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I will not choose what many men desire,
Because I will not jump with common spirits,
And rank me with the barbarous multitudes.
Why, then to thee, thou silver treasure-house;
Tell me once more what title thou dost bear:
Who chooseth me, shall get at much at he deserves:
And well said too: For who shall go about
To cozen fortune, and be honorable
Without the stamp of merit? Let none presume
To wear an undeserved dignity.
0, that estates, degrees, and offices
Were not derived corruptly I and that clear honor
Were purchased by the merit of the wearer!
How many then should cover, that stand bare?
How many be commanded, that command?
How much low peasantry would then be glean'd
From the true seed of honor? and how much honor
Pick'd from the chaff and ruin of the times,
To be new vamish'd ?1 Well, but to my choice: ♦*
Who chooseth me, shall get as much as he deserves:
I will assume desert;—Give me a key for this,
And instantly unlock my fortunes here.
Par. Too long a pause for that which you find there.
Ar. What's here? the portrait of a blinking idiot,
Par. To offend, and judge, are distinct offices,
Ar. What is here?
The fire seven timet tried this;
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.'
1 The meaning Is, how much meanneflg would be found among the great, and how much greatneM among the mean. S1 know. 8 My mtinrtuna.
Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
What damned error, but some sober brow
Will bless it, and approve it1 with a text.
Hilling the grossness with fair ornament?
There is no vice so simple, but assumes
Some mark of virtue on its 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 1
And these assume but valors excrement5
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 crisped2 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 guilcd3 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 Therefore, thou gaudy gold,
Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee:
Nor none of thee, thou palo and common drudge
Tween man and man: but thou, thou meagre lead.
Which rather threat'nest, than dost promise aught,
Thy plainness moves me more than eloquence,
And here choose I: Joy be the consequence I
Opening the leaden casket.
What find I herei
Fair Portia's counterfeit 14
Here's the scroll,
The continent and summary of my fortune
You that choose not by the view,
Chance as fair, and choose as true.'
Since this fortune falls to you,
Be content and seek no new.
If you be mil pleased with this,
And hold your fortune for your bliss,
Turn you where your lady is,
And claim her with a loving kiss.
That only to stand high on your account,
I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,
Merchant 0/ rente*, Act* II. And III.
THE SEVEN AGES. The banished duke, with Jaques and other lords, are in the forest of Arden, sitting at their plain repast Orlando, who had been wandering in the forest in quest of food for an old servant, Adam, who could « go no further," suddenly comes upon the party, and with his sword drawn, exclaims,
Orlando. Forbear, I say;
He dies that touches any of this fruit,
Jaquts. An you will not
Duke Sen. What would you have? Your gentleness shall force,
Orla. I almost die for food, and let me have it
Duke Sen. Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table.
Orla, Speak you so gently? Pardon me, I pray you;
Duke Sen, True it is that we have seen better days;
And take npon command1 what help we have
Orla. Then but forbear your food a little while,
Duke Sen. Go find him out,
Orla. I thank ye: and be bless'd for your good comfort! [Exit
Duke Sen. Thou seest, we are not all alone unhappy:
Jaq. All the world's a stage,
Even in the cannon's mouth: And then, the justice;
In fair round belly, with good capon lined,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,2
Full of wise saws and modern3 instances,
And so he plays his part: The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon;
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side:
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound: Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness, and mere oblivion:
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.
At rex Like It, Act n. Scene VII.
Clarence's DREAM. The Duke of Clarence, having been imprisoned in the Tower, for the pur pose of being murderer!, by his brother Richard III., thus relates to Sir Robert Brakenbury, the lieutenant of the Tower, his dream of the preceding night:—
1 At your command.
I In Slmkspearc's time beard* were of different rvii, according to dlflerent characters nnd profea nous. The toUler hod one fashion, the Judge another, ftc 3 Trite, ammcn ln«W"c?«
Brakenbury. Why looks your grace so heavily to-day?
Clarence. 0,1 have pass'd a miserable night,
Brak. What was your dream, my lord? I pray you tell me.
Clar. Methought, that I had broken from the Tower,
0 Lord 1 methought, what pain it was to drown!
A thousand men, that fishes gnaw d upon;
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
Inestimable stones, unvalued2 jewels,
All scatter'd in the bottom of the sea.
Some lay in dead men's skulls; and, in those holes,
Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept
(As 'twere in scorn of eyes) reflecting gems,
That woo'd the slimy bottom of the deep,
And mock'd the dead bones that lay scatter'd by.
Brak. Had you such leisure in the time of death
Clar. Methought I had; and often did I strive
Brak. Awaked you not with this sore agony?
Clar. 0, no, my dream was lengthen'd alter life; 0, then began the tempest to my soul 1
1 pass'd, methought, the melancholy flood,
The first that there did greet my stranger soul,