Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT IV. - The Two Gentlemen of Verona
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ACT IV. - William Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona 
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (The Oxford Shakespeare), ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (Oxford University Press, 1916).
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A Forest between Milan and Verona.
Enter certain Outlaws.
Fellows, stand fast; I see a passenger.
If there be ten, shrink not, but down with ’em.
Stand, sir, and throw us that you have about ye;
If not, we’ll make you sit and rifle you.
Sir, we are undone: these are the villains
That all the travellers do fear so much.
That’s not so, sir; we are your enemies.
Peace! we’ll hear him.
Ay, by my beard, will we, for he is a proper man.
Then know, that I have little wealth to lose.
A man I am cross’d with adversity:
My riches are these poor habiliments,
Of which if you should here disfurnish me,
You take the sum and substance that I have.
Whither travel you?
Whence came you?
Have you long sojourn’d there?
Some sixteen months; and longer might have stay’d
If crooked fortune had not thwarted me.
What! were you banish’d thence?
For what offence?
For that which now torments me to rehearse.
I kill’d a man, whose death I much repent;
But yet I slew him manfully, in fight,
Without false vantage or base treachery.
Why, ne’er repent it, if it were done so.
But were you banish’d for so small a fault?
I was, and held me glad of such a doom.
Have you the tongues?
My youthful travel therein made me happy,
Or else I often had been miserable.
By the bare scalp of Robin Hood’s fat friar,
This fellow were a king for our wild faction!
We’ll have him: Sirs, a word.
Master, be one of them;
It is an honourable kind of thievery.
Tell us this: have you anything to take to?
Nothing, but my fortune.
Know then, that some of us are gentlemen,
Such as the fury of ungovern’d youth
Thrust from the company of awful men:
Myself was from Verona banished
For practising to steal away a lady,
An heir, and near allied unto the duke.
And I from Mantua, for a gentleman,
Who, in my mood, I stabb’d unto the heart.
And I for such like petty crimes as these.
But to the purpose; for we cite our faults,
That they may hold excus’d our lawless lives;
And, partly, seeing you are beautified
With goodly shape, and by your own report
A linguist, and a man of such perfection
As we do in our quality much want—
Indeed, because you are a banish’d man,
Therefore, above the rest, we parley to you.
Are you content to be our general?
To make a virtue of necessity
And live, as we do, in this wilderness?
What say’st thou? wilt thou be of our consort?
Say ‘ay,’ and be the captain of us all:
We’ll do thee homage and be rul’d by thee,
Love thee as our commander and our king.
But if thou scorn our courtesy, thou diest.
Thou shalt not live to brag what we have offer’d.
I take your offer and will live with you,
Provided that you do no outrages
On silly women, or poor passengers.
No; we detest such vile, base practices.
Come, go with us; we’ll bring thee to our crews,
And show thee all the treasure we have got,
Which, with ourselves, all rest at thy dispose.
Milan. The Court of theDuke’sPalace.
Already have I been false to Valentine,
And now I must be as unjust to Thurio.
Under the colour of commending him,
I have access my own love to prefer:
But Silvia is too fair, too true, too holy,
To be corrupted with my worthless gifts.
When I protest true loyalty to her,
She twits me with my falsehood to my friend;
When to her beauty I commend my vows,
She bids me think how I have been forsworn
In breaking faith with Julia whom I lov’d:
And notwithstanding all her sudden quips,
The least whereof would quell a lover’s hope,
Yet, spaniel-like, the more she spurns my love,
The more it grows, and fawneth on her still.
But here comes Thurio: now must we to her window,
And give some evening music to her ear.
How now, Sir Proteus! are you crept before us?
Ay, gentle Thurio; for you know that love
Will creep in service where it cannot go.
Ay; but I hope, sir, that you love not here.
Sir, but I do; or else I would be hence.
Ay, Silvia, for your sake.
I thank you for your own. Now, gentlemen,
Let’s tune, and to it lustily a while.
Enter Host andJuliabehind.Juliain boy’s clothes.
Now, my young guest, methinks you’re allycholly: I pray you, why is it?
Marry, mine host, because I cannot be merry.
Come, we’ll have you merry. I’ll bring you where you shall hear music and see the gentleman that you asked for.
But shall I hear him speak?
Ay, that you shall.
That will be music.
Is he among these?
Ay; but peace! let’s hear ’em.
How now! are you sadder than you were before? How do you, man? the music likes you not.
You mistake; the musician likes me not.
Why, my pretty youth?
He plays false, father.
How? out of tune on the strings?
Not so; but yet so false that he grieves my very heart-strings.
You have a quick ear.
Ay; I would I were deaf; it makes me have a slow heart.
I perceive you delight not in music.
Not a whit,—when it jars so.
Hark! what fine change is in the music!
Ay, that change is the spite.
You would have them always play but one thing?
I would always have one play but one thing.
But, host, doth this Sir Proteus that we talk on
Often resort unto this gentlewoman?
I will tell you what Launce, his man, told me: he lov’d her out of all nick.
Where is Launce?
Gone to seek his dog; which, to-morrow, by his master’s command, he must carry for a present to his lady.
Peace! stand aside: the company parts.
Sir Thurio, fear not you: I will so plead
That you shall say my cunning drift excels.
Where meet we?
At Saint Gregory’s well.
EnterSilviaabove, at her window.
Madam, good even to your ladyship.
I thank you for your music, gentlemen.
Who is that that spake?
One, lady, if you knew his pure heart’s truth,
You would quickly learn to know him by his voice.
Sir Proteus, as I take it.
Sir Proteus, gentle lady, and your servant.
What is your will?
That I may compass yours.
You have your wish; my will is even this:
That presently you hie you home to bed.
Thou subtle, perjur’d, false, disloyal man!
Think’st thou I am so shallow, so conceitless,
To be seduced by thy flattery,
That hast deceiv’d so many with thy vows?
Return, return, and make thy love amends.
For me, by this pale queen of night I swear,
I am so far from granting thy request
That I despise thee for thy wrongful suit,
And by and by intend to chide myself
Even for this time I spend in talking to thee.
I grant, sweet love, that I did love a lady;
But she is dead.
[Aside.] ’Tware false, if I should speak it;
For I am sure she is not buried.
Say that she be; yet Valentine thy friend
Survives; to whom, thyself art witness
I am betroth’d: and art thou not asham’d
To wrong him with thy importunacy?
I likewise hear that Valentine is dead.
And so suppose am I; for in his grave, Assure thyself my love is buried.
Sweet lady, let me rake it from the earth.
Go to thy lady’s grave and call hers thence;
Or, at the least, in hers sepulchre thine.
[Aside.] He heard not that.
Madam, if your heart be so obdurate,
Vouchsafe me yet your picture for my love,
The picture that is hanging in your chamber:
To that I’ll speak, to that I’ll sigh and weep;
For since the substance of your perfect self
Is else devoted, I am but a shadow,
And to your shadow will I make true love.
[Aside.] If ’twere a substance, you would, sure, deceive it,
And make it but a shadow, as I am.
I am very loath to be your idol, sir;
But, since your falsehood shall become you well
To worship shadows and adore false shapes,
Send to me in the morning and I’ll send it.
And so, good rest.
As wretches have o’er night
That wait for execution in the morn.
Host, will you go?
By my halidom, I was fast asleep.
Pray you, where lies Sir Proteus?
Marry, at my house. Trust me, I think ’tis almost day.
Not so; but it hath been the longest night
That e’er I watch’d and the most heaviest.
This is the hour that Madam Silvia
Entreated me to call, and know her mind:
There’s some great matter she’d employ me in.
EnterSilviaabove, at her window.
Your servant, and your friend;
One that attends your ladyship’s command.
Sir Eglamour, a thousand times good morrow.
As many, worthy lady, to yourself.
According to your ladyship’s impose,
I am thus early come to know what service
It is your pleasure to command me in.
O Eglamour, thou art a gentleman—
Think not I flatter, for I swear I do not—
Valiant, wise, remorseful, well-accomplish’d.
Thou art not ignorant what dear good will
I bear unto the banish’d Valentine,
Nor how my father would enforce me marry
Vain Thurio, whom my very soul abhors.
Thyself hast lov’d; and I have heard thee say
No grief did ever come so near thy heart
As when thy lady and thy true love died,
Upon whose grave thou vow’dst pure chastity.
Sir Eglamour, I would to Valentine,
To Mantua, where, I hear he makes abode;
And, for the ways are dangerous to pass,
I do desire thy worthy company,
Upon whose faith and honour I repose.
Urge not my father’s anger, Eglamour,
But think upon my grief, a lady’s grief,
And on the justice of my flying hence,
To keep me from a most unholy match,
Which heaven and fortune still rewards with plagues.
I do desire thee, even from a heart
As full of sorrows as the sea of sands,
To bear me company and go with me:
If not, to hide what I have said to thee,
That I may venture to depart alone.
Madam, I pity much your grievances;
Which since I know they virtuously are plac’d,
I give consent to go along with you,
Recking as little what betideth me
As much I wish all good befortune you.
When will you go?
This evening coming.
Where shall I meet you?
At Friar Patrick’s cell,
Where I intend holy confession.
I will not fail your ladyship.
Good morrow, gentle lady.
Good morrow, kind Sir Eglamour.
EnterLauncewith his dog.
When a man’s servant shall play the cur with him, look you, it goes hard; one that I brought up of a puppy; one that I saved from drowning, when three or four of his blind brothers and sisters went to it. I have taught him, even as one would say precisely, ‘Thus would I teach a dog.’ I was sent to deliver him as a present to Mistress Silvia from my master, and I came no sooner into the dining-chamber but he steps me to her trencher and steals her capon’s leg. O! ’tis a foul thing when a cur cannot keep himself in all companies. I would have, as one should say, one that takes upon him to be a dog indeed, to be, as it were, a dog at all things. If I had not had more wit than he, to take a fault upon me that he did, I think verily he had been hanged for’t: sure as I live, he had suffered for’t: you shall judge. He thrusts me himself into the company of three or four gentleman-like dogs under the duke’s table: he had not been there—bless the mark—a pissing-while, but all the chamber smelt him. ‘Out with the dog!’ says one; ‘What cur is that?’ says another; ‘Whip him out,’ says the third; ‘Hang him up,’ says the duke. I, having been acquainted with the smell before, knew it was Crab, and goes me to the fellow that whips the dogs: ‘Friend,’ quoth I, ‘you mean to whip the dog?’ ‘Ay, marry, do I,’ quoth he. ‘You do him the more wrong,’ quoth I; ‘’twas I did the thing you wot of.’ He makes me no more ado, but whips me out of the chamber. How many masters would do this for his servant? Nay, I’ll be sworn, I have sat in the stocks for puddings he hath stolen, otherwise he had been executed; I have stood on the pillory for geese he hath killed, otherwise he had suffered for’t; thou thinkest not of this now. Nay, I remember the trick you served me when I took my leave of Madam Silvia: did not I bid thee still mark me and do as I do? When didst thou see me heave up my leg and make water against a gentlewoman’s farthingale? Didst thou ever see me do such a trick?
EnterProteus,andJuliain boy’s clothes.
Sebastian is thy name? I like thee well
And will employ thee in some service presently.
In what you please: I will do what I can.
I hope thou wilt. [ToLaunce.] How now, you whoreson peasant!
Where have you been these two days loitering?
Marry, sir, I carried Mistress Silvia the dog you bade me.
And what says she to my little jewel?
Marry, she says, your dog was a cur, and tells you, currish thanks is good enough for such a present.
But she received my dog?
No, indeed, did she not: here have I brought him back again.
What! didst thou offer her this from me?
Ay, sir: the other squirrel was stolen from me by the hangman boys in the marketplace; and then I offered her mine own, who is a dog as big as ten of yours, and therefore the gift the greater.
Go, get thee hence, and find my dog again,
Or ne’er return again into my sight.
Away, I say! Stay’st thou to vex me here?
A slave that still an end turns me to shame.
Sebastian, I have entertained thee
Partly, that I have need of such a youth,
That can with some discretion do my business,
For’t is no trusting to yond foolish lout;
But chiefly for thy face and thy behaviour,
Which, if my augury deceive me not,
Witness good bringing up, fortune, and truth:
Therefore, know thou, for this I entertain thee.
Go presently, and take this ring with thee.
Deliver it to Madam Silvia:
She lov’d me well deliver’d it to me.
It seems, you lov’d not her, to leave her token.
She’s dead, belike?
Not so: I think, she lives.
Why dost thou cry ‘alas?’
I cannot choose
But pity her.
Wherefore should’st thou pity her?
Because methinks that she lov’d you as well
As you do love your lady Silvia.
She dreams on him that has forgot her love;
You dote on her, that cares not for your love.
’Tis pity, love should be so contrary;
And thinking on it makes me cry, ‘alas!’
Well, well, give her that ring and therewithal
This letter: that’s her chamber. Tell my lady
I claim the promise for her heavenly picture.
Your message done, hie home unto my chamber,
Where thou shalt find me sad and solitary.
How many women would do such a message?
Alas, poor Proteus! thou hast entertain’d
A fox to be the shepherd of thy lambs.
Alas, poor fool! why do I pity him
That with his very heart despiseth me?
Because he loves her, he despiseth me;
Because I love him, I must pity him.
This ring I gave him when he parted from me,
To bind him to remember my good will;
And now am I—unhappy messenger—
To plead for that which I would not obtain,
To carry that which I would have refus’d,
To praise his faith which I would have disprais’d.
I am my master’s true-confirmed love,
But cannot be true servant to my master,
Unless I prove false traitor to myself.
Yet will I woo for him; but yet so coldly
As heaven it knows, I would not have him speed.
Gentlewoman, good day! I pray you, be my mean
To bring me where to speak with Madam Silvia.
What would you with her, if that I be she?
If you be she, I do entreat your patience To hear me speak the message I am sent on.
From my master, Sir Proteus, madam.
O! he sends you for a picture?
Ursula, bring my picture there.
[A picture brought.
Go, give your master this: tell him from me,
One Julia, that his changing thoughts forget,
Would better fit his chamber than this shadow.
Madam, please you peruse this letter.—
Pardon me, madam, I have unadvis’d
Deliver’d you a paper that I should not:
This is the letter to your ladyship.
I pray thee, let me look on that again.
It may not be: good madam, pardon me.
I will not look upon your master’s lines:
I know, they are stuff’d with protestations
And full of new-found oaths, which he will break
As easily as I do tear his paper.
Madam, he sends your ladyship this ring.
The more shame for him that he sends it me;
For, I have heard him say a thousand times,
His Julia gave it him at his departure.
Though his false finger have profan’d the ring,
Mine shall not do his Julia so much wrong.
She thanks you.
What say’st thou?
I thank you, madam, that you tender her.
Poor gentlewoman! my master wrongs her much.
Dost thou know her?
Almost as well as I do know myself:
To think upon her woes, I do protest
That I have wept a hundred several times.
Belike, she thinks, that Proteus hath forsook her.
I think she doth, and that’s her cause of sorrow.
Is she not passing fair?
She hath been fairer, madam, than she is.
When she did think my master lov’d her well,
She, in my judgment, was as fair as you;
But since she did neglect her looking-glass
And threw her sun-expelling mask away,
The air hath starv’d the roses in her cheeks
And pinch’d the lily-tincture of her face,
That now she is become as black as I.
How tall was she?
About my stature; for, at Pentecost,
When all our pageants of delight were play’d,
Our youth got me to play the woman’s part,
And I was trimm’d in Madam Julia’s gown,
Which served me as fit, by all men’s judgments,
As if the garment had been made for me:
Therefore I know she is about my height.
And at that time I made her weep agood;
For I did play a lamentable part.
Madam, ’twas Ariadne passioning
For Theseus’ perjury and unjust flight;
Which I so lively acted with my tears
That my poor mistress, moved therewithal,
Wept bitterly, and would I might be dead
If I in thought felt not her very sorrow!
She is beholding to thee, gentle youth.—
Alas, poor lady, desolate and left!
I weep myself to think upon thy words.
Here, youth, there is my purse: I give thee this
For thy sweet mistress’ sake, because thou lov’st her.
And she shall thank you for’t, if e’er you know her.—
A virtuous gentlewoman, mild and beautiful.
I hope my master’s suit will be but cold,
Since she respects my mistress’ love so much.
Alas, how love can trifle with itself!
Here is her picture: let me see; I think,
If I had such a tire, this face of mine
Were full as lovely as is this of hers;
And yet the painter flatter’d her a little,
Unless I flatter with myself too much.
Her hair is auburn, mine is perfect yellow:
If that be all the difference in his love
I’ll get me such a colour’d periwig.
Her eyes are grey as glass, and so are mine:
Ay, but her forehead’s low, and mine’s as high.
What should it be that he respects in her
But I can make respective in myself,
If this fond Love were not a blinded god?
Come, shadow, come, and take this shadow up,
For ’tis thy rival. O thou senseless form!
Thou shalt be worshipp’d, kiss’d, lov’d, and ador’d,
And, were there sense in his idolatry,
My substance should be statue in thy stead.
I’ll use thee kindly for thy mistress’ sake,
That us’d me so; or else, by Jove I vow,
I should have scratch’d out your unseeing eyes,
To make my master out of love with thee.