The Merchant of Venice - Act 2, scene 7
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Act 2, scene 7
At Belmont the Prince of Morocco attempts to choose the right chest and win Portia. He picks the gold one and finds in it a skull and a warning not to choose on the basis of appearances. He leaves in disappointment.Enter Portia with ⌜the Prince of⌝ Morocco and both
0972 Go, draw aside the curtains and discover
⌜A curtain is drawn.⌝
0974 Now make your choice.
0975 This first, of gold, who this inscription bears,
0976 5 “Who chooseth me shall gain what many men
0978 The second, silver, which this promise carries,
0979 “Who chooseth me shall get as much as he
0981 10 This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt,
0982 “Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he
0984 How shall I know if I do choose the right?
0985 The one of them contains my picture, prince.
0986 15 If you choose that, then I am yours withal.
0987 Some god direct my judgment! Let me see.
0988 I will survey th’ inscriptions back again.
0989 What says this leaden casket?
0990 “Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he
0991 20 hath.”
0992 Must give—for what? For lead? Hazard for lead?
0993 This casket threatens. Men that hazard all
0994 Do it in hope of fair advantages.
0995 A golden mind stoops not to shows of dross.
0996 25 I’ll then nor give nor hazard aught for lead.
0997 What says the silver with her virgin hue?
0998 “Who chooseth me shall get as much as he
1000 As much as he deserves—pause there, Morocco,
1001 30 And weigh thy value with an even hand.
1002 If thou beest rated by thy estimation,
1003 Thou dost deserve enough; and yet enough
1004 May not extend so far as to the lady.
1006 35 Were but a weak disabling of myself.
1007 As much as I deserve—why, that’s the lady!
1008 I do in birth deserve her, and in fortunes,
1009 In graces, and in qualities of breeding,
1010 But more than these, in love I do deserve.
1011 40 What if I strayed no farther, but chose here?
1012 Let’s see once more this saying graved in gold:
1013 “Who chooseth me shall gain what many men
1015 Why, that’s the lady! All the world desires her.
1016 45 From the four corners of the Earth they come
1017 To kiss this shrine, this mortal, breathing saint.
1018 The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds
1019 Of wide Arabia are as throughfares now
1020 For princes to come view fair Portia.
1021 50 The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head
1022 Spets in the face of heaven, is no bar
1023 To stop the foreign spirits, but they come
1024 As o’er a brook to see fair Portia.
1025 One of these three contains her heavenly picture.
1026 55 Is ’t like that lead contains her? ’Twere damnation
1027 To think so base a thought. It were too gross
1028 To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave.
1029 Or shall I think in silver she’s immured,
1030 Being ten times undervalued to tried gold?
1031 60 O, sinful thought! Never so rich a gem
1032 Was set in worse than gold. They have in England
1033 A coin that bears the figure of an angel
1034 Stamped in gold, but that’s insculped upon;
1035 But here an angel in a golden bed
1036 65 Lies all within.—Deliver me the key.
1037 Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may.
1038 There, take it, prince. ⌜Handing him the key.⌝ And if
1039 my form lie there,
1040 Then I am yours.
MOROCCO 1041 70 O hell! What have we here?
1042 A carrion death within whose empty eye
1043 There is a written scroll. I’ll read the writing:
1044 All that glisters is not gold—
1045 Often have you heard that told.
1046 75 Many a man his life hath sold
1047 But my outside to behold.
1048 Gilded ⌜tombs⌝ do worms infold.
1049 Had you been as wise as bold,
1050 Young in limbs, in judgment old,
1051 80 Your answer had not been enscrolled.
1052 Fare you well, your suit is cold.
1053 Cold indeed and labor lost!
1054 Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost.
1055 Portia, adieu. I have too grieved a heart
1056 85 To take a tedious leave. Thus losers part.
He exits, ⌜with his train.⌝
1057 A gentle riddance! Draw the curtains, go.
1058 Let all of his complexion choose me so.