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The Two Gentlemen of Verona


ACT II SCENE VII Verona. Julia’s house.
JULIA Counsel, Lucetta; gentle girl, assist me;
And even in kind love I do conjure thee,
Who art the table wherein all my thoughts
Are visibly character’d and engraved,
To lesson me and tell me some good mean 5
How, with my honour, I may undertake
A journey to my loving Proteus.
LUCETTA Alas, the way is wearisome and long!
JULIA A true-devoted pilgrim is not weary
To measure kingdoms with his feeble steps; 10
Much less shall she that hath Love’s wings to fly,
And when the flight is made to one so dear,
Of such divine perfection, as Sir Proteus.
LUCETTA Better forbear till Proteus make return.
JULIA O, know’st thou not his looks are my soul’s food? 15
Pity the dearth that I have pined in,
By longing for that food so long a time.
Didst thou but know the inly touch of love,
Thou wouldst as soon go kindle fire with snow
As seek to quench the fire of love with words. 20
LUCETTA I do not seek to quench your love’s hot fire,
But qualify the fire’s extreme rage,
Lest it should burn above the bounds of reason.
JULIA The more thou damm’st it up, the more it burns.
The current that with gentle murmur glides, 25
Thou know’st, being stopp’d, impatiently doth rage;
But when his fair course is not hindered,
He makes sweet music with the enamell’ed stones,
Giving a gentle kiss to every sedge
He overtaketh in his pilgrimage, 30
And so by many winding nooks he strays
With willing sport to the wild ocean.
Then let me go and hinder not my course
I’ll be as patient as a gentle stream
And make a pastime of each weary step, 35
Till the last step have brought me to my love;
And there I’ll rest, as after much turmoil
A blessed soul doth in Elysium.
LUCETTA But in what habit will you go along?
JULIA Not like a woman; for I would prevent 40
The loose encounters of lascivious men:
Gentle Lucetta, fit me with such weeds
As may beseem some well-reputed page.
LUCETTA Why, then, your ladyship must cut your hair.
JULIA No, girl, I’ll knit it up in silken strings 45
With twenty odd-conceited true-love knots.
To be fantastic may become a youth
Of greater time than I shall show to be.
LUCETTA What fashion, madam shall I make your breeches?
JULIA That fits as well as ‘Tell me, good my lord, 50
What compass will you wear your farthingale?’
Why even what fashion thou best likest, Lucetta.
LUCETTA You must needs have them with a codpiece, madam.
JULIA Out, out, Lucetta! that would be ill-favour’d.
LUCETTA A round hose, madam, now’s not worth a pin, 55
Unless you have a codpiece to stick pins on.
JULIA Lucetta, as thou lovest me, let me have
What thou thinkest meet and is most mannerly.
But tell me, wench, how will the world repute me
For undertaking so unstaid a journey? 60
I fear me, it will make me scandalized.
LUCETTA If you think so, then stay at home and go not.
JULIA Nay, that I will not.
LUCETTA Then never dream on infamy, but go.
If Proteus like your journey when you come, 65
No matter who’s displeased when you are gone:
I fear me, he will scarce be pleased withal.
JULIA That is the least, Lucetta, of my fear:
A thousand oaths, an ocean of his tears
And instances of infinite of love 70
Warrant me welcome to my Proteus.
LUCETTA All these are servants to deceitful men.
JULIA Base men, that use them to so base effect!
But truer stars did govern Proteus’ birth
His words are bonds, his oaths are oracles, 75
His love sincere, his thoughts immaculate,
His tears pure messengers sent from his heart,
His heart as far from fraud as heaven from earth.
LUCETTA Pray heaven he prove so, when you come to him!
JULIA Now, as thou lovest me, do him not that wrong 80
To bear a hard opinion of his truth:
Only deserve my love by loving him;
And presently go with me to my chamber,
To take a note of what I stand in need of,
To furnish me upon my longing journey. 85
All that is mine I leave at thy dispose,
My goods, my lands, my reputation;
Only, in lieu thereof, dispatch me hence.
Come, answer not, but to it presently!
I am impatient of my tarriance. 90

Next: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 3, Scene 1

Explanatory notes for Act 2, Scene 7
From The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Ed. Israel Gollancz. New York: University Society.

3. table: That is, table-book, or book of tablets. They were carried in the pockets and used for noting down memoranda. Thus the well-known lines in Hamlet, I. v.: –

“from the table of my memory
I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records.”

And again:

“My tables, – meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.”

9, 10. A true-devoted pilgrim, etc.: An allusion to the pilgrimages formerly made by religious enthusiasts, often to Rome, Compostella, and Jerusalem, but oftener still to “the House of our Lady at Loretto.” In that age, when there were few roads and many robbers, to go afoot and alone through all the pains and perils of a passage from England to either of those shrines, was deemed proof that the person was thoroughly in earnest.

51. your farthingale: The farthingale, according to Fairholt, as quoted by White, was originally a broad roll, which made the person full about the hips. It came to be applied to the gown so widened.

70. Infinite is here used for infinity. So in Much Ado About Nothing, II. iii., we find “the infinite of thought;” and Chaucer has “Although the life of it be stretched with infinite of time.”

85. my longing journey: “The journey that I long to be making;” or, it may mean, “the journey that I shall make with continual longing to reach the end of it.”

88. in lieu thereof: That is, in consideration thereof, or in return for. This use of lieu is not uncommon in the old writers. So in Hooker’s Eccle. Pol., I. xi. 5: “But be it that God of his great liberality had determined in lieu of man’s endeavours to bestow the same.” And in Spenser’s dedication of his Four Hymns: “Beseeching you to accept this my humble service, in lieu of the great graces and honourable favours which ye daily show unto me.”


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