Open Source Shakespeare

Two Gentlemen of Verona

Act II

Scene 1. Milan. The DUKE’s palace.

Scene 2. Verona. JULIA’S house.

Scene 3. The same. A street.

Scene 4. Milan. The DUKE’s palace.

Scene 5. The same. A street.

Scene 6. The same. The DUKE’S palace.

Scene 7. Verona. JULIA’S house.

• To print this text, click here
• To save this text, go to your browser's File menu, then select Save As


Act II, Scene 1

Milan. The DUKE’s palace.



  • Speed. Sir, your glove. 400
  • 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! 405
  • 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. 410
  • 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? 415
  • 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 420
    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 425
    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. 430
  • 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 435
    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? 440
  • 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? 445
  • 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. 450
  • 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 455
    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. 460
  • Valentine. I have loved her ever since I saw her; and still I
    see her beautiful.
  • Speed. If you love her, you cannot see her.
  • Valentine. Why?
  • Speed. Because Love is blind. O, that you had mine eyes; 465
    or your own eyes had the lights they were wont to
    have when you chid at Sir Proteus for going
  • Valentine. What should I see then?
  • Speed. Your own present folly and her passing deformity: 470
    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, 475
    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 480
    one she loves.
  • Speed. And have you?
  • Valentine. I have.
  • Speed. Are they not lamely writ?
  • Valentine. No, boy, but as well as I can do them. Peace! 485
    here she comes.
  • Speed. [Aside] O excellent motion! O exceeding puppet!
    Now will he interpret to her.

[Enter SILVIA]

  • Valentine. Madam and mistress, a thousand good-morrows. 490
  • 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; 495
    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 500
    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; 505
    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? 510
  • 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; 515
    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. 520
  • 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, 525
    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, 530
    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? 535
  • Speed. To be a spokesman for Madam Silvia.
  • Valentine. To whom?
  • Speed. To yourself: why, she wooes you by a figure.
  • Valentine. What figure?
  • Speed. By a letter, I should say. 540
  • 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 545
    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. 550
  • 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, 555
    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 560
    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.



Act II, Scene 2

Verona. JULIA’S house.



  • Proteus. Have patience, gentle Julia.
  • Julia. I must, where is no remedy.
  • Proteus. When possibly I can, I will return.
  • Julia. If you turn not, you will return the sooner.
    Keep this remembrance for thy Julia's sake. 570

[Giving a ring]

  • Proteus. Why then, we'll make exchange; here, take you this.
  • 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 575
    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; 580
    That tide will stay me longer than I should.
    Julia, farewell!
    [Exit JULIA]
    What, gone without a word?
    Ay, so true love should do: it cannot speak; 585
    For truth hath better deeds than words to grace it.


  • Panthino. Sir Proteus, you are stay'd for.
  • Proteus. Go; I come, I come.
    Alas! this parting strikes poor lovers dumb. 590



Act II, Scene 3

The same. A street.


[Enter LAUNCE, leading a dog]

  • Launce. Nay, 'twill be this hour ere I have done weeping;
    all the kind of the Launces have this very fault. I
    have received my proportion, like the prodigious 595
    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 600
    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 605
    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 610
    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 615
    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 620
    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. 625


  • 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. 630
  • 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 635
    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. 640
  • 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 645
    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? 650
  • Launce. Well, I will go.



Act II, Scene 4

Milan. The DUKE’s palace.



  • Silvia. Servant!
  • Valentine. Mistress? 655
  • 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. 660


  • Silvia. Servant, you are sad.
  • Valentine. Indeed, madam, I seem so.
  • Thurio. Seem you that you are not?
  • Valentine. Haply I do. 665
  • Thurio. So do counterfeits.
  • Valentine. So do you.
  • Thurio. What seem I that I am not?
  • Valentine. Wise.
  • Thurio. What instance of the contrary? 670
  • 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. 675
  • Thurio. How?
  • Silvia. What, angry, Sir Thurio! do you change colour?
  • Valentine. Give him leave, madam; he is a kind of chameleon.
  • Thurio. That hath more mind to feed on your blood than live
    in your air. 680
  • 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. 685
  • 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 690
    make your wit bankrupt.
  • Valentine. I know it well, sir; you have an exchequer of words,
    and, I think, no other treasure to give your
    followers, for it appears by their bare liveries,
    that they live by your bare words. 695
  • Silvia. No more, gentlemen, no more:—here comes my father.

[Enter DUKE]

  • Duke of Milan. Now, daughter Silvia, you are hard beset.
    Sir Valentine, your father's in good health:
    What say you to a letter from your friends 700
    Of much good news?
  • Valentine. My lord, I will be thankful.
    To any happy messenger from thence.
  • Duke of Milan. Know ye Don Antonio, your countryman?
  • Valentine. Ay, my good lord, I know the gentleman 705
    To be of worth and worthy estimation
    And not without desert so well reputed.
  • Duke of Milan. Hath he not a son?
  • Valentine. Ay, my good lord; a son that well deserves
    The honour and regard of such a father. 710
  • Duke of Milan. 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 715
    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; 720
    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 of Milan. Beshrew me, sir, but if he make this good, 725
    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: 730
    I think 'tis no unwelcome news to you.
  • Valentine. Should I have wish'd a thing, it had been he.
  • Duke of Milan. 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: 735
    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. 740
  • 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? 745
  • 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. 750



  • Valentine. Welcome, dear Proteus! Mistress, I beseech you,
    Confirm his welcome with some special favour.
  • Silvia. His worth is warrant for his welcome hither, 755
    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 760
    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: 765
    Servant, you are welcome to a worthless mistress.
  • Proteus. I'll die on him that says so but yourself.
  • Silvia. That you are welcome?
  • Proteus. That you are worthless.

[Re-enter THURIO]

  • Thurio. Madam, my lord your father would speak with you.
  • 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. 775
  • Proteus. We'll both attend upon your ladyship.

[Exeunt SILVIA and THURIO]

  • 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? 780
  • 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: 785
    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, 790
    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, 795
    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. 800
    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. 805
  • 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, 810
    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? 815
  • 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, 820
    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; 825
    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, 830
    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, 835
    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, 840
    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, 845
    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. 850
  • Valentine. Will you make haste?
  • Proteus. I will.
    [Exit VALENTINE]
    Even as one heat another heat expels,
    Or as one nail by strength drives out another, 855
    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? 860
    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, 865
    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! 870
    '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; 875
    If not, to compass her I'll use my skill.



Act II, Scene 5

The same. A street.


[Enter SPEED and LAUNCE severally]

  • Speed. Launce! by mine honesty, welcome to Milan!
  • Launce. Forswear not thyself, sweet youth, for I am not 880
    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 885
    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. 890
  • Speed. But shall she marry him?
  • Launce. No.
  • Speed. How then? shall he marry her?
  • Launce. No, neither.
  • Speed. What, are they broken? 895
  • 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. 900
  • 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. 905
  • 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. 910
  • 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. 915
  • 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. 920
  • Launce. Why, I tell thee, I care not though he burn himself
    in love. If thou wilt, go with me to the alehouse;
    if not, thou art an Hebrew, a Jew, and not worth the
    name of a Christian.
  • Speed. Why? 925
  • 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.



Act II, Scene 6

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; 935
    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. 940
    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 945
    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; 950
    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!— 955
    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. 960
    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. 965
    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 970
    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!



Act II, Scene 7

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 980
    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; 985
    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? 990
    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. 995
  • 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, 1000
    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, 1005
    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, 1010
    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 1015
    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 1020
    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, 1025
    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, 1030
    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? 1035
    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, 1040
    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 1045
    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, 1050
    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 1055
    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. 1060
    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. 1065