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The Merchant of Venice: Act 2, Scene 1

The Merchant of Venice
Act 2, Scene 1

Scene 1

Belmont. A room in Portia’s house.

  1. Flourish cornets. Enter the Prince of Morocco, a tawny Moor,
  2. all in white, and three or four Followers accordingly, with
  3. Portia, Nerissa, and their Train.

Morocco

4 - 15
  1. Mislike me not for my complexion,
  2. The shadowed livery of the burnish’d sun,
  3. To whom I am a neighbor and near bred.
  4. Bring me the fairest creature northward born,
  5. Where Phoebus’ fire scarce thaws the icicles,
  6. And let us make incision for your love,
  7. To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine.
  8. I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine
  9. Hath fear’d the valiant; by my love, I swear
  10. The best-regarded virgins of our clime
  11. Have lov’d it too. I would not change this hue,
  12. Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.

Portia

16 - 25
  1. In terms of choice I am not solely led
  2. By nice direction of a maiden’s eyes;
  3. Besides, the lott’ry of my destiny
  4. Bars me the right of voluntary choosing.
  5. But if my father had not scanted me,
  6. And hedg’d me by his wit to yield myself
  7. His wife who wins me by that means I told you,
  8. Yourself, renowned Prince, then stood as fair
  9. As any comer I have look’d on yet
  10. For my affection.

Morocco

26 - 42
  1.                   Even for that I thank you;
  2. Therefore I pray you lead me to the caskets
  3. To try my fortune. By this scimitar
  4. That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince
  5. That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,
  6. I would o’erstare the sternest eyes that look,
  7. Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth,
  8. Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,
  9. Yea, mock the lion when ’a roars for prey,
  10. To win thee, lady. But alas the while!
  11. If Hercules and Lichas play at dice
  12. Which is the better man, the greater throw
  13. May turn by fortune from the weaker hand:
  14. So is Alcides beaten by his rage,
  15. And so may I, blind fortune leading me,
  16. Miss that which one unworthier may attain,
  17. And die with grieving.

Portia

43 - 47
  1.                        You must take your chance,
  2. And either not attempt to choose at all,
  3. Or swear before you choose, if you choose wrong
  4. Never to speak to lady afterward
  5. In way of marriage; therefore be advis’d.

Morocco

48
  1. Nor will not. Come bring me unto my chance.

Portia

49 - 50
  1. First, forward to the temple; after dinner
  2. Your hazard shall be made.

Morocco

51 - 52
  1.                            Good fortune then!
  2. To make me blest or cursed’st among men.
  1. Cornets. Exeunt.
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