List iconThe Two Gentlemen of Verona:
Act 3, scene 1
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The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Act 3, 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 Duke, Thurio, and Proteus.

 Sir Thurio, give us leave, I pray, awhile;
 We have some secrets to confer about.Thurio exits.
 Now tell me, Proteus, what’s your will with me?
 My gracious lord, that which I would discover
5 The law of friendship bids me to conceal,
 But when I call to mind your gracious favors
 Done to me, undeserving as I am,
 My duty pricks me on to utter that
 Which else no worldly good should draw from me.
10 Know, worthy prince, Sir Valentine my friend
 This night intends to steal away your daughter;
 Myself am one made privy to the plot.
 I know you have determined to bestow her
 On Thurio, whom your gentle daughter hates,
15 And should she thus be stol’n away from you,
 It would be much vexation to your age.
 Thus, for my duty’s sake, I rather chose
 To cross my friend in his intended drift
 Than, by concealing it, heap on your head
20 A pack of sorrows which would press you down,
 Being unprevented, to your timeless grave.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 3. SC. 1

 Proteus, I thank thee for thine honest care,
 Which to requite command me while I live.
 This love of theirs myself have often seen,
25 Haply when they have judged me fast asleep,
 And oftentimes have purposed to forbid
 Sir Valentine her company and my court.
 But fearing lest my jealous aim might err
 And so, unworthily, disgrace the man—
30 A rashness that I ever yet have shunned—
 I gave him gentle looks, thereby to find
 That which thyself hast now disclosed to me.
 And that thou mayst perceive my fear of this,
 Knowing that tender youth is soon suggested,
35 I nightly lodge her in an upper tower,
 The key whereof myself have ever kept,
 And thence she cannot be conveyed away.
 Know, noble lord, they have devised a mean
 How he her chamber-window will ascend
40 And with a corded ladder fetch her down;
 For which the youthful lover now is gone,
 And this way comes he with it presently,
 Where, if it please you, you may intercept him.
 But, good my lord, do it so cunningly
45 That my discovery be not aimèd at;
 For love of you, not hate unto my friend,
 Hath made me publisher of this pretense.
 Upon mine honor, he shall never know
 That I had any light from thee of this.
50 Adieu, my lord. Sir Valentine is coming.
Proteus exits.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 3. SC. 1

Enter Valentine.

 Sir Valentine, whither away so fast?
 Please it your Grace, there is a messenger
 That stays to bear my letters to my friends,
 And I am going to deliver them.
DUKE 55Be they of much import?
 The tenor of them doth but signify
 My health and happy being at your court.
 Nay then, no matter. Stay with me awhile;
 I am to break with thee of some affairs
60 That touch me near, wherein thou must be secret.
 ’Tis not unknown to thee that I have sought
 To match my friend Sir Thurio to my daughter.
 I know it well, my lord, and sure the match
 Were rich and honorable. Besides, the gentleman
65 Is full of virtue, bounty, worth, and qualities
 Beseeming such a wife as your fair daughter.
 Cannot your Grace win her to fancy him?
 No. Trust me, she is peevish, sullen, froward,
 Proud, disobedient, stubborn, lacking duty,
70 Neither regarding that she is my child
 Nor fearing me as if I were her father;
 And may I say to thee, this pride of hers,
 Upon advice, hath drawn my love from her,
 And where I thought the remnant of mine age
75 Should have been cherished by her childlike duty,
 I now am full resolved to take a wife
 And turn her out to who will take her in.
 Then let her beauty be her wedding dower,
 For me and my possessions she esteems not.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 3. SC. 1

80 What would your Grace have me to do in this?
 There is a lady in Verona here
 Whom I affect; but she is nice, and coy,
 And nought esteems my agèd eloquence.
 Now therefore would I have thee to my tutor—
85 For long agone I have forgot to court;
 Besides, the fashion of the time is changed—
 How and which way I may bestow myself
 To be regarded in her sun-bright eye.
 Win her with gifts if she respect not words;
90 Dumb jewels often in their silent kind
 More than quick words do move a woman’s mind.
 But she did scorn a present that I sent her.
 A woman sometime scorns what best contents her.
 Send her another; never give her o’er,
95 For scorn at first makes after-love the more.
 If she do frown, ’tis not in hate of you,
 But rather to beget more love in you.
 If she do chide, ’tis not to have you gone,
 Forwhy the fools are mad if left alone.
100 Take no repulse, whatever she doth say;
 For “get you gone” she doth not mean “away.”
 Flatter and praise, commend, extol their graces;
 Though ne’er so black, say they have angels’ faces.
 That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man
105 If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.
 But she I mean is promised by her friends
 Unto a youthful gentleman of worth
 And kept severely from resort of men,
 That no man hath access by day to her.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 3. SC. 1

110 Why, then, I would resort to her by night.
 Ay, but the doors be locked and keys kept safe,
 That no man hath recourse to her by night.
 What lets but one may enter at her window?
 Her chamber is aloft, far from the ground,
115 And built so shelving that one cannot climb it
 Without apparent hazard of his life.
 Why, then a ladder quaintly made of cords
 To cast up, with a pair of anchoring hooks,
 Would serve to scale another Hero’s tower,
120 So bold Leander would adventure it.
 Now, as thou art a gentleman of blood,
 Advise me where I may have such a ladder.
 When would you use it? Pray sir, tell me that.
 This very night; for love is like a child
125 That longs for everything that he can come by.
 By seven o’clock I’ll get you such a ladder.
 But hark thee: I will go to her alone;
 How shall I best convey the ladder thither?
 It will be light, my lord, that you may bear it
130 Under a cloak that is of any length.
 A cloak as long as thine will serve the turn?
 Ay, my good lord.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 3. SC. 1

DUKE  Then let me see thy cloak;
 I’ll get me one of such another length.
135 Why, any cloak will serve the turn, my lord.
 How shall I fashion me to wear a cloak?
 I pray thee, let me feel thy cloak upon me.
Pulling off the cloak, he reveals
a rope ladder and a paper.

 What letter is this same? What’s here? (Reads.) To

140 And here an engine fit for my proceeding.
 I’ll be so bold to break the seal for once.
 My thoughts do harbor with my Sylvia nightly,
  And slaves they are to me that send them flying.
 O, could their master come and go as lightly,
145  Himself would lodge where, senseless, they are
 My herald thoughts in thy pure bosom rest them,
  While I, their king, that thither them importune,
 Do curse the grace that with such grace hath blest
150  them,
  Because myself do want my servants’ fortune.
 I curse myself, for they are sent by me,
 That they should harbor where their lord should be.

 What’s here?
155 (Reads.) Sylvia, this night I will enfranchise thee.
 ’Tis so. And here’s the ladder for the purpose.
 Why, Phaëton—for thou art Merops’ son—
 Wilt thou aspire to guide the heavenly car
 And with thy daring folly burn the world?
160 Wilt thou reach stars because they shine on thee?
 Go, base intruder, overweening slave,
 Bestow thy fawning smiles on equal mates
 And think my patience, more than thy desert,

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 3. SC. 1

 Is privilege for thy departure hence.
165 Thank me for this more than for all the favors
 Which all too much I have bestowed on thee.
 But if thou linger in my territories
 Longer than swiftest expedition
 Will give thee time to leave our royal court,
170 By heaven, my wrath shall far exceed the love
 I ever bore my daughter or thyself.
 Begone. I will not hear thy vain excuse,
 But, as thou lov’st thy life, make speed from hence.
He exits.
 And why not death, rather than living torment?
175 To die is to be banished from myself,
 And Sylvia is myself; banished from her
 Is self from self—a deadly banishment.
 What light is light if Sylvia be not seen?
 What joy is joy if Sylvia be not by—
180 Unless it be to think that she is by
 And feed upon the shadow of perfection?
 Except I be by Sylvia in the night,
 There is no music in the nightingale.
 Unless I look on Sylvia in the day,
185 There is no day for me to look upon.
 She is my essence, and I leave to be
 If I be not by her fair influence
 Fostered, illumined, cherished, kept alive.
 I fly not death, to fly his deadly doom;
190 Tarry I here, I but attend on death,
 But fly I hence, I fly away from life.

Enter Proteus and Lance.

PROTEUS Run, boy, run, run, and seek him out.
LANCE So-ho, so-ho!
PROTEUS What seest thou?

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 3. SC. 1

LANCE 195Him we go to find. There’s not a hair on ’s head
 but ’tis a Valentine.
PROTEUS Valentine?
PROTEUS Who then? His spirit?
VALENTINE 200Neither.
PROTEUS What then?
LANCE Can nothing speak? Master, shall I strike?
PROTEUS Who wouldst thou strike?
LANCE 205Nothing.
PROTEUS Villain, forbear.
LANCE Why, sir, I’ll strike nothing. I pray you—
 Sirrah, I say forbear.—Friend Valentine, a word.
 My ears are stopped and cannot hear good news,
210 So much of bad already hath possessed them.
 Then in dumb silence will I bury mine,
 For they are harsh, untunable, and bad.
VALENTINE Is Sylvia dead?
PROTEUS No, Valentine.
215 No Valentine indeed for sacred Sylvia.
 Hath she forsworn me?
PROTEUS No, Valentine.
 No Valentine if Sylvia have forsworn me.
 What is your news?
LANCE 220Sir, there is a proclamation that you are
 That thou art banishèd—O, that’s the news—
 From hence, from Sylvia, and from me thy friend.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 3. SC. 1

 O, I have fed upon this woe already,
225 And now excess of it will make me surfeit.
 Doth Sylvia know that I am banishèd?
 Ay, ay, and she hath offered to the doom—
 Which unreversed stands in effectual force—
 A sea of melting pearl, which some call tears;
230 Those at her father’s churlish feet she tendered,
 With them, upon her knees, her humble self,
 Wringing her hands, whose whiteness so became
 As if but now they waxèd pale for woe.
235 But neither bended knees, pure hands held up,
 Sad sighs, deep groans, nor silver-shedding tears
 Could penetrate her uncompassionate sire;
 But Valentine, if he be ta’en, must die.
 Besides, her intercession chafed him so,
240 When she for thy repeal was suppliant,
 That to close prison he commanded her
 With many bitter threats of biding there.
 No more, unless the next word that thou speak’st
 Have some malignant power upon my life.
245 If so, I pray thee breathe it in mine ear
 As ending anthem of my endless dolor.
 Cease to lament for that thou canst not help,
 And study help for that which thou lament’st.
 Time is the nurse and breeder of all good.
250 Here, if thou stay, thou canst not see thy love;
 Besides, thy staying will abridge thy life.
 Hope is a lover’s staff; walk hence with that
 And manage it against despairing thoughts.
 Thy letters may be here, though thou art hence,
255 Which, being writ to me, shall be delivered

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 3. SC. 1

 Even in the milk-white bosom of thy love.
 The time now serves not to expostulate.
 Come, I’ll convey thee through the city gate
 And, ere I part with thee, confer at large
260 Of all that may concern thy love affairs.
 As thou lov’st Sylvia, though not for thyself,
 Regard thy danger, and along with me.
 I pray thee, Lance, an if thou seest my boy,
 Bid him make haste and meet me at the North
265 Gate.
 Go, sirrah, find him out.—Come, Valentine.
 O, my dear Sylvia! Hapless Valentine!
Valentine and Proteus exit.
LANCE I am but a fool, look you, and yet I have the wit
 to think my master is a kind of a knave, but that’s all
270 one if he be but one knave. He lives not now that
 knows me to be in love, yet I am in love, but a team
 of horse shall not pluck that from me, nor who ’tis I
 love; and yet ’tis a woman, but what woman I will
 not tell myself; and yet ’tis a milk-maid; yet ’tis not a
275 maid, for she hath had gossips; yet ’tis a maid, for
 she is her master’s maid and serves for wages. She
 hath more qualities than a water spaniel, which is
 much in a bare Christian. He takes out a piece of
Here is the catalog of her condition.
280 (Reads.) Imprimis, She can fetch and carry. Why, a
 horse can do no more; nay, a horse cannot fetch but
 only carry; therefore is she better than a jade.
 (Reads.) Item, She can milk. Look you, a sweet
 virtue in a maid with clean hands.

Enter Speed.

SPEED 285How now, Signior Lance? What news with your

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 3. SC. 1

LANCE With my master’s ship? Why, it is at sea.
SPEED Well, your old vice still: mistake the word. What
 news, then, in your paper?
LANCE 290The black’st news that ever thou heard’st.
SPEED Why, man? How black?
LANCE Why, as black as ink.
SPEED Let me read them.
LANCE Fie on thee, jolt-head, thou canst not read.
SPEED 295Thou liest. I can.
LANCE I will try thee. Tell me this, who begot thee?
SPEED Marry, the son of my grandfather.
LANCE O, illiterate loiterer, it was the son of thy grandmother.
 This proves that thou canst not read.
SPEED 300Come, fool, come. Try me in thy paper.
LANCE, giving him the paper There, and Saint Nicholas
 be thy speed.
SPEED reads Imprimis, She can milk.
LANCE Ay, that she can.
SPEED 305Item, She brews good ale.
LANCE And thereof comes the proverb: “Blessing of
 your heart, you brew good ale.”
SPEED Item, She can sew.
LANCE That’s as much as to say “Can she so?”
SPEED 310Item, She can knit.
LANCE What need a man care for a stock with a wench,
 when she can knit him a stock?
SPEED Item, She can wash and scour.
LANCE A special virtue, for then she need not be
315 washed and scoured.
SPEED Item, She can spin.
LANCE Then may I set the world on wheels, when she
 can spin for her living.
SPEED Item, She hath many nameless virtues.
LANCE 320That’s as much as to say “bastard virtues,” that
 indeed know not their fathers and therefore have no

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 3. SC. 1

SPEED Here follow her vices.
LANCE Close at the heels of her virtues.
SPEED 325Item, She is not to be kissed fasting in respect of
 her breath.

LANCE Well, that fault may be mended with a breakfast.
 Read on.
SPEED Item, She hath a sweet mouth.
LANCE 330That makes amends for her sour breath.
SPEED Item, She doth talk in her sleep.
LANCE It’s no matter for that, so she sleep not in her
SPEED Item, She is slow in words.
LANCE 335O villain, that set this down among her vices! To
 be slow in words is a woman’s only virtue. I pray
 thee, out with ’t, and place it for her chief virtue.
SPEED Item, She is proud.
LANCE Out with that too; it was Eve’s legacy and
340 cannot be ta’en from her.
SPEED Item, She hath no teeth.
LANCE I care not for that neither, because I love crusts.
SPEED Item, She is curst.
LANCE Well, the best is, she hath no teeth to bite.
SPEED 345Item, She will often praise her liquor.
LANCE If her liquor be good, she shall; if she will not, I
 will, for good things should be praised.
SPEED Item, She is too liberal.
LANCE Of her tongue she cannot, for that’s writ down
350 she is slow of; of her purse she shall not, for that I’ll
 keep shut; now, of another thing she may, and that
 cannot I help. Well, proceed.
SPEED Item, She hath more hair than wit, and more
 faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults.

LANCE 355Stop there. I’ll have her. She was mine and not
 mine twice or thrice in that last article. Rehearse
 that once more.
SPEED Item, She hath more hair than wit.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ACT 3. SC. 2

LANCE “More hair than wit”? It may be; I’ll prove it:
360 the cover of the salt hides the salt, and therefore it is
 more than the salt; the hair that covers the wit is
 more than the wit, for the greater hides the less.
 What’s next?
SPEED And more faults than hairs.
LANCE 365That’s monstrous! O, that that were out!
SPEED And more wealth than faults.
LANCE Why, that word makes the faults gracious. Well,
 I’ll have her, and if it be a match, as nothing is
SPEED 370What then?
LANCE Why, then will I tell thee that thy master stays
 for thee at the North Gate.
SPEED For me?
LANCE For thee? Ay, who art thou? He hath stayed for a
375 better man than thee.
SPEED And must I go to him?
LANCE Thou must run to him, for thou hast stayed so
 long that going will scarce serve the turn.
SPEED, handing him the paper Why didst not tell me
380 sooner? Pox of your love letters!He exits.
LANCE Now will he be swinged for reading my letter;
 an unmannerly slave, that will thrust himself into
 secrets. I’ll after, to rejoice in the boy’s correction.
He exits.