List iconThe Merchant of Venice:
Act 5, scene 1
List icon

The Merchant of Venice
Act 5, scene 1



Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Antonio, the merchant in The Merchant of Venice, secures a loan from Shylock for his friend Bassanio, who seeks to court…

Act 1, scene 1

Antonio, a Venetian merchant, has invested all his wealth in trading expeditions. Bassanio, his friend and kinsman, asks him for…

Act 1, scene 2

At Portia’s estate of Belmont, Portia and Nerissa talk over Portia’s frustration at being unable to choose her own husband….

Act 1, scene 3

In Venice Bassanio goes to Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, to borrow, in Antonio’s name, 3,000 ducats. Shylock hates Antonio but…

Act 2, scene 1

At Belmont the Prince of Morocco greets Portia, who tells him the terms of the contest: if he chooses the…

Act 2, scene 2

In Venice Shylock’s servant, Lancelet Gobbo, debates whether he should find a new master. Lancelet’s father comes in search of…

Act 2, scene 3

Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, says good-bye to Lancelet and gives him a letter for Lorenzo, a friend of Bassanio. In a…

Act 2, scene 4

Lorenzo, Gratiano, Solanio, and Salarino try to arrange a masque for Bassanio’s dinner that night. Lancelet brings Lorenzo Jessica’s letter…

Act 2, scene 5

Lancelet brings Shylock an invitation to dinner at Bassanio’s. Shylock grudgingly accepts and commands Jessica to guard their house carefully….

Act 2, scene 6

Gratiano and Salarino wait for Lorenzo near Shylock’s house. As soon as Lorenzo arrives, he calls Jessica, who throws him…

Act 2, scene 7

At Belmont the Prince of Morocco attempts to choose the right chest and win Portia. He picks the gold one…

Act 2, scene 8

In Venice Solanio and Salarino discuss the latest news: Shylock’s torment over the loss of his daughter and the treasures…

Act 2, scene 9

At Belmont the Prince of Arragon attempts to win Portia by choosing the silver chest, but finds in it the…

Act 3, scene 1

In Venice Solanio and Salarino have learned that the Italian ship wrecked in the English Channel was Antonio’s. Shylock enters…

Act 3, scene 2

Portia advises Bassanio to postpone choosing for fear he should make the wrong choice. Bassanio declares himself unable to live…

Act 3, scene 3

Antonio seeks out Shylock in an effort to get the moneylender to listen to him. But Shylock insists that the…

Act 3, scene 4

Portia entrusts the management of her household to Lorenzo and pretends to leave with Nerissa for a house of an…

Act 3, scene 5

Lancelet, the clown, makes jokes at the expense of Jessica and then Lorenzo. Jessica praises Portia and jokes with Lorenzo.

Act 4, scene 1

In court at Venice, Shylock demands that the terms of his bond be fulfilled. Portia enters as a doctor of…

Act 4, scene 2

Gratiano gives the disguised Portia Bassanio’s ring. Nerissa decides to try to obtain from Gratiano the ring that she had…

Act 5, scene 1

Portia and Nerissa return to Belmont. When Bassanio and Gratiano also return, bringing Antonio with them, Portia and Nerissa “discover”…

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Scene 1
Enter Lorenzo and Jessica.

 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
5 And sighed his soul toward the Grecian tents
 Where Cressid lay that night.
JESSICA  In such a night
 Did Thisbe fearfully o’ertrip the dew
 And saw the lion’s shadow ere himself
10 And ran dismayed away.
LORENZO  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.
JESSICA 15 In such a night
 Medea gathered the enchanted herbs
 That did renew old Aeson.
LORENZO  In such a night
 Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew,
20 And with an unthrift love did run from Venice
 As far as Belmont.
JESSICA  In such a night
 Did young Lorenzo swear he loved her well,

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 5. SC. 1

 Stealing her soul with many vows of faith,
25 And ne’er a true one.
LORENZO  In such a night
 Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,
 Slander her love, and he forgave it her.
 I would out-night you did nobody come,
30 But hark, I hear the footing of a man.

Enter Stephano, a Messenger.

 Who comes so fast in silence of the night?
STEPHANO A friend.
 A friend? What friend? Your name, I pray you,
35 Stephano is my name, and I bring word
 My mistress will before the break of day
 Be here at Belmont. She doth stray about
 By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays
 For happy wedlock hours.
LORENZO 40 Who comes with her?
 None but a holy hermit and her maid.
 I pray you, is my master yet returned?
 He is not, nor we have not heard from him.—
 But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica,
45 And ceremoniously let us prepare
 Some welcome for the mistress of the house.

Enter Lancelet, the Clown.

LANCELET Sola, sola! Wo ha, ho! Sola, sola!
LORENZO Who calls?
LANCELET Sola! Did you see Master Lorenzo? Master
50 Lorenzo, sola, sola!

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 5. SC. 1

LORENZO Leave holloaing, man! Here.
LANCELET Sola! Where, where?
LANCELET Tell him there’s a post come from my master
55 with his horn full of good news. My master will
 be here ere morning, sweet soul.Lancelet exits.
LORENZO, to Jessica 
 Let’s in, and there expect their coming.
 And yet no matter; why should we go in?—
 My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you,
60 Within the house, your mistress is at hand,
 And bring your music forth into the air.
Stephano exits.
 How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank.
 Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
 Creep in our ears; soft stillness and the night
65 Become the touches of sweet harmony.
 Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
 Is thick inlaid with patens of bright gold.
 There’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st
 But in his motion like an angel sings,
70 Still choiring to the young-eyed cherubins.
 Such harmony is in immortal souls,
 But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
 Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.

Enter Stephano and musicians.

 Come, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn.
75 With sweetest touches pierce your mistress’ ear,
 And draw her home with music.
Music plays.
 I am never merry when I hear sweet music.
 The reason is, your spirits are attentive.
 For do but note a wild and wanton herd

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 5. SC. 1

80 Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
 Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud,
 Which is the hot condition of their blood,
 If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound,
 Or any air of music touch their ears,
85 You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
 Their savage eyes turned to a modest gaze
 By the sweet power of music. Therefore the poet
 Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and
90 Since naught so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
 But music for the time doth change his nature.
 The man that hath no music in himself,
 Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
 Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
95 The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
 And his affections dark as Erebus.
 Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.

Enter Portia and Nerissa.

 That light we see is burning in my hall.
 How far that little candle throws his beams!
100 So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
 When the moon shone we did not see the candle.
 So doth the greater glory dim the less.
 A substitute shines brightly as a king
 Until a king be by, and then his state
105 Empties itself as doth an inland brook
 Into the main of waters. Music, hark!
 It is your music, madam, of the house.
 Nothing is good, I see, without respect.
 Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day.

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ACT 5. SC. 1

110 Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.
 The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark
 When neither is attended, and I think
 The nightingale, if she should sing by day
 When every goose is cackling, would be thought
115 No better a musician than the wren.
 How many things by season seasoned are
 To their right praise and true perfection!
 Peace—how the moon sleeps with Endymion
 And would not be awaked!
Music ceases.
LORENZO 120 That is the voice,
 Or I am much deceived, of Portia.
 He knows me as the blind man knows the cuckoo,
 By the bad voice.
LORENZO  Dear lady, welcome home.
125 We have been praying for our husbands’ welfare,
 Which speed we hope the better for our words.
 Are they returned?
LORENZO  Madam, they are not yet,
 But there is come a messenger before
130 To signify their coming.
PORTIA  Go in, Nerissa.
 Give order to my servants that they take
 No note at all of our being absent hence—
 Nor you, Lorenzo—Jessica, nor you.
A trumpet sounds.
135 Your husband is at hand. I hear his trumpet.
 We are no tell-tales, madam, fear you not.
 This night methinks is but the daylight sick;

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 5. SC. 1

 It looks a little paler. ’Tis a day
 Such as the day is when the sun is hid.

Enter Bassanio, Antonio, Gratiano, and their followers.

140 We should hold day with the Antipodes
 If you would walk in absence of the sun.
 Let me give light, but let me not be light,
 For a light wife doth make a heavy husband,
 And never be Bassanio so for me.
145 But God sort all! You are welcome home, my lord.
Gratiano and Nerissa talk aside.
 I thank you, madam. Give welcome to my friend.
 This is the man, this is Antonio,
 To whom I am so infinitely bound.
 You should in all sense be much bound to him,
150 For as I hear he was much bound for you.
 No more than I am well acquitted of.
 Sir, you are very welcome to our house.
 It must appear in other ways than words;
 Therefore I scant this breathing courtesy.
GRATIANO, to Nerissa 
155 By yonder moon I swear you do me wrong!
 In faith, I gave it to the judge’s clerk.
 Would he were gelt that had it, for my part,
 Since you do take it, love, so much at heart.
 A quarrel ho, already! What’s the matter?
160 About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring
 That she did give me, whose posy was

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 5. SC. 1

 For all the world like cutler’s poetry
 Upon a knife, “Love me, and leave me not.”
 What talk you of the posy or the value?
165 You swore to me when I did give it you
 That you would wear it till your hour of death,
 And that it should lie with you in your grave.
 Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,
 You should have been respective and have kept it.
170 Gave it a judge’s clerk! No, God’s my judge,
 The clerk will ne’er wear hair on ’s face that had it.
 He will, an if he live to be a man.
 Ay, if a woman live to be a man.
 Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,
175 A kind of boy, a little scrubbèd boy,
 No higher than thyself, the judge’s clerk,
 A prating boy that begged it as a fee.
 I could not for my heart deny it him.
 You were to blame, I must be plain with you,
180 To part so slightly with your wife’s first gift,
 A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger,
 And so riveted with faith unto your flesh.
 I gave my love a ring and made him swear
 Never to part with it, and here he stands.
185 I dare be sworn for him he would not leave it
 Nor pluck it from his finger for the wealth
 That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano,
 You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief.
 An ’twere to me I should be mad at it.
BASSANIO, aside 
190 Why, I were best to cut my left hand off
 And swear I lost the ring defending it.

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 5. SC. 1

 My Lord Bassanio gave his ring away
 Unto the judge that begged it, and indeed
 Deserved it, too. And then the boy, his clerk,
195 That took some pains in writing, he begged mine,
 And neither man nor master would take aught
 But the two rings.
PORTIA  What ring gave you, my lord?
 Not that, I hope, which you received of me.
200 If I could add a lie unto a fault,
 I would deny it, but you see my finger
 Hath not the ring upon it. It is gone.
 Even so void is your false heart of truth.
 By heaven, I will ne’er come in your bed
205 Until I see the ring!
NERISSA, to Gratiano  Nor I in yours
 Till I again see mine!
BASSANIO  Sweet Portia,
 If you did know to whom I gave the ring,
210 If you did know for whom I gave the ring,
 And would conceive for what I gave the ring,
 And how unwillingly I left the ring,
 When naught would be accepted but the ring,
 You would abate the strength of your displeasure.
215 If you had known the virtue of the ring,
 Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
 Or your own honor to contain the ring,
 You would not then have parted with the ring.
 What man is there so much unreasonable,
220 If you had pleased to have defended it
 With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
 To urge the thing held as a ceremony?
 Nerissa teaches me what to believe:
 I’ll die for ’t but some woman had the ring!

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 5. SC. 1

225 No, by my honor, madam, by my soul,
 No woman had it, but a civil doctor,
 Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me
 And begged the ring, the which I did deny him
 And suffered him to go displeased away,
230 Even he that had held up the very life
 Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet lady?
 I was enforced to send it after him.
 I was beset with shame and courtesy.
 My honor would not let ingratitude
235 So much besmear it. Pardon me, good lady,
 For by these blessèd candles of the night,
 Had you been there, I think you would have begged
 The ring of me to give the worthy doctor.
 Let not that doctor e’er come near my house!
240 Since he hath got the jewel that I loved,
 And that which you did swear to keep for me,
 I will become as liberal as you:
 I’ll not deny him anything I have,
 No, not my body, nor my husband’s bed.
245 Know him I shall, I am well sure of it.
 Lie not a night from home. Watch me like Argus.
 If you do not, if I be left alone,
 Now by mine honor, which is yet mine own,
 I’ll have that doctor for my bedfellow.
250 And I his clerk. Therefore be well advised
 How you do leave me to mine own protection.
 Well, do you so. Let not me take him, then,
 For if I do, I’ll mar the young clerk’s pen.
 I am th’ unhappy subject of these quarrels.

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ACT 5. SC. 1

255 Sir, grieve not you. You are welcome
 Portia, forgive me this enforcèd wrong,
 And in the hearing of these many friends
 I swear to thee, even by thine own fair eyes,
260 Wherein I see myself—
PORTIA  Mark you but that!
 In both my eyes he doubly sees himself,
 In each eye one. Swear by your double self,
 And there’s an oath of credit.
BASSANIO 265 Nay, but hear me.
 Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear
 I never more will break an oath with thee.
 I once did lend my body for his wealth,
 Which but for him that had your husband’s ring
270 Had quite miscarried. I dare be bound again,
 My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord
 Will never more break faith advisedly.
 Then you shall be his surety. Give him this,
Giving Antonio a ring.
 And bid him keep it better than the other.
275 Here, Lord Bassanio, swear to keep this ring.
 By heaven, it is the same I gave the doctor!
 I had it of him. Pardon me, Bassanio,
 For by this ring, the doctor lay with me.
 And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano,
280 For that same scrubbèd boy, the doctor’s clerk,
 In lieu of this, last night did lie with me.
She shows a ring.

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ACT 5. SC. 1

 Why, this is like the mending of highways
 In summer, where the ways are fair enough!
 What, are we cuckolds ere we have deserved it?
285 Speak not so grossly.—You are all amazed.
She hands a paper to Bassanio.
 Here is a letter; read it at your leisure.
 It comes from Padua from Bellario.
 There you shall find that Portia was the doctor,
 Nerissa there, her clerk. Lorenzo here
290 Shall witness I set forth as soon as you,
 And even but now returned. I have not yet
 Entered my house.—Antonio, you are welcome,
 And I have better news in store for you
 Than you expect. Unseal this letter soon.
Handing him a paper.
295 There you shall find three of your argosies
 Are richly come to harbor suddenly.
 You shall not know by what strange accident
 I chancèd on this letter.
ANTONIO  I am dumb.
300 Were you the doctor and I knew you not?
 Were you the clerk that is to make me cuckold?
 Ay, but the clerk that never means to do it,
 Unless he live until he be a man.
BASSANIO, to Portia 
 Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow.
305 When I am absent, then lie with my wife.
 Sweet lady, you have given me life and living;
 For here I read for certain that my ships
 Are safely come to road.

The Merchant of Venice
ACT 5. SC. 1

PORTIA  How now, Lorenzo?
310 My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.
 Ay, and I’ll give them him without a fee.
Handing him a paper.
 There do I give to you and Jessica,
 From the rich Jew, a special deed of gift,
 After his death, of all he dies possessed of.
315 Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
 Of starvèd people.
PORTIA  It is almost morning,
 And yet I am sure you are not satisfied
 Of these events at full. Let us go in,
320 And charge us there upon inter’gatories,
 And we will answer all things faithfully.
 Let it be so. The first inter’gatory
 That my Nerissa shall be sworn on is
 Whether till the next night she had rather stay
325 Or go to bed now, being two hours to day.
 But were the day come, I should wish it dark
 Till I were couching with the doctor’s clerk.
 Well, while I live, I’ll fear no other thing
 So sore as keeping safe Nerissa’s ring.
They exit.