The Most Excellent Historie of the Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (1600)

Your favourite bit, aside from But love is blind, and lovers cannot see and All that glisters is not gold?

Mine’s got to be, apart from Portia’s acidic I’d rather be married to a death’s head with a bone in his mouth, Gratiano’s Let me play the fool: with mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.

But hark, I sense a need for one more touch.

Pause on these soft lovers that show us much.

To the grove, let us the lovers behold!

Okay, okay, I’ll keep practicing.

[Lorenzo:] 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 Trojan walls,

And sighed his soul toward the Grecian tents,

Where Cressid laid that night.

[Jessica:] In such a night,

Did Thisbe fearfully o’ertrip the dew,

And saw the lion’s shadow ere himself,

And ran dismay’d away.

[Lor.:] 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.

[Jes.:] In such a night,

Medea gather’d the enchanted herbs

That did renew old Aeson.

[Lor.:] In such a night,

Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew,

And with an unthrift love did run from Venice,

As far as Belmont.

[Jes.:] 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.

[Lor.:] In such a night did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,

Slander her love, and he forgave it her.

[Jes.] I would out-night you, did no body come;

But, hark, I hear the footing of a man.

Clomp, clomp, clomp. And so on.

Isn’t it lovely?

Perhaps too much on the sighing and wafting, though.

The latter reminds me of Pocahontas’s smell the colour of my wind or whatever it was in that Disney movie.

Hey, ho, gotta go.

Before I foot in big mouth do put in.

Thanks for being here.

Buy The Merchant of Venice (free delivery, cardboard wrapping)

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Book Bore.

Guy Nicholls, writer and book bore.

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