The Merchant of Venice

by: William Shakespeare

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LAUNCELOT

I beseech you, sir, go. My young master doth expect your reproach.

LAUNCELOT

Please go, sir. My new master is expecting your approach.

SHYLOCK

So do I his.

SHYLOCK

And I’m expecting his reproach.

LAUNCELOT

And they have conspired together. I will not say you shall see a masque, but if you do then it was not for nothing that my nose fell a-bleeding on Black Monday last at six o'clock i' th' morning falling out that year on Ash Wednesday was four year in th' afternoon.

LAUNCELOT

And they’ve been plotting things together. I’m not saying you’ll get a masquerade party, but if you do, I predicted it. I knew there would be a masquerade when I got that bad omen of a bloody nose last Easter Monday, at six in the morning, four years after I got the same kind of bloody nose on Ash Wednesday, in the afternoon.

SHYLOCK

What, are there masques? Hear you me, Jessica.
Lock up my doors, and when you hear the drum
And the vile squealing of the wry-necked fife,
30Clamber not you up to the casements then,
Nor thrust your head into the public street
To gaze on Christian fools with varnished faces.
But stop my house’s ears—I mean my casements—
Let not the sound of shallow foppery enter
35My sober house. By Jacob’s staff, I swear,
I have no mind of feasting forth tonight.
But I will go.—Go you before me, sirrah.
Say I will come.

SHYLOCK

What, there’s going to be a masquerade? Listen to me, Jessica, lock my doors up, and when you hear the drum and the nasty squealing of the flute, don’t climb up to the windows. Don’t stick your head out into the public street to stare at the Christian fools with painted faces. Block up my house’s ears—I mean the windows. Don’t let the noise of shallow fools enter my serious house. I swear, I’m in no mood to go out to dinner tonight, but I’ll go anyway.—Launcelot, go tell them I’ll come.

LAUNCELOT

   I will go before, sir.—
Mistress, look out at window, for all this.
40There will come a Christian by
Will be worth a Jewess' eye. 

LAUNCELOT

I’ll go ahead of you, sir. (to JESSICA) Mistress, be on the lookout when you’re staring out the window. A Christian’s coming who’ll be worth a Jewess’s glance.
Exit LAUNCELOT
LAUNCELOT exits.