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  • Title: The Merchant of Venice (Quarto 1, 1600)
  • Editor: Janelle Jenstad

  • Copyright Janelle Jenstad. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    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    Not Peer Reviewed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.