This page contains the original text of Act 2, Scene 4 of The Merchant of Venice. Shakespeare’s original The Merchant of Venice text is extremely long, so we’ve split the text into one Scene per page. All Acts and Scenes are listed on the The Merchant of Venice text page, or linked to from the bottom of this page.
ACT 2. SCENE 4. The same. A street.
Enter GRATIANO, LORENZO, SALARINO, and SALANIO
Nay, we will slink away in supper-time,
Disguise us at my lodging and return,
All in an hour.
We have not made good preparation.
We have not spoke us yet of torchbearers.
‘Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly order’d,
And better in my mind not undertook.
‘Tis now but four o’clock: we have two hours
To furnish us.
Enter LAUNCELOT, with a letter
Friend Launcelot, what’s the news?
An it shall please you to break up
this, it shall seem to signify.
I know the hand: in faith, ’tis a fair hand;
And whiter than the paper it writ on
Is the fair hand that writ.
Love-news, in faith.
By your leave, sir.
Whither goest thou?
Marry, sir, to bid my old master the
Jew to sup to-night with my new master the Christian.
Hold here, take this: tell gentle Jessica
I will not fail her; speak it privately.
Will you prepare you for this masque tonight?
I am provided of a torch-bearer.
Ay, marry, I’ll be gone about it straight.
And so will I.
Meet me and Gratiano
At Gratiano’s lodging some hour hence.
‘Tis good we do so.
Exeunt SALARINO and SALANIO
Was not that letter from fair Jessica?
I must needs tell thee all. She hath directed
How I shall take her from her father’s house,
What gold and jewels she is furnish’d with,
What page’s suit she hath in readiness.
If e’er the Jew her father come to heaven,
It will be for his gentle daughter’s sake:
And never dare misfortune cross her foot,
Unless she do it under this excuse,
That she is issue to a faithless Jew.
Come, go with me; peruse this as thou goest:
Fair Jessica shall be my torch-beare r.
Read more scenes from The Merchant of Venice:
A guide to Shakespeare’s stage directions
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