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  • Title: Two Gentlemen of Verona (Modern)
  • Editor: Melissa Walter

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Melissa Walter
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Two Gentlemen of Verona (Modern)

    The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
    Enter Valentine and Proteus.
    Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus;
    5Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits,
    Wer't not affection chains thy tender days
    To the sweet glances of thy honored love,
    I rather would entreat thy company
    To see the wonders of the world abroad
    10Than, living dully sluggardized at home,
    Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.
    But since thou lov'st, love still, and thrive therein,
    Even as I would, when I to love begin.
    Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu.
    15Think on thy Proteus when thou haply seest
    Some rare noteworthy object in thy travel.
    Wish me partaker in thy happiness
    When thou dost meet good hap, and in thy danger,
    If ever danger do environ thee,
    20Commend thy grievance to my holy prayers,
    For I will be thy beadsman, Valentine.
    And on a love-book pray for my success?
    Upon some book I love, I'll pray for thee.
    That's on some shallow story of deep love,
    25How young Leander crossed the Hellespont.
    That's a deep story of a deeper love,
    For he was more then over-shoes in love.
    'Tis true, for you are over-boots in love,
    And yet you never swom the Hellespont.
    Over the boots? Nay, give me not the boots.
    No, I will not, for it boots thee not.
    To be in love, where scorn is bought with groans;
    Coy looks, with heart-sore sighs; one fading moments mirth,
    35With twenty watchfull, weary, tedious nights.
    If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain;
    If lost, why then a grievous labor won;
    However, but a folly bought with wit,
    Or else a wit, by folly vanquishèd.
    So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.
    So, by your circumstance, I fear you'll prove.
    'Tis Love you cavil at. I am not Love.
    Love is your master, for he masters you;
    And he that is so yoked by a fool,
    45Methinks should not be chronicled for wise.
    Yet writers say, as in the sweetest bud
    The eating canker dwells, so eating Love
    Inhabits in the finest wits of all.
    And writers say, as the most forward bud
    50Is eaten by the canker ere it blow,
    Even so by Love, the young and tender wit
    Is turned to folly, blasting in the bud,
    Losing his verdure, even in the prime,
    And all the fair effects of future hopes.
    55But wherefore waste I time to counsel thee
    That art a votary to fond desire?
    Once more, adieu. My father at the road
    Expects my coming, there to see me shipped.
    And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.
    Sweet Proteus, no. Now let us take our leave.
    To Milan let me hear from thee by letters
    Of thy success in love, and what news else
    Betideth here in absence of thy friend,
    And I likewise will visit thee with mine.
    All happiness bechance to thee in Milan.
    As much to you at home, and so farewell.
    Exit [Valentine].
    He after honor hunts, I after love:
    He leaves his friends to dignify them more;
    I leave my self, my friends, and all for love.
    70Thou Julia, thou hast metamorphosed 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.
    [Enter Speed.]
    Sir Proteus, 'save you. Saw you my master?
    But now he parted hence to embark for Milan.
    Twenty to one, then, he is shipped already,
    And I have played the sheep in losing him.
    Indeed a sheep doth very often stray
    An if the shepherd be awhile away.
    You conclude that my master is a shepherd, then, and I a sheep?
    I do.
    Why then my horns are his horns, whether I wake or sleep.
    A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep.
    This proves me still a sheep.
    True, and thy master a shepherd.
    Nay, that I can deny by a circumstance.
    It shall go hard but I'll prove it by another.
    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.
    The sheep for fodder follow the shepherd, the shepherd for food follows not the sheep; thou 95for wages followest thy master, thy master for wages follows not thee. Therefore thou art a sheep.
    Such another proof will make me cry "baa."
    But dost thou hear? Gav'st thou my letter to Julia?
    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 labor.
    Here's too small a pasture for such store of muttons.
    If the ground be overcharged, you were best stick her.
    Nay, in that you are astray; 'twere best pound you.
    Nay Sir, less than a pound shall serve me for car110rying your letter.
    You mistake; I mean the pound, a pinfold.
    From a pound to a pin? Fold it over and over, 'tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your lover.
    But what said she?
    [Nods.] Ay.
    Nod-ay, why that's "noddy."
    You mistook, Sir. I say she did nod; and you ask me if she did nod, and I say Ay.
    And that set together is "noddy."
    Now you have taken the pains to set it together, take it for your pains.
    No, no, you shall have it for bearing the letter.
    Well, I perceive I must be fain to bear with you.
    Why Sir, how do you bear with me?
    Marry Sir, the letter very orderly, having nothing but the word noddy for my pains.
    Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.
    And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse.
    Come, come, open the matter in brief; what 130said she?
    Open your purse, that the money and the matter may be both at once delivered.
    Well, sir, here is for your pains. [Gives a coin to Proteus.] What said she?
    [Considers coin.] Truly, sir, I think you'll hardly win her.
    Why? Could'st thou perceive so much from her?
    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 your mind.
    140Give her no token but stones, for she's as hard as steel.
    What said she, nothing?
    No, not so much as take this for thy pains. To testify your bounty, I thank you, you have testerned me; in requital whereof, henceforth, carry your letters your145self. And so, sir, I'll commend you to my master.
    [Exit Speed.]
    Go, go, be gone, to save your ship from wrack,
    Which cannot perish having thee aboard,
    Being destined to a drier death on shore.
    I must go send some better messenger.
    150I fear my Julia would not deign my lines,
    Receiving them from such a worthless post.