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The Merchant of Venice - Act 3, scene 5
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Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Act 3, scene 5
Lancelet, the clown, makes jokes at the expense of Jessica and then Lorenzo. Jessica praises Portia and jokes with Lorenzo.Enter ⌜Lancelet, the⌝ Clown, and Jessica.
LANCELET 1819 Yes, truly, for look you, the sins of the father
1820 are to be laid upon the children. Therefore I
1821 promise you I fear you. I was always plain with you,
1822 and so now I speak my agitation of the matter.
1823 5 Therefore be o’ good cheer, for truly I think you
1824 are damned. There is but one hope in it that can do
1825 you any good, and that is but a kind of bastard hope
JESSICA 1827 And what hope is that, I pray thee?
LANCELET 1828 10Marry, you may partly hope that your father
1829 got you not, that you are not the Jew’s daughter.
JESSICA 1830 That were a kind of bastard hope indeed; so
1831 the sins of my mother should be visited upon me!
LANCELET 1832 Truly, then, I fear you are damned both by
1833 15 father and mother; thus when I shun Scylla your
1834 father, I fall into Charybdis your mother. Well, you
1835 are gone both ways.
JESSICA 1836 I shall be saved by my husband. He hath made
1837 me a Christian.
LANCELET 1838 20Truly the more to blame he! We were Christians
1839 enow before, e’en as many as could well live
1840 one by another. This making of Christians will
1841 raise the price of hogs. If we grow all to be pork
1842 eaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on the
1843 25 coals for money.
p. 135JESSICA 1844 I’ll tell my husband, Lancelet, what you say.
1845 Here he ⌜comes.⌝
LORENZO 1846 I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Lancelet,
1847 if you thus get my wife into corners!
JESSICA 1848 30Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo. Lancelet
1849 and I are out. He tells me flatly there’s no mercy for
1850 me in heaven because I am a Jew’s daughter; and
1851 he says you are no good member of the commonwealth,
1852 for in converting Jews to Christians you
1853 35 raise the price of pork.
LORENZO 1854 I shall answer that better to the commonwealth
1855 than you can the getting up of the Negro’s
1856 belly! The Moor is with child by you, Lancelet.
LANCELET 1857 It is much that the Moor should be more
1858 40 than reason; but if she be less than an honest
1859 woman, she is indeed more than I took her for.
LORENZO 1860 How every fool can play upon the word! I
1861 think the best grace of wit will shortly turn into
1862 silence, and discourse grow commendable in none
1863 45 only but parrots. Go in, sirrah, bid them prepare for
LANCELET 1865 That is done, sir. They have all stomachs.
LORENZO 1866 Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are you!
1867 Then bid them prepare dinner.
LANCELET 1868 50That is done too, sir, only “cover” is the
LORENZO 1870 Will you cover, then, sir?
LANCELET 1871 Not so, sir, neither! I know my duty.
LORENZO 1872 Yet more quarreling with occasion! Wilt
1873 55 thou show the whole wealth of thy wit in an
1874 instant? I pray thee understand a plain man in his
1875 plain meaning: go to thy fellows, bid them cover the
1876 table, serve in the meat, and we will come in to
LANCELET 1878 60For the table, sir, it shall be served in; for
1879 the meat, sir, it shall be covered; for your coming in
p. 1371880 to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humors and conceits
1881 shall govern.⌜Lancelet⌝ exits.
1882 O dear discretion, how his words are suited!
1883 65 The fool hath planted in his memory
1884 An army of good words, and I do know
1885 A many fools that stand in better place,
1886 Garnished like him, that for a tricksy word
1887 Defy the matter. How cheer’st thou, Jessica?
1888 70 And now, good sweet, say thy opinion
1889 How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio’s wife?
1890 Past all expressing. It is very meet
1891 The Lord Bassanio live an upright life,
1892 For having such a blessing in his lady
1893 75 He finds the joys of heaven here on Earth,
1894 And if on Earth he do not ⌜merit⌝ it,
1895 In reason he should never come to heaven.
1896 Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match,
1897 And on the wager lay two earthly women,
1898 80 And Portia one, there must be something else
1899 Pawned with the other, for the poor rude world
1900 Hath not her fellow.
LORENZO 1901 Even such a husband
1902 Hast thou of me as she is for ⌜a⌝ wife.
1903 85 Nay, but ask my opinion too of that!
1904 I will anon. First let us go to dinner.
1905 Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach!
1906 No, pray thee, let it serve for table talk.
1907 Then howsome’er thou speak’st, ’mong other things
1908 90 I shall digest it.
JESSICA 1909 Well, I’ll set you forth.