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The Merchant of Venice: Act 3 Scene 5
Scene V The same. A garden.
- [Enter LAUNCELOT and JESSICA]
- Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the father
- are to be laid upon the children: therefore, I
- promise ye, I fear you. I was always plain with
- you, and so now I speak my agitation of the matter:
- therefore be of good cheer, for truly I think you
- are damned. There is but one hope in it that can do
- you any good; and that is but a kind of bastard
- hope neither.
- And what hope is that, I pray thee?
- Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you
- not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.
- That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed: so the
- sins of my mother should be visited upon me.
- Truly then I fear you are damned both by father and
- mother: thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I
- fall into Charybdis, your mother: well, you are
- gone both ways.
- I shall be saved by my husband; he hath made me a
- Truly, the more to blame he: we were Christians
- enow before; e'en as many as could well live, one by
- another. This making Christians will raise the
- price of hogs: if we grow all to be pork-eaters, we
- shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals for money.
- [Enter LORENZO]
- I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say: here he comes.
- I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if
- you thus get my wife into corners.
- Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo: Launcelot and I
- are out. He tells me flatly, there is no mercy for
- me in heaven, because I am a Jew's daughter: and he
- says, you are no good member of the commonwealth,
- for in converting Jews to Christians, you raise the
- price of pork.
- I shall answer that better to the commonwealth than
- you can the getting up of the negro's belly: the
- Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.
- It is much that the Moor should be more than reason:
- but if she be less than an honest woman, she is
- indeed more than I took her for.
- How every fool can play upon the word! I think the
- best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence,
- and discourse grow commendable in none only but
- parrots. Go in, sirrah; bid them prepare for dinner.
- That is done, sir; they have all stomachs.
- Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are you! then bid
- them prepare dinner.
- That is done too, sir; only 'cover' is the word.
- Will you cover then, sir?
- Not so, sir, neither; I know my duty.
- Yet more quarrelling with occasion! Wilt thou show
- the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant? I pray
- tree, understand a plain man in his plain meaning:
- go to thy fellows; bid them cover the table, serve
- in the meat, and we will come in to dinner.
- For the table, sir, it shall be served in; for the
- meat, sir, it shall be covered; for your coming in
- to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humours and
- conceits shall govern.
- O dear discretion, how his words are suited!
- The fool hath planted in his memory
- An army of good words; and I do know
- A many fools, that stand in better place,
- Garnish'd like him, that for a tricksy word
- Defy the matter. How cheerest thou, Jessica?
- And now, good sweet, say thy opinion,
- How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio's wife?
- Past all expressing. It is very meet
- The Lord Bassanio live an upright life;
- For, having such a blessing in his lady,
- He finds the joys of heaven here on earth;
- And if on earth he do not mean it, then
- In reason he should never come to heaven
- Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match
- And on the wager lay two earthly women,
- And Portia one, there must be something else
- Pawn'd with the other, for the poor rude world
- Hath not her fellow.
- Even such a husband
- Hast thou of me as she is for a wife.
- Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.
- I will anon: first, let us go to dinner.
- Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach.
- No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk;
- Then, howso'er thou speak'st, 'mong other things
- I shall digest it.
- Well, I'll set you forth.