Copyright © 2016 by William Shakespeare.


All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations em- bodied in critical articles or reviews.


This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organiza- tions, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.


For information contact :

Sheba Blake Publishing






Book and Cover design by Sheba Blake Publishing


First Edition: January 2017






ACT 1.




ACT 2.










ACT 3.






ACT 4.








THE PRINCE OF MOROCCO, suitor to Portia

THE PRINCE OF ARRAGON, suitor to Portia

ANTONIO, a merchant of Venice

BASSANIO, his friend

SALANIO, friend to Antonio and Bassanio

SALARINO, friend to Antonio and Bassanio

GRATIANO, friend to Antonio and Bassanio

LORENZO, in love with Jessica

SHYLOCK, a rich Jew

TUBAL, a Jew, his friend

LAUNCELOT GOBBO, a clown, servant to Shylock

OLD GOBBO, father to Launcelot

LEONARDO, servant to Bassanio

BALTHASAR, servant to Portia

STEPHANO, servant to Portia

PORTIA, a rich heiress

NERISSA, her waiting-maid

JESSICA, daughter to Shylock

Magnificoes of Venice, Officers of the Court of Justice,Gaoler, Servants to Portia, and other Attendants



ACT 1.


Venice. A street



ANTONIO.In sooth, I know not why I am so sad;It wearies me; you say it wearies you;But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,I am to learn;And such a want-wit sadness makes of meThat I have much ado to know myself.

SALARINO.Your mind is tossing on the ocean;There where your argosies, with portly sail--Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood,Or as it were the pageants of the sea--Do overpeer the petty traffickers,That curtsy to them, do them reverence,As they fly by them with their woven wings.

SALANIO.Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,The better part of my affections wouldBe with my hopes abroad. I should be stillPlucking the grass to know where sits the wind,Peering in maps for ports, and piers, and roads;And every object that might make me fearMisfortune to my ventures, out of doubtWould make me sad.

SALARINO.My wind, cooling my brothWould blow me to an ague, when I thoughtWhat harm a wind too great might do at sea.I should not see the sandy hour-glass runBut I should think of shallows and of flats,And see my wealthy Andrew dock'd in sand,Vailing her high top lower than her ribsTo kiss her burial. Should I go to churchAnd see the holy edifice of stone,And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks,Which, touching but my gentle vessel's side,Would scatter all her spices on the stream,Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks,And, in a word, but even now worth this,And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thoughtTo think on this, and shall I lack the thoughtThat such a thing bechanc'd would make me sad?But tell not me; I know AntonioIs sad to think upon his merchandise.

ANTONIO.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 estateUpon the fortune of this present year;Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad.

SALARINO.Why, then you are in love.

ANTONIO.Fie, fie!

SALARINO.Not in love neither? Then let us say you are sadBecause you are not merry; and 'twere as easyFor you to laugh and leap and say you are merry,Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed Janus,Nature hath fram'd strange fellows in her time:Some that will evermore peep through their eyes,And laugh like parrots at a bag-piper;And other of such vinegar aspectThat they'll not show their teeth in way of smileThough Nestor swear the jest be laughable.


SALANIO.Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman,Gratiano, and Lorenzo. Fare ye well;We leave you now with better company.

SALARINO.I would have stay'd till I had made you merry,If worthier friends had not prevented me.

ANTONIO.Your worth is very dear in my regard.I take it your own business calls on you,And you embrace th' occasion to depart.

SALARINO.Good morrow, my good lords.

BASSANIO.Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? Say when.You grow exceeding strange; must it be so?

SALARINO.We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.


LORENZO.My Lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio,We two will leave you; but at dinner-time,I pray you, have in mind where we must meet.

BASSANIO.I will not fail you.

GRATIANO.You look not well, Signior Antonio;You have too much respect upon the world;They lose it that do buy it with much care.Believe me, you are marvellously chang'd.

ANTONIO.I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;A stage, where every man must play a part,And mine a sad one.

GRATIANO.Let me play the fool;With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come;And let my liver rather heat with wineThan my heart cool with mortifying groans.Why should a man whose blood is warm withinSit like his grandsire cut in alabaster,Sleep when he wakes, and creep into the jaundiceBy being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio--I love thee, and 'tis my love that speaks--There are a sort of men whose visagesDo cream and mantle like a standing pond,And do a wilful stillness entertain,With purpose to be dress'd in an opinionOf wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;As who should say 'I am Sir Oracle,And when I ope my lips let no dog bark.'O my Antonio, I do know of theseThat therefore only are reputed wiseFor saying nothing; when, I am very sure,If they should speak, would almost damn those earsWhich, hearing them, would call their brothers fools.I'll tell thee more of this another time.But fish not with this melancholy bait,For this fool gudgeon, this opinion.Come, good Lorenzo. Fare ye well awhile;I'll end my exhortation after dinner.

LORENZO.Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time.I must be one of these same dumb wise men,For Gratiano never lets me speak.

GRATIANO.Well, keep me company but two years moe,Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue.

ANTONIO.Fare you well; I'll grow a talker for this gear.

GRATIANO.Thanks, i' faith, for silence is only commendableIn a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible.


ANTONIO.Is that anything now?

BASSANIO.Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more thanany man in all Venice. His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in, two bushels of chaff: you shall seek all day ere you find them, and when you have them they are not worth the search.

ANTONIO.Well; tell me now what lady is the sameTo whom you swore a secret pilgrimage,That you to-day promis'd to tell me of?

BASSANIO.'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,How much I have disabled mine estateBy something showing a more swelling portThan my faint means would grant continuance;Nor do I now make moan to be abridg'dFrom such a noble rate; but my chief careIs to come fairly off from the great debtsWherein my time, something too prodigal,Hath left me gag'd. To you, Antonio,I owe the most, in money and in love;And from your love I have a warrantyTo unburden all my plots and purposesHow to get clear of all the debts I owe.

ANTONIO.I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;And if it stand, as you yourself still do,Within the eye of honour, be assur'dMy purse, my person, my extremest means,Lie all unlock'd to your occasions.

BASSANIO.In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,I shot his fellow of the self-same flightThe self-same way, with more advised watch,To find the other forth; and by adventuring bothI oft found both. I urge this childhood proof,Because what follows is pure innocence.I owe you much; and, like a wilful youth,That which I owe is lost; but if you pleaseTo shoot another arrow that self wayWhich you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,As I will watch the aim, or to find both,Or bring your latter hazard back againAnd thankfully rest debtor for the first.

ANTONIO.You know me well, and herein spend but timeTo wind about my love with circumstance;And out of doubt you do me now more wrongIn making question of my uttermostThan if you had made waste of all I have.Then do but say to me what I should doThat in your knowledge may by me be done,And I am prest unto it; therefore, speak.

BASSANIO.In Belmont is a lady richly left,And she is fair and, fairer than that word,Of wondrous virtues. Sometimes from her eyesI did receive fair speechless messages:Her name is Portia--nothing undervalu'dTo Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia:Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,For the four winds blow in from every coastRenowned suitors, and her sunny locksHang on her temples like a golden fleece;Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos' strond,And many Jasons come in quest of her.O my Antonio! had I but the meansTo hold a rival place with one of them,I have a mind presages me such thriftThat I should questionless be fortunate.

ANTONIO.Thou know'st that all my fortunes are at sea;Neither have I money nor commodityTo raise a present sum; therefore go forth,Try what my credit can in Venice do;That shall be rack'd, 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 makeTo have it of my trust or for my sake.




Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house



PORTIA.By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of thisgreat world.

NERISSA.You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in thesame abundance as your good fortunes are; and yet, for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit with too much as they that starve with nothing. It is no mean happiness, therefore, to be seated in the mean: superfluity come sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.

PORTIA.Good sentences, and well pronounced.

NERISSA.They would be better, if well followed.

PORTIA.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. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions; I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done than to be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching. The brain may devise laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree; such a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel the cripple. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me a husband. O me, the word 'choose'! I may neither choose who I would nor refuse who I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curb'd by the will of a dead father. Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none?

NERISSA.Your father was ever virtuous, and holy men at their deathhave good inspirations; therefore the lott'ry that he hathdevised 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 you shall rightly love. But what warmth is there in your affection towards any of these princely suitors that are already come?