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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act II. Scene V.

The Merchant of Venice

The Same.Before SHYLOCK’S House.


Shy.Well, thou shalt see, thy eyes shall be thy judge,

The difference of old Shylock and Bassanio:—

What, Jessica!—thou shalt not gormandize,

As thou hast done with me;—What, Jessica!—

And sleep and snore, and rend apparel out—

Why, Jessica, I say!

Laun.Why, Jessica!

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

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


Jes.Call you? What is your will?

Shy.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.

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

Shy.So do I his.

Laun.And 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.

Shy.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.

Laun.I will go before, sir. Mistress, look out at window, for all this;

There will come a Christian by,

Will be worth a Jewess’ eye.[Exit LAUNCELOT.

Shy.What says that fool of Hagar’s offspring, ha?

Jes.His words were, ‘Farewell, mistress;’ nothing else.

Shy.The patch is kind enough, but a huge feeder;

Snail-slow in profit, and he sleeps by day

More than the wild cat: drones hive not with me;

Therefore I part with him, and part with him

To one that I would have him help to waste

His borrow’d purse. Well, Jessica, go in:

Perhaps I will return immediately:

Do as I bid you; shut doors after you:

‘Fast bind, fast find,’

A proverb never stale in thrifty mind.[Exit.

Jes.Farewell; and if my fortune be not crost,

I have a father, you a daughter, lost.[Exit.