The Merchant of Venice

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Antonio, Salerio, and Solanio
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count
sooth (n.) 1 truth See Topics: Swearing


In sooth I know not why I am so sad.

It wearies me, you say it wearies you;

But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,

What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
stuff (n.) 1 substance, composition, quality, essence

I am to learn;

And such a want-wit sadness makes of me
want-wit (adj.) senseless, stupid, ridiculous

That I have much ado to know myself.
ado (n.) fuss, business, to-do


Your mind is tossing on the ocean,

There where your argosies with portly sail,
argosy (n.) large merchant ship
portly (adj.) stately, majestic, dignified

Like signors and rich burghers on the flood,
burgher (n.) citizen, inhabitant, denizen
flood (n.) 1 sea, deep, waves, rushing water

Or as it were the pageants of the sea,
pageant (n.) show, scene, spectacle, tableau

Do overpeer the petty traffickers
overpeer (v.) 1 look down on, look out over, overlook
trafficker (n.) trading ship, merchant vessel

That curtsy to them, do them reverence,
curtsy, curtsey (v.) bow low, do reverence, pay respect
reverence, do pay homage, worship, show respect [to]

As they fly by them with their woven wings.


Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,
venture (n.) 3 cargo, consignment, goods

The better part of my affections would
affection (n.) 2 emotion, feeling

Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

Plucking the grass to know where sits the wind,

Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads,
road (n.) 1 harbour, anchorage, roadstead

And every object that might make me fear

Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt

Would make me sad.
wind (n.) 1 breath


                         My wind cooling my broth

Would blow me to an ague when I thought
ague (n.) fever, sickness, shaking [as caused by a fever]

What harm a wind too great might do at sea.

I should not see the sandy hour-glass run

But I should think of shallows and of flats,
flat (n.) 2 shoal, sandbank

And see my wealthy Andrew docked in sand,

Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs
vail (v.) 1 lower, bow down, cast down [as in submission]

To kiss her burial. Should I go to church
burial (n.) 2 grave, tomb, burial chamber

And see the holy edifice of stone

And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks,
bethink (v.), past form bethought 1 call to mind, think about, consider, reflect See Topics: Frequency count
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Which touching but my gentle vessel's side
gentle (adj.) 4 peaceful, calm, free from violence

Would scatter all her spices on the stream,

Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks,
enrobe (v.) dress in a robe, put a gown on

And in a word, but even now worth this,

And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought

To think on this, and shall I lack the thought

That such a thing bechanced would make me sad?
bechance (v.) happen to, befall
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count

But tell not me; I know Antonio

Is sad to think upon his merchandise.


Believe me, no. I thank my fortune for it

My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,
bottom (n.) 6 [nautical: keel, hull] ship, vessel
venture (n.) 3 cargo, consignment, goods

Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate
estate (n.) 1 state, situation, circumstances

Upon the fortune of this present year.

Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad.


Why then you are in love.


                         Fie, fie!


Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sad

Because you are not merry; and 'twere as easy
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count

For you to laugh and leap, and say you are merry

Because you are not sad. Now by two-headed Janus,

Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time:
fellow (n.) 1 companion, associate
frame (v.) 1 fashion, make, form, create

Some that will evermore peep through their eyes
peep (v.) 2 peer through half-closed eyes

And laugh like parrots at a bagpiper,

And other of such vinegar aspect
aspect (n.) 1 [of a human face] look, appearance, expression
vinegar (adj.) sour, bitter, crabby

That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile

Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.

Enter Bassanio, Lorenzo, and Gratiano

Here comes Bassanio your most noble kinsman,

Gratiano, and Lorenzo. Fare ye well;

We leave you now with better company.


I would have stayed till I had made you merry,

If worthier friends had not prevented me.
prevent (v.) 1 forestall, anticipate


Your worth is very dear in my regard.
dear (adj.) 3 of great worth, valuable, precious

I take it your own business calls on you,

And you embrace th' occasion to depart.


Good morrow, my good lords.
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count


Good signors both, when shall we laugh? Say, when?

You grow exceeding strange. Must it be so?
exceeding (adv.) exceedingly, extremely, very
strange (adj.) 7 aloof, distant, reserved


We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.
attend (v.) 2 serve, follow, wait [on/upon]

Exeunt Salerio and Solanio


My Lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio,

We two will leave you; but at dinner-time

I pray you have in mind where we must meet.


I will not fail you.


You look not well, Signor Antonio.

You have too much respect upon the world;
respect (n.) 2 attention, heed, deliberation

They lose it that do buy it with much care.

Believe me, you are marvellously changed.


I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano,

A stage where every man must play a part,

And mine a sad one.
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count


                         Let me play the fool;

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come,

And let my liver rather heat with wine
liver (n.) 1 part of the body thought to be at the seat of the passions [especially sexual desire]

Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.

Why should a man whose blood is warm within

Sit, like his grandsire cut in alabaster?
alablaster (n.) alabaster [fine white material derived from limestone]
grandsire (n.) 1 grandfather See Topics: Family

Sleep when he wakes? And creep into the jaundice

By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio,
peevish (adj.) 3 fretful, irritable, ill-tempered

I love thee, and 'tis my love that speaks:

There are a sort of men whose visages
sort (n.) 4 kind, variety, type
visage (n.) 1 face, countenance See Topics: Frequency count

Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,
cream (v.) form a frothy layer on the surface
mantle (v.) 2 cover with a coating, form a scum

And do a wilful stillness entertain
entertain (v.) 12 maintain, keep up, practise

With purpose to be dressed in an opinion
opinion (n.) 1 public opinion, popular judgement
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit,
conceit (n.) 3 understanding, intelligence, apprehension

As who should say, ‘ I am Sir Oracle,

And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark.’
ope (v.) open See Topics: Frequency count

O my Antonio, I do know of these

That therefore only are reputed wise

For saying nothing, when, I am very sure

If they should speak, would almost damn those ears,

Which hearing them would call their brothers fools.

I'll tell thee more of this another time.

But fish not with this melancholy bait

For this fool gudgeon, this opinion.
fool (adj.) foolish, silly
gudgeon (n.) type of fish used as a bait; credulity, gullibility
opinion (n.) 1 public opinion, popular judgement

Come, good Lorenzo. Fare ye well awhile;

I'll end my exhortation after dinner.


Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time.

I must be one of these same dumb wise men,

For Gratiano never lets me speak.


Well, keep me company but two years more,
mo, moe (adj.) more [in number]

Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.


Fare you well; I'll grow a talker for this gear.
gear (n.) 1 business, affair, matter


Thanks, i'faith, for silence is only commendable

In a neat's tongue dried and a maid not vendible.
neat (n.) ox, cow, cattle
vendible (adj.) 2 marriageable

Exeunt Gratiano and Lorenzo


Is that anything now?


Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing,

more than any man in all Venice. His reasons are as two

grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff: you shall

seek all day ere you find them, and when you have them

they are not worth the search.


Well, tell me now what lady is the same

To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,

That you today promised to tell me of?


'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,

How much I have disabled mine estate
estate (n.) 1 state, situation, circumstances

By something showing a more swelling port
port (n.) 4 style of living, way of life
something (adv.) 1 somewhat, rather See Topics: Frequency count
swelling (adj.) 4 magnificent, grand, resplendant

Than my faint means would grant continuance.
continuance (n.) 2 maintaining, keeping up, carrying on
faint (adj.) 4 inadequate, lacking, in short supply

Nor do I now make moan to be abridged
abridge (v.) 2 deprive, debar, dispossess

From such a noble rate; but my chief care
rate (n.) 3 mode of life, style of living

Is to come fairly off from the great debts

Wherein my time, something too prodigal,
prodigal (adj.) 1 wastefully lavish, foolishly extravagant
something (adv.) 1 somewhat, rather See Topics: Frequency count
time (n.) 4 age, years

Hath left me gaged. To you, Antonio,
gage (v.) 2 pledge, bind, commit

I owe the most in money and in love,

And from your love I have a warranty
warranty (n.) authorization, permission, sanction

To unburden all my plots and purposes
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count
unburden, unburthen (v.) reveal, disclose; or: unload

How to get clear of all the debts I owe.


I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it,

And if it stand as you yourself still do,
stand (v.) 1 be, appear

Within the eye of honour, be assured
eye (n.) 1 sight, view, presence

My purse, my person, my extremest means

Lie all unlocked to your occasions.
occasion (n.) 3 need, want, requirement


In my schooldays, when I had lost one shaft,
shaft (n.) [long and slender] arrow

I shot his fellow of the self-same flight
flight (n.) 3 [of arrows] power of flight, size and weight

The self-same way, with more advised watch,
advised, avised (adj.) 3 judicious, wise, prudent

To find the other forth; and by adventuring both
adventure (v.) venture, dare, chance, risk

I oft found both. I urge this childhood proof
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count
urge (v.) 4 bring forward, advocate, represent

Because what follows is pure innocence.

I owe you much, and like a wilful youth,

That which I owe is lost; but if you please

To shoot another arrow that self way
self (adj.) same, selfsame, identical, exact

Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,

As I will watch the aim, or to find both

Or bring your latter hazard back again
hazard (n.) 2 [gambling] chance, fortune; throw [of dice]

And thankfully rest debtor for the first.


You know me well, and herein spend but time

To wind about my love with circumstance;
circumstance (n.) 2 circumlocution, verbiage, unnecessary detail
wind (v.) 3 insinuate, pursue a devious course

And out of doubt you do me now more wrong

In making question of my uttermost

Than if you had made waste of all I have.

Then do but say to me what I should do

That in your knowledge may by me be done,

And I am prest unto it. Therefore speak.
prest (adj.) engaged, made ready, hired


In Belmont is a lady richly left,

And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,

Of wondrous virtues. Sometimes from her eyes
sometimes (adv.) formerly, once, at one time, previously

I did receive fair speechless messages.

Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued

To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia;

Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,

For the four winds blow in from every coast

Renowned suitors, and her sunny locks

Hang on her temples like a golden fleece,

Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos' strond,
seat (n.) 2 estate
strand, strond (n.) shore, land, region

And many Jasons come in quest of her.

O my Antonio, had I but the means

To hold a rival place with one of them,

I have a mind presages me such thrift
presage (v.) 2 predict, forecast
thrift (n.) profit, advantage, gain

That I should questionless be fortunate.
questionless (adv.) unquestionably, undoubtedly, most certainly


Thou know'st that all my fortunes are at sea,

Neither have I money, nor commodity
commodity (n.) 1 supply, quantity, stock, consignment

To raise a present sum. Therefore go forth;

Try what my credit can in Venice do,

That shall be racked even to the uttermost
rack (v.) 2 stretch, strain, extend

To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia.
furnish (v.) 2 provide for, prepare, make ready

Go presently inquire, and so will I,
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Where money is; and I no question make

To have it of my trust or for my sake.


  Next scene