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time, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier, that came hither in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?

Por. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio, as I think, he was so call’d.

Ner. True, madam. He, of all the men that ever 5 my foolish eyes look'd upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.

Por. I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of thy praise.

Enter a SERVING-MAN

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How now! what news?

Serv. The four strangers seek for you, madam, to take their leave; and there is a forerunner come from a fifth, the Prince of Morocco, who brings word the Prince his master will be here to-night.

Por. If I could bid the fifth welcome with so good 15 a heart as I can bid the other four farewell, I should be glad of his approach. Come, Nerissa. Sirrah, go before. While we shut the gates upon one wooer, another knocks at the door.

Exeunt. 20 SCENE II

Belmont. A room in PORTIA's house

Enter the Prince of Morocco, a tawny Moor, all in white,

and three or four followers accordingly, with PORTIA, NERISSA, and their train. Flourish of cornets.

Mor. Mislike me not for my complexion,
The shadow'd livery of the burnish'd sun,
To whom I am a neighbor and near bred.
I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine
5 Hath fear'd the valiant. By my love, I swear
The best-regarded virgins of our clime
Have lov'd it too. I would not change this hue,
Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.

Por. In terms of choice I am not solely led 10 By nice direction of a maiden's eyes;

Besides, the lottery of my destiny
Bars me the right of voluntary choosing.
But if my father had not scanted me

And hedg'd me by his wit, to yield myself
15 His wife who wins me by that means I told you,

Yourself, renowned Prince, then stood as fair
As any comer I have look'd on yet
For my affection.
Mor.

Even for that I thank you;

5

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Therefore, I pray you, lead me to the caskets
To try my fortune. By this scimitar
That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince,
I would outstare the sternest eyes that look,
Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth,
Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,
Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey,
To win thee, lady. But, alas the while !
If Hercules and Lichas play at dice
Which is the better man, the greater throw
May turn by fortune from the weaker hand.
So is Alcides beaten by his page;
And so may I, blind fortune leading me,
Miss that which one unworthier may attain,
And die with grieving.
Por.

You must take your chance, 15
And either not attempt to choose at all,
Or swear before you choose, if you choose wrong
Never to speak to lady afterward
In way of marriage; therefore be advis'd.
Mor. Nor will not. Come, bring me unto my

chance.
Por. First, forward to the temple. After dinner
Your hazard shall be made.
Mor.

Good fortune then !
To make me blest or cursed'st among men. Exeunt.

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SCENE III

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.

5

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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 ;

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