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Let it not enter in your mind of love:
Be merry, and employ your chiefest thoughts
To courtship, and such fair ostents* of love
As shall conveniently become you there:

And even there, his eye being big with tears,
Turning his face, he put his hand behind him,
And with affection wondrous sensible

He wrung Bassanio's hand, and so they parted.
Salan. I think he only loves the world for him.
I pray thee let us go, and find him out,

And quicken his embraced heaviness +
With some delight or other.


Do we so.



Belmont. A room in Portia's house.

Enter Nerissa, with a servant.

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

The prince of Arragon has 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; lastly,
If I do fail in fortune of my choice,

* Shows, tokens.

+ The heaviness he is fond of.

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

Immediately to leave you and be gone.

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.
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,
Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach;
Which pries not to the interior, but, like the martlet,
Builds in the weather on the outward wall,
Even in the force † and road of casualty.
I will not choose what many men desire,
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 ;
And well said too: For who shall go about
To cozen fortune, and be honourable

Without the stamp of merit! Let none presume
To wear an undeserved dignity.

O, that estates, degrees, and offices,

Were not deriv'd corruptly! and that clear honour
Were purchas'd by the merit of the wearer!
How many then should cover, that stand bare?
How many be commanded, that command?
How much low peasantry would then be glean'd
From the true seed of honour? and how much

Pick'd from the chaff and ruin of the times,
To be new varnish'd? Well, but to my choice:
Who chooseth me, shall get as much as he deserves ;
I will assume desert ;-Give me a key for this,
And instantly unlock my fortunes here.

* Prepared.

+ Power.

Agree with.

Por. Too long a pause for that which you find


Ar. What's here? 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?

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*,
Silver'd o'er; and so was this.
Take what wife you will to bed,
I will ever be your head:
So begone, sir, you are sped,

Still more fool I shall

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.
O 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,

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