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The Merchant of Venice: Act 2 Scene 1
Scene I Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house.
- [Flourish of cornets. Enter the PRINCE OF MOROCCO
- and his train; PORTIA, NERISSA, and others
- Mislike me not for my complexion,
- The shadow'd livery of the burnish'd sun,
- To whom I am a neighbour and near bred.
- Bring me the fairest creature northward born,
- Where Phoebus' fire scarce thaws the icicles,
- And let us make incision for your love,
- To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine.
- I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine
- Hath fear'd the valiant: by my love I swear
- The best-regarded virgins of our clime
- Have loved it too: I would not change this hue,
- Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.
- In terms of choice I am not solely led
- By nice direction of a maiden's eyes;
- Besides, the lottery of my destiny
- Bars me the right of voluntary choosing:
- But if my father had not scanted me
- And hedged me by his wit, to yield myself
- His wife who wins me by that means I told you,
- Yourself, renowned prince, then stood as fair
- As any comer I have look'd on yet
- For my affection.
- Even for that I thank you:
- Therefore, I pray you, lead me to the caskets
- To try my fortune. By this scimitar
- That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince
- That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,
- I would outstare the sternest eyes that look,
- Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth,
- Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,
- Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey,
- To win thee, lady. But, alas the while!
- If Hercules and Lichas play at dice
- Which is the better man, the greater throw
- May turn by fortune from the weaker hand:
- So is Alcides beaten by his page;
- And so may I, blind fortune leading me,
- Miss that which one unworthier may attain,
- And die with grieving.
- You must take your chance,
- And either not attempt to choose at all
- Or swear before you choose, if you choose wrong
- Never to speak to lady afterward
- In way of marriage: therefore be advised.
- Nor will not. Come, bring me unto my chance.
- First, forward to the temple: after dinner
- Your hazard shall be made.
- Good fortune then!
- To make me blest or cursed'st among men.
- [Cornets, and exeunt]