William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, famous for the lines, "prick us do we not laugh, wrong us will we not avenge", tells the story of love, honour and justice.
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The Merchant of Venice

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Act II. Scene II.

Scene II.—Venice. A Street.


Laun. 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 con-
science 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 con-
science, 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 some-
thing 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 con-
science, my conscience is but a kind of hard con-
science, 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-
ment; I will run.

Enter Old GOBBO, with a basket.
Gob. Master young man, you; I pray you,
which is the way to Master Jew's?
Laun. [Aside.] 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.
Gob. Master young gentleman, I pray you,
which is the way to Master Jew's?
Laun. 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
Gob. By God's sonties, 'twill be a hard way to
hit. Can you tell me whether one Launcelot,
that dwells with him, dwell with him or no?
Laun. Talk you of young Master Launcelot?
[Aside.] Mark me now; now will I raise the
waters. Talk you of young Master Launcelot?
Gob. No master, sir, but a poor man's son:
his father, though I say it, is an honest, exceed-
ing poor man, and, God be thanked, well to
Laun. Well, let his father be what a' will, we
talk of young Master Launcelot.
Gob. Your worship's friend, and Launcelot,
Laun. But I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo, I be-
seech you, talk you of young Master Launcelot?
Gob. Of Launcelot, an't please your master-
Laun. Ergo, Master Launcelot. Talk not of
Master Launcelot, father; for the young gentle-
man,—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.
Gob. Marry, God forbid! the boy was the very
staff of my age, my very prop.
Laun. [Aside.] Do I look like a cudgel or a
hovel-post, a staff or a prop? Do you know me,
Gob. 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?
Laun. Do you not know me, father?
Gob. Alack, sir, I am sand-blind; I know you
Laun. 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 can-
not be hid long; a man's son may, but, in the end,
truth will out.
Gob. Pray you, sir, stand up. I am sure you
are not Launcelot, my boy.
Laun. 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,
your child that shall be.
Gob. I cannot think you are my son.
Laun. 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.
Gob. 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 thill-horse has
on his tail.
Laun. It should seem then that Dobbin's tail
grows backward: I am sure he had more hair on
his tail than I have on my face, when I last saw
Gob. Lord! how art thou changed. How dost
thou and thy master agree? I have brought him
a present. How 'gree you now!
Laun. 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
Bass. You may do so; but let it be so hasted
that supper be ready at the very furthest 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.
Laun. To him, father.
Gob. God bless your worship!
Bass. Gramercy! wouldst thou aught with
Gob. Here's my son, sir, a poor boy,—
Laun. Not a poor boy, sir, but the rich
Jew's man; that would, sir,—as my father shall
Gob. He hath a great infection, sir, as one
would say, to serve—
Laun. Indeed, short and the long is, I serve
the Jew, and have a desire, as my father shall
Gob. His master and he, saving your wor-
ship's reverence, are scarce cater-cousins,—
Laun. 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,—
Gob. I have here a dish of doves that I
would bestow upon your worship, and my suit
Laun. 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.
Bass. One speak for both. What would you?
Laun. Serve you, sir.
Gob. That is the very defect of the matter,
Bass. I know thee well; thou hast obtain'd
thy suit:
Shylock thy master spoke with me this day,
And hath preferred thee, if it be preferment
To leave a rich Jew's service, to become
The follower of so poor a gentleman.
Laun. The old proverb is very well parted
between my master Shylock and you, sir: you
have the grace of God, sir, and he hath enough.
Bass. Thou speak'st it well. Go, father, with
thy son.
Take leave of thy old master, and inquire
My lodging out. [To his followers.] Give him a
More guarded than his fellows': sec it done.
Laun. Father, in. I cannot get a service, no;
I have ne'er a tongue in my head. Well, [Look-
ing on his palm.] 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: a 'leven 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.
Bass. I pray thee, good Leonardo, think on
These things being bought, and orderly bestow'd,
Return in haste, for I do feast to-night
My best-esteem'd acquaintance: hie thee, go.
Leon. My best endeavours shall be done here-

Gra. Where is your master?
Leon. Yonder, sir, he walks.
Gra. Signior Bassanio!—
Bass. Gratiano!
Gra. I have a suit to you.
Bass. You have obtain'd it.
Gra. You must not deny me: I must go with
you to Belmont.
Bass. Why, then you must. But hear thee,
Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice;
Parts that become thee happily enough,
And in such eyes as ours appear not faults;
But where thou art not known, why, there they
Something too liberal. Pray thee, take pain
To allay with some cold drops of modesty
Thy skipping spirit, lest, through thy wild be-
I be misconstrued in the place I go to,
And lose my hopes.
Gra. Signior Bassanio, hear me:
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.
Bass. Well, we shall see your bearing.
Gra. Nay, but I bar to-night; you shall not
gauge me
By what we do to-night.
Bass. No, that were pity:
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.
Gra. And I must to Lorenzo and the rest;
But we will visit you at supper-time. [Exeunt.
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