Page images

For, in revenge of my contempt of love,
Love hath chased sleep from my enthralléd

eyes, And made them watchers of mine own heart's


0, gentle Proteus, love 's a mighty lord;
And hath so humbled me, as, I confess,
There is no woe to his correction,
Nor, to his service, no such joy on earth!
Now, no discourse, except it be of love;
Now can I break my fast, dine, sup, and sleep,
Upon the very naked name of love.

Pro. Enough; I read your fortune in your eye: Was this the idol that you worship so?

Val. Even she; and is she not a heavenly saint?
Pro. No; but she is an earthly paragon.
Val. Call her divine.
Pro. I will not flatter her.
Val. O, flatter me; for love delights in praises.

Pro. When I was sick, you gave me bitter pills; And I must minister the like to you.

Val. Then speak the truth by her; if not divine, Yet let her be a principality, Sovereign to all the creatures on the earth.

Pro. Except my mistress.

Val. Sweet, except not any; Except thou wilt except against my love.

Pro. Have I not reason to prefer mine own?

Val. And I will help thee to prefer her too : She shall be dignified with this high honour,To bear my lady's train ; lest the base earth Should from her vesture chance to steal a kiss, And, of so great a favour growing proud, Disdain to root the summer-swelling flower, And make rough winter everlastingly.

Pro. Why, Valentine, what braggardism is this?

Val. Pardon me, Proteus: all I can, is nothing To her, whose worth makes other worthies no

thing; She is alone.

Pro. Then let her alone.
Val. Not for the world: why, man, she is mine

own ;
And I as rich in having such a jewel,
As twenty seas, if all their sands were pearl,
The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold.
Forgive me that I do not dream on thee,
Because thou seest me dote upon my love.
My foolish rival, that her father likes
Only for his possessions are so huge,
Is gone with her along; and I must after,
For love thou know'st is full of jealousy.

Pro. But she loves you ?

Ay, and we are betrothed :
Nay, more, our marriage hour,
With all the cunning manner of our flight,
Determined of: how I must climb her window;
The ladder made of cords; and all the means

Plotted, and 'greed on, for my happiness.
Good Proteus, go with me to my chamber,
In these affairs to aid me with thy counsel.

Pro. Go on before ; I shall enquire you forth :
I must unto the road, to disembark
Some necessaries that I needs must use;
And then I 'll presently attend you.

Val. Will you make haste ?
Pro. I will.-

Even as one heat another heat expels,
Or as one nail by strength drives out another,
So the remembrance of my former love
Is by a newer object quite forgotten.
Is it her mien, or Valentinus' praise,
Her true perfection, or my false transgression,
That makes me, reasonless, to reason thus ?
She's fair; and so is Julia, that I love ;-
That I did love, for now my love is thawed;
Which, like a waxen image 'gainst a fire,
Bears no impression of the thing it was.
Methinks my zeal to Valentine is cold;
And that I love him not, as I was wont :
O! but I love his lady too, too much;
And that's the reason I love him so little.
How shall I dote on her with more advice,
That thus without advice begin to love her!
"T is but her picture I have yet beheld,
And that hath dazzled my reason's light ;
But when I look on her perfections,
There is no reason but I shall be blind.
If I can check my erring love I will ;
If not, to compass her I 'll use my skill. [Exit.

[blocks in formation]

Enter SPEED and LAUNCE. Speed. Launce ! by mine honesty, welcome to Milan.

Laun. Forswear not thyself, sweet youth; for I am not welcome. I reckon this always—that a man is never undone, till he be hanged; nor welcome to a place, till some certain shot be paid, and the hostess say, welcome.

Speed. Come on, you mad-cap, I'll to the alehouse with you presently; where, for one shot of five-pence, thou shalt have five thousand welcomes. But, sirrah, how did thy master part with Madam Julia?

Laun. Marry, after they closed in earnest, they parted very fairly in jest.

Speed. But shall she marry him?
Laun. No.
Speed. How then? shall he marry her?
Laun. No, neither.
Speed. What, are they broken?

Laun. No, they are both as whole as a fish.

Speed. Why then, how stands the matter with them?

Laun. Marry, thus; when it stands well with him, it stands well with her.

Speed. What an ass art thou! I understand thee


Laun. What a block art thou, that thou canst not! My staff understands me.

Speed. What thou say'st?

Laun. Ay, and what I do, too : look thee, I 'll but lean, and my staff understands me.

Speed. It stands under thee, indeed.
Laun. Why, stand under and understand is all


Speed. But tell me true, will 't be a match ?

Laun. Ask my dog : if he say, ay, it will; if he say, no, it will; if he shake his tail, and say nothing, it will.

Speed. The conclusion is then, that it will.

Laun. Thou shalt never get such a secret from me, but by a parable.

Speed. 'Tis well that I get it so. But, Launce, how say'st thou, that my master is become a notable lover?

Laun. I never knew him otherwise.
Speed. Than how?

Laun. A notable lubber, as thou reportest him to be.

Speed. Why, thou whoreson ass, thou mistakest

Teach me, thy tempted subject, to excuse it.
At first I did adore a twinkling star,
But now I worship a celestial sun.
Unheedful vows may heedfully be broken;
And he wants wit, that wants resolved will
To learn his wit to change the bad for better.—
Fye, fye, unreverend tongue! to call her bad,
Whose sovereignty so oft thou hast preferred
With twenty thousand soul-confirming oaths.
I cannot leave to love, and yet I do;
But there I leave to love, where I should love.
Julia I lose, and Valentine I lose :
If I keep them, I needs must lose myself;
If I lose them, thus find I by their loss,
For Valentine, myself: for Julia, Silvia.
I to myself am dearer than a friend;
For love is still most precious in itself;
And Silvia, witness heaven, that made her fair!
Shews Julia but a swarthy Ethiope.
I will forget that Julia is alive,
Rememb’ring that my love to her is dead;
And Valentine I 'll hold an enemy,
Aiming at Silvia as a sweeter friend.
I cannot now prove constant to myself,
Without some treachery used to Valentine :
This night he meaneth, with a corded ladder,
To climb celestial Silvia's chamber-window;
Myself in counsel his competitor :
Now presently I 'll give her father notice
Of their disguising, and pretended flight;
Who, all enraged, will banish Valentine ;
For Thurio, he intends, shall wed his daughter:
But, Valentine being gone, I 'll quickly cross,
By some sly trick, blunt Thurio’s dull proceeding.
Love, lend me wings to make my purpose swift,
As thou hast lent me wit to plot this drift. (Exit.


Laun. Why fool, I meant not thee, I meant thy master.

Speed. I tell thee, my master is become a hot lover.

Laun. Why, I tell thee, I care not though he burn himself in love. If thou wilt go with me to the ale-house, so; if not, thou art an Hebrew, a Jew, and not worth the name of a Christian.

Speed. Why?

Laun. Because thou hast not so much charity in thee, as to go to the ale with a Christian : Wilt

Scene VII.-Verona. A Room in Julia's House.

thou go?

Speed. At thy service.


SCENE VI.-The same. A Room in the Palace.


Enter PROTEUS. Pro. To leave my Julia, shall I be forsworn; To love fair Silvia, shall I be forsworn; To wrong my friend, I shall be much forsworn; And even that power which gave me first my oath Provokes me to this threefold perjury. Love bade me swear, and love bids me forswear: O sweet-suggesting love, if thou hast sinned,

Enter Julia and LUCETTA. Jul. Counsel, Lucetta; gentle girl, assist me! And, even in kind love, I do cónjure thee,Who art the table wherein all my thoughts Are visibly charáctered and engraved, To lesson me; and tell me some good mean, with my honour, I

may undertake A journey to my loving Proteus.

Luc. Alas! the way is wearisome and long.

Jul. A true-devoted pilgrim is not weary To measure kingdoms with his feeble steps; Much less shall she, that hath love's wings to

fly; And when the flight is made to one so dear, Of such divine perfection, as Sir Proteus.

Luc. Better forbear, till Proteus make return. Luc. You must needs have them with a cod

piece, madam. Jul. Out, out, Lucetta! that will be ill-favoured. Luc. A round hose, madam, now's not worth a

pin, Unless you have a cod-piece to stick pins on.

Jul. Lucetta, as thou lov'st me, let me have What thou think'st meet, and is most mannerly: But tell me, wench, how will the world repute me, For undertaking so unstaid a journey ? I fear me, it will make me scandalised.

Luc. If you think so, then stay at home, and go


Jul. O, know'st thou not, his looks are my soul's

food ? Pity the dearth that I have pinéd in, By longing for that food so long a time. Didst thou but know the inly touch of love, Thou wouldst as soon go kindle fire with snow, As seek to quench the fire of love with words.

Luc. I do not seek to quench your love's hot fire; But qualify the fire's extreme rage, Lest it should burn above the bounds of reason. Jul. The more thou damm'st it up, the more

it burns. The current that with gentle murmur glides, Thou know'st, being stopped, impatiently doth

rage; But when his fair course is not hinderéd, He makes sweet music with the enamelled stones, Giving a gentle kiss to every sedge He overtaketh in his pilgrimage; And so by many winding nooks he strays, With willing sport, to the wild ocean. Then let me go, and hinder not my course : I'll be as patient as a gentle stream, And make a pastime of each weary step, Till the last step have brought me to my love; And there I 'll rest, as, after much turmoil, A blesséd soul doth in Elysium.

Luc. But in what habit will you go along ?

Jul. Not like a woman; for I would prevent The loose encounters of lascivious men: Gentle Lucetta, fit me with such weeds As may beseem some well-reputed page. Luc. Why then, your ladyship must cut your

hair. Jul. No, girl; I'll knit it up in silken strings, With twenty odd-conceited true-love knots : To be fantastic, may become a youth Of greater time than I shall shew to be. Luc. What fashion, madam, shall I make your

breeches? Jul. That fits as well as—"Tell me, good my lord, What

compass you wear your farthingale?' Why, even that fashion thou best lik’st, Lucetta.

Jul. Nay, that I will not.

Luc. Then never dream on infamy, but go. If Proteus like your journey, when you come, No matter who's displeased when you are gone: I fear me he will scarce be pleased withal.

Jul. That is the least, Lucetta, of my fear.
A thousand oaths, an ocean of his tears,
And instances as infinite of love,
Warrant me welcome to my Proteus.

Luc. All these are servants to deceitful men.

Jul. Base men, that use them to so base effect! But truer stars did govern Proteus' birth : His words are bonds, his oaths are oracles; His love sincere, his thoughts immaculate; His tears, pure messengers sent from his heart; His heart as far from fraud, as heaven from earth. Luc. Pray heaven, he prove so, when you come

to him! Jul. Now, as thou lov'st me, do him not that

wrong, To bear a hard opinion of his truth; Only deserve my love, by loving him; And presently go with me to my chamber, To take a note of what I stand in need of, To furnish me upon my longing journey, All that is mine I leave at thy dispose, My goods, my lands, my reputation; Only, in lieu thereof, despatch me hence: Come; answer not, but to it presently; I am impatient of my tarriance. Exeunt.




Scene. I.-Milan. An Ante-room in the Duke's

Palace. Enter Duke, 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? Pro. My gracious lord, that which I would dis

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


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.
Pro. Know, noble lord, they have devised a

How he her chamber-window will ascerid,
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 aiméd 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. Pro. Adieu, my lord; Sir Valentine is coming.

[Exit. Enter VALENTINE. Duke. Sir Valentine, whither away so fast?

Val. 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?

Val. The tenor of them doth but signify My health, and happy being at your court. Duke. Nay, then no matter; stay with me a

while; I am to break with thee of some affairs, That touch me near, wherein thou must be secret. 'T is not unknown to thee, that I have sought To match my friend, Sir Thurio, to my daughter.

l'al. 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

And, may

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. Val. 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.

Val. 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? Val. 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


Beseeming such a wife as your fair daughter :
Cannot your grace win her to fancy him?
Duke. No, trust me; she is peevish, sullen, fro-

Proud, disobedient, stubborn, lacking duty;
Neither regarding that she is my child,
Nor fearing me as if I were her father :

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.
Val. What would your grace have me to do in

this? Duke. There is a lady, sir, in Milan, here, Whom I affect; but she is nice, and coy, And nought 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.

Val. 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.
Val. 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, 't is not in hate of you,
But rather to beget more love in you:
If she do chide, 't is 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.

Val. 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. Val. What lets but one may enter at her win

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

Val. Why then, a ladder, quaintly made of cords,

l'al. Ay, my good lord.

Duke. Then let me see thy cloak: I'll get me one of such another length. Val. 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.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. [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,

Himselfwould 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:" 'T is so; and here's the ladder for the purpose.Why, Phaëton (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

« PreviousContinue »