The Merchant of Venice


by William Shakespeare


adapted and retold

by Rainer Triller


A dandy from the city-state of Venice -

quite ignorant of all the pain and menace

that he was finally about to cause

by chatting up a girl on distant shores -

approached his noble merchant friend for money

which he required to impress his honey.



Bassanio,this hard up smart Venetian gallant,

made ample use of his retorical talent

so that Antonio, his moody bosom friend,

whose hard-earned ducats he was wont to spend,

would once again most willingly concede

to pander to his present urgent need.



Not much interested in Antonio's sorrow

Bassanio just sussed out what he could borrow

to rank himself with all those wealthy beaus

intent on courting Portia, Belmont's rose,

whose beauty stirred up men to great emotion

and lured them to her island in the ocean.


. . .


Bassanio's well-to-do and generous friend

was at that time not in a state to lend

the large amount of cash that was required

to gain the maid that all the world desired

yet he stood surety for any sum

that could be borrowed elsewhere by his chum.


. . .


"Three thousand ducats, for three months - well, well -

a handsome sum for not too long a spell."

The Jew most shrewdly from his point of vantage

worked out his likely profit and advantage.

He frowned and hesitated for a while

evading his new client with a smile.


. . .


Enraged Antonio might have blown the deal

had not the Jew persuaded him to seal

a bond wherein the Merchant pawned a fresh

and tender looking pound of his own flesh

to be cut off if he could not repay

the credit on the stipulated day.


. . .


Meanwhile fair Portia looked fed up and weary

because her wealth had made her life so dreary.

And then on top of that she felt quite ill

when she reflected on her dad's last will,

which told her not to choose or to refuse

the mate she craved to overcome her blues.


. . .


Three metal chests, of silver, gold and lead,

were to determine whom she was to wed.


. . .


The very thought of this made Portia sick

and so she was resolved to find a trick

allowing her to follow her own fad

without appearing faithless to her dad.


. . .


(a story of 60 verses)



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