List iconThe Two Gentlemen of Verona:
Act 2, scene 4
List icon

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Act 2, scene 4



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 4
Enter Valentine, Sylvia, Thurio, and Speed.

SYLVIA Servant!
SPEED Master, Sir Thurio frowns on you.
VALENTINE Ay, boy, it’s for love.
SPEED 5Not of you.
VALENTINE Of my mistress, then.
SPEED ’Twere good you knocked him.
SYLVIA, to Valentine Servant, you are sad.
VALENTINE Indeed, madam, I seem so.
THURIO 10Seem you that you are not?
THURIO So do counterfeits.
VALENTINE So do you.
THURIO What seem I that I am not?
THURIO What instance of the contrary?
VALENTINE Your folly.
THURIO And how quote you my folly?
VALENTINE I quote it in your jerkin.
THURIO 20My “jerkin” is a doublet.
VALENTINE Well, then, I’ll double your folly.
SYLVIA What, angry, Sir Thurio? Do you change color?
VALENTINE Give him leave, madam. He is a kind of
25 chameleon.
THURIO That hath more mind to feed on your blood
 than live in your air.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 2. SC. 4

VALENTINE You have said, sir.
THURIO Ay, sir, and done too for this time.
VALENTINE 30I know it well, sir. You always end ere you
SYLVIA A fine volley of words, gentlemen, and quickly
 shot off.
VALENTINE ’Tis indeed, madam. We thank the giver.
SYLVIA 35Who is that, servant?
VALENTINE Yourself, sweet lady, for you gave the fire.
 Sir Thurio borrows his wit from your Ladyship’s
 looks and spends what he borrows kindly in your
THURIO 40Sir, if you spend word for word with me, I shall
 make your wit bankrupt.
VALENTINE I know it well, sir. You have an exchequer
 of words and, I think, no other treasure to give your
 followers, for it appears by their bare liveries that
45 they live by your bare words.
 No more, gentlemen, no more. Here comes my

Enter Duke.

 Now, daughter Sylvia, you are hard beset.—
 Sir Valentine, your father is in good health.
50 What say you to a letter from your friends
 Of much good news?
VALENTINE  My lord, I will be thankful
 To any happy messenger from thence.
 Know you Don Antonio, your countryman?
55 Ay, my good lord, I know the gentleman
 To be of worth and worthy estimation,
 And not without desert so well reputed.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 2. SC. 4

DUKE Hath he not a son?
 Ay, my good lord, a son that well deserves
60 The honor and regard of such a father.
DUKE You know him well?
 I knew him as myself, for from our infancy
 We have conversed and spent our hours together,
 And though myself have been an idle truant,
65 Omitting the sweet benefit of time
 To clothe mine age with angel-like perfection,
 Yet hath Sir Proteus—for that’s his name—
 Made use and fair advantage of his days:
 His years but young, but his experience old;
70 His head unmellowed, but his judgment ripe;
 And in a word—for far behind his worth
 Comes all the praises that I now bestow—
 He is complete in feature and in mind,
 With all good grace to grace a gentleman.
75 Beshrew me, sir, but if he make this good,
 He is as worthy for an empress’ love,
 As meet to be an emperor’s counselor.
 Well, sir, this gentleman is come to me
 With commendation from great potentates,
80 And here he means to spend his time awhile.
 I think ’tis no unwelcome news to you.
 Should I have wished a thing, it had been he.
 Welcome him then according to his worth.
 Sylvia, I speak to you—and you, Sir Thurio.
85 For Valentine, I need not cite him to it.
 I will send him hither to you presently.Duke exits.
 This is the gentleman I told your Ladyship

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 2. SC. 4

 Had come along with me but that his mistress
 Did hold his eyes locked in her crystal looks.
90 Belike that now she hath enfranchised them
 Upon some other pawn for fealty.
 Nay, sure, I think she holds them prisoners still.
 Nay, then, he should be blind, and being blind
 How could he see his way to seek out you?
95 Why, lady, love hath twenty pair of eyes.
 They say that Love hath not an eye at all.
 To see such lovers, Thurio, as yourself.
 Upon a homely object, Love can wink.
 Have done, have done. Here comes the gentleman.

Enter Proteus.

100 Welcome, dear Proteus.—Mistress, I beseech you
 Confirm his welcome with some special favor.
 His worth is warrant for his welcome hither,
 If this be he you oft have wished to hear from.
 Mistress, it is. Sweet lady, entertain him
105 To be my fellow-servant to your Ladyship.
 Too low a mistress for so high a servant.
 Not so, sweet lady, but too mean a servant
 To have a look of such a worthy mistress.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 2. SC. 4

 Leave off discourse of disability.
110 Sweet lady, entertain him for your servant.
 My duty will I boast of, nothing else.
 And duty never yet did want his meed.
 Servant, you are welcome to a worthless mistress.
 I’ll die on him that says so but yourself.
SYLVIA 115That you are welcome?
PROTEUS That you are worthless.

Enter Servant.

 Madam, my lord your father would speak with you.
 I wait upon his pleasure. Servant exits. Come, Sir
120 Go with me.—Once more, new servant, welcome.
 I’ll leave you to confer of home affairs.
 When you have done, we look to hear from you.
 We’ll both attend upon your Ladyship.
Sylvia and Thurio exit.
 Now tell me, how do all from whence you came?
125 Your friends are well and have them much
 And how do yours?
PROTEUS  I left them all in health.
 How does your lady? And how thrives your love?

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 2. SC. 4

130 My tales of love were wont to weary you.
 I know you joy not in a love discourse.
 Ay, Proteus, but that life is altered now.
 I have done penance for contemning Love,
 Whose high imperious thoughts have punished me
135 With bitter fasts, with penitential groans,
 With nightly tears, and daily heartsore sighs,
 For in revenge of my contempt of love,
 Love hath chased sleep from my enthrallèd eyes
 And made them watchers of mine own heart’s
140 sorrow.
 O gentle Proteus, Love’s a mighty lord
 And hath so humbled me as I confess
 There is no woe to his correction,
 Nor, to his service, no such joy on Earth.
145 Now, no discourse except it be of love.
 Now can I break my fast, dine, sup, and sleep
 Upon the very naked name of Love.
 Enough; I read your fortune in your eye.
 Was this the idol that you worship so?
150 Even she. And is she not a heavenly saint?
 No, but she is an earthly paragon.
 Call her divine.
PROTEUS  I will not flatter her.
 O, flatter me, for love delights in praises.
155 When I was sick, you gave me bitter pills,
 And I must minister the like to you.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 2. SC. 4

 Then speak the truth by her; if not divine,
 Yet let her be a principality,
 Sovereign to all the creatures on the Earth.
160 Except my mistress.
VALENTINE  Sweet, except not any,
 Except thou wilt except against my love.
 Have I not reason to prefer mine own?
 And I will help thee to prefer her too:
165 She shall be dignified with this high honor—
 To bear my lady’s train, lest the base earth
 Should from her vesture chance to steal a kiss
 And, of so great a favor growing proud,
 Disdain to root the summer-swelling flower
170 And make rough winter everlastingly.
 Why, Valentine, what braggartism is this?
 Pardon me, Proteus, all I can is nothing
 To her whose worth makes other worthies
175 She is alone—
PROTEUS Then let her alone.
 Not for the world! Why, man, she is mine own,
 And I as rich in having such a jewel
 As twenty seas if all their sand were pearl,
180 The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold.
 Forgive me that I do not dream on thee,
 Because thou seest me dote upon my love.
 My foolish rival, that her father likes
 Only for his possessions are so huge,

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 2. SC. 4

185 Is gone with her along, and I must after,
 For love, thou know’st, is full of jealousy.
PROTEUS But she loves you?
 Ay, and we are betrothed; nay more, our marriage
190 With all the cunning manner of our flight
 Determined of: how I must climb her window,
 The ladder made of cords, and all the means
 Plotted and ’greed on for my happiness.
 Good Proteus, go with me to my chamber,
195 In these affairs to aid me with thy counsel.
 Go on before. I shall inquire you forth.
 I must unto the road to disembark
 Some necessaries that I needs must use,
 And then I’ll presently attend you.
VALENTINE 200Will you make haste?
PROTEUS I will.Valentine and Speed exit.
 Even as one heat another heat expels,
 Or as one nail by strength drives out another,
 So the remembrance of my former love
205 Is by a newer object quite forgotten.
 Is it mine eye, or Valentine’s praise,
 Her true perfection, or my false transgression,
 That makes me reasonless to reason thus?
 She is fair, and so is Julia that I love—
210 That I did love, for now my love is thawed,
 Which like a waxen image ’gainst a fire
 Bears no impression of the thing it was.
 Methinks my zeal to Valentine is cold,
 And that I love him not as I was wont.
215 O, but I love his lady too too much,
 And that’s the reason I love him so little.
 How shall I dote on her with more advice
 That thus without advice begin to love her?

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 2. SC. 5

 ’Tis but her picture I have yet beheld,
220 And that hath dazzled my reason’s light;
 But when I look on her perfections,
 There is no reason but I shall be blind.
 If I can check my erring love, I will;
 If not, to compass her I’ll use my skill.
He exits.