Enter Valentine and Proteus
Valentine Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus:
Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits.
Were’t not affection chains thy tender days
To the sweet glances of thy honour’d love,
I rather would entreat thy company
To see the wonders of the world abroad,
Than, living dully sluggardized at home,
Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.
But since thou lovest, love still and thrive therein,
Even as I would when I to love begin.
Proteus Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu!
Think on thy Proteus, when thou haply seest
Some rare note-worthy 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,
Commend thy grievance to my holy prayers,
For I will be thy beadsman, Valentine.
Valentine And on a love-book pray for my success?
Proteus Upon some book I love I’ll pray for thee.
Valentine That’s on some shallow story of deep love:
How young Leander cross’d the Hellespont.
Proteus That’s a deep story of a deeper love:
For he was more than over shoes in love.
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.
Valentine No, I will not, for it boots thee not.
Valentine To be in love, where scorn is bought with groans;
Coy looks with heart-sore sighs; one fading moment’s mirth
With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights:
If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain;
If lost, why then a grievous labour won;
However, but a folly bought with wit,
Or else a wit by folly vanquished.
Proteus So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.
Valentine So, by your circumstance, I fear you’ll prove.
Proteus ’Tis love you cavil at: I am not Love.
Valentine Love is your master, for he masters you:
And he that is so yoked by a fool,
Methinks, should not be chronicled for wise.
Proteus Yet writers say, as in the sweetest bud
The eating canker dwells, so eating love
Inhabits in the finest wits of all.
Valentine And writers say, as the most forward bud
Is eaten by the canker ere it blow,
Even so by love the young and tender wit
Is turn’d to folly, blasting in the bud,
Losing his verdure even in the prime
And all the fair effects of future hopes.
But 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 shipp’d.
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
Betideth here in absence of thy friend;
And likewise will visit thee with mine.
Proteus All happiness bechance to thee in Milan!
Valentine As much to you at home! and so, farewell.
Proteus He after honour hunts, I after love:
He leaves his friends to dignify them more,
I leave myself, my friends and all, for love.
Thou, 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.
Speed Sir Proteus, save you! Saw you my master?
Proteus But now he parted hence, to embark for Milan.
Speed Twenty to one then he is shipp’d already,
And I have play’d the sheep in losing him.
Proteus Indeed, a sheep doth very often stray,
An if the shepherd be a while away.
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.
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.
Proteus It shall go hard but I’ll prove it by another.
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.
Speed Such another proof will make me cry ‘baa.’
Proteus But, dost thou hear? gavest 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 labour.
Proteus Here’s too small a pasture for such store of muttons.
Speed If the ground be overcharged, you were best stick her.
Proteus Nay: in that you are astray, ’twere best pound you.
Speed Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve me for carrying your letter.
Proteus You mistake; I mean the pound — a pinfold.
Speed From a pound to a pin? fold it over and over, ’Tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your lover.
Proteus But what said she?
Speed [First nodding] Ay.
Proteus Nod — Ay — why, that’s noddy.
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.
Proteus Why sir, how do you bear with me?
Speed Marry, sir, the letter, very orderly; having nothing but the word ‘noddy’ for my pains.
Proteus Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.
Speed And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse.
Proteus Come come, open the matter in brief: what said she?
Speed Open your purse, that the money and the matter may be both at once delivered.
Proteus Well, sir, here is for your pains. What said she?
Speed Truly, sir, I think you’ll hardly win her.
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.
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.
Proteus Go, go, be gone, to save your ship from wreck,
Which cannot perish having thee aboard,
Being destined to a drier death on shore.
I must go send some better messenger:
I fear my Julia would not deign my lines,
Receiving them from such a worthless post.
Enter JullA 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.
Julia Of all the fair resort of gentlemen
That every day with parle encounter me,
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?
Lucetta As of a knight well-spoken, neat and fine;
But, were I you, he never should be mine.
Julia What think’st thou of the rich Mercatio?
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?
Lucetta Pardon, dear madam: ’tis a passing shame
That I, unworthy body as I am,
Should censure thus on lovely gentlemen.
Julia Why not on Proteus, as of all the rest?
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.
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.
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.
Julia ‘To Julia.’ Say, from whom?
Lucetta That the contents will show.
Julia Say, say, who gave it thee?
Lucetta Valentine’s page; and sent, I think, from Proteus.
He would have given it you; but I, being in the way,
Did in your name receive it: pardon the fault I pray.
Julia Now, by my modesty, a goodly broker!
Dare you presume to harbour 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.
Or else return no more into my sight.
Lucetta To plead for love deserves more fee than hate.
Julia Will ye be gone?
Lucetta That you may ruminate.
Julia And yet I would I had o’erlooked the letter:
It were a shame to call her back again
And pray her to a fault for which I chid her.
What a 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.’
Fie, fie, how wayward is this foolish love
That, like a testy babe, will scratch the nurse
And presently all humbled kiss the rod!
How churlishly I chid Lucetta hence,
When willingly I would have had her here!
How angerly I taught my brow to frown,
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!
Lucetta What would your ladyship?
Julia Is’t near dinner-time?
Lucetta I would it were,
That you might kill your stomach on your meat
And not upon your maid.
Julia What is’t that you took up so gingerly?
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
Unless it have a false interpeter.
Julia Some love of yours hath writ to you in rhyme.
Lucetta That I might sing it, madam, to a tune.
Give me a note: your ladyship can set.
Julia As little by such toys as may be possible.
Best sing it to the tune of ‘Light o’ love.’
Lucetta It is too heavy for so light a tune.
Julia Heavy! belike it hath some burden then?
Lucetta Ay, and melodious were it, would you sing it.
Julia And why not you?
Lucetta I cannot reach so high.
Julia Let’s see your song. How now, minion!
Lucetta Keep tune there still, so you will sing it out:
And yet methinks I do not like this tune.
Julia You do not?
Lucetta No, madam; it is too sharp.
Julia You, minion, are too saucy.
Lucetta Nay, now you are too flat
And mar the concord with too harsh a descant:
There wanteth but a mean to fill your song.
Julia The mean is drown’d with your unruly bass.
Lucetta Indeed, I bid the base for Proteus.
Julia This babble shall not henceforth trouble me.
Here is a coil with protestation!
Tears the letter
Go get you gone, and let the papers lie:
You would be fingering them, to anger me.
Lucetta She makes it strange; but she would be best pleased
To be so anger’d with another letter.
Julia Nay, would I were so anger’d with the same!
O hateful hands, to tear such loving words!
Injurious wasps, to feed on such sweet honey
And kill the bees that yield it with your stings!
I’ll kiss each several paper for amends.
Look, here is writ ‘kind Julia.’ Unkind Julia!
As in revenge of thy ingratitude,
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 thoroughly heal’d;
And thus I search it with a sovereign kiss.
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,
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.
And yet I will not, sith so prettily
He couples it to his complaining names.
Thus will I fold them one on another:
Now kiss, embrace, contend, do what you will.
Dinner is ready, and your father stays.
Julia Well, let us go.
Lucetta What, shall these papers lie like tell-tales here?
Julia If you respect them, best to take them up.
Lucetta Nay, I was taken up for laying them down:
Yet here they shall not lie, for catching cold.
Julia I see you have a month’s mind to them.
Lucetta Ay, madam, you may say what sights you see;
I see things too, although you judge I wink.
Julia Come, come; will’t please you go?
Enter Antonio and Panthino
Antonio Tell me, Panthino, what sad talk was that
Wherewith my brother held you in the cloister?
Panthino ’Twas of his nephew Proteus, your son.
Antonio Why, what of him?
Panthino He wonder’d that your lordship
Would suffer him to spend his youth at home,
While other men, of slender reputation,
Put forth their sons to seek preferment out:
Some to the wars, to try their fortune there;
Some to discover islands far away;
Some to the studious universities.
For any or for all these exercises,
He said that Proteus your son was meet,
And did request me to importune you
To let him spend his time no more at home,
Which would be great impeachment to his age,
In having known no travel in his youth.
Antonio Nor need’st thou much importune me to that
Whereon this month I have been hammering.
I have consider’d well his loss of time
And how he cannot be a perfect man,
Not being tried and tutor’d in the world:
Experience is by industry achieved
And perfected by the swift course of time.
Then tell me, whither were I best to send him?
Panthino I think your lordship is not ignorant
How his companion, youthful Valentine,
Attends the emperor in his royal court.
Antonio I know it well.
Panthino ’Twere good, I think, your lordship sent him thither:
There shall he practise tilts and tournaments,
Hear sweet discourse, converse with noblemen.
And be in eye of every exercise
Worthy his youth and nobleness of birth.
Antonio I like thy counsel; well hast thou advised:
And that thou mayst perceive how well I like it,
The execution of it shall make known.
Even with the speediest expedition
I will dispatch him to the emperor’s court.
Panthino To-morrow, may it please you, Don Alphonso,
With other gentlemen of good esteem,
Are journeying to salute the emperor
And to commend their service to his will.
Antonio Good company; with them shall Proteus go:
And, in good time! now will we break with him.
Proteus Sweet love! sweet lines! sweet life!
Here is her hand, the agent of her heart;
Here is her oath for love, her honour’s pawn.
O, that our fathers would applaud our loves,
To seal our happiness with their consents!
O heavenly Julia!
Antonio How now! what letter are you reading there?
Proteus May’t please your lordship, ’tis a word or two
Of commendations sent from Valentine,
Deliver’d by a friend that came from him.
Antonio Lend me the letter; let me see what news.
Proteus There is no news, my lord, but that he writes
How happily he lives, how well beloved
And daily graced by the emperor;
Wishing me with him, partner of his fortune.
Antonio And how stand you affected to his wish?
Proteus As one relying on your lordship’s will
And not depending on his friendly wish.
Antonio My will is something sorted with his wish.
Muse not that I thus suddenly proceed;
For what I will, I will, and there an end.
I am resolved that thou shalt spend some time
With Valentinus in the emperor’s court:
What maintenance he from his friends receives,
Like exhibition thou shalt have from me.
To-morrow be in readiness to go:
Excuse it not, for I am peremptory.
Proteus My lord, I cannot be so soon provided:
Please you, deliberate a day or two.
Antonio Look, what thou want’st shall be sent after thee:
No more of stay! to-morrow thou must go.
Come on, Panthino: you shall be employ’d
To hasten on his expedition.
Exeunt Antonio and Panthino
Proteus Thus have I shunn’d the fire for fear of burning,
And drench’d me in the sea, where I am drown’d.
I fear’d to show my father Julia’s letter,
Lest he should take exceptions to my love;
And with the vantage of mine own excuse
Hath he excepted most against my love.
O, how this spring of love resembleth
The uncertain glory of an April day,
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
And by and by a cloud takes all away!
Panthino Sir Proteus, your father calls for you:
He is in haste; therefore, I pray you to go.
Proteus Why, this it is: my heart accords thereto,
And yet a thousand times it answers ‘no.’
Last updated Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 23:03