Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Janelle Jenstad
Not Peer Reviewed

The Merchant of Venice (Quarto 1, 1600)

The comicall Historie of
but none can driue him from the enuious plea
of forfaiture, of iustice, and his bond.
1575Iessi. When I was with him, I haue heard him sweare
to Tuball and to Chus, his country-men,
that he would rather haue Anthonios flesh
then twentie times the value of the summe
that he did owe him: and I know my lord,
1580if law, authoritie, and power denie not,
it will goe hard with poore Anthonio.
Por. Is it your deere friend that is thus in trouble?
Bass. The deerest friend to me, the kindest man,
the best conditiond and vnwearied spirit
1585in dooing curtesies: and one in whom
the auncient Romaine honour more appeares
then any that drawes breath in Italie.
Por. What summe owes he the Iew?
Bass. For me three thousand ducats.
1590Por. What no more, pay him six thousand, & deface the bond:
double sixe thousand, and then treble that,
before a friend of this discription
shall lose a haire through Bassanios fault.
First goe with me to Church, and call me wife,
1595and then away to Venice to your friend:
for neuer shall you lie by Portias side
with an vnquiet soule. You shall haue gold
to pay the petty debt twenty times ouer.
When it is payd, bring your true friend along,
1600my mayd Nerrissa, and my selfe meane time
will liue as maydes and widdowes; come away,
for you shall hence vpon your wedding day:
bid your freends welcome, show a merry cheere,
since you are deere bought, I will loue you deere.
1605But let me heare the letter of your friend.

Sweet Bassanio, my ships haue all miscaried, my Creditors growe
cruell, my estate is very low, my bond to the Iewe is forfaite, and since in
paying it, it is impossible I should liue, all debts are cleerd betweene you