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SCENE V

Belmont. A room in PORTIA's house

Enter BASSANIO, PORTIA, GRATIANO, NERISSA, and all

their train

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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. O, 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.
Bass.

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

Por. Upon the rack, Bassanio! Then confess

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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.
Bass.

“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

himself

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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.

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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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Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
There is no vice so simple but assumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts.
Therefore, thou gaudy gold,
Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;
Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge
'Tween man and man; but thou, thou meagre lead,
Which rather threat'nest than dost promise aught,
Thy plainness moves me more than eloquence;
And here choose I. Joy be the consequence !

Por. [Aside.] How all the other passions fleet to air,
As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embrac'd despair,
And shuddering fear, and green-ey'd jealousy!
O love,
Be moderate; allay thy ecstasy ;
In measure rein thy joy; scant this excess !
I feel too much thy blessing; make it less,
For fear I surfeit.
Bass.

What find I here?

[Opening the leaden casket.] Fair Portia's counterfeit! What demi-god Hath come so near creation ? Move these eyes? Or whether, riding on the balls of mine, Seem they in motion ? Here are sever'd lips, Parted with sugar breath; so sweet a bar Should sunder such sweet friends. Here in her hairs The painter plays the spider, and hath woven

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