The Merchant of Venice

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 2

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SALARINO

    My wind cooling my broth
Would blow me to an ague when I thought
What harm a wind too great at sea might do.
25I should not see the sandy hourglass run,
But I should think of shallows and of flats
And see my wealthy Andrew docked in sand,
Vailing her high top lower than her ribs
To kiss her burial. Should I go to church
30And see the holy edifice of stone
And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks,
Which, touching but my gentle vessel’s side,
Would scatter all her spices on the stream,
Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks,
35And, in a word, but even now worth this,
And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought
To think on this, and shall I lack the thought
That such a thing bechanced would make me sad?
But tell not me. I know Antonio
40Is sad to think upon his merchandise.

SALARINO

I’d get scared every time I blew on my soup to cool it, thinking of how a strong wind could wipe out my ships. Every time I glanced at the sand in an hourglass I’d imagine my ships wrecked on sandbars. I’d think of dangerous rocks every time I went to church and saw the stones it was made of. If my ship brushed up against rocks like that, its whole cargo of spices would be dumped into the sea. All of its silk shipments would be sent flying into the roaring waters. In one moment I’d go bankrupt. Who wouldn’t get sad thinking about things like that? It’s obvious. Antonio is sad because he’s so worried about his cargo.

ANTONIO

Believe me, no. I thank my fortune for it—
My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,
Nor to one place, nor is my whole estate
Upon the fortune of this present year.
45Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad.

ANTONIO

No, that’s not it, trust me. Thankfully my financial situation is healthy. I don’t have all of my money invested in one ship, or one part of the world. If I don’t do well this year, I’ll still be okay. So it’s not my business that’s making me sad.

SOLANIO

Why then, you are in love.

SOLANIO

Well then, you must be in love.

ANTONIO

    Fie, fie!

ANTONIO

Oh, give me a break.

SOLANIO

Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sad
Because you are not merry—and ’twere as easy
For you to laugh and leap and say you are merry
50Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed Janus,
Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time.

SOLANIO

You’re not in love either? Fine, let’s just say you’re sad because you’re not in a good mood. You know, it’d be just as easy for you to laugh and dance around and say you’re in a good mood. You could just say you’re not sad. Humans are so different.