The Merchant of Venice

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 2

page Act 2 Scene 2 Page 3

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LAUNCELOT

But I pray you, ergo, old man, ergo, I beseech you, talk you of young Master Launcelot?

LAUNCELOT

But excuse me, ergo, old man, ergo, I’m asking you if you’re talking about young Master Launcelot.

GOBBO

Of Launcelot, an ’t please your mastership.

GOBBO

Yes, I’m talking about Launcelot, sir.

LAUNCELOT

55Ergo, Master Launcelot. Talk not of Master Launcelot, Father, for the young gentleman, according to Fates and Destinies and such odd sayings, the Sisters Three and such branches of learning, is indeed deceased, or as you would say in plain terms, gone to heaven.

LAUNCELOT

Ergo

“Ergo” means “therefore” in Latin. Launcelot is using the word to prove he’s an educated gentleman but seems to have no idea what it means.

Ergo
, Master Launcelot. But please don’t talk about Master Launcelot, old man. The young gentleman, submitting to the fates, the three sisters who control destiny, and other branches of learning like that, is deceased. Or, to put it in plain language, he’s gone to heaven.

GOBBO

60Marry, God forbid! The boy was the very staff of my age, my very prop.

GOBBO

Oh, no. God forbid! The boy was going to support me in my old age!

LAUNCELOT

Do I look like a cudgel or a hovel-post, a staff or a prop?
Do you know me, Father?

LAUNCELOT

What am I, a cane? How could I support anyone? Don’t you recognize me, father?

GOBBO

Alack the day, I know you not, young gentleman. But I pray you, tell me, is my boy, God rest his soul, alive or dead?

GOBBO

Heaven help me, I don’t know you, sir. But please tell me, is my boy—God rest his soul—alive or dead?

LAUNCELOT

Do you not know me, Father?

LAUNCELOT

You really don’t recognize me, father?

GOBBO

Alack, sir, I am sand-blind. I know you not.

GOBBO

Sir, I’m half-blind. I don’t know you.

LAUNCELOT

Nay, indeed if you had your eyes, you might fail of the knowing me. It is a wise father that knows his own child. Well, old man, I will tell you news of your son. Give me your blessing. Truth will come to light. Murder cannot be hid long—a man’s son may, but in the end truth will out.

LAUNCELOT

Even if you had your eyes, you still might not recognize me. It takes a wise father to know his own child. Well, old man, I’ll tell you news of your son. Give me your blessing. The truth will come to light, and murder can’t be hidden long—a man’s son may hide, but truth will always come out.