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Belmont. A room in PORTIA's house

Flourish of cornets. Enter Portia with the Prince of

MOROCCO, and their trains

Por. Go draw aside the curtains and discover
The several caskets to this noble prince.
Now make your choice.

Mor. The first, of gold, who this inscription bears, 5.“Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire; The second, silver, which this promise carries, “Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves ;' This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt,

“Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.” 10 How shall I know if I do choose the right?

Por. The one of them contains my picture, Prince: If you choose that, then I am yours withal.

Mor. Some god direct my judgment! Let me see; I will survey the inscriptions back again. 15 What says this leaden casket ?

“Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.” Must give: for what? For lead? Hazard for lead?

? This casket threatens. Men that hazard all

Do it in hope of fair advantages; 20 A golden mind stoops not to shows of dross.

I'll then nor give nor hazard aught for lead.

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What says the silver with her virgin hue?
“Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves."
As much as he deserves! Pause there, Morocco,
And weigh thy value with an even hand.
As much as I deserve! Why, that's the lady.
I do in birth deserve her, and in fortunes,
In graces, and in qualities of breeding;
But more than these, in love I do deserve.
What if I stray'd no farther, but chose here?
Let's see once more this saying grav'd in gold:
“Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.”
Why, that's the lady; all the world desires her.
From the four corners of the earth they come
To kiss this shrine, this mortal-breathing saint.
The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds
Of wide Arabia are as throughfares now
For princes to come view fair Portia.
One of these three contains her heavenly picture.
Is't like that lead contains her? 'Twere damnation
To think so base a thought. It were too gross
To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave.
Or shall I think in silver she's immur'd,
Being ten times undervalu'd to tried gold?
O sinful thought! Never so rich a gem
Was set in worse than gold. They have in England
A coin that bears the figure of an angel
Stamped in gold, but that's insculp'd upon;




But here an angel in a golden bed
Lies all within. Deliver me the key.
Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may !
Por. There, take it, Prince; and if my form lie

5 Then I am yours.

[He unlocks the golden casket.] Mor.

O hell! what have we here?
A carrion Death within whose empty eye
There is a written scroll! I'll read the writing.


[Reads.] “All that glisters is not gold;

Often have you heard that told.
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold.
Gilded tombs do worms infold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscroll'd.

Fare you well; your suit is cold.”
Cold, indeed; and labor lost:
Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost!


Portia, adieu. I have too griev'd a heart 20 To take a tedious leave; thus losers part.

Exit. Flourish of cornets. Por. A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains, go. Let all of his complexion choose me so.

Exeunt. SCENE IV

Belmont. A room in PORTIA's house


Ner. Quick, quick, I pray thee; draw the curtain

straight. The Prince of Arragon hath ta'en his oath, And comes to his election presently.

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Flourish of cornets. Enter the Prince of ARRAGON,

PORTIA, and their trains Por. Behold, there stand the caskets, noble Prince. If

you choose that wherein I am contain’d,
Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemniz'd;
But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,
You must be gone from hence immediately.

Ar. I am enjoin'd by oath to observe three things :
First, never to unfold to any one
Which casket 'twas I chose; next, if I fail
Of the right casket, never in my life
To woo a maid in way of marriage;
If I do fail in fortune of my choice,
Immediately to leave you and be gone.

Por. To these injunctions every one doth swear
That comes to hazard for my worthless self.



Ar. And so have I address'd me. Fortune now To my heart's hope! Gold; silver; and base lead. “Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.” You shall look fairer, ere I give or hazard. 5 What says the golden chest? Ha ! let me see: “Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.” What many men desire! That many may be meant By the fool multitude, that choose by show,

I will not choose what many men desire,
10 Because I will not jump with common spirits

And rank me with the barbarous multitudes.
Why, then to thee, thou silver treasure-house;
Tell me once more what title thou dost bear:

Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves; 15 And well said too; for who shall go

To cozen fortune and be honorable
Without the stamp of merit? Let none presume
To wear an undeserved dignity.

“Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.” 20 I will assume desert. Give me a key for this, And instantly unlock my fortunes here.

(He opens the silver casket.] Por. Too long a pause for that which you find

there. Ar. What's here? The portrait of a blinking idiot, Presenting me a schedule! I will read it.

How much unlike art thou to Portia !



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