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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act II. Scene V.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Same.A Street.


Speed.Launce! by mine honesty, welcome to Milan!

Launce.Forswear not thyself, sweet youth, for I am not welcome. I reckon this always that a man is never undone till he be hanged; nor never welcome to a place till some certain shot be paid and the hostess say, ‘Welcome!’

Speed.Come on, you madcap, I’ll to the alehouse with you presently; where, for one shot of five pence, thou shalt have five thousand welcomes. But, sirrah, how did thy master part with Madam Julia?

Launce.Marry, after they closed in earnest, they parted very fairly in jest.

Speed.But shall she marry him?


Speed.How then? Shall he marry her?

Launce.No, neither.

Speed.What, are they broken?

Launce.No, they are both as whole as a fish.

Speed.Why then, how stands the matter with them?

Launce.Marry, thus; when it stands well with him, it stands well with her.

Speed.What an ass art thou! I understand thee not.

Launce.What a block art thou, that thou canst not! My staff understands me.

Speed.What thou sayest?

Launce.Ay, and what I do too: look thee, I’ll but lean, and my staff understands me.

Speed.It stands under thee, indeed.

Launce.Why, stand-under and under-stand is all one.

Speed.But tell me true, will ’t be a match?

Launce.Ask my dog: if he say ay, it will; if he say no, it will; if he shake his tail and say nothing, it will.

Speed.The conclusion is, then, that it will.

Launce.Thou shalt never get such a secret from me but by a parable.

Speed.’Tis well that I get it so. But, Launce, how sayest thou, that my master is become a notable lover?

Launce.I never knew him otherwise.

Speed.Than how?

Launce.A notable lubber, as thou reportest him to be.

Speed.Why, thou whoreson ass, thou mistakest me.

Launce.Why, fool, I meant not thee; I meant thy master.

Speed.I tell thee, my master is become a hot lover.

Launce.Why, I tell thee, I care not though he burn himself in love. If thou wilt go with me to the alehouse so; if not, thou art a Hebrew, a Jew, and not worth the name of a Christian.


Launce.Because thou hast not so much charity in thee as to go to the ale with a Christian. Wilt thou go?

Speed.At thy service.[Exeunt.