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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.
Enter a SERVING-MAN
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,
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
And hedg'd me by his wit, to yield myself
Yourself, renowned Prince, then stood as fair
Even for that I thank you;
Therefore, I pray you, lead me to the caskets
You must take your chance, 15
Good fortune then !