The Merchant of Venice
Act II, Scene 1
Belmont. A room in Portia’s house.
- Flourish cornets. Enter the Prince of Morocco, a tawny Moor,
- all in white, and three or four Followers accordingly, with
- Portia, Nerissa, and their Train.
Morocco1 - 12
- Mislike me not for my complexion,
- The shadowed livery of the burnish’d sun,
- To whom I am a neighbor 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 lov’d it too. I would not change this hue,
- Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.
Portia13 - 22
- In terms of choice I am not solely led
- By nice direction of a maiden’s eyes;
- Besides, the lott’ry of my destiny
- Bars me the right of voluntary choosing.
- But if my father had not scanted me,
- And hedg’d 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.
Morocco23 - 39
- 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 o’erstare 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 ’a 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 rage,
- And so may I, blind fortune leading me,
- Miss that which one unworthier may attain,
- And die with grieving.
Portia40 - 44
- 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 advis’d.
- Nor will not. Come bring me unto my chance.
Portia46 - 47
- First, forward to the temple; after dinner
- Your hazard shall be made.
Morocco48 - 49
- Good fortune then!
- To make me blest or cursed’st among men.
- Cornets. Exeunt.