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The Merchant of Venice

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Act II, Scene 4

The same. A street.



  • Lorenzo. Nay, we will slink away in supper-time, 800
    Disguise us at my lodging and return,
    All in an hour.
  • Gratiano. We have not made good preparation.
  • Salarino. We have not spoke us yet of torchbearers.
  • Salanio. 'Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly order'd, 805
    And better in my mind not undertook.
  • 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? 810
  • Launcelot Gobbo. An it shall please you to break up
    this, it shall seem to signify.
  • Lorenzo. I know the hand: in faith, 'tis a fair hand;
    And whiter than the paper it writ on
    Is the fair hand that writ. 815
  • Launcelot Gobbo. Marry, sir, to bid my old master the
    Jew to sup to-night with my new master the Christian. 820
  • Lorenzo. Hold here, take this: tell gentle Jessica
    I will not fail her; speak it privately.
    Go, gentlemen,
    [Exit Launcelot]
    Will you prepare you for this masque tonight? 825
    I am provided of a torch-bearer.
  • Salanio. Ay, marry, I'll be gone about it straight.
  • Lorenzo. Meet me and Gratiano
    At Gratiano's lodging some hour hence. 830


  • Gratiano. Was not that letter from fair Jessica?
  • Lorenzo. I must needs tell thee all. She hath directed
    How I shall take her from her father's house, 835
    What gold and jewels she is furnish'd with,
    What page's suit she hath in readiness.
    If e'er the Jew her father come to heaven,
    It will be for his gentle daughter's sake:
    And never dare misfortune cross her foot, 840
    Unless she do it under this excuse,
    That she is issue to a faithless Jew.
    Come, go with me; peruse this as thou goest:
    Fair Jessica shall be my torch-bearer.