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The Two GentLEMEN OF Verona' was first printed Verona' “ simple and unaffected." It was opposed to in the folio collection of Shakspere's plays, edited by Shakspere's later style, which is teeming with allusion John Heminge and Henry Condell, and published in upon allusion. With the exception of the few obsolete 1623, seven years after bis death. The text is singu- words, and the unfamiliar application of words still in larly correct. There are not more than half a dozen use, this comedy has a very modern air. The thoughts passages of any real importance upon which a doubt are natural and obvious, the images familiar and general. can be entertained, if printed according to the original. The most celebrated passages have a character of grace It is
, in all probability, a play written very early in rather than of beauty; the elegance of a youthful poet Shakspere's life.
aiming to be correct. Johnson considered this comedy The scene of this play is, in the first act, at Verona, to be wanting in “diversity of character." The action, and afterwards chiefly at Milan. The action is not it must be observed, is mainly sustained by Proteus founded upon any historical event. The one historical and Valentine, and by Julia and Silvia; and the confact mentioned in this play is that of the emperor duct of the plot is relieved by the familiar scenes in holding his court at Milan, which was under the which Speed and Launce appear. The other actors goverument of a duke, who was a vassal of the empire. are very subordinate, and we scarcely demand any Assuming that this fact prescribes a limit to the period great diversity of character amongst them ; but it apof the action, we must necessarily place that period at pears to us, with regard to Proteus and Valentine, least half a century before the date of the composition Julia and Silvia, Speed and Launce, that the characters of this drama.
are exibited, as it were, in pairs, upon a principle of Pope calls the style of The Two Gentlemen of very detined though delicate coatrast.
TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA.
Duke, father to Silvia.
Act IV. s.l. Act V. sc. 4.
ANTONIO, father to Proteus.
Appears, Act I. sc. 3.
Thurio, rival to Valentine.
Act V. sc. 2; sc. 4.
Appears, Act IV. sc. 3. Act V. sc. 1.
SPEED, sertant to Valentine.
Act IV. sc. I.
LAUNCE, servant to Proteus.
PANTHINO, servant to Antonio.
Appears, Act IV. sc. 2.
OUTLAWs with Valentine.
Julia, beloved of Proteus.
Act V. sc. 2; sc. 4.
Silvia, beloved of Valentine.
Act V. se. 1 ; se. 3; sc. 4.
SCENE,—IN VERONA, IN MILAN, AND ON THE
ONTIERS OF MANTUA.
SCENE I.--An open place in Verona.
Enter VALENTINE and Proteus.
Pro. Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu!
Val. And on a love-bouk pray for my success ?
Val. That's on some shallow story of deep love,
Pro. That's a deep story of a deeper love;
Val. 'T is true; for you are over boots in love,
Nay, give me not the boots. It is concluded that the allu. viru is to the instrument of torture called the boots.
Val. No, I will not, for it boots thee not.
Pro. So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.
Val. Love is your master, for he masters you :
Pro. Yet writers say, as in the sweetest bud
Val. And writers say, as the most forward bud
Circumstance. Proteus employs the word in the meaning of circumstantial deduction ;-Valentine in that of position.
Pro. And thither will I bring thee, Valentine. Speed. Marry, sir, the letter very orderly; having
Val. Sweet Proteus, no; now let us take our leave. nothing but the word, noddy, for my pains. To Milan let me hear from thee by letters,
Pro. Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit. Of thy success in love, and what news else
Speed. And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse. Betideth here in absence of thy friend;
Pro. Come, come, open the matter in brief : what And I likewise will visit thee with mine.
said she? Pro. All happiness bechance to thee in Milan! Speed. Open your purse, that the money, and the Val. As much to you at home! and so, farewell. matter, may be both at once delivered.
[Exit VALENTINE. Pro. Well, here is for your pains: What said she? Pro. He after honour hunts, I after love :
Speed. Truly, sir, I think you 'll hardly win her. He leaves his friends to dignify them more;
Pro. Why? Couldst thou perceive so much from her? I leave myself, my friends, and all for love.
Speed. Sir, I could perceive nothing at all from her; Thou, Julia, thou hast metamorphos'd me;
no, not so much as a ducat for delivering your letter: Made me neglect my studies, lose my time,
And being so hard to me that brought your mind, I War with good counsel, set the world at nought; fear she 'll prove as hard to you in telling your mind. Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with thought. 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 Speed. Sir Proteus, save you : Saw you my master ? pains." To testify your bounty, I thank you, you have Pro. But now he parted hence, to embark for Milan. testern'd« me; in requital whereof, henceforth carry
Speed. Twenty to one then he is shipp'd already; your letters yourself: and so, sir, I'll commend you And I have play'd the sheep a in losing him.
to my master. Pro. Indeed a sheep doth very often stray,
Pro. Go, go, be gone, to save your ship from wrack; An if the shepherd be awhile away.
Which cannot perish, having thee aboard, Speed. You conclude that my master is a shepherd Being destin'd to a drier death on shore : then, and I a sheep?
I must go find some better messenger; Pro. I do.
I fear my Julia would not deign my lines, Speed. Why, then my horns are his horns, whether I Receiving them from such a worthless post. (Exeunt. wake or sleep.
SCENE II.-The same. Pro. A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep.
Garden of Julia's House. Speed. This proves me still a sheep.
Enter Julia and LUCETTA. Pro. True ; and thy master a shepherd.
Jul. But say, Lucetta, now we are alone, Speed. Nay, that I can deny by a circumstance. Wouldst thou then counsel me to fall in love? Pro. It shall go hard but I 'll prove it by another. Luc. Ay, madam ; so you stumble not unheedfully.
Speed. The shepherd seeks the sheep, and not the Jul. Of all the fair resort of gentlemen, sheep the shepherd; but I seek my master, and my That every day with parle encounter me, master seeks not me : therefore, I am no sheep. In thy opinion, which is worthiest love?
Pro. The sheep for fodder follow the shepherd, the Luc. Please you, repeat their names, I 'll show my shepherd for food follows not the sheep; thou for wages
mind followest thy master, thy master for wages follows not According to my shallow simple skill. thee : therefore, thou art a sheep.
Jul. What think'st thou of the fair sir Eglamour ? Speed. Such another proof will make me cry baa. Luc. As of a knight well-spoken, neat and fine;
Pro. But dost thou hear ? gav'st thou my letter to But, were I you, he never should be mine. Julia ?
Jul. What think'st thou of the rich Mercatio? Speed. Ay, sir; I, a lost mutton, gave your letter to Luc. Well of his wealth ; but of himself, so, so. her, a laced mutton; and she, a laced mutton, gave Jul. What think'st thou of the gentle Proteus ? me, a lost mutton, nothing for my labour !
Luc. Lord, Lord! to see what folly reigns in us ! Pro. Here 's too small a pasture for such store of Jul. How now! what means this passion at his name? muttons.
Luc. Pardon, dear madam; 't is a passing shame, Speed. If the ground be overcharged, you were best That I, unworthy body as I am, stick her.
Should censureb thus on lovely gentlemen. Pro. Nay, in that you are astray ;b 't were best Jul. Why not on Proteus, as of all the rest ? pound you.
Luc. Then thus: ot' many good I think him best. Speed. Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve me Jul. Your reason? for carrying your letter.
Luc. I have no other but a woman's reason ; Pro. You mistake; I mean the pound, a pinfold. I think him so, because I think him so.
Speed. From a pound to a pin? fold it over and over, Jul. And wouldst thou have me cast my love on him? 'T is threefold too little for carrying a letter to your Luc. Ay, if you thought your love not cast away. lover.
Jul. Why, he of all the rest hath never mov'd me. Pro. But what said she ? did she nod ? SPEED nods. Luc. Yet he of all the rest, I think, best loves ye. Speed. I.C
Jul. His little speaking shows his love but small. Pro. Nod, I; why, that 's noddy.
Luc. Fire that 's closest kept bums most of all. Speed. You mistook, sir; I say, she did nod : and Jul. They do not love that do not show their love. you ask me if she did nod; and I say, I.
Luc. O, they love least that let men know their love Pro. And that set together is--noddy.
Jul. I would I knew his mind. Speed. Now you have taken the pains to set it to- Luc.
Peruse this paper, madam gether, take it for your pains.
Jul. “To Julia," --Say, from whom?
That the contents will show.
Luc. Sir Valentine's page; and sent, I think, fro:n
Proteus : Sheep is pronounced ship in many English counties. 5 Astray. The adjective here should be read " a stray''-a
• You have testern'd me. A verb is here made out of the stray sheep
name of a coin-the tester. • I-the old spelling of the affirmative particle 4y.
Censure-gire an opinion.
He would have given it you, but I, being in the way, Jul. The mean is drown'd with your unruly base.
Jul. This babble shall not henceforth trouble me. Dare you presume to harbour wanton lines?
Here is a coil with protestation !- [Tears the letter. To whisper and conspire against my youth ?
Go, get you gone; and let the papers lie: Now, trust me, 't is an office of great worth,
You would be fingering them, to anger me. And you an officer fit for the place.
Luc. She makes it strange ; but she would be best pleas d There, take the paper, see it be return'd;
To be so anger'd with another letter.
[Exit. Oz else return no more into my sight.
Jul. Nay, would I were so anger'd with the same ! Lut. To plead for love deserves more fee than hate. O hateful hands, to tear such loving words ! Jui. Will you be gone?
Injurious wasps ! to feed on such sweet honey, Luc.
That you may ruminate. [Erit. And kill the bees, that yield it, with your stings! Jul. And yet, I would I had o'erlook'd the letter, I 'll kiss each several paper for amends. It were a shame to call her back again,
Look, here is writ—“kind Julia ;"—unkind Julia: And pray ber to a fault for which I chid her,
As in revenge of thy ingratitude, What fool is she, that knows I am a maid,
I throw thy name against the bruising stones, And would not force the letter to my view!
Trampling contemptuously on thy disdain. Since maids, in modesty, say “No” to that
And, here is writ—" love-wounded Proteus :"Which they would have the profferer construe “ Ay." Poor wounded name! my bosom, as a bed, Fie, tie! how wayward is this foolish love,
Shall lodge thee, till thy wound be throughly heald, That, like a testy babe, will scratch the nurse, And thus I search it with a sovereign kiss. And presently, all humbled, kiss the rod!
But twice, or thrice, was Proteus written down : How charlishly I chid Lucetta hence,
Be calm, good wind, blow not a word away, When willingly I would have had her here !
Till I have found each letter in the letter, Hot angerly. I taught my brow to frown,
Except mine own name: that some whirlwind bear When inward joy enforc'd my heart to smile!
Unto a ragged, fearful, hanging rock, My penance is, to call Lucetta back,
And throw it thence into the raging sea! And ask remission for my folly past :
Lo, here in one line is his name twice writWhat ho! Lucetta!
“ Poor forlorn Proteus, passionate Proteus,
To the sweet Julia ;" that I 'll tear away;
And yet I will not, sith so prettily
What would your ladyship? He couples it to his complaining names ;
Thus will I fold them one upon another :
Now kiss, embrace, contend, do what you will.
Re-enter LUCETTA. And not upon your maid.
Luc. Madam, dinner is ready, and your father stays, Jul What is 't that you
Jul. Well, let us go. Took up so gingerly?
Luc. What, shall these papers lie like tell-tales here! Lu. Nothing.
Jul. If you respect them, best to take them up. Jui.
Why didst thou stoop then? Luc. Nay, I was taken up for laying them down • Lau. To take a paper up that I let fall.
Yet here they shall not lie, for catching cold. • Jul. And is that paper nothing ?
Jul. I see you have a month's mind to them. Nothing concerning me. Luc. Ay, madam, you may say what sights you see ; Jul. Then let it lie for those that it concerns. I see things too, although you judge I wink.
Luz. Madam, it will not lie where it concerns, Jul. Come, come, will 't please you go? [Exeunt
SCENE III.-The same. A Room in Antonio's
Enter ANTONIO and PANTHINO.
Wherewith my brother held you in the cloister ? Ln. It is too heavy for so light a tune.
Pan. 'T was of his nephew Proteus, your son. Jul. Heary? belike it hath some burthen then. Ant. Why, what of him? Lut. Ay; and melodious were it, would you sing it. Pan.
He wonder'd that your lordship Jul. And why not you !
Would suffer him to spend his youth at home;
I cannot reach so high. While other men, of slender reputation,
Luc. Keep tune there still, so you will sing it out: Some, to the wars, to try their fortune there;
Some, to discover islands far away; Ju. You do not?
Some, to the studious universities. Luc. No, madam; 't is too sharp.
For any, or for all these exercises, Jul. You, ininion, are too saucy.
He said that Proteus, your son, was meet:
And did request me to importune you,
Which would be great impeachment to his age,
In having known no travel in his youth. Asgerly, not angrily, was the adrerb used in Shakspere's Ant. Nor need'st thou much importune me to that • Sweach is here used in the double sense of appetite, and
Whereon this month I have been hammering. obstaes, or ill-temper:
I have consider'd well his loss of time; • Set-core pose. Julia plays upon the word in the next line, And how he cannot be a perfect man, in a different sense,-to" set by being to make account of. • Ligás o love-the name of a dance tune.
• Lucetta here turns the allusion to the country game of base, • Descrat. The simple air, in music, was called the " plain or prison-base. ng" ground. The "descant'' was what we now call a 6. For catching cold-lest they shonld catch cold. Tariation."
Mean the tenor.