Skip over navigation

The Merchant of Venice

Original Text

Modern Text



55




60

    Now he goes
With no less presence but with much more love
Than young Alcides, when he did redeem
The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy
To the sea monster. I stand for sacrifice.
The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives,
With blearèd visages come forth to view
The issue of th' exploit.—Go, Hercules!
Live thou, I live. With much, much more dismay
I view the fight than thou that makest the fray.
Bassanio’s walking to the boxes now. He looks as dignified as Hercules did when he saved the princess Hesione from the sea monster. But he loves me more than Hercules loved the princess. I’ll play Hesione, and everyone else will be the bystanders watching with tear-streaked faces. We’ve all come out to see what will happen.—Go, Hercules! If you survive, I’ll live. I’m more anxious watching you fight than you are in the fight itself.
A song, the whilst BASSANIO comments on the caskets to himself
A song plays while BASSANIO mulls over the boxes.



65
SINGER
(sings)
Tell me where is fancy bred.
Or in the heart or in the head?
How begot, how nourishèd?
SINGER
(singing)
Tell me where do our desires start,
In the heart or in the head?
How are they created, how sustained?

ALL
Reply, reply.
ALL
  Answer me, answer me.



70


SINGER
(sings)
It is engendered in the eyes,
With gazing fed, and fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies.
Let us all ring fancy’s knell
I’ll begin it.—Ding, dong, bell.
SINGER
(singing)
Desires start in the eyes,
Sustained by gazing, and desires die
Very young.
Let’s all mourn our dead desires.
I’ll begin—Ding, dong, bell.

ALL
Ding, dong, bell.
ALL
  Ding, dong, bell.

More Help

Previous Next
s