The Merchant of Venice

by: William Shakespeare

Act I, scenes i-ii

1
I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano,
A stage where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one. (I.i.)

2
I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark. (I.i.)

3
By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world. (I.ii.)
4
If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottages princes’ palaces. (I.ii.)
5
The brain may devise laws for the blood, but a hot tempter leaps o’er a cold decree. (I.ii.)
6

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. Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad. (A I, s i)

7

Let me play the fool. With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come. And let my liver rather heat with wine Than my heart cool with mortifying groans. Why should a man whose blood is warm within Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster, Sleep when he wakes, and creep into the jaundice By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio— I love thee, and ’tis my love that speaks. (A I, s i)

8

In Belmont is a lady richly left, And she is fair and—fairer than that word— Of wondrous virtues. Sometimes from her eyes I did receive fair speechless messages. Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued To Cato’s daughter, Brutus' Portia… O my Antonio, had I but the means To hold a rival place with one of them, I have a mind presages me such thrift That I should questionless be fortunate! (A I, s i)

9

Try what my credit can in Venice do— That shall be racked even to the uttermost To furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia. Go presently inquire, and so will I, Where money is, and I no question make To have it of my trust or for my sake. (A I, s i)

10

Your father was ever virtuous, and holy men at their death have good inspirations. Therefore the lottery that he hath devised in these three chests of gold, silver, and lead, whereof who chooses his meaning chooses you, will no doubt never be chosen by any rightly but one who shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely suitors that are already come? (A I, s ii)