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The Merchant of Venice: Act II, Scene 2

The Merchant of Venice
Act II, Scene 2

Venice. A street.

  1. Enter the Clown Launcelot Gobbo alone.

Launcelot

1 - 26
  1. Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from this Jew
  2. my master. The fiend is at mine elbow and tempts me, saying
  3. to me, Gobbo, Launcelot Gobbo, good Launcelot,” or good
  4. Gobbo,” or good Launcelot Gobbo, use your legs, take the
  5. start, run away.” My conscience says, No; take heed, honest
  6. Launcelot, take heed, honest Gobbo,” or as aforesaid,
  7. honest Launcelot Gobbo, do not run, scorn running with thy
  8. heels.” Well, the most courageous fiend bids me pack. Fia!”
  9. says the fiend; away!” says the fiend; for the heavens,
  10. rouse up a brave mind,” says the fiend, and run.” Well, my
  11. conscience, hanging about the neck of my heart, says very
  12. wisely to me, My honest friend Launcelot, being an honest
  13. man’s son”—or rather an honest woman’s son, for indeed my
  14. father did something smack, something grow to, he had a kind
  15. of tastewell, my conscience says, Launcelot, bouge not.”
  16. Bouge,” says the fiend. Bouge not,” says my conscience.
  17. Conscience,” say I, you counsel well.” Fiend,” say I,
  18. you counsel well.” To be rul’d by my conscience, I should
  19. stay with the Jew my master, who (God bless the mark) is a
  20. kind of devil; and to run away from the Jew, I should be
  21. rul’d by the fiend, who, saving your reverence, is the devil
  22. himself. Certainly the Jew is the very devil incarnation,
  23. and in my conscience, my conscience is but a kind of hard
  24. conscience, to offer to counsel me to stay with the Jew. The
  25. fiend gives the more friendly counsel: I will run, fiend; my
  26. heels are at your commandment, I will run.
  1. Enter Old Gobbo with a basket.

Old Gobbo

27 - 28
  1. Master young man, you, I pray you, which is the way to
  2. Master Jew’s?

Launcelot

29 - 31
  1. Aside.
  2. O heavens, this is my true-begotten father, who being more
  3. than sand-blind, high gravel-blind, knows me not. I will try
  4. confusions with him.

Old Gobbo

32 - 33
  1. Master young gentleman, I pray you, which is the way to
  2. Master Jew’s?

Launcelot

34 - 37
  1. Turn up on your right hand at the next turning, but at the
  2. next turning of all, on your left; marry, at the very next
  3. turning, turn of no hand, but turn down indirectly to the
  4. Jew’s house.

Old Gobbo

38 - 40
  1. Be God’s sonties, ’twill be a hard way to hit. Can you tell
  2. me whether one Launcelot, that dwells with him, dwell with
  3. him or no?

Launcelot

41 - 43
  1. Talk you of young Master Launcelot?
  2. Aside.
  3. Mark me now, now will I raise the waters.—Talk you of young
  4. Master Launcelot?

Old Gobbo

44 - 46
  1. No master, sir, but a poor man’s son. His father, though I
  2. say’t, is an honest exceeding poor man and, God be thank’d,
  3. well to live.

Launcelot

47 - 48
  1. Well, let his father be what ’a will, we talk of young
  2. Master Launcelot.

Old Gobbo

49
  1. Your worship’s friend and Launcelot, sir.

Launcelot

50 - 51
  1. But I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech you, talk you
  2. of young Master Launcelot.

Old Gobbo

52
  1. Of Launcelot, an’t please your mastership.

Launcelot

53 - 57
  1. Ergo, Master Launcelot. Talk not of Master Launcelot,
  2. father, for the young gentleman, according to Fates and
  3. Destinies, and such odd sayings, the Sisters Three, and such
  4. branches of learning, is indeed deceas’d, or as you would
  5. say in plain terms, gone to heaven.

Old Gobbo

58 - 59
  1. Marry, God forbid, the boy was the very staff of my age, my
  2. very prop.

Launcelot

60 - 61
  1. Aside.
  2. Do I look like a cudgel or a hovel-post, a staff, or a
  3. prop?—Do you know me, father?

Old Gobbo

62 - 63
  1. Alack the day, I know you not, young gentleman, but I pray
  2. you tell me, is my boy, God rest his soul, alive or dead?

Launcelot

64
  1. Do you not know me, father?

Old Gobbo

65
  1. Alack, sir, I am sand-blind, I know you not.

Launcelot

66 - 70
  1. Nay, indeed if you had your eyes you might fail of the
  2. knowing me; it is a wise father that knows his own child.
  3. Well, old man, I will tell you news of your son. Give me
  4. your blessing; truth will come to light; murder cannot be
  5. hid long; a man’s son may, but in the end truth will out.

Old Gobbo

71 - 72
  1. Pray you, sir, stand up. I am sure you are not Launcelot, my
  2. boy.

Launcelot

73 - 75
  1. Pray you let’s have no more fooling about it, but give me
  2. your blessing. I am Launcelot, your boy that was, your son
  3. that is, your child that shall be.

Old Gobbo

76
  1. I cannot think you are my son.

Launcelot

77 - 78
  1. I know not what I shall think of that; but I am Launcelot,
  2. the Jew’s man, and I am sure Margery your wife is my mother.

Old Gobbo

79 - 83
  1. Her name is Margery indeed. I’ll be sworn, if thou be
  2. Launcelot, thou art mine own flesh and blood. Lord
  3. worshipp’d might he be, what a beard hast thou got! Thou
  4. hast got more hair on thy chin than Dobbin my fill-horse has
  5. on his tail.

Launcelot

84 - 86
  1. It should seem then that Dobbin’s tail grows backward. I am
  2. sure he had more hair of his tail than I have of my face
  3. when I last saw him.

Old Gobbo

87 - 88
  1. Lord, how art thou chang’d! How dost thou and thy master
  2. agree? I have brought him a present. How ’gree you now?

Launcelot

89 - 98
  1. Well, well; but for mine own part, as I have set up my rest
  2. to run away, so I will not rest till I have run some ground.
  3. My master’s a very Jew. Give him a present! Give him a
  4. halter. I am famish’d in his service; you may tell every
  5. finger I have with my ribs. Father, I am glad you are come;
  6. give me your present to one Master Bassanio, who indeed
  7. gives rare new liveries. If I serve not him, I will run as
  8. far as God has any ground. O rare fortune, here comes the
  9. man. To him, father, for I am a Jew if I serve the Jew any
  10. longer.
  1. Enter Bassanio with a follower or two, one of them Leonardo.

Bassanio

99 - 102
  1. You may do so, but let it be so hasted that supper be ready
  2. at the farthest by five of the clock. See these letters
  3. deliver’d, put the liveries to making, and desire Gratiano
  4. to come anon to my lodging.
  1. Exit one of his men.

Launcelot

103
  1. To him, father.

Old Gobbo

104
  1. God bless your worship!

Bassanio

105
  1. Gramercy, wouldst thou aught with me?

Old Gobbo

106
  1. Here’s my son, sir, a poor boy

Launcelot

107 - 108
  1. Not a poor boy, sir, but the rich Jew’s man, that would,
  2. sir, as my father shall specify

Old Gobbo

109
  1. He hath a great infection, sir, as one would say, to serve

Launcelot

110 - 111
  1. Indeed the short and the long is, I serve the Jew, and have
  2. a desire, as my father shall specify

Old Gobbo

112 - 113
  1. His master and he (saving your worship’s reverence) are
  2. scarce cater-cousins

Launcelot

114 - 116
  1. To be brief, the very truth is that the Jew, having done me
  2. wrong, doth cause me, as my father, being I hope an old man,
  3. shall frutify unto you

Old Gobbo

117 - 118
  1. I have here a dish of doves that I would bestow upon your
  2. worship, and my suit is

Launcelot

119 - 121
  1. In very brief, the suit is impertinent to myself, as your
  2. worship shall know by this honest old man, and though I say
  3. it, though old man, yet poor man, my father.

Bassanio

122
  1. One speak for both. What would you?

Launcelot

123
  1. Serve you, sir.

Old Gobbo

124
  1. That is the very defect of the matter, sir.

Bassanio

125 - 129
  1. I know thee well, thou hast obtain’d thy suit.
  2. Shylock thy master spoke with me this day,
  3. And hath preferr’d thee, if it be preferment
  4. To leave a rich Jew’s service, to become
  5. The follower of so poor a gentleman.

Launcelot

130 - 132
  1. The old proverb is very well parted between my master
  2. Shylock and you, sir: you have the grace of God, sir, and he
  3. hath enough.

Bassanio

133 - 136
  1. Thou speak’st it well. Go, father, with thy son.
  2. Take leave of thy old master, and inquire
  3. My lodging out.—Give him a livery
  4. More guarded than his fellows’; see it done.

Launcelot

137 - 147
  1. Father, in. I cannot get a service, no, I have ne’er a
  2. tongue in my head, well!
  3. Looking on his palm.
  4. If any man in Italy have a fairer table, which doth offer to
  5. swear upon a book, I shall have good fortune. Go to, here’s
  6. a simple line of life! Here’s a small trifle of wives! Alas,
  7. fifteen wives is nothing! Eleven widows and nine maids is a
  8. simple coming-in for one man. And then to scape drowning
  9. thrice, and to be in peril of my life with the edge of a
  10. feather-bed, here are simple scapes. Well, if Fortune be a
  11. woman, she’s a good wench for this gear. Father, come, I’ll
  12. take my leave of the Jew in the twinkling.
  1. Exit Clown with Old Gobbo.

Bassanio

148 - 151
  1. I pray thee, good Leonardo, think on this:
  2. These things being bought and orderly bestowed,
  3. Return in haste, for I do feast tonight
  4. My best esteem’d acquaintance. Hie thee, go.

Leonardo

152
  1. My best endeavors shall be done herein.
  1. Enter Gratiano.

Gratiano

153
  1. Where’s your master?

Leonardo

154
  1.                      Yonder, sir, he walks.
  1. Exit Leonardo.

Gratiano

155
  1. Signior Bassanio!

Bassanio

156
  1. Gratiano!

Gratiano

157
  1. I have suit to you.

Bassanio

158
  1.                     You have obtain’d it.

Gratiano

159
  1. You must not deny me; I must go with you to Belmont.

Bassanio

160 - 169
  1. Why then you must. But hear thee, Gratiano:
  2. Thou art too wild, too rude, and bold of voice
  3. Parts that become thee happily enough,
  4. And in such eyes as ours appear not faults,
  5. But where thou art not known, why, there they show
  6. Something too liberal. Pray thee take pain
  7. To allay with some cold drops of modesty
  8. Thy skipping spirit, lest through thy wild behavior
  9. I be misconst’red in the place I go to,
  10. And lose my hopes.

Gratiano

170 - 178
  1.                    Signior Bassanio, hear me:
  2. If I do not put on a sober habit,
  3. Talk with respect, and swear but now and then,
  4. Wear prayer-books in my pocket, look demurely,
  5. Nay more, while grace is saying hood mine eyes
  6. Thus with my hat, and sigh and say amen,
  7. Use all the observance of civility,
  8. Like one well studied in a sad ostent
  9. To please his grandam, never trust me more.

Bassanio

179
  1. Well, we shall see your bearing.

Gratiano

180 - 181
  1. Nay, but I bar tonight, you shall not gauge me
  2. By what we do tonight.

Bassanio

182 - 186
  1.                        No, that were pity.
  2. I would entreat you rather to put on
  3. Your boldest suit of mirth, for we have friends
  4. That purpose merriment. But fare you well,
  5. I have some business.

Gratiano

187 - 188
  1. And I must to Lorenzo and the rest,
  2. But we will visit you at supper-time.
  1. Exeunt.
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