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Two Gentlemen of Verona

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Act II, Scene 1

Milan. The DUKE’s palace.



  • Speed. Sir, your glove. 400
  • 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!
  • Speed. She is not within hearing, sir.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • Speed. To be a spokesman for Madam Silvia.
  • Speed. To yourself: why, she wooes you by a figure.
  • Speed. By a letter, I should say. 540
  • Speed. What need she, when she hath made you write to
    yourself? Why, do you not perceive the jest?
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.