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The Merchant of Venice

Act 1, Scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice


  • Antonio. 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, 5
    I am to learn;
    And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
    That I have much ado to know myself.
  • Salarino. Your mind is tossing on the ocean;
    There, where your argosies with portly sail, 10
    Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood,
    Or, as it were, the pageants of the sea,
    Do overpeer the petty traffickers,
    That curtsy to them, do them reverence,
    As they fly by them with their woven wings. 15
  • Salanio. Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,
    The better part of my affections would
    Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still
    Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind,
    Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads; 20
    And every object that might make me fear
    Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt
    Would make me sad.
  • Salarino. My wind cooling my broth
    Would blow me to an ague, when I thought 25
    What harm a wind too great at sea might do.
    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 30
    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,
    Would scatter all her spices on the stream, 35
    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
    To think on this, and shall I lack the thought
    That such a thing bechanced would make me sad? 40
    But tell not me; I know, Antonio
    Is sad to think upon his merchandise.
  • Antonio. 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 45
    Upon the fortune of this present year:
    Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad.
  • Salarino. Why, then you are in love.
  • Antonio. Fie, fie!
  • Salarino. Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sad, 50
    Because you are not merry: and ’twere as easy
    For you to laugh and leap and say you are merry,
    Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed Janus,
    Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time:
    Some that will evermore peep through their eyes 55
    And laugh like parrots at a bag-piper,
    And other of such vinegar aspect
    That they’ll not show their teeth in way of smile,
    Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.


  • Salanio. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman,
    Gratiano and Lorenzo. Fare ye well:
    We leave you now with better company.
  • Salarino. I would have stay’d till I had made you merry,
    If worthier friends had not prevented me. 65
  • Antonio. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
    I take it, your own business calls on you
    And you embrace the occasion to depart.
  • Salarino. Good morrow, my good lords.
  • Bassanio. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? say, when? 70
    You grow exceeding strange: must it be so?
  • Salarino. We’ll make our leisures to attend on yours.

[Exeunt Salarino and Salanio]

  • Lorenzo. My Lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio,
    We two will leave you: but at dinner-time, 75
    I pray you, have in mind where we must meet.
  • Bassanio. I will not fail you.
  • Gratiano. You look not well, Signior Antonio;
    You have too much respect upon the world:
    They lose it that do buy it with much care: 80
    Believe me, you are marvellously changed.
  • Antonio. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
    A stage where every man must play a part,
    And mine a sad one.
  • Gratiano. Let me play the fool: 85
    With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come,
    And let my liver rather heat with wine
    Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.
    Why should a man, whose blood is warm within,
    Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster? 90
    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
    Do cream and mantle like a standing pond, 95
    And do a wilful stillness entertain,
    With purpose to be dress’d in an opinion
    Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit,
    As who should say ‘I am Sir Oracle,
    And when I ope my lips let no dog bark!’ 100
    O my Antonio, I do know of these
    That therefore only are reputed wise
    For saying nothing; when, I am very sure,
    If they should speak, would almost damn those ears,
    Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools. 105
    I’ll tell thee more of this another time:
    But fish not, with this melancholy bait,
    For this fool gudgeon, this opinion.
    Come, good Lorenzo. Fare ye well awhile:
    I’ll end my exhortation after dinner. 110
  • Lorenzo. 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.
  • Gratiano. Well, keep me company but two years moe,
    Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue. 115
  • Antonio. Farewell: I’ll grow a talker for this gear.
  • Gratiano. Thanks, i’ faith, for silence is only commendable
    In a neat’s tongue dried and a maid not vendible.


  • Antonio. Is that any thing now? 120
  • Bassanio. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more
    than any man in all Venice. His reasons are as two
    grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff: you
    shall seek all day ere you find them, and when you
    have them, they are not worth the search. 125
  • Antonio. Well, tell me now what lady is the same
    To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
    That you to-day promised to tell me of?
  • Bassanio. ‘Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
    How much I have disabled mine estate, 130
    By something showing a more swelling port
    Than my faint means would grant continuance:
    Nor do I now make moan to be abridged
    From such a noble rate; but my chief care
    Is to come fairly off from the great debts 135
    Wherein my time something too prodigal
    Hath left me gaged. To you, Antonio,
    I owe the most, in money and in love,
    And from your love I have a warranty
    To unburden all my plots and purposes 140
    How to get clear of all the debts I owe.
  • Antonio. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
    And if it stand, as you yourself still do,
    Within the eye of honour, be assured,
    My purse, my person, my extremest means, 145
    Lie all unlock’d to your occasions.
  • Bassanio. 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 150
    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
    To shoot another arrow that self way 155
    Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
    As I will watch the aim, or to find both
    Or bring your latter hazard back again
    And thankfully rest debtor for the first.
  • Antonio. You know me well, and herein spend but time 160
    To wind about my love with circumstance;
    And out of doubt you do me now more wrong
    In making question of my uttermost
    Than if you had made waste of all I have:
    Then do but say to me what I should do 165
    That in your knowledge may by me be done,
    And I am prest unto it: therefore, speak.
  • Bassanio. In Belmont is a lady richly left;
    And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
    Of wondrous virtues: sometimes from her eyes 170
    I did receive fair speechless messages:
    Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued
    To Cato’s daughter, Brutus’ Portia:
    Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,
    For the four winds blow in from every coast 175
    Renowned suitors, and her sunny locks
    Hang on her temples like a golden fleece;
    Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos’ strand,
    And many Jasons come in quest of her.
    O my Antonio, had I but the means 180
    To hold a rival place with one of them,
    I have a mind presages me such thrift,
    That I should questionless be fortunate!
  • Antonio. Thou know’st that all my fortunes are at sea;
    Neither have I money nor commodity 185
    To raise a present sum: therefore go forth;
    Try what my credit can in Venice do:
    That shall be rack’d, even to the uttermost,
    To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia.
    Go, presently inquire, and so will I, 190
    Where money is, and I no question make
    To have it of my trust or for my sake.


Act I, Scene 2 The Merchant of Venice

Belmont. A room in PORTIA’S house.


  • Portia. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of 195
    this great world.
  • Nerissa. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in
    the same abundance as your good fortunes are: and
    yet, for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit
    with too much as they that starve with nothing. It 200
    is no mean happiness therefore, to be seated in the
    mean: superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but
    competency lives longer.
  • Portia. Good sentences and well pronounced.
  • Nerissa. They would be better, if well followed. 205
  • Portia. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to
    do, chapels had been churches and poor men’s
    cottages princes’ palaces. It is a good divine that
    follows his own instructions: I can easier teach
    twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the 210
    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 215
    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? 220
  • Nerissa. Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men at their
    death have good inspirations: therefore the lottery,
    that he hath devised in these three chests of gold,
    silver and lead, whereof who chooses his meaning
    chooses you, will, no doubt, never be chosen by any 225
    rightly but one who shall rightly love. But what
    warmth is there in your affection towards any of
    these princely suitors that are already come?
  • Portia. I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou namest
    them, I will describe them; and, according to my 230
    description, level at my affection.
  • Nerissa. First, there is the Neapolitan prince.
  • Portia. 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 235
    shoe him himself. I am much afeard my lady his
    mother played false with a smith.
  • Nerissa. Then there is the County Palatine.
  • Portia. He doth nothing but frown, as who should say ‘If you
    will not have me, choose:’ he hears merry tales and 240
    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 245
  • Nerissa. How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?
  • Portia. God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man.
    In truth, I know it is a sin to be a mocker: but,
    he! why, he hath a horse better than the 250
    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 255
    I would forgive him, for if he love me to madness, I
    shall never requite him.
  • Nerissa. What say you, then, to Falconbridge, the young baron
    of England?
  • Portia. You know I say nothing to him, for he understands 260
    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! 265
    I think he bought his doublet in Italy, his round
    hose in France, his bonnet in Germany and his
    behavior every where.
  • Nerissa. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbour?
  • Portia. That he hath a neighbourly charity in him, for he 270
    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.
  • Nerissa. How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony’s nephew? 275
  • Portia. Very vilely in the morning, when he is sober, and
    most vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk: when
    he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and
    when he is worst, he is little better than a beast:
    and the worst fall that ever fell, I hope I shall 280
    make shift to go without him.
  • Nerissa. If he should offer to choose, and choose the right
    casket, you should refuse to perform your father’s
    will, if you should refuse to accept him.
  • Portia. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, set a 285
    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 any
    thing, Nerissa, ere I’ll be married to a sponge.
  • Nerissa. You need not fear, lady, the having any of these 290
    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. 295
  • Portia. If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will die as
    chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by the manner
    of my father’s will. I am glad this parcel of wooers
    are so reasonable, for there is not one among them
    but I dote on his very absence, and I pray God grant 300
    them a fair departure.
  • Nerissa. Do you not remember, lady, in your father’s time, a
    Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came hither
    in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?
  • Portia. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, he was so called. 305
  • Nerissa. True, madam: he, of all the men that ever my foolish
    eyes looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.
  • Portia. I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of
    thy praise.
    [Enter a Serving-man] 310
    How now! what news?
  • Servant. 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. 315
  • Portia. If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good a
    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, 320
    Nerissa. Sirrah, go before.
    Whiles we shut the gates
    upon one wooer, another knocks at the door.


      Act I, Scene 3 The Merchant of Venice Venice. A public place.      


  • Shylock. Three thousand ducats; well.
  • Bassanio. Ay, sir, for three months.
  • Shylock. For three months; well.
  • Bassanio. For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound.
  • Shylock. Antonio shall become bound; well. 330
  • Bassanio. May you stead me? will you pleasure me? shall I
    know your answer?
  • Shylock. Three thousand ducats for three months and Antonio bound.
  • Bassanio. Your answer to that.
  • Shylock. Antonio is a good man. 335
  • Bassanio. Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?
  • Shylock. Oh, 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 340
    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, water-thieves and land-thieves, I 345
    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.
  • Bassanio. Be assured you may. 350
  • Shylock. I will be assured I may; and, that I may be assured,
    I will bethink me. May I speak with Antonio?
  • Bassanio. If it please you to dine with us.
  • Shylock. Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which
    your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into. I 355
    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?


  • Bassanio. This is Signior Antonio.
  • Shylock. [Aside] How like a fawning publican he looks!
    I hate him for he is a Christian,
    But more for that in low simplicity
    He lends out money gratis and brings down 365
    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.
    He hates our sacred nation, and he rails,
    Even there where merchants most do congregate, 370
    On me, my bargains and my well-won thrift,
    Which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe,
    If I forgive him!
  • Bassanio. Shylock, do you hear?
  • Shylock. I am debating of my present store, 375
    And, by the near guess of my memory,
    I cannot instantly raise up the gross
    Of full three thousand ducats. What of that?
    Tubal, a wealthy Hebrew of my tribe,
    Will furnish me. But soft! how many months 380
    Do you desire?
    [To ANTONIO] 
    Rest you fair, good signior;
    Your worship was the last man in our mouths.
  • Antonio. Shylock, although I neither lend nor borrow 385
    By taking nor by giving of excess,
    Yet, to supply the ripe wants of my friend,
    I’ll break a custom. Is he yet possess’d
    How much ye would?
  • Shylock. Ay, ay, three thousand ducats. 390
  • Antonio. And for three months.
  • Shylock. I had forgot; three months; you told me so.
    Well then, your bond; and let me see; but hear you;
    Methought you said you neither lend nor borrow
    Upon advantage. 395
  • Antonio. I do never use it.
  • Shylock. When Jacob grazed his uncle Laban’s sheep—
    This Jacob from our holy Abram was,
    As his wise mother wrought in his behalf,
    The third possessor; ay, he was the third— 400
  • Antonio. And what of him? did he take interest?
  • Shylock. No, not take interest, not, as you would say,
    Directly interest: mark what Jacob did.
    When Laban and himself were compromised
    That all the eanlings which were streak’d and pied 405
    Should fall as Jacob’s hire, the ewes, being rank,
    In the end of autumn turned to the rams,
    And, when the work of generation was
    Between these woolly breeders in the act,
    The skilful shepherd peel’d me certain wands, 410
    And, in the doing of the deed of kind,
    He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes,
    Who then conceiving did in eaning time
    Fall parti-colour’d lambs, and those were Jacob’s.
    This was a way to thrive, and he was blest: 415
    And thrift is blessing, if men steal it not.
  • Antonio. This was a venture, sir, that Jacob served for;
    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? 420
    Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?
  • Shylock. I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast:
    But note me, signior.
  • Antonio. Mark you this, Bassanio,
    The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. 425
    An evil soul producing holy witness
    Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
    A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
    O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
  • Shylock. Three thousand ducats; ’tis a good round sum. 430
    Three months from twelve; then, let me see; the rate—
  • Antonio. Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you?
  • Shylock. Signior Antonio, many a time and oft
    In the Rialto you have rated me
    About my moneys and my usances: 435
    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,
    And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,
    And all for use of that which is mine own. 440
    Well then, it now appears you need my help:
    Go to, then; you come to me, and you say
    ‘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 445
    Over your threshold: moneys is your suit
    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, 450
    With bated breath and whispering humbleness, Say this;
    ‘Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last;
    You spurn’d me such a day; another time
    You call’d me dog; and for these courtesies
    I’ll lend you thus much moneys’? 455
  • Antonio. I am as like to call thee so again,
    To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too.
    If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not
    As to thy friends; for when did friendship take
    A breed for barren metal of his friend? 460
    But lend it rather to thine enemy,
    Who, if he break, thou mayst with better face
    Exact the penalty.
  • Shylock. Why, look you, how you storm!
    I would be friends with you and have your love, 465
    Forget the shames that you have stain’d me with,
    Supply your present wants and take no doit
    Of usance for my moneys, and you’ll not hear me:
    This is kind I offer.
  • Bassanio. This were kindness. 470
  • Shylock. This kindness will I show.
    Go with me to a notary, seal me there
    Your single bond; and, in a merry sport,
    If you repay me not on such a day,
    In such a place, such sum or sums as are 475
    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.
  • Antonio. Content, i’ faith: I’ll seal to such a bond 480
    And say there is much kindness in the Jew.
  • Bassanio. You shall not seal to such a bond for me:
    I’ll rather dwell in my necessity.
  • Antonio. Why, fear not, man; I will not forfeit it:
    Within these two months, that’s a month before 485
    This bond expires, I do expect return
    Of thrice three times the value of this bond.
  • Shylock. O father Abram, what these Christians are,
    Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect
    The thoughts of others! Pray you, tell me this; 490
    If he should break his day, what should I gain
    By the exaction of the forfeiture?
    A pound of man’s flesh taken from a man
    Is not so estimable, profitable neither,
    As flesh of muttons, beefs, or goats. I say, 495
    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.
  • Antonio. Yes Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.
  • Shylock. Then meet me forthwith at the notary’s; 500
    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
    Of an unthrifty knave, and presently
    I will be with you. 505
  • Antonio. Hie thee, gentle Jew.
    [Exit Shylock] 
    The Hebrew will turn Christian: he grows kind.
  • Bassanio. I like not fair terms and a villain’s mind.
  • Antonio. Come on: in this there can be no dismay; 510
    My ships come home a month before the day.


      Act II, Scene 1 The Merchant of Venice Belmont. A room in PORTIA’S house.      

Flourish of cornets. Enter the PRINCE OF MOROCCO [p]and his train; PORTIA, NERISSA, and others attending

  • Prince of Morocco. Mislike me not for my complexion, 515
    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,
    Where Phoebus’ fire scarce thaws the icicles,
    And let us make incision for your love, 520
    To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine.
    I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine
    Hath fear’d the valiant: by my love I swear
    The best-regarded virgins of our clime
    Have loved it too: I would not change this hue, 525
    Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.
  • Portia. 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: 530
    But if my father had not scanted me
    And hedged me by his wit, to yield myself
    His wife who wins me by that means I told you,
    Yourself, renowned prince, then stood as fair
    As any comer I have look’d on yet 535
    For my affection.
  • Prince of Morocco. Even for that I thank you:
    Therefore, I pray you, lead me to the caskets
    To try my fortune. By this scimitar
    That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince 540
    That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,
    I would outstare the sternest eyes that look,
    Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth,
    Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,
    Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey, 545
    To win thee, lady. But, alas the while!
    If Hercules and Lichas play at dice
    Which is the better man, the greater throw
    May turn by fortune from the weaker hand:
    So is Alcides beaten by his page; 550
    And so may I, blind fortune leading me,
    Miss that which one unworthier may attain,
    And die with grieving.
  • Portia. You must take your chance,
    And either not attempt to choose at all 555
    Or swear before you choose, if you choose wrong
    Never to speak to lady afterward
    In way of marriage: therefore be advised.
  • Prince of Morocco. Nor will not. Come, bring me unto my chance.
  • Portia. First, forward to the temple: after dinner 560
    Your hazard shall be made.
  • Prince of Morocco. Good fortune then!
    To make me blest or cursed’st among men.

[Cornets, and exeunt]

      Act II, Scene 2 The Merchant of Venice Venice. A street.      


  • 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 570
    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 575
    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, 580
    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,’ 585
    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 590
    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 595
    at your command; I will run.

[Enter Old GOBBO, with a basket]

  • Old Gobbo. Master young man, you, I pray you, which is the way
    to master Jew’s?
  • Launcelot Gobbo. [Aside] O heavens, this is my true-begotten father! 600
    who, being more than sand-blind, high-gravel blind,
    knows me not: I will try confusions with him.
  • Old Gobbo. Master young gentleman, I pray you, which is the way
    to master Jew’s?
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Turn up on your right hand at the next turning, but, 605
    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.
  • Old Gobbo. By God’s sonties, ’twill be a hard way to hit. Can
    you tell me whether one Launcelot, 610
    that dwells with him, dwell with him or no?
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Talk you of young Master Launcelot?
    Mark me now; now will I raise the waters. Talk you
    of young Master Launcelot? 615
  • Old Gobbo. 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.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Well, let his father be what a’ will, we talk of
    young Master Launcelot. 620
  • Old Gobbo. Your worship’s friend and Launcelot, sir.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. But I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech you,
    talk you of young Master Launcelot?
  • Old Gobbo. Of Launcelot, an’t please your mastership.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Ergo, Master Launcelot. Talk not of Master 625
    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. 630
  • Old Gobbo. Marry, God forbid! the boy was the very staff of my
    age, my very prop.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Do I look like a cudgel or a hovel-post, a staff or
    a prop? Do you know me, father?
  • Old Gobbo. Alack the day, I know you not, young gentleman: 635
    but, I pray you, tell me, is my boy, God rest his
    soul, alive or dead?
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Do you not know me, father?
  • Old Gobbo. Alack, sir, I am sand-blind; I know you not.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of 640
    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 at the length truth will out. 645
  • Old Gobbo. Pray you, sir, stand up: I am sure you are not
    Launcelot, my boy.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. 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 650
  • Old Gobbo. I cannot think you are my son.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. 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. 655
  • Old Gobbo. 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 fill-horse has on his tail. 660
  • Launcelot Gobbo. It should seem, then, that Dobbin’s tail grows
    backward: I am sure he had more hair of his tail
    than I have of my face when I last saw him.
  • Old Gobbo. Lord, how art thou changed! How dost thou and thy
    master agree? I have brought him a present. How 665
    ‘gree you now?
  • Launcelot Gobbo. 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 famished in 670
    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 675
    fortune! here comes the man: to him, father; for I
    am a Jew, if I serve the Jew any longer.

[Enter BASSANIO, with LEONARDO and other followers]

  • Bassanio. You may do so; but let it be so hasted that supper
    be ready at the farthest by five of the clock. See 680
    these letters delivered; put the liveries to making,
    and desire Gratiano to come anon to my lodging.

[Exit a Servant]

  • Launcelot Gobbo. To him, father.
  • Old Gobbo. God bless your worship! 685
  • Bassanio. Gramercy! wouldst thou aught with me?
  • Old Gobbo. Here’s my son, sir, a poor boy,—
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Not a poor boy, sir, but the rich Jew’s man; that
    would, sir, as my father shall specify—
  • Old Gobbo. He hath a great infection, sir, as one would say, to serve— 690
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Indeed, the short and the long is, I serve the Jew,
    and have a desire, as my father shall specify—
  • Old Gobbo. His master and he, saving your worship’s reverence,
    are scarce cater-cousins—
  • Launcelot Gobbo. To be brief, the very truth is that the Jew, having 695
    done me wrong, doth cause me, as my father, being, I
    hope, an old man, shall frutify unto you—
  • Old Gobbo. I have here a dish of doves that I would bestow upon
    your worship, and my suit is—
  • Launcelot Gobbo. In very brief, the suit is impertinent to myself, as 700
    your worship shall know by this honest old man; and,
    though I say it, though old man, yet poor man, my father.
  • Bassanio. One speak for both. What would you?
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Serve you, sir.
  • Old Gobbo. That is the very defect of the matter, sir. 705
  • Bassanio. I know thee well; thou hast obtain’d thy suit:
    Shylock thy master spoke with me this day,
    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. 710
  • Launcelot Gobbo. 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.
  • Bassanio. Thou speak’st it well. Go, father, with thy son.
    Take leave of thy old master and inquire 715
    My lodging out. Give him a livery
    More guarded than his fellows’: see it done.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Father, in. I cannot get a service, no; I have
    ne’er a tongue in my head. Well, if any man in
    Italy have a fairer table which doth offer to swear 720
    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! eleven
    widows and nine maids is a simple coming-in for one
    man: and then to ‘scape drowning thrice, and to be 725
    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.

[Exeunt Launcelot and Old Gobbo]

  • Bassanio. 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.
  • Leonardo. My best endeavours shall be done herein. 735


  • Gratiano. Where is your master?
  • Leonardo. Yonder, sir, he walks.


  • Gratiano. Signior Bassanio! 740
  • Bassanio. Gratiano!
  • Gratiano. I have a suit to you.
  • Bassanio. You have obtain’d it.
  • Gratiano. You must not deny me: I must go with you to Belmont.
  • Bassanio. Why then you must. But hear thee, Gratiano; 745
    Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice;
    Parts that become thee happily enough
    And in such eyes as ours appear not faults;
    But where thou art not known, why, there they show
    Something too liberal. Pray thee, take pain 750
    To allay with some cold drops of modesty
    Thy skipping spirit, lest through thy wild behavior
    I be misconstrued in the place I go to,
    And lose my hopes.
  • Gratiano. Signior Bassanio, hear me: 755
    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,’ 760
    Use all the observance of civility,
    Like one well studied in a sad ostent
    To please his grandam, never trust me more.
  • Bassanio. Well, we shall see your bearing.
  • Gratiano. Nay, but I bar to-night: you shall not gauge me 765
    By what we do to-night.
  • Bassanio. No, that were pity:
    I would entreat you rather to put on
    Your boldest suit of mirth, for we have friends
    That purpose merriment. But fare you well: 770
    I have some business.
  • Gratiano. And I must to Lorenzo and the rest:
    But we will visit you at supper-time.


      Act II, Scene 3 The Merchant of Venice The same. A room in SHYLOCK’S house.      


  • Jessica. I am sorry thou wilt leave my father so:
    Our house is hell, and thou, a merry devil,
    Didst rob it of some taste of tediousness.
    But fare thee well, there is a ducat for thee:
    And, Launcelot, soon at supper shalt thou see 780
    Lorenzo, who is thy new master’s guest:
    Give him this letter; do it secretly;
    And so farewell: I would not have my father
    See me in talk with thee.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Adieu! tears exhibit my tongue. Most beautiful 785
    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 something drown my
    manly spirit: adieu.
  • Jessica. Farewell, good Launcelot. 790
    [Exit Launcelot] 
    Alack, what heinous sin is it in me
    To be ashamed to be my father’s child!
    But though I am a daughter to his blood,
    I am not to his manners. O Lorenzo, 795
    If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife,
    Become a Christian and thy loving wife.


      Act II, Scene 4 The Merchant of Venice The same. A street.      


  • Lorenzo. Nay, we will slink away in supper-time, 800
    Disguise us at my lodging and return,
    All in an hour.
  • Gratiano. We have not made good preparation.
  • Salarino. We have not spoke us yet of torchbearers.
  • Salanio. ‘Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly order’d, 805
    And better in my mind not undertook.
  • Lorenzo. ‘Tis now but four o’clock: we have two hours
    To furnish us.
    [Enter LAUNCELOT, with a letter] 
    Friend Launcelot, what’s the news? 810
  • Launcelot Gobbo. An it shall please you to break up
    this, it shall seem to signify.
  • Lorenzo. I know the hand: in faith, ’tis a fair hand;
    And whiter than the paper it writ on
    Is the fair hand that writ. 815
  • Gratiano. Love-news, in faith.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. By your leave, sir.
  • Lorenzo. Whither goest thou?
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Marry, sir, to bid my old master the
    Jew to sup to-night with my new master the Christian. 820
  • Lorenzo. Hold here, take this: tell gentle Jessica
    I will not fail her; speak it privately.
    Go, gentlemen,
    [Exit Launcelot] 
    Will you prepare you for this masque tonight? 825
    I am provided of a torch-bearer.
  • Salanio. Ay, marry, I’ll be gone about it straight.
  • Salanio. And so will I.
  • Lorenzo. Meet me and Gratiano
    At Gratiano’s lodging some hour hence. 830
  • Salarino. ‘Tis good we do so.


  • Gratiano. Was not that letter from fair Jessica?
  • Lorenzo. I must needs tell thee all. She hath directed
    How I shall take her from her father’s house, 835
    What gold and jewels she is furnish’d with,
    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, 840
    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.


      Act II, Scene 5 The Merchant of Venice The same. Before SHYLOCK’S house.      


  • Shylock. Well, thou shalt see, thy eyes shall be thy judge,
    The difference of old Shylock and Bassanio:—
    What, Jessica!—thou shalt not gormandise,
    As thou hast done with me:—What, Jessica!— 850
    And sleep and snore, and rend apparel out;—
    Why, Jessica, I say!
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Why, Jessica!
  • Shylock. Who bids thee call? I do not bid thee call.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Your worship was wont to tell me that 855
    I could do nothing without bidding.

[Enter Jessica]

  • Jessica. Call you? what is your will?
  • Shylock. I am bid forth to supper, Jessica:
    There are my keys. But wherefore should I go? 860
    I am not bid for love; they flatter me:
    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:
    There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest, 865
    For I did dream of money-bags to-night.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. I beseech you, sir, go: my young master doth expect
    your reproach.
  • Shylock. So do I his.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. An they have conspired together, I will not say you 870
    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. 875
  • Shylock. What, are there masques? Hear you me, Jessica:
    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 880
    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,
    I have no mind of feasting forth to-night: 885
    But I will go. Go you before me, sirrah;
    Say I will come.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. I will go before, sir. Mistress, look out at
    window, for all this, There will come a Christian
    boy, will be worth a Jewess’ eye. 890


  • Shylock. What says that fool of Hagar’s offspring, ha?
  • Jessica. His words were ‘Farewell mistress;’ nothing else.
  • Shylock. The patch is kind enough, but a huge feeder;
    Snail-slow in profit, and he sleeps by day 895
    More than the wild-cat: drones hive not with me;
    Therefore I part with him, and part with him
    To one that would have him help to waste
    His borrow’d purse. Well, Jessica, go in;
    Perhaps I will return immediately: 900
    Do as I bid you; shut doors after you:
    Fast bind, fast find;
    A proverb never stale in thrifty mind.


  • Jessica. Farewell; and if my fortune be not crost, 905
    I have a father, you a daughter, lost.


Act II, Scene 6 The Merchant of Venice

The same.

[Enter GRATIANO and SALARINO, masqued]

  • Gratiano. This is the pent-house under which Lorenzo
    Desired us to make stand. 910
  • Salarino. His hour is almost past.
  • Gratiano. And it is marvel he out-dwells his hour,
    For lovers ever run before the clock.
  • Salarino. O, ten times faster Venus’ pigeons fly
    To seal love’s bonds new-made, than they are wont 915
    To keep obliged faith unforfeited!
  • Gratiano. That ever holds: who riseth from a feast
    With that keen appetite that he sits down?
    Where is the horse that doth untread again
    His tedious measures with the unbated fire 920
    That he did pace them first? All things that are,
    Are with more spirit chased than enjoy’d.
    How like a younker or a prodigal
    The scarfed bark puts from her native bay,
    Hugg’d and embraced by the strumpet wind! 925
    How like the prodigal doth she return,
    With over-weather’d ribs and ragged sails,
    Lean, rent and beggar’d by the strumpet wind!
  • Salarino. Here comes Lorenzo: more of this hereafter.


  • 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;
    Here dwells my father Jew. Ho! who’s within? 935

[Enter JESSICA, above, in boy’s clothes]

  • Jessica. Who are you? Tell me, for more certainty,
    Albeit I’ll swear that I do know your tongue.
  • Lorenzo. Lorenzo, and thy love.
  • Jessica. Lorenzo, certain, and my love indeed, 940
    For who love I so much? And now who knows
    But you, Lorenzo, whether I am yours?
  • Lorenzo. Heaven and thy thoughts are witness that thou art.
  • Jessica. Here, catch this casket; it is worth the pains.
    I am glad ’tis night, you do not look on me, 945
    For I am much ashamed of my exchange:
    But love is blind and lovers cannot see
    The pretty follies that themselves commit;
    For if they could, Cupid himself would blush
    To see me thus transformed to a boy. 950
  • Lorenzo. Descend, for you must be my torchbearer.
  • Jessica. What, must I hold a candle to my shames?
    They in themselves, good-sooth, are too too light.
    Why, ’tis an office of discovery, love;
    And I should be obscured. 955
  • Lorenzo. So are you, sweet,
    Even in the lovely garnish of a boy.
    But come at once;
    For the close night doth play the runaway,
    And we are stay’d for at Bassanio’s feast. 960
  • Jessica. I will make fast the doors, and gild myself
    With some more ducats, and be with you straight.

[Exit above]

  • Gratiano. Now, by my hood, a Gentile and no Jew.
  • Lorenzo. Beshrew me but I love her heartily; 965
    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 proved herself,
    And therefore, like herself, wise, fair and true,
    Shall she be placed in my constant soul. 970
    [Enter JESSICA, below] 
    What, art thou come? On, gentlemen; away!
    Our masquing mates by this time for us stay.

[Exit with Jessica and Salarino]


  • Antonio. Who’s there?
  • Gratiano. Signior Antonio!
  • 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; 980
    Bassanio presently will go aboard:
    I have sent twenty out to seek for you.
  • Gratiano. I am glad on’t: I desire no more delight
    Than to be under sail and gone to-night.


Act II, Scene 7 The Merchant of Venice

Belmont. A room in PORTIA’S house.

Flourish of cornets. Enter PORTIA, with the PRINCE OF MOROCCO, and their trains

  • Portia. Go draw aside the curtains and discover
    The several caskets to this noble prince.
    Now make your choice.
  • Prince of Morocco. The first, of gold, who this inscription bears, 990
    ‘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.’ 995
    How shall I know if I do choose the right?
  • Portia. The one of them contains my picture, prince:
    If you choose that, then I am yours withal.
  • Prince of Morocco. Some god direct my judgment! Let me see;
    I will survey the inscriptions back again. 1000
    What says this leaden casket?
    ‘Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.’
    Must give: for what? for lead? hazard for lead?
    This casket threatens. Men that hazard all
    Do it in hope of fair advantages: 1005
    A golden mind stoops not to shows of dross;
    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, 1010
    And weigh thy value with an even hand:
    If thou be’st rated by thy estimation,
    Thou dost deserve enough; and yet enough
    May not extend so far as to the lady:
    And yet to be afeard of my deserving 1015
    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,
    In graces and in qualities of breeding;
    But more than these, in love I do deserve. 1020
    What if I stray’d no further, but chose here?
    Let’s see once more this saying graved in gold
    ‘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, 1025
    To kiss this shrine, this mortal-breathing saint:
    The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds
    Of wide Arabia are as thoroughfares now
    For princes to come view fair Portia:
    The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head 1030
    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 1035
    To think so base a thought: it were too gross
    To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave.
    Or shall I think in silver she’s immured,
    Being ten times undervalued to tried gold?
    O sinful thought! Never so rich a gem 1040
    Was set in worse than gold. They have in England
    A coin that bears the figure of an angel
    Stamped in gold, but that’s insculp’d upon;
    But here an angel in a golden bed
    Lies all within. Deliver me the key: 1045
    Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may!
  • Portia. There, take it, prince; and if my form lie there,
    Then I am yours.

[He unlocks the golden casket]

  • Prince of Morocco. O hell! what have we here? 1050
    A carrion Death, within whose empty eye
    There is a written scroll! I’ll read the writing.
    All that glitters is not gold;
    Often have you heard that told: 1055
    Many a man his life hath sold
    But my outside to behold:
    Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
    Had you been as wise as bold,
    Young in limbs, in judgment old, 1060
    Your answer had not been inscroll’d:
    Fare you well; your suit is cold.
    Cold, indeed; and labour lost:
    Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost!
    Portia, adieu. I have too grieved a heart 1065
    To take a tedious leave: thus losers part.

[Exit with his train. Flourish of cornets]

  • Portia. A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains, go.
    Let all of his complexion choose me so.


Act II, Scene 8 The Merchant of Venice

Venice. A street.


  • Salarino. Why, man, I saw Bassanio under sail:
    With him is Gratiano gone along;
    And in their ship I am sure Lorenzo is not.
  • Salanio. The villain Jew with outcries raised the duke, 1075
    Who went with him to search Bassanio’s ship.
  • Salarino. He came too late, the ship was under sail:
    But there the duke was given to understand
    That in a gondola were seen together
    Lorenzo and his amorous Jessica: 1080
    Besides, Antonio certified the duke
    They were not with Bassanio in his ship.
  • Salanio. I never heard a passion so confused,
    So strange, outrageous, and so variable,
    As the dog Jew did utter in the streets: 1085
    ‘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, stolen from me by my daughter! 1090
    And jewels, two stones, two rich and precious stones,
    Stolen by my daughter! Justice! find the girl;
    She hath the stones upon her, and the ducats.’
  • Salarino. Why, all the boys in Venice follow him,
    Crying, his stones, his daughter, and his ducats. 1095
  • Salanio. Let good Antonio look he keep his day,
    Or he shall pay for this.
  • Salarino. Marry, well remember’d.
    I reason’d with a Frenchman yesterday,
    Who told me, in the narrow seas that part 1100
    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.
  • Salanio. You were best to tell Antonio what you hear; 1105
    Yet do not suddenly, for it may grieve him.
  • Salarino. A kinder gentleman treads not the earth.
    I saw Bassanio and Antonio part:
    Bassanio told him he would make some speed
    Of his return: he answer’d, ‘Do not so; 1110
    Slubber not business for my sake, Bassanio
    But stay the very riping of the time;
    And for the Jew’s bond which he hath of me,
    Let it not enter in your mind of love:
    Be merry, and employ your chiefest thoughts 1115
    To courtship and such fair ostents of love
    As shall conveniently become you there:’
    And even there, his eye being big with tears,
    Turning his face, he put his hand behind him,
    And with affection wondrous sensible 1120
    He wrung Bassanio’s hand; and so they parted.
  • Salanio. I think he only loves the world for him.
    I pray thee, let us go and find him out
    And quicken his embraced heaviness
    With some delight or other. 1125
  • Salarino. Do we so.


Act II, Scene 9 The Merchant of Venice

Belmont. A room in PORTIA’S house.

[Enter NERISSA with a Servitor]

  • Nerissa. Quick, quick, I pray thee; draw the curtain straight:
    The Prince of Arragon hath ta’en his oath, 1130
    And comes to his election presently.
    [Flourish of cornets. Enter the PRINCE OF ARRAGON,] 
    PORTIA, and their trains]
  • Portia. Behold, there stand the caskets, noble prince:
    If you choose that wherein I am contain’d, 1135
    Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemnized:
    But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,
    You must be gone from hence immediately.
  • Prince of Arragon. I am enjoin’d by oath to observe three things:
    First, never to unfold to any one 1140
    Which casket ’twas I chose; next, if I fail
    Of the right casket, never in my life
    To woo a maid in way of marriage: Lastly,
    If I do fail in fortune of my choice,
    Immediately to leave you and be gone. 1145
  • Portia. To these injunctions every one doth swear
    That comes to hazard for my worthless self.
  • Prince of Arragon. 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.’ 1150
    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.’
    What many men desire! that ‘many’ may be meant
    By the fool multitude, that choose by show, 1155
    Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach;
    Which pries not to the interior, but, like the martlet,
    Builds in the weather on the outward wall,
    Even in the force and road of casualty.
    I will not choose what many men desire, 1160
    Because I will not jump with common spirits
    And rank me with the barbarous multitudes.
    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:’ 1165
    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.
    O, that estates, degrees and offices 1170
    Were not derived corruptly, and that clear honour
    Were purchased by the merit of the wearer!
    How many then should cover that stand bare!
    How many be commanded that command!
    How much low peasantry would then be glean’d 1175
    From the true seed of honour! and how much honour
    Pick’d from the chaff and ruin of the times
    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, 1180
    And instantly unlock my fortunes here.

[He opens the silver casket]

  • Portia. Too long a pause for that which you find there.
  • Prince of Arragon. What’s here? the portrait of a blinking idiot,
    Presenting me a schedule! I will read it. 1185
    How much unlike art thou to Portia!
    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? 1190
  • Portia. To offend, and judge, are distinct offices
    And of opposed natures.
  • Prince of Arragon. What is here?
    The fire seven times tried this: 1195
    Seven times tried that judgment is,
    That did never choose amiss.
    Some there be that shadows kiss;
    Such have but a shadow’s bliss:
    There be fools alive, I wis, 1200
    Silver’d o’er; and so was this.
    Take what wife you will to bed,
    I will ever be your head:
    So be gone: you are sped.
    Still more fool I shall appear 1205
    By the time I linger here
    With one fool’s head I came to woo,
    But I go away with two.
    Sweet, adieu. I’ll keep my oath,
    Patiently to bear my wroth. 1210

[Exeunt Arragon and train]

  • Portia. Thus hath the candle singed the moth.
    O, these deliberate fools! when they do choose,
    They have the wisdom by their wit to lose.
  • Nerissa. The ancient saying is no heresy, 1215
    Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.
  • Portia. Come, draw the curtain, Nerissa.

[Enter a Servant]

  • Servant. Where is my lady?
  • Portia. Here: what would my lord? 1220
  • Servant. Madam, there is alighted at your gate
    A young Venetian, one that comes before
    To signify the approaching of his lord;
    From whom he bringeth sensible regreets,
    To wit, besides commends and courteous breath, 1225
    Gifts of rich value. Yet I have not seen
    So likely an ambassador of love:
    A day in April never came so sweet,
    To show how costly summer was at hand,
    As this fore-spurrer comes before his lord. 1230
  • Portia. No more, I pray thee: I am half afeard
    Thou wilt say anon he is some kin to thee,
    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. 1235
  • Nerissa. Bassanio, lord Love, if thy will it be!


Act III, Scene 1 The Merchant of Venice

Venice. A street.


  • Salanio. Now, what news on the Rialto?
  • Salarino. Why, yet it lives there uncheck’d that Antonio hath 1240
    a ship of rich lading wrecked 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. 1245
  • Salanio. 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 1250
    honest Antonio,—O that I had a title good enough
    to keep his name company!—
  • Salarino. Come, the full stop.
  • Salanio. Ha! what sayest thou? Why, the end is, he hath
    lost a ship. 1255
  • Salarino. I would it might prove the end of his losses.
  • Salanio. Let me say ‘amen’ betimes, lest the devil cross my
    prayer, for here he comes in the likeness of a Jew.
    [Enter SHYLOCK] 
    How now, Shylock! what news among the merchants? 1260
  • Shylock. You know, none so well, none so well as you, of my
    daughter’s flight.
  • Salarino. That’s certain: I, for my part, knew the tailor
    that made the wings she flew withal.
  • Salanio. And Shylock, for his own part, knew the bird was 1265
    fledged; and then it is the complexion of them all
    to leave the dam.
  • Shylock. She is damned for it.
  • Salanio. That’s certain, if the devil may be her judge.
  • Shylock. My own flesh and blood to rebel! 1270
  • Salanio. Out upon it, old carrion! rebels it at these years?
  • Shylock. I say, my daughter is my flesh and blood.
  • Salarino. There is more difference between thy flesh and hers
    than between jet and ivory; more between your bloods
    than there is between red wine and rhenish. But 1275
    tell us, do you hear whether Antonio have had any
    loss at sea or no?
  • Shylock. There I have another bad match: a bankrupt, a
    prodigal, who dare scarce show his head on the
    Rialto; a beggar, that was used to come so smug upon 1280
    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.
  • Salarino. Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take 1285
    his flesh: what’s that good for?
  • Shylock. To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else,
    it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and
    hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses,
    mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my 1290
    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 1295
    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 1300
    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 1305
    teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I
    will better the instruction.

[Enter a Servant]

  • Servant. Gentlemen, my master Antonio is at his house and
    desires to speak with you both. 1310
  • Salarino. We have been up and down to seek him.

[Enter TUBAL]

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

[Exeunt SALANIO, SALARINO, and Servant]

  • Shylock. How now, Tubal! what news from Genoa? hast thou
    found my daughter?
  • Tubal. I often came where I did hear of her, but cannot find her.
  • Shylock. Why, there, there, there, there! a diamond gone,
    cost me two thousand ducats in Frankfort! The curse 1320
    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 1325
    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 in luck stirring but what lights on my 1330
    shoulders; no sighs but of my breathing; no tears
    but of my shedding.
  • Tubal. Yes, other men have ill luck too: Antonio, as I
    heard in Genoa,—
  • Shylock. What, what, what? ill luck, ill luck? 1335
  • Tubal. Hath an argosy cast away, coming from Tripolis.
  • Shylock. I thank God, I thank God. Is’t true, is’t true?
  • Tubal. I spoke with some of the sailors that escaped the wreck.
  • Shylock. I thank thee, good Tubal: good news, good news!
    ha, ha! where? in Genoa? 1340
  • Tubal. Your daughter spent in Genoa, as I heard, in one
    night fourscore ducats.
  • Shylock. Thou stickest a dagger in me: I shall never see my
    gold again: fourscore ducats at a sitting!
    fourscore ducats! 1345
  • Tubal. There came divers of Antonio’s creditors in my
    company to Venice, that swear he cannot choose but break.
  • Shylock. I am very glad of it: I’ll plague him; I’ll torture
    him: I am glad of it.
  • Tubal. One of them showed me a ring that he had of your 1350
    daughter for a monkey.
  • Shylock. Out upon her! Thou torturest me, Tubal: it was my
    turquoise; I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor:
    I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.
  • Tubal. But Antonio is certainly undone. 1355
  • Shylock. 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; 1360
    go, good Tubal; at our synagogue, Tubal.


      Act III, Scene 2 The Merchant of Venice Belmont. A room in PORTIA’S house.      


  • Portia. I pray you, tarry: pause a day or two
    Before you hazard; for, in choosing wrong, 1365
    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,
    Hate counsels not in such a quality.
    But lest you should not understand me well,— 1370
    And yet a maiden hath no tongue but thought,—
    I would detain you here some month or two
    Before you venture for me. I could teach you
    How to choose right, but I am then forsworn;
    So will I never be: so may you miss me; 1375
    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,
    Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours, 1380
    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,
    Let fortune go to hell for it, not I.
    I speak too long; but ’tis to peize the time, 1385
    To eke it and to draw it out in length,
    To stay you from election.
  • Bassanio. Let me choose
    For as I am, I live upon the rack.
  • Portia. Upon the rack, Bassanio! then confess 1390
    What treason there is mingled with your love.
  • Bassanio. None but that ugly treason of mistrust,
    Which makes me fear the enjoying of my love:
    There may as well be amity and life
    ‘Tween snow and fire, as treason and my love. 1395
  • Portia. Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack,
    Where men enforced do speak anything.
  • Bassanio. Promise me life, and I’ll confess the truth.
  • Portia. Well then, confess and live.
  • Bassanio. ‘Confess’ and ‘love’ 1400
    Had been the very sum of my confession:
    O happy torment, when my torturer
    Doth teach me answers for deliverance!
    But let me to my fortune and the caskets.
  • Portia. Away, then! I am lock’d in one of them: 1405
    If you do love me, you will find me out.
    Nerissa and the rest, stand all aloof.
    Let music sound while he doth make his choice;
    Then, if he lose, he makes a swan-like end,
    Fading in music: that the comparison 1410
    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
    Even as the flourish when true subjects bow
    To a new-crowned monarch: such it is 1415
    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,
    With no less presence, but with much more love,
    Than young Alcides, when he did redeem 1420
    The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy
    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! 1425
    Live thou, I live: with much, much more dismay
    I view the fight than thou that makest the fray.
    [Music, whilst BASSANIO comments on the caskets to himself] 
    Tell me where is fancy bred, 1430
    Or in the heart, or in the head?
    How begot, how nourished?
    Reply, reply.
    It is engender’d in the eyes,
    With gazing fed; and fancy dies 1435
    In the cradle where it lies.
    Let us all ring fancy’s knell
    I’ll begin it,—Ding, dong, bell.
  • All. Ding, dong, bell.
  • Bassanio. So may the outward shows be least themselves: 1440
    The world is still deceived with ornament.
    In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
    But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,
    Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
    What damned error, but some sober brow 1445
    Will bless it and approve it with a text,
    Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
    There is no vice so simple but assumes
    Some mark of virtue on his outward parts:
    How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false 1450
    As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
    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, 1455
    And you shall see ’tis purchased by the weight;
    Which therein works a miracle in nature,
    Making them lightest that wear most of it:
    So are those crisped snaky golden locks
    Which make such wanton gambols with the wind, 1460
    Upon supposed fairness, often known
    To be the dowry of a second head,
    The skull that bred them in the sepulchre.
    Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
    To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf 1465
    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 1470
    ‘Tween man and man: but thou, thou meagre lead,
    Which rather threatenest than dost promise aught,
    Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence;
    And here choose I; joy be the consequence!
  • Portia. [Aside] How all the other passions fleet to air, 1475
    As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embraced despair,
    And shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy! O love,
    Be moderate; allay thy ecstasy,
    In measure rein thy joy; scant this excess.
    I feel too much thy blessing: make it less, 1480
    For fear I surfeit.
  • Bassanio. What find I here?
    [Opening the leaden casket] 
    Fair Portia’s counterfeit! What demi-god
    Hath come so near creation? Move these eyes? 1485
    Or whether, riding on the balls of mine,
    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
    The painter plays the spider and hath woven 1490
    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 1495
    The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow
    In underprizing it, so far this shadow
    Doth limp behind the substance. Here’s the scroll,
    The continent and summary of my fortune.
    [Reads] 1500
    You that choose not by the view,
    Chance as fair and choose as true!
    Since this fortune falls to you,
    Be content and seek no new,
    If you be well pleased with this 1505
    And hold your fortune for your bliss,
    Turn you where your lady is
    And claim her with a loving kiss.
    A gentle scroll. Fair lady, by your leave;
    I come by note, to give and to receive. 1510
    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
    Whether these pearls of praise be his or no; 1515
    So, thrice fair lady, stand I, even so;
    As doubtful whether what I see be true,
    Until confirm’d, sign’d, ratified by you.
  • Portia. You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand,
    Such as I am: though for myself alone 1520
    I would not be ambitious in my wish,
    To wish myself much better; yet, for you
    I would be trebled twenty times myself;
    A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich;
    That only to stand high in your account, 1525
    I might in virtue, beauties, livings, friends,
    Exceed account; but the full sum of me
    Is sum of something, which, to term in gross,
    Is an unlesson’d girl, unschool’d, unpractised;
    Happy in this, she is not yet so old 1530
    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
    Commits itself to yours to be directed,
    As from her lord, her governor, her king. 1535
    Myself and what is mine to you and yours
    Is now converted: but now I was the lord
    Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
    Queen o’er myself: and even now, but now,
    This house, these servants and this same myself 1540
    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.
  • Bassanio. Madam, you have bereft me of all words, 1545
    Only my blood speaks to you in my veins;
    And there is such confusion in my powers,
    As after some oration fairly spoke
    By a beloved prince, there doth appear
    Among the buzzing pleased multitude; 1550
    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:
    O, then be bold to say Bassanio’s dead! 1555
  • Nerissa. 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!
  • Gratiano. My lord Bassanio and my gentle lady,
    I wish you all the joy that you can wish; 1560
    For I am sure you can wish none from me:
    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.
  • Bassanio. With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife. 1565
  • Gratiano. 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 loved, I loved for intermission.
    No more pertains to me, my lord, than you. 1570
    Your fortune stood upon the casket there,
    And so did mine too, as the matter falls;
    For wooing here until I sweat again,
    And sweating until my very roof was dry
    With oaths of love, at last, if promise last, 1575
    I got a promise of this fair one here
    To have her love, provided that your fortune
    Achieved her mistress.
  • Portia. Is this true, Nerissa?
  • Nerissa. Madam, it is, so you stand pleased withal. 1580
  • Bassanio. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?
  • Gratiano. Yes, faith, my lord.
  • Bassanio. Our feast shall be much honour’d in your marriage.
  • Gratiano. We’ll play with them the first boy for a thousand ducats.
  • Nerissa. What, and stake down? 1585
  • Gratiano. 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 Salerio?
    [Enter LORENZO, JESSICA, and SALERIO, a Messenger] 
    from Venice] 1590
  • Bassanio. Lorenzo and Salerio, 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,
    Sweet Portia, welcome. 1595
  • Portia. So do I, my lord:
    They are entirely welcome.
  • Lorenzo. I thank your honour. For my part, my lord,
    My purpose was not to have seen you here;
    But meeting with Salerio by the way, 1600
    He did entreat me, past all saying nay,
    To come with him along.
  • Salerio. I did, my lord;
    And I have reason for it. Signior Antonio
    Commends him to you. 1605

[Gives Bassanio a letter]

  • Bassanio. Ere I ope his letter,
    I pray you, tell me how my good friend doth.
  • Salerio. Not sick, my lord, unless it be in mind;
    Nor well, unless in mind: his letter there 1610
    Will show you his estate.
  • Gratiano. Nerissa, cheer yon stranger; bid her welcome.
    Your hand, Salerio: what’s the news from Venice?
    How doth that royal merchant, good Antonio?
    I know he will be glad of our success; 1615
    We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.
  • Salerio. I would you had won the fleece that he hath lost.
  • Portia. There are some shrewd contents in yon same paper,
    That steals the colour from Bassanio’s cheek:
    Some dear friend dead; else nothing in the world 1620
    Could turn so much the constitution
    Of any constant man. What, worse and worse!
    With leave, Bassanio: I am half yourself,
    And I must freely have the half of anything
    That this same paper brings you. 1625
  • Bassanio. O sweet Portia,
    Here are a few of the unpleasant’st words
    That ever blotted paper! Gentle lady,
    When I did first impart my love to you,
    I freely told you, all the wealth I had 1630
    Ran in my veins, I was a gentleman;
    And then I told you true: and yet, dear lady,
    Rating myself at nothing, you shall see
    How much I was a braggart. When I told you
    My state was nothing, I should then have told you 1635
    That I was worse than nothing; for, indeed,
    I have engaged myself to a dear friend,
    Engaged my friend to his mere enemy,
    To feed my means. Here is a letter, lady;
    The paper as the body of my friend, 1640
    And every word in it a gaping wound,
    Issuing life-blood. But is it true, Salerio?
    Have all his ventures fail’d? What, not one hit?
    From Tripolis, from Mexico and England,
    From Lisbon, Barbary and India? 1645
    And not one vessel ‘scape the dreadful touch
    Of merchant-marring rocks?
  • Salerio. Not one, my lord.
    Besides, it should appear, that if he had
    The present money to discharge the Jew, 1650
    He would not take it. Never did I know
    A creature, that did bear the shape of man,
    So keen and greedy to confound a man:
    He plies the duke at morning and at night,
    And doth impeach the freedom of the state, 1655
    If they deny him justice: twenty merchants,
    The duke himself, and the magnificoes
    Of greatest port, have all persuaded with him;
    But none can drive him from the envious plea
    Of forfeiture, of justice and his bond. 1660
  • Jessica. When I was with him I have heard him swear
    To Tubal and to Chus, his countrymen,
    That he would rather have Antonio’s flesh
    Than twenty times the value of the sum
    That he did owe him: and I know, my lord, 1665
    If law, authority and power deny not,
    It will go hard with poor Antonio.
  • Portia. Is it your dear friend that is thus in trouble?
  • Bassanio. The dearest friend to me, the kindest man,
    The best-condition’d and unwearied spirit 1670
    In doing courtesies, and one in whom
    The ancient Roman honour more appears
    Than any that draws breath in Italy.
  • Portia. What sum owes he the Jew?
  • Bassanio. For me three thousand ducats. 1675
  • Portia. What, no more?
    Pay him six thousand, and deface the bond;
    Double six thousand, and then treble that,
    Before a friend of this description
    Shall lose a hair through Bassanio’s fault. 1680
    First go with me to church and call me wife,
    And then away to Venice to your friend;
    For never shall you lie by Portia’s side
    With an unquiet soul. You shall have gold
    To pay the petty debt twenty times over: 1685
    When it is paid, bring your true friend along.
    My maid Nerissa and myself meantime
    Will live as maids and widows. Come, away!
    For you shall hence upon your wedding-day:
    Bid your friends welcome, show a merry cheer: 1690
    Since you are dear bought, I will love you dear.
    But let me hear the letter of your friend.
  • Bassanio. [Reads] 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 1695
    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. 1700
  • Portia. O love, dispatch all business, and be gone!
  • Bassanio. 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,
    No rest be interposer ‘twixt us twain. 1705


Act III, Scene 3 The Merchant of Venice

Venice. A street.


  • Shylock. Gaoler, look to him: tell not me of mercy;
    This is the fool that lent out money gratis:
    Gaoler, look to him. 1710
  • Antonio. Hear me yet, good Shylock.
  • Shylock. I’ll have my bond; speak not against my bond:
    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: 1715
    The duke shall grant me justice. I do wonder,
    Thou naughty gaoler, that thou art so fond
    To come abroad with him at his request.
  • Antonio. I pray thee, hear me speak.
  • Shylock. I’ll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak: 1720
    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;
    I’ll have no speaking: I will have my bond. 1725


  • Salarino. It is the most impenetrable cur
    That ever kept with men.
  • Antonio. Let him alone:
    I’ll follow him no more with bootless prayers. 1730
    He seeks my life; his reason well I know:
    I oft deliver’d from his forfeitures
    Many that have at times made moan to me;
    Therefore he hates me.
  • Salarino. I am sure the duke 1735
    Will never grant this forfeiture to hold.
  • Antonio. The duke cannot deny the course of law:
    For the commodity that strangers have
    With us in Venice, if it be denied,
    Will much impeach the justice of his state; 1740
    Since that the trade and profit of the city
    Consisteth of all nations. Therefore, go:
    These griefs and losses have so bated me,
    That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh
    To-morrow to my bloody creditor. 1745
    Well, gaoler, on. Pray God, Bassanio come
    To see me pay his debt, and then I care not!


Act III, Scene 4 The Merchant of Venice

Belmont. A room in PORTIA’S house.


  • Lorenzo. Madam, although I speak it in your presence, 1750
    You have a noble and a true conceit
    Of godlike amity; which appears most strongly
    In bearing thus the absence of your lord.
    But if you knew to whom you show this honour,
    How true a gentleman you send relief, 1755
    How dear a lover of my lord your husband,
    I know you would be prouder of the work
    Than customary bounty can enforce you.
  • Portia. I never did repent for doing good,
    Nor shall not now: for in companions 1760
    That do converse and waste the time together,
    Whose souls do bear an equal yoke Of love,
    There must be needs a like proportion
    Of lineaments, of manners and of spirit;
    Which makes me think that this Antonio, 1765
    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
    From out the state of hellish misery! 1770
    This comes too near the praising of myself;
    Therefore no more of it: hear other things.
    Lorenzo, I commit into your hands
    The husbandry and manage of my house
    Until my lord’s return: for mine own part, 1775
    I have toward heaven breathed a secret vow
    To live in prayer and contemplation,
    Only attended by Nerissa here,
    Until her husband and my lord’s return:
    There is a monastery two miles off; 1780
    And there will we abide. I do desire you
    Not to deny this imposition;
    The which my love and some necessity
    Now lays upon you.
  • Lorenzo. Madam, with all my heart; 1785
    I shall obey you in all fair commands.
  • Portia. My people do already know my mind,
    And will acknowledge you and Jessica
    In place of Lord Bassanio and myself.
    And so farewell, till we shall meet again. 1790
  • Lorenzo. Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!
  • Jessica. I wish your ladyship all heart’s content.
  • Portia. I thank you for your wish, and am well pleased
    To wish it back on you: fare you well Jessica.
    [Exeunt JESSICA and LORENZO] 1795
    Now, Balthasar,
    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
    In speed to Padua: see thou render this 1800
    Into my cousin’s hand, Doctor Bellario;
    And, look, what notes and garments he doth give thee,
    Bring them, I pray thee, with imagined speed
    Unto the tranect, to the common ferry
    Which trades to Venice. Waste no time in words, 1805
    But get thee gone: I shall be there before thee.
  • Balthasar. Madam, I go with all convenient speed.


  • Portia. Come on, Nerissa; I have work in hand
    That you yet know not of: we’ll see our husbands 1810
    Before they think of us.
  • Nerissa. Shall they see us?
  • Portia. They shall, Nerissa; but in such a habit,
    That they shall think we are accomplished
    With that we lack. I’ll hold thee any wager, 1815
    When we are both accoutred like young men,
    I’ll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
    And wear my dagger with the braver grace,
    And speak between the change of man and boy
    With a reed voice, and turn two mincing steps 1820
    Into a manly stride, and speak of frays
    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, 1825
    And wish for all that, that I had not killed them;
    And twenty of these puny lies I’ll tell,
    That men shall swear I have discontinued school
    Above a twelvemonth. I have within my mind
    A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks, 1830
    Which I will practise.
  • Nerissa. Why, shall we turn to men?
  • Portia. Fie, what a question’s that,
    If thou wert near a lewd interpreter!
    But come, I’ll tell thee all my whole device 1835
    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.


Act III, Scene 5 The Merchant of Venice

The same. A garden.


  • Launcelot Gobbo. Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the father
    are to be laid upon the children: therefore, I
    promise ye, 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 1845
    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.
  • Jessica. And what hope is that, I pray thee?
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you 1850
    not, that you are not the Jew’s daughter.
  • Jessica. That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed: so the
    sins of my mother should be visited upon me.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Truly then I fear you are damned both by father and
    mother: thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I 1855
    fall into Charybdis, your mother: well, you are
    gone both ways.
  • Jessica. I shall be saved by my husband; he hath made me a
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Truly, the more to blame he: we were Christians 1860
    enow before; e’en as many as could well live, one by
    another. This making 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.


  • Jessica. I’ll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say: here he comes.
  • Lorenzo. I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if
    you thus get my wife into corners.
  • Jessica. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo: Launcelot and I
    are out. He tells me flatly, there is no mercy for 1870
    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.
  • Lorenzo. I shall answer that better to the commonwealth than 1875
    you can the getting up of the negro’s belly: the
    Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. 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. 1880
  • Lorenzo. How every fool can play upon the word! I think the
    best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence,
    and discourse grow commendable in none only but
    parrots. Go in, sirrah; bid them prepare for dinner.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. That is done, sir; they have all stomachs. 1885
  • Lorenzo. Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are you! then bid
    them prepare dinner.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. That is done too, sir; only ‘cover’ is the word.
  • Lorenzo. Will you cover then, sir?
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Not so, sir, neither; I know my duty. 1890
  • Lorenzo. Yet more quarrelling with occasion! Wilt thou show
    the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant? I pray
    tree, 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. 1895
  • Launcelot Gobbo. 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.


  • Lorenzo. O dear discretion, how his words are suited!
    The fool hath planted in his memory
    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 1905
    Defy the matter. How cheerest thou, Jessica?
    And now, good sweet, say thy opinion,
    How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio’s wife?
  • Jessica. Past all expressing. It is very meet
    The Lord Bassanio live an upright life; 1910
    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
    Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match 1915
    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.
  • Lorenzo. Even such a husband 1920
    Hast thou of me as she is for a wife.
  • Jessica. Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.
  • Lorenzo. I will anon: first, let us go to dinner.
  • Jessica. Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach.
  • Lorenzo. No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk; 1925
    I shall digest it.
  • Jessica. Well, I’ll set you forth.


Act IV, Scene 1 The Merchant of Venice

Venice. A court of justice.

[Enter the DUKE, the Magnificoes, ANTONIO, BASSANIO, GRATIANO, SALERIO, and others]

  • Duke. What, is Antonio here?
  • Antonio. Ready, so please your grace.
  • Duke. I am sorry for thee: thou art come to answer
    A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch
    uncapable of pity, void and empty 1935
    From any dram of mercy.
  • Antonio. I have heard
    Your grace hath ta’en great pains to qualify
    His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate
    And that no lawful means can carry me 1940
    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,
    The very tyranny and rage of his.
  • Duke. Go one, and call the Jew into the court. 1945
  • Salerio. He is ready at the door: he comes, my lord.


  • Duke. Make room, and let him stand before our face.
    Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
    That thou but lead’st this fashion of thy malice 1950
    To the last hour of act; and then ’tis thought
    Thou’lt show thy mercy and remorse more strange
    Than is thy strange apparent cruelty;
    And where thou now exact’st the penalty,
    Which is a pound of this poor merchant’s flesh, 1955
    Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture,
    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, 1960
    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. 1965
    We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.
  • Shylock. I have possess’d your grace of what I purpose;
    And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn
    To have the due and forfeit of my bond:
    If you deny it, let the danger light 1970
    Upon your charter and your city’s freedom.
    You’ll ask me, why I rather choose to have
    A weight of carrion flesh than to receive
    Three thousand ducats: I’ll not answer that:
    But, say, it is my humour: is it answer’d? 1975
    What if my house be troubled with a rat
    And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats
    To have it baned? What, are you answer’d yet?
    Some men there are love not a gaping pig;
    Some, that are mad if they behold a cat; 1980
    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:
    As there is no firm reason to be render’d, 1985
    Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;
    Why he, a harmless necessary cat;
    Why he, a woollen bagpipe; but of force
    Must yield to such inevitable shame
    As to offend, himself being offended; 1990
    So can I give no reason, nor I will not,
    More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing
    I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
    A losing suit against him. Are you answer’d?
  • Bassanio. This is no answer, thou unfeeling man, 1995
    To excuse the current of thy cruelty.
  • Shylock. I am not bound to please thee with my answers.
  • Bassanio. Do all men kill the things they do not love?
  • Shylock. Hates any man the thing he would not kill?
  • Bassanio. Every offence is not a hate at first. 2000
  • Shylock. What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?
  • Antonio. I pray you, think you question with the Jew:
    You may as well go stand upon the beach
    And bid the main flood bate his usual height;
    You may as well use question with the wolf 2005
    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,
    When they are fretten with the gusts of heaven;
    You may as well do anything most hard, 2010
    As seek to soften that—than which what’s harder?—
    His Jewish heart: therefore, I do beseech you,
    Make no more offers, use no farther means,
    But with all brief and plain conveniency
    Let me have judgment and the Jew his will. 2015
  • Bassanio. For thy three thousand ducats here is six.
  • Shylock. What judgment shall I dread, doing
    Were in six parts and every part a ducat,
    I would not draw them; I would have my bond.
  • Duke. How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none? 2020
  • Shylock. What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?
    You have among you many a purchased slave,
    Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,
    You use in abject and in slavish parts,
    Because you bought them: shall I say to you, 2025
    Let them be free, marry them to your heirs?
    Why sweat they under burthens? let their beds
    Be made as soft as yours and let their palates
    Be season’d with such viands? You will answer
    ‘The slaves are ours:’ so do I answer you: 2030
    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!
    There is no force in the decrees of Venice.
    I stand for judgment: answer; shall I have it? 2035
  • Duke. Upon my power I may dismiss this court,
    Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
    Whom I have sent for to determine this,
    Come here to-day.
  • Salerio. My lord, here stays without 2040
    A messenger with letters from the doctor,
    New come from Padua.
  • Duke. Bring us the letter; call the messenger.
  • Bassanio. Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet!
    The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones and all, 2045
    Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.
  • Antonio. I am a tainted wether of the flock,
    Meetest for death: the weakest kind of fruit
    Drops earliest to the ground; and so let me
    You cannot better be employ’d, Bassanio, 2050
    Than to live still and write mine epitaph.

[Enter NERISSA, dressed like a lawyer’s clerk]

  • Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario?
  • Nerissa. From both, my lord. Bellario greets your grace.

[Presenting a letter]

  • Bassanio. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?
  • Shylock. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.
  • Gratiano. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,
    Thou makest thy knife keen; but no metal can,
    No, not the hangman’s axe, bear half the keenness 2060
    Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?
  • Shylock. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.
  • Gratiano. O, be thou damn’d, inexecrable dog!
    And for thy life let justice be accused.
    Thou almost makest me waver in my faith 2065
    To hold opinion with Pythagoras,
    That souls of animals infuse themselves
    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, 2070
    And, whilst thou lay’st in thy unhallow’d dam,
    Infused itself in thee; for thy desires
    Are wolvish, bloody, starved and ravenous.
  • Shylock. Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,
    Thou but offend’st thy lungs to speak so loud: 2075
    Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall
    To cureless ruin. I stand here for law.
  • Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend
    A young and learned doctor to our court.
    Where is he? 2080
  • Nerissa. He attendeth here hard by,
    To know your answer, whether you’ll admit him.
  • Duke. With all my heart. Some three or four of you
    Go give him courteous conduct to this place.
    Meantime the court shall hear Bellario’s letter. 2085
  • Clerk. [Reads] 
    Your grace shall understand that at the receipt of
    your letter I am very sick: but in the instant that
    your messenger came, in loving visitation was with
    me a young doctor of Rome; his name is Balthasar. I 2090
    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 2095
    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 2100
    acceptance, whose trial shall better publish his
  • Duke. 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] 2105
    Give me your hand. Come you from old Bellario?
  • Portia. I did, my lord.
  • Duke. You are welcome: take your place.
    Are you acquainted with the difference
    That holds this present question in the court? 2110
  • Portia. I am informed thoroughly of the cause.
    Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?
  • Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.
  • Portia. Is your name Shylock?
  • Shylock. Shylock is my name. 2115
  • Portia. Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;
    Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
    Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.
    You stand within his danger, do you not?
  • Antonio. Ay, so he says. 2120
  • Portia. Do you confess the bond?
  • Antonio. I do.
  • Portia. Then must the Jew be merciful.
  • Shylock. On what compulsion must I? tell me that.
  • Portia. The quality of mercy is not strain’d, 2125
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
    It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
    ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
    The throned monarch better than his crown; 2130
    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;
    It is enthroned in the hearts of kings, 2135
    It is an attribute to God himself;
    And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
    When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
    Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
    That, in the course of justice, none of us 2140
    Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
    And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
    The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
    To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
    Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice 2145
    Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.
  • Shylock. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,
    The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
  • Portia. Is he not able to discharge the money?
  • Bassanio. Yes, here I tender it for him in the court; 2150
    Yea, twice the sum: if that will not suffice,
    I will be bound to pay it ten times o’er,
    On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart:
    If this will not suffice, it must appear
    That malice bears down truth. And I beseech you, 2155
    Wrest once the law to your authority:
    To do a great right, do a little wrong,
    And curb this cruel devil of his will.
  • Portia. It must not be; there is no power in Venice
    Can alter a decree established: 2160
    ‘Twill be recorded for a precedent,
    And many an error by the same example
    Will rush into the state: it cannot be.
  • Shylock. A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel!
    O wise young judge, how I do honour thee! 2165
  • Portia. I pray you, let me look upon the bond.
  • Shylock. Here ’tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.
  • Portia. Shylock, there’s thrice thy money offer’d thee.
  • Shylock. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven:
    Shall I lay perjury upon my soul? 2170
    No, not for Venice.
  • Portia. Why, this bond is forfeit;
    And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
    A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
    Nearest the merchant’s heart. Be merciful: 2175
    Take thrice thy money; bid me tear the bond.
  • Shylock. When it is paid according to the tenor.
    It doth appear you are a worthy judge;
    You know the law, your exposition
    Hath been most sound: I charge you by the law, 2180
    Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar,
    Proceed to judgment: by my soul I swear
    There is no power in the tongue of man
    To alter me: I stay here on my bond.
  • Antonio. Most heartily I do beseech the court 2185
    To give the judgment.
  • Portia. Why then, thus it is:
    You must prepare your bosom for his knife.
  • Shylock. O noble judge! O excellent young man!
  • Portia. For the intent and purpose of the law 2190
    Hath full relation to the penalty,
    Which here appeareth due upon the bond.
  • Shylock. ‘Tis very true: O wise and upright judge!
    How much more elder art thou than thy looks!
  • Portia. Therefore lay bare your bosom. 2195
  • Shylock. Ay, his breast:
    So says the bond: doth it not, noble judge?
    ‘Nearest his heart:’ those are the very words.
  • Portia. It is so. Are there balance here to weigh
    The flesh? 2200
  • Shylock. I have them ready.
  • Portia. Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,
    To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.
  • Shylock. Is it so nominated in the bond?
  • Portia. It is not so express’d: but what of that? 2205
    ‘Twere good you do so much for charity.
  • Shylock. I cannot find it; ’tis not in the bond.
  • Portia. You, merchant, have you any thing to say?
  • Antonio. But little: I am arm’d and well prepared.
    Give me your hand, Bassanio: fare you well! 2210
    Grieve not that I am fallen to this for you;
    For herein Fortune shows herself more kind
    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 2215
    An age of poverty; from which lingering penance
    Of such misery doth she cut me off.
    Commend me to your honourable wife:
    Tell her the process of Antonio’s end;
    Say how I loved you, speak me fair in death; 2220
    And, when the tale is told, bid her be judge
    Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
    Repent but you that you shall lose your friend,
    And he repents not that he pays your debt;
    For if the Jew do cut but deep enough, 2225
    I’ll pay it presently with all my heart.
  • Bassanio. Antonio, I am married to a wife
    Which is as dear to me as life itself;
    But life itself, my wife, and all the world,
    Are not with me esteem’d above thy life: 2230
    I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all
    Here to this devil, to deliver you.
  • Portia. Your wife would give you little thanks for that,
    If she were by, to hear you make the offer.
  • Gratiano. I have a wife, whom, I protest, I love: 2235
    I would she were in heaven, so she could
    Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.
  • Nerissa. ‘Tis well you offer it behind her back;
    The wish would make else an unquiet house.
  • Shylock. These be the Christian husbands. I have a daughter; 2240
    Would any of the stock of Barrabas
    Had been her husband rather than a Christian!
    We trifle time: I pray thee, pursue sentence.
  • Portia. A pound of that same merchant’s flesh is thine: 2245
    The court awards it, and the law doth give it.
  • Shylock. Most rightful judge!
  • Portia. And you must cut this flesh from off his breast:
    The law allows it, and the court awards it.
  • Shylock. Most learned judge! A sentence! Come, prepare! 2250
  • Portia. 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:’
    Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh;
    But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed 2255
    One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
    Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
    Unto the state of Venice.
  • Gratiano. O upright judge! Mark, Jew: O learned judge!
  • Shylock. Is that the law? 2260
  • Portia. Thyself shalt see the act:
    For, as thou urgest justice, be assured
    Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desirest.
  • Gratiano. O learned judge! Mark, Jew: a learned judge!
  • Shylock. I take this offer, then; pay the bond thrice 2265
    And let the Christian go.
  • Bassanio. Here is the money.
  • Portia. Soft!
    The Jew shall have all justice; soft! no haste:
    He shall have nothing but the penalty. 2270
  • Gratiano. O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!
  • Portia. 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 cut’st more
    Or less than a just pound, be it but so much 2275
    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,
    Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate. 2280
  • Gratiano. A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew!
    Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.
  • Portia. Why doth the Jew pause? take thy forfeiture.
  • Shylock. Give me my principal, and let me go.
  • Bassanio. I have it ready for thee; here it is. 2285
  • Portia. He hath refused it in the open court:
    He shall have merely justice and his bond.
  • Gratiano. A Daniel, still say I, a second Daniel!
    I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
  • Shylock. Shall I not have barely my principal? 2290
  • Portia. Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture,
    To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.
  • Shylock. Why, then the devil give him good of it!
    I’ll stay no longer question.
  • Portia. Tarry, Jew: 2295
    The law hath yet another hold on you.
    It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
    If it be proved against an alien
    That by direct or indirect attempts
    He seek the life of any citizen, 2300
    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
    Of the duke only, ‘gainst all other voice. 2305
    In which predicament, I say, thou stand’st;
    For it appears, by manifest proceeding,
    That indirectly and directly too
    Thou hast contrived against the very life
    Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr’d 2310
    The danger formerly by me rehearsed.
    Down therefore and beg mercy of the duke.
  • Gratiano. 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; 2315
    Therefore thou must be hang’d at the state’s charge.
  • Duke. 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, 2320
    Which humbleness may drive unto a fine.
  • Portia. Ay, for the state, not for Antonio.
  • Shylock. 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 2325
    When you do take the means whereby I live.
  • Portia. What mercy can you render him, Antonio?
  • Gratiano. A halter gratis; nothing else, for God’s sake.
  • Antonio. So please my lord the duke and all the court
    To quit the fine for one half of his goods, 2330
    I am content; so he will let me have
    The other half in use, to render it,
    Upon his death, unto the gentleman
    That lately stole his daughter:
    Two things provided more, that, for this favour, 2335
    He presently become a Christian;
    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.
  • Duke. He shall do this, or else I do recant 2340
    The pardon that I late pronounced here.
  • Portia. Art thou contented, Jew? what dost thou say?
  • Shylock. I am content.
  • Portia. Clerk, draw a deed of gift.
  • Shylock. I pray you, give me leave to go from hence; 2345
    I am not well: send the deed after me,
    And I will sign it.
  • Duke. Get thee gone, but do it.
  • Gratiano. In christening shalt thou have two god-fathers:
    Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more, 2350
    To bring thee to the gallows, not the font.


  • Duke. Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.
  • Portia. I humbly do desire your grace of pardon:
    I must away this night toward Padua, 2355
    And it is meet I presently set forth.
  • Duke. 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 and his train]

  • Bassanio. Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend
    Have by your wisdom been this day acquitted
    Of grievous penalties; in lieu whereof,
    Three thousand ducats, due unto the Jew,
    We freely cope your courteous pains withal. 2365
  • Antonio. And stand indebted, over and above,
    In love and service to you evermore.
  • Portia. He is well paid that is well satisfied;
    And I, delivering you, am satisfied
    And therein do account myself well paid: 2370
    My mind was never yet more mercenary.
    I pray you, know me when we meet again:
    I wish you well, and so I take my leave.
  • Bassanio. Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further:
    Take some remembrance of us, as a tribute, 2375
    Not as a fee: grant me two things, I pray you,
    Not to deny me, and to pardon me.
  • Portia. You press me far, and therefore I will yield.
    [To ANTONIO] 
    Give me your gloves, I’ll wear them for your sake; 2380
    [To BASSANIO] 
    And, for your love, I’ll take this ring from you:
    Do not draw back your hand; I’ll take no more;
    And you in love shall not deny me this.
  • Bassanio. This ring, good sir, alas, it is a trifle! 2385
    I will not shame myself to give you this.
  • Portia. I will have nothing else but only this;
    And now methinks I have a mind to it.
  • Bassanio. There’s more depends on this than on the value.
    The dearest ring in Venice will I give you, 2390
    And find it out by proclamation:
    Only for this, I pray you, pardon me.
  • Portia. 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. 2395
  • Bassanio. Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife;
    And when she put it on, she made me vow
    That I should neither sell nor give nor lose it.
  • Portia. That ‘scuse serves many men to save their gifts.
    An if your wife be not a mad-woman, 2400
    And know how well I have deserved the ring,
    She would not hold out enemy for ever,
    For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!

[Exeunt Portia and Nerissa]

  • Antonio. My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring: 2405
    Let his deservings and my love withal
    Be valued against your wife’s commandment.
  • Bassanio. Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him;
    Give him the ring, and bring him, if thou canst,
    Unto Antonio’s house: away! make haste. 2410
    [Exit Gratiano] 
    Come, you and I will thither presently;
    And in the morning early will we both
    Fly toward Belmont: come, Antonio.


Act IV, Scene 2 The Merchant of Venice

The same. A street.


  • Portia. 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. 2420


  • 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. 2425
  • Portia. That cannot be:
    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.
  • Gratiano. That will I do. 2430
  • Nerissa. Sir, I would speak with you.
    [Aside to PORTIA] 
    I’ll see if I can get my husband’s ring,
    Which I did make him swear to keep for ever.
  • Portia. [Aside to NERISSA] Thou mayst, I warrant. 2435
    We shall have old swearing
    That they did give the rings away to men;
    But we’ll outface them, and outswear them too.
    Away! make haste: thou knowist where I will tarry. 2440
  • Nerissa. Come, good sir, will you show me to this house?


Act V, Scene 1 The Merchant of Venice

Belmont. Avenue to PORTIA’S house.


  • Lorenzo. The moon shines bright: in such a night as this,
    When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees 2445
    And they did make no noise, in such a night
    Troilus methinks mounted the Troyan walls
    And sigh’d his soul toward the Grecian tents,
    Where Cressid lay that night.
  • Jessica. In such a night 2450
    Did Thisbe fearfully o’ertrip the dew
    And saw the lion’s shadow ere himself
    And ran dismay’d away.
  • Lorenzo. In such a night
    Stood Dido with a willow in her hand 2455
    Upon the wild sea banks and waft her love
    To come again to Carthage.
  • Jessica. In such a night
    Medea gather’d the enchanted herbs
    That did renew old AEson. 2460
  • Lorenzo. In such a night
    Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew
    And with an unthrift love did run from Venice
    As far as Belmont.
  • Jessica. In such a night 2465
    Did young Lorenzo swear he loved her well,
    Stealing her soul with many vows of faith
    And ne’er a true one.
  • Lorenzo. In such a night
    Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew, 2470
    Slander her love, and he forgave it her.
  • Jessica. I would out-night you, did no body come;
    But, hark, I hear the footing of a man.


  • Lorenzo. Who comes so fast in silence of the night? 2475
  • Stephano. A friend.
  • Lorenzo. A friend! what friend? your name, I pray you, friend?
  • Stephano. Stephano is my name; and I bring word
    My mistress will before the break of day
    Be here at Belmont; she doth stray about 2480
    By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays
    For happy wedlock hours.
  • Lorenzo. Who comes with her?
  • Stephano. None but a holy hermit and her maid.
    I pray you, is my master yet return’d? 2485
  • Lorenzo. He is not, nor we have not heard from him.
    But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica,
    And ceremoniously let us prepare
    Some welcome for the mistress of the house.


  • Launcelot Gobbo. Sola, sola! wo ha, ho! sola, sola!
  • Lorenzo. Who calls?
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Sola! did you see Master Lorenzo?
    Master Lorenzo, sola, sola!
  • Lorenzo. Leave hollaing, man: here. 2495
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Sola! where? where?
  • Lorenzo. Here.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Tell him there’s a post come from my master, with
    his horn full of good news: my master will be here
    ere morning. 2500


  • Lorenzo. Sweet soul, let’s in, and there expect their coming.
    And yet no matter: why should we go in?
    My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you,
    Within the house, your mistress is at hand; 2505
    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 2510
    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, 2515
    Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
    Such harmony is in immortal souls;
    But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
    Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
    [Enter Musicians] 2520
    Come, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn!
    With sweetest touches pierce your mistress’ ear,
    And draw her home with music.


  • Jessica. I am never merry when I hear sweet music. 2525
  • Lorenzo. The reason is, your spirits are attentive:
    For do but note a wild and wanton herd,
    Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
    Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud,
    Which is the hot condition of their blood; 2530
    If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound,
    Or any air of music touch their ears,
    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 2535
    Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones and floods;
    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 moved with concord of sweet sounds, 2540
    Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
    The motions of his spirit are dull as night
    And his affections dark as Erebus:
    Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.


  • Portia. 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.
  • Nerissa. When the moon shone, we did not see the candle.
  • Portia. So doth the greater glory dim the less: 2550
    A substitute shines brightly as a king
    Unto the king be by, and then his state
    Empties itself, as doth an inland brook
    Into the main of waters. Music! hark!
  • Nerissa. It is your music, madam, of the house. 2555
  • Portia. Nothing is good, I see, without respect:
    Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day.
  • Nerissa. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.
  • Portia. The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark,
    When neither is attended, and I think 2560
    The nightingale, if she should sing by day,
    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! 2565
    Peace, ho! the moon sleeps with Endymion
    And would not be awaked.

[Music ceases]

  • Lorenzo. That is the voice,
    Or I am much deceived, of Portia. 2570
  • Portia. He knows me as the blind man knows the cuckoo,
    By the bad voice.
  • Lorenzo. Dear lady, welcome home.
  • Portia. We have been praying for our husbands’ healths,
    Which speed, we hope, the better for our words. 2575
    Are they return’d?
  • Lorenzo. Madam, they are not yet;
    But there is come a messenger before,
    To signify their coming.
  • Portia. Go in, Nerissa; 2580
    Give order to my servants that they take
    No note at all of our being absent hence;
    Nor you, Lorenzo; Jessica, nor you.

[A tucket sounds]

  • Lorenzo. Your husband is at hand; I hear his trumpet: 2585
    We are no tell-tales, madam; fear you not.
  • Portia. This night methinks is but the daylight sick;
    It looks a little paler: ’tis a day,
    Such as the day is when the sun is hid.
    [Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and] 2590
    their followers]
  • Bassanio. We should hold day with the Antipodes,
    If you would walk in absence of the sun.
  • Portia. Let me give light, but let me not be light;
    For a light wife doth make a heavy husband, 2595
    And never be Bassanio so for me:
    But God sort all! You are welcome home, my lord.
  • Bassanio. I thank you, madam. Give welcome to my friend.
    This is the man, this is Antonio,
    To whom I am so infinitely bound. 2600
  • Portia. You should in all sense be much bound to him.
    For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.
  • Antonio. No more than I am well acquitted of.
  • Portia. Sir, you are very welcome to our house:
    It must appear in other ways than words, 2605
    Therefore I scant this breathing courtesy.
  • Gratiano. [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,
    Since you do take it, love, so much at heart. 2610
  • Portia. A quarrel, ho, already! what’s the matter?
  • Gratiano. About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring
    That she did give me, whose posy was
    For all the world like cutler’s poetry
    Upon a knife, ‘Love me, and leave me not.’ 2615
  • Nerissa. What talk you of the posy or the value?
    You swore to me, when I did give it you,
    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, 2620
    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.
  • Gratiano. He will, an if he live to be a man.
  • Nerissa. Ay, if a woman live to be a man. 2625
  • Gratiano. 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:
    I could not for my heart deny it him. 2630
  • Portia. 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 so riveted with faith unto your flesh.
    I gave my love a ring and made him swear 2635
    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
    That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano,
    You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief: 2640
    An ’twere to me, I should be mad at it.
  • Bassanio. [Aside] Why, I were best to cut my left hand off
    And swear I lost the ring defending it.
  • Gratiano. My Lord Bassanio gave his ring away
    Unto the judge that begg’d it and indeed 2645
    Deserved 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.
  • Portia. What ring gave you my lord? 2650
    Not that, I hope, which you received of me.
  • Bassanio. 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.
  • Portia. Even so void is your false heart of truth. 2655
    By heaven, I will ne’er come in your bed
    Until I see the ring.
  • Nerissa. Nor I in yours
    Till I again see mine.
  • Bassanio. Sweet Portia, 2660
    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,
    When nought would be accepted but the ring, 2665
    You would abate the strength of your displeasure.
  • Portia. If you had known the virtue of the ring,
    Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
    Or your own honour to contain the ring,
    You would not then have parted with the ring. 2670
    What man is there so much unreasonable,
    If you had pleased to have defended it
    With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
    To urge the thing held as a ceremony?
    Nerissa teaches me what to believe: 2675
    I’ll die for’t but some woman had the ring.
  • Bassanio. 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 2680
    And suffer’d him to go displeased away;
    Even he that did uphold the very life
    Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady?
    I was enforced to send it after him;
    I was beset with shame and courtesy; 2685
    My honour would not let ingratitude
    So much besmear it. Pardon me, good lady;
    For, by these blessed candles of the night,
    Had you been there, I think you would have begg’d
    The ring of me to give the worthy doctor. 2690
  • Portia. Let not that doctor e’er come near my house:
    Since he hath got the jewel that I loved,
    And that which you did swear to keep for me,
    I will become as liberal as you;
    I’ll not deny him any thing I have, 2695
    No, not my body nor my husband’s bed:
    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, 2700
    I’ll have that doctor for my bedfellow.
  • Nerissa. And I his clerk; therefore be well advised
    How you do leave me to mine own protection.
  • Gratiano. Well, do you so; let not me take him, then;
    For if I do, I’ll mar the young clerk’s pen. 2705
  • Antonio. I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels.
  • Portia. Sir, grieve not you; you are welcome notwithstanding.
  • Bassanio. Portia, forgive me this enforced wrong;
    And, in the hearing of these many friends,
    I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes, 2710
    Wherein I see myself—
  • Portia. Mark you but that!
    In both my eyes he doubly sees himself;
    In each eye, one: swear by your double self,
    And there’s an oath of credit. 2715
  • Bassanio. Nay, but hear me:
    Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear
    I never more will break an oath with thee.
  • Antonio. I once did lend my body for his wealth;
    Which, but for him that had your husband’s ring, 2720
    Had quite miscarried: I dare be bound again,
    My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord
    Will never more break faith advisedly.
  • Portia. Then you shall be his surety. Give him this
    And bid him keep it better than the other. 2725
  • Antonio. Here, Lord Bassanio; swear to keep this ring.
  • Bassanio. By heaven, it is the same I gave the doctor!
  • Portia. I had it of him: pardon me, Bassanio;
    For, by this ring, the doctor lay with me.
  • Nerissa. And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano; 2730
    For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor’s clerk,
    In lieu of this last night did lie with me.
  • Gratiano. Why, this is like the mending of highways
    In summer, where the ways are fair enough:
    What, are we cuckolds ere we have deserved it? 2735
  • Portia. Speak not so grossly. You are all amazed:
    Here is a letter; read it at your leisure;
    It comes from Padua, from Bellario:
    There you shall find that Portia was the doctor,
    Nerissa there her clerk: Lorenzo here 2740
    Shall witness I set forth as soon as you
    And even but now return’d; I have not yet
    Enter’d my house. Antonio, you are welcome;
    And I have better news in store for you
    Than you expect: unseal this letter soon; 2745
    There you shall find three of your argosies
    Are richly come to harbour suddenly:
    You shall not know by what strange accident
    I chanced on this letter.
  • Antonio. I am dumb. 2750
  • Bassanio. Were you the doctor and I knew you not?
  • Gratiano. Were you the clerk that is to make me cuckold?
  • Nerissa. Ay, but the clerk that never means to do it,
    Unless he live until he be a man.
  • Bassanio. Sweet doctor, you shall be my bed-fellow: 2755
    When I am absent, then lie with my wife.
  • Antonio. Sweet lady, you have given me life and living;
    For here I read for certain that my ships
    Are safely come to road.
  • Portia. How now, Lorenzo! 2760
    My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.
  • Nerissa. 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,
    After his death, of all he dies possess’d of. 2765
  • Lorenzo. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
    Of starved people.
  • Portia. It is almost morning,
    And yet I am sure you are not satisfied
    Of these events at full. Let us go in; 2770
    And charge us there upon inter’gatories,
    And we will answer all things faithfully.
  • Gratiano. Let it be so: the first inter’gatory
    That my Nerissa shall be sworn on is,
    Whether till the next night she had rather stay, 2775
    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
    So sore as keeping safe Nerissa’s ring. 2780


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