List iconThe Two Gentlemen of Verona:
Act 1, scene 1
List icon

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Act 1, scene 1



Characters in the Play

Entire Play

The Two Gentlemen of Verona tells the story of two devoted friends, Valentine and Proteus. Valentine leaves their home city of…

Act 1, scene 1

Valentine, preparing to leave for Milan, says farewell to Proteus, who stays in Verona to be near Julia. Valentine’s servant,…

Act 1, scene 2

Julia receives Proteus’ letter and pretends to be very angry at his presumption.

Act 1, scene 3

Proteus, reading a letter from Julia, encounters his father, Antonio, and tells him that the letter is from Valentine, who…

Act 2, scene 1

Valentine learns (with Speed’s help) that the letter Sylvia had him write conveying her love to an admirer was intended…

Act 2, scene 2

Proteus takes his leave of Julia, promising to be faithful and sealing their love with a kind of “handfasting” or…

Act 2, scene 3

Lance grieves that he must part from his family to travel with Proteus, and he chastises his dog, Crab, for…

Act 2, scene 4

Proteus arrives and is greeted by Valentine and Sylvia. He immediately falls in love with Sylvia.

Act 2, scene 5

Lance describes for Speed the tender parting of Proteus from Julia and hears about Valentine’s love for Sylvia.

Act 2, scene 6

Proteus decides to betray Valentine’s elopement plans to Sylvia’s father as a step on the way to winning Sylvia for…

Act 2, scene 7

Julia decides to follow Proteus to Milan and asks Lucetta to help her disguise herself as a page.

Act 3, scene 1

Proteus betrays Valentine’s elopement plans to Sylvia’s father, who banishes Valentine. Proteus pretends to grieve with Valentine and, telling him…

Act 3, scene 2

The Duke enlists Proteus’ aid in making Sylvia fall in love with Thurio. Proteus offers to slander Valentine and to…

Act 4, scene 1

Valentine and Speed are captured by outlaws. Valentine agrees to become their captain.

Act 4, scene 2

Proteus serenades Sylvia, supposedly on Thurio’s behalf. As Julia watches, disguised as a page, Proteus sings his love song to…

Act 4, scene 3

Sylvia, determined to escape the pursuit of Thurio and Proteus, persuades Sir Eglamour to accompany her that evening on a…

Act 4, scene 4

Proteus learns to his horror that Lance has tried to present Crab to Sylvia as a gift. Proteus then sends…

Act 5, scene 1

Sylvia and Sir Eglamour set out on their journey.

Act 5, scene 2

The Duke informs Proteus and Thurio of Sylvia’s flight. They each decide to follow her.

Act 5, scene 3

Sylvia is captured by the outlaws, while Sir Eglamour flees.

Act 5, scene 4

As Valentine watches from hiding, Sylvia is brought in by Proteus, who has taken her from the outlaws. Proteus pleads…

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Scene 1
Enter Valentine and Proteus.

 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 honored love,
5 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 lov’st, love still and thrive therein,
10 Even as I would when I to love begin.
 Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu.
 Think on thy Proteus when thou haply seest
 Some rare noteworthy object in thy travel.
 Wish me partaker in thy happiness
15 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.
 And on a love-book pray for my success?
20 Upon some book I love I’ll pray for thee.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 1. SC. 1

 That’s on some shallow story of deep love,
 How young Leander crossed the Hellespont.
 That’s a deep story of a deeper love,
 For he was more than over shoes in love.
25 ’Tis true, for you are over boots in love,
 And yet you never swam the Hellespont.
 Over the boots? Nay, give me not the boots.
 No, I will not, for it boots thee not.
30 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;
35 If lost, why then a grievous labor won;
 How ever, but a folly bought with wit,
 Or else a wit by folly vanquishèd.
 So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.
 So, by your circumstance, I fear you’ll prove.
40 ’Tis love you cavil at; I am not Love.
 Love is your master, for he masters you;
 And he that is so yokèd by a fool
 Methinks should not be chronicled for wise.
 Yet writers say: as in the sweetest bud

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 1. SC. 1

45 The eating canker dwells, so eating love
 Inhabits in the finest wits of all.
 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
50 Is turned 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?
55 Once more adieu. My father at the road
 Expects my coming, there to see me shipped.
 And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.
 Sweet Proteus, no. Now let us take our leave.
 To Milan let me hear from thee by letters
60 Of thy success in love, and what news else
 Betideth here in absence of thy friend.
 And I likewise will visit thee with mine.
 All happiness bechance to thee in Milan.
 As much to you at home. And so farewell.He exits.
65 He after honor 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,
70 War with good counsel, set the world at nought;
 Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with thought.

Enter Speed.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 1. SC. 1

 Sir Proteus, ’save you. Saw you my master?
 But now he parted hence to embark for Milan.
 Twenty to one, then, he is shipped already,
75 And I have played the sheep in losing him.
 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?
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 85True, 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
90 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 95Such another proof will make me cry “baa.”
PROTEUS But dost thou hear? Gav’st thou my letter to
SPEED Ay, sir. I, a lost mutton, gave your letter to her, a
 laced mutton, and she, a laced mutton, gave me, a
100 lost mutton, nothing for my labor.
PROTEUS Here’s too small a pasture for such store of

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 1. SC. 1

SPEED If the ground be overcharged, you were best
 stick her.
PROTEUS 105Nay, in that you are astray; ’twere best pound
SPEED Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve me for
 carrying your letter.
PROTEUS You mistake; I mean the pound, a pinfold.
110 From a pound to a pin? Fold it over and over,
 ’Tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your
PROTEUS But what said she?
SPEED, nodding Ay.
PROTEUS 115Nod—“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,
120 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
125 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 130Open your purse, that the money and the matter
 may be both at once delivered.
PROTEUS, giving money Well, sir, here is for your
 pains. What said she?
SPEED, looking at the money Truly, sir, I think you’ll
135 hardly win her.
PROTEUS Why? Couldst thou perceive so much from

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 1. SC. 2

SPEED Sir, I could perceive nothing at all from her, no,
 not so much as a ducat for delivering your letter.
140 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
PROTEUS What said she? Nothing?
SPEED 145No, 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.
150 Go, go, begone, to save your ship from wrack,
 Which cannot perish having thee aboard,
 Being destined to a drier death on shore.
Speed exits.
 I must go send some better messenger.
 I fear my Julia would not deign my lines,
155 Receiving them from such a worthless post.
He exits.