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Gob. Master young gentleman, I pray you, which 40 is the way to master Jew's?

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

Gob. By God's sonties, 'twill be a hard way to hit. Can you tell me whether one Launcelot, that dwells with him, dwell with him or no? Laun. Talk you of young Master Launcelot ? 50 [Aside] Mark me now; now will I raise the


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, God be thanked, well to live.

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

Gob. Your worship's friend and Launcelot, sir. Laun. But I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech you, talk you of young Master Launcelot ? 60 Gob. Of Launcelot, an 't please your mastership.

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

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

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

47. sonties, familiar popular form of saints.'

55. well to live, healthy, with

a long life before him.


71. hovel-post, the post of a shed.

Gob. Alack the day, I know you not, young gentleman: but, I pray you, tell me, is my boy, God rest his soul, alive or dead?


Laun. Do you not know me, father?

Gob. Alack, sir, I am sand-blind; I know you

Laun. Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of the knowing me: it is a wise 80 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.

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

Laun. 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.

Laun. 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. 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 100 his tail.

Laun. 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

100. fill-horse, shaft-horse.

thou and thy master agree? I have brought him a present. How 'gree you now?

Laun. 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 his service; you may tell every finger I have with my ribs. Father, I

am glad you are come: give me your present to one Master Bassanio, who, indeed, gives rare new liveries if I serve not him, I will run as far as God has any ground. O rare fortune! here comes the man: to him, father; for I am a Jew, if I serve the Jew any longer.

Enter BASSANIO, with LEONARDO and other


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

Laun. To him, father.

Gob. God bless your worship!

Bass. Gramercy! wouldst thou aught with me? Gob. Here's my son, sir, a poor boy,—



Laun. Not a poor boy, sir, but the rich 130 Jew's man; that would, sir, as my father shall specify

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

Laun. Indeed, the short

110. set up my rest, resolved; a common phrase from the game of primero, where it was said of the player who, by laying his

and the long is, I

wager (Sp. resto), committed himself to a definite hazard.

115. me, ethical dative.

serve the Jew, and have a desire, as my father shall specify

Gob. His master and he, saving your worship's reverence, are scarce cater-cousins

Laun. To be brief, the very truth is that the 140 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

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

Bass. One speak for both.

Laun. Serve you, sir.

What would you? 150

Gob. That is the very defect of the matter, sir.
Bass. I know thee well; thou hast obtain'd thy


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.

Laun. 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. Bass. 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

More guarded than his fellows' see it done.
Laun. Father, in. I cannot get a service, no;

139. cater - cousins (French quatre - cousins), very distant cousins.

142. frutify, for notify.


158. The old proverb; viz. 'The grace of God is better than riches.

164. guarded, richly laced.

I have ne'er a tongue in my head. Well, if any man in Italy have a fairer table which doth offer to swear upon a book, I shall have good fortune. Go to, here's a simple line of life: here's a small trifle of wives: alas, fifteen wives is nothing! 170 eleven widows and nine maids is a simple comingin for one man: and then to 'scape drowning thrice, and to be in peril of my life with the edge of a feather-bed; here are simple scapes. Well, if Fortune be a woman, she's a good wench for this gear. Father, come; I'll take my leave of the Jew in the twinkling of an eye.

[Exeunt Launcelot and Old Gobbo.
Bass. 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.
Leon. My best endeavours shall be done herein.

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Gra. You must not deny me: I must go with

you to Belmont,

167. table, i.e. in chiromancy the extended palm of the hand. The line of life was 'the circular line surrounding the ball of the thumb' (Staunton). 'Long and deep lines from the Mount of Venus [the ball of the thumb] towards the line of life, signifieth so many wives. These


lines visible and deep, so many wives the party shall have' (Saunder's Chiromancie, quoted by Halliwell). A 'simple' line was one faintly marked; here, of course, ironical.

173. with the edge of a featherbed, through marrying.

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