The Merchant of Venice

by

William Shakespeare

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Classic Literature Library

The Merchant of Venice Page 01

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 mee, 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

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