The Merchant of Venice
Act 1, Scene 1
Enter ANTONIO, SALARINO, and SOLANIO
ANTONIO, SALARINO, and SOLANIO enter.
In sooth, I know not why I am so sad.
It wearies me; you say it wearies you.
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff ’tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn.
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.
To be honest, I don’t know why I’m so sad. I’m tired of it, and you say you’re tired of it too. But I have no idea how I got so depressed. And if I can’t figure out what’s making me depressed, I must not understand myself very well.
Your mind is tossing on the ocean,
There, where your argosies with portly sail,
Like signors and rich burghers on the flood—
Or, as it were, the pageants of the sea—
Do overpeer the petty traffickers
That curtsy to them, do them reverence
As they fly by them with their woven wings.
You’re worried about your ships. Your mind is out there getting tossed around on the ocean with them. But they’re fine. They’re like huge parade floats on the sea. They’re so big they look down on the smaller ships, which all have to bow and then get out of the way. Your ships fly like birds past those little boats.
Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,
The better part of my affections would
Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still
Plucking the grass to know where sits the wind,
Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads.
And every object that might make me fear
Misfortune to my ventures out of doubt
Would make me sad.
Yes, believe me, if I had such risky business ventures in other countries, I’d be sad too. I’d worry about it every second. I’d constantly be tossing blades of grass into the air to find out which way the wind was blowing. I’d be peering over maps to figure out the best ports, piers, and waterways. Everything that made me worry about my ships would make me sad.