ACT II - Scene I

ACT II - Scene I

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Belmont. PORTIA'S house Flourish of cornets. Enter the PRINCE of MOROCCO, a tawny Moor all in white, and three or four FOLLOWERS accordingly, with PORTIA, NERISSA, and train PRINCE OF MOROCCO

Mislike me not for my complexion, The shadowed livery of the burnish'd sun, To whom I am a neighbour, 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.

PORTIA

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.

PRINCE OF MOROCCO

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 page; And so may I, blind Fortune leading me, Miss that which one unworthier may attain, And die with grieving.

PORTIA

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.

PRINCE OF MOROCCO

Nor will not; come, bring me unto my chance.

PORTIA

First, forward to the temple. After dinner Your hazard shall be made.

PRINCE OF MOROCCO

Good fortune then, To make me blest or cursed'st among men! [Cornets, and exeunt]
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