Shakespeare in the Digital Age

Act I

Actus primus.

Enter Anthonio, Salarino, and Salanio.

Anthonio. 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 stuffe 'tis made of, whereof it is borne,
I am to learne: and such a Want-wit sadnesse makes of
That I haue much ado to know my selfe

Sal. Your minde is tossing on the Ocean,
There where your Argosies with portly saile
Like Signiors and rich Burgers on the flood,
Or as it were the Pageants of the sea,
Do ouer-peere the pettie Traffiquers
That curtsie to them, do them reuerence
As they flye by them with their wouen wings

Salar. Beleeue 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 grasse to know where sits the winde,
Peering in Maps for ports, and peers, and rodes:
And euery obiect that might make me feare
Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt
Would make me sad

Sal. My winde cooling my broth,
Would blow me to an Ague, when I thought
What harme a winde too great might doe at sea.
I should not see the sandie houre-glasse runne,
But I should thinke of shallows, and of flats,
And see my wealthy Andrew docks in sand,
Vailing her high top lower then her ribs
To kisse her buriall; should I goe to Church
And see the holy edifice of stone,
And not bethinke me straight of dangerous rocks,
Which touching but my gentle Vessels side
Would scatter all her spices on the streame,
Enrobe the roring waters with my silkes,
And in a word, but euen now worth this,
And now worth nothing. Shall I haue the thought
To thinke on this, and shall I lacke the thought
That such a thing bechaunc'd would make me sad?
But tell me, I know Anthonio
Is sad to thinke vpon his merchandize

Anth. Beleeue me no, I thanke my fortune for it,
My ventures are not in one bottome trusted,
Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate
Vpon the fortune of this present yeere:
Therefore my merchandize makes me not sad

Sola. Why then you are in loue

Anth. Fie, fie

Sola. Not in loue neither: then let vs say you are sad
Because you are not merry: and 'twere as easie
For you to laugh and leape, and say you are merry
Because you are not sad. Now by two-headed Ianus,
Nature hath fram'd strange fellowes in her time:
Some that will euermore peepe through their eyes,
And laugh like Parrats at a bag-piper.
And other of such vineger aspect,
That they'll not shew their teeth in way of smile,
Though Nestor sweare the iest be laughable.
Enter Bassanio, Lorenso, and Gratiano.

Sola. Heere comes Bassanio,
Your most noble Kinsman,
Gratiano, and Lorenso. Faryewell,
We leaue you now with better company

Sala. I would haue staid till I had made you merry,
If worthier friends had not preuented me

Ant. Your worth is very deere in my regard.
I take it your owne busines calls on you,
And you embrace th' occasion to depart

Sal. Good morrow my good Lords

Bass. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? say, when?
You grow exceeding strange: must it be so?
Sal. Wee'll make our leysures to attend on yours.

Exeunt. Salarino, and Solanio.

Lor. My Lord Bassanio, since you haue found Anthonio
We two will leaue you, but at dinner time
I pray you haue in minde where we must meete

Bass. I will not faile you

Grat. You looke not well signior Anthonio,
You haue too much respect vpon the world:
They loose it that doe buy it with much care,
Beleeue me you are maruellously chang'd

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

Grati. Let me play the foole,
With mirth and laughter let old wrinckles come,
And let my Liuer rather heate with wine,
Then my heart coole with mortifying grones.
Why should a man whose bloud is warme within,
Sit like his Grandsire, cut in Alablaster?
Sleepe when he wakes? and creep into the Iaundies
By being peeuish? I tell thee what Anthonio,
I loue thee, and it is my loue that speakes:
There are a sort of men, whose visages
Do creame and mantle like a standing pond,
And do a wilfull stilnesse entertaine,
With purpose to be drest in an opinion
Of wisedome, grauity, profound conceit,
As who should say, I am sir an Oracle,
And when I ope my lips, let no dogge barke.
O my Anthonio, I do know of these
That therefore onely are reputed wise,
For saying nothing; when I am verie sure
If they should speake, would almost dam those eares
Which hearing them would call their brothers fooles:
Ile tell thee more of this another time.
But fish not with this melancholly baite
For this foole Gudgin, this opinion:
Come good Lorenzo, faryewell a while,
Ile end my exhortation after dinner

Lor. Well, we will leaue you then till dinner time.
I must be one of these same dumbe wise men.
For Gratiano neuer let's me speake

Gra. Well, keepe me company but two yeares mo,
Thou shalt not know the sound of thine owne tongue

Ant. Far you well, Ile grow a talker for this geare

Gra. Thankes ifaith, for silence is onely commendable
In a neats tongue dri'd, and a maid not vendible.

Ant. It is that any thing now

Bas. Gratiano speakes an infinite deale of nothing,
more then any man in all Venice, his reasons are two
graines of wheate hid in two bushels of chaffe: you shall
seeke all day ere you finde them, & when you haue them
they are not worth the search

An. Well: tel me now, what Lady is the same
To whom you swore a secret Pilgrimage
That you to day promis'd to tel me of?
Bas. Tis not vnknowne to you Anthonio
How much I haue disabled mine estate,
By something shewing a more swelling port
Then my faint meanes would grant continuance:
Nor do I now make mone to be abridg'd
From such a noble rate, but my cheefe care
Is to come fairely off from the great debts
Wherein my time something too prodigall
Hath left me gag'd: to you Anthonio
I owe the most in money, and in loue,
And from your loue I haue a warrantie
To vnburthen all my plots and purposes,
How to get cleere of all the debts I owe

An. I pray you good Bassanio let me know it,
And if it stand as you your selfe still do,
Within the eye of honour, be assur'd
My purse, my person, my extreamest meanes
Lye all vnlock'd to your occasions

Bass. In my schoole dayes, when I had lost one shaft
I shot his fellow of the selfesame flight
The selfesame way, with more aduised watch
To finde the other forth, and by aduenturing both,
I oft found both. I vrge this child-hoode proofe,
Because what followes is pure innocence.
I owe you much, and like a wilfull youth,
That which I owe is lost: but if you please
To shoote another arrow that selfe way
Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
As I will watch the ayme: Or to finde both,
Or bring your latter hazard backe againe,
And thankfully rest debter for the first

An. You know me well, and herein spend but time
To winde about my loue with circumstance,
And out of doubt you doe more wrong
In making question of my vttermost
Then if you had made waste of all I haue:
Then doe but say to me what I should doe
That in your knowledge may by me be done,
And I am prest vnto it: therefore speake

Bass. In Belmont is a Lady richly left,
And she is faire, and fairer then that word,
Of wondrous vertues, sometimes from her eyes
I did receiue faire speechlesse messages:
Her name is Portia, nothing vndervallewd
To Cato's daughter, Brutus Portia,
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,
For the four windes blow in from euery coast
Renowned sutors, and her sunny locks
Hang on her temples like a golden fleece,
Which makes her seat of Belmont Cholchos strond,
And many Iasons come in quest of her.
O my Anthonio, had I but the meanes
To hold a riuall place with one of them,
I haue a minde presages me such thrift,
That I should questionlesse be fortunate

Thou knowst that all my fortunes are at sea,
Neither haue I money, nor commodity
To raise a present summe, therefore goe forth
Try what my credit can in Venice doe,
That shall be rackt euen to the vttermost,
To furnish thee to Belmont to faire Portia.
Goe presently enquire, and so will I
Where money is, and I no question make
To haue it of my trust, or for my sake.


Enter Portia with her waiting woman Nerissa.

Portia. By my troth Nerrissa, my little body is a wearie
of this great world

Ner. You would be sweet Madam, if your miseries
were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are:
and yet for ought I see, they are as sicke that surfet with
too much, as they that starue with nothing; it is no smal
happinesse therefore to bee seated in the meane, superfluitie
comes sooner by white haires, but competencie
liues longer

Portia. Good sentences, and well pronounc'd

Ner. They would be better if well followed

Portia. If to doe were as easie as to know what were
good to doe, Chappels had beene Churches, and poore
mens cottages Princes Pallaces: it is a good Diuine that
followes his owne instructions; I can easier teach twentie
what were good to be done, then be one of the twentie
to follow mine owne teaching: the braine may deuise
lawes for the blood, but a hot temper leapes ore a
colde decree, such a hare is madnesse the youth, to skip
ore the meshes of good counsaile the cripple; but this
reason is not in fashion to choose me a husband: O mee,
the word choose, I may neither choose whom I would,
nor refuse whom I dislike, so is the wil of a liuing daughter
curb'd by the will of a dead father: it is not hard Nerrissa,
that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none

Ner. Your father was euer vertuous, and holy men
at their death haue good inspirations, therefore the lotterie
that hee hath deuised in these three chests of gold,
siluer, and leade, whereof who chooses his meaning,
chooses you, wil no doubt neuer be chosen by any rightly,
but one who you shall rightly loue: but what warmth
is there in your affection towards any of these Princely
suters that are already come?
Por. I pray thee ouer-name them, and as thou namest
them, I will describe them, and according to my description
leuell at my affection

Ner. First there is the Neopolitane Prince

Por. I that's a colt indeede, for he doth nothing but
talke of his horse, and hee makes it a great appropriation
to his owne good parts that he can shoo him himselfe:
I am much afraid my Ladie his mother plaid false
with a Smyth

Ner. Than is there the Countie Palentine

Por. He doth nothing but frowne (as who should
say, and you will not haue me, choose: he heares merrie
tales and smiles not, I feare hee will proue the weeping
Phylosopher when he growes old, being so full of vnmannerly
sadnesse in his youth.) I had rather to be married
to a deaths head with a bone in his mouth, then to either
of these: God defend me from these two

Ner. How say you by the French Lord, Mounsier
Le Boune?
Por. God made him, and therefore let him passe for a
man, in truth I know it is a sinne to be a mocker, but he,
why he hath a horse better then the Neopolitans, a better
bad habite of frowning then the Count Palentine, he
is euery man in no man, if a Trassell sing, he fals straight
a capring, he will fence with his owne shadow. If I should
marry him, I should marry twentie husbands: if hee
would despise me, I would forgiue him, for if he loue me
to madnesse, I should neuer requite him

Ner. What say you then to Fauconbridge, the yong
Baron of England?
Por. You know I say nothing to him, for hee vnderstands
not me, nor I him: he hath neither Latine, French,
nor Italian, and you will come into the Court & sweare
that I haue a poore pennie-worth in the English: hee is a
proper mans picture, but alas who can conuerse with a
dumbe show? how odly he is suited, I thinke he bought
his doublet in Italie, his round hose in France, his bonnet
in Germanie, and his behauiour euery where

Ner. What thinke you of the other Lord his neighbour?
Por. That he hath a neighbourly charitie in him, for
he borrowed a boxe of the eare of the Englishman, and
swore he would pay him againe when hee was able: I
thinke the Frenchman became his suretie, and seald vnder
for another

Ner. How like you the yong Germaine, the Duke of
Saxonies Nephew?
Por. Very vildely in the morning when hee is sober,
and most vildely in the afternoone when hee is drunke:
when he is best, he is a little worse then a man, and when
he is worst, he is little better then a beast: and the worst
fall that euer 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 performe your Fathers will,
if you should refuse to accept him

Por. Therefore for feare of the worst, I pray thee set
a deepe glasse of Reinish-wine on the contrary Casket,
for if the diuell be within, and that temptation without,
I know he will choose it. I will doe any thing Nerrissa
ere I will be married to a spunge

Ner. You neede not feare Lady the hauing any of
these Lords, they haue acquainted me with their determinations,
which is indeede to returne to their home,
and to trouble you with no more suite, vnlesse you may
be won by some other sort then your Fathers imposition,
depending on the Caskets

Por. If I liue to be as olde as Sibilla, I will dye as
chaste as Diana: vnlesse I be obtained by the manner
of my Fathers will: I am glad this parcell of wooers
are so reasonable, for there is not one among them but
I doate on his verie absence: and I wish them a faire departure

Ner. Doe you not remember Ladie in your Fathers
time, a Venecian, a Scholler and a Souldior that
came hither in companie of the Marquesse of Mountferrat?
Por. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio, as I thinke, so was hee

Ner. True Madam, hee of all the men that euer my
foolish eyes look'd vpon, was the best deseruing a faire

Por. I remember him well, and I remember him worthy
of thy praise.
Enter a Seruingman.

Ser. The four Strangers seeke you Madam to take
their leaue: and there is a fore-runner come from a fift,
the Prince of Moroco, who brings word the Prince his
Maister will be here to night

Por. If I could bid the fift welcome with so good
heart as I can bid the other foure farewell, I should be
glad of his approach: if he haue the condition of a Saint,
and the complexion of a diuell, I had rather hee should
shriue me then wiue me. Come Nerrissa, sirra go before;
whiles wee shut the gate vpon one wooer, another
knocks at the doore.


Enter Bassanio with Shylocke the Iew.

Shy. Three thousand ducates, well

Bass. I sir, for three months

Shy. For three months, well

Bass. For the which, as I told you,
Anthonio shall be bound

Shy. Anthonio shall become bound, well

Bass. May you sted me? Will you pleasure me?
Shall I know your answere

Shy. Three thousand ducats for three months,
and Anthonio bound

Bass. Your answere to that

Shy. Anthonio is a good man

Bass. Haue you heard any imputation to the contrary

Shy. Ho no, no, no, no: my meaning in saying he is a
good man, is to haue you vnderstand me that he is sufficient,
yet his meanes are in supposition: he hath an Argosie
bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies, I vnderstand
moreouer vpon the Ryalta, he hath a third at Mexico,
a fourth for England, and other ventures hee hath
squandred abroad, but ships are but boords, Saylers but
men, there be land rats, and water rats, water theeues,
and land theeues, I meane Pyrats, and then there is the
perrill of waters, windes, and rocks: the man is not withstanding
sufficient, three thousand ducats, I thinke I may
take his bond

Bas. Be assured you may

Iew. I will be assured I may: and that I may be assured,
I will bethinke mee, may I speake with Anthonio?
Bass. If it please you to dine with vs

Iew. Yes, to smell porke, to eate of the habitation
which your Prophet the Nazarite coniured the diuell
into: I will buy with you, sell with you, talke with
you, walke with you, and so following: but I will
not eate with you, drinke with you, nor pray with you.
What newes on the Ryalta, who is he comes here?
Enter Anthonio.

Bass. This is signior Anthonio

Iew. How like a fawning publican he lookes.
I hate him for he is a Christian:
But more, for that in low simplicitie
He lends out money gratis, and brings downe
The rate of vsance here with vs in Venice.
If I can catch him once vpon the hip,
I will feede fat the ancient grudge I beare him.
He hates our sacred Nation, and he railes
Euen there where Merchants most doe congregate
On me, my bargaines, and my well-worne thrift,
Which he cals interrest: Cursed by my Trybe
If I forgiue him

Bass. Shylock, doe you heare

Shy. I am debating of my present store,
And by the neere gesse of my memorie
I cannot instantly raise vp the grosse
Of full three thousand ducats: what of that?
Tuball a wealthy Hebrew of my Tribe
Will furnish me: but soft, how many months
Doe you desire? Rest you faire good signior,
Your worship was the last man in our mouthes

Ant. Shylocke, albeit I neither lend nor borrow
By taking, nor by giuing of excesse,
Yet to supply the ripe wants of my friend,
Ile breake a custome: 
is he yet possest
How much he would?
Shy. I, I, 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 heare you,
Me thoughts you said, you neither lend nor borrow
Vpon aduantage

Ant. I doe neuer vse it

Shy. When Iacob graz'd his vncle Labans sheepe,
This Iacob from our holy Abram was
(As his wise mother wrought in his behalfe)
The third possesser; I, he was the third

Ant. And what of him, did he take interrest?
Shy. No, not take interest, not as you would say
Directly interest, marke what Iacob did,
When Laban and himselfe were compremyz'd
That all the eanelings which were streakt and pied
Should fall as Iacobs hier, the Ewes being rancke,
In end of Autumne turned to the Rammes,
And when the worke of generation was
Betweene these woolly breeders in the act,
The skilfull shepheard pil'd me certaine wands,
And in the dooing of the deede of kinde,
He stucke them vp before the fulsome Ewes,
Who then conceauing, did in eaning time
Fall party-colour'd lambs, and those were Iacobs.
This was a way to thriue, and he was blest:
And thrift is blessing if men steale it not

Ant. This was a venture sir that Iacob seru'd for,
A thing not in his power to bring to passe,
But sway'd and fashion'd by the hand of heauen.
Was this inserted to make interrest good?
Or is your gold and siluer Ewes and Rams?
Shy. I cannot tell, I make it breede as fast,
But note me signior

Ant. Marke you this Bassanio,
The diuell can cite Scripture for his purpose,
An euill soule producing holy witnesse,
Is like a villaine with a smiling cheeke,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O what a goodly outside falsehood hath

Shy. Three thousand ducats, 'tis a good round sum.
Three months from twelue, then let me see the rate

Ant. Well Shylocke, shall we be beholding to you?
Shy. Signior Anthonio, many a time and oft
In the Ryalto you haue rated me
About my monies and my vsances:
Still haue I borne it with a patient shrug,
(For suffrance is the badge of all our Tribe.)
You call me misbeleeuer, cut-throate dog,
And spet vpon my Iewish gaberdine,
And all for vse of that which is mine owne.
Well then, it now appeares you neede my helpe:
Goe to then, you come to me, and you say,
Shylocke, we would haue moneyes, you say so:
You that did voide your rume vpon my beard,
And foote me as you spurne a stranger curre
Ouer your threshold, moneyes is your suite.
What should I say to you? Should I not say,
Hath a dog money? Is it possible
A curre should lend three thousand ducats? or
Shall I bend low, and in a bond-mans key
With bated breath, and whispring humblenesse,
Say this: Faire sir, you spet on me on Wednesday last;
You spurn'd me such a day; another time
You cald me dog: and for these curtesies
Ile lend you thus much moneyes

Ant. I am as like to call thee so againe,
To spet on thee againe, to spurne thee too.
If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not
As to thy friends, for when did friendship take
A breede of barraine mettall of his friend?
But lend it rather to thine enemie,
Who if he breake, thou maist with better face
Exact the penalties

Shy. Why looke you how you storme,
I would be friends with you, and haue your loue,
Forget the shames that you haue staind me with,
Supplie your present wants, and take no doite
Of vsance for my moneyes, and youle not heare me,
This is kinde I offer

Bass. This were kindnesse

Shy. This kindnesse will I showe,
Goe with me to a Notarie, seale me there
Your single bond, and in a merrie sport
If you repaie me not on such a day,
In such a place, such sum or sums as are

Be nominated for an equall pound
Of your faire flesh, to be cut off and taken
In what part of your bodie it pleaseth me 

Ant. Content infaith, Ile seale to such a bond,
And say there is much kindnesse in the Iew

Bass. You shall not seale to such a bond for me,
Ile rather dwell in my necessitie

Ant. Why feare not man, I will not forfaite it,
Within these two months, that's a month before
This bond expires, I doe expect returne
Of thrice three times the valew of this bond

Shy. O father Abram, what these Christians are,
Whose owne hard dealings teaches them suspect
The thoughts of others: Praie you tell me this,
If he should breake his daie, what should I gaine
By the exaction of the forfeiture?
A pound of mans flesh taken from a man,
Is not so estimable, profitable neither
As flesh of Muttons, Beefes, or Goates, I say
To buy his fauour, I extend this friendship,
If he will take it, so: if not adiew,
And for my loue I praie you wrong me not

Ant. Yes Shylocke, I will seale vnto this bond

Shy. Then meete me forthwith at the Notaries,
Giue him direction for this merrie bond,
And I will goe and purse the ducats straite.
See to my house left in the fearefull gard
Of an vnthriftie knaue: and presentlie
Ile be with you.

Ant. Hie thee gentle Iew. This Hebrew will turne
Christian, he growes kinde

Bass. I like not faire tearmes, and a villaines minde

Ant. Come on, in this there can be no dismaie,
My Shippes come home a month before the daie.


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