Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Janelle Jenstad
Not Peer Reviewed

The Merchant of Venice (Quarto 1, 1600)

the Merchant of Venice.
of any constant man: what worse and worse?
With leaue Bassanio I am halfe your selfe,
and I must freely haue the halfe of any thing
that this same paper brings you.
1540Bass. O sweete Portia,
heere are a few of the vnpleasant'st words
that euer blotted paper. Gentle Lady
when I did first impart my loue to you,
I freely told you all the wealth I had
1545ranne in my vaines, I was a gentleman,
and then I told you true: and yet deere Lady
rating my selfe at nothing, you shall see
how much I was a Braggart, when I told you
my state was nothing, I should then haue told you
1550that I was worse then nothing; for indeede
I haue ingag'd my selfe to a deere friend,
ingag'd my friend to his meere enemie
to feede my meanes. Heere is a letter Lady,
the paper as the body of my friend,
1555and euery word in it a gaping wound
issuing life blood. But is it true Salerio
hath all his ventures faild, what not one hit,
from Tripolis, from Mexico and England,
from Lisbon, Barbary, and India,
1560and not one vessell scape the dreadfull touch
of Merchant-marring rocks?
Sal. Not one my Lord.
Besides, it should appeare, that if he had
the present money to discharge the Iew,
1565hee would not take it: neuer did I know
a creature that did beare the shape of man
so keene and greedie to confound a man.
He plyes the Duke at morning and at night,
and doth impeach the freedome of the state
1570if they deny him iustice. Twentie Merchants,
the Duke himselfe, and the Magnificoes
of greatest port haue all perswaded with him,
F3 but