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Two Gentlemen of Verona

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Act IV, Scene 4

The same.


[Enter LAUNCE, with his his Dog]

  • Launce. When a man's servant shall play the cur with him,
    look you, it goes hard: one that I brought up of a 1835
    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; 1840
    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, 1845
    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 1850
    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. 1855
    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 1860
    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 1865
    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 1870
    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. 1875
  • Julia. In what you please: I'll do what I can.
  • Proteus. I hope thou wilt.
    [To LAUNCE]
    How now, you whoreson peasant!
    Where have you been these two days loitering? 1880
  • 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? 1885
  • Launce. No, indeed, did she not: here have I brought him
    back again.
  • Proteus. What, didst thou offer her this from me?
  • Launce. Ay, sir: the other squirrel was stolen from me by
    the hangman boys in the market-place: and then I 1890
    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? 1895
    [Exit LAUNCE]
    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, 1900
    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. 1905
    Go presently and take this ring with thee,
    Deliver it to Madam Silvia:
    She loved me well deliver'd it to me.
  • Julia. It seems you loved not her, to leave her token.
    She is dead, belike? 1910
  • Proteus. Not so; I think she lives.
  • Proteus. Why dost thou cry 'alas'?
  • Julia. I cannot choose
    But pity her. 1915
  • 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. 1920
    'Tis pity love should be so contrary;
    And thinking of it makes me cry 'alas!'
  • 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. 1925
    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 1930
    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. 1935
    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, 1940
    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 1945
    As, heaven it knows, I would not have him speed.
    [Enter SILVIA, attended]
    Gentlewoman, good day! I pray you, be my mean
    To bring me where to speak with Madam Silvia.
  • Silvia. What would you with her, if that I be she? 1950
  • Julia. If you be she, I do entreat your patience
    To hear me speak the message I am sent on.
  • Julia. From my master, Sir Proteus, madam.
  • Silvia. O, he sends you for a picture. 1955
  • 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. 1960
  • 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. 1965
  • 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 1970
    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. 1975
    Though his false finger have profaned the ring,
    Mine shall not do his Julia so much wrong.
  • Julia. I thank you, madam, that you tender her. 1980
    Poor gentlewoman! my master wrongs her much.
  • 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. 1985
  • 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, 1990
    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, 1995
    That now she is become as black as I.
  • 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, 2000
    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, 2005
    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, 2010
    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. 2015
    Here, youth, there is my purse; I give thee this
    For thy sweet mistress' sake, because thou lovest her.

[Exit SILVIA, with attendants]

  • Julia. And she shall thank you for't, if e'er you know her. 2020
    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, 2025
    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: 2030
    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 2035
    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! 2040
    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 2045
    To make my master out of love with thee!