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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.
THE DECEIT OF ORNAMENT OR APPEARANCES.
The world is still deceiv'd with ornament.
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
But, being season'd with a gracious† voice,
Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
What damned error, but some sober brow
Will bless it, and approve it with a text,
Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
There is no vice so simple, but assumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts.
How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false
As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
The beards of Hercules, and frowning Mars;
Who, inward search'd, have livers white as milk?
And these assume but valour's excrement,
To render them redoubted. Look on beauty,
And you shall see 'tis purchased by the weight;
Which therein works a miracle in nature,
Making them lightest that wear most of it:
So are those crisped snaky golden locks,
Which make such wanton gambols with the wind,
Upon supposed fairness, often known
To be the dowry of a second head,
The skull that bred them in the sepulchre.
Thus ornament is but the guiled § shore
To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,
The seeming truth which cunning times put on
To entrap the wisest.
* Dignity of mien.
[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 unfurnish'd.
SUCCESSFUL LOVER COMPARED TO A CONQUEROR.
Like one of two contending in a prize,
That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes,
Hearing applause, and universal shout,
Giddy in spirit, still gazing, in a doubt
Whether those peals of praise be his or no;
So, thrice fair lady, stand I.
HIS THOUGHTS TO THE INARTICULATE JOYS OF A
There is such confusion in my powers,
As, after some oration fairly spoke
By a beloved prince, there doth appear
Among the buzzing pleased multitude:
Where every something, being blent † together,
Turns to a wild of nothing, save of joy,
Express'd, and not express'd.
Shy. I'll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak: I'll have my bond: and therefore speak no more, I'll not be made a soft and dull-ey'd fool.
To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield
To christian intercessors.
THE BOASTING OF YOUTH.
I'll hold thee any wager,
When we are both accouter'd like young men,
I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
And wear my dagger with the braver grace;
And speak, between the change of man and boy,
With a reed voice; and turn two mincing steps
Into a manly stride; and speak of frays,
Like a fine bragging youth: and tell quaint lies,
How honourable ladies sought my love,
Which I denying, they fell sick and died;
I could not do with all; then I'll repent,
And wish, for all that, that I had not kill'd them:
And twenty of these puny lies I'll tell,
That men shall swear, I have discontinued school Above a twelvemonth.
O dear discretion, how his words are suited! The fool hath planted in his memory An army of good words: And I do know A many fools, that stand in better place, Garnish'd like him, that for a tricksy word Defy the matter.
THE JEW'S REASON FOR Revenge.
You'll ask me, why I rather choose to have A weight of carrion flesh, than to receive Three thousand ducats: I'll not answer that: But, say, it is my humour*: Is it answered? What if my house be troubled with a rat, And I be pleas'd to give ten thousand ducats To have it baned? What, are you answered yet? Some men there are, love not a gaping pig; Some, that are mad, if they behold a cat;
And others, when the bag-pipe sings i' the nose,
Cannot contain their urine: For affection*,
Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes or loaths: Now, for your answer;
As there is no firm reason to be render'd,
Why he cannot abide a gaping † pig;
Why he, a harmless necessary cat;
Why he, a swollen bagpipe; but of force
Must yield to such inevitable shame,
As to offend, himself being offended;
So can I give no reason, nor I will not,
More than a lodg'd hate, and a certain loathing,
I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
A losing suit against him. Are you answer'd?
The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives; and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this scepter'd sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's, When mercy season's justice.
For herein fortune shows herself more kind
Than is her custom: it is still her use,
To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
To view with hollow eye, and wrinkled brow,
An age of poverty.
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank! Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music Creep in our ears; soft stillness, and the night, Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica: Look, how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;
There's not the smallest orb, which thou behold'st,
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still-quiring to the young-ey'd cherubins:
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
I am never merry, when I hear sweet music.
Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentive:
For do but note a wild and wanton herd,
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
A small flat dish, used in the administration of the Eucharist.