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This senior-junior, giant-dwarf, Dan Cupid;
Regent of love-rhymes, lord of folded arms,
The anointed sovereign of sighs and groans,
Liege of all loiterers and malcontents.

      — Love's Labour's Lost, Act III Scene 1


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Two Gentlemen of Verona

Act IV

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Scene 1. The frontiers of Mantua. A forest.

Scene 2. Milan. Outside the DUKE’s palace, under SILVIA’s chamber.

Scene 3. The same.

Scene 4. The same.


Act IV, Scene 1

The frontiers of Mantua. A forest.

      next scene .

[Enter certain Outlaws]


  • 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.
  • 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; 1565
    My riches are these poor habiliments,
    Of which if you should here disfurnish me,
    You take the sum and substance that I have.
  • Valentine. Some sixteen months, and longer might have stay'd,
    If crooked fortune had not thwarted me. 1575
  • Valentine. For that which now torments me to rehearse:
    I kill'd a man, whose death I much repent; 1580
    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. 1585
  • 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! 1590
  • Speed. Master, be one of them; it's an honourable kind of thievery.
  • 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, 1600
    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, 1605
    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— 1610
  • 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? 1615
  • 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. 1620
  • 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. 1625
    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.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 2

Milan. Outside the DUKE’s palace, under SILVIA’s chamber.

      next scene .


  • 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.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 3

The same.

      next scene .


  • 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!

[Enter SILVIA above]

  • 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: 1790
    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— 1795
    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. 1800
    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, 1805
    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, 1810
    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 1815
    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; 1820
    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? 1825
  • Silvia. At Friar Patrick's cell,
    Where I intend holy confession.
  • Eglamour. I will not fail your ladyship. Good morrow, gentle lady. 1830
  • Silvia. Good morrow, kind Sir Eglamour.

[Exeunt severally]

. previous scene      

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!