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The Merchant of Venice

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Act II, Scene 6

The same.


[Enter GRATIANO and SALARINO, masqued]

  • Gratiano. This is the pent-house under which Lorenzo
    Desired us to make stand. 910
  • Gratiano. And it is marvel he out-dwells his hour,
    For lovers ever run before the clock.
  • Salarino. O, ten times faster Venus' pigeons fly
    To seal love's bonds new-made, than they are wont 915
    To keep obliged faith unforfeited!
  • Gratiano. That ever holds: who riseth from a feast
    With that keen appetite that he sits down?
    Where is the horse that doth untread again
    His tedious measures with the unbated fire 920
    That he did pace them first? All things that are,
    Are with more spirit chased than enjoy'd.
    How like a younker or a prodigal
    The scarfed bark puts from her native bay,
    Hugg'd and embraced by the strumpet wind! 925
    How like the prodigal doth she return,
    With over-weather'd ribs and ragged sails,
    Lean, rent and beggar'd by the strumpet wind!
  • Salarino. Here comes Lorenzo: more of this hereafter.


  • Lorenzo. Sweet friends, your patience for my long abode;
    Not I, but my affairs, have made you wait:
    When you shall please to play the thieves for wives,
    I'll watch as long for you then. Approach;
    Here dwells my father Jew. Ho! who's within? 935

[Enter JESSICA, above, in boy's clothes]

  • Jessica. Who are you? Tell me, for more certainty,
    Albeit I'll swear that I do know your tongue.
  • Jessica. Lorenzo, certain, and my love indeed, 940
    For who love I so much? And now who knows
    But you, Lorenzo, whether I am yours?
  • Lorenzo. Heaven and thy thoughts are witness that thou art.
  • Jessica. Here, catch this casket; it is worth the pains.
    I am glad 'tis night, you do not look on me, 945
    For I am much ashamed of my exchange:
    But love is blind and lovers cannot see
    The pretty follies that themselves commit;
    For if they could, Cupid himself would blush
    To see me thus transformed to a boy. 950
  • Lorenzo. Descend, for you must be my torchbearer.
  • Jessica. What, must I hold a candle to my shames?
    They in themselves, good-sooth, are too too light.
    Why, 'tis an office of discovery, love;
    And I should be obscured. 955
  • Lorenzo. So are you, sweet,
    Even in the lovely garnish of a boy.
    But come at once;
    For the close night doth play the runaway,
    And we are stay'd for at Bassanio's feast. 960
  • Jessica. I will make fast the doors, and gild myself
    With some more ducats, and be with you straight.

[Exit above]

  • Gratiano. Now, by my hood, a Gentile and no Jew.
  • Lorenzo. Beshrew me but I love her heartily; 965
    For she is wise, if I can judge of her,
    And fair she is, if that mine eyes be true,
    And true she is, as she hath proved herself,
    And therefore, like herself, wise, fair and true,
    Shall she be placed in my constant soul. 970
    [Enter JESSICA, below]
    What, art thou come? On, gentlemen; away!
    Our masquing mates by this time for us stay.

[Exit with Jessica and Salarino]


  • Antonio. Fie, fie, Gratiano! where are all the rest?
    'Tis nine o'clock: our friends all stay for you.
    No masque to-night: the wind is come about; 980
    Bassanio presently will go aboard:
    I have sent twenty out to seek for you.
  • Gratiano. I am glad on't: I desire no more delight
    Than to be under sail and gone to-night.