The Merchant of Venice

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Flourish of cornets. Enter the Prince of Morocco, a

tawny Moor all in white, and three or four followers

accordingly, with Portia, Nerissa, and their train


Mislike me not for my complexion,
mislike (v.) dislike, be displeased with

The shadowed livery of the burnished sun,
livery (n.) 2 badge, token, recognizable image
shadowed (adj.) shaded, darkened; also [heraldry]: faintly drawn

To whom I am a neighbour and near bred.

Bring me the fairest creature northward born,

Where Phoebus' fire scarce thaws the icicles,

And let us make incision for your love

To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine.

I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine
aspect (n.) 1 [of a human face] look, appearance, expression

Hath feared the valiant. By my love I swear,
fear (v.) 1 frighten, scare, terrify, daunt

The best-regarded virgins of our clime
clime (n.) land, region, realm

Have loved it too. I would not change this hue,

Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count


In terms of choice I am not solely led
solely (adv.) 1 wholly, entirely, altogether
term (n.) 4 respect, consideration, form

By nice direction of a maiden's eyes.
direction (n.) 1 instruction, guidance, counsel
nice (adj.) 2 fine, precise, particular, subtle

Besides, the lott'ry of my destiny

Bars me the right of voluntary choosing.

But if my father had not scanted me,
scant (v.) 2 limit, restrict, constrain

And hedged me by his wit to yield myself
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

His wife who wins me by that means I told you,

Yourself, renowned Prince, then stood as fair

As any comer I have looked on yet

For my affection.


                         Even for that I thank you.

Therefore I pray you lead me to the caskets

To try my fortune. By this scimitar

That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince

That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

I would o'erstare the sternest eyes that look,
overstare (v.) outstare, face down

Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth,
outbrave (v.) 1 surpass in bravery, outdo in daring

Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,

Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey,

To win thee, lady. But alas the while,

If Hercules and Lichas play at dice

Which is the better man, the greater throw

May turn by fortune from the weaker hand.

So is Alcides beaten by his page,
rage (n.) 5 folly, rashness, mad jest

And so may I, blind Fortune leading me,

Miss that which one unworthier may attain,

And die with grieving.


                         You must take your chance,

And either not attempt to choose at all

Or swear before you choose, if you choose wrong

Never to speak to lady afterward

In way of marriage. Therefore be advised.


Nor will not. Come, bring me unto my chance.
chance (n.) 5 fortune, lot, destiny


First, forward to the temple; after dinner

Your hazard shall be made.
hazard (n.) 2 [gambling] chance, fortune; throw [of dice]


                         Good fortune then,

To make me blest or cursed'st among men.

Flourish of cornets. Exeunt

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