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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Merchant of Venice.
    How little is the cost I haue bestowed
    1680in purchasing the semblance of my soule;
    From out the state of hellish cruelty,
    This comes too neere the praising of my selfe,
    Therefore no more of it: heere other things
    Lorenso I commit into your hands,
    1685The husbandry and mannage of my house,
    Vntill my Lords returne: for mine owne part
    I haue toward heauen breath'd a secret vowe,
    To liue in prayer and contemplation,
    Onely attended by Nerrissa heere,
    1690Vntill her husband and my Lords returne,
    There is a Monastry two miles off,
    And there we will abide. I doe desire you
    not to denie this imposition,
    the which my loue and some necessity
    1695now layes vpon you.
    Lorens. Madame, with all my hart,
    I shall obey you in all faire commaunds.
    Por. My people doe already know my mind,
    And will acknowledge you and Iessica
    1700in place of Lord Bassanio and my selfe.
    So far you well till we shall meete againe.
    Lor. Faire thoughts and happy houres attend on you.
    Iessi. I wish your Ladiship all harts content.
    Por. I thank you for your wish, and am well pleasd
    1705to wish it back on you: far you well Iessica. Exeunt.
    Now Balthaser, as I haue euer found thee honest true,
    So let me find thee still: take this same letter,
    and vse thou all th'indeuour of a man,
    In speede to Mantua, see thou render this
    1710into my cosin hands Doctor Belario,
    And looke what notes and garments he doth giue thee,
    bring them I pray thee with imagin'd speede
    vnto the Tranect, to the common Ferrie
    which trades to Venice; wast no time in words
    1715but get thee gone, I shall be there before thee.
    G. Baltha.