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But let me to my fortune and the caskets.


Por. Away then: I am lock'd in one of them;

you do love me, you will find me out.

Neriffa, and the reft, ftand all aloof:

Let mufick found while he doth make his choice;
Then, if he lose, he makes a fwan-like end,
Fading in mufick. That the comparison
May stand more juft, my eye fhall be the ftream
And wat❜ry death-bed for him: he may win,
And what is mufick then? then mufick is
Even as the flourish, when true fubjects bow
To a new crowned monarch: fuch it is,
As are those dulcet founds in break of day,
That creep into the dreaming bridegroom's ear,
And fummon him to marriage. Now he goes
With no less presence, but with much more love,
Than young Alcides, when he did redeem
The virgin-tribute pay'd by howling Troy
To the fea-monfter: I ftand for facrifice;
The reft aloof are the Dardanian wives,
With bleared vifages come forth to view
The iffue of th' exploit. Go, Hercules,

Live thou, I live; with much, much more dismay

I view the fight, than thou that mak'ft the fray. [mufick within.

A fong whilft Baffanio comments on the caskets to himself.

Tell me, where is fancy bred,

Or in the heart, or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?

It is engender'd 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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Baff. So may the outward fhows be leaft themselves :
The world is ftill deceiv'd with ornament.
In law, what plea fo tainted and corrupt,
But, being season'd with a gracious voice,
Obfcures the show of evil? in religion,
What damned errour, but fome fober brow
Will bless it, and approve it with a text,
Hiding the groffness with fair ornament?
There is no vice so fimple, but affumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts.
How many cowards, whofe hearts are all as falfe
As ftairs of fand, wear yet upon their chins
The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars;
Who, inward fearch'd, have livers white as milk ?
And these affume but valour's excrement,


To render them redoubted. Look on beauty,
And you fhall fee 'tis purchas'd by the weight,
Which therein works a miracle in nature,
Making them lightest that wear most of it:
So are those crifped fnaky golden locks,
Which make fuch wanton gambols with the wind
Upon fuppofed fairness, often known

To be the dowry of a second head,

The fkull, that bred them, in the fepulchre.

Thus ornament is but the gilded shore

To a most dang'rous fea; the beauteous scarf
Veiling an Indian' dowdy; in a word,
The feeming truth which cunning times put on
T'entrap the wifeft. Then, 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 meager lead,
Which rather threaten'ft than doft promife ought;
Thy plainness moves me more than eloquence,
And here choose I, joy be the consequence !

a That is, a beard.

The word dowdy is ufed again in Rom, and Jul.


Por. How all the other paffions fleet to air,
As doubtful thoughts, and rafh embrac'd despair,
And fhudd'ring fear, and greeney'd jealousy.
Be moderate, love! allay thy ecstasy;

In measure rein thy joy, fcant this excess,
I feel too much thy bleffing; make it less,
For fear I furfeit.

Baff. What do I find here?

[opening the leaden cafket.

Fair Portia's counterfeit? what demy-god
Hath come so near creation? move these eyes?
Or whether, riding on the balls of mine,
Seem they in motion? here are fever'd lips
Parted with fugar'd breath; so sweet a bar
Should funder fuch fweet friends: here in her hair
The painter plays the spider, and hath woven
A golden mesh t' entrap the hearts of men
Faster than gnats in cobwebs; but her eyes,
How could he fee to do them? having made one,
Methinks, it should have pow'r to steal both his,
And leave itself *unfurnish'd: yet how far

The substance of my praise doth wrong this fhadow
In underprizing it, fo far this shadow

Doth limp behind the substance. Here's the scroll,
The continent and fummary of my fortune.

You that choose not by the view,

Chance as fair, and choose as true!
Since this fortune falls to you,
Be content, and seek no new.
If you be well pleas'd with this,
And bold your fortune for your blifs,
Turn you where your lady is,

And claim her with a loving kifs.

A gentle scroll; fair lady, by your leave,
I come by note to give, and to receive.

* That is, not furnish'd with another eye.

[kiffing her.

Like one of two contending in a prize,

That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes;
Hearing applause and universal shout,
Giddy in fpirit, gazing still in doubt,
Whether those peals of praise be his or no;
So, thrice fair lady, stand I, even so,
As doubtful whether what I fee be true,
Until confirm'd, fign'd, ratify'd by you.

Por. You fee, my lord Bassanio, where I ftand,
Such as I am; though for myself alone,
I would not be ambitious in my wish,
To wish myself much better; yet for you,
I would be trebled twenty times myself,

A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times
More rich, that, to ftand high in your account,
I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,
Exceed account: but the full fum of me
Is fum of nothing, which, to term in gross,
Is an unleffon'd girl, unfchool'd, unpractis'd:
Happy in this, fhe is not yet fo old

But she may learn; more happy then in this,
She is not bred fo dull but fhe can learn ;
Happiest of all is, that her gentle spirit
Commits itself to yours to be directed,
As from her lord, her governor, her king:
Myself, and what is mine, to you and yours
Is now converted. I but now was lady
Of this fair manfion, mistress of my fervants,
Queen o'er myself; and even now, but now,
This house, these servants, and this fame myself
Are yours, my
lord: I give them with this ring,
Which when you part from, lofe or give away,
Let it prefage the ruin of your love,

And be my vantage to exclaim on you.

Baff. Madam, you have bereft me of all words, Only my blood speaks to you in my veins;


And there is fuch confufion in my pow'rs,
As, after fome oration fairly spoke
By a beloved prince, there doth appear
Among the buzzing pleased multitude;
Where every fomething, being blent together,
Turns to a wild of nothing, fave of joy
Express'd, and not exprefs'd. But when this ring
Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence;
O, then be bold to fay, Bajanio's dead.

Ner. My lord, and lady, it is now our time,
That have stood by, and feen our wishes profper,
To cry, good joy; good joy, my lord and lady!
Gra. My lord Bafanio, and my gentle lady,
I wish you all the joy that you can wish;
For, I am fure, you can wifh none from 'me:
And, when your honours mean to folemnize
The bargain of your faith, I do beseech you
Ev'n at that time I may be married too.

Baff. With all my heart, fo thou canst get a wife.
Gra. I thank your lordship, you have got me one.
My eyes, my lord, can look as fwift as yours:
You faw the mistress, I beheld the maid;
You lov'd; I lov'd; for intermiffion

No more pertains to me, my lord, than you.
Your fortune ftood upon the casket there;
And fo did mine too, as the matter falls;
For wooing here until I fweat again,
And fwearing till my very roof was dry
With oaths of love; at last, if promise last,


got a promise of this fair one here

To have her love, provided that your fortune
Atchiev'd her mistress.

Por. Is this true, Neriffa?

Ner. Madam, it is, fo you ftand pleas'd withal.
Baff. And do you, Gratiano, mean good faith?


That is, diftinct from me and my wishes.


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