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The Two Gentlemen of Verona


ACT IV SCENE I The frontiers of Mantua. A forest.
[Enter certain Outlaws]
First Outlaw Fellows, stand fast; I see a passenger.
Second Outlaw If there be ten, shrink not, but down with ’em.
Third Outlaw Stand, sir, and throw us that you have about ye:
If not: we’ll make you sit and rifle you.
SPEED Sir, we are undone; these are the villains 5
That all the travellers do fear so much.
VALENTINE My friends,–
First Outlaw That’s not so, sir: we are your enemies.
Second Outlaw Peace! we’ll hear him.
Third Outlaw Ay, by my beard, will we, for he’s a proper man. 10
VALENTINE Then know that I have little wealth to lose:
A man I am cross’d with adversity;
My riches are these poor habiliments,
Of which if you should here disfurnish me,
You take the sum and substance that I have. 15
Second Outlaw Whither travel you?
First Outlaw Whence came you?
Third Outlaw Have you long sojourned there? 20
VALENTINE Some sixteen months, and longer might have stay’d,
If crooked fortune had not thwarted me.
First Outlaw What, were you banish’d thence?
Second Outlaw For what offence? 25
VALENTINE For that which now torments me to rehearse:
I kill’d a man, whose death I much repent;
But yet I slew him manfully in fight,
Without false vantage or base treachery.
First Outlaw Why, ne’er repent it, if it were done so. 30
But were you banish’d for so small a fault?
VALENTINE I was, and held me glad of such a doom.
Second Outlaw Have you the tongues?
VALENTINE My youthful travel therein made me happy,
Or else I often had been miserable. 35
Third Outlaw By the bare scalp of Robin Hood’s fat friar,
This fellow were a king for our wild faction!
First Outlaw We’ll have him. Sirs, a word.
SPEED Master, be one of them; it’s an honourable kind of thievery.
VALENTINE Peace, villain! 40
Second Outlaw Tell us this: have you any thing to take to?
VALENTINE Nothing but my fortune.
Third Outlaw Know, then, that some of us are gentlemen,
Such as the fury of ungovern’d youth
Thrust from the company of awful men: 45
Myself was from Verona banished
For practising to steal away a lady,
An heir, and near allied unto the duke.
Second Outlaw And I from Mantua, for a gentleman,
Who, in my mood, I stabb’d unto the heart. 50
First Outlaw And I for such like petty crimes as these,
But to the purpose–for we cite our faults,
That they may hold excus’d our lawless lives;
And partly, seeing you are beautified
With goodly shape and by your own report 55
A linguist and a man of such perfection
As we do in our quality much want–
Second Outlaw Indeed, because you are a banish’d man,
Therefore, above the rest, we parley to you:
Are you content to be our general? 60
To make a virtue of necessity
And live, as we do, in this wilderness?
Third Outlaw What say’st thou? wilt thou be of our consort?
Say ay, and be the captain of us all:
We’ll do thee homage and be ruled by thee, 65
Love thee as our commander and our king.
First Outlaw But if thou scorn our courtesy, thou diest.
Second Outlaw Thou shalt not live to brag what we have offer’d.
VALENTINE I take your offer and will live with you,
Provided that you do no outrages 70
On silly women or poor passengers.
Third Outlaw No, we detest such vile base practises.
Come, go with us, we’ll bring thee to our crews,
And show thee all the treasure we have got,
Which, with ourselves, all rest at thy dispose. 75

Next: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 4, Scene 2

Explanatory notes for Act 4, Scene 1
From The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Ed. Israel Gollancz. New York: University Society.

33. Have you the tongues? – That is, do you speak foreign languages?

36. Robin Hood’s fat friar: – Friar Tuck, the chaplain of Robin. Hood’s merry crew; that ancient specimen of clerical baldness and plumpness and jollity, who figures so largely in old ballads and in Ivanhoe. Recall what Drayton says:-

“Of Tuck, the merry friar, which many a sermon made
In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and his trade.”

46. awful men:– Men full of awe, or reverence for just authority, the duties of life, and the laws of society. See Milton’s Hymn of the Nativity:-

“And kings sat still with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sovereign Lord was by.”


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