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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 History of the Mer-
    chant of Venice.
    1Enter Anthonio, Salaryno, and Salanio.
    An. IN sooth I know not why I am so sad,
    It wearies me, you say it wearies you;
    But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
    5What stuffe tis made of, whereof it is borne,
    I am to learne: and such a want-wit sadnes
    makes of mee,
    That I haue much adoe to know my selfe.
    Salarino. Your minde is tossing on the Ocean,
    10There where your Argosies with portlie sayle
    Like Signiors and rich Burgars on the flood,
    Or as it were the Pageants of the sea,
    Doe ouer-peere the petty traffiquers
    That cursie to them do them reuerence
    15As they flie by them with theyr wouen wings.
    Salanio. Beleeue mee sir, had I such venture forth,
    The better part of my affections would
    Be with my hopes abroade. I should be still
    Plucking the grasse to know where sits the wind,
    20Piring in Maps for ports, and peers and rodes:
    And euery obiect that might make me feare
    Mis-fortune to my ventures, out of doubt
    Would make me sad.
    Salar. My wind cooling my broth,
    25would blow me to an ague when I thought
    what harme a winde too great might doe at sea.
    I should not see the sandie howre-glasse runne
    But I should thinke of shallowes and of flatts,
    And see my wealthy Andrew docks in sand
    30Vayling her high top lower then her ribs
    To kisse her buriall; should I goe to Church
    And see the holy edifice of stone
    And not bethinke me straight of dangerous rocks,
    which touching but my gentle vessels side
    35would scatter all her spices on the streame,
    Enrobe the roring waters with my silkes,
    And in a word, but euen now worth this,
    And now worth nothing. Shall I haue the thought
    To thinke on this, and shall I lack the thought
    40That such a thing bechaunc'd would make me sad?
    But tell not me, I know Anthonio
    Is sad to thinke vpon his merchandize.
    Anth. Beleeue me no, I thanke my fortune for it
    My ventures are not in one bottome trusted,
    45Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate
    Vpon the fortune of this present yeere:
    Therefore my merchandize makes me not sad.
    Sola. Why then you are in loue.
    Anth. Fie, fie.
    50Sola. Not in loue neither: then let vs say you are sad
    Because you are not merry; and twere as easie
    For you to laugh and leape, and say you are merry
    Because you are not sad. Now by two-headed Ianus,
    Nature hath framd strange fellowes in her time:
    55Some that will euermore peepe through their eyes,
    And laugh like Parrats at a bagpyper.
    And other of such vinigar aspect,
    That theyle not shew theyr teeth in way of smile
    Though Nestor sweare the iest be laughable.
    60Enter Bassanio, Lorenso, and Gratiano.
    Sola. Here comes Bassanio your most noble kinsman,
    Gratiano, and Lorenso. Faryewell,
    We leaue you now with better company.
    Sala. I would haue staid till I had made you merry,
    65If worthier friends had not preuented me.
    Anth. Your worth is very deere in my regard.
    the Merchant of Venice.
    I take it your owne busines calls on you,
    And you embrace th'occasion to depart.
    Sal. Good morrow my good Lords.
    70Bass. Good signiors both when shal we laugh? say, when?
    You grow exceeding strange: must it be so?
    Sal. Weele make our leysures to attend on yours.
    Exeunt Salarino, and Solanio.
    Lor. My Lord Bassanio, since you haue found Anthonio
    75We two will leaue you, but at dinner time
    I pray you haue in minde where we must meete.
    Bass. I will not faile you.
    Grat. You looke not well signior Anthonio,
    You haue too much respect vpon the world:
    80They loose it that doe buy it with much care,
    Beleeue me you are meruailously changd.
    Ant. I hold the world but as the world Gratiano,
    A stage, where euery man must play a part,
    And mine a sad one.
    85Grati. Let me play the foole,
    With mirth and laughter let old wrinckles come,
    And let my liuer rather heate with wine
    Then my hart coole with mortifying grones.
    Why should a man whose blood is warme within,
    90Sit like his grandsire, cut in Alablaster?
    Sleepe when he wakes? and creepe into the Iaundies
    By beeing peeuish? I tell thee what Anthonio,
    I loue thee, and tis my loue that speakes:
    There are a sort of men whose visages
    95Doe creame and mantle like a standing pond,
    And doe a wilful stilnes entertaine,
    With purpose to be drest in an opinion
    Of wisedome, grauitie, profound conceit,
    As who should say, I am sir Oracle,
    100And when I ope my lips, let no dogge barke.
    O my Anthonio I doe know of these
    That therefore onely are reputed wise
    A3. For
    The comicall Historie of
    For saying nothing; when I am very sure
    If they should speake, would almost dam those eares
    105which hearing them would call their brothers fooles,
    Ile tell thee more of this another time.
    But fish not with this melancholy baite
    For this foole gudgin, this opinion:
    Come good Lorenso, faryewell a while,
    110Ile end my exhortation after dinner.
    Loren. Well, we will leaue you then till dinner time.
    I must be one of these same dumbe wise men,
    For Gratiano neuer lets me speake.
    Gra. Well keepe me company but two yeeres moe
    115Thou shalt not know the sound of thine owne tongue.
    An. Far you well, Ile grow a talker for this geare.
    Gra. Thanks yfaith, for silence is onely commendable
    In a neates togue dried, and a mayde not vendable. Exeunt.
    An. It is that any thing now.
    120Bass. Gratiano speakes an infinite deale of nothing more then any
    man in all Venice, his reasons are as two graines of wheate hid in
    two bushels of chaffe: you shall seeke all day ere you finde them,
    and when you haue them, they are not worth the search.
    An. Well, tell me now what Lady is the same
    125To whom you swore a secrete pilgrimage
    That you to day promisd to tell me of.
    Bass. Tis not vnknowne to you Anthonio
    How much I haue disabled mine estate,
    By something showing a more swelling port
    130Then my faint meanes would graunt continuance:
    Nor doe I now make mone to be abridg'd
    From such a noble rate, but my cheefe care
    Is to come fairely of from the great debts
    wherein my time something too prodigall
    135Hath left me gagd: to you Anthonio
    I owe the most in money and in loue,
    And from your loue I haue a warrantie
    To vnburthen all my plots and purposes
    How to get cleere of all the debts I owe.
    the Merchant of Venice.
    140An. I pray you good Bassanio let me know it,
    And if it stand as you your selfe still doe,
    within the eye of honour, be assurd
    My purse, my person, my extreamest meanes
    Lie all vnlockt to your occasions.
    145Bass. In my schoole dayes, when I had lost one shaft,
    I shot his fellow of the selfe same flight
    The selfe same way, with more aduised watch
    To finde the other forth, and by aduenturing both,
    I oft found both: I vrge this child-hood proofe
    150Because what followes is pure innocence.
    I owe you much, and like a wilfull youth
    That which I owe is lost, but if you please
    To shoote another arrow that selfe way
    which you did shoote the first, I doe not doubt,
    155As I will watch the ayme or to find both,
    Or bring your latter hazzard bake againe,
    And thankfully rest debter for the first.
    An. You know me well, and heerein spend but time
    To wind about my loue with circumstance,
    160And out of doubt you doe me now more wrong
    In making question of my vttermost
    Then if you had made wast of all I haue:
    Then doe but say to me what I should doe
    That in your knowledge may by me be done,
    165And I am prest vnto it: therefore speake.
    Bass. In Belmont is a Lady richly left,
    And she is faire, and fairer then that word,
    Of wondrous vertues, sometimes from her eyes
    I did receaue faire speechlesse messages:
    170Her name is Portia, nothing vndervallewd
    To Catos daughter, Brutus Portia,
    Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,
    For the foure winds blow in from euery coast
    Renowned sutors, and her sunny locks
    175Hang on her temples like a golden fleece,
    which makes her seat of Belmont Cholchos strond,
    The comicall Historie of
    And many Iasons come in quest of her.
    O my Anthonio, had I but the meanes
    To hold a riuall place with one of them,
    180I haue a minde presages me such thrift
    That I should questionlesse be fortunate.
    Anth. Thou knowst that all my fortunes are at sea,
    Neither haue I money, nor commoditie
    To raise a present summe, therefore goe forth
    185Try what my credite can in Venice doe,
    That shall be rackt euen to the vttermost
    To furnish thee to Belmont to faire Portia.
    Goe presently enquire and so will I
    where money is, and I no question make
    190To haue it of my trust, or for my sake. Exeunt.