Therefore, then, thou gaudy gold,
Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;
Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge
’Tween man and man. But thou, thou meagre lead,
Which rather threaten’st than dost promise aught,
Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence,
And here choose I. Joy be the consequence!
Midas was a mythical king who turned everything he touched into gold, whether he wanted to or not.
But you, lowly lead, which seems more intimidating than something which offers value, your plainness is more appealing than fancy words.
(Aside)How all the other passions fleet to air,
As doubtful thoughts and rash-embraced despair
And shudd’ring fear and green-eyed jealousy!
O love, be moderate, allay thy ecstasy,
In measure rain thy joy, scant this excess.
I feel too much thy blessing.
Make it less, For fear I surfeit.
Notice how Portia speaks to the audience in an aside, before talking to Bassanio. Why do you think she does this?
All my other feelings disappear into the air, such as doubt, despair, fear and jealousy. Love, stay calm and be moderate so that I don’t get sick and overwhelmed by you!
(He opens the lead casket)
What find I here?
Fair Portia’s counterfeit! What demigod
Hath come so near creation? Move these eyes?
Or whether, riding on the balls of mine,
Seem they in motion? Here are severed lips,
Parted with sugar breath, so sweet a bar
Should sunder such sweet friends. 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 unfurnished. Yet look how far
The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow
In underprizing it, so far this shadowDoth limp behind the substance.Here’s the scroll,
The continent and summary of my fortune.
Someone who is half human, half divine.
What does Bassanio think of the portrait? What are his thoughts about the painter who painted it?
Does Bassanio know for certain whether he can marry Portia or not yet?
Here is a scroll which contains and concludes what my future holds.