• Flourish cornets Enter the Prince of MOROCCO, a tawny Moor all in white, and three or four followers accordingly, with PORTIA, NERISSA, and their train

    MOROCCO

    Mislike me not for my complexion,
    The shadowed livery of the burnished sun,
    To whom I am a neighbor and near bred.
    Bring me the fairest creature northward born,
    5Where 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
    Hath feared the valiant. By my love I swear
    10The best-regarded virgins of our clime
    Have loved it too. I would not change this hue
    Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.

    PORTIA

    In terms of choice I am not solely led
    By nice direction of a maiden’s eyes.
    15Besides, the lottery of my destiny
    Bars me the right of voluntary choosing.
    But if my father had not scanted me
    And hedged me by his wit to yield myself
    His wife who wins me by that means I told you,
    20Yourself, renownèd Prince, then stood as fair
    As any comer I have looked on yet
    For my affection.
  • Trumpets play. The prince of MOROCCO , a brown-skinned man dressed in all white, enters, followed by three or four servants dressed in costumes like his. PORTIA, NERISSA, and their ATTENDANTS enter.

    MOROCCO

    Don’t hold my skin color against me. I was born and raised in the sun, which is why I’m dark-skinned. But I’m as red-blooded as any man. Show me the best-looking person born in the freezing north, where the sun barely thaws the icicles. I’ll win your love by cutting myself to prove to you I have redder blood than he does. I’m telling you, madam, my skin color has made brave men fear me and Moroccan girls love me. I wouldn’t change it except to make you think of me, my darling queen.

    PORTIA

    Being good-looking isn’t the only way to my heart, you know. I have other criteria for choosing a husband. Not that it matters, because the box test takes away my free choice anyway. But if my father hadn’t restricted me like this—forcing me to marry whoever wins his test—then you’d have had as good a chance to marry me as any of the suitors I’ve met so far, prince.