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Two Gentlemen of Verona

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Act IV, Scene 2

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, 1635
    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 1640
    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. 1645
    But here comes Thurio: now must we to her window,
    And give some evening music to her ear.

[Enter THURIO and Musicians]

  • Thurio. How now, Sir Proteus, are you crept before us?
  • Proteus. Ay, gentle Thurio: for you know that love 1650
    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.
  • Proteus. Ay, Silvia; for your sake. 1655
  • Thurio. I thank you for your own. Now, gentlemen,
    Let's tune, and to it lustily awhile.

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

  • Host. Now, my young guest, methinks you're allycholly: I
    pray you, why is it? 1660
  • 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?
  • Host. Ay, that you shall. 1665
  • Julia. That will be music.

[Music plays]

  • Julia. Is he among these?
  • Host. Ay: but, peace! let's hear 'em. 1670
    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, 1675
    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, 1680
    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: 1685
    To her let us garlands bring.
  • 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? 1690
  • 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
  • Host. You have a quick ear. 1695
  • 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. 1700
  • 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 1705
    her out of all nick.
  • 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. 1710
  • Proteus. Sir Thurio, fear not you: I will so plead
    That you shall say my cunning drift excels.

[Exeunt THURIO and Musicians]

[Enter SILVIA above]

  • Proteus. Madam, good even to your ladyship.
  • Silvia. I thank you for your music, gentlemen.
    Who is that that spake? 1720
  • 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? 1725
  • 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, 1730
    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 1735
    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. 1740
  • 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 1745
    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. 1750
  • 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, 1755
    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. 1760
  • Julia. [Aside] If 'twere a substance, you would, sure,
    deceive it,
    And make it but a shadow, as I am.
  • Silvia. I am very loath to be your idol, sir;
    But since your falsehood shall become you well 1765
    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. 1770

[Exeunt PROTEUS and SILVIA severally]

  • 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 1775
  • Julia. Not so; but it hath been the longest night
    That e'er I watch'd and the most heaviest.