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Two Gentlemen of Verona

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Act V, Scene 4

Another part of the forest.



  • Valentine. How use doth breed a habit in a man!
    This shadowy desert, unfrequented woods, 2150
    I better brook than flourishing peopled towns:
    Here can I sit alone, unseen of any,
    And to the nightingale's complaining notes
    Tune my distresses and record my woes.
    O thou that dost inhabit in my breast, 2155
    Leave not the mansion so long tenantless,
    Lest, growing ruinous, the building fall
    And leave no memory of what it was!
    Repair me with thy presence, Silvia;
    Thou gentle nymph, cherish thy forlorn swain! 2160
    What halloing and what stir is this to-day?
    These are my mates, that make their wills their law,
    Have some unhappy passenger in chase.
    They love me well; yet I have much to do
    To keep them from uncivil outrages. 2165
    Withdraw thee, Valentine: who's this comes here?


  • Proteus. Madam, this service I have done for you,
    Though you respect not aught your servant doth,
    To hazard life and rescue you from him 2170
    That would have forced your honour and your love;
    Vouchsafe me, for my meed, but one fair look;
    A smaller boon than this I cannot beg
    And less than this, I am sure, you cannot give.
  • Valentine. [Aside] How like a dream is this I see and hear! 2175
    Love, lend me patience to forbear awhile.
  • Silvia. O miserable, unhappy that I am!
  • Proteus. Unhappy were you, madam, ere I came;
    But by my coming I have made you happy.
  • Silvia. By thy approach thou makest me most unhappy. 2180
  • Julia. [Aside] And me, when he approacheth to your presence.
  • Silvia. Had I been seized by a hungry lion,
    I would have been a breakfast to the beast,
    Rather than have false Proteus rescue me.
    O, Heaven be judge how I love Valentine, 2185
    Whose life's as tender to me as my soul!
    And full as much, for more there cannot be,
    I do detest false perjured Proteus.
    Therefore be gone; solicit me no more.
  • Proteus. What dangerous action, stood it next to death, 2190
    Would I not undergo for one calm look!
    O, 'tis the curse in love, and still approved,
    When women cannot love where they're beloved!
  • Silvia. When Proteus cannot love where he's beloved.
    Read over Julia's heart, thy first best love, 2195
    For whose dear sake thou didst then rend thy faith
    Into a thousand oaths; and all those oaths
    Descended into perjury, to love me.
    Thou hast no faith left now, unless thou'dst two;
    And that's far worse than none; better have none 2200
    Than plural faith which is too much by one:
    Thou counterfeit to thy true friend!
  • Proteus. In love
    Who respects friend?
  • Silvia. All men but Proteus. 2205
  • Proteus. Nay, if the gentle spirit of moving words
    Can no way change you to a milder form,
    I'll woo you like a soldier, at arms' end,
    And love you 'gainst the nature of love,—force ye.
  • Proteus. I'll force thee yield to my desire.
  • Valentine. Ruffian, let go that rude uncivil touch,
    Thou friend of an ill fashion!
  • Valentine. Thou common friend, that's without faith or love, 2215
    For such is a friend now; treacherous man!
    Thou hast beguiled my hopes; nought but mine eye
    Could have persuaded me: now I dare not say
    I have one friend alive; thou wouldst disprove me.
    Who should be trusted, when one's own right hand 2220
    Is perjured to the bosom? Proteus,
    I am sorry I must never trust thee more,
    But count the world a stranger for thy sake.
    The private wound is deepest: O time most accurst,
    'Mongst all foes that a friend should be the worst! 2225
  • Proteus. My shame and guilt confounds me.
    Forgive me, Valentine: if hearty sorrow
    Be a sufficient ransom for offence,
    I tender 't here; I do as truly suffer
    As e'er I did commit. 2230
  • Valentine. Then I am paid;
    And once again I do receive thee honest.
    Who by repentance is not satisfied
    Is nor of heaven nor earth, for these are pleased.
    By penitence the Eternal's wrath's appeased: 2235
    And, that my love may appear plain and free,
    All that was mine in Silvia I give thee.


  • Valentine. Why, boy! why, wag! how now! what's the matter?
    Look up; speak.
  • Julia. O good sir, my master charged me to deliver a ring
    to Madam Silvia, which, out of my neglect, was never done.
  • Proteus. Where is that ring, boy? 2245
  • Julia. Here 'tis; this is it.
  • Proteus. How! let me see:
    Why, this is the ring I gave to Julia.
  • Julia. O, cry you mercy, sir, I have mistook:
    This is the ring you sent to Silvia. 2250
  • Proteus. But how camest thou by this ring? At my depart
    I gave this unto Julia.
  • Julia. And Julia herself did give it me;
    And Julia herself hath brought it hither.
  • Julia. Behold her that gave aim to all thy oaths,
    And entertain'd 'em deeply in her heart.
    How oft hast thou with perjury cleft the root!
    O Proteus, let this habit make thee blush!
    Be thou ashamed that I have took upon me 2260
    Such an immodest raiment, if shame live
    In a disguise of love:
    It is the lesser blot, modesty finds,
    Women to change their shapes than men their minds.
  • Proteus. Than men their minds! 'tis true. 2265
    O heaven! were man
    But constant, he were perfect. That one error
    Fills him with faults; makes him run through all the sins:
    Inconstancy falls off ere it begins.
    What is in Silvia's face, but I may spy 2270
    More fresh in Julia's with a constant eye?
  • Valentine. Come, come, a hand from either:
    Let me be blest to make this happy close;
    'Twere pity two such friends should be long foes.
  • Proteus. Bear witness, Heaven, I have my wish for ever. 2275

[Enter Outlaws, with DUKE and THURIO]

  • Outlaws. A prize, a prize, a prize!
  • Valentine. Forbear, forbear, I say! it is my lord the duke.
    Your grace is welcome to a man disgraced, 2280
    Banished Valentine.
  • Thurio. Yonder is Silvia; and Silvia's mine.
  • Valentine. Thurio, give back, or else embrace thy death;
    Come not within the measure of my wrath; 2285
    Do not name Silvia thine; if once again,
    Verona shall not hold thee. Here she stands;
    Take but possession of her with a touch:
    I dare thee but to breathe upon my love.
  • Thurio. Sir Valentine, I care not for her, I; 2290
    I hold him but a fool that will endanger
    His body for a girl that loves him not:
    I claim her not, and therefore she is thine.
  • Duke of Milan. The more degenerate and base art thou,
    To make such means for her as thou hast done 2295
    And leave her on such slight conditions.
    Now, by the honour of my ancestry,
    I do applaud thy spirit, Valentine,
    And think thee worthy of an empress' love:
    Know then, I here forget all former griefs, 2300
    Cancel all grudge, repeal thee home again,
    Plead a new state in thy unrivall'd merit,
    To which I thus subscribe: Sir Valentine,
    Thou art a gentleman and well derived;
    Take thou thy Silvia, for thou hast deserved her. 2305
  • Valentine. I thank your grace; the gift hath made me happy.
    I now beseech you, for your daughter's sake,
    To grant one boom that I shall ask of you.
  • Valentine. These banish'd men that I have kept withal 2310
    Are men endued with worthy qualities:
    Forgive them what they have committed here
    And let them be recall'd from their exile:
    They are reformed, civil, full of good
    And fit for great employment, worthy lord. 2315
  • Duke of Milan. Thou hast prevail'd; I pardon them and thee:
    Dispose of them as thou know'st their deserts.
    Come, let us go: we will include all jars
    With triumphs, mirth and rare solemnity.
  • Valentine. And, as we walk along, I dare be bold 2320
    With our discourse to make your grace to smile.
    What think you of this page, my lord?
  • Valentine. I warrant you, my lord, more grace than boy.
  • Valentine. Please you, I'll tell you as we pass along,
    That you will wonder what hath fortuned.
    Come, Proteus; 'tis your penance but to hear
    The story of your loves discovered:
    That done, our day of marriage shall be yours; 2330
    One feast, one house, one mutual happiness.