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  • Title: The Merchant of Venice (Quarto 1, 1600)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Quarto 1, 1600)

    The comicall Historie of
    255worth in the English: hee is a proper mans picture, but alas who
    can conuerse with a dumbe show? how odly hee is suted, I thinke
    he bought his doublet in Italie, his round hose in Fraunce, his bon-
    net in Germanie, and his behauiour euery where.
    Nerrissa. What thinke you of the Scottish Lorde his neigh-
    Portia. That hee hath a neyghbourlie charitie in him, for hee
    borrowed a boxe of the eare of the Englishman, and swore hee
    would pay him againe when he was able: I think the Frenchman
    became his suretie, and seald vnder for another.
    265Ner. How like you the young Germaine, the Duke of Saxo-
    nies nephew?
    Por. Very vildlie in the morning when hee is sober, and most
    vildly in the afternoone when he is drunke: when he is best, he is
    a little worse then a man, & when he is worst he is little better then
    270a beast, and the worst fall that euer fell, I hope I shall make shift
    to goe without him.
    Ner. Yf hee shoulde offer to choose, and choose the right Cas-
    ket, you should refuse to performe your Fathers will, if you should
    refuse to accept him.
    275Portia. Therefore for feare of the worst, I pray thee set a deepe
    glasse of Reynishe wine on the contrarie Casket, for if the deuill
    be within, and that temptation without, I knowe hee will choose
    it. I will doe any thing Nerrissa ere I will be married to a spunge.
    Nerrissa. You neede not feare Ladie the hauing anie of these
    280Lords, they haue acquainted me with theyr determinations, which
    is indeede to returne to theyr home, and to trouble you with no
    more sute, vnlesse you may be wonne by some other sort thē your
    Fathers imposition, depending on the Caskets.
    Por. Yf I liue to be as old as Sibilla, I will die as chast as Diana,
    285vnlesse I be obtained by the maner of my Fathers will: I am glad
    this parcell of wooers are so reasonable, for there is not one among
    them but I doate on his very absence: & I pray God graunt them
    a faire departure.
    Nerrissa. Doe you not remember Lady in your Fathers time, a
    290Venecian a Scholler & a Souldiour that came hether in companie
    of the Marquesse of Mountferrat?