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Two Gentlemen of Verona



DUKE OF MILAN Father to Silvia. (DUKE:)

VALENTINE | | the two Gentlemen. PROTEUS |

ANTONIO Father to Proteus.

THURIO a foolish rival to Valentine.

EGLAMOUR Agent for Silvia in her escape.

HOST where Julia lodges. (Host:)

OUTLAWS with Valentine. (First Outlaw:) (Second Outlaw:) (Third Outlaw:)

SPEED a clownish servant to Valentine.

LAUNCE the like to Proteus.

PANTHINO Servant to Antonio.

JULIA beloved of Proteus.

Servants, Musicians.

SILVIA beloved of Valentine.


LUCETTA waiting-woman to Julia.

SCENE Verona; Milan; the frontiers of Mantua.



SCENE I Verona. An open place.

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 sluggardized at home, Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness. But since thou lovest, 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 note-worthy 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 beadsman, 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.


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 turn'd 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 thee, 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 likewise will visit thee with mine.


PROTEUS All happiness bechance to thee in Milan!

[Enter SPEED]

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

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 metamorphosed 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.

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?


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 [First nodding] 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. 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?

[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.



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 wreck, Which cannot perish having thee aboard, Being destined to a drier death on shore.

[Enter JULlA and LUCETTA]


SCENE II The same. Garden of JULIA's house.

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.

JULIA To Julia. Say, from whom?

LUCETTA That the contents will show.

JULIA Say, say, who gave it thee?

LUCETTA 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. Or else return no more into my sight.

LUCETTA To plead for love deserves more fee than hate.


JULIA Will ye be gone?

[Re-enter LUCETTA]

LUCETTA That you may ruminate.

JULIA And yet I would I had o'erlooked the letter: It were a shame to call her back again And pray her to a fault for which I chid her. What a 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 enforced my heart to smile! My penance is to call Lucetta back And ask remission for my folly past. What ho! Lucetta!

LUCETTA What would your ladyship?

JULIA Is't 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 interpeter.

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

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. 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.

[Tears the letter]

Go get you gone, and let the papers lie: You would be fingering them, to anger me.

LUCETTA Indeed, I bid the base for Proteus.


JULIA This babble shall not henceforth trouble me. Here is a coil with protestation!

[Re-enter LUCETTA]

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

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 thoroughly 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 on another: Now kiss, embrace, contend, do what you will.

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?



SCENE III The same. ANTONIO's house.

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 achieved 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 advised: 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.

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 beloved 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 resolved 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.

[Re-enter PANTHINO]

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.

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 and by a cloud takes all away!



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

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



SCENE I Milan. The DUKE's palace.

SPEED Sir, your 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 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 wreathe your arms, like a malecontent; 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 knowest 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 esteemest 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.


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?


SPEED Are they not lamely writ?

[Enter SILVIA]

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

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.

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.

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.

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 for Madam Silvia.


SPEED To yourself: why, she wooes 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.



SCENE II Verona. JULIA'S house.

PROTEUS Have patience, gentle Julia.

JULIA I must, where is no remedy.

[Giving a ring]

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.

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

[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.


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!



PANTHINO Sir Proteus, you are stay'd for.

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

[Enter LAUNCE, leading a dog]



SCENE III The same. A street.

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, this 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, sit, 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--Oh! 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.

PANTHINO Launce, away, away, aboard! thy master is shipped and thou art to post after with oars. What's the matter? why weepest 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 Wilt thou go?

LAUNCE Well, I will go.



SCENE IV Milan. The DUKE's palace.

SILVIA Servant!


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 knocked him.

SILVIA Servant, you are sad.

VALENTINE Indeed, madam, I seem so.

THURIO Seem you that you are not?


THURIO So do counterfeits.

VALENTINE So do you.

THURIO What seem I that I am not?


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.


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.

[Enter DUKE]

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.

SILVIA No more, gentlemen, no more:--here comes my father.

DUKE Now, daughter Silvia, you are hard beset. Sir Valentine, your father's 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 know him as myself; for from our infancy We have conversed 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 unmellow'd, 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.

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

SILVIA Belike that now she hath enfranchised 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.

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.

[Re-enter THURIO]

SILVIA That you are welcome?

PROTEUS That you are worthless.

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

[Exeunt SILVIA and THURIO]

SILVIA I wait upon his pleasure. 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.

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 chased 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, Determined 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 inquire you forth: I must unto the road, to disembark Some necessaries that I needs must use, And then I'll presently attend you.


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 mine, or Valentine's 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 cheque my erring love, I will; If not, to compass her I'll use my skill.



VALENTINE Will you make haste?


[Enter SPEED and LAUNCE severally]


SCENE V The same. A street.

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 closed in earnest, they parted very fairly in jest.

SPEED But shall she marry him?


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 mistakest 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.




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.





SCENE VI The same. The DUKE'S palace.

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 sinned, 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 to 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 used 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 enraged, 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!



SCENE VII Verona. JULIA'S house.

JULIA Counsel, Lucetta; gentle girl, assist me; And even in kind love I do conjure thee, Who art the table wherein all my thoughts Are visibly character'd and engraved, 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 the enamell'ed 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 likest, Lucetta.

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

JULIA Out, out, Lucetta! that would 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 lovest me, let me have What thou thinkest 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 scandalized.

LUCETTA If you think so, then stay at home and go not.

JULIA Nay, that I will not.

LUCETTA Then never dream on infamy, but go. If Proteus like your journey when you come, No matter who's displeased when you are gone: I fear me, he will scarce be pleased withal.

JULIA That is the least, Lucetta, of my fear: A thousand oaths, an ocean of his tears And instances of infinite of love Warrant me welcome to my Proteus.

LUCETTA All these are servants to deceitful men.

JULIA Base men, that use them to so base effect! But truer stars did govern Proteus' birth His words are bonds, his oaths are oracles, His love sincere, his thoughts immaculate, His tears pure messengers sent from his heart, His heart as far from fraud as heaven from earth.



LUCETTA Pray heaven he prove so, when you come to him!

JULIA Now, as thou lovest me, do him not that wrong To bear a hard opinion of his truth: Only deserve my love by loving him; And presently go with me to my chamber, To take a note of what I stand in need of, To furnish me upon my longing journey. All that is mine I leave at thy dispose, My goods, my lands, my reputation; Only, in lieu thereof, dispatch me hence. Come, answer not, but to it presently! I am impatient of my tarriance.




Now, tell me, Proteus, what's your will with me?

SCENE I Milan. The DUKE's palace.

DUKE Sir Thurio, give us leave, I pray, awhile; We have some secrets to confer about.

PROTEUS My gracious lord, that which I would discover The law of friendship bids me to conceal; But when I call to mind your gracious favours Done to me, undeserving as I am, My duty pricks me on to utter that Which else no worldly good should draw from me. Know, worthy prince, Sir Valentine, my friend, This night intends to steal away your daughter: Myself am one made privy to the plot. I know you have determined to bestow her On Thurio, whom your gentle daughter hates; And should she thus be stol'n away from you, It would be much vexation to your age. Thus, for my duty's sake, I rather chose To cross my friend in his intended drift Than, by concealing it, heap on your head A pack of sorrows which would press you down, Being unprevented, to your timeless grave.

DUKE Proteus, I thank thee for thine honest care; Which to requite, command me while I live. This love of theirs myself have often seen, Haply when they have judged me fast asleep, And oftentimes have purposed to forbid Sir Valentine her company and my court: But fearing lest my jealous aim might err And so unworthily disgrace the man, A rashness that I ever yet have shunn'd, I gave him gentle looks, thereby to find That which thyself hast now disclosed to me. And, that thou mayst perceive my fear of this, Knowing that tender youth is soon suggested, I nightly lodge her in an upper tower, The key whereof myself have ever kept; And thence she cannot be convey'd away.

PROTEUS Know, noble lord, they have devised a mean How he her chamber-window will ascend And with a corded ladder fetch her down; For which the youthful lover now is gone And this way comes he with it presently; Where, if it please you, you may intercept him. But, good my Lord, do it so cunningly That my discovery be not aimed at; For love of you, not hate unto my friend, Hath made me publisher of this pretence.



DUKE Upon mine honour, he shall never know That I had any light from thee of this.

PROTEUS Adieu, my Lord; Sir Valentine is coming.

DUKE Sir Valentine, whither away so fast?

VALENTINE Please it your grace, there is a messenger That stays to bear my letters to my friends, And I am going to deliver them.

DUKE Be they of much import?

VALENTINE The tenor of them doth but signify My health and happy being at your court.

DUKE Nay then, no matter; stay with me awhile; I am to break with thee of some affairs That touch me near, wherein thou must be secret. 'Tis not unknown to thee that I have sought To match my friend Sir Thurio to my daughter.

VALENTINE I know it well, my Lord; and, sure, the match Were rich and honourable; besides, the gentleman Is full of virtue, bounty, worth and qualities Beseeming such a wife as your fair daughter: Cannot your Grace win her to fancy him?

DUKE No, trust me; she is peevish, sullen, froward, Proud, disobedient, stubborn, lacking duty, Neither regarding that she is my child Nor fearing me as if I were her father; And, may I say to thee, this pride of hers, Upon advice, hath drawn my love from her; And, where I thought the remnant of mine age Should have been cherish'd by her child-like duty, I now am full resolved to take a wife And turn her out to who will take her in: Then let her beauty be her wedding-dower; For me and my possessions she esteems not.

VALENTINE What would your Grace have me to do in this?

DUKE There is a lady in Verona here Whom I affect; but she is nice and coy And nought esteems my aged eloquence: Now therefore would I have thee to my tutor-- For long agone I have forgot to court; Besides, the fashion of the time is changed-- How and which way I may bestow myself To be regarded in her sun-bright eye.

VALENTINE Win her with gifts, if she respect not words: Dumb jewels often in their silent kind More than quick words do move a woman's mind.

DUKE But she did scorn a present that I sent her.

VALENTINE A woman sometimes scorns what best contents her. Send her another; never give her o'er; For scorn at first makes after-love the more. If she do frown, 'tis not in hate of you, But rather to beget more love in you: If she do chide, 'tis not to have you gone; For why, the fools are mad, if left alone. Take no repulse, whatever she doth say; For get you gone, she doth not mean away! Flatter and praise, commend, extol their graces; Though ne'er so black, say they have angels' faces. That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man, If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.

DUKE But she I mean is promised by her friends Unto a youthful gentleman of worth, And kept severely from resort of men, That no man hath access by day to her.

VALENTINE Why, then, I would resort to her by night.

DUKE Ay, but the doors be lock'd and keys kept safe, That no man hath recourse to her by night.

VALENTINE What lets but one may enter at her window?

DUKE Her chamber is aloft, far from the ground, And built so shelving that one cannot climb it Without apparent hazard of his life.

VALENTINE Why then, a ladder quaintly made of cords, To cast up, with a pair of anchoring hooks, Would serve to scale another Hero's tower, So bold Leander would adventure it.

DUKE Now, as thou art a gentleman of blood, Advise me where I may have such a ladder.

VALENTINE When would you use it? pray, sir, tell me that.

DUKE This very night; for Love is like a child, That longs for every thing that he can come by.

VALENTINE By seven o'clock I'll get you such a ladder.

DUKE But, hark thee; I will go to her alone: How shall I best convey the ladder thither?

VALENTINE It will be light, my lord, that you may bear it Under a cloak that is of any length.

DUKE A cloak as long as thine will serve the turn?

VALENTINE Ay, my good lord.

DUKE Then let me see thy cloak: I'll get me one of such another length.


'My thoughts do harbour with my Silvia nightly, And slaves they are to me that send them flying: O, could their master come and go as lightly, Himself would lodge where senseless they are lying! My herald thoughts in thy pure bosom rest them: While I, their king, that hither them importune, Do curse the grace that with such grace hath bless'd them, Because myself do want my servants' fortune: I curse myself, for they are sent by me, That they should harbour where their lord would be.' What's here? Silvia, this night I will enfranchise thee. 'Tis so; and here's the ladder for the purpose. Why, Phaeton,--for thou art Merops' son,-- Wilt thou aspire to guide the heavenly car And with thy daring folly burn the world? Wilt thou reach stars, because they shine on thee? Go, base intruder! overweening slave! Bestow thy fawning smiles on equal mates, And think my patience, more than thy desert, Is privilege for thy departure hence: Thank me for this more than for all the favours Which all too much I have bestow'd on thee. But if thou linger in my territories Longer than swiftest expedition Will give thee time to leave our royal court, By heaven! my wrath shall far exceed the love I ever bore my daughter or thyself. Be gone! I will not hear thy vain excuse; But, as thou lovest thy life, make speed from hence.


VALENTINE Why, any cloak will serve the turn, my lord.


DUKE How shall I fashion me to wear a cloak? I pray thee, let me feel thy cloak upon me. What letter is this same? What's here? To Silvia! And here an engine fit for my proceeding. I'll be so bold to break the seal for once.

VALENTINE And why not death rather than living torment? To die is to be banish'd from myself; And Silvia is myself: banish'd from her Is self from self: a deadly banishment! What light is light, if Silvia be not seen? What joy is joy, if Silvia be not by? Unless it be to think that she is by And feed upon the shadow of perfection Except I be by Silvia in the night, There is no music in the nightingale; Unless I look on Silvia in the day, There is no day for me to look upon; She is my essence, and I leave to be, If I be not by her fair influence Foster'd, illumined, cherish'd, kept alive. I fly not death, to fly his deadly doom: Tarry I here, I but attend on death: But, fly I hence, I fly away from life.

PROTEUS Run, boy, run, run, and seek him out.

LAUNCE Soho, soho!

PROTEUS What seest thou?

LAUNCE Him we go to find: there's not a hair on's head but 'tis a Valentine.

PROTEUS Valentine?


PROTEUS Who then? his spirit?


PROTEUS What then?


LAUNCE Can nothing speak? Master, shall I strike?

PROTEUS Who wouldst thou strike?

LAUNCE Nothing.

PROTEUS Villain, forbear.

LAUNCE Why, sir, I'll strike nothing: I pray you,--

PROTEUS Sirrah, I say, forbear. Friend Valentine, a word.

VALENTINE My ears are stopt and cannot hear good news, So much of bad already hath possess'd them.

PROTEUS Then in dumb silence will I bury mine, For they are harsh, untuneable and bad.

VALENTINE Is Silvia dead?

PROTEUS No, Valentine.

VALENTINE No Valentine, indeed, for sacred Silvia. Hath she forsworn me?

PROTEUS No, Valentine.

VALENTINE No Valentine, if Silvia have forsworn me. What is your news?

LAUNCE Sir, there is a proclamation that you are vanished.

PROTEUS That thou art banished--O, that's the news!-- From hence, from Silvia and from me thy friend.

VALENTINE O, I have fed upon this woe already, And now excess of it will make me surfeit. Doth Silvia know that I am banished?

PROTEUS Ay, ay; and she hath offer'd to the doom-- Which, unreversed, stands in effectual force-- A sea of melting pearl, which some call tears: Those at her father's churlish feet she tender'd; With them, upon her knees, her humble self; Wringing her hands, whose whiteness so became them As if but now they waxed pale for woe: But neither bended knees, pure hands held up, Sad sighs, deep groans, nor silver-shedding tears, Could penetrate her uncompassionate sire; But Valentine, if he be ta'en, must die. Besides, her intercession chafed him so, When she for thy repeal was suppliant, That to close prison he commanded her, With many bitter threats of biding there.

VALENTINE No more; unless the next word that thou speak'st Have some malignant power upon my life: If so, I pray thee, breathe it in mine ear, As ending anthem of my endless dolour.

PROTEUS Cease to lament for that thou canst not help, And study help for that which thou lament'st. Time is the nurse and breeder of all good. Here if thou stay, thou canst not see thy love; Besides, thy staying will abridge thy life. Hope is a lover's staff; walk hence with that And manage it against despairing thoughts. Thy letters may be here, though thou art hence; Which, being writ to me, shall be deliver'd Even in the milk-white bosom of thy love. The time now serves not to expostulate: Come, I'll convey thee through the city-gate; And, ere I part with thee, confer at large Of all that may concern thy love-affairs. As thou lovest Silvia, though not for thyself, Regard thy danger, and along with me!

VALENTINE I pray thee, Launce, an if thou seest my boy, Bid him make haste and meet me at the North-gate.


PROTEUS Go, sirrah, find him out. Come, Valentine.

[Pulling out a paper]

Here is the cate-log of her condition. Imprimis: She can fetch and carry. Why, a horse can do no more: nay, a horse cannot fetch, but only carry; therefore is she better than a jade. Item: She can milk; look you, a sweet virtue in a maid with clean hands.

[Enter SPEED]

VALENTINE O my dear Silvia! Hapless Valentine!

LAUNCE I am but a fool, look you; and yet I have the wit to think my master is a kind of a knave: but that's all one, if he be but one knave. He lives not now that knows me to be in love; yet I am in love; but a team of horse shall not pluck that from me; nor who 'tis I love; and yet 'tis a woman; but what woman, I will not tell myself; and yet 'tis a milkmaid; yet 'tis not a maid, for she hath had gossips; yet 'tis a maid, for she is her master's maid, and serves for wages. She hath more qualities than a water-spaniel; which is much in a bare Christian.

SPEED How now, Signior Launce! what news with your mastership?

LAUNCE With my master's ship? why, it is at sea.

SPEED Well, your old vice still; mistake the word. What news, then, in your paper?

LAUNCE The blackest news that ever thou heardest.

SPEED Why, man, how black?

LAUNCE Why, as black as ink.

SPEED Let me read them.

LAUNCE Fie on thee, jolt-head! thou canst not read.

SPEED Thou liest; I can.

LAUNCE I will try thee. Tell me this: who begot thee?

SPEED Marry, the son of my grandfather.

LAUNCE O illiterate loiterer! it was the son of thy grandmother: this proves that thou canst not read.

SPEED Come, fool, come; try me in thy paper.

LAUNCE There; and St. Nicholas be thy speed!

SPEED [Reads] Imprimis: She can milk.

LAUNCE Ay, that she can.

SPEED Item: She brews good ale.

LAUNCE And thereof comes the proverb: Blessing of your heart, you brew good ale.

SPEED Item: She can sew.

LAUNCE That's as much as to say, Can she so?

SPEED Item: She can knit.

LAUNCE What need a man care for a stock with a wench, when she can knit him a stock?

SPEED Item: She can wash and scour.

LAUNCE A special virtue: for then she need not be washed and scoured.

SPEED Item: She can spin.

LAUNCE Then may I set the world on wheels, when she can spin for her living.

SPEED Item: She hath many nameless virtues.

LAUNCE That's as much as to say, bastard virtues; that, indeed, know not their fathers and therefore have no names.

SPEED Here follow her vices.

LAUNCE Close at the heels of her virtues.

SPEED Item: She is not to be kissed fasting in respect of her breath.

LAUNCE Well, that fault may be mended with a breakfast. Read on.

SPEED Item: She hath a sweet mouth.

LAUNCE That makes amends for her sour breath.

SPEED Item: She doth talk in her sleep.

LAUNCE It's no matter for that, so she sleep not in her talk.

SPEED Item: She is slow in words.

LAUNCE O villain, that set this down among her vices! To be slow in words is a woman's only virtue: I pray thee, out with't, and place it for her chief virtue.

SPEED Item: She is proud.

LAUNCE Out with that too; it was Eve's legacy, and cannot be ta'en from her.

SPEED Item: She hath no teeth.

LAUNCE I care not for that neither, because I love crusts.

SPEED Item: She is curst.

LAUNCE Well, the best is, she hath no teeth to bite.

SPEED Item: She will often praise her liquor.

LAUNCE If her liquor be good, she shall: if she will not, I will; for good things should be praised.

SPEED Item: She is too liberal.

LAUNCE Of her tongue she cannot, for that's writ down she is slow of; of her purse she shall not, for that I'll keep shut: now, of another thing she may, and that cannot I help. Well, proceed.

SPEED Item: She hath more hair than wit, and more faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults.

LAUNCE Stop there; I'll have her: she was mine, and not mine, twice or thrice in that last article. Rehearse that once more.

SPEED 'Item: She hath more hair than wit,'--

LAUNCE More hair than wit? It may be; I'll prove it. The cover of the salt hides the salt, and therefore it is more than the salt; the hair that covers the wit is more than the wit, for the greater hides the less. What's next?

SPEED 'And more faults than hairs,'--

LAUNCE That's monstrous: O, that that were out!

SPEED And more wealth than faults.

LAUNCE Why, that word makes the faults gracious. Well, I'll have her; and if it be a match, as nothing is impossible,--

SPEED What then?

LAUNCE Why, then will I tell thee--that thy master stays for thee at the North-gate.

SPEED For me?

LAUNCE For thee! ay, who art thou? he hath stayed for a better man than thee.

SPEED And must I go to him?


LAUNCE Thou must run to him, for thou hast stayed so long that going will scarce serve the turn.



SPEED Why didst not tell me sooner? pox of your love letters!

LAUNCE Now will he be swinged for reading my letter; an unmannerly slave, that will thrust himself into secrets! I'll after, to rejoice in the boy's correction.

[Enter DUKE and THURIO]


SCENE II The same. The DUKE's palace.

DUKE Sir Thurio, fear not but that she will love you, Now Valentine is banish'd from her sight.


How now, Sir Proteus! Is your countryman According to our proclamation gone?

THURIO Since his exile she hath despised me most, Forsworn my company and rail'd at me, That I am desperate of obtaining her.

DUKE This weak impress of love is as a figure Trenched in ice, which with an hour's heat Dissolves to water and doth lose his form. A little time will melt her frozen thoughts And worthless Valentine shall be forgot.

PROTEUS Gone, my good lord.

DUKE My daughter takes his going grievously.

PROTEUS A little time, my lord, will kill that grief.

DUKE So I believe; but Thurio thinks not so. Proteus, the good conceit I hold of thee-- For thou hast shown some sign of good desert-- Makes me the better to confer with thee.

PROTEUS Longer than I prove loyal to your grace Let me not live to look upon your grace.

DUKE Thou know'st how willingly I would effect The match between Sir Thurio and my daughter.

PROTEUS I do, my lord.

DUKE And also, I think, thou art not ignorant How she opposes her against my will

PROTEUS She did, my lord, when Valentine was here.

DUKE Ay, and perversely she persevers so. What might we do to make the girl forget The love of Valentine and love Sir Thurio?

PROTEUS The best way is to slander Valentine With falsehood, cowardice and poor descent, Three things that women highly hold in hate.

DUKE Ay, but she'll think that it is spoke in hate.

PROTEUS Ay, if his enemy deliver it: Therefore it must with circumstance be spoken By one whom she esteemeth as his friend.

DUKE Then you must undertake to slander him.

PROTEUS And that, my lord, I shall be loath to do: 'Tis an ill office for a gentleman, Especially against his very friend.

DUKE Where your good word cannot advantage him, Your slander never can endamage him; Therefore the office is indifferent, Being entreated to it by your friend.

PROTEUS You have prevail'd, my lord; if I can do it By ought that I can speak in his dispraise, She shall not long continue love to him. But say this weed her love from Valentine, It follows not that she will love Sir Thurio.

THURIO Therefore, as you unwind her love from him, Lest it should ravel and be good to none, You must provide to bottom it on me; Which must be done by praising me as much As you in worth dispraise Sir Valentine.

DUKE And, Proteus, we dare trust you in this kind, Because we know, on Valentine's report, You are already Love's firm votary And cannot soon revolt and change your mind. Upon this warrant shall you have access Where you with Silvia may confer at large; For she is lumpish, heavy, melancholy, And, for your friend's sake, will be glad of you; Where you may temper her by your persuasion To hate young Valentine and love my friend.

PROTEUS As much as I can do, I will effect: But you, Sir Thurio, are not sharp enough; You must lay lime to tangle her desires By wailful sonnets, whose composed rhymes Should be full-fraught with serviceable vows.

DUKE Ay, Much is the force of heaven-bred poesy.

PROTEUS Say that upon the altar of her beauty You sacrifice your tears, your sighs, your heart: Write till your ink be dry, and with your tears Moist it again, and frame some feeling line That may discover such integrity: For Orpheus' lute was strung with poets' sinews, Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones, Make tigers tame and huge leviathans Forsake unsounded deeps to dance on sands. After your dire-lamenting elegies, Visit by night your lady's chamber-window With some sweet concert; to their instruments Tune a deploring dump: the night's dead silence Will well become such sweet-complaining grievance. This, or else nothing, will inherit her.

DUKE This discipline shows thou hast been in love.

THURIO And thy advice this night I'll put in practise. Therefore, sweet Proteus, my direction-giver, Let us into the city presently To sort some gentlemen well skill'd in music. I have a sonnet that will serve the turn To give the onset to thy good advice.

DUKE About it, gentlemen!



PROTEUS We'll wait upon your grace till after supper, And afterward determine our proceedings.

DUKE Even now about it! I will pardon you.

[Enter certain Outlaws]


SCENE I The frontiers of Mantua. A forest.


First Outlaw Fellows, stand fast; I see a passenger.

Second Outlaw If there be ten, shrink not, but down with 'em.

Third Outlaw Stand, sir, and throw us that you have about ye: If not: we'll make you sit and rifle you.

SPEED Sir, we are undone; these are the villains That all the travellers do fear so much.

VALENTINE My friends,--

First Outlaw That's not so, sir: we are your enemies.

Second Outlaw Peace! we'll hear him.

Third Outlaw Ay, by my beard, will we, for he's a proper man.

VALENTINE Then know that I have little wealth to lose: A man I am cross'd with adversity; My riches are these poor habiliments, Of which if you should here disfurnish me, You take the sum and substance that I have.

Second Outlaw Whither travel you?


First Outlaw Whence came you?


Third Outlaw Have you long sojourned there?

VALENTINE Some sixteen months, and longer might have stay'd, If crooked fortune had not thwarted me.

First Outlaw What, were you banish'd thence?


Second Outlaw For what offence?

VALENTINE For that which now torments me to rehearse: I kill'd a man, whose death I much repent; But yet I slew him manfully in fight, Without false vantage or base treachery.

First Outlaw Why, ne'er repent it, if it were done so. But were you banish'd for so small a fault?

VALENTINE I was, and held me glad of such a doom.

Second Outlaw Have you the tongues?

VALENTINE My youthful travel therein made me happy, Or else I often had been miserable.

Third Outlaw By the bare scalp of Robin Hood's fat friar, This fellow were a king for our wild faction!

First Outlaw We'll have him. Sirs, a word.

SPEED Master, be one of them; it's an honourable kind of thievery.

VALENTINE Peace, villain!

Second Outlaw Tell us this: have you any thing to take to?

VALENTINE Nothing but my fortune.

Third Outlaw Know, then, that some of us are gentlemen, Such as the fury of ungovern'd youth Thrust from the company of awful men: Myself was from Verona banished For practising to steal away a lady, An heir, and near allied unto the duke.

Second Outlaw And I from Mantua, for a gentleman, Who, in my mood, I stabb'd unto the heart.

First Outlaw And I for such like petty crimes as these, But to the purpose--for we cite our faults, That they may hold excus'd our lawless lives; And partly, seeing you are beautified With goodly shape and by your own report A linguist and a man of such perfection As we do in our quality much want--

Second Outlaw Indeed, because you are a banish'd man, Therefore, above the rest, we parley to you: Are you content to be our general? To make a virtue of necessity And live, as we do, in this wilderness?

Third Outlaw What say'st thou? wilt thou be of our consort? Say ay, and be the captain of us all: We'll do thee homage and be ruled by thee, Love thee as our commander and our king.

First Outlaw But if thou scorn our courtesy, thou diest.

Second Outlaw Thou shalt not live to brag what we have offer'd.



VALENTINE I take your offer and will live with you, Provided that you do no outrages On silly women or poor passengers.

Third Outlaw No, we detest such vile base practises. Come, go with us, we'll bring thee to our crews, And show thee all the treasure we have got, Which, with ourselves, all rest at thy dispose.



[Enter THURIO and Musicians]

SCENE II Milan. Outside the DUKE's palace, under SILVIA's chamber.

PROTEUS Already have I been false to Valentine And now I must be as unjust to Thurio. Under the colour of commending him, I have access my own love to prefer: But Silvia is too fair, too true, too holy, To be corrupted with my worthless gifts. When I protest true loyalty to her, She twits me with my falsehood to my friend; When to her beauty I commend my vows, She bids me think how I have been forsworn In breaking faith with Julia whom I loved: And notwithstanding all her sudden quips, The least whereof would quell a lover's hope, Yet, spaniel-like, the more she spurns my love, The more it grows and fawneth on her still. But here comes Thurio: now must we to her window, And give some evening music to her ear.

THURIO How now, Sir Proteus, are you crept before us?

PROTEUS Ay, gentle Thurio: for you know that love Will creep in service where it cannot go.

THURIO Ay, but I hope, sir, that you love not here.

PROTEUS Sir, but I do; or else I would be hence.

THURIO Who? Silvia?

[Enter, at a distance, Host, and JULIA in boy's clothes]

PROTEUS Ay, Silvia; for your sake.

THURIO I thank you for your own. Now, gentlemen, Let's tune, and to it lustily awhile.

Host Now, my young guest, methinks you're allycholly: I pray you, why is it?

JULIA Marry, mine host, because I cannot be merry.

Host Come, we'll have you merry: I'll bring you where you shall hear music and see the gentleman that you asked for.

JULIA But shall I hear him speak?

[Music plays]

Host Ay, that you shall.

JULIA That will be music.

Host Hark, hark!

SONG. Who is Silvia? what is she, That all our swains commend her? Holy, fair and wise is she; The heaven such grace did lend her, That she might admired be.

Is she kind as she is fair? For beauty lives with kindness. Love doth to her eyes repair, To help him of his blindness, And, being help'd, inhabits there.

Then to Silvia let us sing, That Silvia is excelling; She excels each mortal thing Upon the dull earth dwelling: To her let us garlands bring.

JULIA Is he among these?

Host Ay: but, peace! let's hear 'em.

Host How now! are you sadder than you were before? How do you, man? the music likes you not.

JULIA You mistake; the musician likes me not.

Host Why, my pretty youth?

JULIA He plays false, father.

Host How? out of tune on the strings?

JULIA Not so; but yet so false that he grieves my very heart-strings.

Host You have a quick ear.

JULIA Ay, I would I were deaf; it makes me have a slow heart.

Host I perceive you delight not in music.

JULIA Not a whit, when it jars so.

Host Hark, what fine change is in the music!

JULIA Ay, that change is the spite.

Host You would have them always play but one thing?

JULIA I would always have one play but one thing. But, host, doth this Sir Proteus that we talk on Often resort unto this gentlewoman?

Host I tell you what Launce, his man, told me: he loved her out of all nick.

JULIA Where is Launce?

Host Gone to seek his dog; which tomorrow, by his master's command, he must carry for a present to his lady.

JULIA Peace! stand aside: the company parts.

PROTEUS Sir Thurio, fear not you: I will so plead That you shall say my cunning drift excels.

THURIO Where meet we?

[Exeunt THURIO and Musicians]

[Enter SILVIA above]

PROTEUS At Saint Gregory's well.

THURIO Farewell.

PROTEUS Madam, good even to your ladyship.

SILVIA I thank you for your music, gentlemen. Who is that that spake?

PROTEUS One, lady, if you knew his pure heart's truth, You would quickly learn to know him by his voice.

SILVIA Sir Proteus, as I take it.

PROTEUS Sir Proteus, gentle lady, and your servant.

SILVIA What's your will?

PROTEUS That I may compass yours.

SILVIA You have your wish; my will is even this: That presently you hie you home to bed. Thou subtle, perjured, false, disloyal man! Think'st thou I am so shallow, so conceitless, To be seduced by thy flattery, That hast deceived so many with thy vows? Return, return, and make thy love amends. For me, by this pale queen of night I swear, I am so far from granting thy request That I despise thee for thy wrongful suit, And by and by intend to chide myself Even for this time I spend in talking to thee.

PROTEUS I grant, sweet love, that I did love a lady; But she is dead.

JULIA [Aside] 'Twere false, if I should speak it; For I am sure she is not buried.

SILVIA Say that she be; yet Valentine thy friend Survives; to whom, thyself art witness, I am betroth'd: and art thou not ashamed To wrong him with thy importunacy?

PROTEUS I likewise hear that Valentine is dead.

SILVIA And so suppose am I; for in his grave Assure thyself my love is buried.

PROTEUS Sweet lady, let me rake it from the earth.

SILVIA Go to thy lady's grave and call hers thence, Or, at the least, in hers sepulchre thine.

JULIA [Aside] He heard not that.

PROTEUS Madam, if your heart be so obdurate, Vouchsafe me yet your picture for my love, The picture that is hanging in your chamber; To that I'll speak, to that I'll sigh and weep: For since the substance of your perfect self Is else devoted, I am but a shadow; And to your shadow will I make true love.

JULIA [Aside] If 'twere a substance, you would, sure, deceive it, And make it but a shadow, as I am.

[Exeunt PROTEUS and SILVIA severally]

SILVIA I am very loath to be your idol, sir; But since your falsehood shall become you well To worship shadows and adore false shapes, Send to me in the morning and I'll send it: And so, good rest.

PROTEUS As wretches have o'ernight That wait for execution in the morn.

JULIA Host, will you go?

Host By my halidom, I was fast asleep.

JULIA Pray you, where lies Sir Proteus?



Host Marry, at my house. Trust me, I think 'tis almost day.

JULIA Not so; but it hath been the longest night That e'er I watch'd and the most heaviest.



[Enter SILVIA above]

SCENE III The same.

EGLAMOUR This is the hour that Madam Silvia Entreated me to call and know her mind: There's some great matter she'ld employ me in. Madam, madam!

SILVIA Who calls?

EGLAMOUR Your servant and your friend; One that attends your ladyship's command.

SILVIA Sir Eglamour, a thousand times good morrow.

EGLAMOUR As many, worthy lady, to yourself: According to your ladyship's impose, I am thus early come to know what service It is your pleasure to command me in.

SILVIA O Eglamour, thou art a gentleman-- Think not I flatter, for I swear I do not-- Valiant, wise, remorseful, well accomplish'd: Thou art not ignorant what dear good will I bear unto the banish'd Valentine, Nor how my father would enforce me marry Vain Thurio, whom my very soul abhors. Thyself hast loved; and I have heard thee say No grief did ever come so near thy heart As when thy lady and thy true love died, Upon whose grave thou vow'dst pure chastity. Sir Eglamour, I would to Valentine, To Mantua, where I hear he makes abode; And, for the ways are dangerous to pass, I do desire thy worthy company, Upon whose faith and honour I repose. Urge not my father's anger, Eglamour, But think upon my grief, a lady's grief, And on the justice of my flying hence, To keep me from a most unholy match, Which heaven and fortune still rewards with plagues. I do desire thee, even from a heart As full of sorrows as the sea of sands, To bear me company and go with me: If not, to hide what I have said to thee, That I may venture to depart alone.

EGLAMOUR Madam, I pity much your grievances; Which since I know they virtuously are placed, I give consent to go along with you, Recking as little what betideth me As much I wish all good befortune you. When will you go?

SILVIA This evening coming.

EGLAMOUR Where shall I meet you?

SILVIA At Friar Patrick's cell, Where I intend holy confession.

[Exeunt severally]


EGLAMOUR I will not fail your ladyship. Good morrow, gentle lady.

SILVIA Good morrow, kind Sir Eglamour.

[Enter LAUNCE, with his his Dog]



SCENE IV The same.

LAUNCE When a man's servant shall play the cur with him, look you, it goes hard: one that I brought up of a puppy; one that I saved from drowning, when three or four of his blind brothers and sisters went to it. I have taught him, even as one would say precisely, thus I would teach a dog. I was sent to deliver him as a present to Mistress Silvia from my master; and I came no sooner into the dining-chamber but he steps me to her trencher and steals her capon's leg: O, 'tis a foul thing when a cur cannot keep himself in all companies! I would have, as one should say, one that takes upon him to be a dog indeed, to be, as it were, a dog at all things. If I had not had more wit than he, to take a fault upon me that he did, I think verily he had been hanged for't; sure as I live, he had suffered for't; you shall judge. He thrusts me himself into the company of three or four gentlemanlike dogs under the duke's table: he had not been there--bless the mark!--a pissing while, but all the chamber smelt him. Out with the dog! says one: What cur is that? says another: Whip him out says the third: Hang him up says the duke. I, having been acquainted with the smell before, knew it was Crab, and goes me to the fellow that whips the dogs: Friend, quoth I, you mean to whip the dog? Ay, marry, do I, quoth he. You do him the more wrong, quoth I; 'twas I did the thing you wot of. He makes me no more ado, but whips me out of the chamber. How many masters would do this for his servant? Nay, I'll be sworn, I have sat in the stocks for puddings he hath stolen, otherwise he had been executed; I have stood on the pillory for geese he hath killed, otherwise he had suffered for't. Thou thinkest not of this now. Nay, I remember the trick you served me when I took my leave of Madam Silvia: did not I bid thee still mark me and do as I do? when didst thou see me heave up my leg and make water against a gentlewoman's farthingale? didst thou ever see me do such a trick?

PROTEUS Sebastian is thy name? I like thee well And will employ thee in some service presently.


How now, you whoreson peasant! Where have you been these two days loitering?

JULIA In what you please: I'll do what I can.

PROTEUS I hope thou wilt.

LAUNCE Marry, sir, I carried Mistress Silvia the dog you bade me.

PROTEUS And what says she to my little jewel?

LAUNCE Marry, she says your dog was a cur, and tells you currish thanks is good enough for such a present.

PROTEUS But she received my dog?

LAUNCE No, indeed, did she not: here have I brought him back again.

PROTEUS What, didst thou offer her this from me?


A slave, that still an end turns me to shame! Sebastian, I have entertained thee, Partly that I have need of such a youth That can with some discretion do my business, For 'tis no trusting to yond foolish lout, But chiefly for thy face and thy behavior, Which, if my augury deceive me not, Witness good bringing up, fortune and truth: Therefore know thou, for this I entertain thee. Go presently and take this ring with thee, Deliver it to Madam Silvia: She loved me well deliver'd it to me.

LAUNCE Ay, sir: the other squirrel was stolen from me by the hangman boys in the market-place: and then I offered her mine own, who is a dog as big as ten of yours, and therefore the gift the greater.

PROTEUS Go get thee hence, and find my dog again, Or ne'er return again into my sight. Away, I say! stay'st thou to vex me here?

JULIA It seems you loved not her, to leave her token. She is dead, belike?

PROTEUS Not so; I think she lives.


PROTEUS Why dost thou cry alas?

JULIA I cannot choose But pity her.

PROTEUS Wherefore shouldst thou pity her?


JULIA Because methinks that she loved you as well As you do love your lady Silvia: She dreams of him that has forgot her love; You dote on her that cares not for your love. 'Tis pity love should be so contrary; And thinking of it makes me cry alas!

[Enter SILVIA, attended]

Gentlewoman, good day! I pray you, be my mean To bring me where to speak with Madam Silvia.

PROTEUS Well, give her that ring and therewithal This letter. That's her chamber. Tell my lady I claim the promise for her heavenly picture. Your message done, hie home unto my chamber, Where thou shalt find me, sad and solitary.

JULIA How many women would do such a message? Alas, poor Proteus! thou hast entertain'd A fox to be the shepherd of thy lambs. Alas, poor fool! why do I pity him That with his very heart despiseth me? Because he loves her, he despiseth me; Because I love him I must pity him. This ring I gave him when he parted from me, To bind him to remember my good will; And now am I, unhappy messenger, To plead for that which I would not obtain, To carry that which I would have refused, To praise his faith which I would have dispraised. I am my master's true-confirmed love; But cannot be true servant to my master, Unless I prove false traitor to myself. Yet will I woo for him, but yet so coldly As, heaven it knows, I would not have him speed.

SILVIA What would you with her, if that I be she?

JULIA If you be she, I do entreat your patience To hear me speak the message I am sent on.

SILVIA From whom?

JULIA From my master, Sir Proteus, madam.

SILVIA O, he sends you for a picture.

JULIA Ay, madam.

SILVIA Ursula, bring my picture here. Go give your master this: tell him from me, One Julia, that his changing thoughts forget, Would better fit his chamber than this shadow.

JULIA Madam, please you peruse this letter.-- Pardon me, madam; I have unadvised Deliver'd you a paper that I should not: This is the letter to your ladyship.

SILVIA I pray thee, let me look on that again.

JULIA It may not be; good madam, pardon me.

SILVIA There, hold! I will not look upon your master's lines: I know they are stuff'd with protestations And full of new-found oaths; which he will break As easily as I do tear his paper.

JULIA Madam, he sends your ladyship this ring.

SILVIA The more shame for him that he sends it me; For I have heard him say a thousand times His Julia gave it him at his departure. Though his false finger have profaned the ring, Mine shall not do his Julia so much wrong.

JULIA She thanks you.

SILVIA What say'st thou?

JULIA I thank you, madam, that you tender her. Poor gentlewoman! my master wrongs her much.

SILVIA Dost thou know her?

JULIA Almost as well as I do know myself: To think upon her woes I do protest That I have wept a hundred several times.

SILVIA Belike she thinks that Proteus hath forsook her.

JULIA I think she doth; and that's her cause of sorrow.

SILVIA Is she not passing fair?

JULIA She hath been fairer, madam, than she is: When she did think my master loved her well, She, in my judgment, was as fair as you: But since she did neglect her looking-glass And threw her sun-expelling mask away, The air hath starved the roses in her cheeks And pinch'd the lily-tincture of her face, That now she is become as black as I.

SILVIA How tall was she?

[Exit SILVIA, with attendants]

JULIA About my stature; for at Pentecost, When all our pageants of delight were play'd, Our youth got me to play the woman's part, And I was trimm'd in Madam Julia's gown, Which served me as fit, by all men's judgments, As if the garment had been made for me: Therefore I know she is about my height. And at that time I made her weep agood, For I did play a lamentable part: Madam, twas Ariadne passioning For Theseus perjury and unjust flight; Which I so lively acted with my tears That my poor mistress, moved therewithal, Wept bitterly; and would I might be dead If I in thought felt not her very sorrow!



SILVIA She is beholding to thee, gentle youth. Alas, poor lady, desolate and left! I weep myself to think upon thy words. Here, youth, there is my purse; I give thee this For thy sweet mistress' sake, because thou lovest her. Farewell.

JULIA And she shall thank you for't, if e'er you know her. A virtuous gentlewoman, mild and beautiful I hope my master's suit will be but cold, Since she respects my mistress' love so much. Alas, how love can trifle with itself! Here is her picture: let me see; I think, If I had such a tire, this face of mine Were full as lovely as is this of hers: And yet the painter flatter'd her a little, Unless I flatter with myself too much. Her hair is auburn, mine is perfect yellow: If that be all the difference in his love, I'll get me such a colour'd periwig. Her eyes are grey as glass, and so are mine: Ay, but her forehead's low, and mine's as high. What should it be that he respects in her But I can make respective in myself, If this fond Love were not a blinded god? Come, shadow, come and take this shadow up, For 'tis thy rival. O thou senseless form, Thou shalt be worshipp'd, kiss'd, loved and adored! And, were there sense in his idolatry, My substance should be statue in thy stead. I'll use thee kindly for thy mistress' sake, That used me so; or else, by Jove I vow, I should have scratch'd out your unseeing eyes To make my master out of love with thee!



[Enter SILVIA]

Lady, a happy evening!

SCENE I Milan. An abbey.

EGLAMOUR The sun begins to gild the western sky; And now it is about the very hour That Silvia, at Friar Patrick's cell, should meet me. She will not fail, for lovers break not hours, Unless it be to come before their time; So much they spur their expedition. See where she comes.



SILVIA Amen, amen! Go on, good Eglamour, Out at the postern by the abbey-wall: I fear I am attended by some spies.

EGLAMOUR Fear not: the forest is not three leagues off; If we recover that, we are sure enough.



SCENE II The same. The DUKE's palace.

THURIO Sir Proteus, what says Silvia to my suit?

PROTEUS O, sir, I find her milder than she was; And yet she takes exceptions at your person.

THURIO What, that my leg is too long?

PROTEUS No; that it is too little.

THURIO I'll wear a boot, to make it somewhat rounder.

JULIA [Aside] But love will not be spurr'd to what it loathes.

THURIO What says she to my face?

PROTEUS She says it is a fair one.

THURIO Nay then, the wanton lies; my face is black.

PROTEUS But pearls are fair; and the old saying is, Black men are pearls in beauteous ladies' eyes.

JULIA [Aside] Tis true; such pearls as put out ladies eyes; For I had rather wink than look on them.

THURIO How likes she my discourse?

PROTEUS Ill, when you talk of war.

THURIO But well, when I discourse of love and peace?

JULIA [Aside] But better, indeed, when you hold your peace.

THURIO What says she to my valour?

PROTEUS O, sir, she makes no doubt of that.

JULIA [Aside] She needs not, when she knows it cowardice.

THURIO What says she to my birth?

PROTEUS That you are well derived.

JULIA [Aside] True; from a gentleman to a fool.

THURIO Considers she my possessions?

PROTEUS O, ay; and pities them.

THURIO Wherefore?

JULIA [Aside] That such an ass should owe them.

[Enter DUKE]

PROTEUS That they are out by lease.

JULIA Here comes the duke.

DUKE How now, Sir Proteus! how now, Thurio! Which of you saw Sir Eglamour of late?



DUKE Saw you my daughter?


PROTEUS Neither.


DUKE Why then, She's fled unto that peasant Valentine; And Eglamour is in her company. 'Tis true; for Friar Laurence met them both, As he in penance wander'd through the forest; Him he knew well, and guess'd that it was she, But, being mask'd, he was not sure of it; Besides, she did intend confession At Patrick's cell this even; and there she was not; These likelihoods confirm her flight from hence. Therefore, I pray you, stand not to discourse, But mount you presently and meet with me Upon the rising of the mountain-foot That leads towards Mantua, whither they are fled: Dispatch, sweet gentlemen, and follow me.


THURIO Why, this it is to be a peevish girl, That flies her fortune when it follows her. I'll after, more to be revenged on Eglamour Than for the love of reckless Silvia.



PROTEUS And I will follow, more for Silvia's love Than hate of Eglamour that goes with her.

JULIA And I will follow, more to cross that love Than hate for Silvia that is gone for love.

[Enter Outlaws with SILVIA]


SCENE III The frontiers of Mantua. The forest.

First Outlaw Come, come, Be patient; we must bring you to our captain.

SILVIA A thousand more mischances than this one Have learn'd me how to brook this patiently.

Second Outlaw Come, bring her away.

First Outlaw Where is the gentleman that was with her?

Third Outlaw Being nimble-footed, he hath outrun us, But Moyses and Valerius follow him. Go thou with her to the west end of the wood; There is our captain: we'll follow him that's fled; The thicket is beset; he cannot 'scape.



First Outlaw Come, I must bring you to our captain's cave: Fear not; he bears an honourable mind, And will not use a woman lawlessly.

SILVIA O Valentine, this I endure for thee!




SCENE IV Another part of the forest.

VALENTINE How use doth breed a habit in a man! This shadowy desert, unfrequented woods, I better brook than flourishing peopled towns: Here can I sit alone, unseen of any, And to the nightingale's complaining notes Tune my distresses and record my woes. O thou that dost inhabit in my breast, Leave not the mansion so long tenantless, Lest, growing ruinous, the building fall And leave no memory of what it was! Repair me with thy presence, Silvia; Thou gentle nymph, cherish thy forlorn swain! What halloing and what stir is this to-day? These are my mates, that make their wills their law, Have some unhappy passenger in chase. They love me well; yet I have much to do To keep them from uncivil outrages. Withdraw thee, Valentine: who's this comes here?

PROTEUS Madam, this service I have done for you, Though you respect not aught your servant doth, To hazard life and rescue you from him That would have forced your honour and your love; Vouchsafe me, for my meed, but one fair look; A smaller boon than this I cannot beg And less than this, I am sure, you cannot give.

VALENTINE [Aside] How like a dream is this I see and hear! Love, lend me patience to forbear awhile.

SILVIA O miserable, unhappy that I am!

PROTEUS Unhappy were you, madam, ere I came; But by my coming I have made you happy.

SILVIA By thy approach thou makest me most unhappy.

JULIA [Aside] And me, when he approacheth to your presence.

SILVIA Had I been seized by a hungry lion, I would have been a breakfast to the beast, Rather than have false Proteus rescue me. O, Heaven be judge how I love Valentine, Whose life's as tender to me as my soul! And full as much, for more there cannot be, I do detest false perjured Proteus. Therefore be gone; solicit me no more.

PROTEUS What dangerous action, stood it next to death, Would I not undergo for one calm look! O, 'tis the curse in love, and still approved, When women cannot love where they're beloved!

SILVIA When Proteus cannot love where he's beloved. Read over Julia's heart, thy first best love, For whose dear sake thou didst then rend thy faith Into a thousand oaths; and all those oaths Descended into perjury, to love me. Thou hast no faith left now, unless thou'dst two; And that's far worse than none; better have none Than plural faith which is too much by one: Thou counterfeit to thy true friend!

PROTEUS In love Who respects friend?

SILVIA All men but Proteus.

PROTEUS Nay, if the gentle spirit of moving words Can no way change you to a milder form, I'll woo you like a soldier, at arms' end, And love you 'gainst the nature of love,--force ye.

SILVIA O heaven!

PROTEUS I'll force thee yield to my desire.

VALENTINE Ruffian, let go that rude uncivil touch, Thou friend of an ill fashion!

PROTEUS Valentine!

VALENTINE Thou common friend, that's without faith or love, For such is a friend now; treacherous man! Thou hast beguiled my hopes; nought but mine eye Could have persuaded me: now I dare not say I have one friend alive; thou wouldst disprove me. Who should be trusted, when one's own right hand Is perjured to the bosom? Proteus, I am sorry I must never trust thee more, But count the world a stranger for thy sake. The private wound is deepest: O time most accurst, 'Mongst all foes that a friend should be the worst!

PROTEUS My shame and guilt confounds me. Forgive me, Valentine: if hearty sorrow Be a sufficient ransom for offence, I tender 't here; I do as truly suffer As e'er I did commit.


VALENTINE Then I am paid; And once again I do receive thee honest. Who by repentance is not satisfied Is nor of heaven nor earth, for these are pleased. By penitence the Eternal's wrath's appeased: And, that my love may appear plain and free, All that was mine in Silvia I give thee.

JULIA O me unhappy!

PROTEUS Look to the boy.

VALENTINE Why, boy! why, wag! how now! what's the matter? Look up; speak.

JULIA O good sir, my master charged me to deliver a ring to Madam Silvia, which, out of my neglect, was never done.

PROTEUS Where is that ring, boy?

JULIA Here 'tis; this is it.

PROTEUS How! let me see: Why, this is the ring I gave to Julia.

JULIA O, cry you mercy, sir, I have mistook: This is the ring you sent to Silvia.

PROTEUS But how camest thou by this ring? At my depart I gave this unto Julia.

JULIA And Julia herself did give it me; And Julia herself hath brought it hither.

PROTEUS How! Julia!

JULIA Behold her that gave aim to all thy oaths, And entertain'd 'em deeply in her heart. How oft hast thou with perjury cleft the root! O Proteus, let this habit make thee blush! Be thou ashamed that I have took upon me Such an immodest raiment, if shame live In a disguise of love: It is the lesser blot, modesty finds, Women to change their shapes than men their minds.

PROTEUS Than men their minds! 'tis true. O heaven! were man But constant, he were perfect. That one error Fills him with faults; makes him run through all the sins: Inconstancy falls off ere it begins. What is in Silvia's face, but I may spy More fresh in Julia's with a constant eye?

VALENTINE Come, come, a hand from either: Let me be blest to make this happy close; 'Twere pity two such friends should be long foes.

[Enter Outlaws, with DUKE and THURIO]

PROTEUS Bear witness, Heaven, I have my wish for ever.

JULIA And I mine.

Outlaws A prize, a prize, a prize!

VALENTINE Forbear, forbear, I say! it is my lord the duke. Your grace is welcome to a man disgraced, Banished Valentine.

DUKE Sir Valentine!

THURIO Yonder is Silvia; and Silvia's mine.

VALENTINE Thurio, give back, or else embrace thy death; Come not within the measure of my wrath; Do not name Silvia thine; if once again, Verona shall not hold thee. Here she stands; Take but possession of her with a touch: I dare thee but to breathe upon my love.

THURIO Sir Valentine, I care not for her, I; I hold him but a fool that will endanger His body for a girl that loves him not: I claim her not, and therefore she is thine.

DUKE The more degenerate and base art thou, To make such means for her as thou hast done And leave her on such slight conditions. Now, by the honour of my ancestry, I do applaud thy spirit, Valentine, And think thee worthy of an empress' love: Know then, I here forget all former griefs, Cancel all grudge, repeal thee home again, Plead a new state in thy unrivall'd merit, To which I thus subscribe: Sir Valentine, Thou art a gentleman and well derived; Take thou thy Silvia, for thou hast deserved her.

VALENTINE I thank your grace; the gift hath made me happy. I now beseech you, for your daughter's sake, To grant one boom that I shall ask of you.

DUKE I grant it, for thine own, whate'er it be.

VALENTINE These banish'd men that I have kept withal Are men endued with worthy qualities: Forgive them what they have committed here And let them be recall'd from their exile: They are reformed, civil, full of good And fit for great employment, worthy lord.

DUKE Thou hast prevail'd; I pardon them and thee: Dispose of them as thou know'st their deserts. Come, let us go: we will include all jars With triumphs, mirth and rare solemnity.

VALENTINE And, as we walk along, I dare be bold With our discourse to make your grace to smile. What think you of this page, my lord?

DUKE I think the boy hath grace in him; he blushes.

VALENTINE I warrant you, my lord, more grace than boy.


DUKE What mean you by that saying?

VALENTINE Please you, I'll tell you as we pass along, That you will wonder what hath fortuned. Come, Proteus; 'tis your penance but to hear The story of your loves discovered: That done, our day of marriage shall be yours; One feast, one house, one mutual happiness.


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