The Two Gentlemen of Verona Translation Act 2, Scene 6
To leave my Julia, shall I be forsworn; To love fair Silvia, shall I be forsworn; To wrong my friend, I shall be much forsworn; And even that power which gave me first my oath Provokes me to this threefold perjury; Love bade me swear and Love bids me forswear. O sweet-suggesting Love, if thou hast sinned, Teach me, thy tempted subject, to excuse it! At first I did adore a twinkling star, But now I worship a celestial sun. Unheedful vows may heedfully be broken, And he wants wit that wants resolved will To learn his wit to exchange the bad for better. Fie, fie, unreverend tongue! To call her bad, Whose sovereignty so oft thou hast preferr'd With twenty thousand soul-confirming oaths. I cannot leave to love, and yet I do; But there I leave to love where I should love. Julia I lose and Valentine I lose: If I keep them, I needs must lose myself; If I lose them, thus find I by their loss For Valentine myself, for Julia Silvia. I to myself am dearer than a friend, For love is still most precious in itself; And Silvia—witness Heaven, that made her fair!— Shows Julia but a swarthy Ethiope. I will forget that Julia is alive, Remembering that my love to her is dead; And Valentine I'll hold an enemy, Aiming at Silvia as a sweeter friend. I cannot now prove constant to myself, Without some treachery used to Valentine. This night he meaneth with a corded ladder To climb celestial Silvia's chamber-window, Myself in counsel, his competitor. Now presently I'll give her father notice Of their disguising and pretended flight; Who, all enraged, will banish Valentine; For Turio, he intends, shall wed his daughter; But, Valentine being gone, I'll quickly cross By some sly trick blunt Turio's dull proceeding. Love, lend me wings to make my purpose swift, As thou hast lent me wit to plot this drift!
If I were to leave Julia, I would break my promise. If I love the beautiful Silvia, I would break my promise. And I will break an even bigger promise if I hurt my friend Valentine. And yet even love—which made me swear to be faithful to Julia—provokes me to break my promise three times over. Love made me swear, but love wants me to break that promise. Oh, sweetly tempting Love: if you have ever sinned, teach me—your tempted subject—how to justify it! At first, I adored a star, who shone for just a moment. But now I worship the heavenly sun. Thoughtless promises can be carefully broken. And a man lacks intelligence if he can't take resolute action, teaching his wit to exchange a bad thing for a better thing. Ah, ah, impudent tongue! How could you call Julia bad, when you felt her power over you, and urged it on with twenty thousand soul-strengthening oaths? I cannot stop loving, and yet I do stop loving. But I stop loving the woman I should love, Julia. If I lose Julia, then I also lose Valentine. If I keep them, I must lose myself. Yet if I lose them, then I'll change places with Valentine, and Silvia will change places with Julia. I mean more to myself than a friend means to me, since love is still most precious in and of itself. And Silvia—Heaven look, you made her so beautiful!—shows Julia to be only a dark-complexioned Ethiopian. I will forget that Julia is alive, and remember that my love for her is therefore dead. I'll consider Valentine my enemy, and direct myself to Silvia as my sweeter friend. I cannot be faithful to myself now, without committing some act of treason on Valentine. Tonight, he is planning on climbing a rope ladder to the window of heavenly Silvia's room. He told me this in confidence, and trusts me—but I am also his rival. Now I will immediately let her father know of their deceptive plan to escape. He will be angry, and will cast Valentine out, since he wants Turio to marry his daughter. But as soon as Valentine is gone, I'll quickly use some clever trick to prevent the stupid Turio's progress. Love, give me wings so my purpose can be quick, just like you have lent me wit to plan this scheme!
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 967 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 22,100 quotes covering 967 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms