Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Janelle Jenstad
Not Peer Reviewed

The Merchant of Venice (Quarto 1, 1600)

the Merchant of Venice.
Builds in the weather on the outward wall,
1095Euen in the force and rode of casualty.
I will not choose what many men desire,
Because I will not iumpe with common spirits,
And ranke me with the barbarous multitudes.
Why then to thee thou siluer treasure house,
1100Tell me once more what title thou doost beare;
Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserues,
And well sayde to; for who shall goe about
To cosen Fortune, and be honourable
without the stampe of merrit, let none presume
1105To weare an vndeserued dignity:
O that estates, degrees, and offices,
were not deriu'd corruptly, and that cleare honour
were purchast by the merrit of the wearer,
How many then should couer that stand bare?
1110How many be commaunded that commaund?
How much low peasantry would then be gleaned
From the true seede of honour? and how much honour
Pickt from the chaft and ruin of the times,
To be new varnist; well but to my choise.
1115Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserues,
I will assume desert; giue me a key for this,
And instantly vnlocke my fortunes heere.
Portia. Too long a pause for that which you finde there.
Arrag. What's heere, the pourtrait of a blinking idiot
1120Presenting me a shedule, I will reade it:
How much vnlike art thou to Portia?
How much vnlike my hopes and my deseruings.
Who chooseth me, shall haue as much as he deserues?
Did I deserue no more then a fooles head,
1125Is that my prize, are my deserts no better?
Portia. To offend and iudge are distinct offices,
And of opposed natures.
Arrag. What is heere?
The fier seauen times tried this,
1130Seauen times tried that iudement is,
E. That