hath made me
    a Christian.
    Clow. Truly the more to blame he, we were Christi-
    ans enow before, e'ne as many as could wel liue one by a-
    nother: this making of Christians will raise the price of
    1835Hogs, if wee grow all to be porke-eaters, wee shall not
    shortlie haue a rasher on the coales for money.
    Enter Lorenzo.
    Ies. Ile tell my husband Lancelet what you say, heere
    he comes.
    1840Loren. I shall grow iealous of you shortly Lancelet,
    if you thus get my wife into corners?
    Ies. Nay, you need not feare vs Lorenzo, Launcelet
    and I are out, he tells me flatly there is no mercy for mee
    in heauen, because I am a Iewes daughter: and hee saies
    1845you are no good member of the common wealth, for
    in conuerting Iewes to Christians, you raise the price
    of Porke.
    Loren. I shall answere that better to the Common-
    wealth, than you can the getting vp of the Negroes bel-
    1850lie: the Moore is with childe by you Launcelet?
    Clow. It is much that the Moore should be more then
    reason: but if she be lesse then an honest woman, shee is
    indeed more then I tooke her for.
    Loren. How euerie foole can play vpon the word, I
    1855thinke the best grace of witte will shortly turne into si-
    lence, and discourse grow commendable in none onely
    but Parrats: goe in sirra, bid them prepare for dinner?
    Clow. That is done sir, they haue all stomacks?
    Loren. Goodly Lord, what a witte-snapper are you,
    1860then bid them prepare dinner.
    Clow. That is done to sir, onely couer is the word.
    Loren. Will you couer than sir?
    Clow. Not so sir neither, I know my dutie.
    Loren. Yet more quarrellng with occasion, wilt thou
    1865shew the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant; I pray
    thee vnderstand a plaine man in his plaine meaning: goe
    to thy fellowes, bid them couer the table, serue in the
    meat, and we will come in to dinner.
    Clow. For the table sir, it shall be seru'd in, for the
    1870meat sir, it shall bee couered, for your comming in to
    dinner sir, why let it be as humors and conceits shall go-
    uerne. Exit Clowne.
    Lor. O deare discretion, how his words are suted,
    The foole hath planted in his memory
    1875An Armie of good words, and I doe know
    A many fooles that stand in better place,
    Garnisht like him, that for a tricksie word
    Defie the matter: how cheer'st thou Iessica,
    And now good sweet say thy opinion,
    178The Merchant of Venice.
    1880How dost thou like the Lord Bassiano's wife?
    Iessi. Past all expressing, it is very meete
    The Lord Bassanio liue an vpright life
    For hauing such a blessing in his Lady,
    He findes the ioyes of heauen heere on earth,
    1885And if on earth he doe not meane it, it
    Is reason he should neuer come to heauen?
    Why, if two gods should play some heauenly match,
    And on the wager lay two earthly women,
    And Portia one: there must be something else
    1890Paund with the other, for the poore rude world
    Hath not her fellow.
    Loren. Euen such a husband
    Hast thou of me, as she is for a wife.
    Ies. Nay, but aske my opinion to of that?
    1895Lor. I will anone, first let vs goe to dinner?
    Ies. Nay, let me praise you while I haue a stomacke?
    Lor. No pray thee, let it serue for table talke,
    Then how som ere thou speakst 'mong other things,
    I shall digest it?
    1900Iessi. Well, Ile set you forth. Exeunt.