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Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house.

By my troth, Nerissa, my little body
is aweary of this great world.

You would be, sweet madam, if your
miseries were in the same abundance as your
good fortunes are: and yet, for aught I see,
they are as sick that surfeit with too much as
they that starve with nothing. It is no mean

happiness therefore, to be seated in the mean:
superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but (10)
competency lives longer.

Good sentences and well pronounced.

They would be better, if well followed.

If to do were as easy as to know what
were good to do, chapels had been churches
and poor men's cottages princes' palaces. It
is a good divine that follows his own instructions:
I can easier teach twenty what were
good to be done, than be one of the twenty to
follow mine own teaching. The brain may devise

laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps
o'er a cold decree: such a hare is madness the
youth, to skip o'er the meshes of good counsel
the cripple. But this reasoning is not in the
fashion to choose me a husband. O me, the
word 'choose!' I may neither choose whom I
would nor refuse whom I dislike; so is the will
of a living daughter curbed by the will of a
dead father. Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I (29)
cannot choose one nor refuse none?

Your father was ever virtuous; and
holy men at their death have good inspirations:
therefore the lottery, that he hath devised
in these three chests of gold, silver, and
lead, whereof who chooses his meaning

chooses you, will, no doubt, never be chosen
by any rightly but one who shall rightly love.
But what warmth is there in your affection towards
any of these princely suitors that are
already come?

I pray thee, over-name them; and as
thou namest them, I will describe them; and,
according to my description, level at my affection.

First, there is the Neapolitan prince.

Ay, that's a colt indeed, for he doth
nothing but talk of his horse; and he makes it
a great appropriaton to his own good parts,
that he can shoe him himself. I am much
afeard my lady his mother played false with a
smith. (49)

Then there is the County Palatine.

He doth nothing but frown, as who
should say 'If you will not have me, choose:'
he hears merry tales and smiles not: I fear he
will prove the weeping philosopher when he
grows old, being so full of unmannerly sadness
in his youth. I had rather be married to
a death's-head with a bone in his mouth than
to either of these. God defend me from these

How say you by the French lord, (59)
Monsieur Le Bon?

God made him, and therefore let him
pass for a man. In truth, I know it is a sin to
be a mocker: but, he! why, he hath a horse
better than the Neapolitan's, a better bad
habit of frowning than the Count Palatine; he

is every man in no man; if a throstle sing, he
falls straight a capering: he will fence with
his own shadow: if I should marry him, I
should marry twenty husbands. If he would
despise me I would forgive him, for if he love (70)
me to madness, I shall never requite him.

What say you, then, to Falconbridge,
the young baron of England?

You know I say nothing to him, for
he understands not me, nor I him: he hath
neither Latin, French, nor Italian, and you
will come into the court and swear that I have
a poor pennyworth in the English. He is a

proper man's picture, but, alas, who can converse
with a dumb-show? How oddly he is
suited! I think he bought his doublet in Italy,
his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany
and his behavior every where.

What think you of the Scottish lord,
his neighbor?

That he hath a neighborly charity in
him, for he borrowed a box of the ear of the
Englishman and swore he would pay him
again when he was able: I think the Frenchman
became his surety and sealed under for

How like you the young German, the (91)
Duke of Saxony's nephew?

Very vilely in the morning, when he
is sober, and most vilely in the afternoon,
when he is drunk: when he is best, he is a
little worse than a man, and when he is worst,
he is little better than a beast: and the worst

fall that ever fell, I hope I shall make shift
to go without him.

If he should offer to choose, and
choose the right casket, you should refuse to
perform your father's will, if you should refuse
to accept him.

Therefore, for fear of the worst, I
pray thee, set a deep glass of rhenish wine on
the contrary casket, for if the devil be within
and that temptation without, I know he will
choose it. I will do any thing, Nerissa, ere I'll
be married to a sponge.

You need not fear, lady, the having
any of these lords: they have acquainted me
with their determinations; which is, indeed,
to return to their home and to trouble you
with no more suit, unless you may be won by
some other sort than your father's imposition

depending on the caskets.

If I live to be as old as Sibylla, I will
die as chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by
the manner of my father's will. I am glad this
parcel of wooers are so reasonable, for there
is not one among them but I dote on his very
absence, and I pray God grant them a fair departure.

Do you not remember, lady, in your
father's time, a Venetian, a scholar and a
soldier, that came hither in company of the
Marquis of Montferrat?

Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think,
he was so called.

True, madam: he, of all the men that
ever my foolish eyes looked upon, was the best (131)
deserving a fair lady.

I remember him well, and I remember
him worthy of thy praise. Enter a Serving-man. How now! what news?

The four strangers seek for you,
madam, to take their leave: and there is a
forerunner come from a fifth, the Prince of
Morocco, who brings word the prince his
master will be here to-night.

If I could bid the fifth welcome with
so good a heart as I can bid the other four
farewell, I should be glad of his approach: if
he have the condition of a saint and the complexion
of a devil, I had rather he should

shrive me than wive me.
Come, Nerissa. Sirrah, go before.

Whiles we shut the gates upon one wooer, another

knocks at the'door. [Exeunt.

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