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Merchant of Venice, H3r

Editorial note

This page draws attention to the original textual source, the first quarto printing, and the editorial decisions here are meant to highlight the unique textual qualities of that source. The transcription of the physical text preserves, to the editor's best ability, the traditional spellings, the formating, and typesetting that are present in the original document. The typesetting features that are preserved are the inclusion of the long s, the v and u shift, the i and j shift, the capitalization, and the italics, features that lead into the annotations and textual additions that the editor is hoping to foreground.

The preservation of the original textual features, preserves the unique ways that characters are referred to in the text. The only textual addition that the editor takes is to add Underlining to the instances where a character's name is used (including abbreviations), or a title is used in place of a name, in order to highlight that unique reference to the character, and how those references are not constant. For example, Portia is referred to by the text with the abbreviation "Por." but called "Iudge" (Judge) by the characters of the play, and yet at times even that form is changed into "Iudge" (having the same italicized I that is used elsewhere on the page for the first person pronoun) and even "iudge." Shylock too is referred by the text as "Iew." as well as being called "Iew" and "Iew" by the characters, but in one instance the texts itself refers to him as "Shy." when he learns that the law won't let him take his bond.

the Merchant of Venice.

are not with me eſteemd aboue thy life.

I would looſe all, I ſacrifize them all

‘heere to this deuill, to deliuer you.

Por. Your wife would giue you little thankes for that

if ſhe were by to heare you make the offer.

Gra. I haue a wife who I proteſt I loue,

I woulde ſhe were in heauen, ſo ſhe could

intreate ſome power to change this curriſh Iew.

Ner. Tis well you offer it behind her back,

the wiſh would make elſe an vnquiet houſe.

Iew. Theſe be the chriſtian husbands, I haue a daughter

vvould any of the ſtocke of Barrabs1

had beene her husband, rather then a Chriſtian.

We trifle time, I pray thee purſue ſentence

Por. A pound of that ſame Merchants fleſh is thine,

the Court awards it, and the law doth giue it.

Iew. Moſt rightfull Iudge.

Por. And you muſt cut this fleſh from off his breaſt,

the law alowes it, and the court awards it.

Iew. Moſt learned Iudge, a ſentence, come prepare.

Por. Tarry a little, there is ſome thing elſe,

this bond doth giue thee here no iote of blood,

the words expreſly are a pound of fleſh:

take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of fleſh,

but in the cutting it, if thou dooſt ſhed

one drop of Chriſtian blood, thy lands and goods

are by the lawes of Venice confiſcate

vnto the ſtate of Venice.

Gra. O vpright Iudge,

Marke Iew, ô learned Iudge.

Shy. Is that the law?

Por. Thy ſelfe ſhalt ſee the Act:

for as thou vrgeſt iuſtice, be aſſurd

thou ſhalt haue iuſtice more then thou deſirſt.

Gra. O learned iudge, mark Iew, a learned iudge.

Iew. I take this offer then, pay the bond thrice

and let the Chriſtian goe.

H.3.                                                Baſſ.

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, H3r. London: 1600. Cacodemon Digital Shakespeare. Edited by [your names]. Source edition: Rare Books & Manuscripts Department, Boston Public Library (copy G.176.16).


  1. The criminal Pontius Pilate released instead of Jesus