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The Merchant of Venice - Act 2, scene 2
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Navigate this workThe Merchant of Venice - Act 2, scene 2
Act 2, scene 2
In Venice Shylock’s servant, Lancelet Gobbo, debates whether he should find a new master. Lancelet’s father comes in search of him and asks Bassanio to take Lancelet into his service. Bassanio agrees to become Lancelet’s master. Bassanio also agrees to allow Gratiano to accompany him to Belmont, provided that Gratiano behave properly in public.Enter ⌜Lancelet Gobbo⌝ the Clown, alone.
LANCELET 0570 Certainly my conscience will serve me to
0571 run from this Jew my master. The fiend is at mine
0572 elbow and tempts me, saying to me “Gobbo,
0573 Lancelet Gobbo, good Lancelet,” or “good Gobbo,”
0574 5 or “good Lancelet Gobbo, use your legs, take
0575 the start, run away.” My conscience says “No. Take
0576 heed, honest Lancelet, take heed, honest Gobbo,”
0577 or, as aforesaid, “honest Lancelet Gobbo, do not
0578 run; scorn running with thy heels.” Well, the most
0579 10 courageous fiend bids me pack. “Fia!” says the
0580 fiend. “Away!” says the fiend. “For the heavens,
0581 rouse up a brave mind,” says the fiend, “and run!”
0582 Well, my conscience, hanging about the neck of my
0583 heart, says very wisely to me “My honest friend
0584 15 Lancelet, being an honest man’s son”—or rather,
0585 an honest woman’s son, for indeed my father did
0586 something smack, something grow to—he had a
0587 kind of taste—well, my conscience says “Lancelet,
0588 budge not.” “Budge,” says the fiend. “Budge not,”
0589 20 says my conscience. “Conscience,” say I, “you
0590 counsel well.” “Fiend,” say I, “you counsel well.”
0591 To be ruled by my conscience, I should stay with the
0592 Jew my master, who (God bless the mark) is a kind
0593 of devil; and to run away from the Jew, I should be
0594 25 ruled by the fiend, who (saving your reverence) is
0595 the devil himself. Certainly the Jew is the very devil
0596 incarnation, and, in my conscience, my conscience
0597 is but a kind of hard conscience to offer to counsel
0598 me to stay with the Jew. The fiend gives the more
0599 30 friendly counsel. I will run, fiend. My heels are at
0600 your commandment. I will run.
Enter old Gobbo with a basket.
p. 49GOBBO 0601 Master young man, you, I pray you, which is
0602 the way to Master Jew’s?
LANCELET, ⌜aside⌝ 0603 O heavens, this is my true begotten
0604 35 father, who being more than sandblind, high gravelblind,
0605 knows me not. I will try confusions with him.
GOBBO 0606 Master young gentleman, I pray you, which is
0607 the way to Master Jew’s?
LANCELET 0608 Turn up on your right hand at the next
0609 40 turning, but at the next turning of all on your left;
0610 marry, at the very next turning, turn of no hand,
0611 but turn down indirectly to the Jew’s house.
GOBBO 0612 Be God’s sonties, ’twill be a hard way to hit.
0613 Can you tell me whether one Lancelet, that dwells
0614 45 with him, dwell with him or no?
LANCELET 0615 Talk you of young Master Lancelet? ⌜Aside.⌝
0616 Mark me now, now will I raise the waters.—Talk
0617 you of young Master Lancelet?
GOBBO 0618 No master, sir, but a poor man’s son. His
0619 50 father, though I say ’t, is an honest exceeding poor
0620 man and, God be thanked, well to live.
LANCELET 0621 Well, let his father be what he will, we talk
0622 of young Master Lancelet.
GOBBO 0623 Your Worship’s friend, and Lancelet, sir.
LANCELET 0624 55But I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech
0625 you, talk you of young Master Lancelet?
GOBBO 0626 Of Lancelet, an ’t please your mastership.
LANCELET 0627 Ergo, Master Lancelet. Talk not of Master
0628 Lancelet, father, for the young gentleman, according
0629 60 to Fates and Destinies, and such odd sayings, the
0630 Sisters Three, and such branches of learning, is
0631 indeed deceased, or, as you would say in plain
0632 terms, gone to heaven.
GOBBO 0633 Marry, God forbid! The boy was the very staff
0634 65 of my age, my very prop.
LANCELET, ⌜aside⌝ 0635 Do I look like a cudgel or a hovel-post,
0636 a staff or a prop?—Do you know me, father?
p. 51GOBBO 0637 Alack the day, I know you not, young gentleman.
0638 But I pray you tell me, is my boy, God rest his
0639 70 soul, alive or dead?
LANCELET 0640 Do you not know me, father?
GOBBO 0641 Alack, sir, I am sandblind. I know you not.
LANCELET 0642 Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might
0643 fail of the knowing me. It is a wise father that
0644 75 knows his own child. Well, old man, I will tell you
0645 news of your son. ⌜He kneels.⌝ Give me your blessing.
0646 Truth will come to light, murder cannot be hid
0647 long—a man’s son may, but in the end, truth will
GOBBO 0649 80Pray you, sir, stand up! I am sure you are not
0650 Lancelet my boy.
LANCELET 0651 Pray you, let’s have no more fooling about
0652 it, but give me your blessing. I am Lancelet, your
0653 boy that was, your son that is, your child that shall
0654 85 be.
GOBBO 0655 I cannot think you are my son.
LANCELET 0656 I know not what I shall think of that; but I
0657 am Lancelet, the Jew’s man, and I am sure Margery
0658 your wife is my mother.
GOBBO 0659 90Her name is Margery, indeed. I’ll be sworn if
0660 thou be Lancelet, thou art mine own flesh and
0661 blood. Lord worshiped might He be, what a beard
0662 hast thou got! Thou hast got more hair on thy chin
0663 than Dobbin my fill-horse has on his tail.
LANCELET, ⌜standing up⌝ 0664 95It should seem, then, that
0665 Dobbin’s tail grows backward. I am sure he had
0666 more hair of his tail than I have of my face when I
0667 ⌜last⌝ saw him.
GOBBO 0668 Lord, how art thou changed! How dost thou
0669 100 and thy master agree? I have brought him a present.
0670 How ’gree you now?
LANCELET 0671 Well, well. But for mine own part, as I have
0672 set up my rest to run away, so I will not rest till I
p. 530673 have run some ground. My master’s a very Jew.
0674 105 Give him a present! Give him a halter. I am
0675 famished in his service. You may tell every finger I
0676 have with my ribs. Father, I am glad you are come!
0677 Give me your present to one Master Bassanio, who
0678 indeed gives rare new liveries. If I serve not him, I
0679 110 will run as far as God has any ground. O rare
0680 fortune, here comes the man! To him, father, for I
0681 am a Jew if I serve the Jew any longer.
Enter Bassanio with ⌜Leonardo and⌝ a follower or two.
BASSANIO, ⌜to an Attendant⌝ 0682 You may do so, but let it be
0683 so hasted that supper be ready at the farthest by five
0684 115 of the clock. See these letters delivered, put the
0685 liveries to making, and desire Gratiano to come
0686 anon to my lodging.⌜The Attendant exits.⌝
LANCELET 0687 To him, father.
GOBBO, ⌜to Bassanio⌝ 0688 God bless your Worship.
BASSANIO 0689 120Gramercy. Wouldst thou aught with me?
GOBBO 0690 Here’s my son, sir, a poor boy—
LANCELET 0691 Not a poor boy, sir, but the rich Jew’s man,
0692 that would, sir, as my father shall specify—
GOBBO 0693 He hath a great infection, sir, as one would say,
0694 125 to serve—
LANCELET 0695 Indeed, the short and the long is, I serve the
0696 Jew, and have a desire, as my father shall specify—
GOBBO 0697 His master and he (saving your Worship’s
0698 reverence) are scarce cater-cousins—
LANCELET 0699 130To be brief, the very truth is that the Jew,
0700 having done me wrong, doth cause me, as my
0701 father being, I hope, an old man, shall frutify unto
GOBBO 0703 I have here a dish of doves that I would bestow
0704 135 upon your Worship, and my suit is—
LANCELET 0705 In very brief, the suit is impertinent to
0706 myself, as your Worship shall know by this honest
p. 550707 old man, and though I say it, though old man yet
0708 poor man, my father—
BASSANIO 0709 140One speak for both. What would you?
LANCELET 0710 Serve you, sir.
GOBBO 0711 That is the very defect of the matter, sir.
BASSANIO, ⌜to Lancelet⌝
0712 I know thee well. Thou hast obtained thy suit.
0713 Shylock thy master spoke with me this day,
0714 145 And hath preferred thee, if it be preferment
0715 To leave a rich Jew’s service, to become
0716 The follower of so poor a gentleman.
LANCELET 0717 The old proverb is very well parted between
0718 my master Shylock and you, sir: you have “the
0719 150 grace of God,” sir, and he hath “enough.”
0720 Thou speak’st it well.—Go, father, with thy son.—
0721 Take leave of thy old master, and inquire
0722 My lodging out. ⌜To an Attendant.⌝ Give him a livery
0723 More guarded than his fellows’. See it done.
⌜Attendant exits. Bassanio and Leonardo talk apart.⌝
LANCELET 0724 155Father, in. I cannot get a service, no! I have
0725 ne’er a tongue in my head! Well, ⌜studying his palm⌝
0726 if any man in Italy have a fairer table which doth
0727 offer to swear upon a book—I shall have good
0728 fortune, go to! Here’s a simple line of life. Here’s a
0729 160 small trifle of wives—alas, fifteen wives is nothing;
0730 eleven widows and nine maids is a simple coming-in
0731 for one man—and then to ’scape drowning
0732 thrice, and to be in peril of my life with the edge of a
0733 featherbed! Here are simple ’scapes. Well, if Fortune
0734 165 be a woman, she’s a good wench for this gear.
0735 Father, come. I’ll take my leave of the Jew in the
0736 twinkling.⌜Lancelet and old Gobbo⌝ exit.
0737 I pray thee, good Leonardo, think on this.
⌜Handing him a paper.⌝
p. 570738 These things being bought and orderly bestowed,
0739 170 Return in haste, for I do feast tonight
0740 My best esteemed acquaintance. Hie thee, go.
0741 My best endeavors shall be done herein.
GRATIANO, ⌜to Leonardo⌝ 0742 Where’s your master?
LEONARDO 0743 Yonder, sir, he walks.Leonardo exits.
GRATIANO 0744 175Signior Bassanio!
BASSANIO 0745 Gratiano!
GRATIANO 0746 I have suit to you.
BASSANIO 0747 You have obtained it.
GRATIANO 0748 You must not deny me. I must go with you
0749 180 to Belmont.
0750 Why then you must. But hear thee, Gratiano,
0751 Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice—
0752 Parts that become thee happily enough,
0753 And in such eyes as ours appear not faults.
0754 185 But where thou art not known—why, there they
0756 Something too liberal. Pray thee take pain
0757 To allay with some cold drops of modesty
0758 Thy skipping spirit, lest through thy wild behavior
0759 190 I be misconstered in the place I go to,
0760 And lose my hopes.
GRATIANO 0761 Signior Bassanio, hear me.
0762 If I do not put on a sober habit,
0763 Talk with respect, and swear but now and then,
0764 195 Wear prayer books in my pocket, look demurely,
0765 Nay more, while grace is saying, hood mine eyes
0766 Thus with my hat, and sigh and say “amen,”
0767 Use all the observance of civility
0768 Like one well studied in a sad ostent
0769 200 To please his grandam, never trust me more.
p. 59BASSANIO 0770 Well, we shall see your bearing.
0771 Nay, but I bar tonight. You shall not gauge me
0772 By what we do tonight.
BASSANIO 0773 No, that were pity.
0774 205 I would entreat you rather to put on
0775 Your boldest suit of mirth, for we have friends
0776 That purpose merriment. But fare you well.
0777 I have some business.
0778 And I must to Lorenzo and the rest.
0779 210 But we will visit you at supper time.