Home
log out +

The Merchant of Venice: Act 2, Scene 9

The Merchant of Venice
Act 2, Scene 9

Belmont. A room in Portia’s house.

  1. Enter Nerissa and a servant.

Nerissa

2 - 4
  1. Quick, quick, I pray thee, draw the curtain straight;
  2. The Prince of Arragon hath ta’en his oath,
  3. And comes to his election presently.
  1. Flourish cornets. Enter the Prince of Arragon, his Train,
  2. and Portia.

Portia

7 - 11
  1. Behold, there stand the caskets, noble Prince
  2. If you choose that wherein I am contain’d,
  3. Straight shall our nuptial rites be solemniz’d;
  4. But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,
  5. You must be gone from hence immediately.

Arragon

12 - 19
  1. I am enjoin’d by oath to observe three things:
  2. First, never to unfold to any one
  3. Which casket ’twas I chose; next, if I fail
  4. Of the right casket, never in my life
  5. To woo a maid in way of marriage;
  6. Lastly,
  7. If I do fail in fortune of my choice,
  8. Immediately to leave you, and be gone.

Portia

20 - 21
  1. To these injunctions every one doth swear
  2. That comes to hazard for my worthless self.

Arragon

22 - 55
  1. And so have I address’d me. Fortune now
  2. To my heart’s hope! Gold, silver, and base lead.
  3. Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.”
  4. You shall look fairer ere I give or hazard.
  5. What says the golden chest? Ha, let me see:
  6. Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.”
  7. What many men desire! That many may be meant
  8. By the fool multitude that choose by show,
  9. Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach,
  10. Which pries not to th’ interior, but like the martlet
  11. Builds in the weather on the outward wall,
  12. Even in the force and road of casualty.
  13. I will not choose what many men desire,
  14. Because I will not jump with common spirits,
  15. And rank me with the barbarous multitudes.
  16. Why then to thee, thou silver treasure house,
  17. Tell me once more what title thou dost bear:
  18. Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.”
  19. And well said too; for who shall go about
  20. To cozen fortune, and be honorable
  21. Without the stamp of merit? Let none presume
  22. To wear an undeserved dignity.
  23. O that estates, degrees, and offices
  24. Were not deriv’d corruptly, and that clear honor
  25. Were purchas’d by the merit of the wearer!
  26. How many then should cover that stand bare?
  27. How many be commanded that command?
  28. How much low peasantry would then be gleaned
  29. From the true seed of honor? And how much honor
  30. Pick’d from the chaff and ruin of the times
  31. To be new varnish’d? Well, but to my choice:
  32. Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.”
  33. I will assume desert. Give me a key for this,
  34. And instantly unlock my fortunes here.
  1. He unlocks the silver casket.

Portia

57
  1. Too long a pause for that which you find there.

Arragon

58 - 64
  1. What’s here? The portrait of a blinking idiot,
  2. Presenting me a schedule! I will read it.
  3. How much unlike art thou to Portia!
  4. How much unlike my hopes and my deservings!
  5. Who chooseth me shall have as much as he deserves”!
  6. Did I deserve no more than a fool’s head?
  7. Is that my prize? Are my deserts no better?

Portia

65 - 66
  1. To offend and judge are distinct offices,
  2. And of opposed natures.

Arragon

67 - 84
  1.                         What is here?
  2. Reads.
  3. The fire seven times tried this:
  4. Seven times tried that judgment is,
  5. That did never choose amiss.
  6. Some there be that shadows kiss,
  7. Such have but a shadow’s bliss.
  8. There be fools alive, iwis,
  9. Silver’d o’er, and so was this.
  10. Take what wife you will to bed,
  11. I will ever be your head.
  12. So be gone, you are sped.”
  13. Still more fool I shall appear
  14. By the time I linger here.
  15. With one fool’s head I came to woo,
  16. But I go away with two.
  17. Sweet, adieu. I’ll keep my oath,
  18. Patiently to bear my wroth.
  1. Exit with his Train.

Portia

86 - 88
  1. Thus hath the candle sing’d the moth.
  2. O, these deliberate fools, when they do choose,
  3. They have the wisdom by their wit to lose.

Nerissa

89 - 90
  1. The ancient saying is no heresy,
  2. Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.

Portia

91
  1. Come draw the curtain, Nerissa.
  1. Enter Stephano.

Stephano

93
  1. Where is my lady?

Portia

94
  1.                   Here; what would my lord?

Stephano

95 - 104
  1. Madam, there is alighted at your gate
  2. A young Venetian, one that comes before
  3. To signify th’ approaching of his lord,
  4. From whom he bringeth sensible regreets:
  5. To wit (besides commends and courteous breath),
  6. Gifts of rich value. Yet I have not seen
  7. So likely an ambassador of love.
  8. A day in April never came so sweet,
  9. To show how costly summer was at hand,
  10. As this fore-spurrer comes before his lord.

Portia

105 - 109
  1. No more, I pray thee. I am half afeard
  2. Thou wilt say anon he is some kin to thee,
  3. Thou spend’st such high-day wit in praising him.
  4. Come, come, Nerissa, for I long to see
  5. Quick Cupid’s post that comes so mannerly.

Nerissa

110
  1. Bassanio, Lord Love, if thy will it be!
  1. Exeunt.
© 2019 Unotate.comcontactprivacy policyCreative Commons text from PlayShakespeare.comAll illustrations are public domain or Creative Commons