Reference > Quotations > John Bartlett, comp. > Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. > William Shakespeare > The Merchant of Venice.
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John Bartlett, comp. (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.
 
William Shakespeare. (1564-1616)
 
The Merchant of Venice.
 
 
1
    My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,
Nor to one place.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 1.
2
    Now, by two-headed Janus,
Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 1.
3
    Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 1.
4
    You have too much respect upon the world:
They lose it that do buy it with much care.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 1.
5
    I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano,—
A stage, where every man must play a part;
And mine a sad one.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 1.
6
    Why should a man whose blood is warm within,
Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster?
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 1.
7
    There are a sort of men whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 1.
8
    I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark!
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 1.
9
    I do know of these
That therefore only are reputed wise
For saying nothing.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 1.
10
    Fish not, with this melancholy bait,
For this fool gudgeon, this opinion.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 1.
  
  
  
11
    Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice. His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff: you shall seek all day ere you find them, and when you have them, they are not worth the search.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 1.
12
    In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,
I shot his fellow of the selfsame flight
The selfsame way, with more advised watch,
To find the other forth; and by adventuring both,
I oft found both.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 1.
13
    They are as sick that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 2.
14
    Superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 2.
15
    If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottages princes’ palaces. 1
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 2.
16
    The brain may devise laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o’er a cold decree.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 2.
17
    He doth nothing but talk of his horse.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 2.
18
    God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 2.
19
    When he is best, he is a little worse than a man; and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 2.
20
    I dote on his very absence.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 2.
21
    My meaning in saying he is a good man, is to have you understand me that he is sufficient.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 3.
22
    Ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats and water-rats, water-thieves and land-thieves.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 3.
23
    I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you. What news on the Rialto?
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 3.
24
    I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
He hates our sacred nation, and he rails,
Even there where merchants most do congregate.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 3.
25
    The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 3.
26
    A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 3.
27
    Many a time and oft
In the Rialto you have rated me.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 3.
28
    For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 3.
29
    You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,
And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 3.
30
    Shall I bend low, and in a bondman’s key,
With bated breath and whispering humbleness.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 3.
31
    For when did friendship take
A breed for barren metal of his friend?
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 3.
32
    O father Abram! what these Christians are,
Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect
The thoughts of others!
          The Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 3.
33
    Mislike me not for my complexion,
The shadow’d livery of the burnish’d sun.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 1.
34
    The young gentleman, according to Fates and Destinies and such odd sayings, the Sisters Three and such branches of learning, is indeed deceased; or, as you would say in plain terms, gone to heaven.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 2.
35
    The very staff of my age, my very prop.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 2.
36
    It is a wise father that knows his own child.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 2.
37
    An honest exceeding poor man.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 2.
38
    Truth will come to sight; murder cannot be hid long.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 2.
39
    In the twinkling of an eye.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 2.
40
    And the vile squeaking of the wry-necked fife.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 5.
41
    All things that are,
Are with more spirit chased than enjoy’d.
How like a younker or a prodigal
The scarfed bark puts from her native bay,
Hugg’d and embraced by the strumpet wind!
How like the prodigal doth she return,
With over-weather’d ribs and ragged sails,
Lean, rent, and beggar’d by the strumpet wind!
          The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 6.
42
    Must I hold a candle to my shames?
          The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 6.
43
    But love is blind, and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 6.
44
    All that glisters is not gold. 2
          The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 7.
45
    Young in limbs, in judgment old.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 7.
46
    Even in the force and road of casualty.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 9.
47
    Hanging and wiving goes by destiny. 3
          The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 9.
48
    If my gossip Report be an honest woman of her word.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 1.
49
    If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 1.
50
    I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 1.
51
    The villany you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard, but I will better the instruction.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 1.
52
    Makes a swan-like end,
Fading in music. 4
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 2.
53
    Tell me where is fancy bred,
  Or in the heart or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?
  Reply, reply.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 2.
54
    In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt
But being season’d with a gracious voice
Obscures the show of evil?
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 2.
55
    There is no vice so simple but assumes
Some mark of virtue in his outward parts.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 2.
56
    Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
To a most dangerous sea.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 2.
57
    The seeming truth which cunning times put on
To entrap the wisest.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 2.
58
    An unlesson’d girl, unschool’d, unpractised;
Happy in this, she is not yet so old
But she may learn. 5
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 2.
59
    Here are a few of the unpleasant’st words
That ever blotted paper!
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 2.
60
    The kindest man,
The best-condition’d and unwearied spirit
In doing courtesies.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 2.
61
    Thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother. 6
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 5.
62
    Let it serve for table-talk.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 5.
63
    A harmless necessary cat.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1.
64
    What! wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1.
65
    I am a tainted wether of the flock,
Meetest for death: the weakest kind of fruit
Drops earliest to the ground.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1.
66
    I never knew so young a body with so old a head.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1.
67
    The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
’T is mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s,
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1.
68
    A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel!
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1.
69
    Is it so nominated in the bond? 7
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1.
70
    ’T is not in the bond.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1.
71
    Speak me fair in death.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1.
72
    An upright judge, a learned judge!
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1.
73
    A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew!
Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1.
74
    I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1.
75
    You take my house when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house; you take my life
When you do take the means whereby I live.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1.
76
    He is well paid that is well satisfied.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1.
77
    How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here we will sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
There ’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring 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.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act. v. Sc. 1.
78
    I am never merry when I hear sweet music.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act. v. Sc. 1.
79
    The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act. v. Sc. 1.
80
    How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act. v. Sc. 1.
81
    How many things by season season’d are
To their right praise and true perfection!
          The Merchant of Venice. Act. v. Sc. 1.
82
    This night methinks is but the daylight sick.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act. v. Sc. 1.
83
    These blessed candles of the night.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act. v. Sc. 1.
84
    Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
Of starved people.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act. v. Sc. 1.
85
    We will answer all things faithfully.
          The Merchant of Venice. Act. v. Sc. 1.
 
Note 1.
For the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do.—Romans vii. 19. [back]
Note 2.
See Chaucer, Quotation 40. [back]
Note 3.
See Heywood, Quotation 18. [back]
Note 4.
I will play the swan and die in music.—Othello, act v. sc. 2.
I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death.
King John, act v. sc. 7.

There, swan-like, let me sing and die.—Lord Byron: Don Juan, canto iii. st. 86.

You think that upon the score of fore-knowledge and divining I am infinitely inferior to the swans. When they perceive approaching death they sing more merrily than before, because of the joy they have in going to the God they serve.—Socrates: In Phaedo, 77. [back]
Note 5.
It is better to learn late than never.—Publius Syrus: Maxim 864. [back]
Note 6.
Incidis in Scyllam cupiens vitare Charybdim (One falls into Scylla in seeking to avoid Charybdis).—Phillippe Gualtier: Alexandreis, book v. line 301. Circa 1300. [back]
Note 7.
”It is not nominated in the bond.”—White. [back]
 

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