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The Merchant of Venice [liberally edited by Charles Kean] by William Shakespeare

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Arranged for Representation at the Princess's Theatre,
With Historical and Explanatory Notes
by Charles Kean, F.S.A.,

As First Performed on Saturday, June 12th, 1858

Entered at Stationers' Hall



DUKE OF VENICE, ........................... Mr. H. MELLON.

} (Suitors to Portia) {

ANTONIO, (_the Merchant of Venice_)... Mr. GRAHAM.

BASSANIO, (_his Friend_) ........... Mr. RYDER.

SALANIO, } (_Friends to Antonio and {Mr. BRAZIER.
Bassanio_.) {



LORENZO, (_in love with Jessica_).... Mr. J.F. CATHCART.

SHYLOCK, (_a Jew_) .................. Mr. CHARLES KEAN.

TUBAL, (_a Jew, his Friend_) ........ Mr. F. COOKE.

LAUNCELOT GOBBO, } (_a Clown, servant to {Mr. HARLEY
Shylock_) {

OLD GOBBO, (_Father to Launcelot_) .. Mr. MEADOWS.

} (_Servants to Bassanio_)

BALTHAZAR, (_Servant to Portia_) .... Mr. DALY.

HERALD, .................................. Mr. J. COLLETT.

PORTIA, (_a rich Heiress_) .......... Mrs. CHARLES KEAN.

NELISSA, (_her Waiting Maid_) ....... Miss CARLOTTA LECLERCQ.

JESSICA, (_Daughter to Shylock_) .... Miss CHAPMAN
(Her First Appearance).


Magnificoes of Venice, Officers of the Court of Justice, Gaoler,
Servants, and other Attendants.

* * * * *

SCENE.--Partly at VENICE; and partly at BELMONT, the Seat of PORTIA, on
the Continent.

THE SCENERY Painted by Mr. GRIEVE and Mr. TELBIN, Assisted by Mr. W.

THE MUSIC under the direction of Mr. J.L. HATTON.


The DRESSES by Mrs. and Miss HOGGINS.


THE DANCES arranged by Mr. CORMACK.

PERRUQUIER; Mr. ASPLIN, of No. 13, New Bond Street

* * * * *

For reference to Historical Authorities, see end of each Act.


Venice, "the famous city in the sea," rising like enchantment from the
waves of the Adriatic, appeals to the imagination through a history
replete with dramatic incident; wherein power and revolution--conquest
and conspiracy--mystery and romance--dazzling splendour and judicial
murder alternate in every page. Thirteen hundred years witnessed the
growth, maturity, and fall of this once celebrated city; commencing in
the fifth century, when thousands of terrified fugitives sought refuge
in its numerous islands from the dreaded presence of Attila; and
terminating when the last of the Doges, in 1797, lowered for ever the
standard of St. Mark before the cannon of victorious Buonaparte. Venice
was born and died in fear. To every English mind, the Queen of the
Adriatic is endeared by the genius of our own Shakespeare. Who that has
trod the great public square, with its mosque-like cathedral, has not
pictured to himself the forms of the heroic Moor and the gentle
Desdemona? Who that has landed from his gondola to pace the Rialto, has
not brought before his "mind's eye," the scowling brow of Shylock, when
proposing the bond of blood to his unsuspecting victim? Shakespeare may
or may not have derived his plot of _The Merchant of Venice_, as some
suppose, from two separate stories contained in Italian novels; but if
such be the fact, he has so interwoven the double interest, that the two
currents flow naturally into a stream of unity.

In this play Shakespeare has bequeathed to posterity one of his most
perfect works--powerful in its effect, and marvellous in its ingenuity.
While the language of the Jew is characterized by an assumption of
biblical phraseology, the appeal of Portia to the quality of mercy is
invested with a heavenly eloquence elevating the poet to sublimity.

From the opening to the closing scene,--from the moment when we hear of
the sadness, prophetic of evil, which depresses the spirit of Antonio,
till we listen at the last to the "playful prattling of two lovers in a
summer's evening," whose soft cadences are breathed through strains of
music,--all is a rapid succession of hope, fear, terror, and gladness;
exciting our sympathies now for the result of the merchant's danger; now
for the solution of a riddle on which hangs the fate of the wealthy
heiress; and now for the fugitive Jessica, who resigns her creed at the
shrine of womanly affection.

In the production of _The Merchant of Venice_ it has been my object to
combine with the poet's art a faithful representation of the picturesque
city; to render it again palpable to the traveller who actually gazed
upon the seat of its departed glory; and, at the same time, to exhibit
it to the student, who has never visited this once

"--pleasant place of all festivity,
The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy."

The far-famed place of St. Mark, with its ancient Church, the Kialto and
its Bridge, the Canals and Gondolas, the Historic Columns, the Ducal
Palace, and the Council Chamber, are successively presented to the
spectator. Venice is re-peopled with the past, affording truth to the
eye, and reflection to the mind.

The introduction of the Princes of Morocco and Arragon at Belmont,
hitherto omitted, is restored, for the purpose of more strictly adhering
to the author's text, and of heightening the interest attached to the
episode of the caskets.

The costumes and customs are represented as existing about the year
1600, when Shakespeare wrote the play. The dresses are chiefly selected
from a work by Cesare Vecellio, entitled "Degli Habiti Antichi e Moderni
di diverse Parti del Mondo. In Venetia, 1590;" as well as from other
sources to be found in the British Museum, whence I derive my authority
for the procession of the Doge in the first scene. If the stage is to
be considered and upheld as an institution from which instructive and
intellectual enjoyment may be derived, it is to Shakespeare we must look
as the principal teacher, to inculcate its most valuable lessons. It is,
therefore, a cause of self-gratulation, that I have on many occasions
been able, successfully, to present some of the works of the greatest
dramatic genius the world has known, to more of my countrymen than have
ever witnessed them within the same space of time; and let me hope it
will not be deemed presumptuous to record the pride I feel at having
been so fortunate a medium between our national poet and the people of





_Various groups of Nobles, Citizens, Merchants, Foreigners,
Water-Carriers, Flower Girls, &c., pass and repass. Procession of the
Doge, in state, across the square_.[1]

ANTONIO, SALARINO, _and_ SALANIO _come forward_.

_Ant_. In sooth, I know not why I am so sad;
It wearies me; you say, it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.

_Salar_. Your mind is tossing on the ocean;
There, where your argosies[2] with portly sail,
Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood,
Do overpeer the petty traffickers,
That curt'sy to them, do them reverence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings.

_Sal_. 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,[3] to know where sits the wind;
Peering in maps, for ports, and piers, and roads;
And every object that might make me fear
Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt,
Would make me sad.

_Salar_. My wind, cooling my broth,
Would blow me to an ague, when I thought
What harm a wind too great might do at sea.
I should not see the sandy hour-glass run,
But I should think of shallows and of flats;
And see my wealthy Andrew[4] dock'd in sand,
Vailing her high-top[5] lower than her ribs,
To kiss her burial.
Shall I have the thought
To think on this? and shall I lack the thought
That such a thing, bechanc'd, would make me sad?
But tell not me; I know Antonio
Is sad to think upon his merchandize.

_Ant_. Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it,
My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,
Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate
Upon the fortune of this present year:
Therefore my merchandize makes me not sad.

_Salar_. Why, then, you are in love.

_Ant_. Fie, fie!

_Salar_. Not in love, neither? Then let us say you are sad,
Because you are not merry: an 'twere as easy
For you to laugh and leap, and say you are merry,
Because you are not sad.

_Sal_. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman,
Gratiano, and Lorenzo: Fare you well;
We leave you now with better company.

_Salar_. I would have staid till I had made you merry,
If worthier friends had not prevented me.

_Ant_. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
I take it your own business calls on you,
And you embrace the occasion to depart.


_Salar_. Good morrow, my good lords.

_Bas_. Good signiors, both, when shall we laugh? Say, when?
You grow exceeding strange: Must it be so?

_Salar_. We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.

[_Exeunt_ SALARINO _and_ SALANIO.

_Lor_. My lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio,
We two will leave you; but at dinner-time
I pray you have in mind where we must meet.

_Bas_. I will not fail you.

_Gra_. You look not well, Signor Antonio;
You have too much respect upon the world:
They lose it that do buy it with much care.
Believe me, you are marvellously chang'd.

_Ant_. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
A stage, where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.

_Gra_. Let me play the fool:[6]
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?
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[7] and mantle like a standing pond:
And do a wilful stillness entertain,[8]
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!_'[9]
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, 'twould almost damn those ears[10]
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools.
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, a while;
I'll end my exhortation after dinner.[11]

_Lor_. 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.

_Gra_. Well, keep me company but two years more,
Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.

_Ant_. Farewell: I'll grow a talker for this gear.[12]

_Gra_. Thanks, i'faith; for silence is only commendable
In a neat's tongue dried,[13] and a maid not vendible.

[_Exeunt_ GRATIANO _and_ LORENZO.

_Ant_. Is that any thing now?

_Bas_. 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.

_Ant_. Well; tell me now, what lady is the same
To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
That you to-day promis'd to tell me of?

_Bas_. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
How much I have disabled mine estate,
By something showing a more swelling port[14]
Than my faint means would grant continuance.
To you, Antonio, I owe the most in money and in love;
And from your love I have a warranty
To unburthen all my plots and purposes,
How to get clear of all the debts I owe.

_Ant_. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
And, if it stand, as you yourself still do,
Within the eye of honour, be assur'd
My purse, my person, my extremest means,
Lie all unlock'd to your occasions.

_Bas_. In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft
I shot his fellow of the self-same flight
The self-same way, with more advised watch
To find the other forth; and by adventuring both
I oft found both. I urge this childhood proof,
Because what follows is pure innocence.
I owe you much; and, like a wasteful youth,
That which I owe is lost: but if you please
To shoot another arrow that self way
Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
As I will watch the aim, or to find both,
Or bring your latter hazard back again,
And thankfully rest debtor for the first

_Ant_. You know me well; and herein spend but time,
To wind about my love with circumstance;
Then do but say to me what I should do,
That in your knowledge may by me be done,
And I am prest unto it:[15] therefore speak.

_Bas_. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wond'rous virtues. Sometimes[16] from her eyes
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
Renowned suitors.
O, my Antonio! had I but the means
To hold a rival place with one of them,
I have a mind presages me such thrift.
That I should questionless be fortunate.

_Ant_. Thou know'st that all my fortunes are at sea;
Neither have I money, nor commodity
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,
Where money is; and I no question make,
To have it of my trust, or for my sake.



[Footnote 1: This procession is copied from a print in the British
Museum, by Josse Amman, who died in 1591.]

[Footnote 2: _--argosies_; A name given, in our author's time, to ships
of great burthen. The name is supposed by some to be derived from the
classical ship, Argo, as a vessel eminently famous.]

[Footnote 3: _Plucking the_; By holding up the grass, or any light body
that will bend by a gentle blast, the direction of the wind is found.]

[Footnote 4: _--my wealthy Andrew_; The name of the ship.]

[Footnote 5: Vailing _her high-top_; To _vail_ is "_to lower_," or "_let

[Footnote 6: _Let me play the fool_; Alluding to the common comparison
of human life to a stage-play. So that he desires his may be the fool's
or buffoon's part, which was a constant character in the old farces;
from whence came the phrase, _to play the fool_.--WARBURTON.]

[Footnote 7: _--whose visages do_ cream; The poet here alludes to the
manner in which the film extends itself over milk in scalding; and he
had the same appearance in his eye when writing a foregoing line: "_With
mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come_."--HENLEY.]

[Footnote 8: _--a wilful stillness entertain,; Id est_, an obstinate

[Footnote 9: _let no dog bark_!; This seems to be a proverbial

[Footnote 10: _--'twould almost damn, those ears_; The author's meaning
is this:--That some people are thought wise whilst they keep silence;
who, when they open their mouths, are such stupid praters, that the
hearers cannot help calling them _fools_, and so incur the judgment
denounced in the Gospel.--THEOBALD.]

[Footnote 11: _I'll end my exhortation after dinner_.'; The humour of
this consists in its being an allusion to the practice of the Puritan
preachers of those times, who being generally very long and tedious,
were often forced to put off that part of their sermon called the
_exhortation_, till after dinner.--WARBURTON.]

[Footnote 12: _--for this gear_.; A colloquial expression, meaning _for
this matter_.]

[Footnote 13: _In a_ neat's _tongue dried_,; Neat, horned cattle of the
Ox species.]

[Footnote 14: _--a more swelling port; Port_, in the present instance,
comprehends the idea of expensive equipage, and external pomp of


_Enter_ PORTIA _and_ NERISSA.

_Por_. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is a-weary of this great

_Ner_. You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same
abundance as your good fortunes are. And yet, for aught I see, they are
as sick that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing. It
is no small happiness, therefore, to be seated in the mean; superfluity
comes sooner by white hairs,[17] but competency lives longer.

_Por_. Good sentences, and well pronounced.

_Ner_. They would be better, if well followed.

_Por_. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels
had been churches, and poor men's cottages princes' palaces. It is a
good divine that follows his own instructions: I can easier teach twenty
what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own
teaching. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me a
husband:--O me, the word choose! I may neither choose whom I would, nor
refuse whom I dislike, so is the will of a living daughter curb'd by the
will of a dead father:--Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose
one, nor refuse none?

_Ner_. Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men at their death have
good inspirations; therefore, the lottery that he hath devised in these
three chests, of gold, silver, and lead (whereof who chooses his meaning
chooses you), will, no doubt, never be chosen by any rightly, but one
who you shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection
towards any of these princely suitors that are already come?

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

_Ner_. First, there is the Neapolitan prince.[18]

_Por_. Ay, that's a colt, indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his
horse,[19] and he makes it a great approbation of his own good parts
that he can shoe him himself.

_Ner_. Then, is there the county Palatine.[20]

_Por_. He doth nothing but frown; as who should say, '_An you will not
have me, choose;_' he hears merry tales, and smiles not: I fear he will
prove the weeping philosopher when he grows old, being so full of
unmannerly sadness in his youth. I had rather to be married to a death's
head with a bone in his mouth, than to either of these. Heaven defend me
from these two!

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

_Por_. Heaven made him, and therefore let him pass for a man.

_Ner_. How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew?[21]

_Por_. Very vilely in the morning, when he is sober; and most vilely in
the afternoon, when he is drunk: when he is best he is a little worse
than a man; and when he is worst he is little better than a beast: an
the worst fall that ever fell, I hope I shall make shift to go without

_Ner_. 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.

_Por_. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee set a deep glass of
Rhenish wine on the contrary casket; for, if the devil be within, and
that temptation without, I know he will choose it.

_Ner_. You need not fear, lady, the having any of these lords; they have
acquainted me with their determinations: which is, indeed, to return to
their home and to trouble you with no more suit; unless you may be won
by some other sort than your father's imposition, depending on the

_Por_. I am glad this parcel of wooers are so reasonable; for there is
not one among them hut I dote on his very absence, and I wish them a
fair departure.

_Ner_. 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

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

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

_Por_. I remember him well; and I remember him worthy of thy
praise.--How now?--What news?


_Ser_. The four strangers seek you, madam, to take their leave: and
there is a fore-runner come from a fifth, the prince of Morocco; who
brings word the prince, his master, will be here to-night.

_Por_. If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good heart as I can bid
the other four farewell, I should be glad of his approach.

Come, Nerissa. Sirrah, go before.

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



[Footnote 15: _--I am prest unto it:_; Ready.]

[Footnote 16: _--Sometimes from her eyes_; In old English, _sometimes_
is synonymous with _formerly; id est_, some time ago, at a certain time.
It appears by the subsequent scene, that Bassanio was at Belmont with
the Marquis de Montferrat, and saw Portia in her father's lifetime.]

[Footnote 17: _--superfluity comes sooner by white hairs,_; _Id est_,
superfluity sooner _acquires_ white hairs--becomes old. We still say,
how did he _come by it_--MALONE.]

[Footnote 18: _--the Neapolitan prince_.; The Neapolitans in the time of
Shakespeare were eminently skilled in all that belonged to

[Footnote 19: _--that's a_ colt, _indeed, for he doth nothing but talk
of his horse,_; _Colt_ is used for a restless, heady, gay youngster,
whence the phrase used of an old man too juvenile, that he still retains
his _colt's tooth_.--JOHNSON.]

[Footnote 20: _--the county Palatine_.; Shakespeare has more allusions
to particular facts and persons than his readers commonly suppose. The
Count here mentioned was, perhaps, Albertus Alasco, a Polish Palatine,
who visited England in our author's lifetime, was eagerly caressed and
splendidly entertained, but, running in debt, at last stole away, and
endeavoured to repair his fortune by enchantment.--JOHNSON.

County and Count in old language, were synonymous. The Count Albertus
Alasco was in London in 1583.]

[Footnote 21: _--the young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew_.; In
Shakespeare's time the Duke of Bavaria visited London, and was make
Knight of the Garter. Perhaps in this enumeration of Portia's suitors,
there may be some covert allusion to those of Queen Elizabeth.--JOHNSON]


_Enter_ BASSANIO _and_ SHYLOCK. (D)

_Shy_. Three thousand ducats,--well,

_Bas_. Ay, sir, for three months.

_Shy_. For three months,--well.

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

_Shy_. Antonio shall become bound,--well.

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

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

_Bas_. Your answer to that.

_Shy_. Antonio is a good man.

_Bas_. Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?

_Shy_. 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 Indies;
I understand, moreover, upon the Rialto, he hath a third at Mexico, a
fourth for England; and other ventures he hath, squander'd abroad.[22]
But ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land rats and water
rats, land thieves and water thieves; I mean, pirates; and then, there
is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks: The man is, notwithstanding,
sufficient;--three thousand ducats;--I think I may take his bond.

_Bas_. Be assured you may.

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

_Bas_. If it please you to dine with us.

_Shy_. Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which your prophet,
the Nazarite, conjured the devil into![23] I will buy with you, sell
with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not
eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you.--What news on the
Rialto?--Who is he comes here?

_Bas_. This is signior Antonio.


_Shy. (aside.)_ How like a fawning publican he looks?
I hate him, for he is a Christian:
But more, for that, in low simplicity,
He lends out money gratis, and brings down
The rate of usance here with us in Venice. (E)
If I can catch him once upon the hip,[24]
I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
He hates our sacred nation: and he rails
Even there where merchants most do congregate,
On me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift.
Which he calls interest: Cursed be my tribe
If I forgive him!

_Re-enter_ BASSANIO _with_ ANTONIO.

_Bas_. Shylock, do you hear?

_Shy_. I am debating of my present store;
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
Do you desire?--Rest you fair, good signior:


Your worship was the last man in our mouths.

_Ant_. Shylock, albeit, I neither lend nor borrow,
By taking, nor by giving of excess.
Yet, to supply the ripe wants of my friend,[25]
I'll break a custom:---Is he yet possess'd[26]
How much you would?

_Shy_. Ay, ay, three thousand ducats.

_Ant_. And for three months.

_Shy_. 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.

_Ant_. I do never use it.

_Shy_. When Jacob graz'd his uncle Laban's sheep,
This Jacob from our holy Abraham was
(As his wise mother wrought in his behalf)
The third possessor; ay, he was the third.

_Ant_. And what of him? did he take interest?

_Shy_. No, not take interest; not, as you would say,
Directly interest: mark what Jacob did.
When Laban and himself were compromis'd
That all the eanlings[27] which were streak'd and pied
Should fall, as Jacob's hire;
The skilful shepherd peel'd me certain wands,[28]
And, in the doing of the deed of kind,[29]
He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes;[30]
Who, then conceiving, did in eaning-time
Fall[31] party-coloured lambs, and those were Jacob's.[32]
This was a way to thrive, and he was blest;
And thrift is blessing, if men steal it not.

_Ant_. This was a venture, Sir, that Jacob serv'd 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?
Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?

_Shy_. I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast.

_Ant_. Mark you this, Bassanio,
The devil can cite scripture for his purpose.[33]
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![34]

_Shy_. Three thousand ducats,--'tis a good round sum.
Three months from twelve, then let me see the rate.

_Ant_. Well, Shylock, shall we be beholden to you?

_Shy_. Signior Antonio, many a time and oft
In the Rialto you have rated me
About my monies, and my usances:[35]
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 spet upon my Jewish gaberdine,
And all for use of that which is mine own.
Well, then, it now appears you need my help:
Go to, then; you come to me, and you say,
'_Shylock, we would have monies_;' You say so;
You, that did void your rheum upon my beard,
And foot me, as you spurn a stranger cur
Over your threshhold; monies 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,
With 'bated breath, and whispering humbleness,
Say this,--
'_Fair Sir, you spet on me on Wednesday last;
You spurn'd me such a day; another time
You call'd me dog; and for these courtesies
I'll lend you thus much monies?_'

_Ant_. I am as like to call thee so again,
To spet on thee again, to spurn thee too.
If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not
As to thy friends; (for when did friendship take
A breed of barren metal of his friend?)[36]
But lend it rather to thine enemy;
Who, if he break, thou may'st with better face
Exact the penalties.

_Shy_. Why, look you, how you storm!
I would be friends with you, and have your love;
Forget the shames that you have stain'd me with;
Supply your present wants, and take no doit
Of usance for my monies, and you'll not hear me:
This is kind I offer.

_Ant_. This were kindness.

_Shy_. 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
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.

_Ant_. Content, in faith; I'll seal to such a bond,
And say, there is much kindness in the Jew.

_Bas_. You shall not seal to such a bond for me
I'll rather dwell[37] in my necessity.

_Ant_. Why, fear not, man; I will not forfeit it;
Within these two months, that's a month before
This bond expires, I do expect return
Of thrice three times the value of this bond.

_Shy_. O father Abraham, what these Christians are.
Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect
The thoughts of others! Pray you, tell me this
If he should break his day, what should I gain
By the exaction of the forfeiture?
A pound of man's flesh, taken from a man,
Is not so estimable, profitable neither,
As flesh of muttons, beefs, or goats. I say,
To buy his favour I extend this friendship;
If he will take it, so; if not, adieu;
And, for my love, I pray you wrong me not.

_Ant_. Yes, Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.

_Shy_. Then meet me forthwith at the notary's;
Give him direction for this merry bond,
And I will go and purse the ducats straight;
See to my house, left in the fearful guard[38]
Of an unthrifty knave; and presently
I will be with you.


_Ant_. Hie thee, gentle Jew.
This Hebrew will turn Christian; he grows kind.

_Bas_. I like not fair terms[39] and a villain's mind.

_Ant_. Come, on; in this there can be no dismay,
My ships come home a month before the day.



[Footnote 22: _--squander'd abroad_.; Scattered.]

[Footnote 23: _to eat of the habitation which your prophet, the
Nazarite, conjured the devil into!_; See 8th. c. St. Matthew, v. 30.]

[Footnote 24: _catch him once upon the hip_,; Dr. Johnson says the
expression is taken from the practice of wrestling.]

[Footnote 25: _--ripe wants of my friend_,; Wants come to the
height--wants that can have no longer delay.]

[Footnote 26: _--Is he yet posses'd; Id est_, acquainted--informed.]

[Footnote 27: _--eanlings_; Lambs just dropt.]

[Footnote 28: _--certain wands_,; A _wand_ in Shakespeare's time was the
usual term for what we now call a _switch_.--MALONE.]

[Footnote 29: _--deed of kind,; Id est,_ of nature.]

[Footnote 30: _--the fulsome ewes_; Lascivious--rank, obscene ewes.]

[Footnote 31: _--Fall_; To let fall.]

[Footnote 32: _--and those were Jacob's_.; See Genesis xxx. 37.]

[Footnote 33: _The devil can cite scripture for his purpose_.; See St.
Matthew iv. 6.]

[Footnote 34: _O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!_; _Falsehood_,
which, as _truth_ means _honesty_, is taken here for _treachery_ and
_knavery_, does not stand for _falsehood_ in general, but for the
dishonesty now operating.--JOHNSON.]

[Footnote 35: _--and my usances:_; _Usance_ in our author's time
signified _interest of money_.]

[Footnote 36: _A breed of barren metal of his friend?_; A _breed_, that
is, interest money bred from the principal. The epithet _barren_ implies
that money is a _barren_ thing, and cannot, like corn and cattle,
multiply itself.]

[Footnote 37: _Dwell_; Continue.]

[Footnote 38: _--fearful guard_; A guard not to be trusted, but gives
cause of fear.]

[Footnote 39: _I like not fair terms_; Kind words--good language.]


_Flourish of Cornets. Enter the_ PRINCE OF MOROCCO, _and his Train_;
PORTIA, NERISSA, _and other of her Attendants_.

_Mor_. Mislike me not for my complexion,
The shadow'd livery of the burning 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,
To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine.[40]
By love, I swear, I would not change this hue,
Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.
I'll try my fortune;
E'en though I may (blind fortune leading me)
Miss that which one unworthier may attain,
And die with grieving.

_Por_. You must take your chance;
And either not attempt to choose at all,
Or swear, before you choose,--if you choose wrong,
Never to speak to lady afterward
In way of marriage; therefore be advis'd.[41]

_Mor_. Nor will not; come, bring me unto my chance.
How shall I know if I do choose the right?

_Por_. The one of them contains my picture, prince;
If you choose that, then I am yours withal.

_Mor_. Some god direct my judgment! Let me see.
The first, of gold, who this inscription bears:

"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."

The third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt:[42]

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

One of these three contains her heavenly picture.
Is't like that lead contains her? 'Twere perdition
To think so base a thought;
Or shall I think in silver she's immur'd,
Being ten times undervalued to tried gold?
O sinful thought. Never so rich a gem
Was set in worse than gold.
Deliver me the key;
Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may!

_Por_. There, take it prince, and if my form lie there,
Then I am yours.

[_He unlocks the golden casket_.

_Mor_. What have we here?
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:

"Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscrol'd:
Fare you well; your suit is cold."

Cold, indeed; and labour lost:
Then, farewell, heat; and welcome frost--Portia,
adieu! I have too griev'd a heart
To take a tedious leave: thus losers part.


_Por_. A gentle riddance:--go:--
Let all of his complexion choose me so.



[Footnote 40: _--whose blood is reddest, his, or mine_.; _Red_ blood is
a traditionary sign of courage, as cowards are said to have livers as
white as milk. It is customary in the East for lover's to testify the
violence of their passion by cutting themselves in the sight of their

[Footnote 41: _--therefore be advis'd_.; Therefore be not precipitant;
consider well what you are about to do.]

[Footnote 42: _--with warning all as blunt:_; That is, as gross as the
dull metal.]


(A) The foundation of Venice is attributed to the inhabitants of the
surrounding districts, who fled from the cruelty of Attila, King of the
Huns, and took refuge among the islets at the mouth of the Brenta. Here,
about the middle of the fifth century, they founded two small towns,
called Rivoalto and Malmocco, and, being in a manner shut out from all
other modes of employment, naturally devoted themselves to commerce. In
this way they soon became prosperous, and their numbers increased so
rapidly, that in the year 697 they made application to the Emperor to be
elected into a body politic, and obtained authority to elect a chief, to
whom they gave the name of Duke or Doge. The town, continuing to
increase, gradually extended its buildings to the adjacent islands, and,
at the same time, acquired considerable tracts of territory on the
mainland, then inhabited by the Veneti, from whence the rising city is
supposed to have borrowed its name of Venetia or Venice.

(B) This is the heart of Venice, and is one of the most imposing
architectural objects in Europe. Three of the sides are occupied by
ranges of lofty buildings, which are connected by a succession of
covered walk; or arcades. The church of St Mark, founded in the year
828, closes up the square on the east. The lofty Campanile, or
Bell-tower, over 300 feet in height, was begun A.D. 902, and finished in

In the reign of Justiniani Participazio, A.D., 827, the son and
Successor of Angelo, undistinguished by events of more important
character, the Venetians became possessed of the relics of that saint to
whom they ever afterwards appealed as the great patron of their state
and city. These remains were obtained from Alexandria by a pious
stratagem, at a time when the church wherein they were originally
deposited was about to be destroyed, in order that its rich marbles
might be applied to the decoration of a palace. At that fortunate
season, some Venetian ships (it is said no less than ten, a fact proving
the prosperous extent of their early commerce) happened to be trading in
that port; and their captains, though not without much difficulty,
succeeded in obtaining from the priests, who had the custody of the holy
treasure, its deliverance into their hands, in order that it might
escape profanation. It was necessary, however, that this transfer should
be made in secrecy; for we are assured by Sabellico, who relates the
occurrence minutely, that the miracles which had been daily wrought at
the saint's shrine had strongly attached the populace to his memory. The
priests carefully opened the cerements in which the body was enveloped;
and considering, doubtless, that one dead saint possessed no less
intrinsic virtue and value than another, they very adroitly substituted
the corpse of a female, Sta. Claudia, in the folds which had been
occupied by that of St. Mark. But they had widely erred in their
graduation of the scale of beatitude. So great was the odour of superior
sanctity, that a rich perfume diffused itself through the church at the
moment at which the grave-clothes of the evangelist were disturbed; and
the holy robbery was well nigh betrayed to the eager crowd of
worshippers, who, attracted by the sweet smell, thronged to inspect the
relics, and to ascertain their safety. After examination, they retired,
satisfied that their favourite saint was inviolate; for the slit which
the priests had made in his cerements was behind and out of sight. But
the Venetians still had to protect the embarkation of their prize. For
this purpose, effectually to prevent all chance of search, they placed
the body in a large basket stuffed with herbs and covered with joints of
pork. The porters who bore it were instructed to cry loudly '_Khanzri
Khanzir!_[43] and every true Mussulman whom they met, carefully avoided
the uncleanness with which he was threatened by contact with this
forbidden flesh. Even when once on board, the body was not yet quite
safe; for accident might reveal the contents of the basket; it was
therefore wrapt in one of the sails, and hoisted to a yard-arm of the
main-mast, till the moment of departure. Nor was this precaution
unnecessary; for the unbelievers instituted a strict search for
contraband goods before the vessel sailed. During the voyage, the ship
was in danger from a violent storm; and but for the timely appearance of
the saint, who warned the captain to furl his sails, she would
inevitably have been lost. The joy of the Venetians, on the arrival of
this precious cargo, was manifested by feasting, music, processions, and
prayers. An ancient tradition was called to mind, that St. Mark, in his
travels, had visited Aquileia; and having touched also at the Hundred
Isles, at that time uninhabited, had been informed, in a prophetic
vision, that his bones should one day repose upon their shores. Venice
was solemnly consigned to his protection. The saint himself, or his
lion, was blazoned on her standards and impressed on her coinage; and
the shout of the populace, whether on occasions of sedition or of joy,
and the gathering cry of the armies of the republic in battle was,
henceforward, '_Viva San Marco!'--Sketches of Venetian History_.

(C) This ancient Exchange "where merchants most do congregate," is
situated on the Rialto Island, its name being derived from "_riva alta,"
"high shore_." It is a square in the immediate vicinity of the Rialto
Bridge, and contains the Church of San Jacopo, the first sacred edifice
built in Venice. The original church was erected in the year 421, and
the present building in 1194, and was restored in 1531. This island,
being the largest and most elevated, became the first inhabited, and is,
therefore, the most ancient part of Venice. The Exchange was held under
the arcades, facing the church, and was daily crowded with those
connected with trade and commerce. It is now occupied as a vegetable

(D) Vecellio informs us that the Jews of Venice differed in nothing, as
far as regarded dress, from Venetians of the same occupation, with the
exception of a yellow, or orange tawney coloured bonnet, which they were
compelled to wear by order of government.

The women were distinguished from the Christian ladies by Wearing yellow

Shakespeare is supposed to have taken the name of his Jew from an old
pamphlet, entitled "Caleb Shillocke, his prophesie; or the Jewes

"He lends out money gratis, and brings down
The rate of usance here with us in Venice."

About the time that Shakespeare lived, Venice had commercial dealings
with all the civilized nations of the world; and Cyprus, Candia, and the
Morea were subject to her government. Merchants from all countries
congregated in Venice, and received every possible encouragement from
the authorities.

The Jews, under the sanction of government, were the money lenders, and
were, consequently, much disliked, as well as feared, by their
mercantile creditors. They indulged in usury to an enormous extent, and
were immensely rich.




_Lau_. Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from this Jew, my
master: The fiend is at mine elbow, and tempts me; saying to
me,--_Gobbo, Launcelot Gobbo, good Launcelot, or good Gobbo, or good
Launcelot Gobbo, use your legs, take the start, run away_:--My
conscience says,--No: take heed, honest Launcelot; take heed, honest
Gobbo:_ or (as aforesaid) _honest Launcelot Gobbo; do not run: scorn
running with thy heels_. Well the most courageous fiend bids me pack.
_Via_! says the fiend; _Away_! says the fiend, _for the heavens_;[44]
_rouse up a brave mind_, says the fiend, _and run_. Well, my conscience,
hanging about the neck of my heart, says very wisely to me, _my honest
friend, Launcelot, being an honest man's son_, or rather an honest
woman's son;--for, indeed, my father did something smack, something grow
to, he had a kind of taste;--well, my conscience says, _Launcelot, budge
not; budge_, says the fiend; _budge not_, says my conscience.
Conscience, say I, you counsel well; fiend, say I, you counsel well; to
be ruled by my conscience I should stay with the Jew, my master, who
(Heaven bless the mark!) is a kind of devil; and to run away from the
Jew I should be ruled by the fiend, who, saving your reverence, is the
devil himself. Certainly, the Jew is the very devil incarnation; and in
my conscience, my conscience is a kind of hard conscience, to offer to
counsel me to stay with the Jew. The fiend gives the more friendly
counsel: I will run, fiend; my heels are at your commandment, I will

[_As he is going out in haste_

_Enter_ OLD GOBBO, _with a basket_.

_Gob_. Master, young man, you, I pray you; which is the way to master

_Lau. (aside.)_ O heavens, this is my true-begotten father! who, being
more than sand-blind, high-gravel blind,[45] knows me not: I will try
conclusions[46] with him.

_Gob_. Master young gentleman, I pray you which is the way to master

_Lau_. Turn upon your right hand at the next turning, but, at the next
turning of all, on your left; marry, at the very next turning, turn of
no hand, but turn down indirectly to the Jew's house.[47]

_Gob_. 'Twill be a hard way to hit. Can you tell me whether one
Launcelot that dwells with him, dwell with him, or no?

_Lau_, Talk you of young master Launcelot?--mark me,
now--_(aside.)_--now will I raise the waters.[48] Talk you of young
master Launcelot?

_Gob_. No master, sir: but a poor man's son: his father, though I say
it, is an honest exceeding poor man, and, Heaven be thanked, well to

_Lau_, Well, let his father be what he will, we talk of young master

_Gob_. Of Launcelot, an't please your mastership.[49]

_Lau. Ergo_, master Launcelot; talk not of master Launcelot, father; for
the young gentleman (according to fates and destinies, and such odd
sayings, the sisters three, and such branches of learning), is, indeed,
deceased; or, as you would say is plain terms, gone to heaven.

_Gob_. Marry, Heaven forbid! the boy was the very staff of my age, my
very prop.

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

_Gob_. Alack the day, I know you not, young gentleman; but, I pray you
tell me, is my boy (rest his soul!) alive or dead?

_Lau_. Do you not know me, father?

_Gob_. Alack! sir, I am sand-blind, I know you not.

_Lau_. Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of the knowing
me: it is a wise father that knows his own child. Well, old man, I will
tell you news of your son: Give me your blessing: _(kneels.)_ Truth will
come to light; murder cannot be hid long; a man's son may; but, in the
end, truth will out.

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

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

_Gob_. I cannot think you are my son.

_Lau_. 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.

_Gob_. Her name is Margery, indeed: I'll be sworn if thou be Launcelot,
thou art mine own flesh and blood. What a beard hast thou got: thou hast
got more hair on thy chin than Dobbin, my phill-horse,[50] has on his

_Lau_. 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.

_Gob_. Lord, how art thou changed! How dost thou and thy master agree? I
have brought him a present.

_Lau. (rises.)_ Give him a present! give him a halter: I am famished in
his service; you may tell every finger I have with my ribs. Father, I am
glad you are come: give me your present to one master Bassanio, who,
indeed, gives rare new liveries; if I serve not him, I will run as far
as Heaven has any ground.--O rare fortune! here comes the man;--to him,
father; for I am a Jew if I serve the Jew any longer.

_Enter_ BASSANIO, _with_ LEONARDO, _and_ STEPHANO.

_Bas_. See these letters deliver'd; put the liveries to making; and
desire Gratiano to come anon to my lodging.

[_Exit a_ SERVANT.

_Lau_. To him, father.

_Gob_. Heaven bless your worship!

_Bas_. Gramercy! Would'st thou aught with me?

_Gob_. Here's my son, sir, a poor boy--

_Lau_. Not a poor boy, sir; but the rich Jew's man; that would, sir, as
my father shall specify.

_Gob_. He hath a great infection, sir, as one would say, to serve----

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

_Gob_. His master and he (saving your worship's reverence) are scarce

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

_Gob_. I have here a dish of doves, that I would bestow upon your
worship; and my suit is----

_Lau_. In very brief, the suit is impertinent[51] to myself, as your
worship shall know by this honest old man; and, though I say it, though
old man, yet poor man, my father.

_Bas_. One speak for both. What would you?

_Lau_. Serve you, sir.

_Gob_. That is the very defect of the matter, sir.

_Bas_. 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.

_Lau_. The old proverb is very well parted between my master, Shylock,
and you, sir; you have the grace of Heaven, sir, and he hath---- enough.

_Bas_. Thou speak'st it well. Go, father, with thy son:--
Take leave of thy old master, and inquire
My lodging out:--give him a livery. [_To his Followers_.
More guarded[52] than his fellows': See it done.

_Lau_. Father, in:--_(Exit_ OLD GOBBO.) I cannot get a service, no!--I
have ne'er a tongue in my head!--Well; (_looking on his palm_) if any
man in Italy have a fairer table;[53] which doth offer to swear upon a
book I shall have good fortune![54] Go to, here's a simple line of
life![55] 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 in peril of my life
with the edge of a feather-bed,[56] here are simple 'scapes! Well, if
fortune be a woman she's a good wench for this gear.--I'll take my leave
of the Jew in the twinkling of an eye.


_Bas_. 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.

_Leo_. My best endeavours shall be done herein.


_Gra_. Where is your master?

_Leo_. Yonder, sir, he walks.


_Gra_. Signior Bassanio,--

_Bas_. Gratiano!

_Gra_. I have a suit to you.

_Bas_. You have obtained it.

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

_Bas_. Why, then you must.--But hear thee, Gratiano;
Thou art too wild, too rude, and bold of voice;
Parts, that become thee happily enough,
And in such eyes as ours appear not faults;
But, where they are not known, why, there they show
Something too liberal:[57]--pray thee take pain
To allay with some cold drops of modesty
Thy skipping spirit; lest, through thy wild behaviour,
I be misconstrued in the place I go to,
And lose my hopes.

_Gra_. Signior Bassanio, hear me:
If I do not put on a sober habit,
Talk with respect, and swear but now and then,
Wear prayer-books in my pocket, look demurely;
Nay more, while grace is saying, hood mine eyes[58]
Thus with my hat, and sigh, and say amen;
Use all the observance of civility,
Like one well studied in a sad ostent;[59]
To please his grandam,--never trust me more.

_Bas_, Well, we shall see your bearing.[60]

_Gra_. Nay, but I bar to-night; you shall not gage me
By what we do to-night.

_Bas_. 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,
I have some business.

_Gra_. And I must to Lorenzo and the rest;
But we will visit you at supper time.


_Enter_ JESSICA _and_ LAUNCELOT _from_ SHYLOCK'S _house_.

_Jes_. 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 shall thou see
Lorenzo, who is thy new master's guest:
Give him this letter; do it secretly,
And so farewell; I would not have my father
See me in talk with thee.

_Lau_. Adieu!--Tears exhibit my tongue. Most beautiful
pagan,--most sweet Jew! Adieu! these foolish drops do
somewhat drown my manly spirit: adieu.


_Jes_. Farewell, good Launcelot.
Alack, what heinous sin is it in me,
To be asham'd to be my father's child!
But though I am a daughter to his blood,
I am not to his manners: O Lorenzo,
If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife;
Become a Christian, and thy loving wife.

[_Exit into house_.


_Lor_. Nay, we will slink away in supper time;
Disguise us at my lodging, and return
All in an hour.

_Gra_. We have not made good preparation.

_Salar_. We have not spoke us yet of torch-bearers.[61]

_Sal_. 'Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly order'd;
And better, in my mind, not undertook.

_Lor_. 'Tis now but four o'clock; we have two hours
To furnish us.--

_Enter_ LAUNCELOT _with a letter_.

Friend Launcelot, what's the news?

_Lau_. An it shall please you to break up this,[62] it shall seem to

_Lor_. I know the hand: in faith, 'tis a fair hand;
And whiter than the paper it writ on
Is the fair hand that writ.

_Gra_. Love-news, in faith.

_Lau_. By your leave, sir.

_Lor_. Whither goest thou?

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

_Lor_. Hold here, take this:--tell gentle Jessica, I will not fail
her;--speak it privately; go.

[_Exit_ LAUNCELOT _into house_.

Will you prepare you for this masque to-night?
I am provided of a torch-bearer.

_Salar_. Ay, marry, I'll be gone about it straight.

_Sal_. And so will I.

_Lor_. Meet me and Gratiano
At Gratiano's lodging some hour hence.

_Salar_. 'Tis good we do so.

[_Exeunt_ SALARINO _and_ SALANIO.

_Gra_. Was not that letter from fair Jessica?

_Lor_. I must needs tell thee all: She hath directed
How I shall take her from her father's house;
What gold and jewels she is furnish'd with;
Come, go with me; peruse this as thou goest:
Fair Jessica shall be my torch-bearer.


_Enter_ SHYLOCK _and_ LAUNCELOT _from House_.

_Shy_. Well, thou shalt see, thy eyes shall be thy judge,
The difference of old Shylock and Bassanio:
What, Jessica!--thou shalt not gormandize,
As thou hast done with me;--What, Jessica!--
And sleep and snore, and rend apparel out;--
Why, Jessica, I say!

_Lau_. Why, Jessica!

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

_Lau_. Your worship was wont to tell me I could do nothing without

_Enter_ JESSICA.

_Jes_. Call you? What is your will?

_Shy_. I am bid forth to supper,[63] Jessica;
There are my keys:--But wherefore should I go?
I am not bid for love: they flatter me:
But yet I'll go in hate, to feed upon
The prodigal Christian:[64]--Jessica, my girl,
Look to my house:--I am right loath to go;
There is some ill a brewing towards my rest,
For I did dream of money-bags to night.

_Lau_. I beseech you, sir, go; my young master doth expect your

_Shy_. So do I his.

_Lau_. And they have conspired together,--I will not say, you shall see
a masque; but if you do, then it was not for nothing that my nose fell a
bleeding[65] on Black Monday(B) last, at six o'clock i'the morning,
falling out that year on Ash-Wednesday was four year in the afternoon.

_Shy_. What! are there masques? Hear you me, Jessica:
Lock up my doors; and when you hear the drum,
And the vile squeaking of the wry-neck'd fife,[66]
Clamber not you up to the casements then,
Nor thrust your head into the public street,
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:
But I will go.--Go you before me, sirrah;
Say, I will come.

_Lau_. I will go before, Sir.--
Mistress, look out at window, for all this;
There will come a Christian by,
Will be worth a Jewess' eye.[67]


_Shy_. What says that fool of Hagar's offspring, ha?

_Jes_. His words were, Farewell, mistress; nothing else.

_Shy_. The patch is kind enough;[68] but a huge feeder,
Snail-slow in profit, and he sleeps by day
More than the wild cat: drones hive not with me,
Therefore I part with him; and part with him
To one that I would have him help to waste
His borrow'd purse.--Well, Jessica, go in;
Perhaps, I will return immediately;
Do as I bid you,
Shut doors after you: Fast bind, fast find;
A proverb never stale in thrifty mind.


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

[_Exit into house_.

_Enter_ GRATIANO _and_ SALARINO, _masqued_.

_Gra_. This is the pent-house, under which Lorenzo
Desir'd us to make stand.

_Sal_. His hour is almost past.

_Gra_. And it is marvel he out-dwells his hour,
For lovers ever run before the clock.

_Sal_. O, ten times faster Venus' pigeons fly
To seal love's bonds new made, than they are wont
To keep obliged faith unforfeited!

_Gra_. 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
That he did pace them first? All things that are,
Are with more spirit chased than enjoy'd.

_Enter_ LORENZO.

_Sal_. Here comes Lorenzo.

_Lor_. 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.--
Here dwells my father Jew:--


O happy fair!
Your eyes are lode-stars, and your tongue sweet air!
More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear![70]

Ho! who's within?

_Enter_ JESSICA, _above_.

_Jes_. Who are you? Tell me, for more certainty,
Albeit I'll swear that I do know your tongue.

_Lor_. Lorenzo, and thy love.

_Jes_. Lorenzo, certain; and my love, indeed;
For who love I so much? And now who knows
But you, Lorenzo, whether I am yours?

_Lor_. Heaven, and thy thoughts, are witness that thou art.

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

_Lor_. Come, come at once;
For the close night doth play the run-away,
And we are staid for at Bassanio's feast.

_Jes_. I will make fast the doors, and gild myself
With some more ducats, and be with you straight.

[_Exit from above_.

_Gra_. Now, by my hood, a Gentile and no Jew.[71]

_Lor_. Beshrew me, but I love her heartily:
For she is wise, if I can judge of her;
And fair she is, if that mine eyes be true;
And true she is, as she hath prov'd herself;
And therefore, like herself, wise, fair, and true,
Shall she be placed in my constant soul.

_Enter JESSICA, below_.

What, art thou come?--On, gentlemen, away;
Our masquing mates by this time for us stay.


_Enter various parties of Maskers, Revellers, &c_.



(A) Venice occupies 72 islands. There are 306 canals, traversed by
innumerable gondolas. The gondolas introduced in this scene are copied
from paintings of the same date as when the action of the play is
supposed to occur, and are, consequently, rather varied in shape from
those now seen in Venice. Besides the great squares of St. Mark, and the
adjoining Piazetta before the Doge's Palace, the city has numerous
narrow streets, or rather lanes, with small open spaces in front of the
churches, or formed by the termination of several alleys, leading to a
bridge. It is one of these spaces that is represented in the second act.

(B) "Black Monday" is Easter Monday, and was so called on this occasion.
In the 34th of Edward III. (1360), the 14th April, and the morrow after
Easter Day, King Edward, with his host, lay before the City of Paris,
which day was full dark of mist and hail, and so bitter cold that many
men died on their horse's backs with the cold.--_Stowe_.


[Footnote 43: _Khanzir_, Arab, a hog. A cape on the coast of Syria is
named _Ras el Khanzir;_ i.e., hog's-head.]

[Footnote 44: _--for the heavens_; This expression is simply "a pretty
oath." It occurs in Ben Jonson and Decker.]

[Footnote 45: _--sand-blind, high-gravel blind_,; Having an imperfect
sight, as if there was sand in the eye.--Gravel-blind, a coinage of
Launcelot's, is the exaggeration of _sand-blind_.]

[Footnote 46: _I will try_ conclusions; Experiments.]

[Footnote 47: _--turn down indirectly to the Jew's house_.; This
perplexed direction is given to puzzle the enquirer.]

[Footnote 48: _--now will I raise the waters.; Id est_, make him weep.]

[Footnote 49: --we talk of young master Launcelot. _Gobbo_. Of
Launcelot, an't please your mastership. _Id est, plain_ Launcelot, and
not, as you term him, _master_ Launcelot.]

[Footnote 50: _--phill horse_,; The horse in the shafts of a cart or
waggon. The term is best understood in the Midland Counties.]

[Footnote 51: _--the suit is impertinent_; Launcelot is a blunderer, as
well as one who can _"play upon a word;"_ here he means _pertinent_.]

[Footnote 52: _--a livery more_ guarded; More ornamented.]

[Footnote 53: _--a fairer table_; Table is the palm of the hand.]

[Footnote 54: _--I shall have good fortune_!; The palm which offers to
swear that the owner shall have good fortune, is a fair table to be
proud of.]

[Footnote 55: _--here's a simple line of life_!; In allusion to the
lines on the palm of his hand.]

[Footnote 56: _--in peril of my life with the edge of a feather-bed_,; A
cant phrase to signify the danger of marrying.]

[Footnote 57: _--something too_ liberal:--; Gross or coarse.]

[Footnote 58: _--hood mine eyes_; Alluding to the manner of covering a
hawk's eyes.]

[Footnote 59: _--sad ostent;_ Grave appearance--show of staid and
serious behaviour. _Ostent_ is a word very commonly used for _show_
among the old dramatic writers.]

[Footnote 60: _--we shall see your bearing_.; Bearing is

[Footnote 61: _We have not spoke us yet of torch-bearers_.; _Id est_, we
have not yet bespoken the torch-bearers.]

[Footnote 62: _--to break up this,_ To _break up_ was a term in

[Footnote 63: _I am bid forth to supper,_; I am invited. To _bid_, in
old language, meant to _pray_.]

[Footnote 64: _to feed upon the prodigal Christian:_ The poet here means
to heighten the malignity of Shylock's character, by making him depart
from his settled resolve, of "neither to eat, drink nor pray with
Christians," for the prosecution of his revenge.]

[Footnote 65: _nose fell a bleeding_; Some superstitious belief was
annexed to the accident of bleeding at the nose.]

[Footnote 66: _wry-neck'd fife,_; The upper part or mouth-piece,
resembling the beak of a bird.]

[Footnote 67: _--worth a Jewess' eye_.; It's worth a Jews' eye is a
proverbial phrase.]

[Footnote 68: _The patch is kind enough;_ Patch is the name of a Fool,
probably in allusion to his _patch'd_ or party colored dress.]

[Footnote 69: Sung by Miss POOLE, Miss LEFFLER, and Mr. WALLWORTH.]

[Footnote 70: The words are from _Midsummer Night's Dream_, Act i.,
Scene 1.]

[Footnote 71: _--a Gentile and no Jew_.; A jest arising from the
ambiguity of _Gentile_, which signifies both a _Heathen_, and one



_Enter_ NERISSA, _with_ SERVANTS.

_Ner_. The prince of Arragon hath ta'en his oath,
And comes to his election presently.

_Flourish of Trumpets. Enter the_ PRINCE OF ARRAGON, PORTIA, _and their

_Por_. Behold, there stand the caskets, noble prince;
If you choose that wherein I am contain'd,
Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemniz'd;
But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,
You must be gone from hence immediately.

_Arr_. I am enjoin'd by oath to observe three things:
First, never to unfold to any one
Which casket 'twas I chose; next, if I fail
Of the right casket, never in my life
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.

_Por_. To these injunctions every one doth swear
That comes to hazard for my worthless self.

_Arr_. And so have I address'd me:[72] Fortune now
To my heart's hope!--Gold, silver, and base lead.

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

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[73]
By the fool multitude,[74] that choose by show,
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;'

And well said too. For who shall go about
To cozen fortune, and be honourable
Without the stamp of merit!
O, that estates, degrees, and offices,
Were not deriv'd corruptly! and that clear honour
Were purchas'd by the merit of the wearer!
How many then should cover that stand bare?
How many be commanded that command?
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,
And instantly unlock my fortunes here.

_Por_. Too long a pause for that which you find there.

_Arr_. What's here: the portrait of a blinking idiot,
Presenting me a schedule? I will read it.

Some there be that shadows kiss;
Such have but a shadow's bliss:
There be fools alive, I wis,[75]
Silver'd o'er; and so was this.'

Still more fool I shall appear
By the time I linger here:
With one fool's head I came to woo,
But I go away with two.

Sweet, adieu! I'll keep my oath,
Patiently to bear my wroath.[76]

[_Exeunt_ ARRAGON _and Train_.

_Por_. Thus hath the candle sing'd the moth.
O these deliberate fools! when they do choose,
They have the wisdom by their wit to lose.

_Ner_. The ancient saying is no heresy;--
Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.


_Ser_. 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;[77]
To wit, besides commends and courteous breath,
Gifts of rich value; yet I have not seen
So likely an ambassador of love.

_Por_. No more, I pray thee.
Come, come, Nerissa; for I long to see
Quick Cupid's post that comes so mannerly.

_Ner_. Bassanio, lord love, if thy will it be!



[Footnote 72: _--so have I address'd me_: To address is to prepare--_id
est_ I have prepared myself by the same ceremonies.]

[Footnote 73: _That many may be meant_; Many modes of speech were
familiar in Shakespeare's age that are now no longer used. "May be
meant," _id est_, meaning by that, &c.]

[Footnote 74: _--the fool multitude_; The foolish multitude.]

[Footnote 75: _--I wis_,; I know.]



_Salar_. Why, man, I saw Bassanio under sail;
With him is Gratiano gone along;
And in their ship, I am sure, Lorenzo is not.

_Sal_. The villain Jew with outcries rais'd the duke;
Who went with him to search Bassanio's ship.

_Salar_. He came too late, the ship was under sail;
But there the duke was given to understand,
That in a gondola were seen together
Lorenzo and his amorous Jessica;
Besides, Antonio certified the duke,
They were not with Bassanio in his ship.

_Sal_. I never heard a passion so confus'd,
So strange, outrageous, and so variable,
As the dog Jew did utter in the streets;
"_My daughter!--O, my ducats!--O, my daughter!
Fled with a Christian!--O, my Christian ducats!--
Justice! the law! my ducats, and my daughter.!"_
Let good Antonio look he keep his day,
Or he shall pay for this.

_Salar_. Marry, well remember'd: I reason'd[78] with a Frenchman
yesterday, who told me that Antonio hath a ship of rich lading wreck'd
on the narrow seas that part the French and English,--the Goodwins, I
think they call the place--a very dangerous flat and fatal, where the
carcases of many a tall ship lie buried, as they say, if my gossip
report be an honest woman of her word.

_Sal_. I would she were as lying a gossip in that, as ever knapp'd
ginger,[79] or made her neighbours believe she wept for the death of a
third husband: But it is true, that the good Antonio, the honest
Antonio,--O, that I had a title good enough to keep his name company!--

_Salar_. Come, the full stop.

_Sal_. Why, the end is, he hath lost a ship.

_Salar_. I would it might prove the end of his losses!

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

_Enter_ SHYLOCK.

_Salar_. How now, Shylock? what news among the merchants?

_Shy_. You knew, none so well, none so well as you, of my daughter's

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

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

_Shy_. She is damn'd for it.

_Sal_. That's certain, if the devil may be her judge.

_Shy_. My own flesh and blood to rebel!

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

_Shy_. There I have another bad match: a bankrupt, a prodigal, who dare
scarce show his head on the Rialto; a beggar, that used to come so smug
upon the mart.--Let him look to his bond: he was wont to call me
usurer;--let him look to his bond: he was wont to lend money for a
Christian courtesy;--let him look to his bond.

_Sal_. Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his flesh?
What's that good for?

_Shy_. To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else it will feed my
revenge. He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million; laughed
at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my
bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies: and what's his reason?
I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt
with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same
means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian
is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh?
if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not
revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.
If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? revenge: If a
Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian
example? why, revenge. The villany you teach me I will execute: and it
shall go hard but I will better the instruction.

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

[_Exeunt_ SALANIO, SALARINO, _and Servant_.

_Enter_ TUBAL.

_Shy_. How now, Tubal, what news from Genoa? hast thou found my

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

_Shy_. Why, there, there, there, there! a diamond gone, cost me two
thousand ducats in Frankfort! The curse never fell upon our nation till
now; I never felt it till now:--two thousand ducats in that; and other
precious, precious jewels.--I would my daughter were dead at my foot,
and the jewels in her ear! 'would she were hears'd at my foot, and the
ducats in her coffin! No news of them?--Why, so:--and I know not what's
spent in the search: Why, thou loss upon loss! the thief gone with so
much, and so much to find the thief; and no satisfaction, no revenge:

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