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The Two Gentlemen of Verona


ACT II SCENE V The same. A street.
[Enter SPEED and LAUNCE severally]
SPEED Launce! by mine honesty, welcome to Milan!
LAUNCE Forswear not thyself, sweet youth, for I am not
welcome. I reckon this always, that a man is never
undone till he be hanged, nor never welcome to a
place till some certain shot be paid and the hostess 5
say ‘Welcome!’
SPEED Come on, you madcap, I’ll to the alehouse with you
presently; where, for one shot of five pence, thou
shalt have five thousand welcomes. But, sirrah, how
did thy master part with Madam Julia? 10
LAUNCE Marry, after they closed in earnest, they parted very
fairly in jest.
SPEED But shall she marry him?
SPEED How then? shall he marry her? 15
LAUNCE No, neither.
SPEED What, are they broken?
LAUNCE No, they are both as whole as a fish.
SPEED Why, then, how stands the matter with them?
LAUNCE Marry, thus: when it stands well with him, it 20
stands well with her.
SPEED What an ass art thou! I understand thee not.
LAUNCE What a block art thou, that thou canst not! My
staff understands me.
SPEED What thou sayest? 25
LAUNCE Ay, and what I do too: look thee, I’ll but lean,
and my staff understands me.
SPEED It stands under thee, indeed.
LAUNCE Why, stand-under and under-stand is all one.
SPEED But tell me true, will’t be a match? 30
LAUNCE Ask my dog: if he say ay, it will! if he say no,
it will; if he shake his tail and say nothing, it will.
SPEED The conclusion is then that it will.
LAUNCE Thou shalt never get such a secret from me but by a parable.
SPEED ‘Tis well that I get it so. But, Launce, how sayest 35
thou, that my master is become a notable lover?
LAUNCE I never knew him otherwise.
SPEED Than how?
LAUNCE A notable lubber, as thou reportest him to be.
SPEED Why, thou whoreson ass, thou mistakest me. 40
LAUNCE Why, fool, I meant not thee; I meant thy master.
SPEED I tell thee, my master is become a hot lover.
LAUNCE Why, I tell thee, I care not though he burn himself
in love. If thou wilt, go with me to the alehouse;
if not, thou art an Hebrew, a Jew, and not worth the 45
name of a Christian.
LAUNCE Because thou hast not so much charity in thee as to
go to the ale with a Christian. Wilt thou go?
SPEED At thy service. 50

Next: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 2, Scene 6

Explanatory notes for Act 2, Scene 5
From The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Ed. Israel Gollancz. New York: University Society.

38, 39. how sayest thou:- That is, “What say’st thou to this circumstance?” So in Macbeth, III. iv.: “How say’st thou, that Macduff denies his person at our great bidding?”


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