A line-by-line translation

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice Translation Act 2, Scene 6

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

Enter the masquers GRATIANO and SALERIO

GRATIANO

This is the penthouse under which LorenzoDesired us to make stand.

GRATIANO

This is the house Lorenzo wanted us to wait at.

SALERIO

His hour is almost past.

SALERIO

He's nearly late.

GRATIANO

And it is marvel he outdwells his hour,For lovers ever run before the clock.

GRATIANO

Yes, and that's surprising, because those in love are usually early.

SALERIO

Oh, ten times faster Venus' pigeons flyTo seal love’s bonds new made than they are wontTo keep obligèd faith unforfeited.

SALERIO

The doves of Venus fly ten times faster to consummate a new relationship than to keep couples together.

GRATIANO

That ever holds. Who riseth from a feast With that keen appetite that he sits down? Where is the horse that doth untread again His tedious measures with the unbated fire That he did pace them first? All things that are, Are with more spirit chasèd than enjoyed. How like a younger or a prodigal The scarfèd bark puts from her native bay, Hugged and embraèd by the strumpet wind! How like the prodigal doth she return, With overweathered ribs and ragged sails Lean, rent, and beggared by the strumpet wind!

GRATIANO

That's always true. Who leaves a meal as hungry as when he sat down? What horse retraces its steps with as much eagerness as when it went forward? The chase is always the most exciting part. When a ship leaves its native bay its sails are hugged and embraced by the loving wind! But when the ship returns it has weathered sides and ragged sails, damaged and torn apart by the vicious wind!

SALERIO

Here comes Lorenzo. More of this hereafter.

SALERIO

Here comes Lorenzo. We can talk about this more later.

Enter LORENZO

LORENZO

Sweet friends, your patience for my long abode. Not I but my affairs have made you wait. When you shall please to play the thieves for wives, I’ll watch as long for you then. Approach. Here dwells my father Jew.—Ho! Who’s within?

LORENZO

My sweet friends, forgive me for being late. I didn't keep you waiting on purpose, but had to because of my business. When you are the ones trying and steal your wives away, I'll wait just as patiently for you as you've waited for me. Come here. This the house of the Jew that will be my father-in-law. Hello! Who's there?

Enter JESSICA above, disguised as a boy

JESSICA

Who are you? Tell me for more certainty,Albeit I’ll swear that I do know your tongue.

JESSICA

Who are you? Tell me so I can be sure, although I swear I recognize your voice.

LORENZO

Lorenzo, and thy love.

LORENZO

It is Lorenzo, your love.

JESSICA

Lorenzo certain, and my love indeed— For who love I so much? And now who knowsBut you, Lorenzo, whether I am yours?

JESSICA

You are certainly Lorenzo, and definitely my love. Who do I love as much as you? And who other than yourself knows that I am yours?

LORENZO

Heaven and thy thoughts are witness that thou art.

LORENZO

Heaven and you yourself both know that you are mine.

JESSICA

Here, catch this casket. It is worth the pains. I am glad ’tis night, you do not look on me, For I am much ashamed of my exchange. But love is blind, and lovers cannot see The pretty follies that themselves commit, For if they could Cupid himself would blush To see me thus transformèd to a boy.

JESSICA

Here, catch this box. It's worth the effort. I am glad it's dark out so you can't see me. I'm very ashamed of how I look in my disguise. But love is blind and lovers cannot see the little faults in their relationships. If they could, Cupid himself would blush at how ridiculous I look disguised as a boy.

LORENZO

Descend, for you must be my torchbearer.

LORENZO

Come down. You must be my torchbearer.

JESSICA

What, must I hold a candle to my shames? They in themselves, good sooth, are too too light. Why, ’tis an office of discovery, love. And I should be obscured.

JESSICA

What, I'm supposed to hold up a candle so you can see my shameful appearance? Speaking of light, my behavior is a little too light on morality. The torchbearer brings things to light, my love, and I should be kept hidden in the shadows.

LORENZO

So are you, sweet, Even in the lovely garnish of a boy. But come at once, For the close night doth play the runaway, And we are stayed for at Bassanio’s feast.

LORENZO

You are hidden, sweetie, in the lovely disguise of a boy. But come here at once. The night is going by quickly, and they're waiting for us at Bassanio's feast.

JESSICA

I will make fast the doors and gild myself With some more ducats, and be with you straight.

JESSICA

I'll make sure the doors are securely closed and get some more money, and then I'll be with you right away.

Exit JESSICA above

GRATIANO

Now, by my hood, a gentle and no Jew.

GRATIANO

I swear, she's too gentle to be a Jew.

LORENZO

Beshrew me but I love her heartily. For she is wise, if I can judge of her. And fair she is, if that mine eyes be true. And true she is, as she hath proved herself. And therefore, like herself—wise, fair and true— Shall she be placèd in my constant soul.

LORENZO

Call me crazy, but I love her with all my heart. If I'm any judge of character, she is wise. And if my eyes are trustworthy, she is beautiful. Moreover, she has proven herself to be loyal. And since she is wise, beautiful, and loyal, she will always be in my heart.

Enter JESSICA

What, art thou come?—On, gentlemen, away!Our masquing mates by this time for us stay.

Are you here now? Gentlemen, let's go! Our fellow party-goers are waiting for us at the masquerade.

Exit LORENZO with JESSICA and SALERIO

Enter ANTONIO

ANTONIO

Who’s there?

ANTONIO

Who's there?

GRATIANO

Signor Antonio?

GRATIANO

Sir Antonio?

ANTONIO

Fie, fie, Gratiano! Where are all the rest? 'Tis nine o'clock. Our friends all stay for you. No masque tonight. The wind is come about. Bassanio presently will go aboard. I have sent twenty out to seek for you.

ANTONIO

Ah, Gratiano! Where is everyone else? It's nine o'clock. Our friends are all waiting for you. There's not going to be a masquerade party tonight. The wind is blowing, so Bassanio is going to get on his sailboat right away. I have sent twenty men out looking for you.

GRATIANO

I am glad on ’t. I desire no more delightThan to be under sail and gone tonight.

GRATIANO

I'm glad. I don't want a party. All I want is to be on our way sailing tonight.

Exeunt

The merchant of venice
Join LitCharts A+ and get the entire Merchant of Venice Translation as a printable PDF.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
  • Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
  • Downloads of 758 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 18,162 quotes covering 758 books
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms
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.