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In this play there is a strange mixture of knowledge and ignorance, of care and negligence. The versification is often excellent, the allusions are learned and just; but the author conveys his heroes by sea from one inland town to another in the same country; he places the emperor at Milan, and sends his young men to attend him, but never gestions him more; he makes Proteus, after an interview with Silvia, say he has only seen her picture: and, if we Bay credit the old copies, he has, by mistaking places, left his scenery inextricable. The reason of all this confusion seems to be, that he took his story from a novel, which he sometimes followed, and sometimes forsook; sometimes remem bered, and sometimes forgot.
That this play is rightly attributed to Shakspeare, I have little doubt. If it be taken from him, to whom shall it be given? This question may be asked of all the disputed plays, except Titus Andronicus; and it will be found more credible, that Shakspeare might sometimes sink below his highest flights, than that any other should rise up to his lowest. Johnson.
DUKE OF MILAN, Father to Silvia.
VALENTINE, } Gentlemen of Verona.
ANTONIO, Father to Proteus,
THERIO, a foolish Rival to Valentine.
EGLAMOUR, Agent for Silvia, in her escape.
SPEED, a clownish Servant to Valentine.
LAUNCE, Servant to Proteus.
PANTHINO, Servant to Antonio.
Host, where Julia lodges in Milan.
JULIA, a Lady of Verona, beloved by Proteus.
SCENE,--Sometimes in Verona; sometimes in Milan; and on the Frontiers of Mantua.
SCENE I.-An open Place in Verona.
Enter VALENTINE and PROTEUS.
Bat, since thou lov'st, love still, and thrive therein,
Pro. Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu! Think on thy Protens, when thou, haply, seest Some rare note-worthy object in thy travel: Wish me partaker in thy happiness,
When thou dost meet good hap; and, in thy danger,
Commend thy grievance to my holy prayers,
Val. And on a love-book pray for my success.
Val. 'Tis true; for you are over boots in love,
And yet you never swam the Hellespont.
Pro. Over the boots? nay, give me not the boots.
In love, where scorn is bought with groans; coy looks,
With heart-sore sighs; one fading moment's mirth,
If lost, why then a grievous labour won;
Pro. So, by your circumstance, you call me fool. Val. So, by your circumstance, I fear, you'll prove.
Pro. Tis love you cavil at; I am not love.
Methinks, should not be chronicled for wise.
Val. And writers say, As the most forward bud
Is turn'd to folly; blasting in the bud,
Once more adieu: my father at the road
Pro. And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.
Pro. He after honour hunts, I after love. He leaves his friends, to dignify them more; I leave myself, my friends, and all for love." Thou, Julia, thou hast metamorphos'd me; Made me neglect my studies, lose my time, War with good counsel, set the world at nought; Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with thought
Speed. Sir Proteus, save you: saw you my master? Pro. But now he parted hence, to embark for Milan.
Speed. Twenty to one then, he is shipp'd already; And I have play'd the sheep, in losing him. Pro. Indeed a sheep doth very often stray, An if the shepherd be awhile away. Speed. You conclude that my master is a shepherd then, and I a sheep?
Pro. I do.
[I wake or sleep. Speed. Why then my horns are his horns, whether Pro. A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep Speed. This proves me still a sheep. Pro. True; and thy master a shepherd. Speed. Nay, that I can deny by a circumstance. Pro. It shall go hard, but I'll prove it by another Speed. The shepherd seeks the sheep, and not the sheep the shepherd; but I seek my master, and my master seeks not me: therefore, I am no sheep.
Pro. The sheep for fodder follow the shepherd, the shepherd for food follows not the sheep; thou for wages followest thy master, thy master for wages follows not thee: therefore, thou art a sheep.
Speed. Such another proof will make me cry baa. Pro. But dost thou hear? gav'st thou my letter to Julia?
Speed. Ay, sir; I, a lost mutton, gave your letter to her, a laced mutton; and she, a laced mutton, gave me, a lost mutton, nothing for my labour.
Pro. Here's too small a pasture for such a store
of muttons. [best stick her. Speed. If the ground be overcharged, you were Pro. Nay, in that you are astray; 'twere best pound you. [for carrying your letter. Speed. Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve me Pro. You mistake; I mean the pound, a pinfold. Speed. From a pound to a pin? fold it over and [lover. 'Tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your Pro. But what said she? did she nod? Speed. I.
Pro. Nod, I; why, that's noddy.
Speed. You mistook, sir; I say, she did nod: and you ask me, if she did nod; and I say, I.
Pro. And that set together, is-noddy. Speed. Now you have taken the pains to set it together, take it for your pains. [letter. Pro. No, no, you shall have it for bearing the Speed. Well, I perceive, I must be fain to bear with you.
Pro. Why, sir, how do you bear with me? Speed. Marry, sir, the letter very orderly; ing nothing but the word, noddy, for my pains. Pro. Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit. Speed. And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse. Pro. Come, come, open the matter in brief: what said she?
Speed. Open your purse, that the money, and the matter, may be both at once delivered. [she? Pro. Well, sir, here is for your pains: what said Speed. Truly, sir, I think you'll hardly win her. Pro. Why? Could'st thou perceive so much from her?
Speed. Sir, I could perceive nothing at all from her; no, not so much as a ducat for delivering your letter and being so hard to me that brought your mind, I fear, she'll prove as hard to you in telling her mind. Give her no token but stones; for she's as hard as steel.
Pro. What, said she nothing?
Speed. No, not so much as-take this for thy pains. To testify your bounty, I thank you, you have testern'd me; in requital whereof, henceforth carry your letters yourself: and so, sir, I'll commend you to my master. [wreck;
Pro. Go, go, be gone, to save your ship from Which cannot perish, having thee aboard, Being destined to a drier death on shore :I must go send some better messenger; I fear, my Julia would not deign my lines, Receiving them from such a worthless post.
SCENE II.-The same. Garden of Julia's House. Enter JULIA and LUCETTA.
Jul. But say, Lucetta, now we are alone, Wouldst thou then counsel me to fall in love?
Luc. Ay, madam, so you stumble not unheedfully. Jul. Of all the fair resort of gentlemen, That every day with parle encounter me, In thy opinion, which is worthiest love? Luc. Please you, repeat their names, I'll shew According to my shallow simple skill. [my mind Jul. What think'st thou of the fair sir Eglamour? Luc. As of a knight well-spoken, neat and fine; But, were I you, he never should be mine.
Jul. What think'st thou of the rich Mercatio? Luc. Well of his wealth; but of himself, so, so. Jul. What think'st thou of the gentle Proteus? Luc. Lord, lord! to see what folly reigns in us! Jul. How now! what means this passion at his name?
Luc. Pardon, dear madam; 'tis a passing shame,
Jul. Why not on Protens, as of all the rest?
Luc. I have no other but a woman's reason;
Jul.And would'st thou have me cast my love on him?
He would have given it you, but I, being in the way,
Luc. That you may ruminate. [Exit. Jul. And yet, I would, I had o'erlook'd the letter. It were a shame to call her back again, And pray her to a fault for which I chid her. What fool is she, that knows I am a maid, And would not force the letter to my view! Since maids, in modesty, say No, to that Which they would have the profferer construe, Ay Fie, fie! how wayward is this foolish love, That, like a testy babe, will scratch the nurse, And presently, all humble, kiss the rod ! How churlishly I chid Lucetta hence, When willingly I would have had her here! How angrily I taught my brow to frown, When inward joy enforc'd my heart to smile! My penance is, to call Lucetta back, And ask remission for my folly past:What ho! Lucetta!
Why didst thou stoop, then
Luc. To take a paper up, that I let fall.
Nothing concerning me. Jul. Then let it lie for those that it concerns. Luc. Madam, it will not lie where it concerns, Unless it have a false interpreter.
Jul. Some love of yours hath writ to you in rhyme. Luc. That I might sing it, madam, to a tune: Give me a note: your ladyship can set.
Jul. As little by such toys as may be possible: Best sing it to the tune of Light o' love.
Luc. It is too heavy for so light a tune.
Luc. No, madam, it is too sharp.
And mar the concord with too harsh a descant There wanteth but a mean to fill your song.
Jul. The mean is drown'd with your unruly base. Luc. Indeed, I bid the base for Proteus. Jul. This babble shall not henceforth trouble me. Here is a coil with protestation!-(Tears the letter.) Go, get you gone; and let the papers lie: You would be fingering them, to anger me. Luc. She makes it strange; but she would be best pleas'd
To be so anger'd with another letter.
I throw thy name against the bruising stones,
Shall lodge thee, till thy wound be throughly heal'd;
Lo, here in one line is his name twice writ,-
Luc. Madam, dinner's ready, and your father
Jul. If you respect them, best to take them up. Lase. Nay, I was taken up for laying them down: Yet here they shall not lie, for catching cold.
Jul. I see you have a month's mind to them. Luc. Ay, madam, you may say what sights you see things too, although you judge I wink. [see; Jul. Come, come will't please you go? [Exeunt. & III-The same. A Room in Antonio's house.
Enter ANTONIO and PANTHINO.
Ant. Tell me, Panthino, what sad talk was that, Wrewith my brother held you in the cloister? Pan. Twas of his nephew Proteus, your son. Ant. Why, what of him?
He wonder'd, that your lordship Would suffer him to spend his youth at home; While other men, of slender reputation, Pt forth their sons, to seek preferment out: Se, to the wars, to try their fortune there;
ne, to discover islands far away;
Yae, to the studious universities.
for any, or for all these exercises,
said, that Proteus, your son, was meet;
And did request me, to importune you,
Thiet him spend his time no more at home,
Wach would be great impeachment to his age,
Ant. Nor need'st thou much impórtune me to that,
And perfected by the swift course of time:
Ant. I know it well. [thither: Pan. "Twere good, I think, your lordship sent him There shall he practise tilts and tournaments, Hear sweet discourse, converse with noblemen; And be in eye of every exercise,
Worthy his youth and nobleness of birth.
Ant. I like thy counsel; well hast thou advis'd
I will despatch him to the emperor's court.
Ant. Good company; with them shall Proteus go: And, in good time,-now will we break with him. Enter PROTEUS.
Pro. Sweet love! sweet lines, sweet life!
Ant. Lend me the letter; let me see what news. Pro. There is no news, my lord; but that he writes How happily he lives, how well-belov'd, And daily graced by the emperor; Wishing me with him, partner of his fortune. Ant. And how stand you affected to his wish? Pro. As one relying on your lordship's will, And not depending on his friendly wish.
Ant. My will is something sorted with his wish:
I am resolv'd, that thou shalt spend some time
Pro. My lord, I cannot be so soon provided;
(thee: Ant. Look, what thou want'st, shall be sent after No more of stay; to-morrow thou must go.— Come on, Panthino; you shall be employ'd To hasten on his expedition. [Exeunt Ant. and Pan. Pro. Thus have I shunn'd the fire, for fear of
And drench'd me in the sea, where I am drown'd:
The uncertain glory of an April day;
Pan. Sir Proteus, your father calls for you; He is in haste; therefore, I pray you, go. Pro. Why, this it is! my heart accords thereto; And yet a thousand times it answers no. [Exeunt
Speed. Madam Silvia! madam Silvia!
Val. How now, sirrah?
Speed. She is not within hearing, sir. Val. Why, sir, who bade you call her? Speed. Your worship, sir; or else I mistook. Val. Well, you'll still be too forward. [slow. Speed. And yet I was last chidden for being too Val. Go to, sir; tell me, do you know madam Speed. She that your worship loves? [Silvia? Val. Why, how know you that I am in love? Speed. Marry, by these special marks:-First, you have learned, like Sir Proteus, to wreath your arms like a male-content; to relish a love-song, like a Robin-red-breast; to walk alone, like one that hath the pestilence; to sigh, like a school-boy that had lost his A, B, C ; to weep, like a young wench that had buried her grandam; to fast, like one that takes diet; to watch, like one that fears robbing; to speak puling, like a beggar at Hallowmas. You were wont, when you laughed, to crow like a cock; when you walked, to walk like one of the lions; when you fasted, it was presently after dinner; when you looked sadly, it was for want of money: and now you are metamorphosed with a mistress, that, when I look on you, I can hardly think you my_master.
Val. Are all these things perceived in me?
Speed. Without you; nay, that's certain, for, without you were so simple, none else would; but you are so without these follies, that these follies are within you, and shine through you like the water in an urinal; that not an eye, that sees you, but is a physician to comment on your malady.
Val. But tell me, dost thou know my lady Sylvia? Speed. She, that you gaze on so, as she sits at supper?
Val. Hast thou observed that? even she I mean. Speed. Why, sir, I know her not.
Val. Dost thou know her by my gazing on her, and yet knowest her not?
Speed. Is she not hard-favoured, sir?
Speed. That she is not so fair, as (of you) well Val. I mean, that her beauty is exquisite, but her favour infinite.
Speed. That's because the one is painted, and the other out of all count.
Val. How painted? and how out of count? Speed. Marry, sir, so painted to make her fair, that no man counts of her beauty. [beauty. Val. How esteemest thou me? I account of her Speed. You never saw her since she was deformed. Val. How long hath she been deformed? Speed. Ever since you loved her.
Val. I have loved her ever since I saw her; and still I see her beautiful.
Speed. If you love her, you cannot see her.
Speed. Because love is blind. O, that you had mine eyes; or your own had the lights they were wont to have when you chid at sir Proteus for going ungartered!
Val. What should I see then?
Speed. Your own present folly, and her passing deformity: for he, being in love, could not see to garter his hose; and you, being in love, cannot see to put on your hose.
Val. Belike, boy, then you are in love; for last morning you could not see to wipe my shoes.
Speed. True, sir, I was in love with my bed: I thank you, you swinged me for my love, which makes me the bolder to chide you for yours.
Val. In conclusion, I stand affected to her. Speed. I would you were set; so your affection would cease. [lines to one she loves. Val. Last night she enjoined me to write some
Speed. O excellent motion! O exceeding puppet! now will he interpret to her. (Aside.) [morrows. Val. Madam and mistress, a thousand goodSpeed. O, 'give you good even! here's a million of manners. (Aside.) Sil. Sir Valentine and servant, to you two thon sand. [it him. (Aside.) Speed. He should give her interest, and she gives Val. As you enjoin'd me, I have writ your letter, Unto the secret nameless friend of yours; Which I was much unwilling to proceed in, But for my duty to your ladyship.
Sil. I thank you, gentle servant: 'tis very clerkly Val. Now trust me, madam, it came hardly off For, being ignorant to whom it goes, I writ at random, very doubtfully.
[pains? Sil. Perchance you think too much of so much Val. No, madam; so it stead you, I will write, Please you command, a thousand times as much: And yet,
Sil. A pretty period! Well, I guess the sequel: And yet I will not name it :-and yet I care notAnd yet take this again :—and yet I thank you; Meaning henceforth to trouble you no more.
Speed. And yet you will; and yet another yet. (Aside.) [like it? Val. What means your ladyship? do you not Sil. Yes, yes; the lines are very quaintly writ But since unwillingly, take them again; Nay, take them.
Val. Madam, they are for you.
Sil. Ay, ay; you writ them, sir, at my request; But I will none of them; they are for you: I would have had them writ more movingly. Val. Please you, I'll write your ladyship another. Sil. And when it's writ, for my sake read it over: And if it please you, so; if not, why, so.
Val. If it please me, madam! what then? Sil. Why, if it please you, take it for your labour. And so good-morrow, servant. [Exit Silva Speed. O jest unseen, inscrutable, invisible, As a nose on a man's face, or a weathercock on a steeple ! [suitor,
My master sues to her; and she hath taught her
Val. How now, sir? what, are you reasoning with yourself?
Speed. Nay, I was rhyming; 'tis you that have the reason.
Val. To do what?
Speed. To be a spokesman from madam Silvia Val. To whom?
Speed. To yourself: why, she wooes you by Val. What figure?
Speed. By a letter, I should say. Val. Why, she hath not writ to me? Speed. What needs she, when she hath made you write to yourself? Why, do you not perceive the jest Val. No, believe me
Speed. No believing you indeed, sir; but did yo perceive her earnest?
Val. She gave me none, except an angry word Speed. Why, she hath given you a letter. Val. That's the letter I writ to her friend. Speed. And that letter hath she deliver'd, and there an end.
Val. I would, it were no worse. Speed. I'll warrant you, 'tis as well: For often you have writ to her; and she, in modesty Or else for want of idle time, could not again repay.
Or fearing else some messenger, that might her mind discover,
Herself hath taught her love himself to write unto her lover.
All this I speak in print, for in print I found it.-Why muse you, sir? 'tis dinner time.
Val. I have dined.
Speed. Ay, but hearken, sir; though the cameleon Love can feed on the air, I am one that am nourished by my victuals, and would fain have meat; O, be not Like your mistress; be moved, be moved. [Exeunt. SCENE II.-Verona. A Room in Julia's House. Enter PROTEUS and JULIA.
Pro. Have patience, gentle Julia.
Pro. When possibly I can, I will return.
Jul. If you turn not, you will return the sooner: Keep this remembrance for thy Julia's sake.
(Giving a ring.) Pro. Why then we'll make exchange; here, take you this.
Jul. And seal the bargain with a holy kiss.
Pro. Here is my hand for my true constancy;
Pan. Sir Proteus, you are staid for.
Alas! this parting strikes poor lovers dumb.
SCENE III.-The same. A Street.
Enter LAUNCE, leading a dog.
Lawn. Nay, 'twill be this hour ere I have done weeping: all the kind of the Launces have this very fait I have received my proportion, like the pro
s son, and am going with Sir Protens to the Lerial's court. I think, Crab my dog be the arest-natured dog that lives: my mother weeping, My father wailing, my sister crying, our maid howling, ar cat wringing her hands, and all our house in a rat perplexity, yet did not this cruel-hearted cur ard one tear; he is, a stone, a very pebble-stone, has no more pity in him than a dog: a Jew would have wept to have seen our parting; why, my grandam sing no eyes, look you, wept herself blind at my parting. Nay, I'll show you the manner of it: This shoe is my father;-no, this left shoe is my father;o, no, this left shoe is my mother;-Day, that cannot be so neither;-yes, it is so, it is so; it hath the Worser sole: this shoe, with the hole in it, is my Ger, and this my father; a vengeance on't! there : bow, sir, this staff is my sister; for, look you, she is as white as a lily, and as small as a wand:
bat is Nan, our maid; I am the dog-no, the dogs himself, and I am the dog,-O, the dog is me, and I am myself; ay, so, so. Now come I to my father; Father, your blessing; now should not the e speak a word for weeping; now should I kiss my father; well, he weeps on:-now come I to my mer, O, that she could speak now!) like a good wanwell, I kiss her;-why, there 'tis; here's By mother's breath up and down; now come I to my ter; mark the moan she makes: now, the dog all while sheds not a tear, nor speaks a word; but see how I lay the dust with my tears.
the matter? why weep'st thou, man? Away, ass; you will lose the tide, if you tarry any longer. Laun. It is no matter if the ty'd were lost; for it is the unkindest ty'd that ever any man ty'd. Pan. What's the unkindest tide?
Laun. Why, he that's ty'd here; Crab, my dog. Pan. Tut, man, I mean thou'lt lose the flood: and, in losing the flood, lose thy voyage; and, in losing thy voyage, lose thy master, and, in losing thy master, lose thy service; and, in losing thy service,-Why dost thou stop my mouth?
Laun. For fear thou should'st lose thy tongue.
Pan. In thy tail?
Laun. Lose the tide, and the voyage, and the master, and the service? The tide!-Why, man, if the river were dry, I am able to fill it with my tears; if the wind were down, I could drive the boat with my sighs.
[thee. Pan. Come, come away, man; I was sent to call Laun. Sir, call me what thou darest. Pan. Wilt thou go?
Laun. Well, I will go.
Thu. What seem I, that I am not?
Thu. What instance of the contrary?
Thu. And how quote you my folly?
Val. Well, then, I'll double your folly.
[colour? Sil. What, angry, sir Thurio? do you change Val. Give him leave, madam; he is a kind of cameleon.
Thu. That hath more mind to feed on your blood, than live in your air.
Val. You have said, sir.
Thu. Ay, sir, and done too, for this time. Val. I know it well, sir; you always end ere you begin.
Sil. A fine volley of words, gentlemen, and quickly shot off.
Val. Tis indeed, madam; we thank the giver. Sil. Who is that, servant?
Val. Yourself, sweet lady; for you gave the fire sir Thurio borrows his wit from your ladyship's looks, and spends what he borrows, kindly in your company.
Thu. Sir, if you spend word for word with me, I shall make your wit bankrupt.
Val. I know it well, sir; you have an exchequer of words, and, I think, no other treasure to give your followers; for it appears by their bare liveries, that they live by your bare words. [father.
Sil. No more, gentlemen, no more; here comes my
Duke. Now, daughter Silvia, you are hard beset. Sir Valentine, your father's in good health What say you to a letter from your friends Of much good news?