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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Portia with Morrocho and both
    theyr traines.
    Por. Goe, draw aside the curtaines and discouer
    930the seuerall caskets to this noble Prince:
    Now make your choyse.
    Mor. This first of gold, who this inscription beares,
    Who chooseth me, shall gaine what many men desire.
    The second siluer, which this promise carries,
    935Who chooseth me, shall get as much as he deserues.
    This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt,
    Who chooseth me, must giue and hazard all he hath.
    How shall I know if I doe choose the right?
    Por. The one of them containes my picture Prince,
    940if you choose that, then I am yours withall.
    Mor. Some God direct my iudgement, let me see,
    I will suruay th'inscriptions, back againe,
    What saies this leaden casket?
    Who chooseth me, must giue and hazard all he hath,
    945Must giue, for what? for lead, hazard for lead?
    This casket threatens men that hazard all
    doe it in hope of faire aduantages:
    A golden minde stoopes not to showes of drosse,
    Ile then nor giue nor hazard ought for lead.
    950What sayes the siluer with her virgin hue?
    Who chooseth me, shal get as much as he deserues.
    As much as he deserues, pause there Morocho,
    and weigh thy valew with an euen hand,
    If thou beest rated by thy estimation
    955thou doost deserue enough, and yet enough
    May not extend so farre as to the Ladie:
    And yet to be afeard of my deseruing
    vvere but a weake disabling of my selfe.
    As much as I deserue, why thats the Ladie.
    960I doe in birth deserue her, and in fortunes,
    in graces, and in qualities of breeding:
    but more then these, in loue I doe deserue,
    vvhat if I straid no farther, but chose heere?
    Lets see once more this saying grau'd in gold:
    965Who chooseth me shall gaine what many men desire:
    Why thats the Ladie, all the world desires her.
    From the foure corners of the earth they come
    to kisse this shrine, this mortall breathing Saint.
    The Hircanion deserts, and the vastie wildes
    970Of wide Arabia are as throughfares now
    for Princes to come view faire Portia.
    The waterie Kingdome, whose ambitious head
    Spets in the face of heauen, is no barre
    To stop the forraine spirits, but they come
    975as ore a brooke to see faire Portia.
    One of these three containes her heauenly picture.
    Ist like that leade containes her, twere damnation
    to thinke so base a thought, it were too grosse
    to ribb her serecloth in the obscure graue,
    980Or shall I thinke in siluer shees immurd
    beeing tenne times vndervalewed to tride gold,
    O sinful thought, neuer so rich a Iem
    vvas set in worse then gold. They haue in England
    A coyne that beares the figure of an Angell
    985stampt in gold, but thats insculpt vpon:
    But heere an Angell in a golden bed
    lies all vvithin. Deliuer me the key:
    heere doe I choose, and thriue I as I may.
    Por. There take it Prince, and if my forme lie there
    990then I am yours?
    Mor. O hell! what haue wee heare, a carrion death,
    vvithin whose emptie eye there is a written scroule,
    Ile reade the writing.
    All that glisters is not gold,
    995Often haue you heard that told,
    Many a man his life hath sold
    But my outside to behold,
    Guilded timber doe wormes infold:
    Had you beene as wise as bold,
    1000Young in limbs, in iudgement old,
    Your aunswere had not beene inscrold,
    Fareyouwell, your sute is cold.
    Mor. Cold indeede and labour lost,
    Then farewell heate, and welcome frost:
    1005Portia adiew, I haue too greeu'd a hart
    To take a tedious leaue: thus loosers part.
    Por. A gentle riddance, draw the curtaines, go,
    Let all of his complexion choose me so.