Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Janelle Jenstad
Not Peer Reviewed

The Merchant of Venice (Quarto 1, 1600)

the Merchant of Venice.
that you would weare it till your houre of death,
and that it should lie with you in your graue,
though not for me, yet for your vehement oathes,
2495you should haue beene respectiue and haue kept it.
Gaue it a Iudges Clarke: no Gods my Iudge
the Clarke will nere weare haire ons face that had it.
Gra. He will, and if he liue to be a man.
Nerrissa. I, if a woman liue to be a man.
2500Gra. Now by this hand I gaue it to a youth,
a kind of boy, a little scrubbed boy,
no higher then thy selfe, the Iudges Clarke,
a prating boy that begd it as a fee,
I could not for my hart deny it him.
2505Por. You were to blame, I must be plaine with you,
to part so slightly with your wiues first gift,
a thing stuck on with oaths vpon your finger,
and so riueted with faith vnto your flesh.
I gaue my Loue a ring, and made him sweare
2510neuer to part with it, and heere he stands:
I dare be sworne for him he would not leaue it,
nor pluck it from his finger, for the wealth
that the world maisters. Now in faith Gratiano
you giue your wife too vnkind a cause of griefe,
2515and twere to me I should be mad at it.
Bass. Why I were best to cut my left hand off,
and sweare I lost the ring defending it.
Gra. My Lord Bassanio gaue his ring away
vnto the Iudge that begd it, and indeede
2520deseru'd it to: and then the boy his Clarke
that tooke some paines in writing, he begd mine,
and neither man nor maister would take ought
but the two rings.
Por. What ring gaue you my Lord?
2525Not that I hope which you receau'd of me.
Bass. If I could add a lie vnto a fault,
I would deny it: but you see my finger
hath not the ring vpon it, it is gone.