The Merchant of Venice

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 2

page Act 2 Scene 2 Page 7

Original Text

Modern Text

LAUNCELOT

Father, in. I cannot get a service, no. I have ne'er a tongue in my head. (reading his own palm) Well, if any man in Italy have a fairer table which doth offer to swear upon a book, I shall have good fortune. Go to, here’s a simple line of life. Here’s a small trifle of wives. Alas, fifteen wives is nothing! Eleven widows and nine maids is a simple coming-in for one man. And then to ’scape drowning thrice and to be in peril of my life with the edge of a feather-bed—here are simple ’scapes. Well, if Fortune be a woman, she’s a good wench for this gear.—Father, come. I’ll take my leave of the Jew in the twinkling.

LAUNCELOT

Father, go ahead. I can’t get a job, can I? I can’t talk well, no. (reading his own palm) If any man in Italy has a palm good enough to swear on a Bible with, it’s me. I’ve got very good luck! Here’s my life line. It shows a few wives—fifteen wives is nothing. Eleven widows and nine maids is a humble beginning for one man. It seems I’ll almost drown three times, and my life will be in danger when I’m caught in bed with another man’s wife! But these little lines are the escape routes I can take to get out of that one. If luck’s a lady, she’s good at this business. Father, let’s go. I’ll leave the Jew behind in the blink of an eye.
Exit LAUNCELOT the clown with Old GOBBO
LAUNCELOT and GOBBO exit.

BASSANIO

I pray thee, good Leonardo, think on this.
These things being bought and orderly bestowed,
125Return in haste, for I do feast tonight
My best esteemed acquaintance. Hie thee, go.
BASSANIO
Please, Leonardo, think about this (he hands him a piece of paper). These things have been bought and are ready. Hurry back here. I’m having dinner tonight with someone I greatly respect. Go now.

LEONARDO

My best endeavours shall be done herein.

LEONARDO

I’ll do my best.
Enter GRATIANO
GRATIANO enters.

GRATIANO

(to LEONARDO) Where is your master?

GRATIANO

(to LEONARDO) Where’s your master?

LEONARDO

     Yonder, sir, he walks.

LEONARDO

He’s walking over there, sir.
Exit LEONARDO
LEONARDO exits.