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The Two Gentlemen of Verona - Act 1, scene 1
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Navigate this workThe Two Gentlemen of Verona - Act 1, scene 1
Act 1, scene 1
Valentine, preparing to leave for Milan, says farewell to Proteus, who stays in Verona to be near Julia. Valentine’s servant, Speed, informs Proteus that he has given Proteus’ letter to Julia. Speed then leaves to join Valentine.⌜Enter⌝ Valentine ⌜and⌝ Proteus.
0001 Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus.
0002 Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits.
0003 Were ’t not affection chains thy tender days
0004 To the sweet glances of thy honored love,
0005 5 I rather would entreat thy company
0006 To see the wonders of the world abroad
0007 Than, living dully sluggardized at home,
0008 Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.
0009 But since thou lov’st, love still and thrive therein,
0010 10 Even as I would when I to love begin.
0011 Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu.
0012 Think on thy Proteus when thou haply seest
0013 Some rare noteworthy object in thy travel.
0014 Wish me partaker in thy happiness
0015 15 When thou dost meet good hap; and in thy danger,
0016 If ever danger do environ thee,
0017 Commend thy grievance to my holy prayers,
0018 For I will be thy beadsman, Valentine.
0019 And on a love-book pray for my success?
0020 20 Upon some book I love I’ll pray for thee.
0021 That’s on some shallow story of deep love,
0022 How young Leander crossed the Hellespont.
0023 That’s a deep story of a deeper love,
0024 For he was more than over shoes in love.
0025 25 ’Tis true, for you are over boots in love,
0026 And yet you never swam the Hellespont.
0027 Over the boots? Nay, give me not the boots.
0028 No, I will not, for it boots thee not.
PROTEUS 0029 What?
0030 30 To be in love, where scorn is bought with groans,
0031 Coy looks with heart-sore sighs, one fading
0032 moment’s mirth
0033 With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights;
0034 If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain;
0035 35 If lost, why then a grievous labor won;
0036 How ever, but a folly bought with wit,
0037 Or else a wit by folly vanquishèd.
0038 So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.
0039 So, by your circumstance, I fear you’ll prove.
0040 40 ’Tis love you cavil at; I am not Love.
0041 Love is your master, for he masters you;
0042 And he that is so yokèd by a fool
0043 Methinks should not be chronicled for wise.
0044 Yet writers say: as in the sweetest bud
p. 110045 45 The eating canker dwells, so eating love
0046 Inhabits in the finest wits of all.
0047 And writers say: as the most forward bud
0048 Is eaten by the canker ere it blow,
0049 Even so by love the young and tender wit
0050 50 Is turned to folly, blasting in the bud,
0051 Losing his verdure, even in the prime,
0052 And all the fair effects of future hopes.
0053 But wherefore waste I time to counsel thee
0054 That art a votary to fond desire?
0055 55 Once more adieu. My father at the road
0056 Expects my coming, there to see me shipped.
0057 And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.
0058 Sweet Proteus, no. Now let us take our leave.
0059 To Milan let me hear from thee by letters
0060 60 Of thy success in love, and what news else
0061 Betideth here in absence of thy friend.
0062 And I likewise will visit thee with mine.
0063 All happiness bechance to thee in Milan.
0064 As much to you at home. And so farewell.He exits.
0065 65 He after honor hunts, I after love.
0066 He leaves his friends, to dignify them more;
0067 I ⌜leave⌝ myself, my friends, and all, for love.
0068 Thou, Julia, thou hast metamorphosed me,
0069 Made me neglect my studies, lose my time,
0070 70 War with good counsel, set the world at nought;
0071 Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with thought.
0072 Sir Proteus, ’save you. Saw you my master?
0073 But now he parted hence to embark for Milan.
0074 Twenty to one, then, he is shipped already,
0075 75 And I have played the sheep in losing him.
0076 Indeed a sheep doth very often stray,
0077 An if the shepherd be awhile away.
SPEED 0078 You conclude that my master is a shepherd,
0079 then, and I ⌜a⌝ sheep?
PROTEUS 0080 80I do.
SPEED 0081 Why, then my horns are his horns, whether I
0082 wake or sleep.
PROTEUS 0083 A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep.
SPEED 0084 This proves me still a sheep.
PROTEUS 0085 85True, and thy master a shepherd.
SPEED 0086 Nay, that I can deny by a circumstance.
PROTEUS 0087 It shall go hard but I’ll prove it by another.
SPEED 0088 The shepherd seeks the sheep, and not the
0089 sheep the shepherd; but I seek my master, and my
0090 90 master seeks not me. Therefore I am no sheep.
PROTEUS 0091 The sheep for fodder follow the shepherd; the
0092 shepherd for food follows not the sheep. Thou for
0093 wages followest thy master; thy master for wages
0094 follows not thee. Therefore thou art a sheep.
SPEED 0095 95Such another proof will make me cry “baa.”
PROTEUS 0096 But dost thou hear? Gav’st thou my letter to
SPEED 0098 Ay, sir. I, a lost mutton, gave your letter to her, a
0099 laced mutton, and she, a laced mutton, gave me, a
0100 100 lost mutton, nothing for my labor.
PROTEUS 0101 Here’s too small a pasture for such store of
p. 15SPEED 0103 If the ground be overcharged, you were best
0104 stick her.
PROTEUS 0105 105Nay, in that you are astray; ’twere best pound
SPEED 0107 Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve me for
0108 carrying your letter.
PROTEUS 0109 You mistake; I mean the pound, a pinfold.
0110 110 From a pound to a pin? Fold it over and over,
0111 ’Tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your
PROTEUS 0113 But what said she?
SPEED, ⌜nodding⌝ 0114 Ay.
PROTEUS 0115 115Nod—“Ay.” Why, that’s “noddy.”
SPEED 0116 You mistook, sir. I say she did nod, and you ask
0117 me if she did nod, and I say “ay.”
PROTEUS 0118 And that set together is “noddy.”
SPEED 0119 Now you have taken the pains to set it together,
0120 120 take it for your pains.
PROTEUS 0121 No, no, you shall have it for bearing the letter.
SPEED 0122 Well, I perceive I must be fain to bear with you.
PROTEUS 0123 Why, sir, how do you bear with me?
SPEED 0124 Marry, sir, the letter, very orderly, having nothing
0125 125 but the word “noddy” for my pains.
PROTEUS 0126 Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.
SPEED 0127 And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse.
PROTEUS 0128 Come, come, open the matter in brief. What
0129 said she?
SPEED 0130 130Open your purse, that the money and the matter
0131 may be both at once delivered.
PROTEUS, ⌜giving money⌝ 0132 Well, sir, here is for your
0133 pains. What said she?
SPEED, ⌜looking at the money⌝ 0134 Truly, sir, I think you’ll
0135 135 hardly win her.
PROTEUS 0136 Why? Couldst thou perceive so much from
p. 17SPEED 0138 Sir, I could perceive nothing at all from her, no,
0139 not so much as a ducat for delivering your letter.
0140 140 And being so hard to me that brought your mind, I
0141 fear she’ll prove as hard to you in telling your mind.
0142 Give her no token but stones, for she’s as hard as
PROTEUS 0144 What said she? Nothing?
SPEED 0145 145No, not so much as “Take this for thy pains.”
0146 To testify your bounty, I thank you, you have
0147 ⌜testerned⌝ me. In requital whereof, henceforth
0148 carry your letters yourself. And so, sir, I’ll commend
0149 you to my master.
0150 150 Go, go, begone, to save your ship from wrack,
0151 Which cannot perish having thee aboard,
0152 Being destined to a drier death on shore.
0153 I must go send some better messenger.
0154 I fear my Julia would not deign my lines,
0155 155 Receiving them from such a worthless post.