Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Janelle Jenstad
Not Peer Reviewed

The Merchant of Venice (Quarto 1, 1600)

the Merchant of Venice.
365An. Shylocke, albeit I neither lend nor borrow
By taking nor by giuing of excesse,
Yet to supply the ripe wants of my friend,
Ile breake a custome: is hee yet possest
How much ye would?
370Shy.JI, I, three thousand ducats.
Ant. And for three months.
Shyl. I had forgot, three months, you told me so.
Well then, your bond: and let me see, but heare you,
Me thoughts you said, you neither lend nor borrow
375Vpon aduantage.
Ant. I doe neuer vse it.
Shy. When Iacob grazd his Vncle Labans Sheepe,
This Iacob from our holy Abram was
(As his wise mother wrought in his behalfe)
380The third possesser; I, he was the third.
Ant. And what of him, did he take interrest?
Shyl. No, not take interest, not as you would say
Directly intrest, marke what Iacob did,
When Laban and himselfe were compremyzd
385That all the eanelings which were streakt and pied
Should fall as Iacobs hier, the Ewes being ranck
In end of Autume turned to the Rammes,
And when the worke of generation was
Betweene these wolly breeders in the act,
390The skilful sheepheard pyld me certaine wands,
And in the dooing of the deede of kind
He stuck them vp before the fulsome Ewes,
Who then conceauing, did in eaning time
Fall party-colourd lambs, and those were Iacobs.
395This was a way to thriue, and he was blest:
And thrift is blessing if men steale it not.
An. This was a venture sir that Iacob serud for,
A thing not in his power to bring to passe,
But swayd and fashiond by the hand of heauen.
400Was this inserted to make interrest good?
Or is your gold and siluer ewes and rammes?
B3. Shy.