Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Janelle Jenstad
Not Peer Reviewed

The Merchant of Venice (Quarto 1, 1600)


Enter Morochus a tawnie Moore all in white, and three
or foure followers accordingly, with Portia,
Nerrissa, and their traine.
495Morocho. Mislike me not for my complexion,
The shadowed liuerie of the burnisht sunne,
To whom I am a neighbour, and neere bred.
Bring me the fayrest creature North-ward borne,
Where Phaebus fire scarce thawes the ysicles,
500And let vs make incyzion for your loue,
To proue whose blood is reddest, his or mine.
I tell thee Lady this aspect of mine
Hath feard the valiant, (by my loue I sweare)
The best regarded Virgins of our Clyme
505Haue lou'd it to: I would not change this hue,
Except to steale your thoughts my gentle Queene.
Portia. In termes of choyse I am not soly led
By nice direction of a maydens eyes:
Besides, the lottrie of my destenie
510Barrs me the right of voluntary choosing:
But if my Father had not scanted me,
And hedgd me by his wit to yeeld my selfe
His wife, who winnes me by that meanes I told you,
Your selfe (renowned Prince) than stoode as faire
515As any commer I haue look'd on yet
For my affection.
Mor. Euen for that I thanke you,
Therefore I pray you leade me to the Caskets
To try my fortune: By this Symitare
520That slewe the Sophy, and a Persian Prince
That wone three fields of Sultan Solyman,
I would ore-stare the sternest eyes that looke:
Out-braue the hart most daring on the earth:
Pluck the young sucking Cubs from the she Beare,
525Yea, mock the Lyon when a rores for pray
To win the Lady. But alas, the while
If Hercules and Lychas play at dice
Which is the better man, the greater throw
May turne by fortune from the weaker hand:
530So is Alcides beaten by his rage,
And so may I, blind Fortune leading me
Misse that which one vnworthier may attaine,
And die with greeuing.
Portia. You must take your chaunce,
535And eyther not attempt to choose at all,
Or sweare before you choose, if you choose wrong
Neuer to speake to Lady afterward
In way of marriage, therefore be aduis'd.
Mor. Nor will not, come bring me vnto my chaunce.
540Portia. First forward to the temple, after dinner
Your hazard shall be made.
Mor. Good fortune then,
To make me blest or cursed'st among men.
Exeunt.