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Home > Merchant of Venice > ACT III - SCENE V. The same. A garden.

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ACT III - SCENE V. The same. A garden.
Enter LAUNCELOT and JESSICA

LAUNCELOT
1    Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the father
2    are to be laid upon the children: therefore, I
3    promise ye, I fear you. I was always plain with
4    you, and so now I speak my agitation of the matter:
5    therefore be of good cheer, for truly I think you
6    are damned. There is but one hope in it that can do
7    you any good; and that is but a kind of bastard
8    hope neither.
JESSICA
9    And what hope is that, I pray thee?
LAUNCELOT
10   Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you
11   not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.
JESSICA
12   That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed: so the
13   sins of my mother should be visited upon me.
LAUNCELOT
14   Truly then I fear you are damned both by father and
15   mother: thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I
16   fall into Charybdis, your mother: well, you are
17   gone both ways.
JESSICA
18   I shall be saved by my husband; he hath made me a
19   Christian.
LAUNCELOT
20   Truly, the more to blame he: we were Christians
21   enow before; e'en as many as could well live, one by
22   another. This making Christians will raise the
23   price of hogs: if we grow all to be pork-eaters, we
24   shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals for money.
Enter LORENZO

JESSICA
25   I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say: here he comes.
LORENZO
26   I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if
27   you thus get my wife into corners.
JESSICA
28   Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo: Launcelot and I
29   are out. He tells me flatly, there is no mercy for
30   me in heaven, because I am a Jew's daughter: and he
31   says, you are no good member of the commonwealth,
32   for in converting Jews to Christians, you raise the
33   price of pork.
LORENZO
34   I shall answer that better to the commonwealth than
35   you can the getting up of the negro's belly: the
36   Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.
LAUNCELOT
37   It is much that the Moor should be more than reason:
38   but if she be less than an honest woman, she is
39   indeed more than I took her for.
LORENZO
40   How every fool can play upon the word! I think the
41   best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence,
42   and discourse grow commendable in none only but
43   parrots. Go in, sirrah; bid them prepare for dinner.
LAUNCELOT
44   That is done, sir; they have all stomachs.
LORENZO
45   Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are you! then bid
46   them prepare dinner.
LAUNCELOT
47   That is done too, sir; only 'cover' is the word.
LORENZO
48   Will you cover then, sir?
LAUNCELOT
49   Not so, sir, neither; I know my duty.
LORENZO
50   Yet more quarrelling with occasion! Wilt thou show
51   the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant? I pray
52   tree, understand a plain man in his plain meaning:
53   go to thy fellows; bid them cover the table, serve
54   in the meat, and we will come in to dinner.
LAUNCELOT
55   For the table, sir, it shall be served in; for the
56   meat, sir, it shall be covered; for your coming in
57   to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humours and
58   conceits shall govern.
Exit

LORENZO
59   O dear discretion, how his words are suited!
60   The fool hath planted in his memory
61   An army of good words; and I do know
62   A many fools, that stand in better place,
63   Garnish'd like him, that for a tricksy word
64   Defy the matter. How cheerest thou, Jessica?
65   And now, good sweet, say thy opinion,
66   How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio's wife?
JESSICA
67   Past all expressing. It is very meet
68   The Lord Bassanio live an upright life;
69   For, having such a blessing in his lady,
70   He finds the joys of heaven here on earth;
71   And if on earth he do not mean it, then
72   In reason he should never come to heaven
73   Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match
74   And on the wager lay two earthly women,
75   And Portia one, there must be something else
76   Pawn'd with the other, for the poor rude world
77   Hath not her fellow.
LORENZO
78   Even such a husband
79   Hast thou of me as she is for a wife.
JESSICA
80   Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.
LORENZO
81   I will anon: first, let us go to dinner.
JESSICA
82   Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach.
LORENZO
83   No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk;
84   ' Then, howso'er thou speak'st, 'mong other things
85   I shall digest it.
JESSICA
86   Well, I'll set you forth.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT III, SCENE IVACT IV, SCENE I (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE III


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII
  • SCENE VIII
  • SCENE IX


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I

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