The Merchant of Venice
By William Shakespeare
Edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine
with Michael Poston and Rebecca Niles
Folger Shakespeare Library
Created on Apr 23, 2016, from FDT version 0.9.2.
Characters in the Play
PORTIA, an heiress of Belmont
NERISSA, her waiting-gentlewoman
Servants to Portia:
Suitors to Portia:
Prince of MOROCCO
Prince of ARRAGON
ANTONIO, a merchant of Venice
BASSANIO, a Venetian gentleman, suitor to Portia
Companions of Antonio and Bassanio:
LEONARDO, servant to Bassanio
SHYLOCK, a Jewish moneylender in Venice
JESSICA, his daughter
TUBAL, another Jewish moneylender
LANCELET GOBBO, servant to Shylock and later to Bassanio
OLD GOBBO, Lancelet’s father
SALERIO, a messenger from Venice
Duke of Venice
Magnificoes of Venice
Attendants and followers
Enter Antonio, Salarino, and Solanio.
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,
What stuff ’tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn. 5
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me
That I have much ado to know myself.
Your mind is tossing on the ocean,
There where your argosies with portly sail
(Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood, 10
Or, as it were, the pageants of the sea)
Do overpeer the petty traffickers
That curtsy to them, do them reverence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings.
Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth, 15
The better part of my affections would
Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still
Plucking the grass to know where sits the wind,
Piring in maps for ports and piers and roads;
And every object that might make me fear 20
Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt
Would make me sad.
SALARINO My wind cooling my broth
Would blow me to an ague when I thought
What harm a wind too great might do at sea. 25
I should not see the sandy hourglass run
But I should think of shallows and of flats,
And see my wealthy Andrew docked in sand,
Vailing her high top lower than her ribs
To kiss her burial. Should I go to church 30
And see the holy edifice of stone
And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks,
Which, touching but my gentle vessel’s side,
Would scatter all her spices on the stream,
Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks, 35
And, in a word, but even now worth this
And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought
To think on this, and shall I lack the thought
That such a thing bechanced would make me sad?
But tell not me: I know Antonio 40
Is sad to think upon his merchandise.
Believe me, no. I thank my fortune for it,
My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,
Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate
Upon the fortune of this present year: 45
Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad.
Why then you are in love.
ANTONIO Fie, fie!
Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sad
Because you are not merry; and ’twere as easy 50
For you to laugh and leap, and say you are merry
Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed
Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time:
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes 55
And laugh like parrots at a bagpiper,
And other of such vinegar aspect
That they’ll not show their teeth in way of smile
Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.
Enter Bassanio, Lorenzo, and Gratiano.
Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman, 60
Gratiano, and Lorenzo. Fare you well.
We leave you now with better company.
I would have stayed till I had made you merry,
If worthier friends had not prevented me.
Your worth is very dear in my regard. 65
I take it your own business calls on you,
And you embrace th’ occasion to depart.
Good morrow, my good lords.
Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? Say,
You grow exceeding strange. Must it be so?
We’ll make our leisures to attend on yours.
Salarino and Solanio exit.
My Lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio,
We two will leave you. But at dinner time
I pray you have in mind where we must meet. 75
I will not fail you.
You look not well, Signior Antonio.
You have too much respect upon the world.
They lose it that do buy it with much care.
Believe me, you are marvelously changed. 80
I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano,
A stage where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.
GRATIANO Let me play the fool.
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come, 85
And let my liver rather heat with wine
Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.
Why should a man whose blood is warm within
Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster?
Sleep when he wakes? And creep into the jaundice 90
By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio
(I love thee, and ’tis my love that speaks):
There are a sort of men whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond
And do a willful stillness entertain 95
With purpose to be dressed in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit,
As who should say “I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark.”
O my Antonio, I do know of these 100
That therefore only are reputed wise
For saying nothing, when, I am very sure,
If they should speak, would almost damn those ears
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers
I’ll tell thee more of this another time.
But fish not with this melancholy bait
For this fool gudgeon, this opinion.—
Come, good Lorenzo.—Fare you well a while.
I’ll end my exhortation after dinner. 110
Well, we will leave you then till dinner time.
I must be one of these same dumb wise men,
For Gratiano never lets me speak.
Well, keep me company but two years more,
Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own 115
Fare you well. I’ll grow a talker for this gear.
Thanks, i’ faith, for silence is only commendable
In a neat’s tongue dried and a maid not vendible.
Gratiano and Lorenzo exit.
ANTONIO Is that anything now? 120
BASSANIO Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing,
more than any man in all Venice. His reasons are as
two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff: you
shall seek all day ere you find them, and when you
have them, they are not worth the search. 125
Well, tell me now what lady is the same
To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
That you today promised to tell me of?
’Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
How much I have disabled mine estate 130
By something showing a more swelling port
Than my faint means would grant continuance.
Nor do I now make moan to be abridged
From such a noble rate. But my chief care
Is to come fairly off from the great debts 135
Wherein my time, something too prodigal,
Hath left me gaged. To you, Antonio,
I owe the most in money and in love,
And from your love I have a warranty
To unburden all my plots and purposes 140
How to get clear of all the debts I owe.
I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
And if it stand, as you yourself still do,
Within the eye of honor, be assured
My purse, my person, my extremest means 145
Lie all unlocked to your occasions.
In my school days, when I had lost one shaft,
I shot his fellow of the selfsame flight
The selfsame way with more advisèd watch
To find the other forth; and by adventuring both 150
I oft found both. I urge this childhood proof
Because what follows is pure innocence.
I owe you much, and, like a willful youth,
That which I owe is lost. But if you please
To shoot another arrow that self way 155
Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
As I will watch the aim, or to find both
Or bring your latter hazard back again,
And thankfully rest debtor for the first.
You know me well, and herein spend but time 160
To wind about my love with circumstance;
And out of doubt you do me now more wrong
In making question of my uttermost
Than if you had made waste of all I have.
Then do but say to me what I should do 165
That in your knowledge may by me be done,
And I am prest unto it. Therefore speak.
In Belmont is a lady richly left,
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wondrous virtues. Sometimes from her eyes 170
I did receive fair speechless messages.
Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued
To Cato’s daughter, Brutus’ Portia.
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,
For the four winds blow in from every coast 175
Renownèd suitors, and her sunny locks
Hang on her temples like a golden fleece,
Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos’ strond,
And many Jasons come in quest of her.
O my Antonio, had I but the means 180
To hold a rival place with one of them,
I have a mind presages me such thrift
That I should questionless be fortunate!
Thou know’st that all my fortunes are at sea;
Neither have I money nor commodity 185
To raise a present sum. Therefore go forth:
Try what my credit can in Venice do;
That shall be racked even to the uttermost
To furnish thee to Belmont to fair Portia.
Go presently inquire, and so will I, 190
Where money is, and I no question make
To have it of my trust, or for my sake.
Enter Portia with her waiting woman Nerissa.
PORTIA By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary
of this great world.
NERISSA You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries
were in the same abundance as your good fortunes
are. And yet, for aught I see, they are as sick that 5
surfeit with too much as they that starve with
nothing. It is no mean happiness, therefore, to be
seated in the mean. Superfluity comes sooner by
white hairs, but competency lives longer.
PORTIA Good sentences, and well pronounced. 10
NERISSA They would be better if well followed.
PORTIA If to do were as easy as to know what were
good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor
men’s cottages princes’ palaces. It is a good divine
that follows his own instructions. I can easier teach 15
twenty what were good to be done than to be one of
the twenty to follow mine own teaching. The brain
may devise laws for the blood, but a hot temper
leaps o’er a cold decree: such a hare is madness the
youth, to skip o’er the meshes of good counsel the 20
cripple. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to
choose me a husband. O, me, the word “choose”! I
may neither choose who I would nor refuse who I
dislike. So is the will of a living daughter curbed by
the will of a dead father. Is it not hard, Nerissa, that 25
I cannot choose one, nor refuse none?
NERISSA Your father was ever virtuous, and holy men
at their death have good inspirations. Therefore the
lottery that he hath devised in these three chests of
gold, silver, and lead, whereof who chooses his 30
meaning chooses you, will no doubt never be
chosen by any rightly but one who you shall rightly
love. But what warmth is there in your affection
towards any of these princely suitors that are already
PORTIA I pray thee, overname them, and as thou
namest them, I will describe them, and according
to my description level at my affection.
NERISSA First, there is the Neapolitan prince.
PORTIA Ay, that’s a colt indeed, for he doth nothing but 40
talk of his horse, and he makes it a great appropriation
to his own good parts that he can shoe him
himself. I am much afeard my lady his mother
played false with a smith.
NERISSA Then is there the County Palatine. 45
PORTIA He doth nothing but frown, as who should say
“An you will not have me, choose.” He hears
merry tales and smiles not. I fear he will prove the
weeping philosopher when he grows old, being so
full of unmannerly sadness in his youth. I had 50
rather be married to a death’s-head with a bone in
his mouth than to either of these. God defend me
from these two!
NERISSA How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le
PORTIA God made him, and therefore let him pass for
a man. In truth, I know it is a sin to be a mocker,
but he!—why, he hath a horse better than the
Neapolitan’s, a better bad habit of frowning than
the Count Palatine. He is every man in no man. If a 60
throstle sing, he falls straight a-cap’ring. He will
fence with his own shadow. If I should marry him, I
should marry twenty husbands! If he would despise
me, I would forgive him, for if he love me to
madness, I shall never requite him. 65
NERISSA What say you then to Falconbridge, the young
baron of England?
PORTIA You know I say nothing to him, for he understands
not me, nor I him. He hath neither Latin,
French, nor Italian; and you will come into the 70
court and swear that I have a poor pennyworth in
the English. He is a proper man’s picture, but alas,
who can converse with a dumb show? How oddly
he is suited! I think he bought his doublet in Italy,
his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany, 75
and his behavior everywhere.
NERISSA What think you of the Scottish lord, his
PORTIA That he hath a neighborly charity in him, for
he borrowed a box of the ear of the Englishman, 80
and swore he would pay him again when he was
able. I think the Frenchman became his surety and
sealed under for another.
NERISSA How like you the young German, the Duke of
Saxony’s nephew? 85
PORTIA Very vilely in the morning, when he is sober,
and most vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk.
When he is best he is a little worse than a man, and
when he is worst he is little better than a beast. An
the worst fall that ever fell, I hope I shall make shift 90
to go without him.
NERISSA If he should offer to choose, and choose the
right casket, you should refuse to perform your
father’s will if you should refuse to accept him.
PORTIA Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee set 95
a deep glass of Rhenish wine on the contrary
casket, for if the devil be within and that temptation
without, I know he will choose it. I will do
anything, Nerissa, ere I will be married to a sponge.
NERISSA You need not fear, lady, the having any of 100
these lords. They have acquainted me with their
determinations, which is indeed to return to their
home and to trouble you with no more suit, unless
you may be won by some other sort than your
father’s imposition depending on the caskets. 105
PORTIA If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die as
chaste as Diana unless I be obtained by the manner
of my father’s will. I am glad this parcel of wooers
are so reasonable, for there is not one among them
but I dote on his very absence. And I pray God 110
grant them a fair departure!
NERISSA Do you not remember, lady, in your father’s
time, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came
hither in company of the Marquess of Montferrat?
PORTIA Yes, yes, it was Bassanio—as I think so was he 115
NERISSA True, madam. He, of all the men that ever my
foolish eyes looked upon, was the best deserving a
PORTIA I remember him well, and I remember him 120
worthy of thy praise.
Enter a Servingman.
How now, what news?
SERVINGMAN The four strangers seek for you, madam,
to take their leave. And there is a forerunner come
from a fifth, the Prince of Morocco, who brings 125
word the Prince his master will be here tonight.
PORTIA If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good
heart as I can bid the other four farewell, I should
be glad of his approach. If he have the condition of
a saint and the complexion of a devil, I had rather 130
he should shrive me than wive me.
Come, Nerissa. To Servingman. Sirrah, go before.—
Whiles we shut the gate upon one wooer, another
knocks at the door.
Enter Bassanio with Shylock the Jew.
SHYLOCK Three thousand ducats, well.
BASSANIO Ay, sir, for three months.
SHYLOCK For three months, well.
BASSANIO For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall
be bound. 5
SHYLOCK Antonio shall become bound, well.
BASSANIO May you stead me? Will you pleasure me?
Shall I know your answer?
SHYLOCK Three thousand ducats for three months,
and Antonio bound. 10
BASSANIO Your answer to that?
SHYLOCK Antonio is a good man.
BASSANIO Have you heard any imputation to the
SHYLOCK Ho, no, no, no, no! My meaning in saying he 15
is a good man is to have you understand me that he
is sufficient. Yet his means are in supposition: he
hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the
Indies. I understand, moreover, upon the Rialto,
he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and 20
other ventures he hath squandered abroad. But
ships are but boards, sailors but men; there be land
rats and water rats, water thieves and land
thieves—I mean pirates—and then there is the
peril of waters, winds, and rocks. The man is, 25
notwithstanding, sufficient. Three thousand ducats.
I think I may take his bond.
BASSANIO Be assured you may.
SHYLOCK I will be assured I may. And that I may be
assured, I will bethink me. May I speak with 30
BASSANIO If it please you to dine with us.
SHYLOCK Yes, to smell pork! To eat of the habitation
which your prophet the Nazarite conjured the
devil into! I will buy with you, sell with you, talk 35
with you, walk with you, and so following; but I
will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with
you.—What news on the Rialto?—Who is he comes
BASSANIO This is Signior Antonio. 40
How like a fawning publican he looks!
I hate him for he is a Christian,
But more for that in low simplicity
He lends out money gratis and brings down
The rate of usance here with us in Venice. 45
If I can catch him once upon the hip,
I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
He hates our sacred nation, and he rails,
Even there where merchants most do congregate,
On me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift, 50
Which he calls “interest.” Cursèd be my tribe
If I forgive him!
BASSANIO Shylock, do you hear?
I am debating of my present store,
And, by the near guess of my memory, 55
I cannot instantly raise up the gross
Of full three thousand ducats. What of that?
Tubal, a wealthy Hebrew of my tribe,
Will furnish me. But soft, how many months
Do you desire? To Antonio. Rest you fair, good 60
Your Worship was the last man in our mouths.
Shylock, albeit I neither lend nor borrow
By taking nor by giving of excess,
Yet, to supply the ripe wants of my friend, 65
I’ll break a custom. To Bassanio. Is he yet
How much you would?
SHYLOCK Ay, ay, three thousand
ANTONIO And for three months.
I had forgot—three months. To Bassanio.
You told me so.—
Well then, your bond. And let me see—but hear
Methoughts you said you neither lend nor borrow
ANTONIO I do never use it.
When Jacob grazed his Uncle Laban’s sheep—
This Jacob from our holy Abram was 80
(As his wise mother wrought in his behalf)
The third possessor; ay, he was the third—
And what of him? Did he take interest?
No, not take interest, not, as you would say,
Directly “interest.” Mark what Jacob did. 85
When Laban and himself were compromised
That all the eanlings which were streaked and pied
Should fall as Jacob’s hire, the ewes being rank
In end of autumn turnèd to the rams,
And when the work of generation was 90
Between these woolly breeders in the act,
The skillful shepherd pilled me certain wands,
And in the doing of the deed of kind
He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes,
Who then conceiving did in eaning time 95
Fall parti-colored lambs, and those were Jacob’s.
This was a way to thrive, and he was blest;
And thrift is blessing if men steal it not.
This was a venture, sir, that Jacob served for,
A thing not in his power to bring to pass, 100
But swayed and fashioned by the hand of heaven.
Was this inserted to make interest good?
Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?
I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast.
But note me, signior— 105
ANTONIO, aside to Bassanio
Mark you this, Bassanio,
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose!
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart. 110
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
Three thousand ducats. ’Tis a good round sum.
Three months from twelve, then let me see, the
Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you? 115
Signior Antonio, many a time and oft
In the Rialto you have rated me
About my moneys and my usances.
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug
(For suff’rance is the badge of all our tribe). 120
You call me misbeliever, cutthroat dog,
And spet upon my Jewish gaberdine,
And all for use of that which is mine own.
Well then, it now appears you need my help.
Go to, then. You come to me and you say 125
“Shylock, we would have moneys”—you say so,
You, that did void your rheum upon my beard,
And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur
Over your threshold. Moneys is your suit.
What should I say to you? Should I not say 130
“Hath a dog money? Is it possible
A cur can lend three thousand ducats?” Or
Shall I bend low, and in a bondman’s key,
With bated breath and whisp’ring humbleness,
Say this: “Fair sir, you spet on me on Wednesday 135
You spurned me such a day; another time
You called me ‘dog’; and for these courtesies
I’ll lend you thus much moneys”?
I am as like to call thee so again, 140
To spet on thee again, to spurn thee, too.
If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not
As to thy friends, for when did friendship take
A breed for barren metal of his friend?
But lend it rather to thine enemy, 145
Who, if he break, thou mayst with better face
Exact the penalty.
SHYLOCK Why, look you how you storm!
I would be friends with you and have your love,
Forget the shames that you have stained me with, 150
Supply your present wants, and take no doit
Of usance for my moneys, and you’ll not hear me!
This is kind I offer.
BASSANIO This were kindness!
SHYLOCK This kindness will I show. 155
Go with me to a notary, seal me there
Your single bond; and in a merry sport,
If you repay me not on such a day,
In such a place, such sum or sums as are
Expressed in the condition, let the forfeit 160
Be nominated for an equal pound
Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken
In what part of your body pleaseth me.
Content, in faith. I’ll seal to such a bond,
And say there is much kindness in the Jew. 165
You shall not seal to such a bond for me!
I’ll rather dwell in my necessity.
Why, fear not, man, I will not forfeit it!
Within these two months—that’s a month before
This bond expires—I do expect return 170
Of thrice three times the value of this bond.
O father Abram, what these Christians are,
Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect
The thoughts of others! Pray you tell me this:
If he should break his day, what should I gain 175
By the exaction of the forfeiture?
A pound of man’s flesh taken from a man
Is not so estimable, profitable neither,
As flesh of muttons, beefs, or goats. I say,
To buy his favor I extend this friendship. 180
If he will take it, so. If not, adieu;
And for my love I pray you wrong me not.
Yes, Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.
Then meet me forthwith at the notary’s.
Give him direction for this merry bond, 185
And I will go and purse the ducats straight,
See to my house left in the fearful guard
Of an unthrifty knave, and presently
I’ll be with you.
ANTONIO Hie thee, gentle Jew. 190
The Hebrew will turn Christian; he grows kind.
I like not fair terms and a villain’s mind.
Come on, in this there can be no dismay;
My ships come home a month before the day.
Enter the Prince of Morocco, a tawny Moor all in
white, and three or four followers accordingly, with
Portia, Nerissa, and their train.
Mislike me not for my complexion,
The shadowed livery of the burnished sun,
To whom I am a neighbor and near bred.
Bring me the fairest creature northward born,
Where Phoebus’ fire scarce thaws the icicles, 5
And let us make incision for your love
To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine.
I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine
Hath feared the valiant; by my love I swear
The best regarded virgins of our clime 10
Have loved it too. I would not change this hue
Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.
In terms of choice I am not solely led
By nice direction of a maiden’s eyes;
Besides, the lott’ry of my destiny 15
Bars me the right of voluntary choosing.
But if my father had not scanted me
And hedged me by his wit to yield myself
His wife who wins me by that means I told you,
Yourself, renownèd prince, then stood as fair 20
As any comer I have looked on yet
For my affection.
MOROCCO Even for that I thank you.
Therefore I pray you lead me to the caskets
To try my fortune. By this scimitar 25
That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince,
That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,
I would o’erstare the sternest eyes that look,
Outbrave the heart most daring on the Earth,
Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear, 30
Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey,
To win thee, lady. But, alas the while!
If Hercules and Lychas play at dice
Which is the better man, the greater throw
May turn by fortune from the weaker hand; 35
So is Alcides beaten by his page,
And so may I, blind Fortune leading me,
Miss that which one unworthier may attain,
And die with grieving.
PORTIA You must take your chance 40
And either not attempt to choose at all
Or swear before you choose, if you choose wrong
Never to speak to lady afterward
In way of marriage. Therefore be advised.
Nor will not. Come, bring me unto my chance. 45
First, forward to the temple. After dinner
Your hazard shall be made.
MOROCCO Good fortune then,
To make me blest—or cursed’st among men!
Enter Lancelet Gobbo the Clown, alone.
LANCELET Certainly my conscience will serve me to
run from this Jew my master. The fiend is at mine
elbow and tempts me, saying to me “Gobbo,
Lancelet Gobbo, good Lancelet,” or “good Gobbo,”
or “good Lancelet Gobbo, use your legs, take 5
the start, run away.” My conscience says “No. Take
heed, honest Lancelet, take heed, honest Gobbo,”
or, as aforesaid, “honest Lancelet Gobbo, do not
run; scorn running with thy heels.” Well, the most
courageous fiend bids me pack. “Fia!” says the 10
fiend. “Away!” says the fiend. “For the heavens,
rouse up a brave mind,” says the fiend, “and run!”
Well, my conscience, hanging about the neck of my
heart, says very wisely to me “My honest friend
Lancelet, being an honest man’s son”—or rather, 15
an honest woman’s son, for indeed my father did
something smack, something grow to—he had a
kind of taste—well, my conscience says “Lancelet,
budge not.” “Budge,” says the fiend. “Budge not,”
says my conscience. “Conscience,” say I, “you 20
counsel well.” “Fiend,” say I, “you counsel well.”
To be ruled by my conscience, I should stay with the
Jew my master, who (God bless the mark) is a kind
of devil; and to run away from the Jew, I should be
ruled by the fiend, who (saving your reverence) is 25
the devil himself. Certainly the Jew is the very devil
incarnation, and, in my conscience, my conscience
is but a kind of hard conscience to offer to counsel
me to stay with the Jew. The fiend gives the more
friendly counsel. I will run, fiend. My heels are at 30
your commandment. I will run.
Enter old Gobbo with a basket.
GOBBO Master young man, you, I pray you, which is
the way to Master Jew’s?
LANCELET, aside O heavens, this is my true begotten
father, who being more than sandblind, high gravelblind, 35
knows me not. I will try confusions with him.
GOBBO Master young gentleman, I pray you, which is
the way to Master Jew’s?
LANCELET Turn up on your right hand at the next
turning, but at the next turning of all on your left; 40
marry, at the very next turning, turn of no hand,
but turn down indirectly to the Jew’s house.
GOBBO Be God’s sonties, ’twill be a hard way to hit.
Can you tell me whether one Lancelet, that dwells
with him, dwell with him or no? 45
LANCELET Talk you of young Master Lancelet? Aside.
Mark me now, now will I raise the waters.—Talk
you of young Master Lancelet?
GOBBO No master, sir, but a poor man’s son. His
father, though I say ’t, is an honest exceeding poor 50
man and, God be thanked, well to live.
LANCELET Well, let his father be what he will, we talk
of young Master Lancelet.
GOBBO Your Worship’s friend, and Lancelet, sir.
LANCELET But I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech 55
you, talk you of young Master Lancelet?
GOBBO Of Lancelet, an ’t please your mastership.
LANCELET Ergo, Master Lancelet. Talk not of Master
Lancelet, father, for the young gentleman, according
to Fates and Destinies, and such odd sayings, the 60
Sisters Three, and such branches of learning, is
indeed deceased, or, as you would say in plain
terms, gone to heaven.
GOBBO Marry, God forbid! The boy was the very staff
of my age, my very prop. 65
LANCELET, aside Do I look like a cudgel or a hovel-post,
a staff or a prop?—Do you know me, father?
GOBBO Alack the day, I know you not, young gentleman.
But I pray you tell me, is my boy, God rest his
soul, alive or dead? 70
LANCELET Do you not know me, father?
GOBBO Alack, sir, I am sandblind. I know you not.
LANCELET Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might
fail of the knowing me. It is a wise father that
knows his own child. Well, old man, I will tell you 75
news of your son. He kneels. Give me your blessing.
Truth will come to light, murder cannot be hid
long—a man’s son may, but in the end, truth will
GOBBO Pray you, sir, stand up! I am sure you are not 80
Lancelet my boy.
LANCELET Pray you, let’s have no more fooling about
it, but give me your blessing. I am Lancelet, your
boy that was, your son that is, your child that shall
GOBBO I cannot think you are my son.
LANCELET I know not what I shall think of that; but I
am Lancelet, the Jew’s man, and I am sure Margery
your wife is my mother.
GOBBO Her name is Margery, indeed. I’ll be sworn if 90
thou be Lancelet, thou art mine own flesh and
blood. Lord worshiped might He be, what a beard
hast thou got! Thou hast got more hair on thy chin
than Dobbin my fill-horse has on his tail.
LANCELET, standing up It should seem, then, that 95
Dobbin’s tail grows backward. I am sure he had
more hair of his tail than I have of my face when I
last saw him.
GOBBO Lord, how art thou changed! How dost thou
and thy master agree? I have brought him a present. 100
How ’gree you now?
LANCELET Well, well. But for mine own part, as I have
set up my rest to run away, so I will not rest till I
have run some ground. My master’s a very Jew.
Give him a present! Give him a halter. I am 105
famished in his service. You may tell every finger I
have with my ribs. Father, I am glad you are come!
Give me your present to one Master Bassanio, who
indeed gives rare new liveries. If I serve not him, I
will run as far as God has any ground. O rare 110
fortune, here comes the man! To him, father, for I
am a Jew if I serve the Jew any longer.
Enter Bassanio with Leonardo and a follower or two.
BASSANIO, to an Attendant You may do so, but let it be
so hasted that supper be ready at the farthest by five
of the clock. See these letters delivered, put the 115
liveries to making, and desire Gratiano to come
anon to my lodging. The Attendant exits.
LANCELET To him, father.
GOBBO, to Bassanio God bless your Worship.
BASSANIO Gramercy. Wouldst thou aught with me? 120
GOBBO Here’s my son, sir, a poor boy—
LANCELET Not a poor boy, sir, but the rich Jew’s man,
that would, sir, as my father shall specify—
GOBBO He hath a great infection, sir, as one would say,
to serve— 125
LANCELET Indeed, the short and the long is, I serve the
Jew, and have a desire, as my father shall specify—
GOBBO His master and he (saving your Worship’s
reverence) are scarce cater-cousins—
LANCELET To be brief, the very truth is that the Jew, 130
having done me wrong, doth cause me, as my
father being, I hope, an old man, shall frutify unto
GOBBO I have here a dish of doves that I would bestow
upon your Worship, and my suit is— 135
LANCELET In very brief, the suit is impertinent to
myself, as your Worship shall know by this honest
old man, and though I say it, though old man yet
poor man, my father—
BASSANIO One speak for both. What would you? 140
LANCELET Serve you, sir.
GOBBO That is the very defect of the matter, sir.
BASSANIO, to Lancelet
I know thee well. Thou hast obtained thy suit.
Shylock thy master spoke with me this day,
And hath preferred thee, if it be preferment 145
To leave a rich Jew’s service, to become
The follower of so poor a gentleman.
LANCELET The old proverb is very well parted between
my master Shylock and you, sir: you have “the
grace of God,” sir, and he hath “enough.” 150
Thou speak’st it well.—Go, father, with thy son.—
Take leave of thy old master, and inquire
My lodging out. To an Attendant. Give him a livery
More guarded than his fellows’. See it done.
Attendant exits. Bassanio and Leonardo talk apart.
LANCELET Father, in. I cannot get a service, no! I have 155
ne’er a tongue in my head! Well, studying his palm
if any man in Italy have a fairer table which doth
offer to swear upon a book—I shall have good
fortune, go to! Here’s a simple line of life. Here’s a
small trifle of wives—alas, fifteen wives is nothing; 160
eleven widows and nine maids is a simple coming-in
for one man—and then to ’scape drowning
thrice, and to be in peril of my life with the edge of a
featherbed! Here are simple ’scapes. Well, if Fortune
be a woman, she’s a good wench for this gear. 165
Father, come. I’ll take my leave of the Jew in the
twinkling. Lancelet and old Gobbo exit.
I pray thee, good Leonardo, think on this.
Handing him a paper.
These things being bought and orderly bestowed,
Return in haste, for I do feast tonight 170
My best esteemed acquaintance. Hie thee, go.
My best endeavors shall be done herein.
GRATIANO, to Leonardo Where’s your master?
LEONARDO Yonder, sir, he walks. Leonardo exits.
GRATIANO Signior Bassanio! 175
GRATIANO I have suit to you.
BASSANIO You have obtained it.
GRATIANO You must not deny me. I must go with you
to Belmont. 180
Why then you must. But hear thee, Gratiano,
Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice—
Parts that become thee happily enough,
And in such eyes as ours appear not faults.
But where thou art not known—why, there they 185
Something too liberal. Pray thee take pain
To allay with some cold drops of modesty
Thy skipping spirit, lest through thy wild behavior
I be misconstered in the place I go to, 190
And lose my hopes.
GRATIANO Signior Bassanio, hear me.
If I do not put on a sober habit,
Talk with respect, and swear but now and then,
Wear prayer books in my pocket, look demurely, 195
Nay more, while grace is saying, hood mine eyes
Thus with my hat, and sigh and say “amen,”
Use all the observance of civility
Like one well studied in a sad ostent
To please his grandam, never trust me more. 200
BASSANIO Well, we shall see your bearing.
Nay, but I bar tonight. You shall not gauge me
By what we do tonight.
BASSANIO No, that were pity.
I would entreat you rather to put on 205
Your boldest suit of mirth, for we have friends
That purpose merriment. But fare you well.
I have some business.
And I must to Lorenzo and the rest.
But we will visit you at supper time. 210
Enter Jessica and Lancelet Gobbo.
I am sorry thou wilt leave my father so.
Our house is hell and thou, a merry devil,
Didst rob it of some taste of tediousness.
But fare thee well. There is a ducat for thee,
And, Lancelet, soon at supper shalt thou see 5
Lorenzo, who is thy new master’s guest.
Give him this letter, do it secretly,
And so farewell. I would not have my father
See me in talk with thee.
LANCELET Adieu. Tears exhibit my tongue, most beautiful 10
pagan, most sweet Jew. If a Christian do not
play the knave and get thee, I am much deceived.
But adieu. These foolish drops do something drown
my manly spirit. Adieu.
JESSICA Farewell, good Lancelet. 15
Alack, what heinous sin is it in me
To be ashamed to be my father’s child?
But though I am a daughter to his blood,
I am not to his manners. O Lorenzo,
If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife, 20
Become a Christian and thy loving wife.
Enter Gratiano, Lorenzo, Salarino, and Solanio.
Nay, we will slink away in supper time,
Disguise us at my lodging, and return
All in an hour.
We have not made good preparation.
We have not spoke us yet of torchbearers. 5
’Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly ordered,
And better in my mind not undertook.
’Tis now but four o’clock. We have two hours
To furnish us.
Friend Lancelet, what’s the news? 10
LANCELET An it shall please you to break up this, it
shall seem to signify. Handing him Jessica’s letter.
I know the hand; in faith, ’tis a fair hand,
And whiter than the paper it writ on
Is the fair hand that writ. 15
GRATIANO Love news, in faith!
LANCELET By your leave, sir.
LORENZO Whither goest thou?
LANCELET Marry, sir, to bid my old master the Jew to
sup tonight with my new master the Christian. 20
Hold here, take this. Giving him money. Tell gentle
I will not fail her. Speak it privately.
Will you prepare you for this masque tonight? 25
I am provided of a torchbearer.
Ay, marry, I’ll be gone about it straight.
And so will I.
LORENZO Meet me and Gratiano
At Gratiano’s lodging some hour hence. 30
SALARINO ’Tis good we do so.
Salarino and Solanio exit.
Was not that letter from fair Jessica?
I must needs tell thee all. She hath directed
How I shall take her from her father’s house,
What gold and jewels she is furnished with, 35
What page’s suit she hath in readiness.
If e’er the Jew her father come to heaven,
It will be for his gentle daughter’s sake;
And never dare misfortune cross her foot
Unless she do it under this excuse, 40
That she is issue to a faithless Jew.
Come, go with me. Peruse this as thou goest;
Handing him the letter.
Fair Jessica shall be my torchbearer.
Enter Shylock, the Jew, and Lancelet,
his man that was, the Clown.
Well, thou shalt see, thy eyes shall be thy judge,
The difference of old Shylock and Bassanio.—
What, Jessica!—Thou shalt not gormandize
As thou hast done with me—what, Jessica!—
And sleep, and snore, and rend apparel out.— 5
Why, Jessica, I say!
LANCELET Why, Jessica!
Who bids thee call? I do not bid thee call.
LANCELET Your Worship was wont to tell me I could
do nothing without bidding. 10
JESSICA Call you? What is your will?
I am bid forth to supper, Jessica.
There are my keys.—But wherefore should I go?
I am not bid for love. They flatter me.
But yet I’ll go in hate, to feed upon 15
The prodigal Christian.—Jessica, my girl,
Look to my house.—I am right loath to go.
There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest,
For I did dream of money bags tonight.
LANCELET I beseech you, sir, go. My young master 20
doth expect your reproach.
SHYLOCK So do I his.
LANCELET And they have conspired together—I will
not say you shall see a masque, but if you do, then it
was not for nothing that my nose fell a-bleeding on 25
Black Monday last, at six o’clock i’ th’ morning,
falling out that year on Ash Wednesday was four
year in th’ afternoon.
What, are there masques? Hear you me, Jessica,
Lock up my doors, and when you hear the drum 30
And the vile squealing of the wry-necked fife,
Clamber not you up to the casements then,
Nor thrust your head into the public street
To gaze on Christian fools with varnished faces,
But stop my house’s ears (I mean my casements). 35
Let not the sound of shallow fopp’ry enter
My sober house. By Jacob’s staff I swear
I have no mind of feasting forth tonight.
But I will go.—Go you before me, sirrah.
Say I will come. 40
LANCELET I will go before, sir. Aside to Jessica. Mistress,
look out at window for all this.
There will come a Christian by
Will be worth a Jewess’ eye. He exits.
What says that fool of Hagar’s offspring, ha? 45
His words were “Farewell, mistress,” nothing else.
The patch is kind enough, but a huge feeder,
Snail-slow in profit, and he sleeps by day
More than the wildcat. Drones hive not with me,
Therefore I part with him, and part with him 50
To one that I would have him help to waste
His borrowed purse. Well, Jessica, go in.
Perhaps I will return immediately.
Do as I bid you. Shut doors after you.
Fast bind, fast find— 55
A proverb never stale in thrifty mind. He exits.
Farewell, and if my fortune be not crossed,
I have a father, you a daughter, lost.
Enter the masquers, Gratiano and Salarino.
This is the penthouse under which Lorenzo
Desired us to make stand.
SALARINO His hour is almost past.
And it is marvel he outdwells his hour,
For lovers ever run before the clock. 5
O, ten times faster Venus’ pigeons fly
To seal love’s bonds new-made than they are wont
To keep obligèd faith unforfeited.
That ever holds. Who riseth from a feast
With that keen appetite that he sits down? 10
Where is the horse that doth untread again
His tedious measures with the unbated fire
That he did pace them first? All things that are,
Are with more spirit chasèd than enjoyed.
How like a younger or a prodigal 15
The scarfèd bark puts from her native bay,
Hugged and embracèd by the strumpet wind;
How like the prodigal doth she return
With overweathered ribs and raggèd sails,
Lean, rent, and beggared by the strumpet wind! 20
Here comes Lorenzo. More of this hereafter.
Sweet friends, your patience for my long abode.
Not I but my affairs have made you wait.
When you shall please to play the thieves for wives,
I’ll watch as long for you then. Approach. 25
Here dwells my father Jew.—Ho! Who’s within?
Enter Jessica above, dressed as a boy.
Who are you? Tell me for more certainty,
Albeit I’ll swear that I do know your tongue.
LORENZO Lorenzo, and thy love.
Lorenzo certain, and my love indeed, 30
For who love I so much? And now who knows
But you, Lorenzo, whether I am yours?
Heaven and thy thoughts are witness that thou art.
Here, catch this casket; it is worth the pains.
I am glad ’tis night, you do not look on me, 35
For I am much ashamed of my exchange.
But love is blind, and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit,
For if they could, Cupid himself would blush
To see me thus transformèd to a boy. 40
Descend, for you must be my torchbearer.
What, must I hold a candle to my shames?
They in themselves, good sooth, are too too light.
Why, ’tis an office of discovery, love,
And I should be obscured. 45
LORENZO So are you, sweet,
Even in the lovely garnish of a boy.
But come at once,
For the close night doth play the runaway,
And we are stayed for at Bassanio’s feast. 50
I will make fast the doors and gild myself
With some more ducats, and be with you straight.
Jessica exits, above.
Now, by my hood, a gentle and no Jew!
Beshrew me but I love her heartily,
For she is wise, if I can judge of her, 55
And fair she is, if that mine eyes be true,
And true she is, as she hath proved herself.
And therefore, like herself, wise, fair, and true,
Shall she be placèd in my constant soul.
Enter Jessica, below.
What, art thou come? On, gentleman, away! 60
Our masquing mates by this time for us stay.
All but Gratiano exit.
ANTONIO Who’s there?
GRATIANO Signior Antonio?
Fie, fie, Gratiano, where are all the rest?
’Tis nine o’clock! Our friends all stay for you. 65
No masque tonight; the wind is come about;
Bassanio presently will go aboard.
I have sent twenty out to seek for you.
I am glad on ’t. I desire no more delight
Than to be under sail and gone tonight. 70
Enter Portia with the Prince of Morocco and both
Go, draw aside the curtains and discover
The several caskets to this noble prince.
A curtain is drawn.
Now make your choice.
This first, of gold, who this inscription bears,
“Who chooseth me shall gain what many men 5
The second, silver, which this promise carries,
“Who chooseth me shall get as much as he
This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt, 10
“Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he
How shall I know if I do choose the right?
The one of them contains my picture, prince.
If you choose that, then I am yours withal. 15
Some god direct my judgment! Let me see.
I will survey th’ inscriptions back again.
What says this leaden casket?
“Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he
Must give—for what? For lead? Hazard for lead?
This casket threatens. Men that hazard all
Do it in hope of fair advantages.
A golden mind stoops not to shows of dross.
I’ll then nor give nor hazard aught for lead. 25
What says the silver with her virgin hue?
“Who chooseth me shall get as much as he
As much as he deserves—pause there, Morocco,
And weigh thy value with an even hand. 30
If thou beest rated by thy estimation,
Thou dost deserve enough; and yet enough
May not extend so far as to the lady.
And yet to be afeard of my deserving
Were but a weak disabling of myself. 35
As much as I deserve—why, that’s the lady!
I do in birth deserve her, and in fortunes,
In graces, and in qualities of breeding,
But more than these, in love I do deserve.
What if I strayed no farther, but chose here? 40
Let’s see once more this saying graved in gold:
“Who chooseth me shall gain what many men
Why, that’s the lady! All the world desires her.
From the four corners of the Earth they come 45
To kiss this shrine, this mortal, breathing saint.
The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds
Of wide Arabia are as throughfares now
For princes to come view fair Portia.
The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head 50
Spets in the face of heaven, is no bar
To stop the foreign spirits, but they come
As o’er a brook to see fair Portia.
One of these three contains her heavenly picture.
Is ’t like that lead contains her? ’Twere damnation 55
To think so base a thought. It were too gross
To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave.
Or shall I think in silver she’s immured,
Being ten times undervalued to tried gold?
O, sinful thought! Never so rich a gem 60
Was set in worse than gold. They have in England
A coin that bears the figure of an angel
Stamped in gold, but that’s insculped upon;
But here an angel in a golden bed
Lies all within.—Deliver me the key. 65
Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may.
There, take it, prince. Handing him the key. And if
my form lie there,
Then I am yours.
Morocco opens the gold casket.
MOROCCO O hell! What have we here? 70
A carrion death within whose empty eye
There is a written scroll. I’ll read the writing:
All that glisters is not gold—
Often have you heard that told.
Many a man his life hath sold 75
But my outside to behold.
Gilded tombs do worms infold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been enscrolled. 80
Fare you well, your suit is cold.
Cold indeed and labor lost!
Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost.
Portia, adieu. I have too grieved a heart
To take a tedious leave. Thus losers part. 85
He exits, with his train.
A gentle riddance! Draw the curtains, go.
Let all of his complexion choose me so.
Enter Salarino and Solanio.
Why, man, I saw Bassanio under sail;
With him is Gratiano gone along;
And in their ship I am sure Lorenzo is not.
The villain Jew with outcries raised the Duke,
Who went with him to search Bassanio’s ship. 5
He came too late; the ship was under sail.
But there the Duke was given to understand
That in a gondola were seen together
Lorenzo and his amorous Jessica.
Besides, Antonio certified the Duke 10
They were not with Bassanio in his ship.
I never heard a passion so confused,
So strange, outrageous, and so variable
As the dog Jew did utter in the streets.
“My daughter, O my ducats, O my daughter! 15
Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!
Justice, the law, my ducats, and my daughter,
A sealèd bag, two sealèd bags of ducats,
Of double ducats, stol’n from me by my daughter,
And jewels—two stones, two rich and precious 20
Stol’n by my daughter! Justice! Find the girl!
She hath the stones upon her, and the ducats.”
Why, all the boys in Venice follow him,
Crying “His stones, his daughter, and his ducats.” 25
Let good Antonio look he keep his day,
Or he shall pay for this.
SALARINO Marry, well remembered.
I reasoned with a Frenchman yesterday
Who told me, in the Narrow Seas that part 30
The French and English, there miscarrièd
A vessel of our country richly fraught.
I thought upon Antonio when he told me,
And wished in silence that it were not his.
You were best to tell Antonio what you hear— 35
Yet do not suddenly, for it may grieve him.
A kinder gentleman treads not the Earth.
I saw Bassanio and Antonio part.
Bassanio told him he would make some speed
Of his return. He answered “Do not so. 40
Slubber not business for my sake, Bassanio,
But stay the very riping of the time;
And for the Jew’s bond which he hath of me,
Let it not enter in your mind of love.
Be merry, and employ your chiefest thoughts 45
To courtship and such fair ostents of love
As shall conveniently become you there.”
And even there, his eye being big with tears,
Turning his face, he put his hand behind him,
And with affection wondrous sensible 50
He wrung Bassanio’s hand—and so they parted.
I think he only loves the world for him.
I pray thee, let us go and find him out
And quicken his embracèd heaviness
With some delight or other. 55
SALARINO Do we so.
Enter Nerissa and a Servitor.
Quick, quick, I pray thee, draw the curtain straight.
The Prince of Arragon hath ta’en his oath
And comes to his election presently.
Enter the Prince of Arragon, his train, and Portia.
Behold, there stand the caskets, noble prince.
If you choose that wherein I am contained, 5
Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemnized.
But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,
You must be gone from hence immediately.
I am enjoined by oath to observe three things:
First, never to unfold to anyone 10
Which casket ’twas I chose; next, if I fail
Of the right casket, never in my life
To woo a maid in way of marriage;
Lastly, if I do fail in fortune of my choice,
Immediately to leave you, and be gone. 15
To these injunctions everyone doth swear
That comes to hazard for my worthless self.
And so have I addressed me. Fortune now
To my heart’s hope! Gold, silver, and base lead.
“Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he 20
You shall look fairer ere I give or hazard.
What says the golden chest? Ha, let me see:
“Who chooseth me shall gain what many men
What many men desire—that “many” may be
By the fool multitude that choose by show,
Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach,
Which pries not to th’ interior, but like the martlet 30
Builds in the weather on the outward wall,
Even in the force and road of casualty.
I will not choose what many men desire,
Because I will not jump with common spirits
And rank me with the barbarous multitudes. 35
Why, then, to thee, thou silver treasure house.
Tell me once more what title thou dost bear.
“Who chooseth me shall get as much as he
And well said, too; for who shall go about 40
To cozen fortune and be honorable
Without the stamp of merit? Let none presume
To wear an undeservèd dignity.
O, that estates, degrees, and offices
Were not derived corruptly, and that clear honor 45
Were purchased by the merit of the wearer!
How many then should cover that stand bare?
How many be commanded that command?
How much low peasantry would then be gleaned
From the true seed of honor? And how much honor 50
Picked from the chaff and ruin of the times,
To be new varnished? Well, but to my choice.
“Who chooseth me shall get as much as he
I will assume desert. Give me a key for this, 55
He is given a key.
And instantly unlock my fortunes here.
He opens the silver casket.
Too long a pause for that which you find there.
What’s here? The portrait of a blinking idiot
Presenting me a schedule! I will read it.—
How much unlike art thou to Portia! 60
How much unlike my hopes and my deservings.
“Who chooseth me shall have as much as he
Did I deserve no more than a fool’s head?
Is that my prize? Are my deserts no better? 65
To offend and judge are distinct offices
And of opposèd natures.
ARRAGON What is here?
The fire seven times tried this;
Seven times tried that judgment is 70
That did never choose amiss.
Some there be that shadows kiss;
Such have but a shadow’s bliss.
There be fools alive, iwis,
Silvered o’er—and so was this. 75
Take what wife you will to bed,
I will ever be your head.
So begone; you are sped.
Still more fool I shall appear
By the time I linger here. 80
With one fool’s head I came to woo,
But I go away with two.
Sweet, adieu. I’ll keep my oath,
Patiently to bear my wroth. He exits with his train.
Thus hath the candle singed the moth. 85
O, these deliberate fools, when they do choose,
They have the wisdom by their wit to lose.
The ancient saying is no heresy:
Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.
PORTIA Come, draw the curtain, Nerissa. 90
Where is my lady?
PORTIA Here. What would my
Madam, there is alighted at your gate
A young Venetian, one that comes before 95
To signify th’ approaching of his lord,
From whom he bringeth sensible regreets;
To wit (besides commends and courteous breath),
Gifts of rich value; yet I have not seen
So likely an ambassador of love. 100
A day in April never came so sweet,
To show how costly summer was at hand,
As this fore-spurrer comes before his lord.
No more, I pray thee. I am half afeard
Thou wilt say anon he is some kin to thee, 105
Thou spend’st such high-day wit in praising him!
Come, come, Nerissa, for I long to see
Quick Cupid’s post that comes so mannerly.
Bassanio, Lord Love, if thy will it be!
Enter Solanio and Salarino.
SOLANIO Now, what news on the Rialto?
SALARINO Why, yet it lives there unchecked that Antonio
hath a ship of rich lading wracked on the
Narrow Seas—the Goodwins, I think they call the
place—a very dangerous flat, and fatal, where the 5
carcasses of many a tall ship lie buried, as they say,
if my gossip Report be an honest woman of her
SOLANIO I would she were as lying a gossip in that as
ever knapped ginger or made her neighbors believe 10
she wept for the death of a third husband. But
it is true, without any slips of prolixity or crossing
the plain highway of talk, that the good Antonio,
the honest Antonio—O, that I had a title good
enough to keep his name company!— 15
SALARINO Come, the full stop.
SOLANIO Ha, what sayest thou? Why, the end is, he
hath lost a ship.
SALARINO I would it might prove the end of his losses.
SOLANIO Let me say “amen” betimes, lest the devil 20
cross my prayer, for here he comes in the likeness
of a Jew.
How now, Shylock, what news among the
SHYLOCK You knew, none so well, none so well as you, 25
of my daughter’s flight.
SALARINO That’s certain. I for my part knew the tailor
that made the wings she flew withal.
SOLANIO And Shylock for his own part knew the bird
was fledge, and then it is the complexion of them 30
all to leave the dam.
SHYLOCK She is damned for it.
SALARINO That’s certain, if the devil may be her judge.
SHYLOCK My own flesh and blood to rebel!
SOLANIO Out upon it, old carrion! Rebels it at these 35
SHYLOCK I say my daughter is my flesh and my blood.
SALARINO There is more difference between thy flesh
and hers than between jet and ivory, more between
your bloods than there is between red wine and 40
Rhenish. But tell us, do you hear whether Antonio
have had any loss at sea or no?
SHYLOCK There I have another bad match! A bankrout,
a prodigal, who dare scarce show his head on
the Rialto, a beggar that was used to come so smug 45
upon the mart! Let him look to his bond. He was
wont to call me usurer; let him look to his bond. He
was wont to lend money for a Christian cur’sy; let
him look to his bond.
SALARINO Why, I am sure if he forfeit, thou wilt not 50
take his flesh! What’s that good for?
SHYLOCK To bait fish withal; if it will feed nothing else,
it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me and
hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses,
mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted 55
my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies—
and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not
a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions,
senses, affections, passions? Fed with the
same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to 60
the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer
as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not
bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you
poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall 65
we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will
resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian,
what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong
a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian
example? Why, revenge! The villainy you teach me I 70
will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the
Enter a man from Antonio.
SERVINGMAN Gentlemen, my master Antonio is at his
house and desires to speak with you both.
SALARINO We have been up and down to seek him. 75
SOLANIO Here comes another of the tribe; a third
cannot be matched unless the devil himself turn
Salarino, Solanio, and the Servingman exit.
SHYLOCK How now, Tubal, what news from Genoa?
Hast thou found my daughter? 80
TUBAL I often came where I did hear of her, but
cannot find her.
SHYLOCK Why, there, there, there, there! A diamond
gone cost me two thousand ducats in Frankfurt!
The curse never fell upon our nation till now, I 85
never felt it till now. Two thousand ducats in that,
and other precious, precious jewels! I would my
daughter were dead at my foot and the jewels in her
ear; would she were hearsed at my foot and the
ducats in her coffin. No news of them? Why so? And 90
I know not what’s spent in the search! Why, thou
loss upon loss! The thief gone with so much, and so
much to find the thief, and no satisfaction, no
revenge, nor no ill luck stirring but what lights a’ my
shoulders, no sighs but a’ my breathing, no tears but 95
a’ my shedding.
TUBAL Yes, other men have ill luck, too. Antonio, as I
heard in Genoa—
SHYLOCK What, what, what? Ill luck, ill luck?
TUBAL —hath an argosy cast away coming from 100
SHYLOCK I thank God, I thank God! Is it true, is it true?
TUBAL I spoke with some of the sailors that escaped
SHYLOCK I thank thee, good Tubal. Good news, good 105
news! Ha, ha, heard in Genoa—
TUBAL Your daughter spent in Genoa, as I heard, one
night fourscore ducats.
SHYLOCK Thou stick’st a dagger in me. I shall never
see my gold again. Fourscore ducats at a sitting, 110
TUBAL There came divers of Antonio’s creditors in my
company to Venice that swear he cannot choose
SHYLOCK I am very glad of it. I’ll plague him, I’ll 115
torture him. I am glad of it.
TUBAL One of them showed me a ring that he had of
your daughter for a monkey.
SHYLOCK Out upon her! Thou torturest me, Tubal. It
was my turquoise! I had it of Leah when I was a 120
bachelor. I would not have given it for a wilderness
TUBAL But Antonio is certainly undone.
SHYLOCK Nay, that’s true, that’s very true. Go, Tubal,
fee me an officer. Bespeak him a fortnight before. I 125
will have the heart of him if he forfeit, for were he
out of Venice I can make what merchandise I will.
Go, Tubal, and meet me at our synagogue. Go, good
Tubal, at our synagogue, Tubal.
Enter Bassanio, Portia, and all their trains, Gratiano,
I pray you tarry, pause a day or two
Before you hazard, for in choosing wrong
I lose your company; therefore forbear a while.
There’s something tells me (but it is not love)
I would not lose you, and you know yourself 5
Hate counsels not in such a quality.
But lest you should not understand me well
(And yet a maiden hath no tongue but thought)
I would detain you here some month or two
Before you venture for me. I could teach you 10
How to choose right, but then I am forsworn.
So will I never be. So may you miss me.
But if you do, you’ll make me wish a sin,
That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes,
They have o’erlooked me and divided me. 15
One half of me is yours, the other half yours—
Mine own, I would say—but if mine, then yours,
And so all yours. O, these naughty times
Puts bars between the owners and their rights!
And so though yours, not yours. Prove it so, 20
Let Fortune go to hell for it, not I.
I speak too long, but ’tis to peize the time,
To eche it, and to draw it out in length,
To stay you from election.
BASSANIO Let me choose, 25
For as I am, I live upon the rack.
Upon the rack, Bassanio? Then confess
What treason there is mingled with your love.
None but that ugly treason of mistrust,
Which makes me fear th’ enjoying of my love. 30
There may as well be amity and life
’Tween snow and fire, as treason and my love.
Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack
Where men enforcèd do speak anything.
Promise me life and I’ll confess the truth. 35
Well, then, confess and live.
BASSANIO “Confess and love”
Had been the very sum of my confession.
O happy torment, when my torturer
Doth teach me answers for deliverance! 40
But let me to my fortune and the caskets.
Away, then. I am locked in one of them.
If you do love me, you will find me out.—
Nerissa and the rest, stand all aloof.
Let music sound while he doth make his choice. 45
Then if he lose he makes a swanlike end,
Fading in music. That the comparison
May stand more proper, my eye shall be the stream
And wat’ry deathbed for him. He may win,
And what is music then? Then music is 50
Even as the flourish when true subjects bow
To a new-crownèd monarch. Such it is
As are those dulcet sounds in break of day
That creep into the dreaming bridegroom’s ear
And summon him to marriage. Now he goes, 55
With no less presence but with much more love
Than young Alcides when he did redeem
The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy
To the sea-monster. I stand for sacrifice;
The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives, 60
With blearèd visages, come forth to view
The issue of th’ exploit. Go, Hercules!
Live thou, I live. With much much more dismay
I view the fight than thou that mak’st the fray.
A song the whilst Bassanio comments on
the caskets to himself.
Tell me where is fancy bred, 65
Or in the heart, or in the head?
How begot, how nourishèd?
It is engendered in the eye,
With gazing fed, and fancy dies 70
In the cradle where it lies.
Let us all ring fancy’s knell.
I’ll begin it.—Ding, dong, bell.
ALL Ding, dong, bell.
So may the outward shows be least themselves; 75
The world is still deceived with ornament.
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt
But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,
Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
What damnèd error but some sober brow 80
Will bless it and approve it with a text,
Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
There is no vice so simple but assumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts.
How many cowards whose hearts are all as false 85
As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars,
Who inward searched have livers white as milk,
And these assume but valor’s excrement
To render them redoubted. Look on beauty, 90
And you shall see ’tis purchased by the weight,
Which therein works a miracle in nature,
Making them lightest that wear most of it.
So are those crispèd snaky golden locks,
Which maketh such wanton gambols with the wind 95
Upon supposèd fairness, often known
To be the dowry of a second head,
The skull that bred them in the sepulcher.
Thus ornament is but the guilèd shore
To a most dangerous sea, the beauteous scarf 100
Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,
The seeming truth which cunning times put on
To entrap the wisest. Therefore, then, thou gaudy
Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee. 105
Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge
’Tween man and man. But thou, thou meager lead,
Which rather threaten’st than dost promise aught,
Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence,
And here choose I. Joy be the consequence! 110
Bassanio is given a key.
How all the other passions fleet to air,
As doubtful thoughts and rash embraced despair,
And shudd’ring fear, and green-eyed jealousy!
O love, be moderate, allay thy ecstasy,
In measure rain thy joy, scant this excess! 115
I feel too much thy blessing. Make it less,
For fear I surfeit.
Bassanio opens the lead casket.
BASSANIO What find I here?
Fair Portia’s counterfeit! What demigod
Hath come so near creation? Move these eyes? 120
Or whether, riding on the balls of mine,
Seem they in motion? Here are severed lips
Parted with sugar breath; so sweet a bar
Should sunder such sweet friends. Here in her hairs
The painter plays the spider, and hath woven 125
A golden mesh t’ entrap the hearts of men
Faster than gnats in cobwebs. But her eyes!
How could he see to do them? Having made one,
Methinks it should have power to steal both his
And leave itself unfurnished. Yet look how far 130
The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow
In underprizing it, so far this shadow
Doth limp behind the substance. Here’s the scroll,
The continent and summary of my fortune.
He reads the scroll.
You that choose not by the view 135
Chance as fair and choose as true.
Since this fortune falls to you,
Be content and seek no new.
If you be well pleased with this
And hold your fortune for your bliss, 140
Turn you where your lady is,
And claim her with a loving kiss.
A gentle scroll! Fair lady, by your leave,
I come by note to give and to receive.
Like one of two contending in a prize 145
That thinks he hath done well in people’s eyes,
Hearing applause and universal shout,
Giddy in spirit, still gazing in a doubt
Whether those peals of praise be his or no,
So, thrice-fair lady, stand I even so, 150
As doubtful whether what I see be true,
Until confirmed, signed, ratified by you.
You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand,
Such as I am. Though for myself alone
I would not be ambitious in my wish 155
To wish myself much better, yet for you
I would be trebled twenty times myself,
A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times
More rich, that only to stand high in your account
I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends, 160
Exceed account. But the full sum of me
Is sum of something, which, to term in gross,
Is an unlessoned girl, unschooled, unpracticed;
Happy in this, she is not yet so old
But she may learn; happier than this, 165
She is not bred so dull but she can learn;
Happiest of all, is that her gentle spirit
Commits itself to yours to be directed
As from her lord, her governor, her king.
Myself, and what is mine, to you and yours 170
Is now converted. But now I was the lord
Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
Queen o’er myself; and even now, but now,
This house, these servants, and this same myself
Are yours, my lord’s. I give them with this ring, 175
Handing him a ring.
Which, when you part from, lose, or give away,
Let it presage the ruin of your love,
And be my vantage to exclaim on you.
Madam, you have bereft me of all words.
Only my blood speaks to you in my veins, 180
And there is such confusion in my powers
As after some oration fairly spoke
By a belovèd prince there doth appear
Among the buzzing pleasèd multitude,
Where every something being blent together 185
Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy
Expressed and not expressed. But when this ring
Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence.
O, then be bold to say Bassanio’s dead!
My lord and lady, it is now our time, 190
That have stood by and seen our wishes prosper,
To cry “Good joy, good joy, my lord and lady!”
My Lord Bassanio, and my gentle lady,
I wish you all the joy that you can wish,
For I am sure you can wish none from me. 195
And when your honors mean to solemnize
The bargain of your faith, I do beseech you
Even at that time I may be married too.
With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife.
I thank your Lordship, you have got me one. 200
My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours:
You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid.
You loved, I loved; for intermission
No more pertains to me, my lord, than you.
Your fortune stood upon the caskets there, 205
And so did mine, too, as the matter falls.
For wooing here until I sweat again,
And swearing till my very roof was dry
With oaths of love, at last (if promise last)
I got a promise of this fair one here 210
To have her love, provided that your fortune
Achieved her mistress.
PORTIA Is this true, Nerissa?
Madam, it is, so you stand pleased withal.
And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith? 215
GRATIANO Yes, faith, my lord.
Our feast shall be much honored in your marriage.
GRATIANO We’ll play with them the first boy for a
NERISSA What, and stake down? 220
GRATIANO No, we shall ne’er win at that sport and
Enter Lorenzo, Jessica, and Salerio, a messenger
But who comes here? Lorenzo and his infidel?
What, and my old Venetian friend Salerio?
Lorenzo and Salerio, welcome hither— 225
If that the youth of my new int’rest here
Have power to bid you welcome. To Portia. By
I bid my very friends and countrymen,
Sweet Portia, welcome. 230
So do I, my lord. They are entirely welcome.
LORENZO, to Bassanio
I thank your Honor. For my part, my lord,
My purpose was not to have seen you here,
But meeting with Salerio by the way,
He did entreat me past all saying nay 235
To come with him along.
SALERIO I did, my lord,
And I have reason for it. Handing him a paper.
Commends him to you. 240
BASSANIO Ere I ope his letter,
I pray you tell me how my good friend doth.
Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind,
Nor well, unless in mind. His letter there
Will show you his estate. 245
Bassanio opens the letter.
Nerissa, cheer yond stranger, bid her welcome.—
Your hand, Salerio. What’s the news from Venice?
How doth that royal merchant, good Antonio?
I know he will be glad of our success.
We are the Jasons, we have won the Fleece. 250
I would you had won the fleece that he hath lost.
There are some shrewd contents in yond same
That steals the color from Bassanio’s cheek.
Some dear friend dead, else nothing in the world 255
Could turn so much the constitution
Of any constant man. What, worse and worse?—
With leave, Bassanio, I am half yourself,
And I must freely have the half of anything
That this same paper brings you. 260
BASSANIO O sweet Portia,
Here are a few of the unpleasant’st words
That ever blotted paper. Gentle lady,
When I did first impart my love to you,
I freely told you all the wealth I had 265
Ran in my veins: I was a gentleman.
And then I told you true; and yet, dear lady,
Rating myself at nothing, you shall see
How much I was a braggart. When I told you
My state was nothing, I should then have told you 270
That I was worse than nothing; for indeed
I have engaged myself to a dear friend,
Engaged my friend to his mere enemy
To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady,
The paper as the body of my friend, 275
And every word in it a gaping wound
Issuing life blood.—But is it true, Salerio?
Hath all his ventures failed? What, not one hit?
From Tripolis, from Mexico and England,
From Lisbon, Barbary, and India, 280
And not one vessel ’scape the dreadful touch
Of merchant-marring rocks?
SALERIO Not one, my lord.
Besides, it should appear that if he had
The present money to discharge the Jew, 285
He would not take it. Never did I know
A creature that did bear the shape of man
So keen and greedy to confound a man.
He plies the Duke at morning and at night,
And doth impeach the freedom of the state 290
If they deny him justice. Twenty merchants,
The Duke himself, and the magnificoes
Of greatest port have all persuaded with him,
But none can drive him from the envious plea
Of forfeiture, of justice, and his bond. 295
When I was with him, I have heard him swear
To Tubal and to Chus, his countrymen,
That he would rather have Antonio’s flesh
Than twenty times the value of the sum
That he did owe him. And I know, my lord, 300
If law, authority, and power deny not,
It will go hard with poor Antonio.
Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble?
The dearest friend to me, the kindest man,
The best conditioned and unwearied spirit 305
In doing courtesies, and one in whom
The ancient Roman honor more appears
Than any that draws breath in Italy.
PORTIA What sum owes he the Jew?
For me, three thousand ducats. 310
PORTIA What, no more?
Pay him six thousand and deface the bond.
Double six thousand and then treble that,
Before a friend of this description
Shall lose a hair through Bassanio’s fault. 315
First go with me to church and call me wife,
And then away to Venice to your friend!
For never shall you lie by Portia’s side
With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold
To pay the petty debt twenty times over. 320
When it is paid, bring your true friend along.
My maid Nerissa and myself meantime
Will live as maids and widows. Come, away,
For you shall hence upon your wedding day.
Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheer; 325
Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.
But let me hear the letter of your friend.
Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all miscarried, my
creditors grow cruel, my estate is very low, my bond to
the Jew is forfeit, and since in paying it, it is impossible 330
I should live, all debts are cleared between you and I if
I might but see you at my death. Notwithstanding, use
your pleasure. If your love do not persuade you to
come, let not my letter.
O love, dispatch all business and begone! 335
Since I have your good leave to go away,
I will make haste. But till I come again,
No bed shall e’er be guilty of my stay,
Nor rest be interposer ’twixt us twain.
Enter Shylock, the Jew, and Solanio, and Antonio,
and the Jailer.
Jailer, look to him. Tell not me of mercy.
This is the fool that lent out money gratis.
Jailer, look to him.
ANTONIO Hear me yet, good Shylock—
I’ll have my bond. Speak not against my bond. 5
I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond.
Thou call’dst me dog before thou hadst a cause,
But since I am a dog, beware my fangs.
The Duke shall grant me justice.—I do wonder,
Thou naughty jailer, that thou art so fond 10
To come abroad with him at his request.
ANTONIO I pray thee, hear me speak—
I’ll have my bond. I will not hear thee speak.
I’ll have my bond, and therefore speak no more.
I’ll not be made a soft and dull-eyed fool, 15
To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield
To Christian intercessors. Follow not!
I’ll have no speaking. I will have my bond. He exits.
It is the most impenetrable cur
That ever kept with men. 20
ANTONIO Let him alone.
I’ll follow him no more with bootless prayers.
He seeks my life. His reason well I know:
I oft delivered from his forfeitures
Many that have at times made moan to me. 25
Therefore he hates me.
SOLANIO I am sure the Duke
Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.
The Duke cannot deny the course of law,
For the commodity that strangers have 30
With us in Venice, if it be denied,
Will much impeach the justice of the state,
Since that the trade and profit of the city
Consisteth of all nations. Therefore go.
These griefs and losses have so bated me 35
That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh
Tomorrow to my bloody creditor.—
Well, jailer, on.—Pray God Bassanio come
To see me pay his debt, and then I care not.
Enter Portia, Nerissa, Lorenzo, Jessica, and Balthazar,
a man of Portia’s.
Madam, although I speak it in your presence,
You have a noble and a true conceit
Of godlike amity, which appears most strongly
In bearing thus the absence of your lord.
But if you knew to whom you show this honor, 5
How true a gentleman you send relief,
How dear a lover of my lord your husband,
I know you would be prouder of the work
Than customary bounty can enforce you.
I never did repent for doing good, 10
Nor shall not now; for in companions
That do converse and waste the time together,
Whose souls do bear an equal yoke of love,
There must be needs a like proportion
Of lineaments, of manners, and of spirit; 15
Which makes me think that this Antonio,
Being the bosom lover of my lord,
Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,
How little is the cost I have bestowed
In purchasing the semblance of my soul 20
From out the state of hellish cruelty!
This comes too near the praising of myself;
Therefore no more of it. Hear other things:
Lorenzo, I commit into your hands
The husbandry and manage of my house 25
Until my lord’s return. For mine own part,
I have toward heaven breathed a secret vow
To live in prayer and contemplation,
Only attended by Nerissa here,
Until her husband and my lord’s return. 30
There is a monastery two miles off,
And there we will abide. I do desire you
Not to deny this imposition,
The which my love and some necessity
Now lays upon you. 35
LORENZO Madam, with all my heart.
I shall obey you in all fair commands.
My people do already know my mind
And will acknowledge you and Jessica
In place of Lord Bassanio and myself. 40
So fare you well till we shall meet again.
Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!
I wish your Ladyship all heart’s content.
I thank you for your wish, and am well pleased
To wish it back on you. Fare you well, Jessica. 45
Lorenzo and Jessica exit.
As I have ever found thee honest true,
So let me find thee still: take this same letter,
And use thou all th’ endeavor of a man
In speed to Padua. See thou render this 50
Into my cousin’s hands, Doctor Bellario.
She gives him a paper.
And look what notes and garments he doth give
Bring them, I pray thee, with imagined speed
Unto the traject, to the common ferry 55
Which trades to Venice. Waste no time in words,
But get thee gone. I shall be there before thee.
Madam, I go with all convenient speed. He exits.
Come on, Nerissa, I have work in hand
That you yet know not of. We’ll see our husbands 60
Before they think of us.
NERISSA Shall they see us?
They shall, Nerissa, but in such a habit
That they shall think we are accomplishèd
With that we lack. I’ll hold thee any wager, 65
When we are both accoutered like young men,
I’ll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
And wear my dagger with the braver grace,
And speak between the change of man and boy
With a reed voice, and turn two mincing steps 70
Into a manly stride, and speak of frays
Like a fine bragging youth, and tell quaint lies
How honorable ladies sought my love,
Which I denying, they fell sick and died—
I could not do withal!—then I’ll repent, 75
And wish, for all that, that I had not killed them.
And twenty of these puny lies I’ll tell,
That men shall swear I have discontinued school
Above a twelvemonth. I have within my mind
A thousand raw tricks of these bragging jacks 80
Which I will practice.
NERISSA Why, shall we turn to men?
PORTIA Fie, what a question’s that,
If thou wert near a lewd interpreter!
But come, I’ll tell thee all my whole device 85
When I am in my coach, which stays for us
At the park gate; and therefore haste away,
For we must measure twenty miles today.
Enter Lancelet, the Clown, and Jessica.
LANCELET Yes, truly, for look you, the sins of the father
are to be laid upon the children. Therefore I
promise you I fear you. I was always plain with you,
and so now I speak my agitation of the matter.
Therefore be o’ good cheer, for truly I think you 5
are damned. There is but one hope in it that can do
you any good, and that is but a kind of bastard hope
JESSICA And what hope is that, I pray thee?
LANCELET Marry, you may partly hope that your father 10
got you not, that you are not the Jew’s daughter.
JESSICA That were a kind of bastard hope indeed; so
the sins of my mother should be visited upon me!
LANCELET Truly, then, I fear you are damned both by
father and mother; thus when I shun Scylla your 15
father, I fall into Charybdis your mother. Well, you
are gone both ways.
JESSICA I shall be saved by my husband. He hath made
me a Christian.
LANCELET Truly the more to blame he! We were Christians 20
enow before, e’en as many as could well live
one by another. This making of Christians will
raise the price of hogs. If we grow all to be pork
eaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on the
coals for money. 25
JESSICA I’ll tell my husband, Lancelet, what you say.
Here he comes.
LORENZO I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Lancelet,
if you thus get my wife into corners!
JESSICA Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo. Lancelet 30
and I are out. He tells me flatly there’s no mercy for
me in heaven because I am a Jew’s daughter; and
he says you are no good member of the commonwealth,
for in converting Jews to Christians you
raise the price of pork. 35
LORENZO I shall answer that better to the commonwealth
than you can the getting up of the Negro’s
belly! The Moor is with child by you, Lancelet.
LANCELET It is much that the Moor should be more
than reason; but if she be less than an honest 40
woman, she is indeed more than I took her for.
LORENZO How every fool can play upon the word! I
think the best grace of wit will shortly turn into
silence, and discourse grow commendable in none
only but parrots. Go in, sirrah, bid them prepare for 45
LANCELET That is done, sir. They have all stomachs.
LORENZO Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are you!
Then bid them prepare dinner.
LANCELET That is done too, sir, only “cover” is the 50
LORENZO Will you cover, then, sir?
LANCELET Not so, sir, neither! I know my duty.
LORENZO Yet more quarreling with occasion! Wilt
thou show the whole wealth of thy wit in an 55
instant? I pray thee understand a plain man in his
plain meaning: go to thy fellows, bid them cover the
table, serve in the meat, and we will come in to
LANCELET For the table, sir, it shall be served in; for 60
the meat, sir, it shall be covered; for your coming in
to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humors and conceits
shall govern. Lancelet exits.
O dear discretion, how his words are suited!
The fool hath planted in his memory 65
An army of good words, and I do know
A many fools that stand in better place,
Garnished like him, that for a tricksy word
Defy the matter. How cheer’st thou, Jessica?
And now, good sweet, say thy opinion 70
How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio’s wife?
Past all expressing. It is very meet
The Lord Bassanio live an upright life,
For having such a blessing in his lady
He finds the joys of heaven here on Earth, 75
And if on Earth he do not merit it,
In reason he should never come to heaven.
Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match,
And on the wager lay two earthly women,
And Portia one, there must be something else 80
Pawned with the other, for the poor rude world
Hath not her fellow.
LORENZO Even such a husband
Hast thou of me as she is for a wife.
Nay, but ask my opinion too of that! 85
I will anon. First let us go to dinner.
Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach!
No, pray thee, let it serve for table talk.
Then howsome’er thou speak’st, ’mong other things
I shall digest it. 90
JESSICA Well, I’ll set you forth.
Enter the Duke, the Magnificoes, Antonio, Bassanio,
Salerio, and Gratiano, with Attendants.
DUKE What, is Antonio here?
ANTONIO Ready, so please your Grace.
I am sorry for thee. Thou art come to answer
A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch,
Uncapable of pity, void and empty 5
From any dram of mercy.
ANTONIO I have heard
Your Grace hath ta’en great pains to qualify
His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate,
And that no lawful means can carry me 10
Out of his envy’s reach, I do oppose
My patience to his fury, and am armed
To suffer with a quietness of spirit
The very tyranny and rage of his.
Go, one, and call the Jew into the court. 15
He is ready at the door. He comes, my lord.
Make room, and let him stand before our face.—
Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
That thou but leadest this fashion of thy malice
To the last hour of act, and then, ’tis thought, 20
Thou ’lt show thy mercy and remorse more strange
Than is thy strange apparent cruelty;
And where thou now exacts the penalty,
Which is a pound of this poor merchant’s flesh,
Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture, 25
But, touched with humane gentleness and love,
Forgive a moi’ty of the principal,
Glancing an eye of pity on his losses
That have of late so huddled on his back,
Enow to press a royal merchant down 30
And pluck commiseration of his state
From brassy bosoms and rough hearts of flint,
From stubborn Turks, and Tartars never trained
To offices of tender courtesy.
We all expect a gentle answer, Jew. 35
I have possessed your Grace of what I purpose,
And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn
To have the due and forfeit of my bond.
If you deny it, let the danger light
Upon your charter and your city’s freedom! 40
You’ll ask me why I rather choose to have
A weight of carrion flesh than to receive
Three thousand ducats. I’ll not answer that,
But say it is my humor. Is it answered?
What if my house be troubled with a rat, 45
And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats
To have it baned? What, are you answered yet?
Some men there are love not a gaping pig,
Some that are mad if they behold a cat,
And others, when the bagpipe sings i’ th’ nose, 50
Cannot contain their urine; for affection
Masters oft passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes or loathes. Now for your answer:
As there is no firm reason to be rendered
Why he cannot abide a gaping pig, 55
Why he a harmless necessary cat,
Why he a woolen bagpipe, but of force
Must yield to such inevitable shame
As to offend, himself being offended,
So can I give no reason, nor I will not, 60
More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing
I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
A losing suit against him. Are you answered?
This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
To excuse the current of thy cruelty. 65
I am not bound to please thee with my answers.
Do all men kill the things they do not love?
Hates any man the thing he would not kill?
Every offence is not a hate at first.
What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice? 70
ANTONIO, to Bassanio
I pray you, think you question with the Jew.
You may as well go stand upon the beach
And bid the main flood bate his usual height;
You may as well use question with the wolf
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb; 75
You may as well forbid the mountain pines
To wag their high tops and to make no noise
When they are fretten with the gusts of heaven;
You may as well do anything most hard
As seek to soften that than which what’s harder?— 80
His Jewish heart. Therefore I do beseech you
Make no more offers, use no farther means,
But with all brief and plain conveniency
Let me have judgment and the Jew his will.
For thy three thousand ducats here is six. 85
If every ducat in six thousand ducats
Were in six parts, and every part a ducat,
I would not draw them. I would have my bond.
How shalt thou hope for mercy, rend’ring none?
What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong? 90
You have among you many a purchased slave,
Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,
You use in abject and in slavish parts
Because you bought them. Shall I say to you
“Let them be free! Marry them to your heirs! 95
Why sweat they under burdens? Let their beds
Be made as soft as yours, and let their palates
Be seasoned with such viands”? You will answer
“The slaves are ours!” So do I answer you:
The pound of flesh which I demand of him 100
Is dearly bought; ’tis mine and I will have it.
If you deny me, fie upon your law:
There is no force in the decrees of Venice.
I stand for judgment. Answer: shall I have it?
Upon my power I may dismiss this court 105
Unless Bellario, a learnèd doctor
Whom I have sent for to determine this,
Come here today.
SALERIO My lord, here stays without
A messenger with letters from the doctor, 110
New come from Padua.
Bring us the letters. Call the messenger.
Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet!
The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones, and all
Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood! 115
I am a tainted wether of the flock,
Meetest for death. The weakest kind of fruit
Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me.
You cannot better be employed, Bassanio,
Than to live still and write mine epitaph. 120
Enter Nerissa, disguised as a lawyer’s clerk.
Came you from Padua, from Bellario?
NERISSA, as Clerk
From both, my lord. Bellario greets your Grace.
Handing him a paper, which he reads, aside, while
Shylock sharpens his knife on the sole of his shoe.
Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?
To cut the forfeiture from that bankrout there.
Not on thy sole but on thy soul, harsh Jew, 125
Thou mak’st thy knife keen. But no metal can,
No, not the hangman’s axe, bear half the keenness
Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?
No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.
O, be thou damned, inexecrable dog, 130
And for thy life let justice be accused;
Thou almost mak’st me waver in my faith,
To hold opinion with Pythagoras
That souls of animals infuse themselves
Into the trunks of men. Thy currish spirit 135
Governed a wolf who, hanged for human slaughter,
Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,
And whilst thou layest in thy unhallowed dam,
Infused itself in thee, for thy desires
Are wolfish, bloody, starved, and ravenous. 140
Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,
Thou but offend’st thy lungs to speak so loud.
Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall
To cureless ruin. I stand here for law.
This letter from Bellario doth commend 145
A young and learnèd doctor to our court.
Where is he?
NERISSA, as Clerk He attendeth here hard by
To know your answer whether you’ll admit him.
With all my heart.—Some three or four of you 150
Go give him courteous conduct to this place.
Meantime the court shall hear Bellario’s letter.
Your Grace shall understand that, at the receipt of
your letter, I am very sick, but in the instant that your
messenger came, in loving visitation was with me a 155
young doctor of Rome. His name is Balthazar. I
acquainted him with the cause in controversy between
the Jew and Antonio the merchant. We turned o’er
many books together. He is furnished with my opinion,
which, bettered with his own learning (the greatness 160
whereof I cannot enough commend), comes with
him at my importunity to fill up your Grace’s request
in my stead. I beseech you let his lack of years be no
impediment to let him lack a reverend estimation, for I
never knew so young a body with so old a head. I 165
leave him to your gracious acceptance, whose trial
shall better publish his commendation.
You hear the learnèd Bellario what he writes.
Enter Portia for Balthazar, disguised as a doctor of
laws, with Attendants.
And here I take it is the doctor come.—
Give me your hand. Come you from old Bellario? 170
PORTIA, as Balthazar
I did, my lord.
DUKE You are welcome. Take your place.
Are you acquainted with the difference
That holds this present question in the court?
PORTIA, as Balthazar
I am informèd throughly of the cause. 175
Which is the merchant here? And which the Jew?
Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
Is your name Shylock?
SHYLOCK Shylock is my name.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
Of a strange nature is the suit you follow, 180
Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.
To Antonio. You stand within his danger, do you
Ay, so he says. 185
PORTIA, as Balthazar Do you confess the bond?
PORTIA, as Balthazar Then must the Jew be merciful.
On what compulsion must I? Tell me that.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
The quality of mercy is not strained. 190
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
’Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown. 195
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptered sway.
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings; 200
It is an attribute to God Himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this:
That in the course of justice none of us 205
Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy,
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea,
Which, if thou follow, this strict court of Venice 210
Must needs give sentence ’gainst the merchant
My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,
The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
Is he not able to discharge the money? 215
Yes. Here I tender it for him in the court,
Yea, twice the sum. If that will not suffice,
I will be bound to pay it ten times o’er
On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart.
If this will not suffice, it must appear 220
That malice bears down truth. To the Duke. And I
Wrest once the law to your authority.
To do a great right, do a little wrong,
And curb this cruel devil of his will. 225
PORTIA, as Balthazar
It must not be. There is no power in Venice
Can alter a decree establishèd;
’Twill be recorded for a precedent
And many an error by the same example
Will rush into the state. It cannot be. 230
A Daniel come to judgment! Yea, a Daniel.
O wise young judge, how I do honor thee!
PORTIA, as Balthazar
I pray you let me look upon the bond.
Here ’tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.
Handing Portia a paper.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
Shylock, there’s thrice thy money offered thee. 235
An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven!
Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
No, not for Venice!
PORTIA, as Balthazar Why, this bond is forfeit,
And lawfully by this the Jew may claim 240
A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
Nearest the merchant’s heart.—Be merciful;
Take thrice thy money; bid me tear the bond.
When it is paid according to the tenor.
It doth appear you are a worthy judge; 245
You know the law; your exposition
Hath been most sound. I charge you by the law,
Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar,
Proceed to judgment. By my soul I swear
There is no power in the tongue of man 250
To alter me. I stay here on my bond.
Most heartily I do beseech the court
To give the judgment.
PORTIA, as Balthazar Why, then, thus it is:
You must prepare your bosom for his knife— 255
O noble judge! O excellent young man!
PORTIA, as Balthazar
For the intent and purpose of the law
Hath full relation to the penalty,
Which here appeareth due upon the bond.
’Tis very true. O wise and upright judge, 260
How much more elder art thou than thy looks!
PORTIA, as Balthazar, to Antonio
Therefore lay bare your bosom—
SHYLOCK Ay, his breast!
So says the bond, doth it not, noble judge?
“Nearest his heart.” Those are the very words. 265
PORTIA, as Balthazar
It is so.
Are there balance here to weigh the flesh?
SHYLOCK I have them ready.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,
To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death. 270
Is it so nominated in the bond?
PORTIA, as Balthazar
It is not so expressed, but what of that?
’Twere good you do so much for charity.
I cannot find it. ’Tis not in the bond.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
You, merchant, have you anything to say? 275
But little. I am armed and well prepared.—
Give me your hand, Bassanio. Fare you well.
Grieve not that I am fall’n to this for you,
For herein Fortune shows herself more kind
Than is her custom: it is still her use 280
To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
An age of poverty, from which ling’ring penance
Of such misery doth she cut me off.
Commend me to your honorable wife, 285
Tell her the process of Antonio’s end,
Say how I loved you, speak me fair in death,
And when the tale is told, bid her be judge
Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
Repent but you that you shall lose your friend 290
And he repents not that he pays your debt.
For if the Jew do cut but deep enough,
I’ll pay it instantly with all my heart.
Antonio, I am married to a wife
Which is as dear to me as life itself, 295
But life itself, my wife, and all the world
Are not with me esteemed above thy life.
I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all
Here to this devil, to deliver you.
Your wife would give you little thanks for that 300
If she were by to hear you make the offer.
I have a wife who I protest I love.
I would she were in heaven, so she could
Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.
’Tis well you offer it behind her back. 305
The wish would make else an unquiet house.
These be the Christian husbands! I have a
Would any of the stock of Barabbas
Had been her husband, rather than a Christian! 310
We trifle time. I pray thee, pursue sentence.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
A pound of that same merchant’s flesh is thine:
The court awards it, and the law doth give it.
SHYLOCK Most rightful judge!
PORTIA, as Balthazar
And you must cut this flesh from off his breast: 315
The law allows it, and the court awards it.
Most learnèd judge! A sentence!—Come, prepare.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
Tarry a little. There is something else.
This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood.
The words expressly are “a pound of flesh.” 320
Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh,
But in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
Are by the laws of Venice confiscate
Unto the state of Venice. 325
O upright judge!—Mark, Jew.—O learnèd judge!
Is that the law?
PORTIA, as Balthazar Thyself shalt see the act.
For, as thou urgest justice, be assured
Thou shalt have justice more than thou desir’st. 330
O learnèd judge!—Mark, Jew, a learnèd judge!
I take this offer then. Pay the bond thrice
And let the Christian go.
BASSANIO Here is the money.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
Soft! The Jew shall have all justice. Soft, no haste! 335
He shall have nothing but the penalty.
O Jew, an upright judge, a learnèd judge!
PORTIA, as Balthazar
Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh.
Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more
But just a pound of flesh. If thou tak’st more 340
Or less than a just pound, be it but so much
As makes it light or heavy in the substance
Or the division of the twentieth part
Of one poor scruple—nay, if the scale do turn
But in the estimation of a hair, 345
Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.
A second Daniel! A Daniel, Jew!
Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
Why doth the Jew pause? Take thy forfeiture.
Give me my principal and let me go. 350
I have it ready for thee. Here it is.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
He hath refused it in the open court.
He shall have merely justice and his bond.
A Daniel still, say I! A second Daniel!—
I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word. 355
Shall I not have barely my principal?
PORTIA, as Balthazar
Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture
To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.
Why, then, the devil give him good of it!
I’ll stay no longer question. He begins to exit. 360
PORTIA, as Balthazar Tarry, Jew.
The law hath yet another hold on you.
It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
If it be proved against an alien
That by direct or indirect attempts 365
He seek the life of any citizen,
The party ’gainst the which he doth contrive
Shall seize one half his goods; the other half
Comes to the privy coffer of the state,
And the offender’s life lies in the mercy 370
Of the Duke only, ’gainst all other voice.
In which predicament I say thou stand’st,
For it appears by manifest proceeding
That indirectly, and directly too,
Thou hast contrived against the very life 375
Of the defendant, and thou hast incurred
The danger formerly by me rehearsed.
Down, therefore, and beg mercy of the Duke.
Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself!
And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state, 380
Thou hast not left the value of a cord;
Therefore thou must be hanged at the state’s
That thou shalt see the difference of our spirit,
I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it. 385
For half thy wealth, it is Antonio’s;
The other half comes to the general state,
Which humbleness may drive unto a fine.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
Ay, for the state, not for Antonio.
Nay, take my life and all. Pardon not that. 390
You take my house when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house; you take my life
When you do take the means whereby I live.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
What mercy can you render him, Antonio?
A halter gratis, nothing else, for God’s sake! 395
So please my lord the Duke and all the court
To quit the fine for one half of his goods,
I am content, so he will let me have
The other half in use, to render it
Upon his death unto the gentleman 400
That lately stole his daughter.
Two things provided more: that for this favor
He presently become a Christian;
The other, that he do record a gift,
Here in the court, of all he dies possessed 405
Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.
He shall do this, or else I do recant
The pardon that I late pronouncèd here.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
Art thou contented, Jew? What dost thou say?
I am content. 410
PORTIA, as Balthazar Clerk, draw a deed of gift.
I pray you give me leave to go from hence.
I am not well. Send the deed after me
And I will sign it.
DUKE Get thee gone, but do it. 415
In christ’ning shalt thou have two godfathers.
Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more,
To bring thee to the gallows, not to the font.
DUKE, to Portia as Balthazar
Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
I humbly do desire your Grace of pardon. 420
I must away this night toward Padua,
And it is meet I presently set forth.
I am sorry that your leisure serves you not.—
Antonio, gratify this gentleman,
For in my mind you are much bound to him. 425
The Duke and his train exit.
BASSANIO, to Portia as Balthazar
Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend
Have by your wisdom been this day acquitted
Of grievous penalties, in lieu whereof
Three thousand ducats due unto the Jew
We freely cope your courteous pains withal. 430
And stand indebted, over and above,
In love and service to you evermore.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
He is well paid that is well satisfied,
And I, delivering you, am satisfied,
And therein do account myself well paid. 435
My mind was never yet more mercenary.
I pray you know me when we meet again.
I wish you well, and so I take my leave.
She begins to exit.
Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further.
Take some remembrance of us as a tribute, 440
Not as fee. Grant me two things, I pray you:
Not to deny me, and to pardon me.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
You press me far, and therefore I will yield.
Give me your gloves; I’ll wear them for your sake—
And for your love I’ll take this ring from you. 445
Do not draw back your hand; I’ll take no more,
And you in love shall not deny me this.
This ring, good sir? Alas, it is a trifle.
I will not shame myself to give you this.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
I will have nothing else but only this. 450
And now methinks I have a mind to it.
There’s more depends on this than on the value.
The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,
And find it out by proclamation.
Only for this, I pray you pardon me. 455
PORTIA, as Balthazar
I see, sir, you are liberal in offers.
You taught me first to beg, and now methinks
You teach me how a beggar should be answered.
Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife,
And when she put it on, she made me vow 460
That I should neither sell nor give nor lose it.
PORTIA, as Balthazar
That ’scuse serves many men to save their gifts.
And if your wife be not a madwoman,
And know how well I have deserved this ring,
She would not hold out enemy forever 465
For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you.
Portia and Nerissa exit.
My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring.
Let his deservings and my love withal
Be valued ’gainst your wife’s commandment.
Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him. 470
Give him the ring, and bring him if thou canst
Unto Antonio’s house. Away, make haste.
Come, you and I will thither presently,
And in the morning early will we both
Fly toward Belmont.—Come, Antonio. 475
Enter Portia and Nerissa, still in disguise.
Inquire the Jew’s house out; give him this deed
And let him sign it. She gives Nerissa a paper. We’ll
And be a day before our husbands home.
This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo. 5
Fair sir, you are well o’erta’en.
My Lord Bassanio, upon more advice,
Hath sent you here this ring, and doth entreat
Your company at dinner. He gives her a ring.
PORTIA, as Balthazar That cannot be. 10
His ring I do accept most thankfully,
And so I pray you tell him. Furthermore,
I pray you show my youth old Shylock’s house.
That will I do.
NERISSA, as Clerk Sir, I would speak with you. 15
Aside to Portia. I’ll see if I can get my husband’s
Which I did make him swear to keep forever.
PORTIA, aside to Nerissa
Thou mayst, I warrant! We shall have old swearing
That they did give the rings away to men; 20
But we’ll outface them, and outswear them, too.—
Away, make haste! Thou know’st where I will tarry.
NERISSA, as Clerk
Come, good sir, will you show me to this house?
Enter Lorenzo and Jessica.
The moon shines bright. In such a night as this,
When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees
And they did make no noise, in such a night
Troilus, methinks, mounted the Trojan walls
And sighed his soul toward the Grecian tents 5
Where Cressid lay that night.
JESSICA In such a night
Did Thisbe fearfully o’ertrip the dew
And saw the lion’s shadow ere himself
And ran dismayed away. 10
LORENZO In such a night
Stood Dido with a willow in her hand
Upon the wild sea-banks, and waft her love
To come again to Carthage.
JESSICA In such a night 15
Medea gathered the enchanted herbs
That did renew old Aeson.
LORENZO In such a night
Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew,
And with an unthrift love did run from Venice 20
As far as Belmont.
JESSICA In such a night
Did young Lorenzo swear he loved her well,
Stealing her soul with many vows of faith,
And ne’er a true one. 25
LORENZO In such a night
Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,
Slander her love, and he forgave it her.
I would out-night you did nobody come,
But hark, I hear the footing of a man. 30
Enter Stephano, a Messenger.
Who comes so fast in silence of the night?
STEPHANO A friend.
A friend? What friend? Your name, I pray you,
Stephano is my name, and I bring word 35
My mistress will before the break of day
Be here at Belmont. She doth stray about
By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays
For happy wedlock hours.
LORENZO Who comes with her? 40
None but a holy hermit and her maid.
I pray you, is my master yet returned?
He is not, nor we have not heard from him.—
But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica,
And ceremoniously let us prepare 45
Some welcome for the mistress of the house.
Enter Lancelet, the Clown.
LANCELET Sola, sola! Wo ha, ho! Sola, sola!
LORENZO Who calls?
LANCELET Sola! Did you see Master Lorenzo? Master
Lorenzo, sola, sola! 50
LORENZO Leave holloaing, man! Here.
LANCELET Sola! Where, where?
LANCELET Tell him there’s a post come from my master
with his horn full of good news. My master will 55
be here ere morning, sweet soul. Lancelet exits.
LORENZO, to Jessica
Let’s in, and there expect their coming.
And yet no matter; why should we go in?—
My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you,
Within the house, your mistress is at hand, 60
And bring your music forth into the air.
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank.
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears; soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony. 65
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patens of bright gold.
There’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still choiring to the young-eyed cherubins. 70
Such harmony is in immortal souls,
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
Enter Stephano and musicians.
Come, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn.
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress’ ear, 75
And draw her home with music.
I am never merry when I hear sweet music.
The reason is, your spirits are attentive.
For do but note a wild and wanton herd
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts, 80