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That lie within the
To weed this wormwood from your fruitful brain,
And, therewithal, to win me, if you please
(Without the which I am not to be won),
You shall this twelvemonth term from day to day
Visit the speechless sick, and still converse
With groaning wretches; and your task shall be,
With all the fierce endeavour of your wit
To enforce the pained impotent to smile.
Biron. To move wild laughter in the throat of death!
It cannot be; it is impossible :
Mirth cannot move a soul in agony.
Rosalind, Why, that's the way to choke a gibing spirit, Whose influence is begot of that loose grace Which shallow laughing hearers give to fools : A jest's prosperity lies in the ear Of him that hears it, never in the tongue Of him that makes it: then, if sickly ears, Deafʼd with the clamours of their own dear groans, Will hear your idle scorns, continue then, And I will have you, and that fault withal; But, if they will not, throw away that spirit, And I shall find you empty of that fault, Right joyful of your reformation.
Biron. A twelvemonth! well, befall what will befall, I'll jest a twelvemonth in a hospital. 24 Princess. Ay, sweet my lord; and so I take my leave.
[To the King
KNOW the hand: in faith, 'tis a fair hand;
And whiter than the paper it writ on,
Is the fair hand that writ.
Gratiano. Was not that letter from fair Jessica ?
Lorenzo. I must needs tell thee all : She hath directed,
How I shall take her from her father's house;
What gold, and jewels, she is furnish'd with;
What page's suit she hath in readiness.
If e'er the Jew her father come to heaven,
It will be for his gentle daughter's sake :
And never dare misfortune cross her foot,
Unless she do it under this
That she is issue a faithless Jew.
Come, go with me; peruse this, as thou goest :
Fair Jessica shall be my torch-bearer.
Jessica. What, must I hold a candle to my shames? They in themselves, good sooth, are too, too light. Why, 'tis an office of discovery, love; And I should be obscur'd.
Gratiano. Now, by my hood, a Gentile, and no Jew.
Lorenzo. Beshrew me, but I love her heartily:
For she is wise, if I can judge of her ;
And fair she is, if that mine eyes be true ;
And true she is, as she hath proved herself;
And therefore, like herself, wise, fair, and true,
Shall she be placed in my constant soul.
Enter JESSICA, below.
What, art thou come ?-On, gentlemen, away;
Our masquing mates by this time for us stay.
Belmont. A Room in PORTIA's House.
Portia. I pray you, tarry; pause a day or two,
Before you hazard; for, in choosing wrong,
I lose your company; therefore, forbear a while :
There's something tells me (but it is not love),
I would not lose you; and you know yourself,
Hate counsels not in such a quality :
But lest you should not understand me well
(And yet a maiden hath no tongue but thought)
I would detain you here some month or two,
Before you venture for me.
I could teach you,
How to choose right, but then I am forsworn;
So will I never be : so may you
But if you do, you 'll make me wish a sin,
That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes,
They have o'erlook'd me, and divided me;
One half of me is yours, the other half
Mine own, I would say ; but if mine, then yours,
And so all yours: O! these naughty times
Put bars between the owners and their rights ;
And so, though yours, not yours.—Prove it so,
Let fortune go to hell for it,—not I.
I speak too long; but 'tis to peize the time;
To eke it, and to draw it out in length,
To stay you from election.
Portia. Away then: I am lock'd in one of them; If you
do love me, you will find me out. — Nerissa, and the rest, stand all aloof.Let musick sound, while he doth make his choice; Then, if he lose, he makes a swan-like end, Fading in musick : that the comparison May stand more proper, my eye shall be the stream, And wat'ry death-bed for him : He may win; And what is musick then? then musick is Even as the flourish when true subjects bow To a new-crowned monarch: such it is, As are those dulcet sounds in break of day, That creep into the dreaming bridegroom's ear, And summon him to marriage.
Now he goes, With no less presence, but with much more love, Than young Alcides, when he did redeem
The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy
To the sea-monster : I stand for sacrifice,
The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives,
With bleared visages, come forth to view
The issue of the exploit
. Go, Hercules !
Live thou, I live :-With much much more dismay
I view the fight, than thou that mak'st the fray.
Portia. How all the other passions fleet to air,
As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embrac'd despair,
And shudd'ring fear and green-ey'd jealousy.
O love, be moderate, allay thy ecstasy,
In measure rain thy joy, scant this excess ;
I feel too much thy blessing, make it less,
For fear I surfeit !
What find I here?
[Opening the leaden casket.
Fair Portia's counterfeit? What demi-god
Hath come so near creation ? Move these eyes ?
Or whether, riding on the balls of mine,
Seem they in motion ? Here are sever'd lips,
Parted with sugar breath ; so sweet a bar
Should sunder such sweet friends : Here in her hairs
The painter plays the spider; and hath woven
A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men,
Faster than gnats in cobwebs: But her eyes,-
How could he see to do them ? having made one,
Methinks it should have power to steal both his,
And leave itself unfurnished: Yet look, how far
The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow
In underprizing it, so far this shadow
Doth limp behind the substance.--Here's the scroll,
The continent and summary of