Skip to content

Merchant of Venice, C3v

Editorial note

Our goal for this transcription was to create something aimed at person who’d like to read the First Quarto but is still working and building the skills to get there. With this editorial stance, we will be making some aspects more accessible, while also preserving most aspects from the original text.

First, we decided to regularize the full names of characters when they’re used to indicate who is speaking. We also decided to bold the names of speaker to make them renditionally distinct from their dialogue. As students building our own skill level, we thought this would be a simple adjustment that greatly enhanced accessibility. As a result, the transcript is much clearer, and students do not need to memorize each character’s abbreviated name. However, names spoken aloud as part of the dialogue such as “Signor Baſſanio” will remain unchanged.

Additionally, we added emojis to each of the characters. These act as manicules, indicating who speaks which lines, while also providing some contextual information about the character. We chose the clown emoji for the Clown (aka Lancelot/Lancelet) because he is a jester. We chose the lone eye for Leonardo because he is a servant character, so he sees but rarely speaks. We chose a broken heart for Bassanio because he pines for Portia, which breaks Antonio’s heart. We chose the tuxedo emoji for Gratiano because he will be married to Nerissa, which contrasts his earlier portrayal as a playboy.

Our transcription preserves typographic aspects of the original text, like the long s character ( ſ ). We see these characters as essential to learning how to read the First Quarto.

We included the lines preceding and succeeding the passage on the page for a more complete context and so that each time a character speaks their whole line is available to readers and they won’t have to go searching for lines. We also decided to add spaces after each character leaves to make the exit clearer.

🤡Clowne. Father in, I cannot get a  seruice service no, I haue nere a tong in my head, wel: if any man in Italy haue a fayrer table which
dooth offer to sweare vpon a booke, I shall haue good fortune;
goe too, heere's a simple lyne of life, heeres a small tryfle of wiues,
alas, fifteene wiues is nothing, a leuen widdowes and nine maydes
is a simple comming in for one man, and then to scape drowning
thrice, and to be in perrill of my life with the edge of a featherbed,
heere are simple scapes: well, if Fortune be a woman she's a good
wench for this gere: Father come, ile take my leaue of the Iewe in


the twinkling. 

Exit Clowne.1

Bassanio. I pray thee good Leonardo thinke on this,
Theſe things being bought and orderly beſtowed
Returne in haſt, for I doe feaſt to night
My beſt eſteemd acquaintance, hie thee goe.2
Leonardo. My beſt endeuours ſhall be done heerein. 

Exit Leonardo.

Enter Gratiano.
Gratiano. Where's your Maiſter.
 👁️Leonardo. Yonder ſir he walkes.
Gratiano. Signior Baſſanio.
Bassanio. Gratiano.
Gratiano. I haue ſute to you.
Bassanio. You haue obtaind it.
Gratiano. You muſt not deny me, I muſt goe with you to Belmont.
Bassanio. Why then you muſt but heare thee Gratiano,4
Thou art to wild, to rude, and bold of voyce,
Parts that become thee happily enough,
And in ſuch eyes as ours appeare not faults
But where thou art not knowne; why there they ſhow
Somthing too liberall, pray thee take paine
To allay with ſome cold drops of modeſtie
Thy skipping ſpirit, least through thy wild behauiour
I be miſconſtred in the place I goe to,
And loose my hopes.5
Gratiano. Signor Bassanio, heare me,
Yf I doe not put on a ſober habite,6
Talke with reſpect, and ſweare but now and than,
Weare prayer bookes in my pocket, looke demurely,
Nay more, while grace is ſaying hood mine eyes
Thus with my hat, and ſigh and ſay amen:
Vſe all the obſeruance of ciuillity
Like one well ſtudied in a ſad oſtent
To pleaſe his Grandam, neuer truſt me more.
Bassanio. Well, we ſhall ſee your bearing.
Gratiano. Nay but I barre to night, you ſhall not gage me
By what we doe to night.7
Bassanio. No that were pitty,


I would intreate you rather to put on
Your boldest sute of mirth, for we haue friends
That purpose merriment: but far you well,
I haue some busines.8

Image credit: Rare Books & Manuscripts Department, Boston Public Library, copy G.176.16. The most excellent historie of the merchant of Venice. First Quarto. London: 1600.

Citing this page: Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice, C3v. London: 1600. Cacodemon Digital Shakespeare. Edited by Kaitlin Kerr and Sienna Berlinger. Source edition: Rare Books & Manuscripts Department, Boston Public Library (copy G.176.16).




Antonio is in love with Bassanio, who is just friends with Antonio. Clown aka Lancelot and Leonardo are both servants to Bassanio. Gratiano and Bassanio are friends.

Antonio is in love with Bassanio, who is just friends with Antonio. Clown aka Lancelot and Leonardo are both servants to Bassanio. Gratiano and Bassanio are friends.

I PRAY thee GOOD LeonARdo THINKE on THIS, These THINGS being BOUGHT and orDERly bestOWED ReTURNE in HAST, for I doe FEAST to NIGHT My BEST esTEEMD acQUAIntance, HIE thee GOE

I PRAY thee GOOD LeonARdo THINKE on THIS, These THINGS being BOUGHT and orDERly bestOWED ReTURNE in HAST, for I doe FEAST to NIGHT My BEST esTEEMD acQUAIntance, HIE thee GOE

The Merchant of Venice (2004) directed by Michael Radford
timestamps: 27:16-28:48

  1. Activity 1- Interpersonal Relationships: Draw a diagram or map out how the characters in this scene are connected to one another to one another. When you are done, see how we did this activity.
  2. Activity 2- Iambic Pentameter: Shakespeare uses iambic pentameter to make his plays rhythmic and structured. Iamb is a type of measurement (feet) that has an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. One word that is a good example of this is "above" (a-BOVE). Meter is the count of the number of "feet" in a line and penta means five so Pentameter means that there are 5 "feet"–or Iambs in this case–in each line. For the activity write out one of these lines marking which syllables are stressed and which ones are unstressed. Our example can be found here.
  3. In many other versions of this text, Leonardo exits here. In this version this line probably implies that he speaks this line as he is exiting the stage.
  4. Discussion Question: How do these lines contradict each other? Why is Gratiano different from Lancelot the Clown when asking to accompany or work with Bassanio? How does Bassanio's recklessness differ from Gratiano's recklessness? Is that an important distinction?
  5. Discussion Question: Does Bassanio's insistence that Gratiano improve his behavior so that they do not look bad in Belmont strengthen their relationship? Why or why not? Is it an example of comradery or division?
  6. Do you have questions about the love surrounding Bassanio? Try the following source to examine how relationships with Bassanio are varied and how Gratiano's plead with Bassanio here to accompany him adds a difficult dynamic to Bassanio's pining for Portia. Patterson, Steve. “The Bankruptcy of Homoerotic Amity in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.” Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 50, no. 1, 1999, pp. 9–32. JSTOR. Accessed 24 Nov. 2020. (bottom of page 19) Can be accessed here
  7. Activity 3- Watch and Discuss: Watch a performance of this scene. It is from a 2004 movie version of this play. Are the characters what you expected? Talk with a partner or write down how the performance adds or subtracts to the text. Consider this: the page you see here is from the original quarto and the text has gone through many renditions or revisions since then as seen with Leonardo's exit or the Clown's name. Why have these lines remained the same? What does that say about the relationship between Bassanio and Gratiano?
  8. Discussion question: Why is this conversation in the same scene as Lancelot the clown's conversation with his father? How does the separation of scenes create or disrupt the flow of the play? Do you think this makes it easier or more difficult to read? Would you separate the scenes more? If so, where? If not, talk about how the scenes flow together and what impact that has.