The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Act 3, Scene 1
Milan. An anteroom in the Duke’s palace.
- Enter Duke, Thurio, Proteus.
Duke of Milan2 - 5
- Sir Thurio, give us leave, I pray, a while,
- We have some secrets to confer about.
- Exit Thurio.
- Now tell me, Proteus, what’s your will with me?
Proteus6 - 23
- My gracious lord, that which I would discover
- The law of friendship bids me to conceal,
- But when I call to mind your gracious favors
- Done to me (undeserving as I am),
- My duty pricks me on to utter that
- Which else no worldly good should draw from me.
- Know, worthy prince, Sir Valentine, my friend,
- This night intends to steal away your daughter;
- Myself am one made privy to the plot.
- I know you have determin’d to bestow her
- On Thurio, whom your gentle daughter hates,
- And should she thus be stol’n away from you,
- It would be much vexation to your age.
- Thus, for my duty’s sake, I rather chose
- To cross my friend in his intended drift,
- Than, by concealing it, heap on your head
- A pack of sorrows which would press you down,
- Being unprevented, to your timeless grave.
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- Proteus, I thank thee for thine honest care,
- Which to requite, command me while I live.
- This love of theirs myself have often seen,
- Haply when they have judg’d me fast asleep,
- And oftentimes have purpos’d to forbid
- Sir Valentine her company and my court;
- But fearing lest my jealous aim might err,
- And so, unworthily, disgrace the man
- (A rashness that I ever yet have shunn’d),
- I gave him gentle looks, thereby to find
- That which thyself hast now disclos’d to me.
- And that thou mayst perceive my fear of this,
- Knowing that tender youth is soon suggested,
- I nightly lodge her in an upper tow’r,
- The key whereof myself have ever kept;
- And thence she cannot be convey’d away.
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- Know, noble lord, they have devis’d a mean
- How he her chamber-window will ascend,
- And with a corded ladder fetch her down;
- For which the youthful lover now is gone,
- And this way comes he with it presently,
- Where (if it please you) you may intercept him.
- But, good my lord, do it so cunningly
- That my discovery be not aimed at:
- For love of you, not hate unto my friend,
- Hath made me publisher of this pretense.
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- Upon mine honor, he shall never know
- That I had any light from thee of this.
- Adieu, my lord, Sir Valentine is coming.
- Enter Valentine.
Duke of Milan55
- Sir Valentine, whither away so fast?
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- Please it your Grace, there is a messenger
- That stays to bear my letters to my friends,
- And I am going to deliver them.
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- Be they of much import?
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- The tenure of them doth but signify
- My health and happy being at your court.
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- Nay then no matter; stay with me a while;
- I am to break with thee of some affairs
- That touch me near, wherein thou must be secret.
- ’Tis not unknown to thee that I have sought
- To match my friend Sir Thurio to my daughter.
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- I know it well, my lord, and sure the match
- Were rich and honorable; besides, the gentleman
- Is full of virtue, bounty, worth, and qualities
- Beseeming such a wife as your fair daughter.
- Cannot your Grace win her to fancy him?
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- No, trust me, she is peevish, sullen, froward,
- Proud, disobedient, stubborn, lacking duty,
- Neither regarding that she is my child,
- Nor fearing me as if I were her father;
- And may I say to thee, this pride of hers
- (Upon advice) hath drawn my love from her,
- And where I thought the remnant of mine age
- Should have been cherish’d by her child-like duty,
- I now am full resolv’d to take a wife,
- And turn her out to who will take her in:
- Then let her beauty be her wedding-dow’r,
- For me and my possessions she esteems not.
- What would your Grace have me to do in this?
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- There is a lady in Milano here
- Whom I affect; but she is nice and coy,
- And nought esteems my aged eloquence.
- Now therefore would I have thee to my tutor
- (For long agone I have forgot to court;
- Besides, the fashion of the time is chang’d)
- How and which way I may bestow myself
- To be regarded in her sun-bright eye.
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- Win her with gifts, if she respect not words:
- Dumb jewels often in their silent kind
- More than quick words do move a woman’s mind.
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- But she did scorn a present that I sent her.
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- A woman sometime scorns what best contents her.
- Send her another; never give her o’er,
- For scorn at first makes after-love the more.
- If she do frown, ’tis not in hate of you,
- But rather to beget more love in you.
- If she do chide, ’tis not to have you gone,
- For why, the fools are mad, if left alone.
- Take no repulse, what ever she doth say;
- For “get you gone,” she doth not mean “away!”
- Flatter and praise, commend, extol their graces;
- Though ne’er so black, say they have angels’ faces.
- That man that hath a tongue, I say is no man,
- If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.
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- But she I mean is promis’d by her friends
- Unto a youthful gentleman of worth,
- And kept severely from resort of men,
- That no man hath access by day to her.
- Why then I would resort to her by night.
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- Ay, but the doors be lock’d, and keys kept safe,
- That no man hath recourse to her by night.
- What lets but one may enter at her window?
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- Her chamber is aloft, far from the ground,
- And built so shelving that one cannot climb it
- Without apparent hazard of his life.
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- Why then a ladder, quaintly made of cords,
- To cast up, with a pair of anchoring hooks,
- Would serve to scale another Hero’s tow’r,
- So bold Leander would adventure it.
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- Now as thou art a gentleman of blood,
- Advise me where I may have such a ladder.
- When would you use it? Pray, sir, tell me that.
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- This very night; for Love is like a child,
- That longs for every thing that he can come by.
- By seven a’ clock I’ll get you such a ladder.
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- But hark thee: I will go to her alone.
- How shall I best convey the ladder thither?
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- It will be light, my lord, that you may bear it
- Under a cloak that is of any length.
Duke of Milan135
- A cloak as long as thine will serve the turn?
- Ay, my good lord.
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- Then let me see thy cloak—
- I’ll get me one of such another length.
- Why, any cloak will serve the turn, my lord.
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- How shall I fashion me to wear a cloak?
- I pray thee let me feel thy cloak upon me.
- What letter is this same? What’s here? “To Silvia”?
- And here an engine fit for my proceeding!
- I’ll be so bold to break the seal for once.
- “My thoughts do harbor with my Silvia nightly,
- And slaves they are to me that send them flying:
- O, could their master come and go as lightly,
- Himself would lodge where, senseless, they are lying!
- My herald thoughts in thy pure bosom rest them,
- While I, their king, that thither them importune,
- Do curse the grace that with such grace hath blest them,
- Because myself do want my servants’ fortune.
- I curse myself, for they are sent by me,
- That they should harbor where their lord should be.”
- What’s here?
- “Silvia, this night I will enfranchise thee.”
- ’Tis so; and here’s the ladder for the purpose.
- Why, Phaëton (for thou art Merops’ son),
- Wilt thou aspire to guide the heavenly car,
- And with thy daring folly burn the world?
- Wilt thou reach stars, because they shine on thee?
- Go, base intruder, overweening slave,
- Bestow thy fawning smiles on equal mates,
- And think my patience (more than thy desert)
- Is privilege for thy departure hence.
- Thank me for this more than for all the favors
- Which (all too much) I have bestowed on thee.
- But if thou linger in my territories
- Longer than swiftest expedition
- Will give thee time to leave our royal court,
- By heaven, my wrath shall far exceed the love
- I ever bore my daughter, or thyself.
- Be gone, I will not hear thy vain excuse,
- But as thou lov’st thy life, make speed from hence.
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- And why not death, rather than living torment?
- To die is to be banish’d from myself,
- And Silvia is myself: banish’d from her
- Is self from self, a deadly banishment.
- What light is light, if Silvia be not seen?
- What joy is joy, if Silvia be not by?
- Unless it be to think that she is by,
- And feed upon the shadow of perfection.
- Except I be by Silvia in the night,
- There is no music in the nightingale;
- Unless I look on Silvia in the day,
- There is no day for me to look upon.
- She is my essence, and I leave to be,
- If I be not by her fair influence
- Foster’d, illumin’d, cherish’d, kept alive.
- I fly not death, to fly his deadly doom:
- Tarry I here, I but attend on death,
- But fly I hence, I fly away from life.
- Enter Proteus and Launce.
- Run, boy, run, run, and seek him out.
- Soho, soho!
- What seest thou?
Launce199 - 200
- Him we go to find. There’s not a hair on ’s head but ’tis a
- Who then? His spirit?
- What then?
- Can nothing speak? Master, shall I strike?
- Who wouldst thou strike?
- Villain, forbear.
- Why, sir, I’ll strike nothing. I pray you—
- Sirrah, I say forbear. Friend Valentine, a word.
Valentine213 - 214
- My ears are stopp’d and cannot hear good news,
- So much of bad already hath possess’d them.
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- Then in dumb silence will I bury mine,
- For they are harsh, untuneable, and bad.
- Is Silvia dead?
- No, Valentine.
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- No Valentine indeed, for sacred Silvia.
- Hath she forsworn me?
- No, Valentine.
- No Valentine, if Silvia have forsworn me. What is your news?
- Sir, there is a proclamation that you are vanish’d.
Proteus224 - 225
- That thou art banish’d—O, that’s the news!—
- From hence, from Silvia, and from me thy friend.
Valentine226 - 228
- O, I have fed upon this woe already,
- And now excess of it will make me surfeit.
- Doth Silvia know that I am banished?
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- Ay, ay; and she hath offered to the doom
- (Which unrevers’d stands in effectual force)
- A sea of melting pearl, which some call tears;
- Those at her father’s churlish feet she tender’d,
- With them, upon her knees, her humble self,
- Wringing her hands, whose whiteness so became them
- As if but now they waxed pale for woe:
- But neither bended knees, pure hands held up,
- Sad sighs, deep groans, nor silver-shedding tears
- Could penetrate her uncompassionate sire;
- But Valentine, if he be ta’en, must die.
- Besides, her intercession chaf’d him so,
- When she for thy repeal was suppliant,
- That to close prison he commanded her,
- With many bitter threats of biding there.
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- No more; unless the next word that thou speak’st
- Have some malignant power upon my life;
- If so—I pray thee breathe it in mine ear,
- As ending anthem of my endless dolor.
Proteus248 - 263
- Cease to lament for that thou canst not help,
- And study help for that which thou lament’st.
- Time is the nurse and breeder of all good.
- Here if thou stay, thou canst not see thy love;
- Besides, thy staying will abridge thy life.
- Hope is a lover’s staff; walk hence with that
- And manage it against despairing thoughts.
- Thy letters may be here, though thou art hence,
- Which, being writ to me, shall be deliver’d
- Even in the milk-white bosom of thy love.
- The time now serves not to expostulate:
- Come, I’ll convey thee through the city-gate;
- And ere I part with thee, confer at large
- Of all that may concern thy love-affairs.
- As thou lov’st Silvia (though not for thyself)
- Regard thy danger, and along with me.
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- I pray thee, Launce, and if thou seest my boy,
- Bid him make haste and meet me at the North-gate.
- Go, sirrah, find him out. Come, Valentine.
- O my dear Silvia! Hapless Valentine!
- Exeunt Valentine and Proteus.
Launce269 - 284
- I am but a fool, look you, and yet I have the wit to think
- my master is a kind of a knave; but that’s all one, if he be
- but one knave. He lives not now that knows me to be in love,
- yet I am in love, but a team of horse shall not pluck that
- from me; nor who ’tis I love; and yet ’tis a woman; but what
- woman, I will not tell myself; and yet ’tis a milkmaid; yet
- ’tis not a maid, for she hath had gossips; yet ’tis a maid,
- for she is her master’s maid, and serves for wages. She hath
- more qualities than a water-spaniel, which is much in a bare
- Pulling out a paper.
- Here is the cate-log of her condition. “Imprimis, She can
- fetch and carry.” Why, a horse can do no more; nay, a horse
- cannot fetch, but only carry, therefore is she better than a
- jade. “Item, She can milk.” Look you, a sweet virtue in a
- maid with clean hands.
- Enter Speed.
- How now, Signior Launce? What news with your mastership?
- With my master’s ship? Why, it is at sea.
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- Well, your old vice still: mistake the word. What news then
- in your paper?
- The blackest news that ever thou heardst.
- Why, man? How black?
- Why, as black as ink.
- Let me read them.
- Fie on thee, jolthead, thou canst not read.
- Thou liest; I can.
- I will try thee. Tell me this: who begot thee?
- Marry, the son of my grandfather.
Launce298 - 299
- O illiterate loiterer! It was the son of thy grandmother.
- This proves that thou canst not read.
- Come, fool, come; try me in thy paper.
- There—and Saint Nicholas be thy speed!
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- “Imprimis, She can milk.”
- Ay, that she can.
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- “Item, She brews good ale.”
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- And thereof comes the proverb: “Blessing of your heart, you
- brew good ale.”
- “Item, She can sew.”
- That’s as much as to say, “Can she so?”
- “Item, She can knit.”
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- What need a man care for a stock with a wench, when she can
- knit him a stock?
- “Item, She can wash and scour.”
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- A special virtue; for then she need not be wash’d and
- “Item, She can spin.”
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- Then may I set the world on wheels, when she can spin for
- her living.
- “Item, She hath many nameless virtues.”
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- That’s as much as to say “bastard virtues,” that indeed know
- not their fathers, and therefore have no names.
- Here follow her vices.
- Close at the heels of her virtues.
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- “Item, She is not to be kiss’d fasting, in respect of her
- Well, that fault may be mended with a breakfast. Read on.
- “Item, She hath a sweet mouth.”
- That makes amends for her sour breath.
- “Item, She doth talk in her sleep.”
- It’s no matter for that, so she sleep not in her talk.
- “Item, She is slow in words.”
Launce333 - 335
- O villain, that set this down among her vices! To be slow in
- words is a woman’s only virtue. I pray thee out with’t, and
- place it for her chief virtue.
- “Item, She is proud.”
Launce337 - 338
- Out with that too; it was Eve’s legacy, and cannot be ta’en
- from her.
- “Item, She hath no teeth.”
- I care not for that neither, because I love crusts.
- “Item, She is curst.”
- Well, the best is, she hath no teeth to bite.
- “Item, She will often praise her liquor.”
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- If her liquor be good, she shall; if she will not, I will;
- for good things should be prais’d.
- “Item, She is too liberal.”
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- Of her tongue she cannot, for that’s writ down she is slow
- of; of her purse she shall not, for that I’ll keep shut.
- Now, of another thing she may, and that cannot I help. Well,
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- “Item, She hath more hair than wit, and more faults than
- hairs, and more wealth than faults.”
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- Stop there; I’ll have her. She was mine and not mine twice
- or thrice in that last article. Rehearse that once more.
- “Item, She hath more hair than wit”—
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- More hair than wit? It may be; I’ll prove it: the cover of
- the salt hides the salt, and therefore it is more than the
- salt; the hair that covers the wit is more than the wit, for
- the greater hides the less. What’s next?
- “And more faults than hairs”—
- That’s monstrous. O that that were out!
- “And more wealth than faults.”
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- Why, that word makes the faults gracious. Well, I’ll have
- her; and if it be a match, as nothing is impossible—
- What then?
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- Why, then will I tell thee—that thy master stays for thee at
- the North-gate.
- For me?
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- For thee? Ay, who art thou? He hath stay’d for a better man
- than thee.
- And must I go to him?
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- Thou must run to him, for thou hast stay’d so long that
- going will scarce serve the turn.
- Why didst not tell me sooner? Pox of your love-letters!
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- Now will he be swing’d for reading my letter—an unmannerly
- slave, that will thrust himself into secrets. I’ll after, to
- rejoice in the boy’s correction.