William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (1596-97)

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)  


This is a part of a collection of works by William Shakespeare.


The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (London: Oxford University Press, 1916).

See the complete volume in HTML and facs. PDF.



Table of Contents







Duke of Venice.
Prince of Morocco, } Suitors to Portia.
Prince of Arragon,  }
Antonio, a Merchant of Venice.
Bassanio, his Friend.
Gratiano, } Friends to Antonio and Bassanio.
Salanio,   }
Salarino, }
Lorenzo, in love with Jessica.
Shylock, a rich Jew.
Tubal, a Jew, his Friend.
Launcelot Gobbo, a Clown, Servant to Shylock.
Old Gobbo, Father to Launcelot.
Leonardo, Servant to Bassanio.
Balthazar, } Servants to Portia.
Stephano,  }
Portia, a rich Heiress.
Nerissa, her Waiting-maid.
Jessica, Daughter to Shylock.
Magnificoes of Venice, Officers of the Court of Justice, Gaoler, Servants to Portia, and other Attendants.



Scene.Partly at Venice, and partly at Belmont, the seat of Portia, on the Continent.


Scene I.— Venice. A Street.

Enter Antonio, Salarino, and Salanio.


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,  4

I am to learn;

And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,

That I have much ado to know myself.


Your mind is tossing on the ocean;  8

There, where your argosies with portly sail,—

Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood,

Or, as it were, the pageants of the sea,—

Do overpeer the petty traffickers,  12

That curtsy to them, do them reverence,

As they fly by them with their woven wings.


Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,

The better part of my affections would  16

Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still

Plucking the grass to know where sits the wind;

Peering 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.


My wind, cooling my broth,

Would blow me to an ague, when I thought

What harm a wind too great might do at sea.  24

I should not see the sandy hour-glass run

But I should think of shallows and of flats,

And see my wealthy Andrew dock’d in sand

Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs  28

To kiss her burial. Should I go to church

And see the holy edifice of stone,

And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks,

Which touching but my gentle vessel’s side  32

Would scatter all her spices on the stream,

Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks;

And, in a word, but even now worth this,

And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought  36

To think on this, and shall I lack the thought

That such a thing bechanc’d would make me sad?

But tell not me: I know Antonio

Is sad to think upon his merchandise.  40


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:  44

Therefore, my merchandise makes me not sad.


Why, then you are in love.


Fie, fie!


Not in love neither? Then let’s say you are sad,

Because you are not merry: and ’twere as easy

For you to laugh and leap, and say you are merry,  49

Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed Janus,

Nature hath fram’d strange fellows in her time:

Some that will evermore peep through their eyes

And laugh like parrots at a bag-piper,  53

And other of such vinegar aspect

That they’ll not show their teeth in way of smile,

Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.  56

Enter Bassanio, Lorenzo, and Gratiano.


Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman,

Gratiano, and Lorenzo. Fare ye well:

We leave you now with better company.


I would have stay’d till I had made you merry,  60

If worthier friends had not prevented me.


Your worth is very dear in my regard.

I take it, your own business calls on you,

And you embrace the occasion to depart.  64


Good morrow, my good lords.


Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? say when?

You grow exceeding strange: must it be so?


We’ll make our leisures to attend on yours.

[Exeunt Salarino and Salanio.


My Lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio,  69

We too will leave you; but, at dinner-time,

I pray you, have in mind where we must meet.


I will not fail you.  72


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 marvellously chang’d.  76


I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;

A stage where every man must play a part,

And mine a sad one.


Let me play the fool:

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come,

And let my liver rather heat with wine  81

Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.

Why should a man, whose blood is warm within,

Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster?  84

Sleep when he wakes, and creep into the jaundice

By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio—

I love thee, and it is my love that speaks—

There are a sort of men whose visages  88

Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,

And do a wilful stillness entertain,

With purpose to be dress’d in an opinion

Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;  92

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,

That therefore only are reputed wise  96

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.

I’ll tell thee more of this another time:  100

But fish not, with this melancholy bait,

For this fool-gudgeon, this opinion.

Come, good Lorenzo. Fare ye well awhile:

I’ll end my exhortation after dinner.  104


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 moe,  108

Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.


Farewell: 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.

[Exeunt Gratiano and Lorenzo.


Is that anything now?  113


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.


Well, tell me now, what lady is the same

To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,  121

That you to-day promis’d to tell me of?


’Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,

How much I have disabled mine estate,  124

By something showing a more swelling port

Than my faint means would grant continuance:

Nor do I now make moan to be abridg’d

From such a noble rate; but my chief care  128

Is, to come fairly off from the great debts

Wherein my time, something too prodigal,

Hath left me gag’d. To you, Antonio,

I owe the most, in money and in love;  132

And from your love I have a warranty

To unburthen all my plots and purposes

How to get clear of all the debts I owe.


I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;  136

And if it stand, as you yourself still do,

Within the eye of honour, be assur’d,

My purse, my person, my extremest means,

Lie all unlock’d to your occasions.  140


In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,

I shot his fellow of the self-same flight

The self-same way with more advised watch,

To find the other forth, and by adventuring both,

I oft found both. I urge this childhood proof,

Because what follows is pure innocence.

I owe you much, and, like a wilful youth,

That which I owe is lost; but if you please  148

To shoot another arrow that self way

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,  152

And thankfully rest debtor for the first.


You know me well, and herein spend but time

To wind about my love with circumstance;

And out of doubt you do me now more wrong

In making question of my uttermost  157

Than if you had made waste of all I have:

Then do but say to me what I should do

That in your knowledge may by me be done,  160

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

I did receive fair speechless messages:  165

Her name is Portia; nothing undervalu’d

To Cato’s daughter, Brutus’ Portia:

Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,  168

For the four winds blow in from every coast

Renowned suitors; and her sunny locks

Hang on her temples like a golden fleece;

Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos’ strond,  172

And many Jasons come in quest of her.

O my Antonio! had I but the means

To hold a rival place with one of them,

I have a mind presages me such thrift,  176

That I should questionless be fortunate.


Thou knowest that all my fortunes are at sea;

Neither have I money, nor commodity

To raise a present sum: therefore go forth;  180

Try what my credit can in Venice do:

That shall be rack’d, even to the uttermost,

To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia.

Go, presently inquire, and so will I,  184

Where money is, and I no question make

To have it of my trust or for my sake.


Scene II.— Belmont. A Room in Portia’s House.

Enter Portia and Nerissa.


By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world.


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 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.  10


Good sentences and well pronounced.


They would be better if well followed.


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 twenty what were good to be done, than 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 cripple. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me a husband. O me, the word ‘choose!’ I may neither choose whom I would nor refuse whom I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father. Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one nor refuse none?  29


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 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?  38


I pray thee, over-name them, and as thou namest them, I will describe them; and, according to my description, level at my affection.


First, there is the Neapolitan prince.  42


Ay, that’s a colt indeed, for he doth nothing but 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.


Then is there the County Palatine.  48


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 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!


How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?  58


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 throstle sing, he falls straight a-capering; 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.  69


What say you, then, to Falconbridge, the young baron of England?


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 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, and his behaviour every where.  81


What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?


That he hath a neighbourly charity in him, for he borrowed a box of the ear of the Englishman, and swore he would pay him again when he was able: I think the Frenchman became his surety and sealed under for another.


How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony’s nephew?  90


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 to go without him.


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.  100


Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, set 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.  106


You need not fear, lady, the having any of 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.  113


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 grant them a fair departure.  120


Do you not remember, lady, in your father’s time, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came hither in the company of the Marquis of Montferrat?  124


Yes, yes: it was Bassanio; as I think, he was so called.


True, madam: he, of all the men that ever my foolish eyes looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.  129


I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of thy praise.

Enter a Servant.

How now! what news?  132


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 word the prince his master will be here to-night.  137


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 he should shrive me than wive me. Come, Nerissa. Sirrah, go before.  143

Whiles we shut the gate upon one wooer, another knocks at the door.


Scene III.— Venice. A public Place.

Enter Bassanio and Shylock.


Three thousand ducats; well?


Ay, sir, for three months.


For three months; well?


For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound.  5


Antonio shall become bound; well?


May you stead me? Will you pleasure me? Shall I know your answer?  8


Three thousand ducats, for three months, and Antonio bound.


Your answer to that.


Antonio is a good man.  12


Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?


Ho, no, no, no, no: my meaning in saying he 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 other ventures he hath, squandered abroad. But ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats and water-rats, land-thieves, and water-thieves,—I mean pirates,—and then there is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding, sufficient. Three thousand ducats; I think, I may take his bond.  28


Be assured you may.


I will be assured I may; and, that I may be assured, I will bethink me. May I speak with Antonio?  32


If it please you to dine with us.


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 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 here?  40

Enter Antonio.


This is Signior Antonio.


[Aside.] How like a fawning publican he looks!

I hate him for he is a Christian;

But more for that in low simplicity  44

He lends out money gratis, and brings down

The rate of usance here with us in Venice.

If I can catch him once upon the hip,

I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.  48

He hates our sacred nation, and he rails,

Even there where merchants most do congregate,

On me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift,

Which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe,  52

If I forgive him!


Shylock, do you hear?


I am debating of my present store,

And, by the near guess of my memory,

I cannot instantly raise up the gross  56

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 signior;  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,  64

I’ll break a custom. [To Bassanio.] Is he yet possess’d

How much ye would?


Ay, ay, three thousand ducats.


And for three months.


I had forgot; three months; you told me so.  68

Well then, your bond; and let me see. But hear you;

Methought you said you neither lend nor borrow

Upon advantage.


I do never use it.


When Jacob graz’d his uncle Laban’s sheep,—  72

This Jacob from our holy Abram was,

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,  77

Directly interest: mark what Jacob did.

When Laban and himself were compromis’d,

That all the eanlings that were streak’d and pied  80

Should fall as Jacob’s hire, the ewes, being rank,

In end of autumn turned to the rams;

And, when the work of generation was

Between these woolly breeders in the act,  84

The skilful shepherd peel’d 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  88

Fall parti-colour’d 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 serv’d for;  92

A thing not in his power to bring to pass,

But sway’d and fashion’d by the hand of heaven.

Was this inserted to make interest good?

Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?  96


I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast: But note me, signior.


Mark you this, Bassanio,

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.

An evil soul, producing holy witness,  100

Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,

A goodly apple rotten at the heart.

O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!


Three thousand ducats; ’tis a good round sum.  104

Three months from twelve, then let me see the rate.


Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you?


Signior Antonio, many a time and oft

In the Rialto you have rated me  108

About my moneys and my usances:

Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,

For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.

You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,  112

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,  116

‘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.  120

What should I say to you? Should I not say,

‘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,  124

With bated breath, and whispering humbleness,

Say this:—

‘Fair sir, you spet on me on Wednesday last;

You spurn’d me such a day; another time  128

You call’d me dog; and for these courtesies

I’ll lend you thus much moneys?’


I am as like to call thee so again,

To spet on thee again, to spurn thee too.  132

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;  136

Who if he break, thou mayst with better face

Exact the penalty.


Why, look you, how you storm!

I would be friends with you, and have your love,

Forget the shames that you have stain’d me with,  140

Supply your present wants, and take no doit

Of usance for my moneys, and you’ll not hear me:

This is kind I offer.


This were kindness.


This kindness will I show.

Go with me to a notary, seal me there  145

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  148

Express’d in the condition, let the forfeit

Be nominated for an equal pound

Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken

In what part of your body pleaseth me.  152


Content, i’ faith: I’ll seal to such a bond,

And say there is much kindness in the Jew.


You shall not seal to such a bond for me:

I’ll rather dwell in my necessity.  156


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

Of thrice three times the value of this bond.  160


O father Abram! what these Christians are,

Whose own hard dealing teaches them suspect

The thoughts of others. Pray you, tell me this;

If he should break his day, what should I gain

By the exaction of the forfeiture?  165

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,  168

To buy his favour, I extend this friendship:

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,

And I will go and purse the ducats straight,

See to my house, left in the fearful guard  176

Of an unthrifty knave, and presently

I will be with you.


Hie thee, gentle Jew.

[Exit Shylock.

This Hebrew will turn Christian: he grows kind.


I like not fair terms and a villain’s mind.  180


Come on: in this there can be no dismay;

My ships come home a month before the day.



Scene I.— Belmont. A Room in Portia’s House.

Flourish of Cornets. Enter the Prince of Morocco, and his Followers; Portia, Nerissa, and Others of her Train.


Mislike me not for my complexion,

The shadow’d livery of the burnish’d sun,

To whom I am a neighbour and near bred.

Bring me the fairest creature northward born,  4

Where Phœbus’ fire scarce thaws the icicles,

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  8

Hath fear’d the valiant: by my love, I swear

The best regarded virgins of our clime

Have lov’d 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 lottery of my destiny

Bars me the right of voluntary choosing:  16

But if my father had not scanted me

And hedg’d me by his wit, to yield myself

His wife who wins me by that means I told you,

Yourself, renowned prince, then stood as fair  20

As any comer I have look’d on yet

For my affection.


Even for that I thank you:

Therefore, I pray you, lead me to the caskets

To try my fortune. By this scimitar,—  24

That slew the Sophy, and a Persian prince

That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,—

I would outstare the sternest eyes that look,

Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth,  28

Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,

Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey,

To win thee, lady. But, alas the while!

If Hercules and Lichas play at dice  32

Which is the better man, the greater throw

May turn by fortune from the weaker hand:

So is Alcides beaten by his page;

And so may I, blind fortune leading me,  36

Miss that which one unworthier may attain,

And die with grieving.


You must take your chance;

And either not attempt to choose at all,

Or swear before you choose, if you choose wrong,

Never to speak to lady afterward  41

In way of marriage: therefore be advis’d.


Nor will not: come, bring me unto my chance.


First, forward to the temple: after dinner  44

Your hazard shall be made.


Good fortune then!

To make me blest or cursed’st among men!

[Cornets, and exeunt.

Scene II.— Venice. A Street.

Enter Launcelot Gobbo.


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, Launcelot Gobbo, good Launcelot,’ or ‘good Gobbo,’ or ‘good Launcelot Gobbo, use your legs, take the start, run away.’ My conscience says, ‘No; take heed, honest Launcelot; take heed, honest Gobbo;’ or, as aforesaid, ‘honest Launcelot Gobbo; do not run; scorn running with thy heels.’ Well, the most courageous fiend bids me pack: ‘Via!’ says the 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 Launcelot, being an honest man’s son,’—or rather 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, ‘Launcelot, budge not.’ ‘Budge,’ says the fiend. ‘Budge not,’ says my conscience. ‘Conscience,’ say I, ‘you 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 the devil himself. Certainly, the Jew is the very devil incarnal; 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 your commandment; I will run.  33

Enter Old Gobbo, with a basket.


Master young man, you; I pray you, which is the way to Master Jew’s?


[Aside.] O heavens! this is my truebegotten father, who, being more than sandblind, high-gravel blind, knows me not: I will try confusions with him.


Master young gentleman, I pray you, which is the way to Master Jew’s?  41


Turn up on your right hand at the next turning, but, at the next turning of all, on your left; marry, at the very next turning, turn of no hand, but turn down indirectly to the Jew’s house.


By God’s sonties, ’twill be a hard way to hit. Can you tell me whether one Launcelot, that dwells with him, dwell with him or no?  49


Talk you of young Master Launcelot? [Aside.] Mark me now; now will I raise the waters. Talk you of young Master Launcelot?


No master, sir, but a poor man’s son: his father, though I say it, is an honest, exceeding poor man, and, God be thanked, well to live.  56


Well, let his father be what a’ will, we talk of young Master Launcelot.


Your worship’s friend, and Launcelot, sir.  60


But I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech you, talk you of young Master Launcelot?


Of Launcelot, an’t please your mastership.  64


Ergo, Master Launcelot. Talk not of Master Launcelot, father; for the young gentleman,—according to Fates and Destinies and such odd sayings, the Sisters Three and such branches of learning,—is, indeed, deceased; or, as you would say in plain terms, gone to heaven.


Marry, God forbid! the boy was the very staff of my age, my very prop.  72


[Aside.] Do I look like a cudgel or a hovel-post, a staff or a prop? Do you know me, father?


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?


Do you not know me, father?


Alack, sir, I am sand-blind; I know you not.  81


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 news of your son. 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 out.  88


Pray you, sir, stand up. I am sure you are not Launcelot, my boy.


Pray you, let’s have no more fooling about it, but give me your blessing: I am Launcelot, your boy that was, your son that is, your child that shall be.  94


I cannot think you are my son.


I know not what I shall think of that; but I am Launcelot, the Jew’s man, and I am sure Margery your wife is my mother.  98


Her name is Margery, indeed: I’ll be sworn, if thou be Launcelot, thou art mine own flesh and blood. Lord worshipped might he be! what a beard hast thou got! thou hast got more hair on thy chin than Dobbin my thill-horse has on his tail.  104


It should seem then that Dobbin’s tail grows backward: I am sure he had more hair on his tail than I have on my face, when I last saw him.  108


Lord! how art thou changed. How dost thou and thy master agree? I have brought him a present. How ’gree you now?


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 farnished 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 fortune! here comes the man: to him, father; for I am a Jew, if I serve the Jew any longer.  123

Enter Bassanio, with Leonardo, and other Followers.


You may do so; but let it be so hasted that supper be ready at the very furthest by five of the clock. See these letters delivered; put the liveries to making; and desire Gratiano to come anon to my lodging.

[Exit a Servant.


To him, father.  129


God bless your worship!


Gramercy! wouldst thou aught with me?  132


Here’s my son, sir, a poor boy,—


Not a poor boy, sir, but the rich Jew’s man; that would, sir,—as my father shall specify,—  136


He hath a great infection, sir, as one would say, to serve—


Indeed, the short and the long is, I serve the Jew, and have a desire, as my father shall specify,—  141


His master and he, saving your worship’s reverence, are scarce cater-cousins,—


To be brief, the very truth is that the Jew having done me wrong, doth cause me,—as my father, being, I hope, an old man, shall frutify unto you,—  147


I have here a dish of doves that I would bestow upon your worship, and my suit is,—


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.


One speak for both. What would you?


Serve you, sir.  156


That is the very defect of the matter, sir.


I know thee well; thou hast obtain’d thy suit:

Shylock thy master spoke with me this day,  160

And hath preferr’d thee, if it be preferment

To leave a rich Jew’s service, to become

The follower of so poor a gentleman.


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.


Thou speak’st it well. Go, father, with thy son.

Take leave of thy old master, and inquire  168

My lodging out. [To his followers.] Give him a livery

More guarded than his fellows’: see it done.


Father, in. I cannot get a service, no; I have ne’er a tongue in my head. Well, [Looking on 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: a ’leven 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 feather-bed; here are simple ’scapes. Well, if Fortune be a woman, she’s a good wench for this gear. Father, come; I’ll take my leave of the Jew in the twinkling of an eye.  184

[Exeunt Launcelot and Old Gobbo.


I pray thee, good Leonardo, think on this:

These things being bought, and orderly bestow’d,

Return in haste, for I do feast to-night

My best-esteem’d acquaintance: hie thee, go.  188


My best endeavours shall be done herein.

Enter Gratiano.


Where is your master?


Yonder, sir, he walks.



Signior Bassanio!—


Gratiano!  192


I have a suit to you.


You have obtain’d it.


You must not deny me: I must go with you to Belmont.


Why, then you must. But hear thee, Gratiano;

Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice;

Parts that become thee happily enough,  197

And in such eyes as ours appear not faults;

But where thou art not known, why, there they show

Something too liberal. Pray thee, take pain  200

To allay with some cold drops of modesty

Thy skipping spirit, lest, through thy wild behaviour,

I be misconstru’d in the place I go to,

And lose my hopes.


Signior Bassanio, hear me:  204

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,

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.  212


Well, we shall see your bearing.


Nay, but I bar to-night; you shall not gauge me

By what we do to-night.


No, that were pity:

I would entreat you rather to put on  216

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;  220

But we will visit you at supper-time.


Scene III.— The Same. A Room in Shylock’s House.

Enter Jessica and Launcelot.


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:  4

And, Launcelot, soon at supper shalt thou see

Lorenzo, who is thy new master’s guest:

Give him this letter; do it secretly;

And so farewell: I would not have my father  8

See me in talk with thee.


Adieu! tears exhibit my tongue. Most beautiful pagan, most sweet Jew! If a Christian did not play the knave and get thee, I am much deceived. But, adieu! these foolish drops do somewhat drown my manly spirit: adieu!


Farewell, good Launcelot.

[Exit Launcelot.

Alack, what heinous sin is it in me  16

To be asham’d 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.


Scene IV.— The Same. A Street.

Enter Gratiano, Lorenzo, Salarino, and Salanio.


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.  4


We have not spoke us yet of torch-bearers.


’Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly order’d,

And better, in my mind, not undertook.


’Tis now but four o’clock: we have two hours  8

To furnish us.

Enter Launcelot, with a letter.

Friend Launcelot, what’s the news?


An it shall please you to break up this, it shall seem to signify.


I know the hand: in faith, ’tis a fair hand;

And whiter than the paper it writ on  13

Is the fair hand that writ.


Love news, in faith.


By your leave, sir.


Whither goest thou?  16


Marry, sir, to bid my old master, the Jew, to sup to-night with my new master, the Christian.


Hold here, take this: tell gentle Jessica

I will not fail her; speak it privately.  21

Go, gentlemen,

[Exit Launcelot.

Will you prepare you for this masque to-night?

I am provided of a torch-bearer.  24


Ay, marry, I’ll be gone about it straight.


And so will I.


Meet me and Gratiano

At Gratiano’s lodging some hour hence.


’Tis good we do so.  28

[Exeunt Salarino and Salanio.


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 furnish’d with;  32

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,  36

Unless she do it under this excuse,

That she is issue to a faithless Jew.

Come, go with me: peruse this as thou goest.

Fair Jessica shall be my torch-bearer.


Scene V.— The Same. Before Shylock’s House.

Enter Shylock and Launcelot.


Well, thou shalt see, thy eyes shall be thy judge,

The difference of old Shylock and Bassanio:—

What, Jessical—thou shalt not gormandize,

As thou hast done with me;—What, Jessical—

And sleep and snore, and rend apparel out—  5

Why, Jessica, I say!


Why, Jessica!


Who bids thee call? I do not bid thee call.


Your worship was wont to tell me that

I could do nothing without bidding.  9

Enter 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:  13

But yet I’ll go in hate, to feed upon

The prodigal Christian. Jessica, my girl,

Look to my house. I am right loath to go:  16

There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest,

For I did dream of money-bags to-night.


I beseech you, sir, go: my young master doth expect your reproach.  20


So do I his.


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 Black-Monday last, at six o’clock i’ the morning, falling out that year on Ash-Wednesday was four year in the afternoon.


What! are there masques? Hear you me, Jessica:  28

Lock up my doors; and when you hear the drum,

And the vile squealing of the wry-neck’d fife,

Clamber not you up to the casements then,

Nor thrust your head into the public street  32

To gaze on Christian fools with varnish’d faces,

But stop my house’s ears, I mean my casements;

Let not the sound of shallow foppery enter

My sober house. By Jacob’s staff I swear  36

I have no mind of feasting forth to-night;

But I will go. Go you before me, sirrah;

Say I will come.


I will go before, air. Mistress, look out at window, for all this;  41

There will come a Christian by,

Will be worth a Jewess’ eye.

[Exit Launcelot.


What says that fool of Hagar’s offspring, ha?  44


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 wild cat: drones hive not with me;  48

Therefore I part with him, and part with him

To one that I would have him help to waste

His borrow’d purse. Well, Jessica, go in:

Perhaps I will return immediately:  52

Do as I bid you; shut doors after you:

‘Fast bind, fast find,’

A proverb never stale in thrifty mind.



Farewell; and if my fortune be not crost,

I have a father, you a daughter, lost.


Scene VI.— The Same.

Enter Gratiano and Salarino, masqued.


This is the penthouse under which Lorenzo

Desir’d us to make stand.


His hour is almost past.


And it is marvel he out-dwells his hour,

For lovers ever run before the clock.  4


O! ten times faster Venus’ pigeons fly

To seal love’s bonds new-made, than they are wont

To keep obliged faith unforfeited!


That ever holds: who riseth from a feast

With that keen appetite that he sits down?  9

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 chased than enjoy’d.  13

How like a younker or a prodigal

The scarfed bark puts from her native bay,

Hugg’d and embraced by the strumpet wind!  16

How like the prodigal doth she return,

With over-weather’d ribs and ragged sails,

Lean, rent, and beggar’d by the strumpet wind!


Here comes Lorenzo: more of this hereafter.  20

Enter Lorenzo.


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;  24

Here dwells my father Jew. Ho! who’s within?

Enter Jessica above, in boy’s clothes.


Who are you? Tell me, for more certainty,

Albeit I’ll swear that I do know your tongue.


Lorenzo, and thy love.  28


Lorenzo, certain; and my love indeed,

For whom love I so much? And now who knows

But you, Lorenzo, whether I am yours?


Heaven and thy thoughts are witness that thou art.  32


Here, catch this casket; it is worth the pains.

I am glad ’tis night, you do not look on me,

For I am much asham’d of my exchange;

But love is blind, and lovers cannot see  36

The pretty follies that themselves commit;

For if they could, Cupid himself would blush

To see me thus transformed to a boy.


Descend, for you must be my torch-bearer.  40


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 obscur’d.


So are you, sweet,  44

Even in the lovely garnish of a boy.

But come at once;

For the close night doth play the runaway,

And we are stay’d for at Bassanio’s feast.  48


I will make fast the doors, and gild myself

With some more ducats, and be with you straight.

[Exit above.


Now, by my hood, a Gentile, and no Jew.


Beshrew me, but I love her heartily;  52

For she is wise, if I can judge of her,

And fair she is, if that mine eyes be true,

And true she is, as she hath prov’d herself;

And therefore, like herself, wise, fair, and true,

Shall she be placed in my constant soul.  57

Enter Jessica.

What, art thou come? On, gentlemen; away!

Our masquing mates by this time for us stay.

[Exit with Jessica and Salarino.

Enter Antonio.


Who’s there?  60


Signior Antonio!


Fie, fie, Gratiano! where are all the rest?

’Tis nine o’clock; our friends all stay for you.

No masque to-night: the wind is come about;  64

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 to-night.  68


Scene VII.— Belmont. A Room in Portia’s House.

Flourish of Cornets. Enter Portia, with the Prince of Morocco, and their Trains.


Go, draw aside the curtains, and discover

The several caskets to this noble prince.

Now make your choice.


The first, of gold, which this inscription bears:  4

Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.

The second, silver, which this promise carries:

Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.

This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt:

Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.  9

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.  12


Some god direct my judgment! Let me see:

I will survey the inscriptions back again:

What says this leaden casket?

Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.  16

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;  20

I’ll then nor give nor hazard aught for lead.

What says the silver with her virgin hue?

Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.

As much as he deserves! Pause there, Morocco,

And weigh thy value with an even hand.  25

If thou be’st rated by thy estimation,

Thou dost deserve enough; and yet enough

May not extend so far as to the lady:  28

And yet to be afeard of my deserving

Were but a weak disabling of myself.

As much as I deserve! Why, that’s the lady:

I do in birth deserve her, and in fortunes,  32

In graces, and in qualities of breeding;

But more than these, in love I do deserve.

What if I stray’d no further, but chose here?

Let’s see once more this saying grav’d in gold:  36

Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.

Why, that’s the lady: all the world desires her;

From the four corners of the earth they come,

To kiss this shrine, this mortal-breathing saint:

The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds  41

Of wide Arabia are as throughfares now

For princes to come view fair Portia:

The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head  44

Spits 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  49

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 immur’d,  52

Being ten times undervalu’d to tried gold?

O sinful thought! Never so rich a gem

Was set in worse than gold. They have in England

A coin that bears the figure of an angel  56

Stamped in gold, but that’s insculp’d upon;

But here an angel in a golden bed

Lies all within. Deliver me the key:

Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may!  60


There, take it, prince; and if my form lie there,

Then I am yours.

[He unlocks the golden casket.


O hell! what have we here?

A carrion Death, within whose empty eye

There is a written scroll. I’ll read the writing.

All that glisters is not gold;  65

Often have you heard that told:

Many a man his life hath sold

But my outside to behold:  68

Gilded tombs do worms infold.

Had you been as wise as bold,

Young in limbs, in judgment old,

Your answer had not been inscroll’d:  72

Fare you well; your suit is cold.

Cold, indeed; and labour lost:

Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost!

Portia, adieu. I have too griev’d a heart  76

To take a tedious leave: thus losers part.

[Exit with his Train. Flourish of Cornets.


A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains: go.

Let all of his complexion choose me so.


Scene VIII.— Venice. A Street.

Enter Salarino and Salanio.


Why, man, I saw Bassanio under sail:

With him is Gratiano gone along;

And in their ship I’m sure Lorenzo is not.


The villain Jew with outcries rais’d the duke,  4

Who went with him to search Bassanio’s ship.


He came too late, the ship was under sail:

But there the duke was given to understand

That in a gondola were seen together  8

Lorenzo and his amorous Jessica.

Besides, Antonio certified the duke

They were not with Bassanio in his ship.


I never heard a passion so confus’d,  12

So strange, outrageous, and so variable,

As the dog Jew did utter in the streets:

‘My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter!

Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!

Justice! the law! my ducats, and my daughter!

A sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats,

Of double ducats, stol’n from me by my daughter!

And jewels! two stones, two rich and precious stones,  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.


Let good Antonio look he keep his day,  25

Or he shall pay for this.


Marry, well remember’d.

I reason’d with a Frenchman yesterday,

Who told me,—in the narrow seas that part  28

The French and English,—there miscarried

A vessel of our country richly fraught.

I thought upon Antonio when he told me,

And wish’d in silence that it were not his.  32


You were best to tell Antonio what you hear;

Yet do not suddenly, for it may grieve him.


A kinder gentleman treads not the earth.

I saw Bassanio and Antonio part:  36

Bassanio told him he would make some speed

Of his return: he answer’d ‘Do not so;

Slubber not business for my sake, Bassanio,

But stay the very riping of the time;  40

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

To courtship and such fair ostents of love  44

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  48

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 embraced heaviness  52

With some delight or other.


Do we so.


Scene IX.— Belmont. A Room in Portia’s House.

Enter Nerissa, with 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.

Flourish of Cornets. Enter the Prince of Arragon, Portia, and their Trains.


Behold, there stands the caskets, noble prince:  4

If you choose that wherein I am contain’d,

Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemniz’d;

But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,

You must be gone from hence immediately.  8


I am enjoin’d by oath to observe three things:

First, never to unfold to any one

Which casket ’twas I chose; next, if I fail

Of the right casket, never in my life  12

To woo a maid in way of marriage;


If I do fail in fortune of my choice,

Immediately to leave you and be gone.  16


To these injunctions every one doth swear

That comes to hazard for my worthless self.


And so have I address’d me. Fortune now

To my heart’s hope! Gold, silver, and base lead.

Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath:  21

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.  24

What many men desire! that ‘many’ may be meant

By the fool multitude, that choose by show,

Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach;

Which pries not to the interior, but, like the martlet,  28

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  32

And rank me with the barbarous multitude.

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 deserves.  36

And well said too; for who shall go about

To cozen fortune and be honourable

Without the stamp of merit? Let none presume

To wear an undeserved dignity.  40

O! that estates, degrees, and offices

Were not deriv’d corruptly, and that clear honour

Were purchas’d by the merit of the wearer.

How many then should cover that stand bare;

How many be commanded that command;  45

How much low peasantry would then be glean’d

From the true seed of honour; and how much honour

Pick’d from the chaff and ruin of the times  48

To be new varnish’d! Well, but to my choice:

Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.

I will assume desert. Give me a key for this,

And instantly unlock my fortunes here.  52

[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!  56

How much unlike my hopes and my deservings!

Who chooseth me shall have as much as he deserves.

Did I deserve no more than a fool’s head?

Is that my prize? are my deserts no better?  60


To offend, and judge, are distinct offices,

And of opposed natures.


What is here?

The fire seven times tried this:

Seven times tried that judgment is  64

That did never choose amiss.

Some there be that shadows kiss;

Such have but a shadow’s bliss:

There be fools alive, I wis,  68

Silver’d o’er; and so was this.

Take what wife you will to bed,

I will ever be your head:

So be gone, sir: you are sped.  72

Still more fool I shall appear

By the time I linger here:

With one fool’s head I came to woo,

But I go away with two.  76

Sweet, adieu. I’ll keep my oath,

Patiently to bear my wroth.

[Exit Arragon with his Train.


Thus hath the candle sing’d the moth.

O, these deliberate fools! when they do choose,

They have the wisdom by their wit to lose.  81


The ancient saying is no heresy:

‘Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.’


Come, draw the curtain, Nerissa.  84

Enter a Servant.


Where is my lady?


Here; what would my lord?


Madam, there is alighted at your gate

A young Venetian, one that comes before

To signify the approaching of his lord;  88

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 embassador of love.  92

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,  97

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.  100


Bassanio, lord Love, if thy will it be!



Scene I.— Venice. A Street.

Enter Salanio and Salarino.


Now, what news on the Rialto?


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 carcasses of many a tall ship lie buried, as they say, if my gossip Report be an honest woman of her word.  8


I would she were as lying a gossip in that as ever knapped ginger, or made her neighbours believe 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!—  16


Come, the full stop.


Ha! what sayst thou? Why, the end is, he hath lost a ship.


I would it might prove the end of his losses.  21


Let me say ‘amen’ betimes, lest the devil cross my prayer, for here he comes in the likeness of a Jew.  24

Enter Shylock.

How now, Shylock! what news among the merchants?


You knew, none so well, none so well as you, of my daughter’s flight.  28


That’s certain: I, for my part, knew the tailor that made the wings she flew withal.


And Shylock, for his own part, knew the bird was fledged; and then it is the complexion of them all to leave the dam.  33


She is damned for it.


That’s certain, if the devil may be her judge.  36


My own flesh and blood to rebel!


Out upon it, old carrion! rebels it at these years?


I say my daughter is my flesh and blood.  41


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 Rhenish. But tell us, do you hear whether Antonio have had any loss at sea or no?  47


There I have another bad match: a bankrupt, a prodigal, who dare scarce show his head on the Rialto; a beggar, that used to come so smug 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 courtesy; let him look to his bond.  54


Why, I am sure, if he forfeit thou wilt not take his flesh: what’s that good for?


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 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 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 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 villany you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.  78

Enter a Servant.


Gentlemen, my master Antonio is at his house, and desires to speak with you both.


We have been up and down to seek him.

Enter Tubal.


Here comes another of the tribe: a third cannot be matched, unless the devil himself turn Jew.  85

[Exeunt Salanio, Salarino and Servant.


How now, Tubal! what news from Genoa? Hast thou found my daughter?


I often came where I did hear of her, but cannot find her.  89


Why there, there, there! a diamond gone, cost me two thousand ducats in Frankfort! The curse never fell upon our nation till now; I 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 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 on my shoulders; no sighs but of my breathing; no tears but of my shedding.  104


Yes, other men have ill luck too. Antonio, as I heard in Genoa,—


What, what, what? ill luck, ill luck?


—hath an argosy cast away, coming from Tripolis.  109


I thank God! I thank God! Is it true? is it true?


I spoke with some of the sailors that escaped the wrack.  113


I thank thee, good Tubal. Good news, good news! ha, ha! Where? in Genoa?


Your daughter spent in Genoa, as I heard, one night, fourscore ducats.  117


Thou stick’st a dagger in me: I shall never see my gold again: fourscore ducats at a sitting! fourscore ducats!  120


There came divers of Antonio’s creditors in my company to Venice, that swear he cannot choose but break.


I am very glad of it: I’ll plague him; I’ll torture him: I am glad of it.  125


One of them showed me a ring that he had of your daughter for a monkey.


Out upon her! Thou torturest me, Tubal: it was my turquoise; I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor: I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.


But Antonio is certainly undone.  132


Nay, that’s true, that’s very true. Go, Tubal, fee me an officer; bespeak him a fortnight before. I will have the heart of him, if he forfeit; for, were he out of Venice, I can make what merchandise I will. Go, go, Tubal, and meet me at our synagogue; go, good Tubal; at our synagogue, Tubal.


Scene II.— Belmont. A Room in Portia’s House.

Enter Bassanio, Portia, Gratiano, Nerissa, and Attendants.


I pray you, tarry: pause a day or two

Before you hazard; for, in choosing wrong.

I lose your company: therefore, forbear awhile.

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  9

Before you venture for me. I could teach you

How to choose right, but then I am forsworn;

So will I never be: so may you miss me;  12

But if you do, you’ll make me wish a sin,

That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes,

They have o’erlook’d me and divided me:

One half of me is yours, the other half yours,  16

Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours,

And so all yours. O! these naughty times

Put 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 peise the time,

To eke it and to draw it out in length,

To stay you from election.


Let me choose;  24

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:

There may as well be amity and life  30

’Tween snow and fire, as treason and my love.


Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack,

Where men enforced do speak anything.  33


Promise me life, and I’ll confess the truth.


Well then, confess, and live.


‘Confess’ and ‘love’

Had been the very sum of my confession:  36

O happy torment, when my torturer

Doth teach me answers for deliverance!

But let me to my fortune and the caskets.


Away then! I am lock’d in one of them:

If you do love me, you will find me out.  41

Nerissa and the rest, stand all aloof.

Let music sound while he doth make his choice;

Then, if he lose, he makes a swan-like end,  44

Fading in music: that the comparison

May stand more proper, my eye shall be the stream

And watery death-bed for him. He may win;

And what is music then? then music is  48

Even as the flourish when true subjects bow

To a new-crowned 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,  53

With no less presence, but with much more love,

Than young Alcides, when he did redeem

The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy  56

To the sea-monster: I stand for sacrifice;

The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives,

With bleared visages, come forth to view

The issue of the exploit. Go, Hercules!  60

Live thou, I live: with much, much more dismay

I view the fight than thou that mak’st the fray.

[A Song, whilst Bassanio comments on the caskets to himself.

Tell me where is fancy bred,

Or in the heart or in the head?  64

How begot, how nourished?

Reply, reply.

It is engender’d in the eyes,

With gazing fed; and fancy dies  68

In the cradle where it lies

Let us all ring fancy’s knell;

I’ll begin it,—Ding, dong, bell.


Ding, dong, bell.  72


So may the outward shows be least themselves:

The world is still deceiv’d with ornament.

In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt

But, being season’d with a gracious voice,  76

Obscures the show of evil? In religion,

What damned error, but some sober brow

Will bless it and approve it with a text,

Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?  80

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

As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins  84

The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars,

Who, inward search’d, have livers white as milk;

And these assume but valour’s excrement

To render them redoubted! Look on beauty,  88

And you shall see ’tis purchas’d by the weight;

Which therein works a miracle in nature,

Making them lightest that wear most of it:

So are those crisped snaky golden locks  92

Which make such wanton gambols with the wind,

Upon supposed fairness, often known

To be the dowry of a second head,

The skull that bred them, in the sepulchre.  96

Thus ornament is but the guiled shore

To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf

Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,

The seeming truth which cunning times put on

To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold,

Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;

Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge

’Tween man and man: but thou, thou meagre lead,  104

Which rather threat’nest than dost promise aught,

Thy plainness moves me more than eloquence,

And here choose I: joy be the consequence!


[Aside.] How all the other passions fleet to air,  108

As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embrac’d despair,

And shuddering fear, and green-ey’d jealousy.

O love! be moderate; allay thy ecstasy;

In measure rain thy joy; scant this excess;  112

I feel too much thy blessing; make it less,

For fear I surfeit!


What find I here?

[Opening the leaden casket.

Fair Portia’s counterfeit! What demi-god

Hath come so near creation? Move these eyes?

Or whether, riding on the balls of mine,  117

Seem they in motion? Here are sever’d lips,

Parted with sugar breath; so sweet a bar

Should sunder such sweet friends. Here, in her hairs  120

The painter plays the spider, and hath woven

A golden mesh to 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 unfurnish’d: yet look, how far

The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow

In underprizing it, so far this shadow  128

Doth limp behind the substance. Here’s the scroll,

The continent and summary of my fortune.

You that choose not by the view,

Chance as fair and choose as true!  132

Since this fortune falls to you,

Be content and seek no new.

If you be well pleas’d with this

And hold your fortune for your bliss,  136

Turn you where your lady is

And claim her with a loving kiss.

A gentle scroll. Fair lady, by your leave;

[Kissing her.

I come by note, to give and to receive.  140

Like one of two contending in a prize,

That thinks he hath done well in people’s eyes,

Hearing applause and universal shout,

Giddy in spirit, still gazing in a doubt  144

Whether those peals of praise be his or no;

So, thrice-fair lady, stand I, even so,

As doubtful whether what I see be true,

Until confirm’d, sign’d, ratified by you.  148


You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand,

Such as I am: though for myself alone

I would not be ambitious in my wish,

To wish myself much better; yet, for you  152

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,  156

I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,

Exceed account: but the full sum of me

Is sum of nothing; which, to term in gross,

Is an unlesson’d girl, unschool’d, unpractis’d;

Happy in this, she is not yet so old  161

But she may learn; happier than this,

She is not bred so dull but she can learn;

Happiest of all is that her gentle spirit  164

Commits itself to yours to be directed,

As from her lord, her governor, her king.

Myself and what is mine to you and yours

Is now converted: but now I was the lord  168

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. I give them with this 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;  177

And there is such confusion in my powers,

As, after some oration fairly spoke

By a beloved prince, there doth appear  180

Among the buzzing pleased multitude;

Where every something, being blent together,

Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy,

Express’d and not express’d. But when this ring

Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence:  185

O! then be bold to say Bassanio’s dead.


My lord and lady, it is now our time,

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:  192

And when your honours 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.  196


I thank your lordship, you have got me one.

My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours:

You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid;

You lov’d, I lov’d for intermission.  200

No more pertains to me, my lord, than you.

Your fortune stood upon the caskets there,

And so did mine too, as the matter falls;

For wooing here until I sweat again,  204

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

To have her love, provided that your fortune  208

Achiev’d her mistress.


Is this true, Nerissa?


Madam, it is, so you stand pleas’d withal.


And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?


Yes, faith, my lord.  212


Our feast shall be much honour’d in your marriage.


We’ll play with them the first boy for a thousand ducats.


What! and stake down?  216


No; we shall ne’er win at that sport, and stake down.

But who comes here? Lorenzo and his infidel?

What! and my old Venetian friend, Salanio?  220

Enter Lorenzo, Jessica, and Salanio.


Lorenzo, and Salanio, welcome hither,

If that the youth of my new interest here

Have power to bid you welcome. By your leave,

I bid my very friends and countrymen,  224

Sweet Portia, welcome.


So do I, my lord:

They are entirely welcome.


I thank your honour. For my part, my lord,

My purpose was not to have seen you here;  228

But meeting with Salanio by the way,

He did entreat me, past all saying nay,

To come with him along.


I did, my lord,

And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio  232

Commends him to you.

[Gives Bassanio a letter.


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  236

Will show you his estate.


Nerissa, cheer yon stranger; bid her welcome.

Your hand, Salanio. What’s the news from Venice?

How doth that royal merchant, good Antonio?

I know he will be glad of our success;  241

We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.


I would you had won the fleece that he hath lost.


There are some shrewd contents in yon same paper,  244

That steal the colour from Bassanio’s cheek:

Some dear friend dead, else nothing in the world

Could turn so much the constitution

Of any constant man. What, worse and worse!

With leave, Bassanio; I am half yourself,  249

And I must freely have the half of anything

That this same paper brings you.


O sweet Portia!

Here are a few of the unpleasant’st words  252

That ever blotted paper. Gentle lady,

When I did first impart my love to you,

I freely told you all the wealth I had

Ran in my veins, I was a gentleman:  256

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

That I was worse than nothing; for, indeed,  261

I have engag’d myself to a dear friend,

Engag’d my friend to his mere enemy,

To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady;  264

The paper as the body of my friend,

And every word in it a gaping wound,

Issuing life-blood. But is it true, Salanio?

Hath all his ventures fail’d? What, not one hit?

From Tripolis, from Mexico, and England,  269

From Lisbon, Barbary, and India?

And not one vessel ’scape the dreadful touch

Of merchant-marring rocks?


Not one, my lord.  272

Besides, it should appear, that if he had

The present money to discharge the Jew,

He would not take it. Never did I know

A creature, that did bear the shape of man,  276

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,

If they deny him justice: twenty merchants,  280

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.  284


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  288

That he did owe him; and I know, my lord,

If law, authority, and power deny not,

It will go hard with poor Antonio.


Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble?  292


The dearest friend to me, the kindest man,

The best-condition’d and unwearied spirit

In doing courtesies, and one in whom

The ancient Roman honour more appears  296

Than any that draws breath in Italy.


What sum owes he the Jew?


For me, three thousand ducats.


What, no more?

Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond;  300

Double six thousand, and then treble that,

Before a friend of this description

Shall lose a hair thorough Bassanio’s fault.

First go with me to church and call me wife,  304

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:  308

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.  312

Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheer;

Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.

But let me hear the letter of your friend.  315


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 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 be gone!  324


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.


Scene III.— Venice. A Street.

Enter Shylock, Salarino, Antonio, and Gaoler.


Gaoler, look to him: tell not me of mercy;

This is the fool that lent out money gratis:

Gaoler, look to him.


Hear me yet, good Shylock.


I’ll have my bond; speak not against my bond:  4

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 gaoler, that thou art so fond  9

To come abroad with him at his request.


I pray thee, hear me speak.


I’ll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak:  12

I’ll have my bond, and therefore speak no more.

I’ll not be made a soft and dull-eyed fool,

To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield

To Christian intercessors. Follow not;  16

I’ll have no speaking; I will have my bond.



It is the most impenetrable cur

That ever kept with men.


Let him alone:

I’ll follow him no more with bootless prayers.

He seeks my life; his reason well I know.  21

I oft deliver’d from his forfeitures

Many that have at times made moan to me;

Therefore he hates me.


I am sure the duke  24

Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.


The duke cannot deny the course of law:

For the commodity that strangers have

With us in Venice, if it be denied,  28

’Twill 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,  32

That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh

To-morrow to my bloody creditor.

Well, gaoler, on. Pray God, Bassanio come

To see me pay his debt, and then I care not!  36


Scene IV.— Belmont. A Room in Portia’s House.

Enter Portia, Nerissa, Lorenzo, Jessica, and Balthazar.


Madam, although I speak it in your presence,

You have a noble and a true conceit

Of god-like amity; which appears most strongly

In bearing thus the absence of your lord.  4

But if you knew to whom you show this honour,

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  8

Than customary bounty can enforce you.


I never did repent for doing good,

Nor shall not now: for in companions

That do converse and waste the time together,

Whose souls do bear an equal yoke of love,  13

There must be needs a like proportion

Of lineaments, of manners, and of spirit;

Which makes me think that this Antonio,  16

Being the bosom lover of my lord,

Must needs be like my lord. If it be so,

How little is the cost I have bestow’d

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  24

The husbandry and manage of my house

Until my lord’s return: for mine own part,

I have toward heaven breath’d a secret vow

To live in prayer and contemplation,  28

Only attended by Nerissa here,

Until her husband and my lord’s return.

There is a monastery two miles off,

And there will we abide. I do desire you  32

Not to deny this imposition,

The which my love and some necessity

Now lays upon you.


Madam, with all my heart:

I shall obey you in all fair commands.  36


My people do already know my mind,

And will acknowledge you and Jessica

In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.

So fare you well till we shall meet again.  40


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 pleas’d

To wish it back on you: fare you well, Jessica.

[Exeunt Jessica and Lorenzo.

Now, Balthazar,  45

As I have ever found thee honest-true,

So let me find thee still. Take this same letter,

And use thou all the endeavour of a man  48

In speed to Padua: see thou render this

Into my cousin’s hand, Doctor Bellario;

And, look, what notes and garments he doth give thee,

Bring them, I pray thee, with imagin’d speed  52

Unto the traject, to the common ferry

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.



Come on, Nerissa: I have work in hand

That you yet know not of: we’ll see our husbands

Before they think of us.


Shall they see us?


They shall, Nerissa; but in such a habit

That they shall think we are accomplished  61

With that we lack. I’ll hold thee any wager,

When we are both accoutred like young men,

I’ll prove the prettier fellow of the two,  64

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

Into a manly stride, and speak of frays  68

Like a fine bragging youth, and tell quaint lies,

How honourable ladies sought my love,

Which I denying, they fell sick and died:

I could not do withal; then I’ll repent,  72

And wish, for all that, that I had not kill’d them:

And twenty of these puny lies I’ll tell,

That men shall swear I have discontinu’d school

Above a twelvemonth. I have within my mind

A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks,

Which I will practise.


Why, shall we turn to men?


Fie, what a question’s that,

If thou wert near a lewd interpreter!  80

But come: I’ll tell thee all my whole device

When I am in my coach, which stays for us

At the park gate; and therefore haste away,

For we must measure twenty miles to-day.  84


Scene V.— The Same. A Garden.

Enter Launcelot and Jessica.


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 of good cheer; for, truly, I think you are damned. There is but one hope in it that can do you any good, and that is but a kind of bastard hope neither.  8


And what hope is that, I pray thee?


Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you not, that you are not the Jew’s daughter.  12


That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed: so the sins of my mother should be visited upon me.


Truly then I fear you are damned both by father and mother: thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother: well, you are gone both ways.


I shall be saved by my husband; he hath made me a Christian.  21


Truly the more to blame he: we were Christians 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.  27


I’ll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say: here he comes.

Enter Lorenzo.


I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if you thus get my wife into corners.  32


Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo: Launcelot and I are out. He tells me flatly, there is 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.  39


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, Launcelot.  43


It is much that the Moor should be more than reason; but if she be less than an honest woman, she is indeed more than I took her for.  47


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 dinner.  52


That is done, sir; they have all stomachs.


Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are you! then bid them prepare dinner.  56


That is done too, sir; only, ‘cover’ is the word.


Will you cover, then, sir?  59


Not so, sir, neither; I know my duty.


Yet more quarrelling with occasion! Wilt thou show the whole wealth of thy wit in an 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 dinner.  66


For the table, sir, it shall be served in; for the meat, sir, it shall be covered; for your coming in to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humours and conceits shall govern.



O dear discretion, how his words are suited!

The fool hath planted in his memory  72

An army of good words: and I do know

A many fools, that stand in better place,

Garnish’d like him, that for a tricksy word

Defy the matter. How cheer’st thou, Jessica?

And now, good sweet, say thy opinion;  77

How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio’s wife?


Past all expressing. It is very meet,

The Lord Bassanio live an upright life,  80

For, having such a blessing in his lady,

He finds the joys of heaven here on earth;

And if on earth he do not mean it, then

In reason he should never come to heaven.  84

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

Pawn’d with the other, for the poor rude world

Hath not her fellow.


Even such a husband  89

Hast thou of me as she is for a wife.


Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.


I will anon; first, let us go to dinner.  92


Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach.


No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk; Then howsoe’er thou speak’st, ’mong other things I shall digest it.


Well, I’ll set you forth.



Scene I.— Venice. A Court of Justice.

Enter the Duke: the Magnificoes; Antonio, Bassanio, Gratiano, Salarino, Salanio, and Others.


What, is Antonio here?


Ready, so please your Grace.


I am sorry for thee: thou art come to answer

A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch  4

Uncapable of pity, void and empty

From any dram of mercy.


I have heard

Your Grace hath ta’en great pains to qualify

His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate,  8

And that no lawful means can carry me

Out of his envy’s reach, I do oppose

My patience to his fury, and am arm’d

To suffer with a quietness of spirit  12

The very tyranny and rage of his.


Go one, and call the Jew into the court.


He’s ready at the door: he comes, my lord.

Enter Shylock.


Make room, and let him stand before our face.  16

Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,

That thou but lead’st this fashion of thy malice

To the last hour of act; and then ’tis thought

Thou’lt show thy mercy and remorse more strange  20

Than is thy strange-apparent cruelty;

And where thou now exact’st the penalty,—

Which is a pound of this poor merchant’s flesh,—

Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture,  24

But, touch’d with human gentleness and love,

Forgive a moiety of the principal;

Glancing an eye of pity on his losses,

That have of late so huddled on his back,  28

Enow to press a royal merchant down,

And pluck commiseration of his state

From brassy bosoms and rough hearts of flint,

From stubborn Turks and Tartars, never train’d

To offices of tender courtesy.  33

We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.


I have possess’d your Grace of what I purpose;

And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn  36

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.

You’ll ask me, why I rather choose to have  40

A weight of carrion flesh than to receive

Three thousand ducats: I’ll not answer that:

But say it is my humour: is it answer’d?

What if my house be troubled with a rat,  44

And I be pleas’d to give ten thousand ducats

To have it ban’d? What, are you answer’d yet?

Some men there are love not a gaping pig;

Some, that are mad if they behold a cat;  48

And others, when the bagpipe sings i’ the nose,

Cannot contain their urine: for affection,

Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood

Of what it likes, or loathes. Now, for your answer:  52

As there is no firm reason to be render’d,

Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;

Why he, a harmless necessary cat;

Why he, a wauling bagpipe; but of force  56

Must yield to such inevitable shame

As to offend, himself being offended;

So can I give no reason, nor I will not,

More than a lodg’d hate and a certain loathing

I bear Antonio, that I follow thus  61

A losing suit against him. Are you answer’d?


This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,

To excuse the current of thy cruelty.  64


I am not bound to please thee with my answer.


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.  68


What! wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?


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;  72

You may as well use question with the wolf,

Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb;

You may as well forbid the mountain pines

To wag their high tops, and to make no noise  76

When they are fretted with the gusts of heaven;

You may as well do anything most hard,

As seek to soften that—than which what’s harder?—

His Jewish heart: therefore, I do beseech you,

Make no more offers, use no further means;  81

But with all brief and plain conveniency,

Let me have judgment, and the Jew his will.


For thy three thousand ducats here is six.  84


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, rendering none?  88


What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?

You have among you many a purchas’d slave,

Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,

You use in abject and in slavish parts,  92

Because you bought them: shall I say to you,

Let them be free, marry them to your heirs?

Why sweat they under burdens? let their beds

Be made as soft as yours, and let their palates

Be season’d with such viands? You will answer:  97

‘The slaves are ours:’ so do I answer you:

The pound of flesh which I demand of him,

Is dearly bought; ’tis mine and I will have it.

If you deny me, fie upon your law!  101

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,  104

Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,

Whom I have sent for to determine this,

Come here to-day.


My lord, here stays without

A messenger with letters from the doctor,  108

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,  112

Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.


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:  116

You cannot better be employ’d, Bassanio,

Than to live still, and write mine epitaph.

Enter Nerissa, dressed like a lawyer’s clerk.


Came you from Padua, from Bellario?


From both, my lord. Bellario greets your Grace.

[Presents a letter.


Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?  121


To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.


Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,

Thou mak’st thy knife keen; but no metal can,

No, not the hangman’s axe, bear half the keenness  125

Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?


No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.


O, be thou damn’d, inexecrable dog!  128

And for thy life let justice be accus’d.

Thou almost mak’st me waver in my faith

To hold opinion with Pythagoras,

That souls of animals infuse themselves  132

Into the trunks of men: thy currish spirit

Govern’d a wolf, who, hang’d for human slaughter,

Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,

And whilst thou lay’st in thy unhallow’d dam,

Infus’d itself in thee; for thy desires  137

Are wolfish, bloody, starv’d, and ravenous.


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  141

To cureless ruin. I stand here for law.


This letter from Bellario doth commend

A young and learned doctor to our court.  144

Where is he?


He attendeth here hard by,

To know your answer, whether you’ll admit him.


With all my heart: some three or four of you

Go give him courteous conduct to this place.  148

Meantime, the court shall hear Bellario’s letter.


Your Grace shall understand that at the receipt of your letter I am very sick; but in the instant that your messenger came, in loving visitation was with me a 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 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 leave him to your gracious acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his commendation.  166


You hear the learn’d Bellario, what he writes:

And here, I take it, is the doctor come.

Enter Portia, dressed like a doctor of laws.

Give me your hand. Came you from old Bellario?


I did, my lord.


You are welcome: take your place.

Are you acquainted with the difference  171

That holds this present question in the court?


I am informed throughly of the cause.

Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?


Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.


Is your name Shylock?


Shylock is my name.  176


Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;

Yet in such rule that the Venetian law

Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.

[To Antonio.] You stand within his danger, do you not?  180


Ay, so he says.


Do you confess the bond?


I do.


Then must the Jew be merciful.


On what compulsion must I? tell me that.


The quality of mercy is not strain’d,  184

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless’d;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

’Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes  188

The throned monarch better than his crown;

His sceptre 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 sceptred sway,  193

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

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,  198

That in the course of justice none of us

Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy,  200

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

Must needs give sentence ’gainst the merchant there.  205


My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,

The penalty and forfeit of my bond.


Is he not able to discharge the money?


Yes, here I tender it for him in the court;  209

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.  212

If this will not suffice, it must appear

That malice bears down truth. And, I beseech you,

Wrest once the law to your authority:

To do a great right, do a little wrong,  216

And curb this cruel devil of his will.


It must not be. There is no power in Venice

Can alter a decree established:

’Twill be recorded for a precedent,  220

And many an error by the same example

Will rush into the state. It cannot be.


A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel!

O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!  224


I pray you, let me look upon the bond.


Here ’tis, most reverend doctor; here it is.


Shylock, there’s thrice thy money offer’d thee.


An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven:  228

Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?

No, not for Venice.


Why, this bond is forfeit;

And lawfully by this the Jew may claim

A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off  232

Nearest the merchant’s heart. Be merciful:

Take thrice thy money; bid me tear the bond.


When it is paid according to the tenour.

It doth appear you are a worthy judge;  236

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  240

There is no power in the tongue of man

To alter me. I stay here on my bond.


Most heartily I do beseech the court

To give the judgment.


Why then, thus it is:  244

You must prepare your bosom for his knife.


O noble judge! O excellent young man!


For, the intent and purpose of the law

Hath full relation to the penalty,  248

Which here appeareth due upon the bond.


’Tis very true! O wise and upright judge!

How much more elder art thou than thy looks!


Therefore lay bare your bosom.


Ay, ‘his breast:’

So says the bond:—doth it not, noble judge?—

‘Nearest his heart:’ those are the very words.


It is so. Are there balance here to weigh

The flesh?  256


I have them ready.


Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,

To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.


Is it so nominated in the bond?  260


It is not so express’d; but what of that?

’Twere good you do so much for charity.


I cannot find it: ’tis not in the bond.


You, merchant, have you anything to say?  264


But little: I am arm’d and well prepar’d.

Give me your hand, Bassanio: fare you well!

Grieve not that I am fallen to this for you;

For herein Fortune shows herself more kind  268

Than is her custom: it is still her use

To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,

To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow

An age of poverty; from which lingering penance  272

Of such a misery doth she cut me off.

Commend me to your honourable wife:

Tell her the process of Antonio’s end;

Say how I lov’d you, speak me fair in death;  276

And, when the tale is told, bid her be judge

Whether Bassanio had not once a love.

Repent not you that you shall lose your friend,

And he repents not that he pays your debt;  280

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;  284

But life itself, my wife, and all the world,

Are not with me esteem’d above thy life:

I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all,

Here to this devil, to deliver you.  288


Your wife would give you little thanks for that,

If she were by to hear you make the offer.


I have a wife, whom, I protest, I love:

I would she were in heaven, so she could  292

Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.


’Tis well you offer it behind her back;

The wish would make else an unquiet house.


These be the Christian husbands! I have a daughter;  296

Would any of the stock of Barabbas

Had been her husband rather than a Christian!

We trifle time; I pray thee, pursue sentence.


A pound of that same merchant’s flesh is thine:  300

The court awards it, and the law doth give it.


Most rightful judge!


And you must cut this flesh from off his breast:

The law allows it, and the court awards it.  304


Most learned judge! A sentence! come, prepare!


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:’  308

Then take 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  312

Unto the state of Venice.


O upright judge! Mark, Jew: O learned judge!


Is that the law?


Thyself shalt see the act;

For, as thou urgest justice, be assur’d  316

Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desir’st.


O learned judge! Mark, Jew: a learned judge!


I take this offer then: pay the bond thrice,

And let the Christian go.


Here is the money.  320



The Jew shall have all justice; soft! no haste:—

He shall have nothing but the penalty.


O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!  324


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,

Or less, than a just pound, be it but so much  328

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,  332

Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate.


A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew!

Now, infidel, I have thee on the hip.


Why doth the Jew pause? take thy forfeiture.  336


Give me my principal, and let me go.


I have it ready for thee; here it is.


He hath refus’d it in the open court:

He shall have merely justice, and his bond.  340


A Daniel, still say I; a second Daniel!

I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.


Shall I not have barely my principal?


Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture,  344

To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.


Why, then the devil give him good of it!

I’ll stay no longer question.


Tarry, Jew:

The law hath yet another hold on you.  348

It is enacted in the laws of Venice,

If it be prov’d against an alien

That by direct or indirect attempts

He seek the life of any citizen,  352

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  356

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  360

Thou hast contriv’d against the very life

Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr’d

The danger formerly by me rehears’d.

Down therefore and beg mercy of the duke.  364


Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself:

And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state,

Thou hast not left the value of a cord;

Therefore thou must be hang’d at the state’s charge.  368


That thou shalt see the difference of our spirits,

I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it.

For half thy wealth, it is Antonio’s;

The other half comes to the general state,  372

Which humbleness may drive into a fine.


Ay, for the state; not for Antonio.


Nay, take my life and all; pardon not that:

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.


What mercy can you render him, Antonio?


A halter gratis; nothing else, for God’s sake!  380


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,  384

Upon his death, unto the gentleman

That lately stole his daughter:

Two things provided more, that, for this favour,

He presently become a Christian;  388

The other, that he do record a gift,

Here in the court, of all he dies possess’d,

Unto his son Lorenzo, and his daughter.


He shall do this, or else I do recant

The pardon that I late pronounced here.  393


Art thou contented, Jew? what dost thou say?


I am content.


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,  397

And I will sign it.


Get thee gone, but do it.


In christening thou shalt have two godfathers;

Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more,  400

To bring thee to the gallows, not the font.

[Exit Shylock.


Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.


I humbly do desire your Grace of pardon:

I must away this night toward Padua,  404

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.

[Exeunt Duke, Magnificoes, and Train.


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,  412

We freely cope your courteous pains withal.


And stand indebted, over and above,

In love and service to you evermore.


He is well paid that is well satisfied;  416

And I, delivering you, am satisfied,

And therein do account myself well paid:

My mind was never yet more mercenary.

I pray you, know me when we meet again:  420

I wish you well, and so I take my leave.


Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further:

Take some remembrance of us, as a tribute,

Not as a fee. Grant me two things, I pray you,

Not to deny me, and to pardon me.  425


You press me far, and therefore I will yield.

[To Ant.] Give me your gloves, I’ll wear them for your sake;

[To Bass.] And, for your love, I’ll take this ring from you.  428

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.  432


I will have nothing else but only this;

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,  436

And find it out by proclamation:

Only for this, I pray you, pardon me.


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 answer’d.


Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife;

And, when she put it on, she made me vow

That I should never sell nor give nor lose it.  444


That ’scuse serves many men to save their gifts.

An if your wife be not a mad-woman,

And know how well I have deserv’d the ring,

She would not hold out enemy for ever,  448

For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you.

[Exeunt Portia and Nerissa.


My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring:

Let his deservings and my love withal

Be valu’d ’gainst your wife’s commandment.  452


Go, Gratiano; run and overtake him;

Give him the ring, and bring him, if thou canst,

Unto Antonio’s house. Away! make haste.

[Exit Gratiano.

Come, you and I will thither presently,  456

And in the morning early will we both

Fly toward Belmont. Come, Antonio.


Scene II.— The Same. A Street.

Enter Portia and Nerissa.


Inquire the Jew’s house out, give him this deed,

And let him sign it. We’ll away to-night,

And be a day before our husbands home:

This deed will be well welcome to Lorenzo.  4

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.


That cannot be:  8

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.


Sir, I would speak with you.  12

[Aside to Portia.] I’ll see if I can get my husband’s ring,

Which I did make him swear to keep for ever.


Thou mayst, I warrant. We shall have old swearing

That they did give the rings away to men;  16

But we’ll outface them, and outswear them too.

Away! make haste: thou know’st where I will tarry.


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



Scene I.— Belmont. The Avenue to Portia’s House.

Enter Lorenzo and Jessica.


The moon shines bright: in such a night as this,

When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees

And they did make no noise, in such a night

Troilus methinks mounted the Troyan walls,  4

And sigh’d his soul toward the Grecian tents,

Where Cressid lay that night.


In such a night

Did Thisbe fearfully o’ertrip the dew,

And saw the lion’s shadow ere himself,  8

And ran dismay’d away.


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.


In such a night  12

Medea gather’d the enchanted herbs

That did renew old Æson.


In such a night

Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew,

And with an unthrift love did run from Venice,

As far as Belmont.


In such a night  17

Did young Lorenzo swear he lov’d her well,

Stealing her soul with many vows of faith,

And ne’er a true one.


In such a night  20

Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,

Slander her love, and he forgave it her.


I would out-night you, did no body come;

But, hark! I hear the footing of a man.  24

Enter Stephano.


Who comes so fast in silence of the night?


A friend.


A friend! what friend? your name, I pray you, friend.


Stephano is my name; and I bring word

My mistress will before the break of day  29

Be here at Belmont: she doth stray about

By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays

For happy wedlock hours.


Who comes with her?  32


None, but a holy hermit and her maid.

I pray you, is my master yet return’d?


He is not, nor we have not heard from him.

But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica,  36

And ceremoniously let us prepare

Some welcome for the mistress of the house.

Enter Launcelot.


Sola, sola! wo ha, ho! sola, sola!


Who calls?  40


Sola! did you see Master Lorenzo?

Master Lorenzo! sola, sola!


Leave hollaing, man; here.


Sola! where? where?  44




Tell him there’s a post come from my master, with his horn full of good news: my master will be here ere morning.



Sweet soul, let’s in, and there expect their coming.  49

And yet no matter; why should we go in?

My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you,

Within the house, your mistress is at hand;  52

And bring your music forth into the air.

[Exit Stephano.

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  56

Become the touches of sweet harmony.

Sit, Jessica: look, how the floor of heaven

Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:

There’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st

But in his motion like an angel sings,  61

Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;

Such harmony is in immortal souls;

But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay  64

Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.

Enter Musicians.

Come, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn:

With sweetest touches pierce your mistress’ ear,

And draw her home with music.



I am never merry when I hear sweet music.  69


The reason is, your spirits are attentive:

For do but note a wild and wanton herd,

Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,  72

Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud,

Which is the hot condition of their blood;

If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound,

Or any air of music touch their ears,  76

You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,

Their savage eyes turn’d to a modest gaze

By the sweet power of music: therefore the poet

Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods;  80

Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage,

But music for the time doth change his nature.

The man that hath no music in himself,

Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,

Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;  85

The motions of his spirit are dull as night,

And his affections dark as Erebus:

Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.

Enter Portia and Nerissa, at a distance.


That light we see is burning in my hall.

How far that little candle throws his beams!

So shines a good deed in a naughty world.


When the moon shone, we did not see the candle.  92


So doth the greater glory dim the less:

A substitute shines brightly as a king

Until a king be by, and then his state

Empties itself, as doth an inland brook  96

Into the main of waters. Music! hark!


It is your music, madam, of the house.


Nothing is good, I see, without respect:

Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day.


Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.


The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark

When neither is attended, and I think

The nightingale, if she should sing by day,  104

When every goose is cackling, would be thought

No better a musician than the wren.

How many things by season season’d are

To their right praise and true perfection!  108

Peace, ho! the moon sleeps with Endymion,

And would not be awak’d!

[Music ceases.


That is the voice,

Or I am much deceiv’d, of Portia.


He knows me, as the blind man knows the cuckoo,  112

By the bad voice.


Dear lady, welcome home.


We have been praying for our husbands’ welfare,

Which speed, we hope, the better for our words.

Are they return’d?


Madam, they are not yet;  116

But there is come a messenger before,

To signify their coming.


Go in, Nerissa:

Give order to my servants that they take

No note at all of our being absent hence;  120

Nor you, Lorenzo; Jessica, nor you.

[A tucket sounds.


Your husband is at hand; I hear his trumpet:

We are no tell-tales, madam; fear you not.


This night methinks is but the daylight sick;  124

It looks a little paler: ’tis a day,

Such as the day is when the sun is hid.

Enter Bassanio, Antonio, Gratiano, and their Followers.


We should hold day with the Antipodes,

If you would walk in absence of the sun.  128


Let me give light, but let me not be light;

For a light wife doth make a heavy husband,

And never be Bassanio so for me:

But God sort all! You are welcome home, my lord.


I thank you, madam. Give welcome to my friend:  133

This is the man, this is Antonio,

To whom I am so infinitely bound.


You should in all sense be much bound to him,  136

For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.


No more than I am well acquitted of.


Sir, you are very welcome to our house:

It must appear in other ways than words,  140

Therefore I scant this breathing courtesy.


[To Nerissa.] By yonder moon I swear you do me wrong;

In faith, I gave it to the judge’s clerk:

Would he were gelt that had it, for my part,  144

Since you do take it, love, so much at heart.


A quarrel, ho, already! what’s the matter?


About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring

That she did give me, whose poesy was  148

For all the world like cutlers’ poetry

Upon a knife, ‘Love me, and leave me not.’


What talk you of the posy, or the value?

You swore to me, when I did give it you,  152

That you would wear it till your hour of death,

And that it should lie with you in your grave:

Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,

You should have been respective and have kept it.

Gave it a judge’s clerk! no, God’s my judge,

The clerk will ne’er wear hair on’s face that had it.


He will, an if he live to be a man.


Ay, if a woman live to be a man.  160


Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,

A kind of boy, a little scrubbed boy,

No higher than thyself, the judge’s clerk.

A prating boy, that begg’d it as a fee:  164

I could not for my heart deny it him.


You were to blame,—I must be plain with you,—

To part so slightly with your wife’s first gift;

A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger,

And riveted so with faith unto your flesh.  169

I gave my love a ring and made him swear

Never to part with it; and here he stands,

I dare be sworn for him he would not leave it

Nor pluck it from his finger for the wealth  173

That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano,

You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief:

An ’twere to me, I should be mad at it.  176


[Aside.] Why, I were best to cut my left hand off,

And swear I lost the ring defending it.


My Lord Bassanio gave his ring away

Unto the judge that begg’d it, and indeed  180

Deserv’d it too; and then the boy, his clerk,

That took some pains in writing, he begg’d mine;

And neither man nor master would take aught

But the two rings.


What ring gave you, my lord?  184

Not that, I hope, that you receiv’d of me.


If I could add a lie unto a fault,

I would deny it; but you see my finger

Hath not the ring upon it; it is gone.  188


Even so void is your false heart of truth.

By heaven, I will ne’er come in your bed

Until I see the ring.


Nor I in yours,

Till I again see mine.


Sweet Portia,  192

If you did know to whom I gave the ring,

If you did know for whom I gave the ring,

And would conceive for what I gave the ring,

And how unwillingly I left the ring,  196

When naught would be accepted but the ring,

You would abate the strength of your displeasure.


If you had known the virtue of the ring,

Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,  200

Or your own honour to contain the ring,

You would not then have parted with the ring.

What man is there so much unreasonable,

If you had pleas’d to have defended it  204

With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty

To urge the thing held as a ceremony?

Nerissa teaches me what to believe:

I’ll die for’t but some woman had the ring.  208


No, by my honour, madam, by my soul,

No woman had it; but a civil doctor,

Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me,

And begg’d the ring, the which I did deny him,

And suffer’d him to go displeas’d away;  213

Even he that did uphold the very life

Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady?

I was enforc’d to send it after him;  216

I was beset with shame and courtesy;

My honour would not let ingratitude

So much besmear it. Pardon me, good lady,

For, by these blessed candles of the night,  220

Had you been there, I think you would have begg’d

The ring of me to give the worthy doctor.


Let not that doctor e’er come near my house.

Since he hath got the jewel that I lov’d,  224

And that which you did swear to keep for me,

I will become as liberal as you;

I’ll not deny him anything I have;

No, not my body, nor my husband’s bed.  228

Know him I shall, I am well sure of it:

Lie not a night from home; watch me like Argus:

If you do not, if I be left alone,

Now by mine honour, which is yet mine own,  232

I’ll have that doctor for my bedfellow.


And I his clerk; therefore be well advis’d

How you do leave me to mine own protection.


Well, do you so: let me not take him, then;

For if I do, I’ll mar the young clerk’s pen.  237


I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels.


Sir, grieve not you; you are welcome notwithstanding.


Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong;

And in the hearing of these many friends,  241

I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes,

Wherein I see myself,—


Mark you but that!

In both my eyes he doubly sees himself;  244

In each eye, one: swear by your double self,

And there’s an oath of credit.


Nay, but hear me:

Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear

I never more will break an oath with thee.  248


I once did lend my body for his wealth,

Which, but for him that had your husband’s ring,

Had quite miscarried: I dare be bound again,

My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord  252

Will never more break faith advisedly.


Then you shall be his surety. Give him this,

And bid him keep it better than the other.


Here, Lord Bassanio; swear to keep this ring.  256


By heaven! it is the same I gave the doctor!


I had it of him: pardon me, Bassanio,

For, by this ring, the doctor lay with me.  259


And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano;

For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor’s clerk,

In lieu of this last night did lie with me.


Why, this is like the mending of highways

In summer, where the ways are fair enough.  264

What! are we cuckolds ere we have deserv’d it?


Speak not so grossly. You are all amaz’d:

Here is a letter; read it at your leisure;

It comes from Padus, from Bellario:  268

There you shall find that Portia was the doctor,

Nerissa, there, her clerk: Lorenzo here

Shall witness I set forth as soon as you

And even but now return’d; I have not yet  272

Enter’d my house. Antonio, you are welcome;

And I have better news in store for you

Than you expect: unseal this letter soon;

There you shall find three of your argosies  276

Are richly come to harbour suddenly.

You shall not know by what strange accident

I chanced on this letter.


I am dumb.


Were you the doctor and I knew you not?  280


Were you the clerk that is to make me cuckold?


Ay; but the clerk that never means to do it,

Unless he live until he be a man.


Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow:

When I am absent, then, lie with my wife.  285


Sweet lady, you have given me life and living;

For here I read for certain that my ships

Are safely come to road.


How now, Lorenzo!  288

My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.


Ay, and I’ll give them him without a fee.

There do I give to you and Jessica,

From the rich Jew, a special deed of gift,  292

After his death, of all he dies possess’d of.


Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way

Of starved people.


It is almost morning,

And yet I am sure you are not satisfied  296

Of these events at full. Let us go in;

And charge us there upon inter’gatories,

And we will answer all things faithfully.


Let it be so: the first inter’gatory  300

That my Nerissa shall be sworn on is,

Whe’r till the next night she had rather stay,

Or go to bed now, being two hours to day:

But were the day come, I should wish it dark,

That I were couching with the doctor’s clerk.

Well, while I live I’ll fear no other thing  306

So sore as keeping safe Nerissa’s ring.