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Two of my favorite excerpts from William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice:


Gratiano: And it is marvel he out-dwells his hour,

For lovers ever run before the clock.

Salerio: O, ten times faster Venus’ pigeons fly

To seal love’s bonds new-made,

than they are wont

To keep obliged faith unforfeited!

Gratiano: That ever holds: who riseth from a feast

With that keen appetite that he sits down?

Where is the horse that doth unthread again

His tedious measures with the unbated fire

That he did pace them first? All things that are,

Are with more spirit chased than enjoyed.

How like a younger or a prodigal

The scarfèd bark puts from her native bay,

Hugged and embraced by the strumpet wind!

How like a prodigal doth she return,

With over-withered ribs and ragged sails,

Lean, rent and beggared by the strumpet wind!



Shylock whets his knife on his shoe

Bassanio: Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?

Shylock: To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt


Gratiano: Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,

Thou mak’st thy keen knife keen. But no metal can,

No, not the hangman’s axe, bear half the keenness

Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayers pierce thee?