Bass. Let me choose, For as I am, I liue vpon the racke

Por. Vpon the racke Bassanio, then confesse What treason there is mingled with your loue

Bass. None but that vglie treason of mistrust. Which makes me feare the enioying of my loue: There may as well be amitie and life, 'Tweene snow and fire, as treason and my loue

Por. I, but I feare you speake vpon the racke, Where men enforced doth speake any thing

Bass. Promise me life, and ile confesse the truth

Por. Well then, confesse and liue

Bass. Confesse and loue Had beene the verie sum of my confession: O happie torment, when my torturer Doth teach me answers for deliuerance: But let me to my fortune and the caskets

Por. Away then, I am lockt in one of them, If you doe loue me, you will finde me out. Nerryssa and the rest, stand all aloofe, Let musicke sound while he doth make his choise, Then if he loose he makes a Swan-like end, Fading in musique. That the comparison May stand more proper, my eye shall be the streame And watrie death-bed for him: he may win, And what is musique than? Than musique is Euen as the flourish, when true subiects bowe To a new crowned Monarch: Such it is, As are those dulcet sounds in breake of day, That creepe into the dreaming bride-groomes eare, And summon him to marriage. Now he goes With no lesse presence, but with much more loue Then yong Alcides, when he did redeeme The virgine tribute, paied by howling Troy To the Sea-monster: I stand for sacrifice, The rest aloofe are the Dardanian wiues: With bleared visages come forth to view The issue of th' exploit: Goe Hercules, Liue thou, I liue with much more dismay I view the sight, then thou that mak'st the fray.

Here Musicke. A Song the whilst Bassanio comments on the Caskets to himselfe.

Tell me where is fancie bred, Or in the heart, or in the head: How begot, how nourished. Replie, replie. It is engendred in the eyes, With gazing fed, and Fancie dies, In the cradle where it lies: Let vs all ring Fancies knell. Ile begin it. Ding, dong, bell

All. Ding, dong, bell

Bass. So may the outward showes be least themselues The world is still deceiu'd with ornament. In Law, what Plea so tainted and corrupt, But being season'd with a gracious voice, Obscures the show of euill? In Religion, What damned error, but some sober brow Will blesse it, and approue it with a text, Hiding the grosenesse with faire ornament: There is no voice so simple, but assumes Some marke of vertue on his outward parts; How manie cowards, whose hearts are all as false As stayers of sand, weare yet vpon their chins The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars, Who inward searcht, haue lyuers white as milke, And these assume but valors excrement, To render them redoubted. Looke on beautie, And you shall see 'tis purchast by the weight, Which therein workes a miracle in nature, Making them lightest that weare most of it: So are those crisped snakie golden locks Which makes such wanton gambols with the winde Vpon supposed fairenesse, often knowne To be the dowrie of a second head, The scull that bred them in the Sepulcher. Thus ornament is but the guiled shore To a most dangerous sea: the beautious scarfe Vailing an Indian beautie; In a word, The seeming truth which cunning times put on To intrap the wisest. Therefore then thou gaudie gold, Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee, Nor none of thee thou pale and common drudge 'Tweene man and man: but thou, thou meager lead Which rather threatnest then dost promise ought, Thy palenesse moues me more then eloquence, And here choose I, ioy be the consequence

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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