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How much unlike my hopes and my deservings !
“Who chooseth me shall have as much as he deserves.'
Did I deserve no more than a fool's head?
Is that my prize? Are my deserts no better?

Por. To offend and judge are distinct offices
And of opposed natures.

What is here?



[Reads.] “The fire seven times tried this;

Seven times tried that judgment is,
That did never choose amiss.
Some there be that shadows kiss,
Such have but a shadow's bliss.
There be fools alive, I wis,
Silver'd o'er; and so was this.
Take what wife you will to bed,
I will ever be your head.
So be gone; you are sped.”



Still more fool I shall appear
By the time I linger here.
With one fool's head I came to woo,
But I go away with two.
Sweet, adieu. I'll keep my oath,
Patiently to bear my wroth.

Exeunt ARRAGON and train. Por. Thus hath the candle sing'd the moth.

0, these deliberate fools! When they do choose, They have the wisdom by their wit to lose.

Ner. The ancient saying is no heresy, Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.

Por. Come, draw the curtain, Nerissa.



Mess. Where is my lady?

Here; what would my lord ?
Mess. Madam, there is alighted at your gate
A young Venetian, one that comes before
10 To signify the approaching of his lord.

Yet I have not seen
So likely an ambassador of love.
A day in April never came so sweet,
To show how costly summer was at hand,
15 As this fore-spurrer comes before his lord.

Por. No more, I pray thee. I am half afeard
Thou wilt say anon he is some kin to thee,
Thou spend'st such high-day wit in praising him.

Come, come, Nerissa, for I long to see
20 Quick Cupid's post that comes so mannerly.

Ner. Bassanio, lord Love, if thy will it be! Exeunt.


Belmont. A room in PORTIA's house


their train



Por. I pray you, tarry. Pause a day or two
Before you hazard; for, in choosing wrong,
I lose your company; therefore forbear awhile.
I would detain you here some month or two
Before you venture for me. I could teach you
How to choose right, but then I am forsworn;
So will I never be; so may you miss me;
But if you do, you'll make me wish a sin,
That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes,
They have o'erlook'd me and divided me;
One half of me is yours, the other half yours,
Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours,
And so all yours. 0, these naughty times

Puts bars between the owners and their rights !
And so, though yours, not yours.
I speak too long; but 'tis to peize the time,
To eke it and to draw it out in length,
To stay you from election.

Let me choose;
For as I am, I live upon the rack.

Por. Upon the rack, Bassanio! Then confess



What treason there is mingled with your love.

Bass. There may as well be amity and life 'Tween snow and fire, as treason and my love.

Por. Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack, 5 Where men enforced do speak anything.

Bass. Promise me life, and I'll confess the truth.
Por. Well then, confess and live.

Confess and love" Had been the very sum of my confession. 100 happy torment, when my torturer

Doth teach me answers for deliverance !
But let me to my fortune and the caskets.

Por. Away, then! I am lock'd in one of them;
If you do love me, you will find me out.
15 Nerissa and the rest, stand all aloof.

Let music sound while he doth make his choice; Then, if he lose, he makes a swan-like end, Fading in music. That the comparison May stand more proper, my eye shall be the stream 20 And watery death-bed for him. He may win; And what is music then? Then music is Even as the flourish when true subjects bow To a new-crowned monarch.

Now he goes,
25 With no less presence, but with much more love,

Than young Alcides, when he did redeem
The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy

To the sea-monster. I stand for sacrifice;
The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives,
With bleared visages, come forth to view
The issue of the exploit. Go, Hercules !

Live thou, I live. With much, much more dismay
I view the fight than thou that mak'st the fray.


A song, the whilst BASSANIO comments on the caskets to



Tell me where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart or in the head ?
How begot, how nourished ?

Reply, reply.
It is engend'red in the eyes,
With gazing fed; and fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies.

Let us all ring fancy's knell;
I'll begin it,

Ding, dong, bell.
All. Ding, dong, bell.


Bass. So may the outward shows be least themselves; The world is still deceiv'd with ornament. In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt But, being season'd with a gracious voice, Obscures the show of evil? In religion, What damned error but some sober brow Will bless it and approve it with a text,


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