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

Act II. Scene III.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Same.A Street.

Enter LAUNCE, leading a dog.

Launce.Nay, ’twill be this hour ere I have done weeping: all the kind of the Launces have this very fault. I have received my proportion, like the prodigious son, and am going with Sir Proteus to the imperial’s court. I think Crab my dog be the sourest-natured dog that lives: my mother weeping, my father wailing, my sister crying, our maid howling, our cat wringing her hands, and all our house in a great perplexity, yet did not this cruel-hearted cur shed one tear. He is a stone, a very pebble stone, and has no more pity in him than a dog; a Jew would have wept to have seen our parting: why, my grandam, having no eyes, look you, wept herself blind at my parting. Nay, I’ll show you the manner of it. This shoe is my father; no, this left shoe is my father: no, no, this left shoe is my mother; nay, that cannot be so neither:—yes, it is so; it is so; it hath the worser sole. This shoe, with the hole in, is my mother, and this my father. A vengeance on ’t! there ’tis: now, sir, this staff is my sister; for, look you, she is as white as a lily and as small as a wand: this hat is Nan, our maid: I am the dog; no, the dog is himself, and I am the dog,—O! the dog is me, and I am myself: ay, so, so. Now come I to my father; ‘Father, your blessing;’ now should not the shoe speak a word for weeping: now should I kiss my father; well, he weeps on. Now come I to my mother;—O, that she could speak now like a wood woman! Well, I kiss her; why, there ’tis; here’s my mother’s breath up and down. Now come I to my sister; mark the moan she makes: Now the dog all this while sheds not a tear nor speaks a word; but see how I lay the dust with my tears.


Pant.Launce, away, away, aboard! thy master is shipped, and thou art to post after with oars. What’s the matter? why weepest thou, man? Away, ass! you’ll lose the tide if you tarry any longer.

Launce.It is no matter if the tied were lost; for it is the unkindest tied that ever any man tied.

Pant.What’s the unkindest tide?

Launce.Why, he that’s tied here, Crab, my dog.

Pant.Tut, man, I mean thou’lt lose the flood; and, in losing the flood, lose thy voyage, and, in losing thy voyage, lose thy master; and, in losing thy master, lose thy service; and, in losing thy service,—Why dost thou stop my mouth?

Launce.For fear thou shouldst lose thy tongue.

Pant.Where should I lose my tongue?

Launce.In thy tale.

Pant.In thy tail!

Launce.Lose the tide, and the voyage, and the master, and the service, and the tied! Why, man, if the river were dry, I am able to fill it with my tears; if the wind were down, I could drive the boat with my sighs.

Pant.Come, come away, man; I was sent to call thee.

Launce.Sir, call me what thou darest.

Pant.Wilt thou go?

Launce.Well, I will go.[Exeunt.