ACT II - SCENE VII. Belmont. A room in PORTIA'S house.
1 Go draw aside the curtains and discover 2 The several caskets to this noble prince. 3 Now make your choice.
4 The first, of gold, who this inscription bears, 5 'Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire;' 6 The second, silver, which this promise carries, 7 'Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves;' 8 This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt, 9 'Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.' 10 How shall I know if I do choose the right?
11 The one of them contains my picture, prince: 12 If you choose that, then I am yours withal.
13 Some god direct my judgment! Let me see; 14 I will survey the inscriptions back again. 15 What says this leaden casket? 16 'Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.' 17 Must give: for what? for lead? hazard for lead? 18 This casket threatens. Men that hazard all 19 Do it in hope of fair advantages: 20 A golden mind stoops not to shows of dross; 21 I'll then nor give nor hazard aught for lead. 22 What says the silver with her virgin hue? 23 'Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.' 24 As much as he deserves! Pause there, Morocco, 25 And weigh thy value with an even hand: 26 If thou be'st rated by thy estimation, 27 Thou dost deserve enough; and yet enough 28 May not extend so far as to the lady: 29 And yet to be afeard of my deserving 30 Were but a weak disabling of myself. 31 As much as I deserve! Why, that's the lady: 32 I do in birth deserve her, and in fortunes, 33 In graces and in qualities of breeding; 34 But more than these, in love I do deserve. 35 What if I stray'd no further, but chose here? 36 Let's see once more this saying graved in gold 37 'Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.' 38 Why, that's the lady; all the world desires her; 39 From the four corners of the earth they come, 40 To kiss this shrine, this mortal-breathing saint: 41 The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds 42 Of wide Arabia are as thoroughfares now 43 For princes to come view fair Portia: 44 The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head 45 Spits in the face of heaven, is no bar 46 To stop the foreign spirits, but they come, 47 As o'er a brook, to see fair Portia. 48 One of these three contains her heavenly picture. 49 Is't like that lead contains her? 'Twere damnation 50 To think so base a thought: it were too gross 51 To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave. 52 Or shall I think in silver she's immured, 53 Being ten times undervalued to tried gold? 54 O sinful thought! Never so rich a gem 55 Was set in worse than gold. They have in England 56 A coin that bears the figure of an angel 57 Stamped in gold, but that's insculp'd upon; 58 But here an angel in a golden bed 59 Lies all within. Deliver me the key: 60 Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may!
61 There, take it, prince; and if my form lie there, 62 Then I am yours.
He unlocks the golden casket
63 O hell! what have we here? 64 A carrion Death, within whose empty eye 65 There is a written scroll! I'll read the writing. Reads 66 All that glitters is not gold; 67 Often have you heard that told: 68 Many a man his life hath sold 69 But my outside to behold: 70 Gilded tombs do worms enfold. 71 Had you been as wise as bold, 72 Young in limbs, in judgment old, 73 Your answer had not been inscroll'd: 74 Fare you well; your suit is cold. 75 Cold, indeed; and labour lost: 76 Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost! 77 Portia, adieu. I have too grieved a heart 78 To take a tedious leave: thus losers part.
Exit with his train. Flourish of cornets
79 A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains, go. 80 Let all of his complexion choose me so.