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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    Anth. I pray you think you question with the Iewe,
    you may as well goe stand vpon the Beach
    and bid the maine flood bate his vsuall height,
    you may as well vse question with the Woolfe
    1905the Ewe bleake for the Lambe:
    You may as well forbid the mountaine of Pines
    to wag their high tops, and to make no noise
    when they are fretten with the gusts of heauen:
    You may as well doe any thing most hard
    1910as seeke to soften that then which what's harder:
    his Iewish hart? therefore I doe beseech you
    make no moe offers, vse no farther meanes,
    but with all briefe and plaine conueniencie
    let me haue iudgement, and the Iewe his will?
    1915Bass. For thy three thousand ducats heere is sixe?
    Iewe. If euery ducat in sixe thousand ducats
    were in sixe parts, and euery part a ducat,
    I would not draw them, I would haue my bond?
    Duk. How shalt thou hope for mercy rendring none?
    1920Iewe. What iudgment shall I dread doing no wrong?
    you haue among you many a purchast slaue,
    which like your Asses, and your Dogs and Mules
    you vse in abiect and in slauish parts,
    because you bought them, shall I say to you,
    1925let them be free, marry them to your heires?
    why sweat they vnder burthens, let their beds
    be made as soft as yours, and let their pallats
    be seasond with such viands, you will aunswer
    the slaues are ours, so doe I aunswer you:
    1930The pound of flesh which I demaund of him
    is deerely bought, as mine and I will haue it:
    if you deny me, fie vpon your Law,
    there is no force in the decrees of Venice:
    I stand for iudgement, aunswer, shall I haue it?
    1935Duke. Vpon my power I may dismisse this Court,
    vnlesse Bellario a learned Doctor,
    whom I haue sent for to determine this