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DUKE OF VENICE.
PRINCE OF MOROCCO :
PRINCE OF ARRAGON
ANTONIO: A MERCHANT OF VENICE.
BASSANIO: HIS FRIEND, SUITOR LIKEWISE TO PORTIA.
SALARINO: FRIENDS TO ANTONIO AND BASSANIO.
LORENZO: IN LOVE WITH JESSICA.
SHYLOCK: A RICH JEW.
TUBAL: A JEW, HIS FRIEND.
LAUNCELOT GOBBO: THE CLOWN, SERVANT TO SHYLOCK.
OLD GOBBO: FATHER TO LAUNCELOT.
LEONARDO: SERVANT TO BASSANIO.
PORTIA: A RICH HEIRESS.
NERISSA: HER WAITING-MAID.
JESSICA: DAUGHTER TO SHYLOCK.
MAGNIFICOS OF VENICE, OFFICERS OF THE COURT OF JUSTICE, GAOLER, SERVANTS, AND OTHER ATTENDANTS.
SCENE-Venice and Belmont.
Enter ANTONIO, SALARINO, and SOLANIO.
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 argosies1 with portly sail
(Like signiors and rich burghers on the Flood,
Or as it were the pageants of the Sea)
Do overpeer the petty traffickers,2
That curtsy to them, do them reverence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings.
SOLAN. 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 ;
every object, that might make me fear
Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt
Would make me sad.
My wind, cooling my broth,
Would blow me to an ague, when I thought
What harm a wind too great might do at sea.
I should not see the sandy hour-glass run,
1 big cargo-ships.
2 smaller trading-boats.
But I should think of shallows and of flats;
And see my wealthy Andrew1 dock'd in sand,
Vailing her high-top3 lower than her ribs,
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,
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 bechanc'd would make me sad?
But tell not me: I know Antonio
Is sad to think upon his merchandise.
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 merchandise makes me not sad.
SALAR. Why, then you are in love.
SALAR. Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sad
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 fram'd strange fellows in her time:
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes,
And laugh, like parrots at a bag-piper;
And other of such vinegar aspect
That they'll not shew their teeth in way of smile,
Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.
1 perhaps a reminiscence of Andrea Doria, the Genoese admiral.
Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO. SOLAN. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman, Gratiano, and Lorenzo. Fare ye well:
We leave you now with better company.
SALAR. I would have stay'd till I had made you merry, 60
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.
BASS. Good Signiors both, when shall we laugh? say when?
You grow exceeding strange: must it be so ?7
SALAR. We'll make our leisures to attend on your's.
[Exeunt SALARINO and SOLANIO.
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.
BASS. I will not fail you.
GRA. You look not well, Signior Antonio;
You have too much respect upon the World :
They lose it that do buy it with much care.
Believe me, you are marvellously chang'd.
ANT. I hold the World but as the World, Gratiano:
A stage, where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.
Let me play the Fool:
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come,
And let my liver rather heat with wine
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 and mantle like a standing pond;
And do a wilful stillness entertain,
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;
As who should say I am, Sir, an Oracle,
And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark!
O my Antonio, I do know of these,
That therefore only are reputed wise
For saying nothing; when, I am very sure,
If they should speak, 'twould almost damn those ears,
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
I'll end my exhortation after dinner.
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 moe,1 zod
Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.
ANT. Farewell: I'll grow a talker for this gear.2
GRA. Thanks, i'faith; for silence is only commendable
In a neat's3 tongue dried and a maid not vendible. Ai [Exeunt GRATIANO and LORENZO. ANT. Is that any thing now? BASS. 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?
BASS. "Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
How much I have disabled mine estate,
By something shewing a more swelling port*
Than my faint means would grant continuance:
Nor do I now make moan to be abridg'd
From such a noble rate; but my chief care
Is to come fairly off from the great debts
Wherein my time, something too prodigal,
Hath left me gag'd. To you, Antonio,
I owe the most, in money and in love;
And from your love I have a warranty
To unburden 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.
1 see ante, p. 27, note 1. 2 for your sake, so far as you are concerned.
a braver show.
5 at being.