William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, famous for the lines, "prick us do we not laugh, wrong us will we not avenge", tells the story of love, honour and justice.
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HOME > Plays > The Merchant of Venice > Act II. Scene IVI.

The Merchant of Venice

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Act II. Scene VII.

Scene VII.—Belmont. A Room in PORTIA'S

Flourish of Cornets. Enter PORTIA, with the
PRINCE OF MOROCCO, and their Trains.

Por. Go, draw aside the curtains, and dis-
The several caskets to this noble prince.
Now make your choice.
Mor. The first, of gold, which this inscription
Who chooseth me shall gain what many men
The second, silver, which this promise carries:
Who chooseth me shall get as much as he de-
This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt:
Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he
How shall I know if I do choose the right?
Por. The one of them contains my picture,
If you choose that, then I am yours withal.
Mor. Some god direct my judgment! Let me
I will survey the inscriptions back again:
What says this leaden casket?
Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he
Must give: For what? for lead? hazard for
This casket threatens. Men that hazard all
Do it in hope of fair advantages:
A golden mind stoops not to shows of dross;
I'll then nor give nor hazard aught for lead.
What says the silver with her virgin hue?
Who chooseth me shall get as much as he de-
As much as he deserves! Pause there, Morocco,
And weigh thy value with an even hand.
If thou be'st rated by thy estimation,
Thou dost deserve enough; and yet enough
May not extend so far as to the lady:
And yet to be afeard of my deserving
Were but a weak disabling of myself.
As much as I deserve! Why, that's the lady:
I do in birth deserve her, and in fortunes,
In graces, and in qualities of breeding;
But more than these, in love I do deserve.
What if I stray'd no further, but chose here?
Let's see once more this saying grav'd in gold:
Who chooseth me shall gain what many men
Why, that's the lady: all the world desires her;
From the four corners of the earth they come,
To kiss this shrine, this mortal-breathing saint:
The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds
Of wide Arabia are as throughfares now
For princes to come view fair Portia:
The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head
Spits in the face of heaven, is no bar
To stop the foreign spirits, but they come,
As o'er a brook, to see fair Portia.
One of these three contains her heavenly picture.
Is't like that lead contains her? 'Twere dam-
To think so base a thought: it were too gross
To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave.
Or shall I think in silver she's immur'd,
Being ten times undervalu'd to tried gold?
O sinful thought! Never so rich a gem
Was set in worse than gold. They have in
A coin that bears the figure of an angel
Stamp'd in gold, but that's insculp'd upon;
But here an angel in a golden bed
Lies all within. Deliver me the key:
Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may!
Por. There, take it, prince; and if my form
lie there,
Then I am yours.
[He unlocks the golden casket.
Mor. O hell! what have we here?
A carrion Death, within whose empty eye
There is a written scroll I'll read the writing.
All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms infold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscroll'd:
Fare you well; your suit is cold.
Cold, indeed; and labour lost:
Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost!
Portia, adieu. I have too griev'd a heart
To take a tedious leave: thus losers part.
[Exit with his Train. Flourish of Cornets.
Por. A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains:
Let all of his complexion choose me so.
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