Document:  All > Shakespeare > Comedies > The Merchant of Venice > Act III, scene V



	[Enter LAUNCELOT and JESSICA]

LAUNCELOT: Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the father
	are to be laid upon the children: therefore, I
	promise ye, I fear you. I was always plain with
	you, and so now I speak my agitation of the matter:
	therefore be of good cheer, for truly I think you
	are damned. There is but one hope in it that can do
	you any good; and that is but a kind of bastard
	hope neither.

JESSICA: And what hope is that, I pray thee?

LAUNCELOT: Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you
	not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.

JESSICA: That were a kind of bastard hope, indeed: so the
	sins of my mother should be visited upon me.

LAUNCELOT: Truly then I fear you are damned both by father and
	mother: thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I
	fall into Charybdis, your mother: well, you are
	gone both ways.

JESSICA: I shall be saved by my husband; he hath made me a
	Christian.

LAUNCELOT: Truly, the more to blame he: we were Christians
	enow before; e'en as many as could well live, one by
	another. This making Christians will raise the
	price of hogs: if we grow all to be pork-eaters, we
	shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals for money.

	[Enter LORENZO]

JESSICA: I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you say: here he comes.

LORENZO: I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if
	you thus get my wife into corners.

JESSICA: Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo: Launcelot and I
	are out. He tells me flatly, there is no mercy for
	me in heaven, because I am a Jew's daughter: and he
	says, you are no good member of the commonwealth,
	for in converting Jews to Christians, you raise the
	price of pork.

LORENZO: I shall answer that better to the commonwealth than
	you can the getting up of the negro's belly: the
	Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.

LAUNCELOT: It is much that the Moor should be more than reason:
	but if she be less than an honest woman, she is
	indeed more than I took her for.

LORENZO: How every fool can play upon the word! I think the
	best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence,
	and discourse grow commendable in none only but
	parrots. Go in, sirrah; bid them prepare for dinner.

LAUNCELOT: That is done, sir; they have all stomachs.

LORENZO: Goodly Lord, what a wit-snapper are you! then bid
	them prepare dinner.

LAUNCELOT: That is done too, sir; only 'cover' is the word.

LORENZO: Will you cover then, sir?

LAUNCELOT: Not so, sir, neither; I know my duty.

LORENZO: Yet more quarrelling with occasion! Wilt thou show
	the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant? I pray
	tree, understand a plain man in his plain meaning:
	go to thy fellows; bid them cover the table, serve
	in the meat, and we will come in to dinner.

LAUNCELOT: For the table, sir, it shall be served in; for the
	meat, sir, it shall be covered; for your coming in
	to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humours and
	conceits shall govern.

	[Exit]

LORENZO: O dear discretion, how his words are suited!
	The fool hath planted in his memory
	An army of good words; and I do know
	A many fools, that stand in better place,
	Garnish'd like him, that for a tricksy word
	Defy the matter. How cheerest thou, Jessica?
	And now, good sweet, say thy opinion,
	How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio's wife?

JESSICA: Past all expressing. It is very meet
	The Lord Bassanio live an upright life;
	For, having such a blessing in his lady,
	He finds the joys of heaven here on earth;
	And if on earth he do not mean it, then
	In reason he should never come to heaven
	Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match
	And on the wager lay two earthly women,
	And Portia one, there must be something else
	Pawn'd with the other, for the poor rude world
	Hath not her fellow.

LORENZO: Even such a husband
	Hast thou of me as she is for a wife.

JESSICA: Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.

LORENZO: I will anon: first, let us go to dinner.

JESSICA: Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach.

LORENZO: No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk;
'	Then, howso'er thou speak'st, 'mong other things
	I shall digest it.

JESSICA:                   Well, I'll set you forth.

	[Exeunt]




	THE MERCHANT OF VENICE






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