ACT I SCENE II

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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

 

ACT I SCENE II The same. Garden of Julia’s house.
[Enter JULlA and LUCETTA]
JULIA But say, Lucetta, now we are alone,
Wouldst thou then counsel me to fall in love?
LUCETTA Ay, madam, so you stumble not unheedfully.
JULIA Of all the fair resort of gentlemen
That every day with parle encounter me,
In thy opinion which is worthiest love?
LUCETTA Please you repeat their names, I’ll show my mind
According to my shallow simple skill.
JULIA What think’st thou of the fair Sir Eglamour?
LUCETTA As of a knight well-spoken, neat and fine; 10
But, were I you, he never should be mine.
JULIA What think’st thou of the rich Mercatio?
LUCETTA Well of his wealth; but of himself, so so.
JULIA What think’st thou of the gentle Proteus?
LUCETTA Lord, Lord! to see what folly reigns in us!
JULIA How now! what means this passion at his name?
LUCETTA Pardon, dear madam: ’tis a passing shame
That I, unworthy body as I am,
Should censure thus on lovely gentlemen.
JULIA Why not on Proteus, as of all the rest? 20
LUCETTA Then thus: of many good I think him best.
JULIA Your reason?
LUCETTA I have no other, but a woman’s reason;
I think him so because I think him so.
JULIA And wouldst thou have me cast my love on him?
LUCETTA Ay, if you thought your love not cast away.
JULIA Why he, of all the rest, hath never moved me.
LUCETTA Yet he, of all the rest, I think, best loves ye.
JULIA His little speaking shows his love but small.
LUCETTA Fire that’s closest kept burns most of all. 30
JULIA They do not love that do not show their love.
LUCETTA O, they love least that let men know their love.
JULIA I would I knew his mind.
LUCETTA Peruse this paper, madam.
JULIA ‘To Julia.’ Say, from whom?
LUCETTA That the contents will show.
JULIA Say, say, who gave it thee?
LUCETTA Valentine’s page; and sent, I think, from Proteus.
He would have given it you; but I, being in the way,
Did in your name receive it: pardon the 40
fault I pray.
JULIA Now, by my modesty, a goodly broker!
Dare you presume to harbour wanton lines?
To whisper and conspire against my youth?
Now, trust me, ’tis an office of great worth
And you an officer fit for the place.
Or else return no more into my sight.
LUCETTA To plead for love deserves more fee than hate.
JULIA Will ye be gone?
LUCETTA That you may ruminate.
[Exit]
JULIA And yet I would I had o’erlooked the letter: 50
It were a shame to call her back again
And pray her to a fault for which I chid her.
What a fool is she, that knows I am a maid,
And would not force the letter to my view!
Since maids, in modesty, say ‘no’ to that
Which they would have the profferer construe ‘ay.’
Fie, fie, how wayward is this foolish love

That, like a testy babe, will scratch the nurse
And presently all humbled kiss the rod!
How churlishly I chid Lucetta hence, 60
When willingly I would have had her here!
How angerly I taught my brow to frown,
When inward joy enforced my heart to smile!
My penance is to call Lucetta back
And ask remission for my folly past.
What ho! Lucetta!
[Re-enter LUCETTA]
LUCETTA What would your ladyship?
JULIA Is’t near dinner-time?
LUCETTA I would it were,
That you might kill your stomach on your meat
And not upon your maid.
JULIA What is’t that you took up so gingerly? 70
LUCETTA Nothing.
JULIA Why didst thou stoop, then?
LUCETTA To take a paper up that I let fall.
JULIA And is that paper nothing?
LUCETTA Nothing concerning me.
JULIA Then let it lie for those that it concerns.
LUCETTA Madam, it will not lie where it concerns
Unless it have a false interpeter.
JULIA Some love of yours hath writ to you in rhyme.
LUCETTA That I might sing it, madam, to a tune. 80
Give me a note: your ladyship can set.
JULIA As little by such toys as may be possible.
Best sing it to the tune of ‘Light o’ love.’
LUCETTA It is too heavy for so light a tune.
JULIA Heavy! belike it hath some burden then?
LUCETTA Ay, and melodious were it, would you sing it.
JULIA And why not you?
LUCETTA I cannot reach so high.
JULIA Let’s see your song. How now, minion!
LUCETTA Keep tune there still, so you will sing it out:
And yet methinks I do not like this tune. 90
JULIA You do not?
LUCETTA No, madam; it is too sharp.
JULIA You, minion, are too saucy.
LUCETTA Nay, now you are too flat
And mar the concord with too harsh a descant:
There wanteth but a mean to fill your song.
JULIA The mean is drown’d with your unruly bass.
LUCETTA Indeed, I bid the base for Proteus.
JULIA This babble shall not henceforth trouble me.
Here is a coil with protestation!
[Tears the letter]
Go get you gone, and let the papers lie: 100
You would be fingering them, to anger me.
LUCETTA She makes it strange; but she would be best pleased
To be so anger’d with another letter.
[Exit]
JULIA Nay, would I were so anger’d with the same!
O hateful hands, to tear such loving words!
Injurious wasps, to feed on such sweet honey
And kill the bees that yield it with your stings!
I’ll kiss each several paper for amends.
Look, here is writ ‘kind Julia.’ Unkind Julia!
As in revenge of thy ingratitude, 110
I throw thy name against the bruising stones,
Trampling contemptuously on thy disdain.
And here is writ ‘love-wounded Proteus.’
Poor wounded name! my bosom as a bed
Shall lodge thee till thy wound be thoroughly heal’d;
And thus I search it with a sovereign kiss.
But twice or thrice was ‘Proteus’ written down.
Be calm, good wind, blow not a word away
Till I have found each letter in the letter,
Except mine own name: that some whirlwind bear 120
Unto a ragged fearful-hanging rock
And throw it thence into the raging sea!
Lo, here in one line is his name twice writ,
‘Poor forlorn Proteus, passionate Proteus,
To the sweet Julia:’ that I’ll tear away.
And yet I will not, sith so prettily
He couples it to his complaining names.
Thus will I fold them one on another:
Now kiss, embrace, contend, do what you will.
[Re-enter LUCETTA]
LUCETTA Madam, 130
Dinner is ready, and your father stays.
JULIA Well, let us go.
LUCETTA What, shall these papers lie like tell-tales here?
JULIA If you respect them, best to take them up.
LUCETTA Nay, I was taken up for laying them down:
Yet here they shall not lie, for catching cold.
JULIA I see you have a month’s mind to them.
LUCETTA Ay, madam, you may say what sights you see;
I see things too, although you judge I wink.
JULIA Come, come; will’t please you go? 140
[Exeunt]

Next: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 1, Scene 3
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Explanatory notes for Act 1, Scene 2
From The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Ed. Israel Gollancz. New York: University Society.

19. Censure, in Shakespeare’s time, was commonly used in the sense of judging, passing judgement, giving one’s judgement or opinion. Thus in The Winter’s Tale, II. i. 36, 37: “How blest am I in my justcensure, in my true opinion!”

30. Fire is here a dissyllable. The play has other like examples. This and other words, as your, hour, power, etc., were continually used thus by the poets of Shakespeare’s time as one or two syllables, as their verse required.

53. What fool is she; the first three Folios read ‘what fool is she,’ indicating the omission of the indefinite article, a not uncommon Elizabethan idiom.

94, 95. descant: – The simple air in music was called the plain song, or ground; the descant was probably what is now called variations; the mean was the part between treble and tenor. This use of musical terms before a popular audience would seem to infer, what was indeed the case, that taste and knowledge in music was a characteristic trait of “merry England in the olden time.”

97. I bid the base: – Lucetta is still quibbling, and turns the allusion ofif upon the rustic game of base, or prison-base, in which one ran and challenged another to catch him.

126. Sith: – Since.

136. for catching cold: – That is, lest they should catch cold; anciently a common form of expression.

137. I see you have a moneth’s mind to them; Schmidt in his Shakespeare Lexicon explains the phrase ‘month’s mind’ as ‘a woman’s longing,’ as though the expression had its origin in the longing for particular articles of food shown by women, but this interpretation seems to have no authority. Johnson rightly remarks on this passage: – ‘A month’s mind, in the ritual sense, signifies not desire or inclination, but remembrance; yet I suppose this is the true original of expression,’ The Cambridge ed. following Fol. reads ‘month’s mind,’ but the metre clearly requires the contemporary archaic form.

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How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Ed. Israel Gollancz. New York: University Society, 1901.