The Merchant of Venice: Act 1, Scene 3
1. ducats: in this play, gold coins (there were also silver ducats); their value has been variously estimated, usually at something between a quarter and a half of an English pound apiece.
with SHYLOCK the Jew.
1Three thousand ducats; well.
2Ay, sir, for three months.
3For three months; well.
4For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall
6Antonio shall become bound; well.
7. stead: assist, supply a need.
7May you stead me? will you pleasure me? shall I
8know your answer?
9Three thousand ducats for three months and
11Your answer to that.
12. good: Shylock means solvent, a good credit risk; Bassanio interprets in the moral sense.
12Antonio is a good man.
13Have you heard any imputation to the
15Oh, no, no, no, no: my meaning in saying he is a
16good man is to have you understand me that he is
17. sufficient: i.e., a good security. in supposition: doubtful, uncertain; i.e., not certainly in existence.
17sufficient. Yet his means are in supposition: he
18hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the
19. Rialto: commercial and business exchange of Venice and the center of commercial activity.
19Indies; I understand moreover, upon the Rialto, he
20hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and
21. squand'red: unwisely scattered.
21other ventures he hath, squand'red abroad. But ships
22are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats
23and water-rats, water-thieves and land-thieves, I
24mean pirates, and then there is the peril of waters,
25winds and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding,
26sufficient. Three thousand ducats; I think I may
27take his bond.
28Be assured you may.
29. assur'd: sure, satisfied (but Shylock takes it up in the sense "guaranteed by adequate security").
29I will be assured I may; and, that I may be assur'd,
30I will bethink me. May I speak with
32If it please you to dine with us.
33‑37. Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which your prophet the Nazarite . . . pray with you: Perhaps these lines are spoken aside while Shylock "bethinks him" (see line 30). 34. Nazarite: Nazarene. (For the reference to Christ's casting evil spirits into a herd of swine, see Luke 8:32‑33 and Mark 5:1‑13).
33Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which
34your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into. I
35will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you,
36walk with you, and so following, but I will not eat
37with you, drink with you, nor pray with you. What
38news on the Rialto? Who is he comes
40This is Signior Antonio.
41. fawning publican: A controversial passage. Presumably Shylock regards Antonio as one who . . . more 42. for: because. 43. low simplicity: Both words have good and bad meanings: low is both humble and base; simplicity . . . more
41How like a fawning publican he looks!
42I hate him for he is a Christian,
43But more for that in low simplicity
44He lends out money gratis and brings down
45. usance: usury, interest.
45The rate of usance here with us in Venice.
46. upon the hip: at a disadvantage (a wrestling term).
46If I can catch him once upon the hip,
47I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
48He hates our sacred nation, and he rails,
49Even there where merchants most do congregate,
50. thrift: thriving, profit.
50On me, my bargains and my well-won thrift,
51Which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe,
52If I forgive him!
52Shylock, do you hear?
53. store: supply (of money).
53I am debating of my present store,
54And, by the near guess of my memory,
55. gross: total amount.
55I cannot instantly raise up the gross
56Of full three thousand ducats. What of that?
57Tubal, a wealthy Hebrew of my tribe,
58Will furnish me. But soft! how many months
59Do you desire?
59Rest you fair, good signior;
60Your worship was the last man in our mouths.
61Shylock, although I neither lend nor borrow
62. excess: interest.
62By taking nor by giving of excess,
63. ripe: immediate.
63Yet, to supply the ripe wants of my friend,
64. possess'd: informed.
64I'll break a custom. Is he yet possess'd
65How much ye would?
65Ay, ay, three thousand ducats.
66And for three months.
67I had forgot; three months; you told me so.
68Well then, your bond; and let me see; but hear you;
69. Methought: it seemed to me.
69Methought you said you neither lend nor borrow
70. advantage: interest. use it: make it my practice.
70I do never use it.
71. Jacob: See Genesis 27, 30:25‑43.
71When Jacob grazed his uncle Laban's sheep
72This Jacob from our holy Abram was,
73As his wise mother wrought in his behalf,
74. possessor: i.e., of God's promise.
74The third possessor; ay, he was the third
75And what of him? did he take interest?
76No, not take interest, not, as you would say,
77Directly interest: mark what Jacob did.
78. compromis'd: agreed (a variant form of compromised).
78When Laban and himself were compromis'd
79. eanlings: new-born lambs. pied: spotted, variegated in color. 80. hire: wages. rank: in heat.
79That all the eanlings which were streak'd and pied
80Should fall as Jacob's hire, the ewes, being rank,
81In the end of autumn turned to the rams,
82And, when the work of generation was
83Between these woolly breeders in the act,
84. pill'd me: peeled, stripped. (Me is the so-called ethical dative, used colloquially). 85. deed of kind: i.e., copulation.
84The skilful shepherd pill'd me certain wands,
85And, in the doing of the deed of kind,
86He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes,
87. eaning: lambing.
87Who then conceiving did in eaning time
88. Fall: let fall, give birth to.
88Fall parti-color 'd lambs, and those were Jacob's.
89This was a way to thrive, and he was blest:
90. thrift is blessing: i.e., making a profit is sanctified by God.
90And thrift is blessing, if men steal it not.
91. venture, sir, that Jacob served for: commercial enterprise with an unpredictable outcome on which Jacob risked his time as a servant.
91This was a venture, sir, that Jacob served for;
92A thing not in his power to bring to pass,
93But sway'd and fashion'd by the hand of heaven.
94. inserted to make interest good: brought in to justify the practice of usury.
94Was this inserted to make interest good?
95Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?
96I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast:
97But note me, signior.
97Mark you this, Bassanio,
98. The devil can cite Scripture: See Matthew 4:6.
98The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
97‑102. Mark you this, Bassanio, / The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. / An evil soul producing holy witness / Is like a villain with a smiling cheek, / A goodly apple rotten at the heart: / O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath: Perhaps another aside.
99An evil soul producing holy witness
100Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
101A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
102O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
103Three thousand ducats; 'tis a good round sum.
104Three months from twelve; then, let me see; the rate
105. beholding: beholden, indebted.
105Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you?
106Signior Antonio, many a time and oft
107. rated: berated, rebuked, reviled.
107In the Rialto you have rated me
108About my moneys and my usances:
109Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,
110. sufferance: endurance. badge: distinctive mark.
110For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
111You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,
112. gaberdine: a loose upper garment of coarse material like a cape or mantel. 113. use: With play on "usury."
112And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,
113And all for use of that which is mine own.
114Well then, it now appears you need my help:
115. Go to: term of impatience or remonstrance.
115Go to, then; you come to me, and you say
116"Shylock, we would have moneys": you say so;
117. rheum: spittle.
117You, that did void your rheum upon my beard
118. spurn: kick.
118And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur
119Over your threshold: moneys is your suit
120What should I say to you? Should I not say
121"Hath a dog money? is it possible
122A cur can lend three thousand ducats?" Or
123Shall I bend low and in a bondman's key,
124With bated breath and whispering humbleness,
126"Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last;
127You spurn'd me such a day; another time
128You call'd me dog; and for these courtesies
129I'll lend you thus much moneys"?
130I am as like to call thee so again,
131To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too.
132If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not
133As to thy friends; for when did friendship take
134. A breed: offspring, increase (cf. line 96). The figure continues in barren . One of the oldest arguments . . . more
134A breed for barren metal of his friend?
135But lend it rather to thine enemy,
136. Who: from whom. break: fail to pay on time, go bankrupt.
136Who, if he break, thou mayst with better face
137Exact the penalty.
137Why, look you, how you storm!
138I would be friends with you and have your love,
139Forget the shames that you have stain'd me with,
140. doit: coin of trifling value.
140Supply your present wants and take no doit
141Of usance for my moneys, and you'll not hear me:
142This is kind I offer.
143. were kindness: would be kindness (if the offer were seriously meant).
143This were kindness.
143This kindness will I show.
144Go with me to a notary, seal me there
145. single bond: bond signed only by the debtor, without other security.
145Your single bond; and, in a merry sport,
146If you repay me not on such a day,
147In such a place, such sum or sums as are
148Express'd in the condition, let the forfeit
149. nominated for: named, stipulated as. equal: exact.
149Be nominated for an equal pound
150Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken
151In what part of your body pleaseth me.
152Content, i' faith: I'll seal to such a bond
153And say there is much kindness in the Jew.
154You shall not seal to such a bond for me:
155. dwell: remain.
155I'll rather dwell in my necessity.
156Why, fear not, man; I will not forfeit it:
157Within these two months, that's a month before
158This bond expires, I do expect return
159Of thrice three times the value of this bond.
160O father Abram, what these Christians are,
161Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect
162The thoughts of others! Pray you, tell me this;
163. break his day: fail to pay on the due date.
163If he should break his day, what should I gain
164. forfeiture: forfeit, amount stipulated as penalty.
164By the exaction of the forfeiture?
165A pound of man's flesh taken from a man
166Is not so estimable, profitable neither,
167As flesh of muttons, beefs, or goats. I say,
168To buy his favor, I extend this friendship:
169If he will take it, so; if not, adieu;
170. wrong me not: do not impute evil motives to me.
170And, for my love, I pray you wrong me not.
171Yes Shylock, I will seal unto this bond.
172Then meet me forthwith at the notary's;
173Give him direction for this merry bond,
174And I will go and purse the ducats straight,
175. fearful: arousing anxiety, i.e., untrustworthy.
175See to my house, left in the fearful guard
176Of an unthrifty knave, and presently
177I will be with you.
177. Hie thee: hasten.
177Hie thee, gentle Jew.
178The Hebrew will turn Christian: he grows kind.
179I like not fair terms and a villain's mind.
180Come on: in this there can be no dismay;
181My ships come home a month before the day.