The Two Gentlemen of Verona

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Original text
Act III, Scene I
Enter Duke, Thurio, Protheus, Valentine, Launce, Speed

Duke.
Sir Thurio, giue vs leaue (I pray) a while,
We haue some secrets to confer about.
Now tell me Protheus, what's your will with me?

Pro.
My gracious Lord, that which I wold discouer,
The Law of friendship bids me to conceale,
But when I call to minde your gracious fauours
Done to me (vndeseruing as I am)
My dutie pricks me on to vtter that
Which else, no worldly good should draw from me:
Know (worthy Prince) Sir Valentine my friend
This night intends to steale away your daughter:
My selfe am one made priuy to the plot.
I know you haue determin'd to bestow her
On Thurio, whom your gentle daughter hates,
And should she thus be stolne away from you,
It would be much vexation to your age.
Thus (for my duties sake) I rather chose
To crosse my friend in his intended drift,
Then (by concealing it) heap on your head
A pack of sorrowes, which would presse you downe
(Being vnpreuented) to your timelesse graue.

Duke.
Protheus, I thank thee for thine honest care,
Which to requite, command me while I liue.
This loue of theirs, my selfe haue often seene,
Haply when they haue iudg'd me fast asleepe,
And oftentimes haue purpos'd to forbid
Sir Valentine her companie, and my Court.
But fearing lest my iealous ayme might erre,
And so (vnworthily) disgrace the man
(A rashnesse that I euer yet haue shun'd)
I gaue him gentle lookes, thereby to finde
That which thy selfe hast now disclos'd to me.
And that thou maist perceiue my feare of this,
Knowing that tender youth is soone suggested,
I nightly lodge her in an vpper Towre,
The key whereof, my selfe haue euer kept:
And thence she cannot be conuay'd away.

Pro.
Know (noble Lord) they haue deuis'd a meane
How he her chamber-window will ascend,
And with a Corded-ladder fetch her downe:
For which, the youthfull Louer now is gone,
And this way comes he with it presently.
Where (if it please you) you may intercept him.
But (good my Lord) doe it so cunningly
That my discouery be not aimed at:
For, loue of you, not hate vnto my friend,
Hath made me publisher of this pretence.

Duke.
Vpon mine Honor, he shall neuer know
That I had any light from thee of this.

Pro.
Adiew, my Lord, Sir Valentine is comming.

Duk.
Sir Valentine, whether away so fast?

Val.
Please it your Grace, there is a Messenger
That stayes to beare my Letters to my friends,
And I am going to deliuer them.

Duk.
Be they of much import?

Val.
The tenure of them doth but signifie
My health, and happy being at your Court.

Duk.
Nay then no matter: stay with me a while,
I am to breake with thee of some affaires
That touch me neere: wherein thou must be secret.
'Tis not vnknown to thee, that I haue sought
To match my friend Sir Thurio, to my daughter.

Val.
I know it well (my Lord) and sure the Match
Were rich and honourable: besides, the gentleman
Is full of Vertue, Bounty, Worth, and Qualities
Beseeming such a Wife, as your faire daughter:
Cannot your Grace win her to fancie him?

Duk.
No, trust me, She is peeuish, sullen, froward,
Prowd, disobedient, stubborne, lacking duty,
Neither regarding that she is my childe,
Nor fearing me, as if I were her father:
And may I say to thee, this pride of hers
(Vpon aduice) hath drawne my loue from her,
And where I thought the remnant of mine age
Should haue beene cherish'd by her child-like dutie,
I now am full resolu'd to take a wife,
And turne her out, to who will take her in:
Then let her beauty be her wedding dowre:
For me, and my possessions she esteemes not.

Val.
What would your Grace haue me to do in this?

Duk.
There is a Lady in Verona heere
Whom I affect: but she is nice, and coy,
And naught esteemes my aged eloquence.
Now therefore would I haue thee to my Tutor
(For long agone I haue forgot to court,
Besides the fashion of the time is chang'd)
How, and which way I may bestow my selfe
To be regarded in her sun-bright eye.

Val.
Win her with gifts, if she respect not words,
Dumbe Iewels often in their silent kinde
More then quicke words, doe moue a womans minde.

Duk.
But she did scorne a present that I sent her,

Val.
A woman somtime scorns what best cõtents her.
Send her another: neuer giue her ore,
For scorne at first, makes after-loue the more.
If she doe frowne, 'tis not in hate of you,
But rather to beget more loue in you.
If she doe chide, 'tis not to haue you gone,
For why, the fooles are mad, if left alone.
Take no repulse, what euer she doth say,
For, get you gon, she doth not meane away.
Flatter, and praise, commend, extoll their graces:
Though nere so blacke, say they haue Angells faces,
That man that hath a tongue, I say is no man,
If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.

Duk.
But she I meane, is promis'd by her friends
Vnto a youthfull Gentleman of worth,
And kept seuerely from resort of men,
That no man hath accesse by day to her.

Val.
Why then I would resort to her by night.

Duk.
I, but the doores be lockt, and keyes kept safe,
That no man hath recourse to her by night.

Val.
What letts but one may enter at her window?

Duk.
Her chamber is aloft, far from the ground,
And built so sheluing, that one cannot climbe it
Without apparant hazard of his life.

Val.
Why then a Ladder quaintly made of Cords
To cast vp, with a paire of anchoring hookes,
Would serue to scale another Hero's towre,
So bold Leander would aduenture it.

Duk.
Now as thou art a Gentleman of blood
Aduise me, where I may haue such a Ladder.

Val.
When would you vse it? pray sir, tell me that.

Duk.
This very night; for Loue is like a childe
That longs for euery thing that he can come by.

Val.
By seauen a clock, ile get you such a Ladder.

Duk
But harke thee: I will goe to her alone,
How shall I best conuey the Ladder thither?

Val.
It will be light (my Lord) that you may beare it
Vnder a cloake, that is of any length.

Duk.
A cloake as long as thine will serue the turne?

Val.
I my good Lord.

Duk.
Then let me see thy cloake,
Ile get me one of such another length.

Val.
Why any cloake will serue the turn (my Lord)

Duk.
How shall I fashion me to weare a cloake?
I pray thee let me feele thy cloake vpon me.
What Letter is this same? what's here? to Siluia?
And heere an Engine fit for my proceeding,
Ile be so bold to breake the seale for once.

My thoughts do harbour with my Siluia nightly,
And slaues they are to me, that send them flying.
Oh, could their Master come, and goe as lightly,
Himselfe would lodge where (senceles) they are lying.
My Herald Thoughts, in thy pure bosome rest-them,
While I (their King) that thither them importune
Doe curse the grace, that with such grace hath blest them,
Because my selfe doe want my seruants fortune.
I curse my selfe, for they are sent by me,
That they should harbour where their Lord should be.
What's here?
Siluia, this night I will enfranchise thee.
'Tis so: and heere's the Ladder for the purpose.
Why Phaeton (for thou art Merops sonne)
Wilt thou aspire to guide the heauenly Car?
And with thy daring folly burne the world?
Wilt thou reach stars, because they shine on thee?
Goe base Intruder, ouer-weening Slaue,
Bestow thy fawning smiles on equall mates,
And thinke my patience, (more then thy desert)
Is priuiledge for thy departure hence.
Thanke me for this, more then for all the fauors
Which (all too-much) I haue bestowed on thee.
But if thou linger in my Territories
Longer then swiftest expedition
Will giue thee time to leaue our royall Court,
By heauen, my wrath shall farre exceed the loue
I euer bore my daughter, or thy selfe.
Be gone, I will not heare thy vaine excuse,
But as thou lou'st thy life, make speed from hence.

Val.
And why not death, rather then liuing torment?
To die, is to be banisht from my selfe,
And Siluia is my selfe: banish'd from her
Is selfe from selfe. A deadly banishment:
What light, is light, if Siluia be not seene?
What ioy is ioy, if Siluia be not by?
Vnlesse it be to thinke that she is by
And feed vpon the shadow of perfection.
Except I be by Siluia in the night,
There is no musicke in the Nightingale.
Vnlesse I looke on Siluia in the day,
There is no day for me to looke vpon.
Shee is my essence, and I leaue to be;
If I be not by her faire influence
Foster'd, illumin'd, cherish'd, kept aliue.
I flie not death, to flie his deadly doome,
Tarry I heere, I but attend on death,
But flie I hence, I flie away from life.

Pro.
Run (boy) run, run, and seeke him out.

Lau.
So-hough, Soa hough---

Pro.
What seest thou?

Lau.
Him we goe to finde, / There's not a haire on's head,
but 'tis a Valentine.

Pro.
Valentine?

Val.
No.

Pro.
Who then? his Spirit?

Val.
Neither,

Pro.
What then?

Val.
Nothing.

Lau.
Can nothing speake? Master, shall I strike?

Pro.
Who wouldst thou strike?

Lau.
Nothing.

Pro.
Villaine, forbeare.

Lau.
Why Sir, Ile strike nothing: I pray you.

Pro.
Sirha, I say forbeare: friend Valentine, a word.

Val.
My eares are stopt, & cannot hear good newes,
So much of bad already hath possest them.

Pro.
Then in dumbe silence will I bury mine,
For they are harsh, vn-tuneable, and bad.

Val.
Is Siluia dead?

Pro.
No, Valentine.

Val.
No Valentine indeed, for sacred Siluia,
Hath she forsworne me?

Pro.
No, Valentine.

Val.
No Valentine, if Siluia haue forsworne me.
What is your newes?

Lau.
Sir, there is a proclamation, yt you are vanished.

Pro.
That thou art banish'd: oh that's the newes,
From hence, from Siluia, and from me thy friend.

Val.
Oh, I haue fed vpon this woe already,
And now excesse of it will make me surfet.
Doth Siluia know that I am banish'd?

Pro.
I, I: and she hath offered to the doome
(Which vn-reuerst stands in effectuall force)
A Sea of melting pearle, which some call teares;
Those at her fathers churlish feete she tenderd,
With them vpon her knees, her humble selfe,
Wringing her hands, whose whitenes so became them,
As if but now they waxed pale for woe:
But neither bended knees, pure hands held vp,
Sad sighes, deepe grones, nor siluer-shedding teares
Could penetrate her vncompassionate Sire;
But Valentine, if he be tane, must die.
Besides, her intercession chaf'd him so,
When she for thy repeale was suppliant,
That to close prison he commanded her,
With many bitter threats of biding there.

Val.
No more: vnles the next word that thou speak'st
Haue some malignant power vpon my life:
If so: I pray thee breath it in mine eare,
As ending Antheme of my endlesse dolor.

Pro.
Cease to lament for that thou canst not helpe,
And study helpe for that which thou lament'st,
Time is the Nurse, and breeder of all good;
Here, if thou stay, thou canst not see thy loue:
Besides, thy staying will abridge thy life:
Hope is a louers staffe, walke 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 deliuer'd
Euen in the milke-white bosome of thy Loue.
The time now serues not to expostulate,
Come, Ile conuey thee through the City-gate.
And ere I part with thee, confer at large
Of all that may concerne thy Loue-affaires:
As thou lou'st Siluia (though not for thy selfe)
Regard thy danger, and along with me.

Val.
I pray thee Launce, and if thou seest my Boy
Bid him make haste, and meet me at the North-gate.

Pro.
Goe sirha, finde him out: Come Valentine.

Val.
Oh my deere Siluia; haplesse Valentine.

Launce.
I am but a foole, looke you, and yet I haue the wit to
thinke my Master is a kinde of a knaue: but that's all one,
if he be but one knaue: He liues not now that knowes me
to be in loue, yet I am in loue, but a Teeme of horse shall
not plucke that from me: nor who 'tis I loue: and yet 'tis
a woman; but what woman, I will not tell my selfe: and
yet 'tis a Milke-maid: yet 'tis not a maid: for shee hath had
Gossips: yet 'tis a maid, for she is her Masters maid, and
serues for wages. Shee hath more qualities then a
Water-Spaniell, which is much in a bare Christian:

Heere is the Cate-log of her Condition. Inprimis. Shee can
fetch and carry: why a horse can doe no more; nay, a
horse cannot fetch, but onely carry, therefore is shee better
then a Iade. Item. She can milke, looke you, a sweet
vertue in a maid with cleane hands.

Speed.
How now Signior Launce? what newes with your
Mastership?

La.
With my Mastership? why, it is at Sea:

Sp.
Well, your old vice still: mistake the word: what
newes then in your paper?

La.
The black'st newes that euer thou heard'st.

Sp.
Why man? how blacke?

La.
Why, as blacke as Inke.

Sp.
Let me read them?

La.
Fie on thee Iolt-head, thou canst not read.

Sp.
Thou lyest: I can.

La.
I will try thee: tell me this: who begot thee?

Sp.
Marry, the son of my Grand-father.

La.
Oh illiterate loyterer; it was the sonne of thy Grand-mother:
this proues that thou canst not read.

Sp.
Come foole, come: try me in thy paper.

La.
There: and S. Nicholas be thy speed.

Sp.
Inprimis she can milke.

La.
I that she can.

Sp.
Item, she brewes good Ale.

La.
And thereof comes the prouerbe: (Blessing of
your heart, you brew good Ale.)

Sp.
Item, she can sowe.

La.
That's as much as to say (Can she so?)

Sp.
Item she can knit.

La.
What neede a man care for a stock with a wench,
When she can knit him a stocke?

Sp.
Item, she can wash and scoure.

La.
A speciall vertue: for then shee neede not be
wash'd, and scowr'd.

Sp.
Item, she can spin.

La.
Then may I set the world on wheeles, when she
can spin for her liuing.

Sp.
Item, she hath many namelesse vertues.

La.
That's as much as to say Bastard-vertues: that
indeede know not their fathers; and therefore haue no
names.

Sp.
Here follow her vices.

La.
Close at the heeles of her vertues.

Sp.
Item, shee is not to be fasting in respect of her
breath.

La.
Well: that fault may be mended with a breakfast:
read on.

Sp.
Item, she hath a sweet mouth.

La.
That makes amends for her soure breath.

Sp.
Item, she doth talke in her sleepe.

La.
It's no matter for that; so shee sleepe not in her
talke.

Sp.
Item, she is slow in words.

La.
Oh villaine, that set this downe among her vices;
To be slow in words, is a womans onely vertue: I pray
thee out with't, and place it for her chiefe vertue.

Sp.
Item, she is proud.

La.
Out with that too: It was Eues legacie, and cannot
be t'ane from her.

Sp.
Item, she hath no teeth.

La.
I care not for that neither: because I loue crusts.

Sp.
Item, she is curst.

La.
Well: the best is, she hath no teeth to bite.

Sp.
Item, she will often praise her liquor.

La.
If her liquor be good, she shall: if she will not,
I will; for good things should be praised.

Sp.
Item, she is too liberall.

La.
Of her tongue she cannot; for that's writ downe
she is slow of: of her purse, shee shall not, for that ile
keepe shut: Now, of another thing shee may, and that
cannot I helpe. Well, proceede.

Sp.
Item, shee hath more haire then wit, and more faults
then haires, and more wealth then faults.

La.
Stop there: Ile haue her: she was mine, and not
mine, twice or thrice in that last Article: rehearse that
once more.

Sp.
Item, she hath more haire then wit.

La.
More haire then wit: it may be ile proue it: The
couer of the salt, hides the salt, and therefore it is more
then the salt; the haire that couers the wit, is more then
the wit; for the greater hides the lesse: What's next?

Sp.
And more faults then haires.

La.
That's monstrous: oh that that were out.

Sp.
And more wealth then faults.

La.
Why that word makes the faults gracious: Well,
ile haue her: and if it be a match, as nothing is
impossible.

Sp.
What then?

La.
Why then, will I tell thee, that thy Master staies
for thee at the North gate.

Sp.
For me?

La.
For thee? I, who art thou? he hath staid for
a better man then thee.

Sp.
And must I goe to him?

La.
Thou must run to him; for thou hast staid so
long, that going will scarce serue the turne.

Sp.
Why didst not tell me sooner? 'pox of your loue
Letters.


La.
Now will he be swing'd for reading my Letter;
An vnmannerly slaue, that will thrust himselfe into
secrets: Ile after, to reioyce in the boyes correctiõ.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act III, Scene II
Enter Duke, Thurio, Protheus.

Du.
Sir Thurio, feare not, but that she will loue you
Now Valentine is banish'd from her sight.

Th.
Since his exile she hath despis'd me most,
Forsworne my company, and rail'd at me,
That I am desperate of obtaining her.

Du.
This weake impresse of Loue, is as a figure
Trenched in ice, which with an houres heate
Dissolues to water, and doth loose his forme.
A little time will melt her frozen thoughts,
And worthlesse Valentine shall be forgot.
How now sir Protheus, is your countriman
(According to our Proclamation) gon?

Pro.
Gon, my good Lord.

Du.
My daughter takes his going grieuously?

Pro.
A little time (my Lord) will kill that griefe.

Du.
So I beleeue: but Thurio thinkes not so:
Protheus, the good conceit I hold of thee,
(For thou hast showne some signe of good desert)
Makes me the better to confer with thee.

Pro.
Longer then I proue loyall to your Grace,
Let me not liue, to looke vpon your Grace.

Du.
Thou know'st how willingly, I would effect
The match betweene sir Thurio, and my daughter?

Pro.
I doe my Lord.

Du.
And also, I thinke, thou art not ignorant
How she opposes her against my will?

Pro.
She did my Lord, when Valentine was here.

Du.
I, and peruersly, she perseuers so:
What might we doe to make the girle forget
The loue of Valentine, and loue sir Thurio?

Pro.
The best way is, to slander Valentine,
With falsehood, cowardize, and poore discent:
Three things, that women highly hold in hate.

Du.
I, but she'll thinke, that it is spoke in hate.

Pro.
I, if his enemy deliuer it.
Therefore it must with circumstance be spoken
By one, whom she esteemeth as his friend.

Du.
Then you must vndertake to slander him.

Pro.
And that (my Lord) I shall be loath to doe:
'Tis an ill office for a Gentleman,
Especially against his very friend.

Du.
Where your good word cannot aduantage him,
Your slander neuer can endamage him;
Therefore the office is indifferent,
Being intreated to it by your friend.

Pro.
You haue preuail'd (my Lord) if I can doe it
By ought that I can speake in his dispraise,
She shall not long continue loue to him:
But say this weede her loue from Valentine,
It followes not that she will loue sir Thurio.

Th.
Therefore, as you vnwinde her loue from him;
Least it should rauell, and be good to none,
You must prouide to bottome it on me:
Which must be done, by praising me as much
As you, in worth dispraise, sir Valentine.

Du.
And Protheus, we dare trust you in this kinde,
Because we know (on Valentines report)
You are already loues firme votary,
And cannot soone reuolt, and change your minde.
Vpon this warrant, shall you haue accesse,
Where you, with Siluia, may conferre at large.
For she is lumpish, heauy, mellancholly,
And (for your friends sake) will be glad of you;
Where you may temper her, by your perswasion,
To hate yong Valentine, and loue my friend.

Pro.
As much as I can doe, I will effect:
But you sir Thurio, are not sharpe enough:
You must lay Lime, to tangle her desires
By walefull Sonnets, whose composed Rimes
Should be full fraught with seruiceable vowes.

Du.
I,
much is the force of heauen-bred Poesie.

Pro.
Say that vpon the altar of her beauty
You sacrifice your teares, your sighes, your heart:
Write till your inke be dry: and with your teares
Moist it againe: and frame some feeling line,
That may discouer such integrity:
For Orpheus Lute, was strung with Poets sinewes,
Whose golden touch could soften steele and stones;
Make Tygers tame, and huge Leuiathans
Forsake vnsounded deepes, to dance on Sands.
After your dire-lamenting Elegies,
Visit by night your Ladies chamber-window
With some sweet Consort; To their Instruments
Tune a deploring dumpe: the nights dead silence
Will well become such sweet complaining grieuance:
This, or else nothing, will inherit her.

Du.
This discipline, showes thou hast bin in loue.

Th.
And thy aduice, this night, ile put in practise:
Therefore, sweet Protheus, my direction-giuer,
Let vs into the City presently
To sort some Gentlemen, well skil'd in Musicke.
I haue a Sonnet, that will serue the turne
To giue the on-set to thy good aduise.

Du.
About it Gentlemen.

Pro.
We'll wait vpon your Grace, till after Supper,
And afterward determine our proceedings.

Du.
Euen now about it, I will pardon you.
Exeunt.
Modern text
Act III, Scene I
Enter the Duke of Milan, Thurio, and Proteus

DUKE
Sir Thurio, give us leave, I pray, awhile;
We have some secrets to confer about.
Exit Thurio
Now, tell me, Proteus, what's your will with me?

PROTEUS
My gracious lord, that which I would discover
The law of friendship bids me to conceal,
But when I call to mind your gracious favours
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 determined to bestow her
On Thurio, whom your gentle daughter hates;
And should she thus be stolen 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.

DUKE
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 judged me fast asleep,
And oftentimes have purposed 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 shunned –
I gave him gentle looks, thereby to find
That which thyself hast now disclosed 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 tower,
The key whereof myself have ever kept;
And thence she cannot be conveyed away.

PROTEUS
Know, noble lord, they have devised 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 pretence.

DUKE
Upon mine honour, he shall never know
That I had any light from thee of this.

PROTEUS
Adieu, my lord, Sir Valentine is coming.
Exit
Enter Valentine

DUKE
Sir Valentine, whither away so fast?

VALENTINE
Please it your grace, there is a messenger
That stays to bear my letters to my friends,
And I am going to deliver them.

DUKE
Be they of much import?

VALENTINE
The tenor of them doth but signify
My health and happy being at your court.

DUKE
Nay then, no matter; stay with me awhile;
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.

VALENTINE
I know it well, my lord; and, sure, the match
Were rich and honourable; 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?

DUKE
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 cherished by her child-like duty,
I now am full resolved to take a wife
And turn her out to who will take her in.
Then let her beauty be her wedding-dower;
For me and my possessions she esteems not.

VALENTINE
What would your grace have me to do in this?

DUKE
There is a lady of Verona here
Whom I affect; but she is nice, and coy,
And naught 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 changed –
How and which way I may bestow myself
To be regarded in her sun-bright eye.

VALENTINE
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.

DUKE
But she did scorn a present that I sent her.

VALENTINE
A woman sometimes 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, whatever 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.

DUKE
But she I mean is promised 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.

VALENTINE
Why then, I would resort to her by night.

DUKE
Ay, but the doors be locked, and keys kept safe,
That no man hath recourse to her by night.

VALENTINE
What lets but one may enter at her window?

DUKE
Her chamber is aloft, far from the ground,
And built so shelving that one cannot climb it
Without apparent hazard of his life.

VALENTINE
Why then, a ladder, quaintly made of cords,
To cast up with a pair of anchoring hooks,
Would serve to scale another Hero's tower,
So bold Leander would adventure it.

DUKE
Now, as thou art a gentleman of blood,
Advise me where I may have such a ladder.

VALENTINE
When would you use it? Pray, sir, tell me that.

DUKE
This very night; for Love is like a child,
That longs for every thing that he can come by.

VALENTINE
By seven o'clock I'll get you such a ladder.

DUKE
But, hark thee; I will go to her alone;
How shall I best convey the ladder thither?

VALENTINE
It will be light, my lord, that you may bear it
Under a cloak that is of any length.

DUKE
A cloak as long as thine will serve the turn?

VALENTINE
Ay, my good lord.

DUKE
Then let me see thy cloak;
I'll get me one of such another length.

VALENTINE
Why, any cloak will serve the turn, my lord.

DUKE
How shall I fashion me to wear a cloak?
I pray thee, let me feel thy cloak upon me.
He lifts Valentine's cloak and finds a letter and a
rope-ladder
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.
(He opens the letter and reads)
My thoughts do harbour 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 blessed them,
Because myself do want my servants' fortune.
I curse myself, for they are sent by me,
That they should harbour 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, Phaeton – 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 favours
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 lovest thy life, make speed from hence.
Exit

VALENTINE
And why not death, rather than living torment?
To die is to be banished from myself,
And Silvia is myself; banished 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
Fostered, illumined, cherished, 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

PROTEUS
Run, boy, run, run, and seek him out.

LAUNCE
So-ho, so-ho!

PROTEUS
What seest thou?

LAUNCE
Him we go to find: there's not a hair on's head
but 'tis a Valentine.

PROTEUS
Valentine?

VALENTINE
No.

PROTEUS
Who then? His spirit?

VALENTINE
Neither.

PROTEUS
What then?

VALENTINE
Nothing.

LAUNCE
Can nothing speak? Master, shall I strike?

PROTEUS
Who wouldst thou strike?

LAUNCE
Nothing.

PROTEUS
Villain, forbear.

LAUNCE
Why, sir, I'll strike nothing. I pray you –

PROTEUS
Sirrah, I say forbear. Friend Valentine, a word.

VALENTINE
My ears are stopped and cannot hear good news,
So much of bad already hath possessed them.

PROTEUS
Then in dumb silence will I bury mine,
For they are harsh, untuneable, and bad.

VALENTINE
Is Silvia dead?

PROTEUS
No, Valentine.

VALENTINE
No Valentine, indeed, for sacred Silvia.
Hath she forsworn me?

PROTEUS
No, Valentine.

VALENTINE
No Valentine, if Silvia have forsworn me.
What is your news?

LAUNCE
Sir, there is a proclamation that you are vanished.

PROTEUS
That thou art banished – O, that's the news! –
From hence, from Silvia, and from me thy friend.

VALENTINE
O, I have fed upon this woe already,
And now excess of it will make me surfeit.
Doth Silvia know that I am banished?

PROTEUS
Ay, ay; and she hath offered to the doom –
Which, unreversed, stands in effectual force –
A sea of melting pearl, which some call tears;
Those at her father's churlish feet she tendered;
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 chafed him so,
When she for thy repeal was suppliant,
That to close prison he commanded her,
With many bitter threats of biding there.

VALENTINE
No more; unless the next word that thou speakest
Have some malignant power upon my life;
If so, I pray thee breathe it in mine ear,
As ending anthem of my endless dolour.

PROTEUS
Cease to lament for that thou canst not help,
And study help for that which thou lamentest.
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 delivered
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 lovest Silvia, though not for thyself,
Regard thy danger, and along with me.

VALENTINE
I pray thee, Launce, an if thou seest my boy,
Bid him make haste and meet me at the Northgate.

PROTEUS
Go, sirrah, find him out. Come, Valentine.

VALENTINE
O my dear Silvia! Hapless Valentine!
Exeunt Valentine and Proteus

LAUNCE
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 Christian.
He produces 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

SPEED
How now, Signior Launce? What news with your
mastership?

LAUNCE
With my master's ship? Why, it is at sea.

SPEED
Well, your old vice still: mistake the word. What
news, then, in your paper?

LAUNCE
The blackest news that ever thou heardest.

SPEED
Why, man? How black?

LAUNCE
Why, as black as ink.

SPEED
Let me read them.

LAUNCE
Fie on thee, jolthead; thou canst not read.

SPEED
Thou liest; I can.

LAUNCE
I will try thee. Tell me this: who begot thee?

SPEED
Marry, the son of my grandfather.

LAUNCE
O illiterate loiterer! It was the son of thy grandmother.
This proves that thou canst not read.

SPEED
Come, fool, come; try me in thy paper.

LAUNCE
There; and Saint Nicholas be thy speed!
He hands over the paper from which Speed reads

SPEED
Imprimis: She can milk.

LAUNCE
Ay, that she can.

SPEED
Item: She brews good ale.

LAUNCE
And thereof comes the proverb: ‘ Blessing of
your heart, you brew good ale.’

SPEED
Item: She can sew.

LAUNCE
That's as much as to say, ‘ Can she so?’

SPEED
Item: She can knit.

LAUNCE
What need a man care for a stock with a wench,
when she can knit him a stock?

SPEED
Item: She can wash and scour.

LAUNCE
A special virtue; for then she need not be
washed and scoured.

SPEED
Item: She can spin.

LAUNCE
Then may I set the world on wheels, when she
can spin for her living.

SPEED
Item: She hath many nameless virtues.

LAUNCE
That's as much as to say, bastard virtues; that
indeed know not their fathers, and therefore have no
names.

SPEED
Here follow her vices.

LAUNCE
Close at the heels of her virtues.

SPEED
Item: She is not to be kissed fasting, in respect of her
breath.

LAUNCE
Well, that fault may be mended with a breakfast.
Read on.

SPEED
Item: She hath a sweet mouth.

LAUNCE
That makes amends for her sour breath.

SPEED
Item: She doth talk in her sleep.

LAUNCE
It's no matter for that; so she sleep not in her
talk.

SPEED
Item: She is slow in words.

LAUNCE
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.

SPEED
Item: She is proud.

LAUNCE
Out with that too; it was Eve's legacy, and cannot
be ta'en from her.

SPEED
Item: She hath no teeth.

LAUNCE
I care not for that neither, because I love crusts.

SPEED
Item: She is curst.

LAUNCE
Well, the best is, she hath no teeth to bite.

SPEED
Item: She will often praise her liquor.

LAUNCE
If her liquor be good, she shall; if she will not,
I will; for good things should be praised.

SPEED
Item: She is too liberal.

LAUNCE
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, proceed.

SPEED
Item: She hath more hair than wit, and more faults
than hairs, and more wealth than faults.

LAUNCE
Stop there; I'll have her; she was mine and not
mine twice or thrice in that last article. Rehearse that
once more.

SPEED
Item: She hath more hair than wit

LAUNCE
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?

SPEED
And more faults than hairs –

LAUNCE
That's monstrous. O, that that were out!

SPEED
And more wealth than faults.

LAUNCE
Why, that word makes the faults gracious. Well,
I'll have her; an if it be a match, as nothing is
impossible –

SPEED
What then?

LAUNCE
Why, then will I tell thee – that thy master stays
for thee at the Northgate.

SPEED
For me?

LAUNCE
For thee! Ay, who art thou? He hath stayed for
a better man than thee.

SPEED
And must I go to him?

LAUNCE
Thou must run to him, for thou hast stayed so
long that going will scarce serve the turn.

SPEED
Why didst not tell me sooner? Pox of your love
letters!
He returns the paper to Launce. Exit

LAUNCE
Now will he be swinged for reading my letter.
An unmannerly slave, that will thrust himself into
secrets! I'll after, to rejoice in the boy's correction.
Exit
Modern text
Act III, Scene II
Enter the Duke of Milan and Thurio

DUKE
Sir Thurio, fear not but that she will love you
Now Valentine is banished from her sight.

THURIO
Since his exile she hath despised me most,
Forsworn my company, and railed at me,
That I am desperate of obtaining her.

DUKE
This weak impress of love is as a figure
Trenched in ice, which with an hour's heat
Dissolves to water, and doth lose his form.
A little time will melt her frozen thoughts,
And worthless Valentine shall be forgot.
Enter Proteus
How now, Sir Proteus? Is your countryman,
According to our proclamation, gone?

PROTEUS
Gone, my good lord.

DUKE
My daughter takes his going grievously.

PROTEUS
A little time, my lord, will kill that grief.

DUKE
So I believe; but Thurio thinks not so.
Proteus, the good conceit I hold of thee –
For thou hast shown some sign of good desert –
Makes me the better to confer with thee.

PROTEUS
Longer than I prove loyal to your grace
Let me not live to look upon your grace.

DUKE
Thou knowest how willingly I would effect
The match between Sir Thurio and my daughter?

PROTEUS
I do, my lord.

DUKE
And also, I think, thou art not ignorant
How she opposes her against my will?

PROTEUS
She did, my lord, when Valentine was here.

DUKE
Ay, and perversely she persevers so.
What might we do to make the girl forget
The love of Valentine, and love Sir Thurio?

PROTEUS
The best way is to slander Valentine,
With falsehood, cowardice, and poor descent –
Three things that women highly hold in hate.

DUKE
Ay, but she'll think that it is spoke in hate.

PROTEUS
Ay, if his enemy deliver it;
Therefore it must with circumstance be spoken
By one whom she esteemeth as his friend.

DUKE
Then you must undertake to slander him.

PROTEUS
And that, my lord, I shall be loath to do:
'Tis an ill office for a gentleman,
Especially against his very friend.

DUKE
Where your good word cannot advantage him,
Your slander never can endamage him;
Therefore the office is indifferent,
Being entreated to it by your friend.

PROTEUS
You have prevailed, my lord; if I can do it
By aught that I can speak in his dispraise,
She shall not long continue love to him.
But say this weed her love from Valentine,
It follows not that she will love Sir Thurio.

THURIO
Therefore, as you unwind her love from him,
Lest it should ravel, and be good to none,
You must provide to bottom it on me;
Which must be done by praising me as much
As you in worth dispraise Sir Valentine.

DUKE
And, Proteus, we dare trust you in this kind,
Because we know, on Valentine's report,
You are already Love's firm votary,
And cannot soon revolt and change your mind.
Upon this warrant shall you have access
Where you with Silvia may confer at large –
For she is lumpish, heavy, melancholy,
And, for your friend's sake, will be glad of you –
Where you may temper her, by your persuasion,
To hate young Valentine and love my friend.

PROTEUS
As much as I can do I will effect.
But you, Sir Thurio, are not sharp enough;
You must lay lime to tangle her desires
By wailful sonnets, whose composed rhymes
Should be full-fraught with serviceable vows.

DUKE
Ay,
Much is the force of heaven-bred poesy.

PROTEUS
Say that upon the altar of her beauty
You sacrifice your tears, your sighs, your heart;
Write till your ink be dry, and with your tears
Moist it again, and frame some feeling line
That may discover such integrity;
For Orpheus' lute was strung with poets' sinews,
Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones,
Make tigers tame, and huge leviathans
Forsake unsounded deeps to dance on sands.
After your dire-lamenting elegies,
Visit by night your lady's chamber-window
With some sweet consort; to their instruments
Tune a deploring dump – the night's dead silence
Will well become such sweet complaining grievance.
This, or else nothing, will inherit her.

DUKE
This discipline shows thou hast been in love.

THURIO
And thy advice this night I'll put in practice;
Therefore, sweet Proteus, my direction-giver,
Let us into the city presently
To sort some gentlemen well skilled in music.
I have a sonnet that will serve the turn
To give the onset to thy good advice.

DUKE
About it, gentlemen!

PROTEUS
We'll wait upon your grace till after supper,
And afterward determine our proceedings.

DUKE
Even now about it! I will pardon you.
Exeunt
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2018 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL