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

Act II. Scene IV.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Milan. A Room in the DUKE’S Palace.




Speed.Master, Sir Thurio frowns on you.

Val.Ay, boy, it’s for love.

Speed.Not of you.

Val.Of my mistress, then.

Speed.’Twere good you knock’d him.

Sil.Servant, you are sad.

Val.Indeed, madam, I seem so.

Thu.Seem you that you are not?

Val.Haply I do.

Thu.So do counterfeits.

Val.So do you.

Thu.What seem I that I am not?


Thu.What instance of the contrary?

Val.Your folly.

Thu.And how quote you my folly?

Val.I quote it in your jerkin.

Thu.My jerkin is a doublet.

Val.Well, then, I’ll double your folly.


Sil.What, angry, Sir Thurio! do you change colour?

Val.Give him leave, madam; he is a kind of chameleon.

Thu.That hath more mind to feed on your blood than live in your air.

Val.You have said, sir.

Thu.Ay, sir, and done too, for this time.

Val.I know it well, sir: you always end ere you begin.

Sil.A fine volley of words, gentlemen, and quickly shot off.

Val.’Tis indeed, madam; we thank the giver.

Sil.Who is that, servant?

Val.Yourself, sweet lady; for you gave the fire. Sir Thurio borrows his wit from your ladyship’s looks, and spends what he borrows kindly in your company.

Thu.Sir, if you spend word for word with me, I shall make your wit bankrupt.

Val.I know it well, sir: you have an exchequer of words, and, I think, no other treasure to give your followers; for it appears by their bare liveries that they live by your bare words.

Sil.No more, gentlemen, no more. Here comes my father.

Enter DUKE.

Duke.Now, daughter Silvia, you are hard beset.

Sir Valentine, your father’s in good health:

What say you to a letter from your friends

Of much good news?

Val.My lord, I will be thankful

To any happy messenger from thence.

Duke.Know ye Don Antonio, your countryman?

Val.Ay, my good lord; I know the gentleman

To be of worth and worthy estimation,

And not without desert so well reputed.

Duke.Hath he not a son?

Val.Ay, my good lord; a son that well deserves

The honour and regard of such a father.

Duke.You know him well?

Val.I know him as myself; for from our infancy

We have convers’d and spent our hours together:

And though myself have been an idle truant,

Omitting the sweet benefit of time

To clothe mine age with angel-like perfection,

Yet hath Sir Proteus,—for that’s his name,—

Made use and fair advantage of his days:

His years but young, but his experience old;

His head unmellow’d, but his judgment ripe;

And, in a word,—for far behind his worth

Come all the praises that I now bestow,—

He is complete in feature and in mind

With all good grace to grace a gentleman.

Duke.Beshrew me, sir, but if he make this good,

He is as worthy for an empress’ love

As meet to be an emperor’s counsellor.

Well, sir, this gentleman is come to me

With commendation from great potentates;

And here he means to spend his time awhile:

I think, ’tis no unwelcome news to you.

Val.Should I have wish’d a thing, it had been he.

Duke.Welcome him then according to his worth.

Silvia, I speak to you; and you, Sir Thurio:—

For Valentine, I need not cite him to it.

I’ll send him hither to you presently.[Exit.

Val.This is the gentleman I told your ladyship

Had come along with me, but that his mistress

Did hold his eyes lock’d in her crystal looks.

Sil.Belike that now she hath enfranchis’d them

Upon some other pawn for fealty.

Val.Nay, sure, I think she holds them prisoners still.

Sil.Nay, then he should be blind; and, being blind,

How could he see his way to seek out you?

Val.Why, lady, Love hath twenty pairs of eyes.

Thu.They say that Love hath not an eye at all.

Val.To see such lovers, Thurio, as yourself:

Upon a homely object Love can wink.

Sil.Have done, have done. Here comes the gentleman.


Val.Welcome, dear Proteus! Mistress, I beseech you,

Confirm his welcome with some special favour.

Sil.His worth is warrant for his welcome hither,

If this be he you oft have wish’d to hear from.

Val.Mistress, it is: sweet lady, entertain him

To be my fellow-servant to your ladyship.

Sil.Too low a mistress for so high a servant.

Pro.Not so, sweet lady; but too mean a servant

To have a look of such a worthy mistress.

Val.Leave off discourse of disability:

Sweet lady, entertain him for your servant.

Pro.My duty will I boast of, nothing else.

Sil.And duty never yet did want his meed.

Servant, you are welcome to a worthless mistress.

Pro.I’ll die on him that says so but yourself.

Sil.That you are welcome?

Pro.That you are worthless.

Enter a Servant.

Ser.Madam, my lord your father would speak with you.

Sil.I wait upon his pleasure.[Exit Servant.]Come, Sir Thurio,

Go with me. Once more, new servant, welcome:

I’ll leave you to confer of home-affairs;

When you have done, we look to hear from you.

Pro.We’ll both attend upon your ladyship.[Exeunt SILVIA, THURIO, and SPEED.

Val.Now, tell me, how do all from whence you came?

Pro.Your friends are well and have them much commended.

Val.And how do yours?

Pro.I left them all in health.

Val.How does your lady and how thrives your love?

Pro.My tales of love were wont to weary you:

I know you joy not in a love-discourse.

Val.Ay, Proteus, but that life is alter’d now:

I have done penance for contemning love;

Whose high imperious thoughts have punish’d me

With bitter fasts, with penitential groans,

With nightly tears and daily heart-sore sighs;

For, in revenge of my contempt of love,

Love hath chas’d sleep from my enthralled eyes,

And made them watchers of mine own heart’s sorrow.

O, gentle Proteus! Love’s a mighty lord,

And hath so humbled me as I confess,

There is no woe to his correction,

Nor to his service no such joy on earth.

Now no discourse, except it be of love;

Now can I break my fast, dine, sup and sleep,

Upon the very naked name of love.

Pro.Enough; I read your fortune in your eye.

Was this the idol that you worship so?

Val.Even she; and is she not a heavenly saint?

Pro.No; but she is an earthly paragon.

Val.Call her divine.

Pro.I will not flatter her.

Val.O! flatter me, for love delights in praises.

Pro.When I was sick you gave me bitter pills,

And I must minister the like to you.

Val.Then speak the truth by her; if not divine,

Yet let her be a principality,

Sovereign to all the creatures on the earth.

Pro.Except my mistress.

Val.Sweet, except not any,

Except thou wilt except against my love.

Pro.Have I not reason to prefer mine own?

Val.And I will help thee to prefer her too:

She shall be dignified with this high honour,—

To bear my lady’s train, lest the base earth

Should from her vesture chance to steal a kiss,

And, of so great a favour growing proud,

Disdain to root the summer-swelling flower,

And make rough winter everlastingly.

Pro.Why, Valentine, what braggardism is this?

Val.Pardon me, Proteus: all I can is nothing

To her whose worth makes other worthies nothing.

She is alone.

Pro.Then, let her alone.

Val.Not for the world: why, man, she is mine own,

And I as rich in having such a jewel

As twenty seas, if all their sand were pearl,

The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold.

Forgive me that I do not dream on thee,

Because thou see’st me dote upon my love.

My foolish rival, that her father likes

Only for his possessions are so huge,

Is gone with her along, and I must after,

For love, thou know’st, is full of jealousy.

Pro.But she loves you?

Val.Ay, and we are betroth’d: nay, more, our marriage-hour,

With all the cunning manner of our flight,

Determin’d of: how I must climb her window,

The ladder made of cords, and all the means

Plotted and ’greed on for my happiness.

Good Proteus, go with me to my chamber,

In these affairs to aid me with thy counsel.

Pro.Go on before: I shall inquire you forth:

I must unto the road, to disembark

Some necessaries that I needs must use,

And then I’ll presently attend you.

Val.Will you make haste?

Pro.I will.[Exit VALENTINE.

Even as one heat another heat expels,

Or as one nail by strength drives out another,

So the remembrance of my former love

Is by a newer object quite forgotten.

Is it mine eye, or Valentinus’ praise,

Her true perfection, or my false transgression,

That makes me reasonless to reason thus?

She’s fair; and so is Julia that I love,—

That I did love, for now my love is thaw’d,

Which, like a waxen image ’gainst a fire,

Bears no impression of the thing it was.

Methinks my zeal to Valentine is cold,

And that I love him not as I was wont:

O! but I love his lady too-too much;

And that’s the reason I love him so little.

How shall I dote on her with more advice,

That thus without advice begin to love her?

’Tis but her picture I have yet beheld,

And that hath dazzled my reason’s light;

But when I look on her perfections,

There is no reason but I shall be blind.

If I can check my erring love, I will;

If not, to compass her I’ll use my skill.[Exit.