Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition

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3.5Sc. 17

Enter Lancelet the Clown and Jessica

lancelet the clown Yes, truly, for look you, the sins of the father Editor’s Note2are to be laid upon the children; therefore, I promise you, I fear you. I Editor’s Note3was always plain with you, and so now I speak my agitation of the 4matter. Therefore be o' good cheer, for truly I think you are damned. 5There is but one hope in it that can do you any good, and that is Editor’s Note Link 6but a kind of bastard hope, neither.


jessica And what hope is that, I pray thee?


lancelet the clown Marry, you may partly hope that your father 9got you not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.


jessica That were a kind of bastard hope indeed! So the sins of my 11mother should be visited upon me.


lancelet the clown Truly then, I fear you are damned both by 13father and mother. Thus, when I shun Scylla your father, I fall into Editor’s Note14Charybdis your mother. Well, you are gone both ways.


jessica I shall be saved by my husband. He hath made me a Christian.


lancelet the clown Truly, the more to blame he! We were Editor’s Note17Christians enough before, e'en as many as could well live one by Editor’s Note18another. This making of Christians will raise the price of hogs. If we Editor’s Note19grow all to be pork-eaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on the Editor’s Note20coals for money.

Enter Lorenzo
pg 1253 21

jessica I'll tell my husband, Lancelet, what you say. Here he comes.

Editor’s Note22

lorenzo I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Lancelet, if you thus get my 23wife into corners.

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jessica Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo. Lancelet and I are out. He 25tells me flatly there's no mercy for me in heaven, because I am a Jew's 26daughter: and he says you are no good member of the commonwealth, 27for in converting Jews to Christians you raise the price of pork.

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lorenzo [to Lancelet] I shall answer that better to the commonwealth 29than you can the getting up of the negro's belly: the Moor is with child 30by you, Lancelet!

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lancelet the clown It is much that the Moor should be more than Editor’s Note32reason, but if she be less than an honest woman, she is indeed more 33than I took her for.


lorenzo How every fool can play upon the word! I think the best grace 35of wit will shortly turn into silence, and discourse grow commendable 36in none only but parrots. Go in, sirrah, bid them prepare for dinner.


lancelet the clown That is done, sir. They have all stomachs.

Editor’s Note38

lorenzo Goodly Lord, what a wit snapper are you! Then bid them 39prepare dinner.

Editor’s Note40

lancelet the clown That is done too, sir; only 'cover' is the word.

Link 41

lorenzo Will you cover then, sir?

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lancelet the clown Not so, sir, neither. I know my duty.

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lorenzo Yet more quarrelling with occasion! Wilt thou show the 44whole wealth of thy wit in an instant? I pray thee understand a plain 45man in his plain meaning. Go to thy fellows; bid them cover the table, 46serve in the meat, and we will come in to dinner.

Editor’s Note47

lancelet the clown For the table, sir, it shall be served in. For the Editor’s Note48meat, sir, it shall be covered. For your coming in to dinner, sir, why let Editor’s Note49it be as humours and conceits shall govern.

Exit Lancelet the Clown
Editor’s Note50

lorenzo O dear discretion, how his words are suited!

51The fool hath planted in his memory

52An army of good words, and I do know

Editor’s Note53A many fools that stand in better place,

Editor’s Note54Garnished like him, that for a tricksy word

Editor’s Note55Defy the matter. How cheer'st thou, Jessica?

56And now, good sweet, say thy opinïon:

Editor’s Note57How dost thou like the Lord Bassanio's wife?

Editor’s Note58

jessica Past all expressing. It is very meet

Editor’s Note59The Lord Bassanio live an upright life,

60For having such a blessing in his lady.

61He finds the joys of heaven here on earth,

pg 125462And if on earth he do not merit it,

63In reason he should never come to heaven.

64Why, if two gods should play some heavenly match,

65And on the wager lay two earthly women,

66And Portia one, there must be something else

Editor’s Note67Pawned with the other; for the poor rude world

68Hath not her fellow.

lorenzo Even such a husband

69Hast thou of me as she is for a wife.


jessica Nay, but ask me my opinion too of that!


lorenzo I will anon; first let us go to dinner.

Editor’s Note72

jessica Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach.


lorenzo No, pray thee, let it serve for table-talk.

Editor’s Note74Then, howsome'er thou speak'st, 'mong other things,

Editor’s Note75I shall digest it.

jessica Well, I'll set you forth.


Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
3.5.2 fear fear for
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3.5.3 agitation i.e. cogitation (a malapropism)
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3.5.6 neither (emphasizes the negative in the phrase which precedes it)
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3.5.14 Scylla … Charybdis (In Greek mythology, Scylla and Charybdis were sea monsters that lived on either side of a narrow passage of water. Mariners passing through the straits had to try to avoid both. Some versions of the legend have Jason sail through them after successfully obtaining the Golden Fleece.)
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3.5.14 gone doomed
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3.5.17 live one by another dwell next to one another; earn a living off one another
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3.5.18–20 This making … money As a new convert Jessica may be upset by Lancelet's joke, prompting her threat to tell Lorenzo.
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3.5.19 rasher (of bacon)
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3.5.20 for money at any price
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3.5.22 jealous suspicious
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3.5.22–3 I shall … corners Lorenzo may be serious, or only be pretending to be jealous.
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3.5.24 are out have quarrelled
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3.5.28 answer justify, explain
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3.5.31 more than reason larger than is reasonable (punning on 'moor')
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3.5.31–3 It is much … for. Lancelet may seem surprised or distraught by the news of this pregnancy, before turning it into a joke.
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3.5.32 honest chaste
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3.5.38 wit snapper (someone who uses every opportunity to express their wit through puns, quips, etc.)
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3.5.40 cover (i.e. lay the table)
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3.5.42 Not … duty (Lancelet now takes 'cover' to mean put on his hat.)
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3.5.43 quarrelling quibbling
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3.5.43 with occasion at every opportunity
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3.5.47 table (Lancelet now uses the word to mean the food itself.)
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3.5.48 covered served in covered dishes?
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3.5.49 humours and conceits whims and ideas
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3.5.50 dear precious (ironic)
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3.5.50 discretion discrimination
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3.5.50 suited adapted to suit the occasion
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3.5.53 A many many
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3.5.54 Garnished superficially equipped (with words)
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3.5.54 tricksy artful
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3.5.55 Defy the matter trivialize; disdain … substance, meaning (i.e. refuse to talk sense)
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3.5.55 How cheer'st thou what cheer, how are you
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3.5.57 How dost … Bassanio's wife? Lorenzo may seem anxious about Jessica's relationship with Portia.
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3.5.58 meet proper, right
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3.5.59 upright (possible sexual pun)
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3.5.67 Pawned with wagered in addition to
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3.5.72 stomach appetite; inclination
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3.5.74 howsome'er howsoever
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3.5.75 set you forth serve you up (as for a feast); extol
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