William Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice

ACT 2.
SCENE 9. Belmont. A room in PORTIA's house. (continued)

Too long a pause for that which you find there.

What's here? The portrait of a blinking idiot,
Presenting me a schedule! I will read it.
How much unlike art thou to Portia!
How much unlike my hopes and my deservings!
'Who chooseth me shall have as much as he deserves.'
Did I deserve no more than a fool's head?
Is that my prize? Are my deserts no better?

To offend, and judge, are distinct offices,
And of opposed natures.

What is here?

     'The fire seven times tried this;
     Seven times tried that judgment is
     That did never choose amiss.
     Some there be that shadows kiss;
     Such have but a shadow's bliss;
     There be fools alive, I wis,
     Silver'd o'er, and so was this.
     Take what wife you will to bed,
     I will ever be your head:
     So be gone; you are sped.'

Still more fool I shall appear
By the time I linger here;
With one fool's head I came to woo,
But I go away with two.
Sweet, adieu! I'll keep my oath,
Patiently to bear my wroth.

[Exit ARAGON with his train.]

Thus hath the candle sing'd the moth.
O, these deliberate fools! When they do choose,
They have the wisdom by their wit to lose.

The ancient saying is no heresy:
'Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.'

Come, draw the curtain, Nerissa.

[Enter a SERVANT.]

Where is my lady?

Here; what would my lord?

Madam, there is alighted at your gate
A young Venetian, one that comes before
To signify th' approaching of his lord;
From whom he bringeth sensible regreets;
To wit,--besides commends and courteous breath,--
Gifts of rich value. Yet I have not seen
So likely an ambassador of love.
A day in April never came so sweet,
To show how costly summer was at hand,
As this fore-spurrer comes before his lord.

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