The acclaimed Pelican Shakespeare series edited by A. R. Braunmuller and Stephen Orgel
 
The legendary Pelican Shakespeare series features authoritative and meticulously researched texts paired with scholarship by renowned Shakespeareans. Each book includes an essay on the theatrical world of Shakespeare’s time, an introduction to the individual play, and a detailed note on the text used. Updated by general editors Stephen Orgel and A. R. Braunmuller, these easy-to-read editions incorporate over thirty years of Shakespeare scholarship undertaken since the original series, edited by Alfred Harbage, appeared between 1956 and 1967. With definitive texts and illuminating essays, the Pelican Shakespeare will remain a valued resource for students, teachers, and theater professionals for many years to come.
 
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,800 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona

¥    I.1 [Enter] Valentine, [and] Proteus.

valentine

Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus;

Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits.

2

Were't not affection chains thy tender days

3

To the sweet glances of thy honored love,

I rather would entreat thy company

To see the wonders of the world abroad

Than, living dully sluggardized at home,

7

Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.

8

But since thou lov'st, love still, and thrive therein,

9

Even as I would when I to love begin.

10

proteus

Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu.

Think on thy Proteus, when thou haply seest

12

Some rare noteworthy object in thy travel.

Wish me partaker in thy happiness

When thou dost meet good hap; and in thy danger,

15

If ever danger do environ thee,

16

Commend thy grievance to my holy prayers,

17

For I will be thy beadsman, Valentine.

18

valentine

And on a love book pray for my success?

19

proteus

Upon some book I love I'll pray for thee.

20

valentine

That's on some shallow story of deep love,

How young Leander crossed the Hellespont.

22

proteus

That's a deep story of a deeper love,

For he was more than over shoes in love.

24

valentine

'Tis true, for you are over boots in love,

And yet you never swum the Hellespont.

proteus

Over the boots? Nay, give me not the boots.

27

valentine

No, I will not, for it boots thee not.

28

proteus     What?

valentine

To be in love, where scorn is bought with groans,

Coy looks with heartsore sighs, one fading moment's mirth

30

With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights.

31

If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain;

32

If lost, why then a grievous labor won;

However, but a folly bought with wit,

34

Or else a wit by folly vanquishd.

proteus

So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.

36

valentine

So, by your circumstance, I fear you'll prove.

37

proteus

'Tis Love you cavil at; I am not Love.

valentine

Love is your master, for he masters you;

And he that is so yokd by a fool

40

Methinks should not be chronicled for wise.

proteus

Yet writers say, as in the sweetest bud

The eating canker dwells, so eating love

43

Inhabits in the finest wits of all.

valentine

And writers say, as the most forward bud

45

Is eaten by the canker ere it blow,

46

Even so by love the young and tender wit

Is turned to folly, blasting in the bud,

48

Losing his verdure even in the prime,

49

And all the fair effects of future hopes.

50

But wherefore waste I time to counsel thee

That art a votary to fond desire?

52

Once more, adieu. My father at the road

53

Expects my coming, there to see me shipped.

54

proteus

And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.

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

58

Betideth here in absence of thy friend,

And I likewise will visit thee with mine.

60

proteus

All happiness bechance to thee in Milan!

61

valentine

As much to you at home! And so farewell.Exit.

proteus

He after honor hunts, I after love.

He leaves his friends to dignify them more;

64

I leave myself, my friends, and all for love.

65

Thou, Julia, thou hast metamorphosed me,

66

Made me neglect my studies, lose my time,

67

War with good counsel, set the world at nought;

68

Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with thought.

69

[Enter] Speed.

speed Sir Proteus, save you! Saw you my master?

70

proteus But now he parted hence to embark for Milan.

speed

Twenty to one then, he is shipped already,

And I have played the sheep in losing him.

73

proteus

Indeed, a sheep doth very often stray,

And if the shepherd be awhile away.

75

speed You conclude that my master is a shepherd then, and I a sheep?

proteus I do.

speed Why then my horns are his horns, whether I wake or sleep.

79

80

proteus A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep.

speed This proves me still a sheep.

proteus True, and thy master a shepherd.

speed Nay, that I can deny by a circumstance.

84

proteus It shall go hard but I'll prove it by another.

85

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.

proteus 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.

90

speed Such another proof will make me cry "baa."

proteus 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 labor.

96

97

proteus Here's too small a pasture for such store of muttons.

99

100

speed If the ground be overcharged, you were best stick her.

101

proteus Nay, in that you are astray; 'twere best pound you.

103

speed Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve me for carrying your letter.

proteus You mistake; I mean the pound-a pinfold.

107

speed

From a pound to a pin? Fold it over and over,

108

'Tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your lover.

proteus But what said she?

110

speed [Nodding] Ay.

proteus Nod, "ay"? Why, that's noddy.

112

speed You mistook, sir. I say she did nod, and you ask me if she did nod, and I say "Ay."

proteus And that set together is "noddy."

speed Now you have taken the pains to set it together, take it for your pains.

proteus No, no. You shall have it for bearing the letter.

speed Well, I perceive I must be fain to bear with you.

119

proteus Why, sir, how do you bear with me?

120

speed Marry, sir, the letter very orderly, having nothing but the word "noddy" for my pains.

121

proteus Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.

123

speed And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse.

proteus Come, come, open the matter in brief. What said she?

125

speed Open your purse, that the money and the matter may be both at once delivered.

proteus [Giving him money] Well, sir, here is for your pains. What said she?

130

speed Truly, sir, I think you'll hardly win her.

131

proteus Why, couldst 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 your mind. Give her no token but stones, for she's as hard as steel.

134

135

136

137

proteus What, said she nothing?

speed 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 yourself. And so, sir, I'll commend you to my master.

140

proteus

Go, go, be gone, to save your ship from wrack,

143

Which cannot perish having thee aboard,

Being destined to a drier death on shore.[Exit Speed.]

145

I must go send some better messenger.

I fear my Julia would not deign my lines,

147

Receiving them from such a worthless post.Exit.

148

*

¥    I.2 Enter Julia and Lucetta.

julia

But say, Lucetta, now we are alone,

Wouldst thou then counsel me to fall in love?

lucetta

Ay, madam, so you stumble not unheedfully.

3

julia

Of all the fair resort of gentlemen

4

That every day with parle encounter me,

5

In thy opinion which is worthiest love?

lucetta

Please you repeat their names, I'll show my mind

According to my shallow simple skill.

julia

What think'st thou of the fair Sir Eglamour?

9

lucetta

As of a knight well-spoken, neat and fine;

10

But were I you, he never should be mine.

julia

What think'st thou of the rich Mercatio?

12

lucetta

Well of his wealth, but of himself, so-so.

julia

What think'st thou of the gentle Proteus?

lucetta

Lord, Lord, to see what folly reigns in us!

julia

How now? What means this passion at his name?

16

lucetta

Pardon, dear madam, 'tis a passing shame

17

That I, unworthy body as I am,

Should censure thus on lovely gentlemen.

19

julia

Why not on Proteus, as of all the rest?

20

lucetta

Then thus: of many good I think him best.

julia

Your reason?

lucetta

I have no other but a woman's reason:

I think him so because I think him so.

julia

And wouldst thou have me cast my love on him?

lucetta

Ay, if you thought your love not cast away.

julia

Why, he, of all the rest, hath never moved me.

27

lucetta

Yet he, of all the rest, I think best loves ye.

julia

His little speaking shows his love but small.

lucetta

Fire that's closest kept burns most of all.

30

julia

They do not love that do not show their love.

lucetta

O, they love least that let men know their love.

julia

I would I knew his mind.

lucetta

Peruse this paper, madam.

[Gives a letter.]

julia

"To Julia"-say from whom.

lucetta

That the contents will show.

julia

Say, say. Who gave it thee?

lucetta

Sir Valentine's page, and sent, I think, from Proteus.

He would have given it you, but I, being in the way,

39

Did in your name receive it. Pardon the fault, I pray.

40

julia

Now, by my modesty, a goodly broker!

41

Dare you presume to harbor wanton lines,

To whisper and conspire against my youth?

Now, trust me, 'tis an office of great worth,

And you an officer fit for the place.

There, take the paper. See it be returned,

Or else return no more into my sight.

lucetta

To plead for love deserves more fee than hate.

48

julia

Will ye be gone?

49

lucetta     That you may ruminate.Exit.

julia

And yet I would I had o'erlooked the letter.

50

It were a shame to call her back again

And pray her to a fault for which I chid her.

52

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."

56

Fie, fie, how wayward is this foolish love

That, like a testy babe, will scratch the nurse

And presently all humbled kiss the rod!

59

How churlishly I chid Lucetta hence,

60

When willingly I would have had her here!

How angerly I taught my brow to frown,

62

When inward joy enforced my heart to smile!

My penance is to call Lucetta back

And ask remission for my folly past.

What ho, Lucetta!

[Enter Lucetta.]

lucetta     What would your ladyship?

julia

Is't near dinnertime?

lucetta     I would it were,

That you might kill your stomach on your meat,

68

And not upon your maid.

julia

What is't that you took up so gingerly?

70

lucetta

Nothing.

julia

Why didst thou stoop then?

lucetta

To take a paper up that I let fall.

julia

And is that paper nothing?

lucetta

Nothing concerning me.

julia

Then let it lie for those that it concerns.

lucetta

Madam, it will not lie where it concerns,

77

Unless it have a false interpreter.

julia

Some love of yours hath writ to you in rhyme.

lucetta

That I might sing it, madam, to a tune.

80

Give me a note; your ladyship can set-

81

julia

As little by such toys as may be possible.

82

Best sing it to the tune of "Light o' Love."

83

lucetta

It is too heavy for so light a tune.

84

julia

Heavy? Belike it hath some burden then?

85

lucetta

Ay, and melodious were it, would you sing it.

julia

And why not you?

87

lucetta     I cannot reach so high.

julia

Let's see your song. [Takes the letter.] How now, minion?

88

lucetta

Keep tune there still, so you will sing it out.

89

And yet methinks I do not like this tune.

90

julia

You do not?

lucetta

No, madam; 'tis too sharp.

92

julia

You, minion, are too saucy.

lucetta

Nay, now you are too flat,

94

And mar the concord with too harsh a descant.

95

There wanteth but a mean to fill your song.

96

julia

The mean is drowned with your unruly bass.

97

lucetta

Indeed, I bid the base for Proteus.

98

julia

This babble shall not henceforth trouble me.

Here is a coil with protestation!

100

[Tears the letter and throws it down.]

Go, get you gone, and let the papers lie-

You would be fing'ring them to anger me.

lucetta

She makes it strange, but she would be best pleased

103

To be so angered with another letter.[Exit.]

julia

Nay, would I were so angered with the same!

O hateful hands, to tear such loving words!

Injurious wasps, to feed on such sweet honey,

107

And kill the bees that yield it with your stings!

I'll kiss each several paper for amends.

109

Look, here is writ "kind Julia." Unkind Julia!

110

As in revenge of thy ingratitude,

111

I throw thy name against the bruising stones,

Trampling contemptuously on thy disdain.

And here is writ "love-wounded Proteus."

Poor wounded name! My bosom as a bed

Shall lodge thee till thy wound be throughly healed,

116

And thus I search it with a sovereign kiss.

117

But twice or thrice was "Proteus" written down-

Be calm, good wind, blow not a word away

Till I have found each letter in the letter,

120

Except mine own name; that some whirlwind bear

Unto a ragged, fearful-hanging rock,

And throw it thence into the raging sea!

Lo, here in one line is his name twice writ,

"Poor forlorn Proteus, passionate Proteus,

To the sweet Julia." That I'll tear away-

126

And yet I will not, sith so prettily

127

He couples it to his complaining names.

128

Thus will I fold them one upon another-

Now kiss, embrace, contend, do what you will.

130

[Enter Lucetta.]

lucetta

Madam, dinner is ready, and your father stays.

131

julia

Well, let us go.

lucetta

What, shall these papers lie like telltales here?

julia

If you respect them, best to take them up.

134

lucetta

Nay, I was taken up for laying them down.

135

Yet here they shall not lie, for catching cold.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616) was a poet, playwright, and actor who is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers in the history of the English language. Often referred to as the Bard of Avon, Shakespeare's vast body of work includes comedic, tragic, and historical plays; poems; and 154 sonnets. His dramatic works have been translated into every major language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. View titles by William Shakespeare

About

The acclaimed Pelican Shakespeare series edited by A. R. Braunmuller and Stephen Orgel
 
The legendary Pelican Shakespeare series features authoritative and meticulously researched texts paired with scholarship by renowned Shakespeareans. Each book includes an essay on the theatrical world of Shakespeare’s time, an introduction to the individual play, and a detailed note on the text used. Updated by general editors Stephen Orgel and A. R. Braunmuller, these easy-to-read editions incorporate over thirty years of Shakespeare scholarship undertaken since the original series, edited by Alfred Harbage, appeared between 1956 and 1967. With definitive texts and illuminating essays, the Pelican Shakespeare will remain a valued resource for students, teachers, and theater professionals for many years to come.
 
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,800 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Excerpt

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

¥    I.1 [Enter] Valentine, [and] Proteus.

valentine

Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus;

Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits.

2

Were't not affection chains thy tender days

3

To the sweet glances of thy honored love,

I rather would entreat thy company

To see the wonders of the world abroad

Than, living dully sluggardized at home,

7

Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.

8

But since thou lov'st, love still, and thrive therein,

9

Even as I would when I to love begin.

10

proteus

Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu.

Think on thy Proteus, when thou haply seest

12

Some rare noteworthy object in thy travel.

Wish me partaker in thy happiness

When thou dost meet good hap; and in thy danger,

15

If ever danger do environ thee,

16

Commend thy grievance to my holy prayers,

17

For I will be thy beadsman, Valentine.

18

valentine

And on a love book pray for my success?

19

proteus

Upon some book I love I'll pray for thee.

20

valentine

That's on some shallow story of deep love,

How young Leander crossed the Hellespont.

22

proteus

That's a deep story of a deeper love,

For he was more than over shoes in love.

24

valentine

'Tis true, for you are over boots in love,

And yet you never swum the Hellespont.

proteus

Over the boots? Nay, give me not the boots.

27

valentine

No, I will not, for it boots thee not.

28

proteus     What?

valentine

To be in love, where scorn is bought with groans,

Coy looks with heartsore sighs, one fading moment's mirth

30

With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights.

31

If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain;

32

If lost, why then a grievous labor won;

However, but a folly bought with wit,

34

Or else a wit by folly vanquishd.

proteus

So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.

36

valentine

So, by your circumstance, I fear you'll prove.

37

proteus

'Tis Love you cavil at; I am not Love.

valentine

Love is your master, for he masters you;

And he that is so yokd by a fool

40

Methinks should not be chronicled for wise.

proteus

Yet writers say, as in the sweetest bud

The eating canker dwells, so eating love

43

Inhabits in the finest wits of all.

valentine

And writers say, as the most forward bud

45

Is eaten by the canker ere it blow,

46

Even so by love the young and tender wit

Is turned to folly, blasting in the bud,

48

Losing his verdure even in the prime,

49

And all the fair effects of future hopes.

50

But wherefore waste I time to counsel thee

That art a votary to fond desire?

52

Once more, adieu. My father at the road

53

Expects my coming, there to see me shipped.

54

proteus

And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.

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

58

Betideth here in absence of thy friend,

And I likewise will visit thee with mine.

60

proteus

All happiness bechance to thee in Milan!

61

valentine

As much to you at home! And so farewell.Exit.

proteus

He after honor hunts, I after love.

He leaves his friends to dignify them more;

64

I leave myself, my friends, and all for love.

65

Thou, Julia, thou hast metamorphosed me,

66

Made me neglect my studies, lose my time,

67

War with good counsel, set the world at nought;

68

Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with thought.

69

[Enter] Speed.

speed Sir Proteus, save you! Saw you my master?

70

proteus But now he parted hence to embark for Milan.

speed

Twenty to one then, he is shipped already,

And I have played the sheep in losing him.

73

proteus

Indeed, a sheep doth very often stray,

And if the shepherd be awhile away.

75

speed You conclude that my master is a shepherd then, and I a sheep?

proteus I do.

speed Why then my horns are his horns, whether I wake or sleep.

79

80

proteus A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep.

speed This proves me still a sheep.

proteus True, and thy master a shepherd.

speed Nay, that I can deny by a circumstance.

84

proteus It shall go hard but I'll prove it by another.

85

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.

proteus 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.

90

speed Such another proof will make me cry "baa."

proteus 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 labor.

96

97

proteus Here's too small a pasture for such store of muttons.

99

100

speed If the ground be overcharged, you were best stick her.

101

proteus Nay, in that you are astray; 'twere best pound you.

103

speed Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve me for carrying your letter.

proteus You mistake; I mean the pound-a pinfold.

107

speed

From a pound to a pin? Fold it over and over,

108

'Tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your lover.

proteus But what said she?

110

speed [Nodding] Ay.

proteus Nod, "ay"? Why, that's noddy.

112

speed You mistook, sir. I say she did nod, and you ask me if she did nod, and I say "Ay."

proteus And that set together is "noddy."

speed Now you have taken the pains to set it together, take it for your pains.

proteus No, no. You shall have it for bearing the letter.

speed Well, I perceive I must be fain to bear with you.

119

proteus Why, sir, how do you bear with me?

120

speed Marry, sir, the letter very orderly, having nothing but the word "noddy" for my pains.

121

proteus Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.

123

speed And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse.

proteus Come, come, open the matter in brief. What said she?

125

speed Open your purse, that the money and the matter may be both at once delivered.

proteus [Giving him money] Well, sir, here is for your pains. What said she?

130

speed Truly, sir, I think you'll hardly win her.

131

proteus Why, couldst 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 your mind. Give her no token but stones, for she's as hard as steel.

134

135

136

137

proteus What, said she nothing?

speed 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 yourself. And so, sir, I'll commend you to my master.

140

proteus

Go, go, be gone, to save your ship from wrack,

143

Which cannot perish having thee aboard,

Being destined to a drier death on shore.[Exit Speed.]

145

I must go send some better messenger.

I fear my Julia would not deign my lines,

147

Receiving them from such a worthless post.Exit.

148

*

¥    I.2 Enter Julia and Lucetta.

julia

But say, Lucetta, now we are alone,

Wouldst thou then counsel me to fall in love?

lucetta

Ay, madam, so you stumble not unheedfully.

3

julia

Of all the fair resort of gentlemen

4

That every day with parle encounter me,

5

In thy opinion which is worthiest love?

lucetta

Please you repeat their names, I'll show my mind

According to my shallow simple skill.

julia

What think'st thou of the fair Sir Eglamour?

9

lucetta

As of a knight well-spoken, neat and fine;

10

But were I you, he never should be mine.

julia

What think'st thou of the rich Mercatio?

12

lucetta

Well of his wealth, but of himself, so-so.

julia

What think'st thou of the gentle Proteus?

lucetta

Lord, Lord, to see what folly reigns in us!

julia

How now? What means this passion at his name?

16

lucetta

Pardon, dear madam, 'tis a passing shame

17

That I, unworthy body as I am,

Should censure thus on lovely gentlemen.

19

julia

Why not on Proteus, as of all the rest?

20

lucetta

Then thus: of many good I think him best.

julia

Your reason?

lucetta

I have no other but a woman's reason:

I think him so because I think him so.

julia

And wouldst thou have me cast my love on him?

lucetta

Ay, if you thought your love not cast away.

julia

Why, he, of all the rest, hath never moved me.

27

lucetta

Yet he, of all the rest, I think best loves ye.

julia

His little speaking shows his love but small.

lucetta

Fire that's closest kept burns most of all.

30

julia

They do not love that do not show their love.

lucetta

O, they love least that let men know their love.

julia

I would I knew his mind.

lucetta

Peruse this paper, madam.

[Gives a letter.]

julia

"To Julia"-say from whom.

lucetta

That the contents will show.

julia

Say, say. Who gave it thee?

lucetta

Sir Valentine's page, and sent, I think, from Proteus.

He would have given it you, but I, being in the way,

39

Did in your name receive it. Pardon the fault, I pray.

40

julia

Now, by my modesty, a goodly broker!

41

Dare you presume to harbor wanton lines,

To whisper and conspire against my youth?

Now, trust me, 'tis an office of great worth,

And you an officer fit for the place.

There, take the paper. See it be returned,

Or else return no more into my sight.

lucetta

To plead for love deserves more fee than hate.

48

julia

Will ye be gone?

49

lucetta     That you may ruminate.Exit.

julia

And yet I would I had o'erlooked the letter.

50

It were a shame to call her back again

And pray her to a fault for which I chid her.

52

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."

56

Fie, fie, how wayward is this foolish love

That, like a testy babe, will scratch the nurse

And presently all humbled kiss the rod!

59

How churlishly I chid Lucetta hence,

60

When willingly I would have had her here!

How angerly I taught my brow to frown,

62

When inward joy enforced my heart to smile!

My penance is to call Lucetta back

And ask remission for my folly past.

What ho, Lucetta!

[Enter Lucetta.]

lucetta     What would your ladyship?

julia

Is't near dinnertime?

lucetta     I would it were,

That you might kill your stomach on your meat,

68

And not upon your maid.

julia

What is't that you took up so gingerly?

70

lucetta

Nothing.

julia

Why didst thou stoop then?

lucetta

To take a paper up that I let fall.

julia

And is that paper nothing?

lucetta

Nothing concerning me.

julia

Then let it lie for those that it concerns.

lucetta

Madam, it will not lie where it concerns,

77

Unless it have a false interpreter.

julia

Some love of yours hath writ to you in rhyme.

lucetta

That I might sing it, madam, to a tune.

80

Give me a note; your ladyship can set-

81

julia

As little by such toys as may be possible.

82

Best sing it to the tune of "Light o' Love."

83

lucetta

It is too heavy for so light a tune.

84

julia

Heavy? Belike it hath some burden then?

85

lucetta

Ay, and melodious were it, would you sing it.

julia

And why not you?

87

lucetta     I cannot reach so high.

julia

Let's see your song. [Takes the letter.] How now, minion?

88

lucetta

Keep tune there still, so you will sing it out.

89

And yet methinks I do not like this tune.

90

julia

You do not?

lucetta

No, madam; 'tis too sharp.

92

julia

You, minion, are too saucy.

lucetta

Nay, now you are too flat,

94

And mar the concord with too harsh a descant.

95

There wanteth but a mean to fill your song.

96

julia

The mean is drowned with your unruly bass.

97

lucetta

Indeed, I bid the base for Proteus.

98

julia

This babble shall not henceforth trouble me.

Here is a coil with protestation!

100

[Tears the letter and throws it down.]

Go, get you gone, and let the papers lie-

You would be fing'ring them to anger me.

lucetta

She makes it strange, but she would be best pleased

103

To be so angered with another letter.[Exit.]

julia

Nay, would I were so angered with the same!

O hateful hands, to tear such loving words!

Injurious wasps, to feed on such sweet honey,

107

And kill the bees that yield it with your stings!

I'll kiss each several paper for amends.

109

Look, here is writ "kind Julia." Unkind Julia!

110

As in revenge of thy ingratitude,

111

I throw thy name against the bruising stones,

Trampling contemptuously on thy disdain.

And here is writ "love-wounded Proteus."

Poor wounded name! My bosom as a bed

Shall lodge thee till thy wound be throughly healed,

116

And thus I search it with a sovereign kiss.

117

But twice or thrice was "Proteus" written down-

Be calm, good wind, blow not a word away

Till I have found each letter in the letter,

120

Except mine own name; that some whirlwind bear

Unto a ragged, fearful-hanging rock,

And throw it thence into the raging sea!

Lo, here in one line is his name twice writ,

"Poor forlorn Proteus, passionate Proteus,

To the sweet Julia." That I'll tear away-

126

And yet I will not, sith so prettily

127

He couples it to his complaining names.

128

Thus will I fold them one upon another-

Now kiss, embrace, contend, do what you will.

130

[Enter Lucetta.]

lucetta

Madam, dinner is ready, and your father stays.

131

julia

Well, let us go.

lucetta

What, shall these papers lie like telltales here?

julia

If you respect them, best to take them up.

134

lucetta

Nay, I was taken up for laying them down.

135

Yet here they shall not lie, for catching cold.

Author

William Shakespeare (1564–1616) was a poet, playwright, and actor who is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers in the history of the English language. Often referred to as the Bard of Avon, Shakespeare's vast body of work includes comedic, tragic, and historical plays; poems; and 154 sonnets. His dramatic works have been translated into every major language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. View titles by William Shakespeare

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