The Two Gentlemen of Verona
by
William Shakespeare [Craig, Oxford edition]

Part 1 out of 3








THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA

by William Shakespeare




DRAMATIS PERSONAE

DUKE OF MILAN, father to Silvia
VALENTINE, one of the two gentlemen
PROTEUS, one of the two gentlemen
ANTONIO, father to Proteus
THURIO, a foolish rival to Valentine
EGLAMOUR, agent for Silvia in her escape
SPEED, a clownish servant to Valentine
LAUNCE, the like to Proteus
PANTHINO, servant to Antonio
HOST, where Julia lodges in Milan
OUTLAWS, with Valentine

JULIA, a lady of Verona, beloved of Proteus
SILVIA, beloved of Valentine
LUCETTA, waiting-woman to Julia

SERVANTS, MUSICIANS



SCENE: Verona; Milan; the frontiers of Mantua



ACT 1.

SCENE I. Verona. An open place

[Enter VALENTINE and PROTEUS.]

VALENTINE.
Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus:
Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits.
Were't not affection chains thy tender days
To the sweet glances of thy honour'd love,
I rather would entreat thy company
To see the wonders of the world abroad,
Than, living dully sluggardiz'd at home,
Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.
But since thou lov'st, love still, and thrive therein,
Even as I would, when I to love begin.

PROTEUS.
Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu!
Think on thy Proteus, when thou haply seest
Some rare noteworthy object in thy travel:
Wish me partaker in thy happiness
When thou dost meet good hap; and in thy danger,
If ever danger do environ thee,
Commend thy grievance to my holy prayers,
For I will be thy headsman, Valentine.

VALENTINE.
And on a love-book pray for my success?

PROTEUS.
Upon some book I love I'll pray for thee.

VALENTINE.
That's on some shallow story of deep love,
How young Leander cross'd the Hellespont.

PROTEUS.
That's a deep story of a deeper love;
For he was more than over shoes in love.

VALENTINE.
'Tis true; for you are over boots in love,
And yet you never swum the Hellespont.

PROTEUS.
Over the boots? Nay, give me not the boots.

VALENTINE.
No, I will not, for it boots thee not.

PROTEUS.
What?

VALENTINE.
To be in love, where scorn is bought with groans;
Coy looks with heart-sore sighs; one fading moment's mirth
With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights:
If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain;
If lost, why then a grievous labour won:
However, but a folly bought with wit,
Or else a wit by folly vanquished.

PROTEUS.
So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.

VALENTINE.
So, by your circumstance, I fear you'll prove.

PROTEUS.
'Tis love you cavil at: I am not Love.

VALENTINE.
Love is your master, for he masters you;
And he that is so yoked by a fool,
Methinks, should not be chronicled for wise.

PROTEUS.
Yet writers say, as in the sweetest bud
The eating canker dwells, so eating love
Inhabits in the finest wits of all.

VALENTINE.
And writers say, as the most forward bud
Is eaten by the canker ere it blow,
Even so by love the young and tender wit
Is turned to folly; blasting in the bud,
Losing his verdure even in the prime,
And all the fair effects of future hopes.
But wherefore waste I time to counsel the
That art a votary to fond desire?
Once more adieu! my father at the road
Expects my coming, there to see me shipp'd.

PROTEUS.
And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.

VALENTINE.
Sweet Proteus, no; now let us take our leave.
To Milan let me hear from thee by letters
Of thy success in love, and what news else
Betideth here in absence of thy friend;
And I likewise will visit thee with mine.

PROTEUS.
All happiness bechance to thee in Milan!

VALENTINE.
As much to you at home! and so farewell!

[Exit.]

PROTEUS.
He after honour hunts, I after love;
He leaves his friends to dignify them more:
I leave myself, my friends, and all for love.
Thou, Julia, thou hast metamorphos'd me;--
Made me neglect my studies, lose my time,
War with good counsel, set the world at nought;
Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with thought.

[Enter SPEED.]

SPEED.
Sir Proteus, save you! Saw you my master?

PROTEUS.
But now he parted hence to embark for Milan.

SPEED.
Twenty to one then he is shipp'd already,
And I have play'd the sheep in losing him.

PROTEUS.
Indeed a sheep doth very often stray,
An if the shepherd be a while away.

SPEED.
You conclude that my master is a shepherd then, and
I a sheep?

PROTEUS.
I do.

SPEED.
Why then, my horns are his horns, whether I wake or sleep.

PROTEUS.
A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep.

SPEED.
This proves me still a sheep.

PROTEUS.
True; and thy master a shepherd.

SPEED.
Nay, that I can deny by a circumstance.

PROTEUS.
It shall go hard but I'll prove it by another.

SPEED.
The shepherd seeks the sheep, and not the sheep the
shepherd; but I seek my master, and my master seeks not me;
therefore, I am no sheep.

PROTEUS.
The sheep for fodder follow the shepherd; the shepherd for
food follows not the sheep: thou for wages followest thy master;
thy master for wages follows not thee. Therefore, thou art a
sheep.

SPEED.
Such another proof will make me cry 'baa.'

PROTEUS.
But, dost thou hear? gavest thou my letter to Julia?

SPEED.
Ay, sir; I, a lost mutton, gave your letter to her, a laced
mutton; and she, a laced mutton, gave me, a lost mutton, nothing
for my labour.

PROTEUS.
Here's too small a pasture for such store of muttons.

SPEED.
If the ground be overcharged, you were best stick her.

PROTEUS.
Nay, in that you are astray: 'twere best pound you.

SPEED.
Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve me for carrying your
letter.

PROTEUS.
You mistake; I mean the pound,--a pinfold.

SPEED.
From a pound to a pin? fold it over and over,
'Tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your lover.

PROTEUS.
But what said she? [SPEED nods.] Did she nod?

[SPEED] Ay.

PROTEUS. Nod, ay? Why, that's noddy.

SPEED. You mistook, sir; I say she did nod; and you ask me if she
did nod; and I say, Ay.

PROTEUS.
And that set together is--noddy.

SPEED.
Now you have taken the pains to set it together, take it for
your pains.

PROTEUS.
No, no; you shall have it for bearing the letter.

SPEED.
Well, I perceive I must be fain to bear with you.

PROTEUS.
Why, sir, how do you bear with me?

SPEED.
Marry, sir, the letter, very orderly; having nothing but the
word 'noddy' for my pains.

PROTEUS.
Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.

SPEED.
And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse.

PROTEUS.
Come, come; open the matter; in brief: what said she?

SPEED.
Open your purse, that the money and the matter may be both
at once delivered.

PROTEUS.
Well, sir, here is for your pains [giving him money]. What said
she?

SPEED.
Truly, sir, I think you'll hardly win her.

PROTEUS.
Why, couldst thou perceive so much from her?

SPEED.
Sir, I could perceive nothing at all from her; no, not so
much as a ducat for delivering your letter; and being so hard to
me that brought your mind, I fear she'll prove as hard to you in
telling your mind. Give her no token but stones, for she's as
hard as steel.

PROTEUS.
What! said she nothing?

SPEED.
No, not so much as 'Take this for thy pains.' To testify
your bounty, I thank you, you have testerned me; in requital
whereof, henceforth carry your letters yourself; and so, sir,
I'll commend you to my master.

PROTEUS.
Go, go, be gone, to save your ship from wrack;
Which cannot perish, having thee aboard,
Being destin'd to a drier death on shore.--

[Exit SPEED.]

I must go send some better messenger.
I fear my Julia would not deign my lines,
Receiving them from such a worthless post.

[Exit.]



SCENE 2. THe same. The garden Of JULIA'S house.

[Enter JULIA and LUCETTA.]

JULIA.
But say, Lucetta, now we are alone,
Wouldst thou then counsel me to fall in love?

LUCETTA.
Ay, madam; so you stumble not unheedfully.

JULIA.
Of all the fair resort of gentlemen
That every day with parle encounter me,
In thy opinion which is worthiest love?

LUCETTA.
Please you, repeat their names; I'll show my mind
According to my shallow simple skill.

JULIA.
What think'st thou of the fair Sir Eglamour?

LUCETTA.
As of a knight well-spoken, neat, and fine;
But, were I you, he never should be mine.

JULIA.
What think'st thou of the rich Mercatio?

LUCETTA.
Well of his wealth; but of himself, so so.

JULIA.
What think'st thou of the gentle Proteus?

LUCETTA.
Lord, Lord! to see what folly reigns in us!

JULIA.
How now! what means this passion at his name?

LUCETTA.
Pardon, dear madam; 'tis a passing shame
That I, unworthy body as I am,
Should censure thus on lovely gentlemen.

JULIA.
Why not on Proteus, as of all the rest?

LUCETTA.
Then thus,--of many good I think him best.

JULIA.
Your reason?

LUCETTA.
I have no other but a woman's reason:
I think him so, because I think him so.

JULIA.
And wouldst thou have me cast my love on him?

LUCETTA.
Ay, if you thought your love not cast away.

JULIA.
Why, he, of all the rest, hath never moved me.

LUCETTA.
Yet he, of all the rest, I think, best loves ye.

JULIA.
His little speaking shows his love but small.

LUCETTA.
Fire that's closest kept burns most of all.

JULIA.
They do not love that do not show their love.

LUCETTA.
O! they love least that let men know their love.

JULIA.
I would I knew his mind.

LUCETTA.
Peruse this paper, madam. [Gives a letter.]

JULIA.
'To Julia'--Say, from whom?

LUCETTA.
That the contents will show.

JULIA.
Say, say, who gave it thee?

LUCETTA.
Sir Valentine's page, and sent, I think, from Proteus.
He would have given it you; but I, being in the way,
Did in your name receive it; pardon the fault, I pray.

JULIA.
Now, by my modesty, a goodly broker!
Dare you presume to harbour wanton lines?
To whisper and conspire against my youth?
Now, trust me, 'tis an office of great worth,
And you an officer fit for the place.
There, take the paper; see it be return'd;
Or else return no more into my sight.

LUCETTA.
To plead for love deserves more fee than hate.

JULIA.
Will ye be gone?

LUCETTA.
That you may ruminate.

[Exit.]

JULIA.
And yet, I would I had o'erlook'd the letter.
It were a shame to call her back again,
And pray her to a fault for which I chid her.
What fool is she, that knows I am a maid
And would not force the letter to my view!
Since maids, in modesty, say 'No' to that
Which they would have the profferer construe 'Ay.'
Fie, fie, how wayward is this foolish love,
That like a testy babe will scratch the nurse,
And presently, all humbled, kiss the rod!
How churlishly I chid Lucetta hence,
When willingly I would have had her here:
How angerly I taught my brow to frown,
When inward joy enforc'd my heart to smile.
My penance is, to call Lucetta back
And ask remission for my folly past.
What ho! Lucetta!

[Re-enter LUCETTA.]

LUCETTA.
What would your ladyship?

JULIA.
Is it near dinner time?

LUCETTA.
I would it were;
That you might kill your stomach on your meat
And not upon your maid.

JULIA.
What is't that you took up so gingerly?

LUCETTA.
Nothing.

JULIA.
Why didst thou stoop, then?

LUCETTA.
To take a paper up
That I let fall.

JULIA.
And is that paper nothing?

LUCETTA.
Nothing concerning me.

JULIA.
Then let it lie for those that it concerns.

LUCETTA.
Madam, it will not lie where it concerns,
Unless it have a false interpreter.

JULIA.
Some love of yours hath writ to you in rime.

LUCETTA.
That I might sing it, madam, to a tune:
Give me a note: your ladyship can set.

JULIA.
As little by such toys as may be possible;
Best sing it to the tune of 'Light o' Love.'

LUCETTA.
It is too heavy for so light a tune.

JULIA.
Heavy! belike it hath some burden then?

LUCETTA.
Ay; and melodious were it, would you sing it.

JULIA.
And why not you?

LUCETTA.
I cannot reach so high.

JULIA.
Let's see your song. [Taking the letter.]
How now, minion!

LUCETTA.
Keep tune there still, so you will sing it out:
And yet methinks, I do not like this tune.

JULIA.
You do not?

LUCETTA.
No, madam; it is too sharp.

JULIA.
You, minion, are too saucy.

LUCETTA.
Nay, now you are too flat
And mar the concord with too harsh a descant;
There wanteth but a mean to fill your song.

JULIA.
The mean is drown'd with your unruly bass.

LUCETTA.
Indeed, I bid the base for Proteus.

JULIA.
This babble shall not henceforth trouble me.
Here is a coil with protestation!--[Tears the letter.]
Go, get you gone; and let the papers lie:
You would be fingering them, to anger me.

LUCETTA.
She makes it strange; but she would be best pleas'd
To be so anger'd with another letter.

[Exit.]

JULIA.
Nay, would I were so anger'd with the same!
O hateful hands, to tear such loving words!
Injurious wasps, to feed on such sweet honey
And kill the bees that yield it with your stings!
I'll kiss each several paper for amends.
Look, here is writ 'kind Julia.' Unkind Julia!
As in revenge of thy ingratitude,
I throw thy name against the bruising stones,
Trampling contemptuously on thy disdain.
And here is writ 'love-wounded Proteus':
Poor wounded name! my bosom, as a bed,
Shall lodge thee till thy wound be throughly heal'd;
And thus I search it with a sovereign kiss.
But twice or thrice was 'Proteus' written down:
Be calm, good wind, blow not a word away
Till I have found each letter in the letter
Except mine own name; that some whirlwind bear
Unto a ragged, fearful-hanging rock,
And throw it thence into the raging sea!
Lo, here in one line is his name twice writ:
'Poor forlorn Proteus, passionate Proteus,
To the sweet Julia':--that I'll tear away;
And yet I will not, sith so prettily
He couples it to his complaining names:
Thus will I fold them one upon another:
Now kiss, embrace, contend, do what you will.

[Re-enter LUCETTA.]

LUCETTA.
Madam,
Dinner is ready, and your father stays.

JULIA.
Well, let us go.

LUCETTA.
What! shall these papers lie like tell-tales here?

JULIA.
If you respect them, best to take them up.

LUCETTA.
Nay, I was taken up for laying them down;
Yet here they shall not lie, for catching cold.

JULIA.
I see you have a month's mind to them.

LUCETTA.
Ay, madam, you may say what sights you see;
I see things too, although you judge I wink.

JULIA.
Come, come; will't please you go?

[Exeunt.]



SCENE 3. The same. A room in ANTONIO'S house.

[Enter ANTONIO and PANTHINO.]

ANTONIO.
Tell me, Panthino, what sad talk was that
Wherewith my brother held you in the cloister?

PANTHINO.
'Twas of his nephew Proteus, your son.

ANTONIO.
Why, what of him?

PANTHINO.
He wonder'd that your lordship
Would suffer him to spend his youth at home,
While other men, of slender reputation,
Put forth their sons to seek preferment out:
Some to the wars, to try their fortune there;
Some to discover islands far away;
Some to the studious universities.
For any, or for all these exercises,
He said that Proteus, your son, was meet;
And did request me to importune you
To let him spend his time no more at home,
Which would be great impeachment to his age,
In having known no travel in his youth.

ANTONIO.
Nor need'st thou much importune me to that
Whereon this month I have been hammering.
I have consider'd well his loss of time,
And how he cannot be a perfect man,
Not being tried and tutor'd in the world:
Experience is by industry achiev'd,
And perfected by the swift course of time.
Then tell me whither were I best to send him?

PANTHINO.
I think your lordship is not ignorant
How his companion, youthful Valentine,
Attends the emperor in his royal court.

ANTONIO.
I know it well.

PANTHINO.
'Twere good, I think, your lordship sent him thither:
There shall he practise tilts and tournaments,
Hear sweet discourse, converse with noblemen,
And be in eye of every exercise
Worthy his youth and nobleness of birth.

ANTONIO.
I like thy counsel; well hast thou advis'd;
And that thou mayst perceive how well I like it,
The execution of it shall make known:
Even with the speediest expedition
I will dispatch him to the emperor's court.

PANTHINO.
To-morrow, may it please you, Don Alphonso
With other gentlemen of good esteem
Are journeying to salute the emperor
And to commend their service to his will.

ANTONIO.
Good company; with them shall Proteus go.
And in good time:--now will we break with him.

[Enter PROTEUS.]

PROTEUS.
Sweet love! sweet lines! sweet life!
Here is her hand, the agent of her heart;
Here is her oath for love, her honour's pawn.
O! that our fathers would applaud our loves,
To seal our happiness with their consents!
O heavenly Julia!

ANTONIO.
How now! What letter are you reading there?

PROTEUS.
May't please your lordship, 'tis a word or two
Of commendations sent from Valentine,
Deliver'd by a friend that came from him.

ANTONIO.
Lend me the letter; let me see what news.

PROTEUS.
There is no news, my lord; but that he writes
How happily he lives, how well belov'd
And daily graced by the emperor;
Wishing me with him, partner of his fortune.

ANTONIO.
And how stand you affected to his wish?

PROTEUS.
As one relying on your lordship's will,
And not depending on his friendly wish.

ANTONIO.
My will is something sorted with his wish.
Muse not that I thus suddenly proceed;
For what I will, I will, and there an end.
I am resolv'd that thou shalt spend some time
With Valentinus in the Emperor's court:
What maintenance he from his friends receives,
Like exhibition thou shalt have from me.
To-morrow be in readiness to go:
Excuse it not, for I am peremptory.

PROTEUS.
My lord, I cannot be so soon provided;
Please you, deliberate a day or two.

ANTONIO.
Look, what thou want'st shall be sent after thee:
No more of stay; to-morrow thou must go.
Come on, Panthino: you shall be employ'd
To hasten on his expedition.

[Exeunt ANTONIO and PANTHINO.]

PROTEUS.
Thus have I shunn'd the fire for fear of burning,
And drench'd me in the sea, where I am drown'd.
I fear'd to show my father Julia's letter,
Lest he should take exceptions to my love;
And with the vantage of mine own excuse
Hath he excepted most against my love.
O! how this spring of love resembleth
The uncertain glory of an April day,
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
And by an by a cloud takes all away!

[Re-enter PANTHINO.]

PANTHINO.
Sir Proteus, your father calls for you;
He is in haste; therefore, I pray you, go.

PROTEUS.
Why, this it is: my heart accords thereto,
And yet a thousand times it answers 'no.'

[Exeunt.]



ACT 2.

SCENE I. Milan. A room in the DUKE'S palace.

[Enter VALENTINE and SPEED.]

SPEED.
Sir, your glove. [Offering a glove.]

VALENTINE.
Not mine; my gloves are on.

SPEED.
Why, then, this may be yours; for this is but one.

VALENTINE.
Ha! let me see; ay, give it me, it's mine;
Sweet ornament that decks a thing divine!
Ah, Silvia! Silvia!

SPEED.
[Calling.] Madam Silvia! Madam Silvia!

VALENTINE.
How now, sirrah?

SPEED.
She is not within hearing, sir.

VALENTINE.
Why, sir, who bade you call her?

SPEED.
Your worship, sir; or else I mistook.

VALENTINE.
Well, you'll still be too forward.

SPEED.
And yet I was last chidden for being too slow.

VALENTINE.
Go to, sir. tell me, do you know Madam Silvia?

SPEED.
She that your worship loves?

VALENTINE.
Why, how know you that I am in love?

SPEED.
Marry, by these special marks: first, you have learned, like
Sir Proteus, to wreath your arms like a malcontent; to relish a
love-song, like a robin redbreast; to walk alone, like one that
had the pestilence; to sigh, like a school-boy that had lost his
A B C; to weep, like a young wench that had buried her grandam;
to fast, like one that takes diet; to watch, like one that fears
robbing; to speak puling, like a beggar at Hallowmas. You were
wont, when you laughed, to crow like a cock; when you walked, to
walk like one of the lions; when you fasted, it was presently
after dinner; when you looked sadly, it was for want of money.
And now you are metamorphosed with a mistress, that, when I look
on you, I can hardly think you my master.

VALENTINE.
Are all these things perceived in me?

SPEED.
They are all perceived without ye.

VALENTINE.
Without me? They cannot.

SPEED.
Without you? Nay, that's certain; for, without you were so
simple, none else would; but you are so without these follies
that these follies are within you, and shine through you like the
water in an urinal, that not an eye that sees you but is a
physician to comment on your malady.

VALENTINE.
But tell me, dost thou know my lady Silvia?

SPEED.
She that you gaze on so as she sits at supper?

VALENTINE.
Hast thou observed that? Even she, I mean.

SPEED.
Why, sir, I know her not.

VALENTINE.
Dost thou know her by my gazing on her, and yet know'st
her not?

SPEED.
Is she not hard-favoured, sir?

VALENTINE.
Not so fair, boy, as well-favoured.

SPEED.
Sir, I know that well enough.

VALENTINE.
What dost thou know?

SPEED.
That she is not so fair as, of you, well-favoured.

VALENTINE.
I mean that her beauty is exquisite, but her favour
infinite.

SPEED.
That's because the one is painted, and the other out of all
count.

VALENTINE.
How painted? and how out of count?

SPEED.
Marry, sir, so painted to make her fair, that no man counts
of her beauty.

VALENTINE.
How esteem'st thou me? I account of her beauty.

SPEED.
You never saw her since she was deformed.

VALENTINE.
How long hath she been deformed?

SPEED.
Ever since you loved her.

VALENTINE.
I have loved her ever since I saw her, and still
I see her beautiful.

SPEED.
If you love her, you cannot see her.

VALENTINE.
Why?

SPEED.
Because Love is blind. O! that you had mine eyes; or your own
eyes had the lights they were wont to have when you chid at Sir
Proteus for going ungartered!

VALENTINE.
What should I see then?

SPEED.
Your own present folly and her passing deformity; for he,
being in love, could not see to garter his hose; and you, being
in love, cannot see to put on your hose.

VALENTINE.
Belike, boy, then you are in love; for last morning you
could not see to wipe my shoes.

SPEED.
True, sir; I was in love with my bed. I thank you, you
swinged me for my love, which makes me the bolder to chide you
for yours.

VALENTINE.
In conclusion, I stand affected to her.

SPEED.
I would you were set, so your affection would cease.

VALENTINE.
Last night she enjoined me to write some lines to one
she loves.

SPEED.
And have you?

VALENTINE.
I have.

SPEED.
Are they not lamely writ?

VALENTINE.
No, boy, but as well as I can do them.
Peace! here she comes.

[Enter SILVIA.]

SPEED.
[Aside] O excellent motion! O exceeding puppet!
Now will he interpret to her.

VALENTINE.
Madam and mistress, a thousand good morrows.

SPEED.
[Aside] O, give ye good even: here's a million of manners.

SILVIA.
Sir Valentine and servant, to you two thousand.

SPEED. [Aside] He should give her interest, and she gives it him.

VALENTINE.
As you enjoin'd me, I have writ your letter
Unto the secret nameless friend of yours;
Which I was much unwilling to proceed in,
But for my duty to your ladyship.

[Gives a letter.]

SILVIA.
I thank you, gentle servant. 'Tis very clerkly done.

VALENTINE.
Now trust me, madam, it came hardly off;
For, being ignorant to whom it goes,
I writ at random, very doubtfully.

SILVIA.
Perchance you think too much of so much pains?

VALENTINE.
No, madam; so it stead you, I will write,
Please you command, a thousand times as much;
And yet--

SILVIA.
A pretty period! Well, I guess the sequel;
And yet I will not name it; and yet I care not.
And yet take this again; and yet I thank you,
Meaning henceforth to trouble you no more.

SPEED.
[Aside] And yet you will; and yet another yet.

VALENTINE.
What means your ladyship? Do you not like it?

SILVIA.
Yes, yes; the lines are very quaintly writ;
But, since unwillingly, take them again:
Nay, take them.

[Gives hack the letter.]

VALENTINE.
Madam, they are for you.

SILVIA.
Ay, ay, you writ them, sir, at my request;
But I will none of them; they are for you.
I would have had them writ more movingly.

VALENTINE.
Please you, I'll write your ladyship another.

SILVIA.
And when it's writ, for my sake read it over;
And if it please you, so; if not, why, so.

VALENTINE.
If it please me, madam, what then?

SILVIA.
Why, if it please you, take it for your labour.
And so good morrow, servant.

[Exit.]

SPEED.
O jest unseen, inscrutable, invisible,
As a nose on a man's face, or a weathercock on a steeple!
My master sues to her; and she hath taught her suitor,
He being her pupil, to become her tutor.
O excellent device! Was there ever heard a better,
That my master, being scribe, to himself should write the letter?

VALENTINE.
How now, sir! What are you reasoning with yourself?

SPEED.
Nay, I was rhyming: 'tis you that have the reason.

VALENTINE.
To do what?

SPEED.
To be a spokesman from Madam Silvia.

VALENTINE.
To whom?

SPEED.
To yourself; why, she woos you by a figure.

VALENTINE.
What figure?

SPEED.
By a letter, I should say.

VALENTINE.
Why, she hath not writ to me?

SPEED.
What need she, when she hath made you write to yourself?
Why, do you not perceive the jest?

VALENTINE.
No, believe me.

SPEED.
No believing you indeed, sir. But did you perceive her
earnest?

VALENTINE.
She gave me none except an angry word.

SPEED.
Why, she hath given you a letter.

VALENTINE.
That's the letter I writ to her friend.

SPEED.
And that letter hath she delivered, and there an end.

VALENTINE.
I would it were no worse.

SPEED.
I'll warrant you 'tis as well.
'For often have you writ to her; and she, in modesty,
Or else for want of idle time, could not again reply;
Or fearing else some messenger that might her mind discover,
Herself hath taught her love himself to write unto her lover.'
All this I speak in print, for in print I found it.
Why muse you, sir? 'Tis dinner time.

VALENTINE.
I have dined.

SPEED.
Ay, but hearken, sir; though the chameleon Love can feed on
the air, I am one that am nourished by my victuals, and would
fain have meat. O! be not like your mistress! Be moved, be moved.

[Exeunt.]



SCENE 2. Verona. A room in JULIA'S house.

[Enter PROTEUS and JULIA.]

PROTEUS.
Have patience, gentle Julia.

JULIA.
I must, where is no remedy.

PROTEUS.
When possibly I can, I will return.

JULIA.
If you turn not, you will return the sooner.
Keep this remembrance for thy Julia's sake.

[Gives him a ring.]

PROTEUS.
Why, then, we'll make exchange. Here, take you this.

[Gives her another.]

JULIA.
And seal the bargain with a holy kiss.

PROTEUS.
Here is my hand for my true constancy;
And when that hour o'erslips me in the day
Wherein I sigh not, Julia, for thy sake,
The next ensuing hour some foul mischance
Torment me for my love's forgetfulness!
My father stays my coming; answer not;
The tide is now: nay, not thy tide of tears:
That tide will stay me longer than I should.
Julia, farewell!

[Exit JULIA.]

What, gone without a word?
Ay, so true love should do: it cannot speak;
For truth hath better deeds than words to grace it.

[Enter PANTHINO.]

PANTHINO.
Sir Proteus, you are stay'd for.

PROTEUS.
Go; I come, I come.
Alas! this parting strikes poor lovers dumb.

[Exeunt.]



SCENE 3. The same. A street

[Enter LAUNCE, leading a dog.]

LAUNCE.
Nay, 'twill be this hour ere I have done weeping; all the
kind of the Launces have this very fault. I have received my
proportion, like the prodigious son, and am going with Sir
Proteus to the imperial's court. I think Crab my dog be the
sourest-natured dog that lives: my mother weeping, my father
wailing, my sister crying, our maid howling, our cat wringing her
hands, and all our house in a great perplexity; yet did not this
cruel-hearted cur shed one tear. He is a stone, a very pebble
stone, and has no more pity in him than a dog; a Jew would have
wept to have seen our parting; why, my grandam having no eyes,
look you, wept herself blind at my parting. Nay, I'll show you
the manner of it. This shoe is my father; no, this left shoe is
my father; no, no, left shoe is my mother; nay, that cannot be so
neither; yes, it is so, it is so, it hath the worser sole. This
shoe with the hole in it is my mother, and this my father. A
vengeance on 't! There 'tis: now, sir, this staff is my sister,
for, look you, she is as white as a lily and as small as a wand;
this hat is Nan our maid; I am the dog; no, the dog is himself,
and I am the dog--O! the dog is me, and I am myself; ay, so, so.
Now come I to my father: 'Father, your blessing.' Now should not
the shoe speak a word for weeping; now should I kiss my father;
well, he weeps on. Now come I to my mother;--O, that she could
speak now like a wood woman! Well, I kiss her; why there 'tis;
here's my mother's breath up and down. Now come I to my sister;
mark the moan she makes. Now the dog all this while sheds not a
tear, nor speaks a word; but see how I lay the dust with my
tears.

[Enter PANTHINO.]

PANTHINO.
Launce, away, away, aboard! Thy master is shipped, and
thou art to post after with oars. What's the matter? Why weep'st
thou, man? Away, ass! You'll lose the tide if you tarry any
longer.

LAUNCE.
It is no matter if the tied were lost; for it is the
unkindest tied that ever any man tied.

PANTHINO.
What's the unkindest tide?

LAUNCE.
Why, he that's tied here, Crab, my dog.

PANTHINO.
Tut, man, I mean thou'lt lose the flood, and, in losing
the flood, lose thy voyage, and, in losing thy voyage, lose thy
master, and, in losing thy master, lose thy service, and, in
losing thy service,--Why dost thou stop my mouth?

LAUNCE.
For fear thou shouldst lose thy tongue.

PANTHINO.
Where should I lose my tongue?

LAUNCE.
In thy tale.

PANTHINO.
In thy tail!

LAUNCE.
Lose the tide, and the voyage, and the master, and the
service, and the tied! Why, man, if the river were dry, I am able
to fill it with my tears; if the wind were down, I could drive
the boat with my sighs.

PANTHINO.
Come, come away, man; I was sent to call thee.

LAUNCE.
Sir, call me what thou darest.

PANTHINO.
Will thou go?

LAUNCE.
Well, I will go.

[Exeunt.]



SCENE 4. Milan. A room in the DUKE'S palace.

[Enter SILVIA, VALENTINE, THURIO, and SPEED.]

SILVIA.
Servant!

VALENTINE.
Mistress?

SPEED.
Master, Sir Thurio frowns on you.

VALENTINE.
Ay, boy, it's for love.

SPEED.
Not of you.

VALENTINE.
Of my mistress, then.

SPEED.
'Twere good you knock'd him.

SILVIA.
Servant, you are sad.

VALENTINE.
Indeed, madam, I seem so.

THURIO.
Seem you that you are not?

VALENTINE.
Haply I do.

THURIO.
So do counterfeits.

VALENTINE.
So do you.

THURIO.
What seem I that I am not?

VALENTINE.
Wise.

THURIO.
What instance of the contrary?

VALENTINE.
Your folly.

THURIO.
And how quote you my folly?

VALENTINE.
I quote it in your jerkin.

THURIO.
My jerkin is a doublet.

VALENTINE.
Well, then, I'll double your folly.

THURIO.
How?

SILVIA.
What, angry, Sir Thurio! Do you change colour?

VALENTINE.
Give him leave, madam; he is a kind of chameleon.

THURIO.
That hath more mind to feed on your blood than live in your
air.

VALENTINE.
You have said, sir.

THURIO.
Ay, sir, and done too, for this time.

VALENTINE.
I know it well, sir; you always end ere you begin.

SILVIA.
A fine volley of words, gentlemen, and quickly shot off.

VALENTINE.
'Tis indeed, madam; we thank the giver.

SILVIA.
Who is that, servant?

VALENTINE.
Yourself, sweet lady; for you gave the fire. Sir Thurio
borrows his wit from your ladyship's looks, and spends what he
borrows kindly in your company.

THURIO.
Sir, if you spend word for word with me, I shall make your
wit bankrupt.

VALENTINE.
I know it well, sir; you have an exchequer of words,
and, I think, no other treasure to give your followers; for it
appears by their bare liveries that they live by your bare words.

[Enter DUKE]

SILVIA.
No more, gentlemen, no more. Here comes my father.

[Enter DUKE.]

DUKE.
Now, daughter Silvia, you are hard beset.
Sir Valentine, your father is in good health.
What say you to a letter from your friends
Of much good news?

VALENTINE.
My lord, I will be thankful
To any happy messenger from thence.

DUKE.
Know ye Don Antonio, your countryman?

VALENTINE.
Ay, my good lord, I know the gentleman
To be of worth and worthy estimation,
And not without desert so well reputed.

DUKE.
Hath he not a son?

VALENTINE.
Ay, my good lord; a son that well deserves
The honour and regard of such a father.

DUKE.
You know him well?

VALENTINE.
I knew him as myself; for from our infancy
We have convers'd and spent our hours together;
And though myself have been an idle truant,
Omitting the sweet benefit of time
To clothe mine age with angel-like perfection,
Yet hath Sir Proteus,--for that's his name,--
Made use and fair advantage of his days:
His years but young, but his experience old;
His head unmellowed, but his judgment ripe;
And, in a word,--for far behind his worth
Comes all the praises that I now bestow,--
He is complete in feature and in mind,
With all good grace to grace a gentleman.

DUKE.
Beshrew me, sir, but if he make this good,
He is as worthy for an empress' love
As meet to be an emperor's counsellor.
Well, sir, this gentleman is come to me
With commendation from great potentates,
And here he means to spend his time awhile.
I think 'tis no unwelcome news to you.

VALENTINE.
Should I have wish'd a thing, it had been he.

DUKE.
Welcome him, then, according to his worth.
Silvia, I speak to you, and you, Sir Thurio:--
For Valentine, I need not cite him to it.
I will send him hither to you presently.

[Exit.]

VALENTINE.
This is the gentleman I told your ladyship
Had come along with me but that his mistresss
Did hold his eyes lock'd in her crystal looks.

SILVIA.
Belike that now she hath enfranchis'd them
Upon some other pawn for fealty.

VALENTINE.
Nay, sure, I think she holds them prisoners still.

SILVIA.
Nay, then, he should be blind; and, being blind,
How could he see his way to seek out you?

VALENTINE.
Why, lady, Love hath twenty pair of eyes.

THURIO.
They say that Love hath not an eye at all.

VALENTINE.
To see such lovers, Thurio, as yourself:
Upon a homely object Love can wink.

SILVIA.
Have done, have done; here comes the gentleman.

[Enter PROTEUS]

VALENTINE.
Welcome, dear Proteus! Mistress, I beseech you
Confirm his welcome with some special favour.

SILVIA.
His worth is warrant for his welcome hither,
If this be he you oft have wish'd to hear from.

VALENTINE.
Mistress, it is; sweet lady, entertain him
To be my fellow-servant to your ladyship.

SILVIA.
Too low a mistress for so high a servant.

PROTEUS.
Not so, sweet lady; but too mean a servant
To have a look of such a worthy mistress.

VALENTINE.
Leave off discourse of disability;
Sweet lady, entertain him for your servant.

PROTEUS.
My duty will I boast of, nothing else.

SILVIA.
And duty never yet did want his meed.
Servant, you are welcome to a worthless mistress.

PROTEUS.
I'll die on him that says so but yourself.

SILVIA.
That you are welcome?

PROTEUS.
That you are worthless.

[Enter a servant.]

SERVANT.
Madam, my lord your father would speak with you.

SILVIA.
I wait upon his pleasure. [Exit Servant.] Come, Sir Thurio,
Go with me. Once more, new servant, welcome.
I'll leave you to confer of home affairs;
When you have done we look to hear from you.

PROTEUS.
We'll both attend upon your ladyship.

[Exeunt SILVIA, THURIO, and SPEED.]

VALENTINE.
Now, tell me, how do all from whence you came?

PROTEUS.
Your friends are well, and have them much commended.

VALENTINE.
And how do yours?

PROTEUS.
I left them all in health.

VALENTINE.
How does your lady, and how thrives your love?

PROTEUS.
My tales of love were wont to weary you;
I know you joy not in a love-discourse.

VALENTINE.
Ay, Proteus, but that life is alter'd now;
I have done penance for contemning Love;
Whose high imperious thoughts have punish'd me
With bitter fasts, with penitential groans,
With nightly tears, and daily heart-sore sighs;
For, in revenge of my contempt of love,
Love hath chas'd sleep from my enthralled eyes
And made them watchers of mine own heart's sorrow.
O, gentle Proteus! Love's a mighty lord,
And hath so humbled me as I confess,
There is no woe to his correction,
Nor to his service no such joy on earth.
Now no discourse, except it be of love;
Now can I break my fast, dine, sup, and sleep,
Upon the very naked name of love.

PROTEUS.
Enough; I read your fortune in your eye.
Was this the idol that you worship so?

VALENTINE.
Even she; and is she not a heavenly saint?

PROTEUS.
No; but she is an earthly paragon.

VALENTINE.
Call her divine.

PROTEUS.
I will not flatter her.

VALENTINE.
O! flatter me; for love delights in praises.

PROTEUS.
When I was sick you gave me bitter pills,
And I must minister the like to you.

VALENTINE.
Then speak the truth by her; if not divine,
Yet let her be a principality,
Sovereign to all the creatures on the earth.

PROTEUS.
Except my mistress.

VALENTINE.
Sweet, except not any,
Except thou wilt except against my love.

PROTEUS.
Have I not reason to prefer mine own?

VALENTINE.
And I will help thee to prefer her too:
She shall be dignified with this high honour,--
To bear my lady's train, lest the base earth
Should from her vesture chance to steal a kiss,
And, of so great a favour growing proud,
Disdain to root the summer-swelling flower
And make rough winter everlastingly.

PROTEUS.
Why, Valentine, what braggardism is this?

VALENTINE.
Pardon me, Proteus; all I can is nothing
To her, whose worth makes other worthies nothing;
She is alone.

PROTEUS.
Then, let her alone.

VALENTINE.
Not for the world: why, man, she is mine own;
And I as rich in having such a jewel
As twenty seas, if all their sand were pearl,
The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold.
Forgive me that I do not dream on thee,
Because thou see'st me dote upon my love.
My foolish rival, that her father likes
Only for his possessions are so huge,
Is gone with her along; and I must after,
For love, thou know'st, is full of jealousy.

PROTEUS.
But she loves you?

VALENTINE.
Ay, and we are betroth'd; nay more, our marriage-hour,
With all the cunning manner of our flight,
Determin'd of: how I must climb her window,
The ladder made of cords, and all the means
Plotted and 'greed on for my happiness.
Good Proteus, go with me to my chamber,
In these affairs to aid me with thy counsel.

PROTEUS.
Go on before; I shall enquire you forth:
I must unto the road to disembark
Some necessaries that I needs must use;
And then I'll presently attend you.

VALENTINE.
Will you make haste?

PROTEUS.
I will.

[Exit VALENTINE.]

Even as one heat another heat expels
Or as one nail by strength drives out another,
So the remembrance of my former love
Is by a newer object quite forgotten.
Is it my mind, or Valentinus' praise,
Her true perfection, or my false transgression,
That makes me reasonless to reason thus?
She is fair; and so is Julia that I love,--
That I did love, for now my love is thaw'd;
Which like a waxen image 'gainst a fire
Bears no impression of the thing it was.
Methinks my zeal to Valentine is cold,
And that I love him not as I was wont.
O! but I love his lady too-too much,
And that's the reason I love him so little.
How shall I dote on her with more advice
That thus without advice begin to love her?
'Tis but her picture I have yet beheld,
And that hath dazzled my reason's light;
But when I look on her perfections,
There is no reason but I shall be blind.
If I can check my erring love, I will;
If not, to compass her I'll use my skill.

[Exit.]



SCENE 5. The same. A street

[Enter SPEED and LAUNCE.]

SPEED.
Launce! by mine honesty, welcome to Milan!

LAUNCE.
Forswear not thyself, sweet youth, for I am not welcome. I
reckon this always, that a man is never undone till he be hanged,
nor never welcome to a place till some certain shot be paid, and
the hostess say 'Welcome!'

SPEED.
Come on, you madcap; I'll to the alehouse with you
presently; where, for one shot of five pence, thou shalt have
five thousand welcomes. But, sirrah, how did thy master part with
Madam Julia?

LAUNCE.
Marry, after they clos'd in earnest, they parted very
fairly in jest.

SPEED.
But shall she marry him?

LAUNCE.
No.

SPEED.
How then? Shall he marry her?

LAUNCE.
No, neither.

SPEED.
What, are they broken?

LAUNCE.
No, they are both as whole as a fish.

SPEED.
Why then, how stands the matter with them?

LAUNCE.
Marry, thus: when it stands well with him, it stands well
with her.

SPEED.
What an ass art thou! I understand thee not.

LAUNCE.
What a block art thou that thou canst not! My staff
understands me.

SPEED.
What thou sayest?

LAUNCE.
Ay, and what I do too; look thee, I'll but lean, and my
staff understands me.

SPEED.
It stands under thee, indeed.

LAUNCE.
Why, stand-under and under-stand is all one.

SPEED.
But tell me true, will't be a match?

LAUNCE.
Ask my dog. If he say ay, it will; if he say no, it will; if
he shake his tail and say nothing, it will.

SPEED.
The conclusion is, then, that it will.

LAUNCE.
Thou shalt never get such a secret from me but by a
parable.

SPEED.
'Tis well that I get it so. But, Launce, how sayest thou
that my master is become a notable lover?

LAUNCE.
I never knew him otherwise.

SPEED.
Than how?

LAUNCE.
A notable lubber, as thou reportest him to be.

SPEED.
Why, thou whoreson ass, thou mistak'st me.

LAUNCE.
Why, fool, I meant not thee, I meant thy master.

SPEED.
I tell thee my master is become a hot lover.

LAUNCE.
Why, I tell thee I care not though he burn himself in love.
If thou wilt, go with me to the alehouse; if not, thou art an
Hebrew, a Jew, and not worth the name of a Christian.

SPEED.
Why?

LAUNCE.
Because thou hast not so much charity in thee as to go to
the ale with a Christian. Wilt thou go?

SPEED.
At thy service.

[Exeunt.]



SCENE 6. The same. The DUKE's palace.

[Enter PROTEUS.]

PROTEUS.
To leave my Julia, shall I be forsworn;
To love fair Silvia, shall I be forsworn;
To wrong my friend, I shall be much forsworn;
And even that power which gave me first my oath
Provokes me to this threefold perjury:
Love bade me swear, and Love bids me forswear.
O sweet-suggesting Love! if thou hast sinn'd,
Teach me, thy tempted subject, to excuse it.
At first I did adore a twinkling star,
But now I worship a celestial sun.
Unheedful vows may heedfully be broken;
And he wants wit that wants resolved will
To learn his wit t' exchange the bad for better.
Fie, fie, unreverend tongue, to call her bad,
Whose sovereignty so oft thou hast preferr'd
With twenty thousand soul-confirming oaths.
I cannot leave to love, and yet I do;
But there I leave to love where I should love.
Julia I lose, and Valentine I lose;
If I keep them, I needs must lose myself;
If I lose them, thus find I by their loss,
For Valentine, myself; for Julia, Silvia.
I to myself am dearer than a friend,
For love is still most precious in itself;
And Silvia--witness heaven, that made her fair!--
Shows Julia but a swarthy Ethiope.
I will forget that Julia is alive,
Remembering that my love to her is dead;
And Valentine I'll hold an enemy,
Aiming at Silvia as a sweeter friend.
I cannot now prove constant to myself
Without some treachery us'd to Valentine.
This night he meaneth with a corded ladder
To climb celestial Silvia's chamber window,
Myself in counsel, his competitor.
Now presently I'll give her father notice
Of their disguising and pretended flight;
Who, all enrag'd, will banish Valentine;
For Thurio, he intends, shall wed his daughter;
But, Valentine being gone, I'll quickly cross,
By some sly trick blunt Thurio's dull proceeding.
Love, lend me wings to make my purpose swift,
As thou hast lent me wit to plot this drift!

[Exit.]



SCENE 7. Verona. A room in JULIA'S house.

[Enter JULIA and LUCETTA.]

JULIA.
Counsel, Lucetta; gentle girl, assist me:
And, ev'n in kind love, I do conjure thee,
Who art the table wherein all my thoughts
Are visibly character'd and engrav'd,
To lesson me and tell me some good mean
How, with my honour, I may undertake
A journey to my loving Proteus.

LUCETTA.
Alas, the way is wearisome and long.

JULIA.
A true-devoted pilgrim is not weary
To measure kingdoms with his feeble steps;
Much less shall she that hath Love's wings to fly,
And when the flight is made to one so dear,
Of such divine perfection, as Sir Proteus.

LUCETTA.
Better forbear till Proteus make return.

JULIA.
O! know'st thou not his looks are my soul's food?
Pity the dearth that I have pined in
By longing for that food so long a time.
Didst thou but know the inly touch of love.
Thou wouldst as soon go kindle fire with snow
As seek to quench the fire of love with words.

LUCETTA.
I do not seek to quench your love's hot fire,
But qualify the fire's extreme rage,
Lest it should burn above the bounds of reason.

JULIA.
The more thou damm'st it up, the more it burns.
The current that with gentle murmur glides,
Thou know'st, being stopp'd, impatiently doth rage;
But when his fair course is not hindered,
He makes sweet music with th' enamell'd stones,
Giving a gentle kiss to every sedge
He overtaketh in his pilgrimage;
And so by many winding nooks he strays,
With willing sport, to the wild ocean.
Then let me go, and hinder not my course.
I'll be as patient as a gentle stream,
And make a pastime of each weary step,
Till the last step have brought me to my love;
And there I'll rest as, after much turmoil,
A blessed soul doth in Elysium.

LUCETTA.
But in what habit will you go along?

JULIA.
Not like a woman, for I would prevent
The loose encounters of lascivious men.
Gentle Lucetta, fit me with such weeds
As may beseem some well-reputed page.

LUCETTA.
Why then, your ladyship must cut your hair.

JULIA.
No, girl; I'll knit it up in silken strings
With twenty odd-conceited true-love knots:
To be fantastic may become a youth
Of greater time than I shall show to be.

LUCETTA.
What fashion, madam, shall I make your breeches?

JULIA.
That fits as well as 'Tell me, good my lord,
What compass will you wear your farthingale?'
Why even what fashion thou best likes, Lucetta.

LUCETTA.
You must needs have them with a codpiece, madam.

JULIA.
Out, out, Lucetta, that will be ill-favour'd.

LUCETTA.
A round hose, madam, now's not worth a pin,
Unless you have a codpiece to stick pins on.

JULIA.
Lucetta, as thou lov'st me, let me have
What thou think'st meet, and is most mannerly.
But tell me, wench, how will the world repute me
For undertaking so unstaid a journey?
I fear me it will make me scandaliz'd.



 


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