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The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice Translation Act 2, Scene 4

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Enter GRATIANO, LORENZO, SALERIO, and SOLANIO

LORENZO

Nay, we will slink away in supper time,Disguise us at my lodging, and return,All in an hour.

LORENZO

No, we'll sneak off at dinner, disguise ourselves at my house, and then get back here all in an hour.

GRATIANO

We have not made good preparation.

GRATIANO

We haven't prepared well enough for this.

SALERIO

We have not spoke us yet of torchbearers.

SALERIO

We haven't got ourselves torchbearers yet.

SOLANIO

'Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly ordered,And better in my mind not undertook.

SOLANIO

Unless we plan carefully, this will turn out badly, and it will be better not to try this.

LORENZO

'Tis now but four o'clock. We have two hoursTo furnish us.

LORENZO

It's only four o'clock now. We have two hours to get ready.

Enter LAUNCELOT with a letter

Friend Launcelot, what’s the news?

My friend Launcelot, what's the news?

LAUNCELOT

[giving LORENZO the letter] An it shall please you to break up this, it shall seemto signify.

LAUNCELOT

[He gives LORENZO the letter] If you would open this up, it will tell you.

LORENZO

I know the hand. In faith, ’tis a fair hand,And whiter than the paper it writ onIs the fair hand that writ.

LORENZO

I know this handwriting. Truly written by a beautiful hand, one whiter than the paper it wrote on.

GRATIANO

Love news, in faith?

GRATIANO

Something about love, is it?

LAUNCELOT

[to LORENZO] By your leave, sir.

LAUNCELOT

[To LORENZO] May I leave, sir?

LORENZO

Whither goest thou?

LORENZO

Where are you going?

LAUNCELOT

Marry, sir, to bid my old master the Jew to sup tonightwith my new master the Christian.

LAUNCELOT

Sir, I am going to tell my old master the Jew to dine tonight with my new master the Christian.

LORENZO

[giving LAUNCELOT money] Hold here, take this. Tell gentle Jessica I will not fail her. Speak it privately.— Go, gentlemen, Will you prepare you for this masque tonight? I am provided of a torchbearer.

LORENZO

[Giving LAUNCELOT money] Hold on. Take this. Tell gentle Jessica that I won't fail her. Tell her this privately. And you gentlemen, go and prepare for this masquerade party tonight. I have a torchbearer.

Exit LAUNCELOT the clown

SALERIO

Ay, marry, I’ll be gone about it straight.

SALERIO

Yes, sure thing, I'll go see to it right away.

SOLANIO

And so will I.

SOLANIO

And so will I.

LORENZO

Meet me and GratianoAt Gratiano’s lodging some hour hence.

LORENZO

Meet Gratiano and me at Gratiano's house a few hours from now.

SALERIO

'Tis good we do so.

SALERIO

That's a good plan.

Exeunt SALERIO and SOLANIO

GRATIANO

Was not that letter from fair Jessica?

GRATIANO

Wasn't that letter from the beautiful Jessica?

LORENZO

I must needs tell thee all. She hath directed How I shall take her from her father’s house, What gold and jewels she is furnished with, What page’s suit she hath in readiness. If e'er the Jew her father come to heaven, It will be for his gentle daughter’s sake. And never dare Misfortune cross her foot Unless she do it under this excuse: That she is issue to a faithless Jew. Come, go with me. [gives GRATIANO the letter] Peruse this as thou goest. Fair Jessica shall be my torchbearer.

LORENZO

I must tell you everything. She has instructed me in how to take her away from her father's house and told me what gold and jewels she has, and that she has a servant's outfit ready. If her father the Jew ever gets into heaven, it will be thanks to his gentle, good daughter. And may misfortune never befall her unless under the excuse that she is the daughter of a faithless Jew. Come now, go with me.

[He gives GRATIANO the letter]
 Read this as you go. Beautiful Jessica will be my torchbearer.

Exeunt

The merchant of venice
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Matt cosby
About the Translator: Matt Cosby
Matt Cosby graduated from Amherst College in 2011, and currently works as a writer and editor for LitCharts. He is from Florida but now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also makes art, plays the piano, and goes to dog parks.