The Merchant of Venice

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Act III, Scene 5

The same. A garden.

       
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[Enter LAUNCELOT and JESSICA]

  • Launcelot Gobbo. Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the father
    are to be laid upon the children: therefore, I
    promise ye, I fear you. I was always plain with
    you, and so now I speak my agitation of the matter:
    therefore be of good cheer, for truly I think you 1845
    are damned. There is but one hope in it that can do
    you any good; and that is but a kind of bastard
    hope neither.
  • Jessica. And what hope is that, I pray thee?
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you 1850
    not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.
  • Jessica. That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed: so the
    sins of my mother should be visited upon me.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Truly then I fear you are damned both by father and
    mother: thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I 1855
    fall into Charybdis, your mother: well, you are
    gone both ways.
  • Jessica. I shall be saved by my husband; he hath made me a
    Christian.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Truly, the more to blame he: we were Christians 1860
    enow before; e'en as many as could well live, one by
    another. This making Christians will raise the
    price of hogs: if we grow all to be pork-eaters, we
    shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals for money.

[Enter LORENZO]

  • Jessica. I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say: here he comes.
  • Lorenzo. I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if
    you thus get my wife into corners.
  • Jessica. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo: Launcelot and I
    are out. He tells me flatly, there is no mercy for 1870
    me in heaven, because I am a Jew's daughter: and he
    says, you are no good member of the commonwealth,
    for in converting Jews to Christians, you raise the
    price of pork.
  • Lorenzo. I shall answer that better to the commonwealth than 1875
    you can the getting up of the negro's belly: the
    Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.
  • Launcelot Gobbo. It is much that the Moor should be more than reason:
    but if she be less than an honest woman, she is
    indeed more than I took her for. 1880
  • Lorenzo. How every fool can play upon the word! I think the
    best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence,
    and discourse grow commendable in none only but
    parrots. Go in, sirrah; bid them prepare for dinner.
  • Lorenzo. Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are you! then bid
    them prepare dinner.
  • Lorenzo. Will you cover then, sir?
  • Lorenzo. Yet more quarrelling with occasion! Wilt thou show
    the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant? I pray
    tree, understand a plain man in his plain meaning:
    go to thy fellows; bid them cover the table, serve
    in the meat, and we will come in to dinner. 1895
  • Launcelot Gobbo. For the table, sir, it shall be served in; for the
    meat, sir, it shall be covered; for your coming in
    to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humours and
    conceits shall govern.

[Exit]

  • Lorenzo. O dear discretion, how his words are suited!
    The fool hath planted in his memory
    An army of good words; and I do know
    A many fools, that stand in better place,
    Garnish'd like him, that for a tricksy word 1905
    Defy the matter. How cheerest thou, Jessica?
    And now, good sweet, say thy opinion,
    How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio's wife?
  • Jessica. Past all expressing. It is very meet
    The Lord Bassanio live an upright life; 1910
    For, having such a blessing in his lady,
    He finds the joys of heaven here on earth;
    And if on earth he do not mean it, then
    In reason he should never come to heaven
    Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match 1915
    And on the wager lay two earthly women,
    And Portia one, there must be something else
    Pawn'd with the other, for the poor rude world
    Hath not her fellow.
  • Lorenzo. Even such a husband 1920
    Hast thou of me as she is for a wife.
  • Jessica. Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.
  • Lorenzo. I will anon: first, let us go to dinner.
  • Jessica. Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach.
  • Lorenzo. No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk; 1925
    I shall digest it.
  • Jessica. Well, I'll set you forth.

[Exeunt]

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