The French and English, there miscarried
A vessel of our country, richly fraught:
I thought upon Antonio, when he told me;
And wish'd in silence that it were not his.

Salan. You were best to tell Antonio what you hear; Yet do not suddenly, for it may grieve him.

Salar. A kinder gentleman treads not the earth. I saw Bassanio and Antonio part: Bassanio told him, he would make some speed Of his return: he answer'd-Do not so, Slubber noto business for my sake, Bassanio, But stay the very riping of the time; And for the Jew's bond, which he hath of me, Let it not enter into your mind of love: Be merry; and employ your chiefest thoughts To courtship and such fair ostents 3 of love As shall conveniently become you there: And even there, his eye being big with tears, Turning his face, he put his hand behind him, And with affection wondrous sensible He wrung Bassanio's hand, and so they parted.

Salan. I think, he only loves the world for him. I pray thee, let us go, and find him out, And quicken his embraced heaviness * With some delight or other. Salar.

Do we so. [Exeunt.

SCENE IX. Belmont.

A Room in Portia's House.

Enter NERISSA, with a Servant. Ner. Quick, quick, I pray thee, draw the curtain

straight; The prince of Arragon hath ta'en his oath, And comes to his election presently.

2 To slubber is to do a thing carelessly. 3 Shows, tokens. 4 The heaviness he is fond of, or indulges.

Flourish of Cornets. Enter the Prince of Arragon, PORTIA, and their

Trains. Por. Behold, there stand the caskets, noble prince: If you

choose that wherein I am contain’d, Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemniz'd; But if you fail, without more speech, my lord, You must be gone from hence immediately.

Ar. I am enjoin’d by oath to observe three things :
First, never to unfold to any one
Which casket 'twas I chose; next, if I fail
Of the right casket, never in my

To woo a maid in way of marriage; lastly,
If I do fail in fortune of my choice,
Immediately to leave you and be gone.

Por. To these injunctions every one doth swear, That comes to hazard for my worthless self.

Ar. And so have I address'di me: Fortune now To my heart's hope !-Gold, silver, and base lead. Who chooseth me, must give and hazard all he hath. You shall look fairer, ere I give, or hazard. What

says the golden chest? ha! let me see:Who chooseth me, shall gain what many men desire. What many men desire.—That many may be meant By? the fool multitude, that choose by show, Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach; Which pries not to the interior, but, like the martlet, Builds in the weather on the outward wall, Even in the force 3 and road of casualty. I will not choose what many men desire, Because I will not jump with common spirits,


By and of being synonymous, were used by our ancestors indifferently; Malone has adduced numerous instances of the use of by, in all of which, by substituting of, the sense is rendered clear to the modern reader. 3 Power.

4 To jump is to agree with.



And rank me with the barbarous multitudes.
Why, then to thee, thou silver treasure-house;
Tell me once more what title thou dost bear:
Who chooseth me, shall get as much as he deserves ;
And well said too: For who shall go about
To cozen fortune, and be honourable
Without the stamp of merit! Let none presume
To wear an undeserved dignity.
0, that estates, degrees, and offices,
Were not deriv'd corruptly! and that clear honour
Were purchased by the merit of the wearer!
How many then should cover, that stand bare?

be commanded, that command ?
How much low peasantry would then be glean’d
From the true seed of honour ? and how much honour
Pick'd from the chaff and ruin of the times 5,
To be new varnish'd ? Well, but to


choice: Who chooseth me, shall get as much as he deserves : I will assume desert;--Give me a key for this, And instantly unlock my fortunes here.

Por. Too long a pause for that which you find there.

Ar. What's here? the portrait of a blinking idiot, Presenting me a schedule. I will read it. How much unlike art thou to Portia ? How much unlike my hopes, and my deservings? Who chooseth me, shall have as much as he deserves. Did I deserve no more than a fool's head? Is that my prize ? are my

deserts no better?
Por. To offend, and judge, are distinct offices,
And of opposed natures.

What is here?
The fire seven times tried this;
Seven times tried that judgment is,

5 The meaning is, how much meanness would be found among the great, and how much greatness among the mean.

That did never choose amiss :
Some there be, that shadows kiss ;
Such have but a shadow's bliss :
There be fools alive, I wis,
Silver'd o'er; and so was this.
Take what wife you will to bed",
I will ever be your

So begone, sir, you are sped.
Still more fool I shall appear
By the time I linger here;
With one fool's head I came to woo,
But I

go away with two.-
Sweet, adieu! I'll keep my oath,
Patiently to bear my wroath 8.

[Exeunt Arragon, and Train.
Por. Thus hath the candle sing’d the moth.
O these deliberate fools! when they do choose,
They have the wisdom by their wit to lose.

Ner. The ancient saying is no heresy ;-
Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.

Por. Come, draw the curtain, Nerissa.

Enter a Servant.
Serv. Where is my lady?

Here; what would my lord ? 6 Know.

? The poet had forgotten that he who missed Portia was never to marry any other woman.

8 Wroath is used in some of the old writers for misfortune, and is often spelt like ruth, Caxton's Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, 1471, has frequent instances of wroth. Thus also in Chapman's Version of the 22nd Iliad

born all to wroth

Of woe and labour.' Hoccleeve also uses it:

• But poore shamefast man ofte is wrooth.' And Barclay in his Ship of Fools :

• Be the poore wroth, or be well apayde.'

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Serv. Madam, there is alighted at your gate A young Venetian, one that comes before To signify the approaching of his lord: From whom he bringeth sensible regreets 9; To wit, besides commends, and courteous breath, Gifts of rich value; yet I have not seen So likely an ambassador of love: A day in April never came so sweet, To show how costly summer was at hand, As this fore-spurrer comes before his lord. Por. No



pray thee; I am half afeard, Thou wilt say anon, he is some kin to thee, Thou spend'st such high-day 10 wit in praising him.Come, come, Nerissa; for I long to see Quick Cupid's post, that comes so mannerly. Ner. Bassanio, lord love, if thy will it be!


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Enter SALANIO and SALARINO, Salan. Now, what news on the Rialto?

Salar. Why, yet it lives there uncheck’d, that Antonio hath a ship of rich lading wreck'd on the narrow seas; the Goodwins, I think they call the place; a very dangerous flat, and fatal, where the carcasses of many a tall ship lie buried, as they say, if my gossip report be an honest woman of her word. Salan. I would she were as lying a gossip in that,

9 Salutations.
10 So in The Merry Wives of Windsor :

-He speaks holiday.'


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