previous next


Venice. A street.

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. Enter Old GOBBO, with a basket.

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

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.

Master young gentleman, I pray you, (41)
which is the way to master Jew's?

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.

By God's sonties, 'twill be a hard way
to hit. Can you tell me whether one Launcelot, (49)
that dwells with him, dwell with him or no?

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

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.

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

Your worship's friend and Launcelot,

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

Of Launcelot, an't please your

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.

Marry, God forbid! the boy was the (70)
very staff of my age, my very prop.

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

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?

Do you not know me, father?

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

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.

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

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, (91)
your child that shall be.

I cannot think you are my son.

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.

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.

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.

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

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. Enter BASSANIO, with LEONARDO and other followers.

You may do so; but let it be so
hasted that supper be ready at the farthest by
five of the clock. See these letters delivered;
put the liveries to making, and desire Gratiano
to come anon to my lodging. [Exit a Servant.

To him, father.

God bless your worship!

Gramercy! wouldst thou aught with

Here's my son, sir, a poor boy,--

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

He hath a great infection, sir, as one
would say, to serve,--

Indeed, the short and the long is, I
serve the Jew, and have a desire, as my father
shall specify--

His master and he, saving your worship's (139)
reverence, are scarce cater-cousins--

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--

I have here a dish of doves that I
would bestow upon your worship, and my suit is--

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.

One speak for both. What would you?

Serve you, sir.

That is the very defect of the matter, sir.

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.

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

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.

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. [Exeunt Launcelot and Old Gobbo.

I pray thee, good Leonardo, think on this:

These things being bought and orderly bestow'd, (180)

Return in haste, for I do feast to-night

My best-esteem'd acquaintance: hie thee, go.

My best endeavours shall be done herein. Enter GRATIANO.

Where is your master?

Yonder, sir, he walks. [Exit.

Signior Bassanio!


I have a suit to you.

You have obtain'd it.

You must not deny me: I must go
with you to Belmont.

Why then you must. But hear thee, Gratiano;

Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice; (191)

Parts that become thee happily enough

And in such eyes as ours appear not faults;

But where thou art not known, why, there they show

Something too liberal. Pray thee, take pain

To allay with some cold drops of modesty

Thy skipping spirit, lest through thy wild behavior

I be misconstrued in the place I go to,

And lose my hopes.

Signior Bassanio, hear me: (199)

If I do not put on a sober habit,

Talk with respect and swear but now and then,

Wear prayer-books in my pocket, look demurely,

Nay more, while grace is saying, hood mine eyes

Thus with my hat, and sigh and say 'amen,'

Use all the observance of civility,

Like one well studied in a sad ostent

To please his grandam, never trust me more.

Well, we shall see your bearing.

Nay, but I bar to-night: you shall not gauge me

By what we do to-night.

No, that were pity: (210)

I would entreat you rather to put on

Your boldest suit of mirth, for we have friends

That purpose merriment. But fare you well:

I have some business.

And I must to Lorenzo and the rest:

But we will visit you at supper-time. [Exeunt.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (39 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: