Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Scenes from the Comedies and Histories
Lorenzo and Jessica
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
From ‘The Merchant of Venice

Scene: Belmont.  The Avenue to Portia’s House.  Enter Lorenzo and Jessica.

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,        5
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,
And ran dismayed away.
  Lorenzo—                    In such a night,
Stood Dido with a willow in her hand        10
Upon the wild sea-banks, and waved her love
To come again to Carthage.
  Jessica—                        In such a night,
Medea gathered the enchanted herbs
That did renew old Æson.
  Lorenzo—                    In such a night,
Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew,        15
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,
Stealing her soul with many vows of faith,
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.
  Jessica—I would out-night you, did no body come;
But hark, I hear the footing of a man.
Enter Stephano
  Lorenzo—Who comes so fast in silence of the night?
  Stephano—A friend.
  Lorenzo—A friend? what friend? your name, I pray you, friend?
  Stephano—Stephano is my name: and I bring word,
My mistress will before the break of day
Be here at Belmont; she doth stray about        30
By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays
For happy wedlock hours.
  Lorenzo—                    Who comes with her?
  Stephano—None but a holy hermit, and her maid.
I pray you, is my master yet returned?
  Lorenzo—He is not, nor we have not heard from him.—        35
But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica,
And ceremoniously let us prepare
Some welcome for the mistress of the house.
Enter Launcelot
  Launcelot—Sola, sola! wo ha, ho! sola, sola!
  Lorenzo—Who calls?        40
  Launcelot—Sola! Did you see master Lorenzo, and mistress Lorenza? sola, sola!
  Lorenzo—Leave hallooing, man: here.
  Launcelot—Sola! where? where?
  Launcelot—Tell him, there’s a post come from my master, with his horn full of good news: my master will be here ere morning.  [Exit.]        45
  Lorenzo—Sweet soul, let’s in, and there expect their coming.
And yet no matter;—why should we go in?
My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you,
Within the house, your mistress is at hand;
And bring your music forth into the air.—  [Exit Stephano.]        50
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        55
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;
There’s not the smallest orb, which thou beholdest,
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins:
Such harmony is in immortal souls;        60
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
Enter Musicians
Come, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn:
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress’s ear,
And draw her home with music.  [Music.]        65
  Jessica—I am never merry when I hear sweet music.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.