Sivut kuvina

Ner. How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon ?

Por. God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man.

In truth, I know it is a sin to be a mocker ; but, he! why, he hath a horse better than the Nea-5 politan’s, a better bad habit of frowning than the Count Palatine. He is every man in no man.

If a throstle sing, he falls straight a capering. He will fence with his own shadow. If I should marry him, I should marry twenty husbands. If he would despise me, I 10 would forgive him, for if he love me to madness, I shall never requite him.

Ner. What say you, then, to Falconbridge, the young baron of England ?

Por. You know I say nothing to him, for he under-15 stands not me, nor I him. He hath neither Latin, French, nor Italian, and you will come into the court and swear that I have a poor pennyworth in the English. He is a proper man's picture, but, alas, who can converse with a dumb-show? How oddly he is 20 suited! I think he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany, and his behavior everywhere.

Ner. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighbor ?

Por. That he hath a neighborly charity in him, for he borrowed a box of the ear of the Englishman and swore he would pay him again when he was able.


Ver. How like you the young German, the Duke of Saxony's nephew?

Por. Very vilely in the morning, when he is sober, and most vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk. 5 When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast. An the worst fall that ever fell, I hope I shall make shift to go without him.

Ner. If he should offer to choose, and choose the 10 right casket, you should refuse to perform your father's will, if you should refuse to accept him.

Por. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, set a deep glass of rhenish wine on the contrary casket,

for if the devil be within and that temptation with15 out, I know he will choose it. I will do anything, Nerissa, ere I'll be married to a sponge.

Ner. You need not fear, lady, the having any of these lords. They have acquainted me with their

determinations; which is, indeed, to return to their 20 home and to trouble you with no more suit, unless

you may be won by some other sort than your father's imposition depending on the caskets.

Por. I am glad this parcel of wooers are so reasonable, for there is not one among them but I dote on 25 his very absence, and I pray God grant them a fair departure.

Ver. Do you not remember, lady, in your father's

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.



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.

Even for that I thank you;



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.

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

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

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


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