The Merchant of Venice

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 5

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LORENZO

Well, we will leave you then till dinnertime.
I must be one of these same dumb wise men,
For Gratiano never lets me speak.

LORENZO

All right, we’ll see you at dinnertime. I must be one of these silent so-called wise men Gratiano’s talking about, because he never lets me get a word in.

GRATIANO

110Well, keep me company but two years more,
Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.

GRATIANO

If you hang around me for two more years, you’ll forget the sound of your own voice. I won’t ever let you speak.

ANTONIO

Farewell. I’ll grow a talker for this gear.

ANTONIO

Goodbye. After that lecture of yours, I’ll start talking a lot.

GRATIANO

Thanks, i' faith, for silence is only commendable
In a neat’s tongue dried and a maid not vendible.

GRATIANO

Thank you. The only tongues that should be silent are ox-tongues on a dinner plate and those that belong to old maids.
Exeunt GRATIANO and LORENZO
GRATIANO and LORENZO exit.

ANTONIO

115Is that any thing now?

ANTONIO

Is he right?

BASSANIO

Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice. His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff—you shall seek all day ere you find them, and when you have them they are not worth the search.

BASSANIO

Gratiano talks more nonsense than any other man in Venice. His point is always like a needle in a haystack—you look for it all day, and when you find it you realize it wasn’t worth the trouble.

ANTONIO

Well, tell me now what lady is the same
To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,
That you today promised to tell me of?

ANTONIO

So, who’s this girl, the one you said you were going to take a special trip for? You promised to tell me.

BASSANIO

'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
125How much I have disabled mine estate,
By something showing a more swelling port
Than my faint means would grant continuance.
Nor do I now make moan to be abridged
From such a noble rate. But my chief care

BASSANIO

Antonio, you know how bad my finances have been lately. I’ve been living way beyond my means. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about having to cut back.