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Speeches (Lines) for Launcelot Gobbo
in "Merchant of Venice"

Total: 44

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Speech text



(stage directions). [Enter LAUNCELOT]

Launcelot Gobbo. Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from
this Jew my master. The fiend is at mine elbow and
tempts me saying to me 'Gobbo, Launcelot Gobbo, good
Launcelot,' or 'good Gobbo,' or good Launcelot
Gobbo, use your legs, take the start, run away. My
conscience says 'No; take heed,' honest Launcelot;
take heed, honest Gobbo, or, as aforesaid, 'honest
Launcelot Gobbo; do not run; scorn running with thy
heels.' Well, the most courageous fiend bids me
pack: 'Via!' says the fiend; 'away!' says the
fiend; 'for the heavens, rouse up a brave mind,'
says the fiend, 'and run.' Well, my conscience,
hanging about the neck of my heart, says very wisely
to me 'My honest friend Launcelot, being an honest
man's son,' or rather an honest woman's son; for,
indeed, my father did something smack, something
grow to, he had a kind of taste; well, my conscience
says 'Launcelot, budge not.' 'Budge,' says the
fiend. 'Budge not,' says my conscience.
'Conscience,' say I, 'you counsel well;' ' Fiend,'
say I, 'you counsel well:' to be ruled by my
conscience, I should stay with the Jew my master,
who, God bless the mark, is a kind of devil; and, to
run away from the Jew, I should be ruled by the
fiend, who, saving your reverence, is the devil
himself. Certainly the Jew is the very devil
incarnal; and, in my conscience, my conscience is
but a kind of hard conscience, to offer to counsel
me to stay with the Jew. The fiend gives the more
friendly counsel: I will run, fiend; my heels are
at your command; I will run.



Old Gobbo. Master young man, you, I pray you, which is the way
to master Jew's?

Launcelot Gobbo. [Aside] O heavens, this is my true-begotten father!
who, being more than sand-blind, high-gravel blind,
knows me not: I will try confusions with him.



Old Gobbo. Master young gentleman, I pray you, which is the way
to master Jew's?

Launcelot Gobbo. Turn up on your right hand at the next turning, but,
at the next turning of all, on your left; marry, at
the very next turning, turn of no hand, but turn
down indirectly to the Jew's house.



Old Gobbo. By God's sonties, 'twill be a hard way to hit. Can
you tell me whether one Launcelot,
that dwells with him, dwell with him or no?

Launcelot Gobbo. Talk you of young Master Launcelot?
Mark me now; now will I raise the waters. Talk you
of young Master Launcelot?



Old Gobbo. No master, sir, but a poor man's son: his father,
though I say it, is an honest exceeding poor man
and, God be thanked, well to live.

Launcelot Gobbo. Well, let his father be what a' will, we talk of
young Master Launcelot.



Old Gobbo. Your worship's friend and Launcelot, sir.

Launcelot Gobbo. But I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech you,
talk you of young Master Launcelot?



Old Gobbo. Of Launcelot, an't please your mastership.

Launcelot Gobbo. Ergo, Master Launcelot. Talk not of Master
Launcelot, father; for the young gentleman,
according to Fates and Destinies and such odd
sayings, the Sisters Three and such branches of
learning, is indeed deceased, or, as you would say
in plain terms, gone to heaven.



Old Gobbo. Marry, God forbid! the boy was the very staff of my
age, my very prop.

Launcelot Gobbo. Do I look like a cudgel or a hovel-post, a staff or
a prop? Do you know me, father?



Old Gobbo. Alack the day, I know you not, young gentleman:
but, I pray you, tell me, is my boy, God rest his
soul, alive or dead?

Launcelot Gobbo. Do you not know me, father?



Old Gobbo. Alack, sir, I am sand-blind; I know you not.

Launcelot Gobbo. Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of
the knowing me: it is a wise father that knows his
own child. Well, old man, I will tell you news of
your son: give me your blessing: truth will come
to light; murder cannot be hid long; a man's son
may, but at the length truth will out.



Old Gobbo. Pray you, sir, stand up: I am sure you are not
Launcelot, my boy.

Launcelot Gobbo. Pray you, let's have no more fooling about it, but
give me your blessing: I am Launcelot, your boy
that was, your son that is, your child that shall



Old Gobbo. I cannot think you are my son.

Launcelot Gobbo. I know not what I shall think of that: but I am
Launcelot, the Jew's man, and I am sure Margery your
wife is my mother.



Old Gobbo. Her name is Margery, indeed: I'll be sworn, if thou
be Launcelot, thou art mine own flesh and blood.
Lord worshipped might he be! what a beard hast thou
got! thou hast got more hair on thy chin than
Dobbin my fill-horse has on his tail.

Launcelot Gobbo. It should seem, then, that Dobbin's tail grows
backward: I am sure he had more hair of his tail
than I have of my face when I last saw him.



Old Gobbo. Lord, how art thou changed! How dost thou and thy
master agree? I have brought him a present. How
'gree you now?

Launcelot Gobbo. Well, well: but, for mine own part, as I have set
up my rest to run away, so I will not rest till I
have run some ground. My master's a very Jew: give
him a present! give him a halter: I am famished in
his service; you may tell every finger I have with
my ribs. Father, I am glad you are come: give me
your present to one Master Bassanio, who, indeed,
gives rare new liveries: if I serve not him, I
will run as far as God has any ground. O rare
fortune! here comes the man: to him, father; for I
am a Jew, if I serve the Jew any longer.



(stage directions). [Exit a Servant]

Launcelot Gobbo. To him, father.



Old Gobbo. Here's my son, sir, a poor boy,—

Launcelot Gobbo. Not a poor boy, sir, but the rich Jew's man; that
would, sir, as my father shall specify—



Old Gobbo. He hath a great infection, sir, as one would say, to serve—

Launcelot Gobbo. Indeed, the short and the long is, I serve the Jew,
and have a desire, as my father shall specify—



Old Gobbo. His master and he, saving your worship's reverence,
are scarce cater-cousins—

Launcelot Gobbo. To be brief, the very truth is that the Jew, having
done me wrong, doth cause me, as my father, being, I
hope, an old man, shall frutify unto you—



Old Gobbo. I have here a dish of doves that I would bestow upon
your worship, and my suit is—

Launcelot Gobbo. In very brief, the suit is impertinent to myself, as
your worship shall know by this honest old man; and,
though I say it, though old man, yet poor man, my father.



Bassanio. One speak for both. What would you?

Launcelot Gobbo. Serve you, sir.



Bassanio. I know thee well; thou hast obtain'd thy suit:
Shylock thy master spoke with me this day,
And hath preferr'd thee, if it be preferment
To leave a rich Jew's service, to become
The follower of so poor a gentleman.

Launcelot Gobbo. The old proverb is very well parted between my
master Shylock and you, sir: you have the grace of
God, sir, and he hath enough.



Bassanio. Thou speak'st it well. Go, father, with thy son.
Take leave of thy old master and inquire
My lodging out. Give him a livery
More guarded than his fellows': see it done.

Launcelot Gobbo. Father, in. I cannot get a service, no; I have
ne'er a tongue in my head. Well, if any man in
Italy have a fairer table which doth offer to swear
upon a book, I shall have good fortune. Go to,
here's a simple line of life: here's a small trifle
of wives: alas, fifteen wives is nothing! eleven
widows and nine maids is a simple coming-in for one
man: and then to 'scape drowning thrice, and to be
in peril of my life with the edge of a feather-bed;
here are simple scapes. Well, if Fortune be a
woman, she's a good wench for this gear. Father,
come; I'll take my leave of the Jew in the twinkling of an eye.



Jessica. I am sorry thou wilt leave my father so:
Our house is hell, and thou, a merry devil,
Didst rob it of some taste of tediousness.
But fare thee well, there is a ducat for thee:
And, Launcelot, soon at supper shalt thou see
Lorenzo, who is thy new master's guest:
Give him this letter; do it secretly;
And so farewell: I would not have my father
See me in talk with thee.

Launcelot Gobbo. Adieu! tears exhibit my tongue. Most beautiful
pagan, most sweet Jew! if a Christian did not play
the knave and get thee, I am much deceived. But,
adieu: these foolish drops do something drown my
manly spirit: adieu.



Lorenzo. 'Tis now but four o'clock: we have two hours
To furnish us.
[Enter LAUNCELOT, with a letter]
Friend Launcelot, what's the news?

Launcelot Gobbo. An it shall please you to break up
this, it shall seem to signify.



Gratiano. Love-news, in faith.

Launcelot Gobbo. By your leave, sir.



Lorenzo. Whither goest thou?

Launcelot Gobbo. Marry, sir, to bid my old master the
Jew to sup to-night with my new master the Christian.



Shylock. Well, thou shalt see, thy eyes shall be thy judge,
The difference of old Shylock and Bassanio:—
What, Jessica!—thou shalt not gormandise,
As thou hast done with me:—What, Jessica!—
And sleep and snore, and rend apparel out;—
Why, Jessica, I say!

Launcelot Gobbo. Why, Jessica!



Shylock. Who bids thee call? I do not bid thee call.

Launcelot Gobbo. Your worship was wont to tell me that
I could do nothing without bidding.



Shylock. I am bid forth to supper, Jessica:
There are my keys. But wherefore should I go?
I am not bid for love; they flatter me:
But yet I'll go in hate, to feed upon
The prodigal Christian. Jessica, my girl,
Look to my house. I am right loath to go:
There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest,
For I did dream of money-bags to-night.

Launcelot Gobbo. I beseech you, sir, go: my young master doth expect
your reproach.



Shylock. So do I his.

Launcelot Gobbo. An they have conspired together, I will not say you
shall see a masque; but if you do, then it was not
for nothing that my nose fell a-bleeding on
Black-Monday last at six o'clock i' the morning,
falling out that year on Ash-Wednesday was four
year, in the afternoon.



Shylock. What, are there masques? Hear you me, Jessica:
Lock up my doors; and when you hear the drum
And the vile squealing of the wry-neck'd fife,
Clamber not you up to the casements then,
Nor thrust your head into the public street
To gaze on Christian fools with varnish'd faces,
But stop my house's ears, I mean my casements:
Let not the sound of shallow foppery enter
My sober house. By Jacob's staff, I swear,
I have no mind of feasting forth to-night:
But I will go. Go you before me, sirrah;
Say I will come.

Launcelot Gobbo. I will go before, sir. Mistress, look out at
window, for all this, There will come a Christian
boy, will be worth a Jewess' eye.



(stage directions). [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
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
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
fall into Charybdis, your mother: well, you are
gone both ways.



Jessica. I shall be saved by my husband; he hath made me a

Launcelot Gobbo. Truly, the more to blame he: we were Christians
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.



Lorenzo. I shall answer that better to the commonwealth than
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.



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.

Launcelot Gobbo. That is done, sir; they have all stomachs.



Lorenzo. Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are you! then bid
them prepare dinner.

Launcelot Gobbo. That is done too, sir; only 'cover' is the word.



Lorenzo. Will you cover then, sir?

Launcelot Gobbo. Not so, sir, neither; I know my duty.



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.

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.



(stage directions). [Enter LAUNCELOT]

Launcelot Gobbo. Sola, sola! wo ha, ho! sola, sola!



Lorenzo. Who calls?

Launcelot Gobbo. Sola! did you see Master Lorenzo?
Master Lorenzo, sola, sola!



Lorenzo. Leave hollaing, man: here.

Launcelot Gobbo. Sola! where? where?



Lorenzo. Here.

Launcelot Gobbo. Tell him there's a post come from my master, with
his horn full of good news: my master will be here
ere morning.

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