The Merchant of Venice By William Shakespeare Act V: Scene 1


SCENE I. Belmont. The avenue to PORTIA's house.


The moon shines bright: in such a night as this,
When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees,
And they did make no noise, in such a night,
Troilus methinks mounted the Troyan walls,
And sigh'd his soul toward the Grecian tents,
Where Cressid lay that night.

In such a night
Did Thisby fearfully o'ertrip the dew,
And saw the lion's shadow ere himself,
And ran dismay'd away.

In such a night
Stood Dido with a willow in her hand
Upon the wild sea-banks, and waft her love
To come again to Carthage.

In such a night
Medea gather'd the enchanted herbs
That did renew old AEson.

In such a night
Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew,
And with an unthrift love did run from Venice
As far as Belmont.

In such a night
Did young Lorenzo swear he lov'd her well,
Stealing her soul with many vows of faith, —
And ne'er a true one.

In such a night
Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,
Slander her love, and he forgave it her.

I would out-night you, did no body come;
But, hark, I hear the footing of a man.


Who comes so fast in silence of the night?

A friend.

A friend! What friend? Your name, I pray you, friend?

Stephano is my name, and I bring word
My mistress will before the break of day
Be here at Belmont; she doth stray about
By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays
For happy wedlock hours.

Who comes with her?

None but a holy hermit and her maid.
I pray you, is my master yet return'd?

He is not, nor we have not heard from him.
But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica,
And ceremoniously let us prepare
Some welcome for the mistress of the house.


LAUNCELOT. Sola, sola! wo ha, ho! sola, sola!

Who calls?

Sola! Did you see Master Lorenzo? Master Lorenzo! Sola, sola!

Leave holloaing, man. Here!

Sola! Where? where?


Tell him there's a post come from my master with his
horn full of good news; my master will be here ere morning.


Sweet soul, let's in, and there expect their coming.
And yet no matter; why should we go in?
My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you,
Within the house, your mistress is at hand;
And bring your music forth into the air.


How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears; soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica: look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.

[Enter Musicians.]

Come, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn;
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear.
And draw her home with music.


I am never merry when I hear sweet music.

The reason is, your spirits are attentive;
For do but note a wild and wanton herd,
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud,
Which is the hot condition of their blood;
If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound,
Or any air of music touch their ears,
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
Their savage eyes turn'd to a modest gaze
By the sweet power of music: therefore the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods;
Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
But music for the time doth change his nature.
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.

[Enter PORTIA and NERISSA, at a distance.]

That light we see is burning in my hall.
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

When the moon shone, we did not see the candle.

So doth the greater glory dim the less:
A substitute shines brightly as a king
Until a king be by, and then his state
Empties itself, as doth an inland brook
Into the main of waters. Music! hark!

It is your music, madam, of the house.

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