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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Two Gentlemen of Verona Translation Act 3, Scene 1

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Enter DUKE, TURIO, and PROTEUS

DUKE

Sir Turio, give us leave, I pray, awhile;We have some secrets to confer about.

DUKE

Sir Turio, leave us alone for a while, please. We have to discuss some secrets.

Exit TURIO

DUKE

Now, tell me, Proteus, what's your will with me?

DUKE

Now, what did you want to tell me, Proteus?

PROTEUS

My gracious lord, that which I would discover The law of friendship bids me to conceal; But when I call to mind your gracious favours Done to me, undeserving as I am, My duty pricks me on to utter that Which else no worldly good should draw from me. 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 Turio, whom your gentle daughter hates; 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 A pack of sorrows which would press you down, Being unprevented, to your timeless grave.

PROTEUS

My gracious lord, the rules of friendship tell me to keep certain things a secret. But when I remind myself of your kindness to me, my duty forces me to tell you a secret that nobody else could ever get out of me. My friend Sir Valentine is planning on stealing away with your daughter tonight. I have been entrusted with this secret information. I know you are determined to give her in marriage to Turio, whom your dear daughter hates. And if she were taken away from you like this, it would distress you—especially at your age. So, for the sake of my duty, I would rather choose to go against my friend's intended plan than hide it. That way, you won't be weighed down with sorrow, which could easily kill you.

DUKE

Proteus, I thank thee for thine honest care; Which to requite, command me while I live. This love of theirs myself have often seen, 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, A rashness that I ever yet have shunn'd, 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, I nightly lodge her in an upper tower, The key whereof myself have ever kept; And thence she cannot be convey'd away.

DUKE

Proteus, I thank you for your honesty and care. To repay you, ask any favor of me while I'm still alive. I have often seen signs that Valentine and Silvia are in love, usually while they think I'm sleeping. And I have often thought of forbidding Sir Valentine to see her, and of banishing him from my court. But I was worried that my suspicions may be wrong, which would unfairly shame him. I put that rash decision out of my mind, and I looked upon him kindly in order to try and discover the information which you have just told me. You can guess that this causes me to worry about her. And knowing how young people are easily tempted, I keep her in a high tower every night, and I hold onto the key so she can't be taken away.

PROTEUS

Know, noble lord, they have devised a mean How he her chamber-window will ascend 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 That my discovery be not aimed at; For love of you, not hate unto my friend, Hath made me publisher of this pretence.

PROTEUS

But, noble lord, they have come up with a plan to use a rope ladder—he'll climb up it to get to the window of her room, and will bring her down. The young man has just left to get that ladder, and he will soon come this way with it. If you wish, you may catch him bringing it here. But, my good lord, do it cleverly, so that I am not suspected of disclosing his secret plan. My love for you—not hatred of my friend—made me reveal his intention.

DUKE

Upon mine honour, he shall never knowThat I had any light from thee of this.

DUKE

I swear on my honor that he will never know that I heard any of this from you.

PROTEUS

Adieu, my Lord; Sir Valentine is coming.

PROTEUS

Goodbye, my Lord. Sir Valentine is coming!

Exit

Enter VALENTINE

DUKE

Sir Valentine, whither away so fast?

DUKE

Sir Valentine, where are you going so fast?

VALENTINE

Please it your grace, there is a messengerThat stays to bear my letters to my friends,And I am going to deliver them.

VALENTINE

I am sorry, your Grace. There is a messenger that is waiting to take my letters to my friends, and I'm going to give them to him.

DUKE

Be they of much import?

DUKE

Are these letters important?

VALENTINE

The tenor of them doth but signifyMy health and happy being at your court.

VALENTINE

They just talk of my health, and how happy I am at your court.

DUKE

Nay then, no matter; stay with me awhile; I am to break with thee of some affairs That touch me near, wherein thou must be secret. 'Tis not unknown to thee that I have sought To match my friend Sir Turio to my daughter.

DUKE

Then they are not so important. Stay with me for a while. I want to tell you about some things that are close to my heart, and you must keep them secret. You know yourself that I have been trying to make a match between my friend Sir Turio and my daughter.

VALENTINE

I know it well, my Lord; and, sure, the match Were rich and honourable; besides, the gentleman Is full of virtue, bounty, worth and qualities Beseeming such a wife as your fair daughter: Cannot your Grace win her to fancy him?

VALENTINE

I know that well, my Lord. And that match is rich and honorable, of course. Also, the gentleman is virtuous, generous,  and worthy. And he has all the right qualities that are suitable for such a wife as your beautiful daughter will be. Can't you win her over so she likes him, your Grace?

DUKE

No, trust me; she is peevish, sullen, froward, Proud, disobedient, stubborn, lacking duty, 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 Should have been cherish'd by her child-like 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.

DUKE

No, trust me. She is headstrong, sour, obstinate, proud, disobedient, and stubborn. She doesn't respect the duty that she owes me as my child, and doesn't fear my parental authority. And, I can tell you this, after thinking it over, this pride of hers has turned my love away from her. I thought that, in my old age, she might cherish me and be dutiful to me. But now I have decided to get a wife, and shun my daughter, so anyone can take her in. Then, let her beauty be her dowry. She is not worth me and my possessions. 

VALENTINE

What would your Grace have me to do in this?

VALENTINE

Your Grace, what do you want me to do about this?

DUKE

There is a lady in Verona here Whom I affect; but she is nice and coy And nought esteems my aged eloquence: Now therefore would I have thee to my tutor— 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.

DUKE

There is a lady here in Verona whom I love. But she is reluctant and shy, and does not care to speak of love with me, an old man. I'd like you to be my tutor, since it's been a while and I have forgotten how to woo. And the fashion of the time has changed too. Tell me how and in what way I should behave to be well-regarded in her eyes.

VALENTINE

Win her with gifts, if she respect not words:Dumb jewels often in their silent kindMore than quick words do move a woman's mind.

VALENTINE

Win her with gifts, if she doesn't care for words. Jewels often influence a woman's mind; they're silent, but jewels move a woman quicker than words ever could.

DUKE

But she did scorn a present that I sent her.

DUKE

But she refused a gift that I sent her.

VALENTINE

A woman sometimes scorns what best contents her. Send her another; never give her o'er; 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; For why, the fools are mad, if left alone. 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, If with his tongue he cannot win a woman .

VALENTINE

A woman sometimes refuses what she likes the best. Send her another gift; don't give up on her. Refusal at first makes later love greater. If she frowns, it's not because she hates you. Instead, she wants to get more love out of you. If she tells you off, it's not because she wants you to stop or go away. These foolish women go crazy when they are left alone. Don't take her refusals seriously, no matter what she says. When she says "leave," she doesn't necessarily mean "go away." Flatter her, praise her, elaborate on all her virtues. However dark-complexioned women may be, say that they have angels' faces. I think that a man that has a tongue is no man at all if he can't use his tongue to win a woman.

DUKE

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.

DUKE

But her family has promised to marry her to some young, worthy gentleman. She is kept away from any other men, so that no man has access to her during the day.

VALENTINE

Why, then, I would resort to her by night.

VALENTINE

Well then, I would go to her at night.

DUKE

Ay, but the doors be lock'd and keys kept safe,That no man hath recourse to her by night.

DUKE

Yes, but her door is locked. And the keys are kept safely tucked away, so that no man can get to her at night.

VALENTINE

What lets but one may enter at her window?

VALENTINE

What prevents you from entering her room through her window?

DUKE

Her chamber is aloft, far from the ground,And built so shelving that one cannot climb itWithout apparent hazard of his life.

DUKE

Her room is up high, quite far from the ground. And it's built in a way that you can't climb up without endangering your life. 

VALENTINE

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,So bold Leander would adventure it.

VALENTINE

Well, then a ladder made out of ropes could be thrown up to her, and set with a pair of heavy hooks. These would work to get to another Hero's tower, so bold Leander would try to reach her.

DUKE

Now, as thou art a gentleman of blood,Advise me where I may have such a ladder.

DUKE

Now, since you are a gentleman from a good family, tell me where I may find such a ladder. 

VALENTINE

When would you use it? Pray, sir, tell me that.

VALENTINE

When would you need it? Please tell me when, sir. 

DUKE

This very night; for Love is like a child,That longs for every thing that he can come by.

DUKE

Tonight! Because Love is like a child. It wants everything that  it can get. 

VALENTINE

By seven o'clock I'll get you such a ladder.

VALENTINE

I'll get you this ladder by seven o'clock.

DUKE

But, hark thee; I will go to her alone:How shall I best convey the ladder thither?

DUKE

But, wait. I will be going to her alone, so how can I carry the ladder there?

VALENTINE

It will be light, my lord, that you may bear itUnder a cloak that is of any length.

VALENTINE

It's not heavy, my lord. And you can hide it under any coat, long or short. 

DUKE

A cloak as long as thine will serve the turn?

DUKE

Would a coat as long as yours work?

VALENTINE

Ay, my good lord.

VALENTINE

Yes, my good lord.

DUKE

Then let me see thy cloak:I'll get me one of such another length.

DUKE

Then let me see your coat. I'll get one of this length for myself.

VALENTINE

Why, any cloak will serve the turn, my lord.

VALENTINE

Any coat will be work, my lord.

DUKE

How shall I fashion me to wear a cloak? I pray thee, let me feel thy cloak upon me. What letter is this same? What's here? 'To Silvia'! And here an engine fit for my proceeding. I'll be so bold to break the seal for once.

DUKE

How can I get used to wearing a coat? Please, let me try yours. [He tries on the coat and finds a letter] What's this letter? What does it say? [Reading]"To Silvia!" This is a device suitable for the very scheme I have been planning. I'll be so bold as to break the seal for once.

Reads

DUKE

'My thoughts do harbour with my Silvia nightly, And slaves they are to me that send them flying: O, could their master come and go as lightly, Himself would lodge where senseless they are lying! My herald thoughts in thy pure bosom rest them: While I, their king, that hither them importune, Do curse the grace that with such grace hath bless'd them, Because myself do want my servants' fortune: I curse myself, for they are sent by me, That they should harbour where their lord would be.' What's here? 'Silvia, this night I will enfranchise thee.' 'Tis so; and here's the ladder for the purpose. Why, Phaeton,—for thou art Merops' son,— Wilt thou aspire to guide the heavenly car And with thy daring folly burn the world? 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, Is privilege for thy departure hence: Thank me for this more than for all the favours Which all too much I have bestow'd on thee. But if thou linger in my territories Longer than swiftest expedition Will give thee time to leave our royal court, By heaven! My wrath shall far exceed the love I ever bore my daughter or thyself. Be gone! I will not hear thy vain excuse; But, as thou lovest thy life, make speed from hence.

DUKE

[Reading]"My thoughts take refuge with my Silvia every night, and whoever sends those thoughts flying are like scoundrels to me.  Oh, if only I could come and go as easily my thoughts. Then I would choose to stay where all my thoughts of Silvia reside imperceptibly within my mind. My thoughts are like messages delivered to your pure heart. I—their sender—urge them to go there. But I also curse the good fortune that my thoughts have been blessed with, because I long to be as lucky as they are. I curse myself because even though I'm the one who sent them, I can't be where they get to be—with you." What's this here? [Reading]"Silvia, I will free you tonight." Is that so? And here is the ladder for that purpose. Are you like Phateon, Merops' son, and will you hope to drive the heavenly chariot and burn the world with your daring foolishness? Will you reach the stars because they shine on you? Go, you lowly invader! You arrogant scoundrel! Give your smiles to women of your own worth. I hope you know that it is because of my patience—and not because you deserve it in any way—that I'm allowing you to leave. Thank me for this more than for all the kind things I've done for you—of which there have been far too many. But, if you stay behind in my lands longer than the short time that I'll give you to leave my royal court, I swear to God that my anger will be stronger than the love I've ever had for my daughter or for you. Get out of here! I don't want to hear any of your excuses. If you love your life, you'd better get out of here as fast as possible. 

Exit

VALENTINE

And why not death rather than living torment? To die is to be banish'd from myself; And Silvia is myself: banish'd from her Is self from self: a deadly banishment! What light is light, if Silvia be not seen? What joy is joy, if Silvia be not by? Unless it be to think that she is by And feed upon the shadow of perfection Except I be by Silvia in the night, There is no music in the nightingale; Unless I look on Silvia in the day, 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 Foster'd, illumined, cherish'd, kept alive. I fly not death, to fly his deadly doom: Tarry I here, I but attend on death: But, fly I hence, I fly away from life.

VALENTINE

And why don't I die rather than live in torment? To die is to be banished from myself, and Silvia is myself. Being banished from her is like being banished from myself. That's a deadly banishment! What light is light, if Silvia can't be seen? What joy is joy, if Silvia isn't nearby? Unless joy is to simply think that she is nearby and feed on that image of perfection.If I'm not by Silvia during the night, then the nightingale doesn't sing. Unless I look at Silvia during the day, there is no day for me to see. She is my everything, and I will cease to exist if I am not nurtured, illuminated, comforted, and kept alive by her power. It'll be as bad as dying under his death sentence if I run away. But, I will flee—even though I'll be fleeing from life itself. 

Enter PROTEUS and LANCE

PROTEUS

Run, boy, run, run, and seek him out.

PROTEUS

Run, boy, run, run; and look for him.

LANCE

Soho, soho!

LANCE

Oh, oh!

PROTEUS

What seest thou?

PROTEUS

What do you see?

LANCE

Him we go to find: there's not a hair on's headbut 'tis a Valentine.

LANCE

I found the man we wanted to find. Look, I swear that every hair on that man's head belongs to Valentine.

PROTEUS

Valentine?

PROTEUS

Valentine?

VALENTINE

No.

VALENTINE

No.

PROTEUS

Who then? His spirit?

PROTEUS

Who then? His ghost?

VALENTINE

Neither.

VALENTINE

Not his ghost neither.

PROTEUS

What then?

PROTEUS

What then?

VALENTINE

Nothing.

VALENTINE

Nothing.

LANCE

Can nothing speak? Master, shall I strike?

LANCE

Can nothing speak? Master, shall I hit it?

PROTEUS

Who wouldst thou strike?

PROTEUS

Who would you hit?

LANCE

Nothing.

LANCE

Nothing.

PROTEUS

Villain, forbear.

PROTEUS

Rogue, stand by.

LANCE

Why, sir, I'll strike nothing: I pray you,—

LANCE

But sir, I won't hit anything, I swear— 

PROTEUS

Sirrah, I say, forbear. Friend Valentine, a word.

PROTEUS

I said, stand by, sir.

[To VALENTINE] Valentine, my friend, speak to me.

VALENTINE

My ears are stopt and cannot hear good news,So much of bad already hath possess'd them.

VALENTINE

My ears are blocked up and can't hear good news, since they have been packed with so much bad news already.

PROTEUS

Then in dumb silence will I bury mine,For they are harsh, untuneable and bad.

PROTEUS

Then I will bury my news in silence, because my news is harsh and bad.

VALENTINE

Is Silvia dead?

VALENTINE

Is Silvia dead?

PROTEUS

No, Valentine.

PROTEUS

No, Valentine.

VALENTINE

No Valentine, indeed, for sacred Silvia.Hath she forsworn me?

VALENTINE

Then, indeed, there will be no Valentine for sacred Silvia. Has she rejected me?

PROTEUS

No, Valentine.

PROTEUS

No, Valentine.

VALENTINE

No Valentine, if Silvia have forsworn me.What is your news?

VALENTINE

There will be no Valentine, if Silvia has rejected me. What is your news?

LANCE

Sir, there is a proclamation that you are vanished.

LANCE

Sir, it has been announced that you are vanished.

PROTEUS

That thou art banished—O, that's the news!—From hence, from Silvia and from me thy friend.

PROTEUS

That you are banished! Oh, that's the news! Banished from here, from Silvia and from me, your friend. 

VALENTINE

O, I have fed upon this woe already,And now excess of it will make me surfeit.Doth Silvia know that I am banished?

VALENTINE

Oh, I have already heard this bad news—and now more of it will make me ill. Does Silvia know that I am banished? 

PROTEUS

Ay, ay; and she hath offer'd to the doom— Which, unreversed, stands in effectual force— A sea of melting pearl, which some call tears: Those at her father's churlish feet she tender'd; With them, upon her knees, her humble self; Wringing her hands, whose whiteness so became them As if but now they waxed pale for woe: 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, When she for thy repeal was suppliant, That to close prison he commanded her, With many bitter threats of biding there.

PROTEUS

Yes, yes, and her reaction to the sentence—which, as long as it's not reversed, will be as powerful as ever—was a sea of tears. She offered them and her whole self at her father's feet, begging on her knees. She was wringing her hands, which were so white it was like they had just gone pale with sadness. But neither her knees, nor her hands held up. Her sad sighs, deep groans, and tears couldn't reach out to her unfeeling father. But, if you are taken, you will die. Also, her prayer—in which she asked for the reversal of your sentence—made her father so angry that he locked her up in a secluded prison. He made many awful threats if she didn't stay there.

VALENTINE

No more; unless the next word that thou speak'st Have some malignant power upon my life: If so, I pray thee, breathe it in mine ear, As ending anthem of my endless dolour.

VALENTINE

Say no more, unless your next word has some evil power over my life. If so, then I ask you, whisper it in my ear, like a tune playing at my funeral, to remember my endless suffering. 

PROTEUS

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. 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; Which, being writ to me, shall be deliver'd 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 Of all that may concern thy love-affairs. As thou lovest Silvia, though not for thyself, Regard thy danger, and along with me!

PROTEUS

Stop moaning; that won't help you. Instead, let's figure out how to help the situation you are moaning about. Time heals all wounds, and makes everything good. If you stay here, you won't be able to see your love. Besides, your staying here will shorten your life. Hope is like a lover's staff, and therefore you can walk with that and handle it against your despairing thoughts. Your letters can be here, even if you are away. Address them to me, and they'll be delivered your love's milk-white bosom. We have no time to discuss it further. Come, I'll walk you out through the city gate. And, before I say goodbye, we'll discuss anything that may concern your love affair in detail. For your love of Silvia—even if not for your own sake—do what you can to avoid danger, and come along with me!

VALENTINE

I pray thee, Lance, an if thou seest my boy,Bid him make haste and meet me at the North-gate.

VALENTINE

Lance, if you see my boy, tell him to hurry up and meet me at the North Gate, please.

PROTEUS

Go, sirrah, find him out. Come, Valentine.

PROTEUS

[To LANCE] Go find him, sir.

[To VALENTINE] Come, Valentine.

VALENTINE

O my dear Silvia! Hapless Valentine!

VALENTINE

Oh, my dear Silvia! Unfortunate Valentine!

Exeunt VALENTINE and PROTEUS

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 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 milkmaid; yet 'tis not a 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.

LANCE

I am only a fool, you know. And yet I am clever enough to think that my master is some kind of villain. But that's all right if he's one specific kind of a villain. Not a man alive knows that I am in love. Yet I am in love. But a group of horses can't get that secret out of me, nor whom I love. And yet, it's a woman, but I won't say what woman. And yet, it's a milkmaid. Yet, it's not a servant, because she knows the gossip and provides domestic services for money. She has more accomplishments than a submissive dog, which is saying a lot for a mere Christian.

Pulling out a paper

LANCE

Here is the cate-log of her condition. '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. 'Item: She can milk;' look you, a sweet virtue in a maid with clean hands.

LANCE

Here is the list of her attributes. [Reading] "In the first place: She can bring and carry things." A horse can do that. No, a horse can't bring things, but only carry them. Therefore, she is better than a worthless old horse. [Reading] "Next: She can milk a cow." Yes, that is a sweet virtue in a maid with clean hands.

Enter SPEED

SPEED

How now, Signior Lance! What news with yourmastership?

SPEED

How are you, Mr. Lance? What is the news with your Mastership?

LANCE

With my master's ship? Why, it is at sea.

LANCE

With my master's ship? It's at sea.

SPEED

Well, your old vice still; mistake the word. Whatnews, then, in your paper?

SPEED

Ah, your old bad habit! You didn't understand the word. What news is in your paper, then?

LANCE

The blackest news that ever thou heardest.

LANCE

The blackest news that you've ever heard.

SPEED

Why, man, how black?

SPEED

How black, man?

LANCE

Why, as black as ink.

LANCE

As black as ink.

SPEED

Let me read them.

SPEED

Let me read the news.

LANCE

Fie on thee, jolt-head! Thou canst not read.

LANCE

Damn you, idiot! You can't read.

SPEED

Thou liest; I can.

SPEED

You lie. I can.

LANCE

I will try thee. Tell me this: who begot thee?

LANCE

I will test you. Tell me, who conceived you?

SPEED

Marry, the son of my grandfather.

SPEED

Indeed, my grandfather's son.

LANCE

O illiterate loiterer! It was the son of thy grandmother: this proves that thou canst not read.

LANCE

Oh, you illiterate slowpoke! It was your grandmother's son. This proves that you can't read.

SPEED

Come, fool, come; try me in thy paper.

SPEED

Come on, you fool, come on! Test me with your paper.

LANCE

There; and St. Nicholas be thy speed!

LANCE

Start reading here, and may St. Nicholas help you!

SPEED

[Reads] 'Imprimis: She can milk.'

SPEED

[Reading] "In the first place: She can milk."

LANCE

Ay, that she can.

LANCE

Yes, that she can do.

SPEED

'Item: She brews good ale.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She makes good beer."

LANCE

And thereof comes the proverb: 'Blessing of yourheart, you brew good ale.'

LANCE

And that's where the proverb comes from: "Bless your heart, you make a good beer."

SPEED

'Item: She can sew.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She can stitch."

LANCE

That's as much as to say, 'Can she so?'

LANCE

That's as if we were to say: "Can she really?"

SPEED

'Item: She can knit.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She can knit."

LANCE

What need a man care for a stock with a wench, whenshe can knit him a stock?

LANCE

Why does a man need a dowry from a woman when she can knit him a stocking?

SPEED

'Item: She can wash and scour.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She can wash and scrub."

LANCE

A special virtue: for then she need not be washedand scoured.

LANCE

That's a special virtue, because then she doesn't need to be cleaned and rubbed clean.

SPEED

'Item: She can spin.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She can spin thread."

LANCE

Then may I set the world on wheels, when she canspin for her living.

LANCE

Then I may have an easy life, when she can spin for a living.

SPEED

'Item: She hath many nameless virtues.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She has many inexpressible qualities."

LANCE

That's as much as to say, bastard virtues; that,indeed, know not their fathers and therefore have no names.

LANCE

That's as if we were to say that she has illegitimate children that don't know their fathers, and, therefore, have no names.

SPEED

'Here follow her vices.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Here are her bad qualities."

LANCE

Close at the heels of her virtues.

LANCE

Right after the list of her virtues.

SPEED

'Item: She is not to be kissed fasting in respectof her breath.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She shouldn't be kissed before she has eaten, because of her breath."

LANCE

Well, that fault may be mended with a breakfast. Read on.

LANCE

Well, that fault can be fixed by breakfast. Carry on reading.

SPEED

'Item: She hath a sweet mouth.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She has a sweet tooth."

LANCE

That makes amends for her sour breath.

LANCE

That makes up for her sour breath.

SPEED

'Item: She doth talk in her sleep.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She talks in her sleep."

LANCE

It's no matter for that, so she sleep not in her talk.

LANCE

That doesn't matter, as long as she doesn't sleep when she talks.

SPEED

'Item: She is slow in words.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She is slow with words."

LANCE

O 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.

LANCE

Oh, you rogue! You put that as one of her bad qualities! To be slow with words is a woman's only virtue. Take it out of there, I beg you, and put it as her main virtue. 

SPEED

'Item: She is proud.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She is greedy."

LANCE

Out with that too; it was Eve's legacy, and cannotbe ta'en from her.

LANCE

Take that one out too. Women got that quality from Eve in the Garden of Eden, and greed can't be taken from her.

SPEED

'Item: She hath no teeth.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She doesn't have any teeth."

LANCE

I care not for that neither, because I love crusts.

LANCE

I don't care about that one either, because I love to eat crusts.

SPEED

'Item: She is curst.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She is bad-tempered."

LANCE

Well, the best is, she hath no teeth to bite.

LANCE

Well, at least she has no teeth to bite me with.

SPEED

'Item: She will often praise her liquor.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She drinks liquor often."

LANCE

If her liquor be good, she shall: if she will not, Iwill; for good things should be praised.

LANCE

If her liquor is good, she will drink it. If she won't drink it, I will—because good things should be drunk.

SPEED

'Item: She is too liberal.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She is too unrestrained."

LANCE

Of her tongue she cannot, for that's writ down 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.

LANCE

She can't be unrestrained in speaking, because the list says she is slow in that. She can't unrestrained with her money, because I will be in charge of the money. Now, she may be unrestrained in another thing, and I can't help that. Well, carry on. 

SPEED

'Item: She hath more hair than wit, and more faultsthan hairs, and more wealth than faults.'

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She has more hair than wisdom; and more faults than hair; and more money than faults."

LANCE

Stop there; I'll have her: she was mine, and not mine, twice or thrice in that last article. Rehearse that once more.

LANCE

Stop there. I will have her. She was mine, and then not mine—two or three times in that last item you read. Say that one again.

SPEED

'Item: She hath more hair than wit,'—

SPEED

[Reading] "Next: She has more hair than wisdom,—"

LANCE

More hair than wit? It may be; I'll prove it. 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?

LANCE

More hair than wisdom? It very well may be; let me prove it logically. The lid of a large salt container hides the salt, and therefore it is more than the salt. The hair that covers the wisdom is more than the wisdom, because the greater hides the smaller. What's next?

SPEED

'And more faults than hairs,'—

SPEED

[Reading] "And more faults than hair,—"

LANCE

That's monstrous: O, that that were out!

LANCE

That's outrageous! Oh, that should not be on the list.

SPEED

'And more wealth than faults.'

SPEED

[Reading] "And more money than faults."

LANCE

Why, that word makes the faults gracious. Well,I'll have her; and if it be a match, as nothing isimpossible,—

LANCE

That fact makes the faults acceptable. Well, I'll have her; and if it's a match, since nothing is impossible—

SPEED

What then?

SPEED

Then what?

LANCE

Why, then will I tell thee—that thy master staysfor thee at the North-gate.

LANCE

Then I'll tell you that my master is waiting for you at the North Gate.

SPEED

For me?

SPEED

For me?

LaNCE

For thee! Ay, who art thou? He hath stayed for abetter man than thee.

LANCE

For you! Yes, who are you? He has waited for a better man than you.

SPEED

And must I go to him?

SPEED

And should I go to him?

LANCE

Thou must run to him, for thou hast stayed so longthat going will scarce serve the turn.

LANCE

You must run to him, because you've stayed here for so long that just going won't be enough.

SPEED

Why didst not tell me sooner? Pox of your love letters!

SPEED

Why didn't you tell me earlier? Curse your love letters!

Exit

LANCE

Now will he be swinged for reading my letter; anunmannerly slave, that will thrust himself intosecrets! I'll after, to rejoice in the boy's correction.

LANCE

Now he will be beaten for reading my letter. He is an ill-mannered rascal who will reveal all secrets! I'll follow him so that I can enjoy watching his punishment. 

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.