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The Two Gentlemen of Verona - Act 3, scene 1
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Navigate this workThe Two Gentlemen of Verona - Act 3, scene 1
Act 3, scene 1
Proteus betrays Valentine’s elopement plans to Sylvia’s father, who banishes Valentine. Proteus pretends to grieve with Valentine and, telling him that Sylvia has been imprisoned by her father, conveys Valentine on his way into exile.Enter Duke, Thurio, ⌜and⌝ Proteus.
1068 Sir Thurio, give us leave, I pray, awhile;
1069 We have some secrets to confer about.⌜Thurio exits.⌝
1070 Now tell me, Proteus, what’s your will with me?
1071 My gracious lord, that which I would discover
1072 5 The law of friendship bids me to conceal,
1073 But when I call to mind your gracious favors
1074 Done to me, undeserving as I am,
1075 My duty pricks me on to utter that
1076 Which else no worldly good should draw from me.
1077 10 Know, worthy prince, Sir Valentine my friend
1078 This night intends to steal away your daughter;
1079 Myself am one made privy to the plot.
1080 I know you have determined to bestow her
1081 On Thurio, whom your gentle daughter hates,
1082 15 And should she thus be stol’n away from you,
1083 It would be much vexation to your age.
1084 Thus, for my duty’s sake, I rather chose
1085 To cross my friend in his intended drift
1086 Than, by concealing it, heap on your head
1087 20 A pack of sorrows which would press you down,
1088 Being unprevented, to your timeless grave.
1089 Proteus, I thank thee for thine honest care,
1090 Which to requite command me while I live.
1091 This love of theirs myself have often seen,
1092 25 Haply when they have judged me fast asleep,
1093 And oftentimes have purposed to forbid
1094 Sir Valentine her company and my court.
1095 But fearing lest my jealous aim might err
1096 And so, unworthily, disgrace the man—
1097 30 A rashness that I ever yet have shunned—
1098 I gave him gentle looks, thereby to find
1099 That which thyself hast now disclosed to me.
1100 And that thou mayst perceive my fear of this,
1101 Knowing that tender youth is soon suggested,
1102 35 I nightly lodge her in an upper tower,
1103 The key whereof myself have ever kept,
1104 And thence she cannot be conveyed away.
1105 Know, noble lord, they have devised a mean
1106 How he her chamber-window will ascend
1107 40 And with a corded ladder fetch her down;
1108 For which the youthful lover now is gone,
1109 And this way comes he with it presently,
1110 Where, if it please you, you may intercept him.
1111 But, good my lord, do it so cunningly
1112 45 That my discovery be not aimèd at;
1113 For love of you, not hate unto my friend,
1114 Hath made me publisher of this pretense.
1115 Upon mine honor, he shall never know
1116 That I had any light from thee of this.
1117 50 Adieu, my lord. Sir Valentine is coming.
p. 95⌜Enter⌝ Valentine.
1118 Sir Valentine, whither away so fast?
1119 Please it your Grace, there is a messenger
1120 That stays to bear my letters to my friends,
1121 And I am going to deliver them.
DUKE 1122 55Be they of much import?
1123 The tenor of them doth but signify
1124 My health and happy being at your court.
1125 Nay then, no matter. Stay with me awhile;
1126 I am to break with thee of some affairs
1127 60 That touch me near, wherein thou must be secret.
1128 ’Tis not unknown to thee that I have sought
1129 To match my friend Sir Thurio to my daughter.
1130 I know it well, my lord, and sure the match
1131 Were rich and honorable. Besides, the gentleman
1132 65 Is full of virtue, bounty, worth, and qualities
1133 Beseeming such a wife as your fair daughter.
1134 Cannot your Grace win her to fancy him?
1135 No. Trust me, she is peevish, sullen, froward,
1136 Proud, disobedient, stubborn, lacking duty,
1137 70 Neither regarding that she is my child
1138 Nor fearing me as if I were her father;
1139 And may I say to thee, this pride of hers,
1140 Upon advice, hath drawn my love from her,
1141 And where I thought the remnant of mine age
1142 75 Should have been cherished by her childlike duty,
1143 I now am full resolved to take a wife
1144 And turn her out to who will take her in.
1145 Then let her beauty be her wedding dower,
1146 For me and my possessions she esteems not.
1147 80 What would your Grace have me to do in this?
1148 There is a lady in Verona here
1149 Whom I affect; but she is nice, and coy,
1150 And nought esteems my agèd eloquence.
1151 Now therefore would I have thee to my tutor—
1152 85 For long agone I have forgot to court;
1153 Besides, the fashion of the time is changed—
1154 How and which way I may bestow myself
1155 To be regarded in her sun-bright eye.
1156 Win her with gifts if she respect not words;
1157 90 Dumb jewels often in their silent kind
1158 More than quick words do move a woman’s mind.
1159 But she did scorn a present that I sent her.
1160 A woman sometime scorns what best contents her.
1161 Send her another; never give her o’er,
1162 95 For scorn at first makes after-love the more.
1163 If she do frown, ’tis not in hate of you,
1164 But rather to beget more love in you.
1165 If she do chide, ’tis not to have you gone,
1166 Forwhy the fools are mad if left alone.
1167 100 Take no repulse, whatever she doth say;
1168 For “get you gone” she doth not mean “away.”
1169 Flatter and praise, commend, extol their graces;
1170 Though ne’er so black, say they have angels’ faces.
1171 That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man
1172 105 If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.
1173 But she I mean is promised by her friends
1174 Unto a youthful gentleman of worth
1175 And kept severely from resort of men,
1176 That no man hath access by day to her.
1177 110 Why, then, I would resort to her by night.
1178 Ay, but the doors be locked and keys kept safe,
1179 That no man hath recourse to her by night.
1180 What lets but one may enter at her window?
1181 Her chamber is aloft, far from the ground,
1182 115 And built so shelving that one cannot climb it
1183 Without apparent hazard of his life.
1184 Why, then a ladder quaintly made of cords
1185 To cast up, with a pair of anchoring hooks,
1186 Would serve to scale another Hero’s tower,
1187 120 So bold Leander would adventure it.
1188 Now, as thou art a gentleman of blood,
1189 Advise me where I may have such a ladder.
1190 When would you use it? Pray sir, tell me that.
1191 This very night; for love is like a child
1192 125 That longs for everything that he can come by.
1193 By seven o’clock I’ll get you such a ladder.
1194 But hark thee: I will go to her alone;
1195 How shall I best convey the ladder thither?
1196 It will be light, my lord, that you may bear it
1197 130 Under a cloak that is of any length.
1198 A cloak as long as thine will serve the turn?
1199 Ay, my good lord.
p. 101DUKE 1200 Then let me see thy cloak;
1201 I’ll get me one of such another length.
1202 135 Why, any cloak will serve the turn, my lord.
1203 How shall I fashion me to wear a cloak?
1204 I pray thee, let me feel thy cloak upon me.
⌜Pulling off the cloak, he reveals
a rope ladder and a paper.⌝
1205 What letter is this same? What’s here? (⌜Reads.⌝) To
1207 140 And here an engine fit for my proceeding.
1208 I’ll be so bold to break the seal for once.
1209 My thoughts do harbor with my Sylvia nightly,
1210 And slaves they are to me that send them flying.
1211 O, could their master come and go as lightly,
1212 145 Himself would lodge where, senseless, they are
1214 My herald thoughts in thy pure bosom rest them,
1215 While I, their king, that thither them importune,
1216 Do curse the grace that with such grace hath blest
1217 150 them,
1218 Because myself do want my servants’ fortune.
1219 I curse myself, for they are sent by me,
1220 That they should harbor where their lord should be.
1221 What’s here?
1222 155 (⌜Reads.⌝) Sylvia, this night I will enfranchise thee.
1223 ’Tis so. And here’s the ladder for the purpose.
1224 Why, Phaëton—for thou art Merops’ son—
1225 Wilt thou aspire to guide the heavenly car
1226 And with thy daring folly burn the world?
1227 160 Wilt thou reach stars because they shine on thee?
1228 Go, base intruder, overweening slave,
1229 Bestow thy fawning smiles on equal mates
1230 And think my patience, more than thy desert,
p. 1031231 Is privilege for thy departure hence.
1232 165 Thank me for this more than for all the favors
1233 Which all too much I have bestowed on thee.
1234 But if thou linger in my territories
1235 Longer than swiftest expedition
1236 Will give thee time to leave our royal court,
1237 170 By heaven, my wrath shall far exceed the love
1238 I ever bore my daughter or thyself.
1239 Begone. I will not hear thy vain excuse,
1240 But, as thou lov’st thy life, make speed from hence.
1241 And why not death, rather than living torment?
1242 175 To die is to be banished from myself,
1243 And Sylvia is myself; banished from her
1244 Is self from self—a deadly banishment.
1245 What light is light if Sylvia be not seen?
1246 What joy is joy if Sylvia be not by—
1247 180 Unless it be to think that she is by
1248 And feed upon the shadow of perfection?
1249 Except I be by Sylvia in the night,
1250 There is no music in the nightingale.
1251 Unless I look on Sylvia in the day,
1252 185 There is no day for me to look upon.
1253 She is my essence, and I leave to be
1254 If I be not by her fair influence
1255 Fostered, illumined, cherished, kept alive.
1256 I fly not death, to fly his deadly doom;
1257 190 Tarry I here, I but attend on death,
1258 But fly I hence, I fly away from life.
⌜Enter⌝ Proteus ⌜and⌝ Lance.
PROTEUS 1259 Run, boy, run, run, and seek him out.
LANCE 1260 So-ho, so-ho!
PROTEUS 1261 What seest thou?
p. 105LANCE 1262 195Him we go to find. There’s not a hair on ’s head
1263 but ’tis a Valentine.
PROTEUS 1264 Valentine?
VALENTINE 1265 No.
PROTEUS 1266 Who then? His spirit?
VALENTINE 1267 200Neither.
PROTEUS 1268 What then?
VALENTINE 1269 Nothing.
LANCE 1270 Can nothing speak? Master, shall I strike?
PROTEUS 1271 Who wouldst thou strike?
LANCE 1272 205Nothing.
PROTEUS 1273 Villain, forbear.
LANCE 1274 Why, sir, I’ll strike nothing. I pray you—
1275 Sirrah, I say forbear.—Friend Valentine, a word.
1276 My ears are stopped and cannot hear good news,
1277 210 So much of bad already hath possessed them.
1278 Then in dumb silence will I bury mine,
1279 For they are harsh, untunable, and bad.
VALENTINE 1280 Is Sylvia dead?
PROTEUS 1281 No, Valentine.
1282 215 No Valentine indeed for sacred Sylvia.
1283 Hath she forsworn me?
PROTEUS 1284 No, Valentine.
1285 No Valentine if Sylvia have forsworn me.
1286 What is your news?
LANCE 1287 220Sir, there is a proclamation that you are
1289 That thou art banishèd—O, that’s the news—
1290 From hence, from Sylvia, and from me thy friend.
1291 O, I have fed upon this woe already,
1292 225 And now excess of it will make me surfeit.
1293 Doth Sylvia know that I am banishèd?
1294 Ay, ay, and she hath offered to the doom—
1295 Which unreversed stands in effectual force—
1296 A sea of melting pearl, which some call tears;
1297 230 Those at her father’s churlish feet she tendered,
1298 With them, upon her knees, her humble self,
1299 Wringing her hands, whose whiteness so became
1301 As if but now they waxèd pale for woe.
1302 235 But neither bended knees, pure hands held up,
1303 Sad sighs, deep groans, nor silver-shedding tears
1304 Could penetrate her uncompassionate sire;
1305 But Valentine, if he be ta’en, must die.
1306 Besides, her intercession chafed him so,
1307 240 When she for thy repeal was suppliant,
1308 That to close prison he commanded her
1309 With many bitter threats of biding there.
1310 No more, unless the next word that thou speak’st
1311 Have some malignant power upon my life.
1312 245 If so, I pray thee breathe it in mine ear
1313 As ending anthem of my endless dolor.
1314 Cease to lament for that thou canst not help,
1315 And study help for that which thou lament’st.
1316 Time is the nurse and breeder of all good.
1317 250 Here, if thou stay, thou canst not see thy love;
1318 Besides, thy staying will abridge thy life.
1319 Hope is a lover’s staff; walk hence with that
1320 And manage it against despairing thoughts.
1321 Thy letters may be here, though thou art hence,
1322 255 Which, being writ to me, shall be delivered
p. 1091323 Even in the milk-white bosom of thy love.
1324 The time now serves not to expostulate.
1325 Come, I’ll convey thee through the city gate
1326 And, ere I part with thee, confer at large
1327 260 Of all that may concern thy love affairs.
1328 As thou lov’st Sylvia, though not for thyself,
1329 Regard thy danger, and along with me.
1330 I pray thee, Lance, an if thou seest my boy,
1331 Bid him make haste and meet me at the North
1332 265 Gate.
1333 Go, sirrah, find him out.—Come, Valentine.
1334 O, my dear Sylvia! Hapless Valentine!
⌜Valentine and Proteus exit.⌝
LANCE 1335 I am but a fool, look you, and yet I have the wit
1336 to think my master is a kind of a knave, but that’s all
1337 270 one if he be but one knave. He lives not now that
1338 knows me to be in love, yet I am in love, but a team
1339 of horse shall not pluck that from me, nor who ’tis I
1340 love; and yet ’tis a woman, but what woman I will
1341 not tell myself; and yet ’tis a milk-maid; yet ’tis not a
1342 275 maid, for she hath had gossips; yet ’tis a maid, for
1343 she is her master’s maid and serves for wages. She
1344 hath more qualities than a water spaniel, which is
1345 much in a bare Christian. ⌜He takes out a piece of
paper.⌝ 1346 Here is the catalog of her condition.
1347 280 (⌜Reads.⌝) Imprimis, She can fetch and carry. Why, a
1348 horse can do no more; nay, a horse cannot fetch but
1349 only carry; therefore is she better than a jade.
1350 (⌜Reads.⌝) Item, She can milk. Look you, a sweet
1351 virtue in a maid with clean hands.
SPEED 1352 285How now, Signior Lance? What news with your
p. 111LANCE 1354 With my master’s ship? Why, it is at sea.
SPEED 1355 Well, your old vice still: mistake the word. What
1356 news, then, in your paper?
LANCE 1357 290The black’st news that ever thou heard’st.
SPEED 1358 Why, man? How black?
LANCE 1359 Why, as black as ink.
SPEED 1360 Let me read them.
LANCE 1361 Fie on thee, jolt-head, thou canst not read.
SPEED 1362 295Thou liest. I can.
LANCE 1363 I will try thee. Tell me this, who begot thee?
SPEED 1364 Marry, the son of my grandfather.
LANCE 1365 O, illiterate loiterer, it was the son of thy grandmother.
1366 This proves that thou canst not read.
SPEED 1367 300Come, fool, come. Try me in thy paper.
LANCE, ⌜giving him the paper⌝ 1368 There, and Saint Nicholas
1369 be thy speed.
SPEED ⌜reads⌝ 1370 Imprimis, She can milk.
LANCE 1371 Ay, that she can.
SPEED 1372 305Item, She brews good ale.
LANCE 1373 And thereof comes the proverb: “Blessing of
1374 your heart, you brew good ale.”
SPEED 1375 Item, She can sew.
LANCE 1376 That’s as much as to say “Can she so?”
SPEED 1377 310Item, She can knit.
LANCE 1378 What need a man care for a stock with a wench,
1379 when she can knit him a stock?
SPEED 1380 Item, She can wash and scour.
LANCE 1381 A special virtue, for then she need not be
1382 315 washed and scoured.
SPEED 1383 Item, She can spin.
LANCE 1384 Then may I set the world on wheels, when she
1385 can spin for her living.
SPEED 1386 Item, She hath many nameless virtues.
LANCE 1387 320That’s as much as to say “bastard virtues,” that
1388 indeed know not their fathers and therefore have no
p. 113SPEED 1390 Here follow her vices.
LANCE 1391 Close at the heels of her virtues.
SPEED 1392 325Item, She is not to be ⌜kissed⌝ fasting in respect of
1393 her breath.
LANCE 1394 Well, that fault may be mended with a breakfast.
1395 Read on.
SPEED 1396 Item, She hath a sweet mouth.
LANCE 1397 330That makes amends for her sour breath.
SPEED 1398 Item, She doth talk in her sleep.
LANCE 1399 It’s no matter for that, so she sleep not in her
SPEED 1401 Item, She is slow in words.
LANCE 1402 335O villain, that set this down among her vices! To
1403 be slow in words is a woman’s only virtue. I pray
1404 thee, out with ’t, and place it for her chief virtue.
SPEED 1405 Item, She is proud.
LANCE 1406 Out with that too; it was Eve’s legacy and
1407 340 cannot be ta’en from her.
SPEED 1408 Item, She hath no teeth.
LANCE 1409 I care not for that neither, because I love crusts.
SPEED 1410 Item, She is curst.
LANCE 1411 Well, the best is, she hath no teeth to bite.
SPEED 1412 345Item, She will often praise her liquor.
LANCE 1413 If her liquor be good, she shall; if she will not, I
1414 will, for good things should be praised.
SPEED 1415 Item, She is too liberal.
LANCE 1416 Of her tongue she cannot, for that’s writ down
1417 350 she is slow of; of her purse she shall not, for that I’ll
1418 keep shut; now, of another thing she may, and that
1419 cannot I help. Well, proceed.
SPEED 1420 Item, She hath more hair than wit, and more
1421 faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults.
LANCE 1422 355Stop there. I’ll have her. She was mine and not
1423 mine twice or thrice in that last article. Rehearse
1424 that once more.
SPEED 1425 Item, She hath more hair than wit.
p. 115LANCE 1426 “More hair than wit”? It may be; I’ll prove it:
1427 360 the cover of the salt hides the salt, and therefore it is
1428 more than the salt; the hair that covers the wit is
1429 more than the wit, for the greater hides the less.
1430 What’s next?
SPEED 1431 And more faults than hairs.
LANCE 1432 365That’s monstrous! O, that that were out!
SPEED 1433 And more wealth than faults.
LANCE 1434 Why, that word makes the faults gracious. Well,
1435 I’ll have her, and if it be a match, as nothing is
SPEED 1437 370What then?
LANCE 1438 Why, then will I tell thee that thy master stays
1439 for thee at the North Gate.
SPEED 1440 For me?
LANCE 1441 For thee? Ay, who art thou? He hath stayed for a
1442 375 better man than thee.
SPEED 1443 And must I go to him?
LANCE 1444 Thou must run to him, for thou hast stayed so
1445 long that going will scarce serve the turn.
SPEED, ⌜handing him the paper⌝ 1446 Why didst not tell me
1447 380 sooner? Pox of your love letters!⌜He exits.⌝
LANCE 1448 Now will he be swinged for reading my letter;
1449 an unmannerly slave, that will thrust himself into
1450 secrets. I’ll after, to rejoice in the boy’s correction.