The Merchant of Venice

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Sweet friends, your patience for my long abode.
Not I but my affairs have made you wait.
When you shall please to play the thieves for wives,
I’ll watch as long for you then. Approach.
25Here dwells my father Jew.—Ho! Who’s within?
My dear friends, thanks for your patience. I had business that made me late. When you have to steal your own wives some day, I’ll wait for you just as long. Come over here. My future father-in-law, the Jew, lives here.—Hey! Who’s in there?
Enter JESSICA above, disguised as a boy
JESSICA appears above, disguised as a boy.
Who are you? Tell me for more certainty,
Albeit I’ll swear that I do know your tongue.
Who are you? Tell me so I can be sure, though I swear I recognize your voice.
Lorenzo, and thy love.
I’m Lorenzo, your love.
Lorenzo certain, and my love indeed—
30For who love I so much? And now who knows
But you, Lorenzo, whether I am yours?
Lorenzo, that’s for sure, and I’m also sure you’re my love—who else do I love so much? And now who but you knows whether I’m yours?
Heaven and thy thoughts are witness that thou art.
As God is my witness, you know you’re mine.
Here, catch this casket. It is worth the pains.
I am glad ’tis night, you do not look on me,
35For I am much ashamed of my exchange.
But love is blind, and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit,
For if they could Cupid himself would blush
To see me thus transformèd to a boy.
Here, catch this box. It’ll be worth your while. I’m glad it’s nighttime and you can’t see me. I’m ashamed of my disguise. But love is blind, and lovers can’t see the silly things they do around each other. If they could, Cupid himself would be embarassed to see me dressed up as a boy.
40Descend, for you must be my torchbearer.
Come down here. You have to be my torchbearer for the masquerade.
What, must I hold a candle to my shames?
They in themselves, good sooth, are too too light.
Why, ’tis an office of discovery, love.
And I should be obscured.
What, I have to hold a candle up so people can see what I’m doing? The truth is, I’m behaving like a loose woman. The torchbearer is supposed to bring light and love, but I should be hidden away in the dark.