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There may as well be amity and life
'Tween snow and fire, as treason and my love.
Por. Ay, but, I fear, you speak upon the rack,
Where men enforced do speak any thing.
Bass. Promise me life, and I'll confess the truth.
Por. Well, then, confess, and live.
Confess, and love,
Had been the very sum of my confession.
O happy torment, when my torturer
Doth teach me answers for deliverance !
But let me to my fortune and the caskets.
Por. Away then; I'm locked in one of them;
you do love me, you will find me out.-
Nerissa, and the rest, stand all aloof.-
Let music sound, while he doth make his choice;
Then, if he lose, he makes a swan-like end,
Fading in music. That the comparison
May stand more proper, my eye shall be the stream,
And watery death-bed for him. He may win ;
And what is music then! Then music is
Even as the flourish when true subjects bow
To a new-crowned monarch ; such it is,
As are those dulcet sounds in break of day,
into the dreaming bridegroom's ear,
And summon him to marriage. Now he goes,
With no less presence, but with much more love,
Than young Alcides, when he did redeem
The virgin-tribute paid by howling Troy
To the sea-monster. I stand for sacrifice.
The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives,
With bleared visages, come forth to view
The issue of the exploit. Go, Hercules!
Live thou, I live.—With much, much more dismay
I view the fight, than thou that mak'st the fray.
Music, whilst BASSANIO comments on the Caskets to
1. Tell me, where is fancy' bred,
Or in the heart, or in the head?
How begot, how nourished ?
2. It is engendered in the eyes,
With gazing fed; and fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies.
Let us all ring fancy's knell ;
I'll begin it,
-Ding, dong, bell.
All. Ding, dong, bell.
Bass. So may the outward shows be least them-
The world is still deceived with ornament.”
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,
Obscures the show of evil ? In religion,
What damned error, but some sober brow
Will bless it, and approve it with a text,
Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
There is no vice so simple, but assumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts.
How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false
As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
The beards of Hercules, and frowning Mars;
Who, inward searched, have livers white as milk !
And these assume but valor's excrement,
To render them redoubted. Look on beauty,
And you shall see 'tis purchased by the weight;
Which therein works a miracle in nature,
Making them lightest that wear most of it.
So are those crisped, snaky, golden locks,
Which make such wanton gambols with the wind,
Upon supposed fairness, often known
To be the dowry of a second head,
The skull that bred them, in the sepulchre.
Thus ornament is but the guiled 2 shore
To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
Veiling an Indian beauty ; in a word,
The seeming truth which cunning times put on
To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold,
Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;
Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge
'Tween man and man; but thou, thou meagre lead,
Which rather threat'nest, than dost promise aught,
Thy paleness3 moves me more than eloquence,
And here choose I. Joy be the consequence !
Por. How all the other passions fleet to air,
As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embraced despair,
And shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy.
O love, be moderate, allay thy ecstasy,
In measure rain thy joy, scant this excess;
I feel too much thy blessing; make it less,
For fear I surfeit!
What find I here?
[Opening the leaden casket.
Fair Portia's counterfeit? What demi-god
Hath come so near creation ? Move these eyes?
Or whether, riding on the balls of mine,
Seem they in motion ? Here are severed lips,
Parted with sugar breath; so sweet a bar
Should sunder such sweet friends. Here in her hairs
The painter plays the spider, and hath woven
A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men,
Faster than gnats in cobwebs.
But her eyes, -
How could he see to do them? Having made one,
Methinks it should have power to steal both his,
And leave itself unfurnished. Yet look, how far
The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow
In underprizing it, so far this shadow
Doth limp behind the substance.—Here's the scroll,
The continent and summary of my fortune.
You that choose not by the view,
Chance as fair, and choose as true !
Since this fortune falls to you,
Be content and seek no new.
If you be well pleased with this,
And hold your fortune for your bliss,
your lady is,
And claim her with a loving kiss.
A gentle scroll. Fair lady, by your leave!
I come by note, to give, and to receive.
Like one of two contending in a prize,
That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes,
Hearing applause, and universal shout,
Giddy in spirit, still gazing, in a doubt
Whether those peals of praise be his or no;
So, thrice fair lady, stand I, even so;
As doubtful whether what I see be true,
Until confirmed, signed, ratified by you.
Por. You see me, lord Bassanio, where I stand,
Such as I am. Though, for myself alone,
I would not be ambitious in my wish,
To wish myself much better; yet for you,
I would be trebled twenty times myself;
A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times
That only to stand high on your account,
I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,
Exceed account; but the full sum of me
Is sum of something ;' which, to term in gross,
Is an unlessoned girl, unschooled, unpractised;
Happy in this, she is not yet so old
But she may learn ; happier than this,
She is not bred so dull but she can learn ;
Happiest of all, is, that her gentle spirit
Commits itself to yours to be directed,
As from her lord, her governor, her king.
Myself, and what is mine, to you, and yours
Is now converted. But now I was the lord
Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
Queen o'er myself; and even now, but now,
This house, these servants, and this same myself,
Are yours, my lord ; I give them with this ring;
Which when you part from, lose, or give away,
Let it presage the ruin of your love,
And be my vantage to exclaim on you.
Bass. Madam, you have bereft me of all words,
Only my blood speaks to you in my veins ;
And there is such confusion in my powers,
As, after some oration fairly spoke
By a beloved prince, there doth appear
Among the buzzing, pleased multitude ;
Where every something, being blent together,
Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy,
Expressed, and not expressed. But when this ring
Parts from this finger, then parts life from hence;
O, then be bold to say, Bassanio's dead.
Ner. My lord and lady, it is now our time,
That have stood by, and seen our wishes prosper,
To cry, Good joy ; good joy, my lord, and lady!
Grā. My lord Bassanio, and my gentle lady,
I wish all the joy that you can wish;
For, I am sure, you can wish none from me;
And, when your honors mean to solemnize
The bargain of your faith, I do beseech you,
Even at that time I may be married too.
Bass. With all my heart, so thou canst get a wife.
Gra. I thank your lordship; you have got me one.