Skip to main content

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












Scene 1

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,

when?                                                                                                70

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

fools.                                                                                                105

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.

They exit.


Scene 2

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

come?                                                                                                35

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

Bon?                                                                                                   55

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

fair lady.

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.

They exit.


Scene 3

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



Enter Antonio.


BASSANIO  This is Signior Antonio.                                                   40

SHYLOCK, aside

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

ducats.                                                                                                70

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

you:                                                                                                    75

Methoughts you said you neither lend nor borrow

Upon advantage.

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

Shylock exits.

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.

They exit.








Scene 1

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!

They exit.


Scene 2

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

be.                                                                                                      85

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.


Enter Gratiano.


GRATIANO, to Leonardo  Where’s your master?

LEONARDO  Yonder, sir, he walks.                               Leonardo exits.

GRATIANO  Signior Bassanio!                                                           175

BASSANIO  Gratiano!

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

They exit.


Scene 3

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

Lancelet exits.

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.

She exits.


Scene 4

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.


Enter Lancelet.


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.

Lancelet exits.

Go, gentlemen,

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.

They exit.



Scene 5

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


Enter Jessica.


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.

She exits.


Scene 6

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


Enter Lorenzo.



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.


Enter Antonio.


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

They exit.


Scene 7

Enter Portia with the Prince of Morocco and both
their trains.



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

hath.”                                                                                                 20

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.

They exit.


Scene 8

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.

They exit.


Scene 9

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

desire.”                                                                                              25

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?

He reads.


           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


Enter Messenger.



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!

They exit.








Scene 1

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.


Enter Shylock.


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


Enter Tubal.


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

the wrack.

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

fourscore ducats!

TUBAL  There came divers of Antonio’s creditors in my

company to Venice that swear he cannot choose

but break.

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

of monkeys.

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.

They exit.


Scene 2

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?

              Reply, reply.

           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.

PORTIA, aside

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

thousand ducats.

NERISSA  What, and stake down?                                                      220

GRATIANO  No, we shall ne’er win at that sport and

stake down.


Enter Lorenzo, Jessica, and Salerio, a messenger
from Venice.


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

your leave,

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.

Signior Antonio

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.

They exit.


Scene 3

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.

They exit.


Scene 4

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.

Now, Balthazar,

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.

They exit.


Scene 5

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


Enter Lorenzo.


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.

They exit.








Scene 1

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.


Enter Shylock.



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.

Attendants exit.

Meantime the court shall hear Bellario’s letter.

He reads.

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?


I do.

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

beseech you,

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.

PORTIA, aside

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.

NERISSA, aside

’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.

Shylock exits.

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.

Gratiano exits.

Come, you and I will thither presently,

And in the morning early will we both

Fly toward Belmont.—Come, Antonio.                                          475

They exit.


Scene 2

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

away tonight,

And be a day before our husbands home.

This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo.                                       5


Enter Gratiano.



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.

She exits.

NERISSA, as Clerk

Come, good sir, will you show me to this house?

They exit.








Scene 1

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.

Stephano exits.

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.

Music plays.


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