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SCENE I. Venice. A street.


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 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,

That curtsy to them, do them reverence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings.
Salan. Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,
The better part of my affections would
Be with my hopes abroad.

9. argosies, merchant-ships, originally those of Ragusa, whence the name.

I should be still


II. pageants, an allusion to the huge wooden stages on which miracle-plays and other shows were exhibited.

Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind,
Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads;
And every object that might make me fear.
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 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.
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 bechanced 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.

19. roads, places for anchorage.

27. Andrew, so called, perhaps, after the famous Italian naval commander, Andrea Doria.

Fie, fie!




27. dock'd; the Quartos and Folios read docks.

28. Vailing, drooping.
29. burial, grave.

35. but even now, a moment


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

Nature hath framed 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 show their teeth in way of smile,
Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.

Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO. Salan. 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,

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?


Salar. We'll make our leisures to attend on
[Exeunt Salarino and Salanio.
Lor. My Lord Bassanio, since you have found

50. by two-headed Janus, an oath in keeping with the 'strange fellows of Nature's framing' in the next line.



56. Nestor, being old, is also regarded as grave.

61. prevented, anticipated.

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 changed.

Ant. I hold the world but as the world,

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 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,

70. at dinner-time, i.e. about twelve A.M., the usual dininghour of merchants in Elizabethan London.

74. respect upon, regard for. 80. old wrinkles, wrinkles of age.




84. cut in alabaster, i.e. the effigy on a tomb.

90. wilful stillness entertain, maintain a determined silence.

91. opinion, reputation.
92. conceit, intelligence.

If they should speak, would almost damn those ears
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers


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.

Lor. Well, we will leave you then till dinner-

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, Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue. Ant. Farewell: I'll grow a talker for this gear. 110 Gra. Thanks, i' faith, for silence is only commendable

In a neat's tongue dried and a maid not vendible. [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 promised to tell me of?

101. melancholy bait, bait of melancholy.

102. fool gudgeon, a stupid and greedy fish, easily caught.

108. moe, more. Its use was already chiefly colloquial in Shakespeare's time.

110. gear, properly 'business


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