The Merchant of Venice

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter the masquers GRATIANO and SALARINO
RATIANO and SALARINO enter, dressed for the masquerade ball.
This is the penthouse under which Lorenzo
Desired us to make stand.
This is the roof under which Lorenzo said to meet him.
    His hour is almost past.
He’s late.
And it is marvel he outdwells his hour,
For lovers ever run before the clock.
Yes, and that’s surprising, because lovers are usually early.
5Oh, ten times faster Venus' pigeons fly
To seal love’s bonds new made than they are wont
To keep obligèd faith unforfeited.
Yes, for new lovers time passes ten times faster than for couples who’ve been married forever.
That ever holds. Who riseth from a feast
With that keen appetite that he sits down?
10Where is the horse that doth untread again
His tedious measures with the unbated fire
That he did pace them first? All things that are,
Are with more spirit chasèd than enjoyed.
How like a younger or a prodigal
15The scarfèd bark puts from her native bay,
Hugged and embraèd by the strumpet wind!
How like the prodigal doth she return,
With overweathered ribs and ragged sails
Lean, rent, and beggared by the strumpet wind!
That’s always true. Who gets up from a meal with the same appetite he had when he sat down? Can any horse retrace his footsteps with the same energy he had when he walked them the first time? We chase everything in life more excitedly than we actually enjoy it when we get it. It’s like when a ship sails out of the harbor with all its flags waving, gently pushed by the wind. When that ship returns, her timber is all weather-beaten and her sails are ragged. That same wind makes the ship thin and poor.
20Here comes Lorenzo. More of this hereafter.
Here comes Lorenzo. We’ll talk about this later.
LORENZO enters.