Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.


The Merchant of Venice: Act 2, Scene 7


           [Flourish of cornets.] Enter PORTIA
           with [the PRINCE of] MOROCCO,
           and both their TRAINS.

      PORTIA
1. discover: reveal.
  1   Go draw aside the curtains and discover
  2   The several caskets to this noble prince.
  3   Now make your choice.

      MOROCCO
  4   The first, of gold, who this inscription bears,
  5   "Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire."
  6   The second, silver, which this promise carries,
  7   "Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves."
8. all as: equally.
  8   This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt,
  9   "Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath."
 10   How shall I know if I do choose the right?

      PORTIA
 11   The one of them contains my picture, prince:
12. then I am yours withal: i.e., then you will have me as a bride as well as having my picture.
 12   If you choose that, then I am yours withal.

      MOROCCO
 13   Some god direct my judgment! Let me see;
 14   I will survey the inscriptions back again.
 15   What says this leaden casket?
 16   "Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath."
 17   Must give: for what? for lead? hazard for lead?
 18   This casket threatens. Men that hazard all
 19   Do it in hope of fair advantages:
 20   A golden mind stoops not to shows of dross;
21. nor give: neither give.
 21   I'll then nor give nor hazard aught for lead.
 22   What says the silver with her virgin hue?
 23   "Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves."
 24   As much as he deserves! Pause there, Morocco,
25. even: impartial.
 25   And weigh thy value with an even hand:
26. estimation: valuation.
 26   If thou be'st rated by thy estimation,
 27   Thou dost deserve enough; and yet enough
 28   May not extend so far as to the lady:
 29   And yet to be afeard of my deserving
30. disabling: underrating, undervaluing.
 30   Were but a weak disabling of myself.
 31   As much as I deserve! Why, that's the lady:
 32   I do in birth deserve her, and in fortunes,
 33   In graces and in qualities of breeding;
 34   But more than these, in love I do deserve.
 35   What if I stray'd no further, but chose here?
 36   Let's see once more this saying graved in gold
 37   "Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire."
 38   Why, that's the lady; all the world desires her;
 39   From the four corners of the earth they come,
40. shrine: image.
 40   To kiss this shrine, this mortal-breathing saint:
41. Hyrcanian: a desolate area southeast of the Caspian Sea. deserts: unpopulated areas, wastes. 42. throughfares: thoroughfares.
 41   The Hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds
 42   Of wide Arabia are as thoroughfares now
 43   For princes to come view fair Portia:
 44   The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head
 45   Spits in the face of heaven, is no bar
 46   To stop the foreign spirits, but they come,
 47   As o'er a brook, to see fair Portia.
 48   One of these three contains her heavenly picture.
 49   Is't like that lead contains her? 'Twere damnation
 50   To think so base a thought: it were too gross
51. rib: enclose. cerecloth: shroud, wax cloth used in wrapping for burial.
 51   To rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave.
 52   Or shall I think in silver she's immured,
53. Being ten times undervalued to: which is worth only one tenth as much as.
 53   Being ten times undervalued to tried gold?
 54   O sinful thought! Never so rich a gem
 55   Was set in worse than gold. They have in England
56. angel: a gold coin which bore the figure of the archangel Michael. 57. insculp'd upon: engraved on the surface. —Morocco goes on to make the point that whereas the figure of an angel is on the surface of the coin, the golden casket holds an angel (Portia's portrait) within.
 56   A coin that bears the figure of an angel
 57   Stamped in gold, but that's insculp'd upon;
 58   But here an angel in a golden bed
 59   Lies all within. Deliver me the key:
 60   Here do I choose, and thrive I as I may!

      PORTIA
 61   There, take it, prince; and if my form lie there,
 62   Then I am yours.

           [He unlocks the golden casket.]

      MOROCCO
 62               O hell! what have we here?
63. carrion Death: death's-head.
 63   A carrion Death, within whose empty eye
 64   There is a written scroll! I'll read the writing.

           [Reads.]

 65        "All that glitters is not gold;
 66        Often have you heard that told:
 67        Many a man his life hath sold
 68        But my outside to behold:
 69        Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
 70        Had you been as wise as bold,
 71        Young in limbs, in judgment old,
72. inscroll'd: written on this scroll.
 72        Your answer had not been inscroll'd:
 73        Fare you well; your suit is cold."
 74   Cold, indeed; and labor lost:
 75   Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost!
 76   Portia, adieu. I have too grieved a heart
 77   To take a tedious leave: thus losers part.

           Exit [with his train].

      PORTIA
 78   A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains, go.
79. complexion: —"Complexion" can also mean "temperament," but it's clear that Portia does not want to be married to a black man.
 79   Let all of his complexion choose me so.

           Exeunt.