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The Merchant of Venice: Act 1, Scene 1

The Merchant of Venice
Act 1, Scene 1

Scene 1

Venice. A street.

  1. Enter Antonio, Salerio, and Solanio.

Antonio

2 - 8
  1. In sooth, I know not why I am so sad;
  2. It wearies me, you say it wearies you;
  3. But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
  4. What stuff ’tis made of, whereof it is born,
  5. I am to learn;
  6. And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
  7. That I have much ado to know myself.

Salerio

9 - 15
  1. Your mind is tossing on the ocean,
  2. There where your argosies with portly sail
  3. Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood,
  4. Or as it were the pageants of the sea,
  5. Do overpeer the petty traffickers
  6. That cur’sy to them, do them reverence,
  7. As they fly by them with their woven wings.

Solanio

16 - 23
  1. Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,
  2. The better part of my affections would
  3. Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still
  4. Plucking the grass to know where sits the wind,
  5. Piring in maps for ports and piers and roads;
  6. And every object that might make me fear
  7. Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt
  8. Would make me sad.

Salerio

24 - 42
  1.                    My wind cooling my broth
  2. Would blow me to an ague when I thought
  3. What harm a wind too great might do at sea.
  4. I should not see the sandy hour-glass run
  5. But I should think of shallows and of flats,
  6. And see my wealthy Andrew dock’d in sand,
  7. Vailing her high top lower than her ribs
  8. To kiss her burial. Should I go to church
  9. And see the holy edifice of stone,
  10. And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks,
  11. Which touching but my gentle vessel’s side
  12. Would scatter all her spices on the stream,
  13. Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks,
  14. And in a word, but even now worth this,
  15. And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought
  16. To think on this, and shall I lack the thought
  17. That such a thing bechanc’d would make me sad?
  18. But tell not me; I know Antonio
  19. Is sad to think upon his merchandise.

Antonio

43 - 47
  1. Believe me, no. I thank my fortune for it,
  2. My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,
  3. Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate
  4. Upon the fortune of this present year:
  5. Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad.

Solanio

48
  1. Why then you are in love.

Antonio

49
  1.                           Fie, fie!

Solanio

50 - 63
  1. Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sad
  2. Because you are not merry; and ’twere as easy
  3. For you to laugh and leap, and say you are merry
  4. Because you are not sad. Now by two-headed Janus,
  5. Nature hath fram’d strange fellows in her time:
  6. Some that will evermore peep through their eyes,
  7. And laugh like parrots at a bagpiper;
  8. And other of such vinegar aspect
  9. That they’ll not show their teeth in way of smile
  10. Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.
  11. Enter Bassanio, Lorenzo, and Gratiano.
  12. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman,
  13. Gratiano, and Lorenzo. Fare ye well,
  14. We leave you now with better company.

Salerio

64 - 65
  1. I would have stay’d till I had made you merry,
  2. If worthier friends had not prevented me.

Antonio

66 - 68
  1. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
  2. I take it your own business calls on you,
  3. And you embrace th’ occasion to depart.

Salerio

69
  1. Good morrow, my good lords.

Bassanio

70 - 71
  1. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? Say, when?
  2. You grow exceeding strange. Must it be so?

Salerio

72
  1. We’ll make our leisures to attend on yours.
  1. Exeunt Salerio and Solanio.

Lorenzo

74 - 76
  1. My Lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio,
  2. We two will leave you, but at dinner-time
  3. I pray you have in mind where we must meet.

Bassanio

77
  1. I will not fail you.

Gratiano

78 - 81
  1. You look not well, Signior Antonio,
  2. You have too much respect upon the world.
  3. They lose it that do buy it with much care.
  4. Believe me you are marvelously chang’d.

Antonio

82 - 84
  1. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano,
  2. A stage, where every man must play a part,
  3. And mine a sad one.

Gratiano

85 - 110
  1.                     Let me play the fool,
  2. With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come,
  3. And let my liver rather heat with wine
  4. Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.
  5. Why should a man, whose blood is warm within,
  6. Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster?
  7. Sleep when he wakes? And creep into the jaundies
  8. By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio
  9. I love thee, and ’tis my love that speaks
  10. There are a sort of men whose visages
  11. Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,
  12. And do a willful stillness entertain,
  13. With purpose to be dress’d in an opinion
  14. Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit,
  15. As who should say, I am Sir Oracle,
  16. And when I ope my lips let no dog bark!”
  17. O my Antonio, I do know of these
  18. That therefore only are reputed wise
  19. For saying nothing; when I am very sure
  20. If they should speak, would almost damn those ears
  21. Which hearing them would call their brothers fools.
  22. I’ll tell thee more of this another time;
  23. But fish not with this melancholy bait
  24. For this fool gudgeon, this opinion.
  25. Come, good Lorenzo. Fare ye well a while,
  26. I’ll end my exhortation after dinner.

Lorenzo

111 - 113
  1. Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time.
  2. I must be one of these same dumb wise men,
  3. For Gratiano never lets me speak.

Gratiano

114 - 115
  1. Well, keep me company but two years more,
  2. Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.

Antonio

116
  1. Fare you well! I’ll grow a talker for this gear.

Gratiano

117 - 118
  1. Thanks, i’ faith, for silence is only commendable
  2. In a neat’s tongue dried and a maid not vendible.
  1. Exeunt Gratiano and Lorenzo.

Antonio

120
  1. It is thatany thing now!

Bassanio

121 - 125
  1. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any
  2. man in all Venice. His reasons are as two grains of wheat
  3. hid in two bushels of chaff; you shall seek all day ere you
  4. find them, and when you have them, they are not worth the
  5. search.

Antonio

126 - 128
  1. Well, tell me now what lady is the same
  2. To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
  3. That you today promis’d to tell me of?

Bassanio

129 - 141
  1. ’Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
  2. How much I have disabled mine estate,
  3. By something showing a more swelling port
  4. Than my faint means would grant continuance.
  5. Nor do I now make moan to be abridg’d
  6. From such a noble rate, but my chief care
  7. Is to come fairly off from the great debts
  8. Wherein my time something too prodigal
  9. Hath left me gag’d. To you, Antonio,
  10. I owe the most in money and in love,
  11. And from your love I have a warranty
  12. To unburden all my plots and purposes
  13. How to get clear of all the debts I owe.

Antonio

142 - 146
  1. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it,
  2. And if it stand, as you yourself still do,
  3. Within the eye of honor, be assur’d
  4. My purse, my person, my extremest means,
  5. Lie all unlock’d to your occasions.

Bassanio

147 - 159
  1. In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,
  2. I shot his fellow of the self-same flight
  3. The self-same way with more advised watch
  4. To find the other forth, and by adventuring both
  5. I oft found both. I urge this childhood proof,
  6. Because what follows is pure innocence.
  7. I owe you much, and like a willful youth,
  8. That which I owe is lost, but if you please
  9. To shoot another arrow that self way
  10. Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
  11. As I will watch the aim, or to find both
  12. Or bring your latter hazard back again,
  13. And thankfully rest debtor for the first.

Antonio

160 - 167
  1. You know me well, and herein spend but time
  2. To wind about my love with circumstance,
  3. And out of doubt you do me now more wrong
  4. In making question of my uttermost
  5. Than if you had made waste of all I have.
  6. Then do but say to me what I should do
  7. That in your knowledge may by me be done,
  8. And I am prest unto it; therefore speak.

Bassanio

168 - 183
  1. In Belmont is a lady richly left,
  2. And she is fair and, fairer than that word,
  3. Of wondrous virtues. Sometimes from her eyes
  4. I did receive fair speechless messages.
  5. Her name is Portia, nothing undervalu’d
  6. To Cato’s daughter, Brutus’ Portia.
  7. Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,
  8. For the four winds blow in from every coast
  9. Renowned suitors, and her sunny locks
  10. Hang on her temples like a golden fleece,
  11. Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchis’ strond,
  12. And many Jasons come in quest of her.
  13. O my Antonio, had I but the means
  14. To hold a rival place with one of them,
  15. I have a mind presages me such thrift
  16. That I should questionless be fortunate!

Antonio

184 - 192
  1. Thou know’st that all my fortunes are at sea,
  2. Neither have I money nor commodity
  3. To raise a present sum; therefore go forth,
  4. Try what my credit can in Venice do.
  5. That shall be rack’d, even to the uttermost,
  6. To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia.
  7. Go presently inquire, and so will I,
  8. Where money is, and I no question make
  9. To have it of my trust, or for my sake.
  1. Exeunt.
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