Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from this
Jew my master. The fiend is at mine elbow and tempts me, saying
to me 'Gobbo, Launcelot Gobbo, good Launcelot' or 'good Gobbo' or
'good Launcelot Gobbo, use your legs, take the start, run away.'
My conscience says 'No; take heed, honest Launcelot, take heed,
honest Gobbo' or, as aforesaid, 'honest Launcelot Gobbo, do not
run; scorn running with thy heels.' Well, the most courageous
fiend bids me pack. 'Via!' says the fiend; 'away!' says the
fiend. 'For the heavens, rouse up a brave mind' says the fiend
'and run.' Well, my conscience, hanging about the neck of my
heart, says very wisely to me 'My honest friend Launcelot, being
an honest man's son' or rather 'an honest woman's son'; for
indeed my father did something smack, something grow to, he had a
kind of taste- well, my conscience says 'Launcelot, budge not.'
'Budge,' says the fiend. 'Budge not,' says my conscience.
'Conscience,' say I, (you counsel well.' 'Fiend,' say I, 'you
counsel well.' To be rul'd by my conscience, I should stay with
the Jew my master, who- God bless the mark!- is a kind of devil;
and, to run away from the Jew, I should be ruled by the fiend,
who- saving your reverence!- is the devil himself. Certainly the
Jew is the very devil incarnation; and, in my conscience, my
conscience is but a kind of hard conscience to offer to counsel
me to stay with the Jew. The fiend gives the more friendly
counsel. I will run, fiend; my heels are at your commandment; I
Ergo, Master Launcelot. Talk not of Master Launcelot,
father; for the young gentleman, according to Fates and Destinies
and such odd sayings, the Sisters Three and such branches of
learning, is indeed deceased; or, as you would say in plain
terms, gone to heaven.
Marry, God forbid! The boy was the very staff of my age, my
Do I look like a cudgel or a hovel-post, a staff or a
prop? Do you know me, father?
Alack the day, I know you not, young gentleman; but I pray
you tell me, is my boy- God rest his soul!- alive or dead?
Alack, sir, I am sand-blind; I know you not.
Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of the
knowing me: it is a wise father that knows his own child. Well,
old man, I will tell you news of your son. Give me your blessing;
truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long; a man's son
may, but in the end truth will out.
Pray you, sir, stand up; I am sure you are not Launcelot my
Pray you, let's have no more fooling about it, but give
me your blessing; I am Launcelot, your boy that was, your son
that is, your child that shall be.
I know not what I shall think of that; but I am
Launcelot, the Jew's man, and I am sure Margery your wife is my
Her name is Margery, indeed. I'll be sworn, if thou be
Launcelot, thou art mine own flesh and blood. Lord worshipp'd
might he be, what a beard hast thou got! Thou hast got more hair
on thy chin than Dobbin my fill-horse has on his tail.
It should seem, then, that Dobbin's tail grows backward;
I am sure he had more hair of his tail than I have of my face
when I last saw him.
Lord, how art thou chang'd! How dost thou and thy master
agree? I have brought him a present. How 'gree you now?
Well, well; but, for mine own part, as I have set up my
rest to run away, so I will not rest till I have run some ground.
My master's a very Jew. Give him a present! Give him a halter. I
am famish'd in his service; you may tell every finger I have with
my ribs. Father, I am glad you are come; give me your present to
one Master Bassanio, who indeed gives rare new liveries; if I
serve not him, I will run as far as God has any ground. O rare
fortune! Here comes the man. To him, father, for I am a Jew, if I
serve the Jew any longer.
Enter BASSANIO, with LEONARDO, with a FOLLOWER or two
You may do so; but let it be so hasted that supper be
ready at the farthest by five of the clock. See these letters
delivered, put the liveries to making, and desire Gratiano to
come anon to my lodging.
I know thee well; thou hast obtain'd thy suit.
Shylock thy master spoke with me this day,
And hath preferr'd thee, if it be preferment
To leave a rich Jew's service to become
The follower of so poor a gentleman.
The old proverb is very well parted between my master
Shylock and you, sir: you have the grace of God, sir, and he hath
Thou speak'st it well. Go, father, with thy son.
Take leave of thy old master, and inquire
My lodging out. [To a SERVANT] Give him a livery
More guarded than his fellows'; see it done.
Father, in. I cannot get a service, no! I have ne'er a
tongue in my head! [Looking on his 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;
a'leven 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.
You must not deny me: I must go with you to Belmont.
Why, then you must. But hear thee, Gratiano:
Thou art too wild, too rude, and bold of voice-
Parts that become thee happily enough,
And in such eyes as ours appear not faults;
But where thou art not known, why there they show
Something too liberal. Pray thee, take pain
To allay with some cold drops of modesty
Thy skipping spirit; lest through thy wild behaviour
I be misconst'red in the place I go to
And lose my hopes.
Signior Bassanio, hear me:
If I do not put on a sober habit,
Talk with respect, and swear but now and then,
Wear prayer-books in my pocket, look demurely,
Nay more, while grace is saying hood mine eyes
Thus with my hat, and sigh, and say amen,
Use all the observance of civility
Like one well studied in a sad ostent
To please his grandam, never trust me more.