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  • Title: The Merchant of Venice (Folio 1, 1623)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Folio 1, 1623)

    Enter Portia with Morrocho, and both their traines.
    Por. Goe, draw aside the curtaines, and discouer
    The seuerall Caskets to this noble Prince:
    975Now make your choyse.
    Mor. The first of gold, who this inscription beares,
    Who chooseth me, shall gaine what men desire.
    The second siluer, which this promise carries,
    Who chooseth me, shall get as much as he deserues.
    980This 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
    The Merchant of Venice. 171
    How shall I know if I doe choose the right.
    Por. The one of them containes my picture Prince,
    985If you choose that, then I am yours withall.
    Mor. Some God direct my iudgement, let me see,
    I will suruay the inscriptions, backe againe:
    What saies this leaden casket?
    Who chooseth me, must giue and hazard all he hath.
    990Must 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.
    995What saies the Siluer with her virgin hue?
    Who chooseth me, shall get as much as he deserues.
    As much as he deserues; pause there Morocho,
    And weigh thy value with an euen hand,
    If thou beest rated by thy estimation
    1000Thou doost deserue enough, and yet enough
    May not extend so farre as to the Ladie:
    And yet to be afeard of my deseruing,
    Were but a weake disabling of my selfe.
    As much as I deserue, why that's the Lady.
    1005I doe in birth deserue her, and in fortunes,
    In graces, and in qualities of breeding:
    But more then these, in loue I doe deserue.
    What if I strai'd no farther, but chose here?
    Let's see once more this saying grau'd in gold.
    1010Who chooseth me shall gaine what many men desire:
    Why that's the Lady, 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 vaste wildes
    1015Of 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
    1020As ore a brooke to see faire Portia.
    One of these three containes her heauenly picture.
    Is't like that Lead containes her? 'twere damnation
    To thinke so base a thought, it were too grose
    To rib her searecloath in the obscure graue:
    1025Or shall I thinke in Siluer she's immur'd
    Being ten times vndervalued to tride gold;
    O sinfull thought, neuer so rich a Iem
    Was set in worse then gold! They haue in England
    A coyne that beares the figure of an Angell
    1030Stampt in gold, but that's insculpt vpon:
    But here an Angell in a golden bed
    Lies all within. Deliuer me the key:
    Here doe I choose, and thriue I as I may.
    Por. There take it Prince, and if my forme lye there
    1035Then I am yours.
    Mor. O hell! what haue we here, a carrion death,
    Within whose emptie eye there is a written scroule;
    Ile reade the writing.
    All that glisters is not gold,
    1040 Often 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,
    1045 Yong in limbs, in iudgement old,
    Your answere had not beene inscrold,
    Fareyouwell, your suite is cold,
    Mor. Cold indeede, and labour lost,
    Then farewell heate, and welcome frost:
    1050Portia adew, I haue too grieu'd a heart
    To take a tedious leaue: thus loosers part. Exit.
    Por. A gentle riddance: draw the curtaines, go:
    Let all of his complexion choose me so. Exeunt.