The Two Gentlemen of Verona 4.4
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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

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[Enter LAUNCE, with his his Dog]
LAUNCEWhen a man's servant shall play the cur with him,
look you, it goes hard: one that I brought up of a
puppy; one that I saved from drowning, when three or
four of his blind brothers and sisters went to it.
I have taught him, even as one would say precisely,5
'thus I would teach a dog.' I was sent to deliver
him as a present to Mistress Silvia from my master;
and I came no sooner into the dining-chamber but he
steps me to her trencher and steals her capon's leg:
O, 'tis a foul thing when a cur cannot keep himself10
in all companies! I would have, as one should say,
one that takes upon him to be a dog indeed, to be,
as it were, a dog at all things. If I had not had
more wit than he, to take a fault upon me that he did,
I think verily he had been hanged for't; sure as I15
live, he had suffered for't; you shall judge. He
thrusts me himself into the company of three or four
gentlemanlike dogs under the duke's table: he had
not been there--bless the mark!--a pissing while, but
all the chamber smelt him. 'Out with the dog!' says20
one: 'What cur is that?' says another: 'Whip him
out' says the third: 'Hang him up' says the duke.
I, having been acquainted with the smell before,
knew it was Crab, and goes me to the fellow that
whips the dogs: 'Friend,' quoth I, 'you mean to whip25
the dog?' 'Ay, marry, do I,' quoth he. 'You do him
the more wrong,' quoth I; ''twas I did the thing you
wot of.' He makes me no more ado, but whips me out
of the chamber. How many masters would do this for
his servant? Nay, I'll be sworn, I have sat in the30
stocks for puddings he hath stolen, otherwise he had
been executed; I have stood on the pillory for geese
he hath killed, otherwise he had suffered for't.
Thou thinkest not of this now. Nay, I remember the
trick you served me when I took my leave of Madam35
Silvia: did not I bid thee still mark me and do as I
do? when didst thou see me heave up my leg and make
water against a gentlewoman's farthingale? didst
thou ever see me do such a trick?
PROTEUSSebastian is thy name? I like thee well40
And will employ thee in some service presently.
JULIAIn what you please: I'll do what I can.
PROTEUSI hope thou wilt.
How now, you whoreson peasant!
Where have you been these two days loitering?45
LAUNCEMarry, sir, I carried Mistress Silvia the dog you bade me.
PROTEUSAnd what says she to my little jewel?
LAUNCEMarry, she says your dog was a cur, and tells you
currish thanks is good enough for such a present.
PROTEUSBut she received my dog?50
LAUNCENo, indeed, did she not: here have I brought him
back again.
PROTEUSWhat, didst thou offer her this from me?
LAUNCEAy, sir: the other squirrel was stolen from me by
the hangman boys in the market-place: and then I55
offered her mine own, who is a dog as big as ten of
yours, and therefore the gift the greater.
PROTEUSGo get thee hence, and find my dog again,
Or ne'er return again into my sight.
Away, I say! stay'st thou to vex me here?60
A slave, that still an end turns me to shame!
Sebastian, I have entertained thee,
Partly that I have need of such a youth
That can with some discretion do my business,
For 'tis no trusting to yond foolish lout,65
But chiefly for thy face and thy behavior,
Which, if my augury deceive me not,
Witness good bringing up, fortune and truth:
Therefore know thou, for this I entertain thee.
Go presently and take this ring with thee,70
Deliver it to Madam Silvia:
She loved me well deliver'd it to me.
JULIAIt seems you loved not her, to leave her token.
She is dead, belike?
PROTEUSNot so; I think she lives.75
PROTEUSWhy dost thou cry 'alas'?
JULIAI cannot choose
But pity her.
PROTEUSWherefore shouldst thou pity her?80
JULIABecause methinks that she loved you as well
As you do love your lady Silvia:
She dreams of him that has forgot her love;
You dote on her that cares not for your love.
'Tis pity love should be so contrary;85
And thinking of it makes me cry 'alas!'
PROTEUSWell, give her that ring and therewithal
This letter. That's her chamber. Tell my lady
I claim the promise for her heavenly picture.
Your message done, hie home unto my chamber,90
Where thou shalt find me, sad and solitary.
JULIAHow many women would do such a message?
Alas, poor Proteus! thou hast entertain'd
A fox to be the shepherd of thy lambs.
Alas, poor fool! why do I pity him95
That with his very heart despiseth me?
Because he loves her, he despiseth me;
Because I love him I must pity him.
This ring I gave him when he parted from me,
To bind him to remember my good will;100
And now am I, unhappy messenger,
To plead for that which I would not obtain,
To carry that which I would have refused,
To praise his faith which I would have dispraised.
I am my master's true-confirmed love;105
But cannot be true servant to my master,
Unless I prove false traitor to myself.
Yet will I woo for him, but yet so coldly
As, heaven it knows, I would not have him speed.
[Enter SILVIA, attended]
Gentlewoman, good day! I pray you, be my mean110
To bring me where to speak with Madam Silvia.
SILVIAWhat would you with her, if that I be she?
JULIAIf you be she, I do entreat your patience
To hear me speak the message I am sent on.
SILVIAFrom whom?115
JULIAFrom my master, Sir Proteus, madam.
SILVIAO, he sends you for a picture.
JULIAAy, madam.
SILVIAUrsula, bring my picture here.
Go give your master this: tell him from me,120
One Julia, that his changing thoughts forget,
Would better fit his chamber than this shadow.
JULIAMadam, please you peruse this letter.--
Pardon me, madam; I have unadvised
Deliver'd you a paper that I should not:125
This is the letter to your ladyship.
SILVIAI pray thee, let me look on that again.
JULIAIt may not be; good madam, pardon me.
SILVIAThere, hold!
I will not look upon your master's lines:130
I know they are stuff'd with protestations
And full of new-found oaths; which he will break
As easily as I do tear his paper.
JULIAMadam, he sends your ladyship this ring.
SILVIAThe more shame for him that he sends it me;135
For I have heard him say a thousand times
His Julia gave it him at his departure.
Though his false finger have profaned the ring,
Mine shall not do his Julia so much wrong.
JULIAShe thanks you.140
SILVIAWhat say'st thou?
JULIAI thank you, madam, that you tender her.
Poor gentlewoman! my master wrongs her much.
SILVIADost thou know her?
JULIAAlmost as well as I do know myself:145
To think upon her woes I do protest
That I have wept a hundred several times.
SILVIABelike she thinks that Proteus hath forsook her.
JULIAI think she doth; and that's her cause of sorrow.
SILVIAIs she not passing fair?150
JULIAShe hath been fairer, madam, than she is:
When she did think my master loved her well,
She, in my judgment, was as fair as you:
But since she did neglect her looking-glass
And threw her sun-expelling mask away,155
The air hath starved the roses in her cheeks
And pinch'd the lily-tincture of her face,
That now she is become as black as I.
SILVIAHow tall was she?
JULIAAbout my stature; for at Pentecost,160
When all our pageants of delight were play'd,
Our youth got me to play the woman's part,
And I was trimm'd in Madam Julia's gown,
Which served me as fit, by all men's judgments,
As if the garment had been made for me:165
Therefore I know she is about my height.
And at that time I made her weep agood,
For I did play a lamentable part:
Madam, 'twas Ariadne passioning
For Theseus' perjury and unjust flight;170
Which I so lively acted with my tears
That my poor mistress, moved therewithal,
Wept bitterly; and would I might be dead
If I in thought felt not her very sorrow!
SILVIAShe is beholding to thee, gentle youth.175
Alas, poor lady, desolate and left!
I weep myself to think upon thy words.
Here, youth, there is my purse; I give thee this
For thy sweet mistress' sake, because thou lovest her.
[Exit SILVIA, with attendants]
JULIAAnd she shall thank you for't, if e'er you know her.
A virtuous gentlewoman, mild and beautiful
I hope my master's suit will be but cold,
Since she respects my mistress' love so much.
Alas, how love can trifle with itself!185
Here is her picture: let me see; I think,
If I had such a tire, this face of mine
Were full as lovely as is this of hers:
And yet the painter flatter'd her a little,
Unless I flatter with myself too much.190
Her hair is auburn, mine is perfect yellow:
If that be all the difference in his love,
I'll get me such a colour'd periwig.
Her eyes are grey as glass, and so are mine:
Ay, but her forehead's low, and mine's as high.195
What should it be that he respects in her
But I can make respective in myself,
If this fond Love were not a blinded god?
Come, shadow, come and take this shadow up,
For 'tis thy rival. O thou senseless form,200
Thou shalt be worshipp'd, kiss'd, loved and adored!
And, were there sense in his idolatry,
My substance should be statue in thy stead.
I'll use thee kindly for thy mistress' sake,
That used me so; or else, by Jove I vow,205
I should have scratch'd out your unseeing eyes
To make my master out of love with thee!

Next: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 5, Scene 1

Explanatory notes for Act 4, Scene 4
From The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Ed. Israel Gollancz. New York: University Society.

9. trencher: - A wooden platter. That the daughter of a duke should eat from a trencher need not seem strange, since in Shakespeare's day this utensil was used by persons of the highest rank. In the privy-purse expenses of Henry VIII are entries pointing to the service of trenchers on the king's table.

155. sun-expelling mask:- Alluding, probably, to the custom thus noticed by Stubbes in his Anatomie of Abuses: "When they use to ride abroad, they have masks or visors made of velvet, wherewith they cover their faces, having holes made in them against their eyes, whereout they look."

167. agood: - This word, meaning in good earnest, heartily, though used by Shakespeare only in this place, is met with occasionally in contemporary and earlier writers. So in Drayton's Dowsabell, 1593: -

"But then the shepherd pip'd a-good,
That all his sheep forsook their food
To hear his melody."

193. periwig:- False hair was much worn by ladies in Shakespeare's time, probably on account of a general desire to have hair like Queen Elizabeth's. The fashion is thus referred to in The Merchant of Venice, III. ii.:-

"So are those crisped snaky golden locks
Which make such wanton gambols with the wind,
Upon supposed fairness, often known
To be the dowry of a second head,
The skull that bred them in the sepulchre."

194. grey as glass: - The grey eyes of the Poet's time were the same as the blue eyes of ours. Glass was not colourless then, as we have it, but of a light-blue tint. So that eyes as grey as glass were of the soft azure or cerulean, such as usually go with the auburn and yellow hair of Silvia and Julia.

195. her forehead's low, etc.:- "Forehead," says White, "was formerly used, as it now too often is, for brow; and to the beauty of a broad, low brow (which may exist with a high fore-head, as we see in the finest antique statues) the folk of Shakespeare's day seem to have been blind. Perhaps in this too they paid their court to the bald-browed Virgin Queen. There are fashions even in beauty."

203. statue:- The words statue and picture were sometimes used interchangeably. Thus Stowe, speaking of Elizabeth's funeral, says: "When they beheld her statue or picture lying upon the coffin there was a general sighing." And in Massinger's City Madam, Frugal wishes his daughters to "take leave of their late suitors' statues"; and Luke answers, "There they hang."

How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Ed. Israel Gollancz. New York: University Society, 1901. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.

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