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But here an angel in a golden bed
Lies all within. Deliver me the key.
Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may !
Por. There, take it, Prince; and if my form lie

5 Then I am yours.

(He unlocks the golden casket.] Mor.

O hell! what have we here?
A carrion Death within whose empty eye
There is a written scroll! I'll read the writing.
[Reads.] “All that glisters is not gold;

Often have you heard that told.
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold.
Gilded tombs do worms infold.

you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscroll’d.

Fare you well; your suit is cold.”
Cold, indeed ; and labor lost:
Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost !



Portia, adieu. I have too griev'd a heart 20 To take a tedious leave; thus losers part.

Exit. Flourish of cornets. Por. A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains, go. Let all of his complexion choose me so. Exeunt.


Belmont. A room in PORTIA's house


Ner. Quick, quick, I pray thee; draw the curtain

straight. The Prince of Arragon hath ta’en his oath, And comes to his election presently.


Flourish of cornets. Enter the Prince of ARRAGON,

PORTIA, and their trains
Por. Behold, there stand the caskets, noble Prince.
If you choose that wherein I am contain'd,
Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemniz'd;
But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,
You must be gone from hence immediately.

Ar. I am enjoin'd by oath to observe three things :
First, never to unfold to any one
Which casket 'twas I chose; next, if I fail
Of the right casket, never in my life
To woo a maid in way of marriage;
If I do fail in fortune of my choice,
Immediately to leave you and be gone.

Por. To these injunctions every one doth swear
That comes to hazard for my worthless self.



Ar. And so have I address'd me. Fortune now To my heart's hope! Gold; silver; and base lead. “Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.” You shall look fairer, ere I give or hazard. 5 What says the golden chest? Ha ! let me see: “Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.” What many men desire! That many may be meant By the fool multitude, that choose by show,

I will not choose what many men desire,
10 Because I will not jump with common spirits

And rank me with the barbarous multitudes.
Why, then to thee, thou silver treasure-house;
Tell me once more what title thou dost bear :

“Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves;" 15 And well said too; for who shall go about

To cozen fortune and be honorable
Without the stamp of merit? Let none presume
To wear an undeserved dignity.

“Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.” 20 I will assume desert. Give me a key for this, And instantly unlock my fortunes here.

[He opens the silver casket.] Por. Too long a pause for that which you find

Ar. What's here? The portrait of a bli

The portrait of a blinking idiot,
Presenting me a schedule! I will read it.
How much unlike art thou to Portia !


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,
Silverd o'er; and so was this.
Take what wife you will to bed,
I will ever be


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



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.

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