ACT II SCENE III

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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

 

ACT II SCENE III The same. A street
[Enter LAUNCE, leading a dog]
LAUNCE Nay, ’twill be this hour ere I have done weeping;
all the kind of the Launces have this very fault. I
have received my proportion, like the prodigious
son, and am going with Sir Proteus to the Imperial’s
court. I think Crab, my dog, be the sourest-natured
dog that lives: my mother weeping, my father
wailing, my sister crying, our maid howling, our cat
wringing her hands, and all our house in a great
perplexity, yet did not this cruel-hearted cur shed
one tear: he is a stone, a very pebble stone, and 10
has no more pity in him than a dog: a Jew would have
wept to have seen our parting; why, my grandam,
having no eyes, look you, wept herself blind at my
parting. Nay, I’ll show you the manner of it. This
shoe is my father: no, this left shoe is my father:
no, no, this left shoe is my mother: nay, that
cannot be so neither: yes, it is so, it is so, it
hath the worser sole. This shoe, with the hole in 20
it, is my mother, and this my father; a vengeance
on’t! there ’tis: now, sit, this staff is my
sister, for, look you, she is as white as a lily and
as small as a wand: this hat is Nan, our maid: I
am the dog: no, the dog is himself, and I am the
dog–Oh! the dog is me, and I am myself; ay, so,
so. Now come I to my father; Father, your blessing:
now should not the shoe speak a word for weeping:
now should I kiss my father; well, he weeps on. Now
come I to my mother: O, that she could speak now
like a wood woman! Well, I kiss her; why, there 30
’tis; here’s my mother’s breath up and down. Now
come I to my sister; mark the moan she makes. Now
the dog all this while sheds not a tear nor speaks a
word; but see how I lay the dust with my tears.
[Enter PANTHINO]
PANTHINO Launce, away, away, aboard! thy master is shipped
and thou art to post after with oars. What’s the
matter? why weepest thou, man? Away, ass! You’ll
lose the tide, if you tarry any longer. 40
LAUNCE It is no matter if the tied were lost; for it is the
unkindest tied that ever any man tied.
PANTHINO What’s the unkindest tide?
LAUNCE Why, he that’s tied here, Crab, my dog.
PANTHINO Tut, man, I mean thou’lt lose the flood, and, in
losing the flood, lose thy voyage, and, in losing
thy voyage, lose thy master, and, in losing thy
master, lose thy service, and, in losing thy
service,–Why dost thou stop my mouth? 50
LAUNCE For fear thou shouldst lose thy tongue.
PANTHINO Where should I lose my tongue?
LAUNCE In thy tale.
PANTHINO In thy tail!
LAUNCE Lose the tide, and the voyage, and the master, and
the service, and the tied! Why, man, if the river
were dry, I am able to fill it with my tears; if the
wind were down, I could drive the boat with my sighs.
PANTHINO Come, come away, man; I was sent to call thee. 60
LAUNCE Sir, call me what thou darest.
PANTHINO Wilt thou go?
LAUNCE Well, I will go.
[Exeunt]

Next: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 2, Scene 4
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Explanatory notes for Act 2, Scene 3
From The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Ed. Israel Gollancz. New York: University Society.

17. this left shoe: – This shows that in the Poet’s time each foot had its several shoe; which fashion, once laid aside, has grown into general use again almost within the recollection of the present generation.

24-26. I am the dog, etc.: – Launce here gets entangled with his own ingenuity, and the Poet probably did not mean to extricate him.

30. a good woman; the Folios read ‘a would-woman’; Theobald first changed ‘would’ into ‘wood’ (i.e. mad); others ‘an ould (i.e. old) woman.’

30. like a wood woman: – Wood is an old word for frantic or mad: so that the speaker means that his mother was frantic with grief at parting with so hopeful a son. Perhaps the sense would be clearer, if we read, “O, that the shoe could speak now,” etc.

55, 56. The first, tide, refers to the river; the last, tied, to the dog. In the original tide and tied are both spelled the same way, tide, which renders the quibble more obvious.

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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.