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SCENE I. An Open Place in Verona.


VAL. 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 sluggardiz'd at home,
Wear out thy youth with shapeless1 idleness.

But, since thou lov'st, love still, and thrive therein,
Even as I would, when I to love begin.

PRO. Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu!
Think on thy Proteus, when thou hap'ly see'st
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 beads-man, Valentine.

VAL. And on a love-book pray for my success?
PRO. Upon some book I love I'll pray for thee.
VAL. That's on some shallow story of deep love;
How young Leander cross'd the Hellespont.
PRO. That's a deep story of a deeper love;

For he was more than over shoes in love.
VAL. 'Tis true; for you are over boots in love,
And yet you never swam the Hellespont.

PRO. Over the boots! nay, give me not the boots.2

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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 hap❜ly won, perhaps a hapless gain;

If lost, why then a grievous labour won;
How ever, but a folly bought with wit,
Or else a wit by folly vanquished.

PRO. So, by your circumstance,1 you call me fool.
VAL. So, by your circumstance, I fear, you 'll prove.
PRO. 'Tis love you cavil at: I am not Love.
VAL. Love is your master, for he masters you :
And he that is so yoked by a fool,

Methinks, should not be chronicled for wise.
PRO. Yet writers say: As in the sweetest bud
The eating canker dwells, so eating love
Inhabits in the finest wits of all.

VAL. 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 Road2
Expects my coming, there to see me shipp'd.
PRO. And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.
VAL. 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.
PRO. All happiness bechance to thee in Milan!
VAL. As much to you at home! and so, farewell.



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He leaves his friends to dignify them more;
I leave myself, my friends, and all, for love.-
Thou, Julia, thou hast metamorphos'd me,
Made me neglect my studies, lose my time,
War with good counsel, set the world at nought,
Make wit with musing weak, heart sick with thought.

Enter SPEED.

SPEED. Sir Proteus, save you! Saw you my master?
PRO. 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.

PRO. Indeed, a sheep doth very often stray,
An if the shepherd be awhile away.


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

PRO. I do.

SPEED. Why, then my horns are his horns, whether I

wake or sleep.

PRO. A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep.

SPEED. This proves me still a sheep?

PRO. True; and thy master a shepherd.

SPEED. Nay, that I can deny by a circumstance.

PRO. 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.


PRO. 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.
PRO. 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;1 and she, a laced mutton, gave me, a
lost mutton, nothing for my labour.

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



SPEED. If the ground be overcharged, you were best stick


Sc. I


1 well-dressed woman.

ACT I PRO. Nay, in that you are astray; 'twere best pound Sc. I


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

PRO. 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

PRO. But what said she? did she nod?


PRO. Nod, ay?-why, that's noddy.

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[SPEED nods.

SPEED. You mistook, Sir; I say, she did nod: and you

ask me if she did nod; and I say, Ay.

PRO. And that set together is-noddy.

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

PRO. No, no; you shall have it for bearing the letter.
SPEED. Well, I perceive I must be fain to bear with you.
PRO. Why, Sir, how do you bear with me?
SPEED. Marry, Sir, the letter very orderly; having
nothing but the word noddy for my pains.

PRO. Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.

SPEED. And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse.


PRO. 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.


PRO. Well, Sir, here is for your pains. What said she?
SPEED. Truly, Sir, I think you'll hardly win her.
PRO. Why? Could'st 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. PRO. What, said she nothing? SPEED. No, not so much as Take this for thy pairs. To testify your bounty, I thank you, you have testern'd1 me; in requital whereof, henceforth carry your letters yourself; and so, Sir, I'll commend you to my master.

1 sixpenced.

PRO. Go, go, begone, to save your ship from wrack,

Which cannot perish having thee aboard,
Being destin'd 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.


SCENE II. The Same. The Garden of JULIA's House.


JUL. But say, Lucetta, now we are alone,

Would'st thou, then, counsel me to fall in love? Luc. Ay, Madam; so you stumble not unheedfully. JUL. Of all the fair resort of gentlemen

That every day with parle encounter me,

In thy opinion which is worthiest love?

Luc. Please you repeat their names: I'll show my mind
According to my shallow simple skill.

JUL. What think'st thou of the fair Sir Eglamour?
Luc. As of a knight well-spoken, neat, and fine;
But, were I you, he never should be mine.
JUL. What think'st thou of the rich Mercatio?
Luc. Well of his wealth; but of himself so-so.
JUL. What think'st thou of the gentle Proteus?
Luc. Lord, Lord! to see what folly reigns in us!
JUL. How now! what means this passion at his name?
Luc. Pardon, dear Madam: 'tis a passing shame

That I, unworthy body as I am,

Should censure1 thus on lovely gentlemen.

JUL. Why not on Proteus, as of all the rest?
Luc. Then thus-of many good I think him best.
JUL. Your reason?

Luc. I have no other but a woman's reason:

I think him so, because I think him so.

JUL. And would'st thou have me cast my love on him?
Luc. Ay, if you thought your love not cast away.
JUL. Why he, of all the rest, hath never mov'd me.
Luc. Yet he, of all the rest, I think, best loves
JUL. His little speaking shows his love but small.

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Sc. I

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