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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Two Gentlemen of Verona Translation Act 1, Scene 1

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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.

VALENTINE

Stop trying to convince me, enamored Proteus! Young people who always stay at home are very dull. If love didn't keep you here—chaining you to your beloved's sweet looks—I would ask you to join me, so you can see the wonders of the world abroad. That's better than to live in a dull way, being lazy at home and wasting your youth by doing nothing. But since you're in love, continue to love and let your love grow. I'll do the same when I fall in love. 

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.

PROTEUS

Are you going, then? Sweet Valentine, goodbye! Don't forget your Proteus, when you happen upon some special, remarkable object on your travels. Let me be a part of your happiness, when you stumble upon good luck. And when you are in danger—if you ever are surrounded by trouble—direct your unhappiness to me, and I will pray for you, Valentine. 

VALENTINE

And on a love-book pray for my success?

VALENTINE

And will you swear on the Book of Love that you'll pray for my success?

PROTEUS

Upon some book I love I'll pray for thee.

PROTEUS

I swear I'll pray for you, on some book I love. 

VALENTINE

That's on some shallow story of deep love:How young Leander cross'd the Hellespont.

VALENTINE

That book would contain a silly story of deep love; about young Leander swimming across the Hellespont.  

PROTEUS

That's a deep story of a deeper love:For he was more than over shoes in love.

PROTEUS

That's a deep story of even a deeper love, since he was head over heels in love. 

VALENTINE

'Tis true; for you are over boots in love,And yet you never swum the Hellespont.

VALENTINE

That's true. You, though, are head over boots in love, and yet you have never swum to Hellespont. 

PROTEUS

Over the boots? Nay, give me not the boots.

PROTEUS

I am head over boots in love? No, don't make fun of me. 

VALENTINE

No, I will not, for it boots thee not.

VALENTINE

No, I won't, because it doesn't help me in any way.

PROTEUS

What?

PROTEUS

What do you mean?

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.

VALENTINE

To be in love means to court rejection with moans; provoke disdainful looks with sorrowful sighs; and exchange one disappearing moment of happiness for twenty wakeful, tired, and exhausted nights. If love is won by luck, perhaps it's an unlucky gain. If love is lost, then it was good for nothing except sadness and toil. No matter the situation, love is merely foolishness bought with wisdom—or otherwise wisdom crushed by foolishness.

PROTEUS

So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.

PROTEUS

So, judging from this elaborate speech, you're calling me a fool.

VALENTINE

So, by your circumstance, I fear you'll prove.

VALENTINE

So, judging from your situation, I'm afraid you are a fool. 

PROTEUS

'Tis love you cavil at: I am not Love.

PROTEUS

You're complain about love. But I am not Love himself. 

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.

VALENTINE

Love is your master and he has power over you. And I think we should not consider anyone wise who is totally controlled by a fool.

PROTEUS

Yet writers say, as in the sweetest bud The eating canker dwells, so eating love Inhabits in the finest wits of all.

PROTEUS

Yet writers say that the worm survives by feeding off the sweetest bud, destroying the whole plant. So consuming love makes one live in the best sense of them 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 .

VALENTINE

And writers also say that—as the worm eats the most tender bud before it blooms—so too does love turn young and vulnerable wit into foolishness. With love wearing down the bud, wit loses its green freshness, even in its prime—and along with it all the promise of future hopes. But why am I wasting my time here, advising you—a devoted worshiper to foolish desire? Once more, goodbye! My father expects my arrival at the harbor, where I will board a ship. 

PROTEUS

And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.

PROTEUS

I'll take you there, 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.

VALENTINE

No, kind Proteus. Let's say goodbye now. Write me letters when I'm in Milan. Write to me about your success in love, and other news while your friend is gone. And my letters will be similarly full of news.

PROTEUS

All happiness bechance to thee in Milan!

PROTEUS

I hope only that you'll find only happiness in Milan!

VALENTINE

As much to you at home! And so, farewell.

VALENTINE

And I hope you will only have happiness here at home! And so, goodbye.

Exit

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.

PROTEUS

He pursues honor, and I pursue love. He leaves his friends to honor them more. And I abandon myself, my friends, and everything—all for the sake of love. Julia, you have changed me completely. You've made me neglect my studies; waste my time; combat good advice; think nothing of the world; exhaust my wits with wondering; and sicken my heart with thinking!

Enter SPEED

SPEED

Sir Proteus, save you! Saw you my master?

SPEED

God save you, Sir Proteus! Have you seen my master Valentine?

PROTEUS

But now he parted hence, to embark for Milan.

PROTEUS

He just left here, to set off for Milan.

SPEED

Twenty to one then he is shipp'd already,And I have play'd the sheep in losing him.

SPEED

I bet twenty to one that he is on board the ship already, and I have played the sheep by losing him.

PROTEUS

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

PROTEUS

Indeed, a sheep wanders very often, if the shepherd is away for a while.

SPEED

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

SPEED

You agree that my master is a shepherd, then? And I am a sheep?

PROTEUS

I do.

PROTEUS

I do. 

SPEED

Why then, my horns are his horns, whether I wake or sleep.

SPEED

Well then, since he owns me, my horns belong to him—whether I am awake or asleep.

PROTEUS

A silly answer and fitting well a sheep.

PROTEUS

That's a silly answer, suitable for a sheep.

SPEED

This proves me still a sheep.

SPEED

This proves that I am still a sheep.

PROTEUS

True; and thy master a shepherd.

PROTEUS

True, and your master is a shepherd.

SPEED

Nay, that I can deny by a circumstance.

SPEED

No, I can deny that with a logical argument.

PROTEUS

It shall go hard but I'll prove it by another.

PROTEUS

Well, it may be a challenge, but I can prove it by another argument. 

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.

SPEED

The shepherd looks for the sheep; the sheep doesn't look for its shepherd. But I look for my master, and my master does not look for me. That's why I'm not a 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.

PROTEUS

The sheep will follow the shepherd because the shepherd is the one who feeds the sheep. The shepherd doesn't follow the sheep to be fed. You follow your master because he pays you. Your master does not follow you, because you don't pay him. That's why you are a sheep.

SPEED

Such another proof will make me cry 'baa.'

SPEED

Such an explanation makes me want to say "baa."

PROTEUS

But, dost thou hear? Gavest thou my letter to Julia?

PROTEUS

But tell me: did you give 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.

SPEED

Yes sir. I, a lost sheep, gave your letter to her, a prostitute wearing a tightly laced bodice. And she, this prostitute, gave me, a lost sheep, nothing for my work.

PROTEUS

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

PROTEUS

This field is not big enough for such a great quantity of sheep.

SPEED

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

SPEED

If the ground is overcrowded, you'd better slaughter her.

PROTEUS

Nay: in that you are astray, 'twere best pound you.

PROTEUS

No, you are wandering into error there. It would be best if we confined you in a dog pound.

SPEED

Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve me forcarrying your letter.

SPEED

No, sir. I shall get less than a pound for delivering your letter.

PROTEUS

You mistake; I mean the pound,—a pinfold.

PROTEUS

You are mistaken. I mean the pound—an animal pen.

SPEED

From a pound to a pin? Fold it over and over, 'Tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your lover.

SPEED

From a pound to a pin? Multiply and fold it over and over,  and it's three times too little for carrying a letter to your lover.

PROTEUS

But what said she?

PROTEUS

But what did she say?

SPEED

[First nodding] Ay.

SPEED

[Nodding] Yes.

PROTEUS

Nod—Ay—why, that's noddy.

PROTEUS

Nodding—yes—well, he's a fool.

SPEED

You mistook, sir; I say, she did nod: and you askme if she did nod; and I say, 'Ay.'

SPEED

You misunderstood me, sir. I am saying that she nodded. And you asked me if she nodded, and I said: "Yes."

PROTEUS

And that set together is noddy.

PROTEUS

Everything you just said makes you an ever bigger fool.

SPEED

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

SPEED

Now that you have taken trouble to put it together, have it as a reward for the trouble you have taken.

PROTEUS

No, no; you shall have it for bearing the letter.

PROTEUS

No, no. You will take it for bringing the letter to her.

SPEED

Well, I perceive I must be fain to bear with you.

SPEED

Well, it looks like I must be obliged to put up with you.

PROTEUS

Why sir, how do you bear with me?

PROTEUS

How do you put up with me, sir? 

SPEED

Marry, sir, the letter, very orderly; having nothingbut the word 'noddy' for my pains.

SPEED

Indeed, sir, I'll take the letter very dutifully, since I've gotten nothing in exchange for my efforts besides being called a "fool."

PROTEUS

Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.

PROTEUS

The devil take me, you are quick-witted!

SPEED

And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse.

SPEED

And yet my wit cannot be quicker than your hesitation to pay me. 

PROTEUS

Come come, open the matter in brief: what said she?

PROTEUS

Come, come: reveal the information. What did she say?

SPEED

Open your purse, that the money and the matter maybe both at once delivered.

SPEED

Open your purse, so that the money and the information can be delivered both at once. 

PROTEUS

Well, sir, here is for your pains. What said she?

PROTEUS

Well, sir, here is for your trouble. [He hands over money to SPEED] What did she say?

SPEED

Truly, sir, I think you'll hardly win her.

SPEED

Really, sir, I think you won't be able to win her that easily.

PROTEUS

Why, couldst thou perceive so much from her?

PROTEUS

How could you understand 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.

SPEED

Sir, I received nothing from her at all. No, I did not even get a gold coin from her for delivering your letter. And since she was so hard on me—the person who only conveyed your feelings to her—I am afraid she will be as hard on you when you tell her about your feelings yourself. Don't give her any gifts but jewels, since she is as hard as steel.

PROTEUS

What said she? Nothing?

PROTEUS

What did she say? 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.

SPEED

No, not as much as "Take this for your troubles." I tip my hat to you for your generosity, since you've given me a tip. And in return for my good word, you should carry your letters yourself. And so sir, I'll speak well of 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.

PROTEUS

Go, go! Go away to save your ship from a shipwreck—it can't sink as long as you're on board, because you're destined to hang. You'll have a drier death on shore.

Exit SPEED

PROTEUS

I must go send some better messenger: I fear my Julia would not deign my lines, Receiving them from such a worthless post.

PROTEUS

I must go and send a better messenger. I am afraid my Julia won't accept my letter if she receives it from such a worthless idiot. 

Exit

The two gentlemen of verona
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Nina romancikova
About the Translator: Nina Romancikova

Nina Romancikova is from Slovakia but her love of literature and theater has brought her to the UK and she has been living and studying there for the past six years. She graduated with a degree in English Literature and Language at University of Glasgow in 2016. Nina is now finishing her Masters in Shakespeare Studies at King's College London and is currently working as a Research Intern at Shakespeare's Globe.