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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 contained, Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemnized; But if you fail, without more speech, my lord, You must be gone from hence immediately.

Ar. I am enjoined 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, 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 addressed me. Fortune now

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
Bythe 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 3 and road of casualty.
I will not choose what many men desire,
Because I will not jump4 with common spirits,
And rank me with the barbarous multitudes.
Why, then to thee, thou silver treasure-house!

1 Prepared.

2 By and of, being synonymous, were used by our ancestors indifferently; Malone has adduced numerous instances of the use of by, in all of which, by substituting of; the sense is rendered clear to the modern reader. 3 Power.

4 To jump is to agree with.

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 honorable
Without the stamp of merit? Let none presume
To wear an undeserved dignity.
0, that estates, degrees, and offices,
Were not derived corruptly; and that clear honor
Were purchased 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 gleaned
From the true seed of honor, and how much honor
Picked from the chaff and ruin of the times,
To be new varnished! 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.

Por. Too long a pause for that which you find there.

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,
Silvered o'er; and so was this.

1 The meaning is, how much meanness would be found among the great, and how much greatness among the mean.

2 Know.

Take what wife you will to bed,
I will ever be your

So begone, sir, 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 wroath.?

[Exeunt Arragon, and Tram.
Por. Thus hath the candle singed 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.

Enter a Servant.


Serv. Where is my lady?

Here; what would my lord ?
Serv. Madam, there is alighted at your gate
A young Venetian, one that comes before
To signify the approaching of his lord ;
From whom he bringeth sensible regreets;
To wit, besides commends, and courteous breath,
Gifts of rich value. 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,
As this fore-spurrer comes before his lord.
Por. No more,

I pray thee. I am half afeard, Thou wilt say, anon, he is some kin to thee,

I The poet had forgotten that he who missed Portia was never to marry any other woman.

2 Wroath is used in some of the old writers for misfortune, and is often spelled like ruth.

3 Salutations.

Thou spend'st such high-day? wit in praising him.-
Come, come, Nerissa; for I long to see
Quick Cupid's post, that comes so mannerly.

Ner. Bassanio, lord love, if thy will it be! [Exeunt.


SCENE I. Venice. A Street.


Salan. Now, what news on the Rialto ?

Salar. Why, yet it lives there unchecked, that Antonio hath a ship of rich lading wrecked on the narrow seas; the Goodwins, I think they call the place; a very dangerous flat, and fatal, where the carcasses of many a tall ship lie buried, as they say, if my gossip report be an honest woman of her word.

Salan. I would she were as lying a gossip in that, as ever knapped” ginger, or made her neighbors believe she wept for the death of a third husband. But it is true, --without any slips of prolixity, or crossing the plain highway of talk, that the good Antonio, the honest Antonio,

-0 that I had a title good enough to keep his name company, —

Salar. Come, the full stop.

Salan. Ha,—what say'st thou ?—Why the end is, he hath lost a ship.

Salar. I would it might prove the end of his losses !

Salan. Let me say amen betimes, lest the devil cross my prayer; for here he comes in the likeness of a Jew.

I So in the Merry Wives of Windsor :

He speaks holiday." ? To knap is to break short. The word occurs in the Common Prayer. "He knappeth the spear in sunder.


Enter SHYLOCK. How now, Shylock ? what news among the mer chants ?

Shy. You knew, none so well, none so well as you, of my daughter's flight.

Salar. That's certain ; I, for my part, knew the tailor that made the wings she flew withal.

Salan. And Shylock, for his own part, knew the bird was fledged ; and then it is the complexion of them all to leave the dam.

Shy. She is damned for it.
Salar. That's certain, if the devil may be her judge.
Shy. My own flesh and blood to rebel !
Salan. Out upon it, old carrion! rebels it at these
Shy. I say, my daughter is my flesh and blood.

Salar. There is more difference between thy flesh and hers, than between jet and ivory; more between your bloods, than there is between red wine and Rhenish.—But tell us, do you hear whether Antonio have had any loss at sea or no?

Shy. There I have another bad match. A bankrupt, a prodigal, who dare scarce show his head on the Rialto;—a beggar, that used to come so smug upon the mart!-Let him look to his bond: he was wont to call me usurer ;-let him look to his bond. He was wont to lend money for a Christian courtesy :-let him look to his bond.

Salar. Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his flesh; what's that good for ?

Shy. To bait fish withal; if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and hindered me of half a million ; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what's his reason I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes ? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same dis

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