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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 comicall Historie of
    1790Clowne. That is done to sir, onely couer is the word.
    Loren. Will you couer than sir?
    Clowne. Not so sir neither, I know my duty.
    Loren. Yet more quarrelling with occasion, wilt thou shewe
    the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant; I pray thee vnderstand a
    1795plaine man in his plaine meaning: goe to thy fellowes, bid them
    couer the table, serue in the meate, and we will come in to dinner.
    Clowne. For the table sir, it shall be seru'd in, for the meate sir, it
    shall be couerd, for your comming in to dinner sir, why let it be as
    humors and conceites shall gouerne. Exit Clowne.
    1800Loren. O deare discretion, how his words are suted,
    The foole hath planted in his memorie
    an Armie of good words, and I doe know
    a many fooles that stand in better place,
    garnisht like him, that for a tricksie word
    1805defie the matter: how cherst thou Iessica,
    And now good sweet say thy opinion,
    How doost thou like the Lord Bassanios wife?
    Iessi. Past all expressing, it is very meete
    the Lord Bassanio liue an vpright life
    1810For hauing such a blessing in his Lady,
    he findes the ioyes of heauen heere on earth,
    And if on earth he doe not meane it, it
    in reason he should neuer come to heauen?
    Why, if two Gods should play some heauenly match,
    1815and on the wager lay two earthly women,
    And Portia one: there must be somthing else
    paund with the other, for the poore rude world
    hath not her fellow.
    Loren. Euen such a husband
    1820hast thou of me, as she is for wife.
    Iessi. Nay, but aske my opinion to of that?
    Loren. I will anone, first let vs goe to dinner?
    Iessi. Nay, let me praise you while I haue a stomack?
    Loren. No pray thee, let it serue for table talke,
    1825Then how so mere thou speakst mong other things,
    I shall disgest it?