A line-by-line translation

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice Translation Act 2, Scene 6

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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

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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

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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

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LORENZO

Lorenzo, and thy love.

LORENZO

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JESSICA

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

JESSICA

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LORENZO

Heaven and thy thoughts are witness that thou art.

LORENZO

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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

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LORENZO

Descend, for you must be my torchbearer.

LORENZO

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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

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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

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JESSICA

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

JESSICA

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Exit JESSICA above

GRATIANO

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

GRATIANO

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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

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Enter JESSICA

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

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Exit LORENZO with JESSICA and SALERIO

Enter ANTONIO

ANTONIO

Who’s there?

ANTONIO

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GRATIANO

Signor Antonio?

GRATIANO

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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

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GRATIANO

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

GRATIANO

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Exeunt

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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.