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Val. No more; unless the next word that thou speak'st Have some malignant power upon my life:

If so, I pray thee, breathe it in mine ear,

As ending anthem of my endless dolour.


Pro. Cease to lament for that thou canst not help,

And study help for that which thou lament'st.

Time is the nurse and breeder of all good.

Here if thou stay, thou canst not see thy love;
Besides, thy staying will abridge thy life.
Hope is a lover's staff; walk hence with that
And manage it against despairing thoughts.
Thy letters may be here, though thou art hence;
Which, being writ to me, shall be deliver'd
Even in the milk-white bosom of thy love.
The time now serves not to expostulate :
Come, I'll convey thee through the city-gate;
And, ere I part with thee, confer at large
Of all that may concern thy love-affairs.

As thou lovest Silvia, though not for thyself,

Regard thy danger, and along with me!

Val. I pray thee, Launce, an if thou seest my boy, Bid him make haste and meet me at the North-gate. Pro. Go, sirrah, find him out. Come, Valentine. Val. O my dear Silvia! Hapless Valentine!



[Exeunt Val. and Pro. Launce. I am but a fool, look you; and yet I have the wit to think my master is a kind of a knave: but that's all one, if he be but one knave. He lives not now that knows me to be in love; yet I am in love; but a team of horse shall not pluck that from me; nor who 'tis I love; and yet 'tis a woman; but what woman, I will not tell myself; and yet 'tis a milkmaid; yet 'tis not a maid, for she hath had gossips; yet 'tis a maid, for she is her master's maid, and serves for wages. She hath more qualities than a water-spaniel; which much in a bare Christian. [Pulling out a paper.] Here is the cate-log of her condition. 'Imprimis: She can fetch and carry." Why, a horse can do no more: nay, a horse cannot fetch, but only carry; therefore is she better than a jade. "Item: She can milk;" look you, a sweet virtue in a maid with clean hands.

Enter SPEED.

Speed. How now, Signior Launce! what news with your mastership?

Launce. With my master's ship? why, it is at sea.


Speed. Well, your old vice still; mistake the word. What news, then, in your paper?

Launce. The blackest news that ever thou heardest.
Speed. Why, man, how black?

Speed. Let me read them.

Launce. Why, as black as ink.


Launce. Fie on thee, jolt-head! thou canst not read.
Speed. Thou liest; I can.

Launce. I will try thee. Tell me this: who begot thee? Speed. Mary, the son of my grandfather.

Launce. O illiterate loiterer! it was the son of thy grand.

mother this proves that thou canst not read.

Speed. Come, fool, come; try me in thy paper.

Launce. There; and Saint Nicholas be thy speed!

Speed. [Reads] "Imprimis: She can milk."

Launce. Ay, that she can.

Speed. "Item: She brews good ale."


Launce. And therefore comes the proverb: "Blessing of

your heart, you brew good ale."

Speed. Item: She can sew.'

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Launce. That's as much as to say, Can she so?"

Speed. "Item: She can knit."


Launce. What need a man care for a stock with a wench,

when she can knit him a stock?

Speed. "Item: She can wash and scour.

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Launce. A special virtue; for then she need not be washed and scoured.

Speed. "Item: She can spin."

Launce. Then may I set the world on wheels, when she can spin for her living.

Speed. "Item: She hath many nameless virtues." 320 Launce. That's as much as to say, bastard virtues; that, indeed, know not their fathers and therefore have no names. Speed. Here follow her vices.'

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Launce. Close at the heels of her virtues.

Speed. "Item: She is not to be kissed fasting, in respect of her breath."

Launce. Well, that fault may be mended with a break

fast. Read on.

Speed. "Item: She hath a sweet mouth."


Launce. That makes amends for her sour breath.

Speed. "Item: She doth talk in her sleep."

Launce. It's no matter for that, so she sleep not in her talk. Speed. "Item: She is slow in words."

Launce. O villain, that set this down among her vices! To be slow in words is a woman's only virtue: I pray thee, out with't, and place it for her chief virtue.


Speed. "Item: she is proud."

Launce. Out with that too; it was Eve's legacy, and can

not be ta'en from her.

Speed. "Item: she hath no teeth."

Launce. I care not for that neither, because I love crusts. Speed. "Item: She is curst."



Launce. Well, the best is, she hath no teeth to bite. Item: She will often praise her liquor." Launce. If her liquor be good, she shall: if she will not, I will; for good things should be praised.

Speed, "Item: She is too liberal."

Launce. Of her tongue she cannot, for that's writ down she is slow of; of her purse she shall not, for that I'll keep shut now, of another thing she may, and that cannot I help. Well, proceed.


Speed. "Item: She hath more hair than wit, and more faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults.'

Launce. Stop there; I'll have her: she was mine, and not mine, twice or thrice in that last article.

that once more.


Speed. "Iten: She hath more hair than wit,”Launce. More hair than wit? It may be; I'll prove it. The cover of the salt hides the salt, and therefore it is more than the salt; the hair that covers the wit is more than the wit, for the greater hides the less. What's next? Speed. "And more faults than hairs,”—

Launce. That's monstrous: O, that that were out !
Speed. "And more wealth than faults.'

Launce. Why, that word makes the faults gracious. Well, I'll have her: and if it be a match, as nothing is impossible.

Speed. What then?


Launce. Why, then will I tell thee-that thy master stays for thee at the North-gate.

Speed. For me?

Launce. For thee! ay, who art thou? he hath stayed for a better man than thee.

Speed. And must I go to him?

Launce. Thou must run to him, for thou hast stayed so' long that going will scarce serve the turn.

Speed. Why didst not tell me sooner? pox of your loveletters ! [Exit. 391 Launce. Now will he be swinged for reading my letter; an unmannerly slave, that will thrust himself into secrets! I'll after, to rejoice in the boy's correction.

SHAK. I.- 4


SCENE II. The same. The DUKE's palace.

Enter DUKE and THURIO.

Duke. Sir Thurio, fear not but that she will love you,

Now Valentine is banish'd from her sight.

Thu. Since his exile she hath despised me most, Forsworn my company and rail'd at me,

That I am desperate of obtaining her.

Duke. This weak impress of love is as a figure
Trenched in ice, which with an hour's heat
Dissolves to water and doth lose his form.
A little time will melt her frozen thoughts
And worthless Valentine shall be forgot.


How now, Sir Proteus ! Is your countryman
According to our proclamation gone?
Pro. Gone, my good lord.

Duke. My daughter takes his going grievously.
Pro. A little time, my lord, will kill that grief.
Duke. So I believe; but Thurio thinks not so.
Proteus, the good conceit I hold of thee-
For thou hast shown some sign of good desert—
Makes me the better to confer with thee.

Pro. Longer than I prove loyal to your grace
Let me not live to look upon your grace.

Duke. Thou know'st how willingly I would effect The match between Sir Thurio and my daughter. Pro. I do, my lord.

Duke. And also, I think, thou art not ignorant
How she opposes her against my will.

Pro She did, my lord, when Valentine was here.
Duke. Ay, and perversely she perseveres so.
What might we do to make the girl forget
The love of Valentine and love Sir Thurio?

Pro. The best way is to slander Valentine

With falsehood, cowardice and poor descent,
Three things that women highly hold in hate.
Duke. Ay, but she'll think that it is spoke in hate
Pro. Ay, if his enemy deliver it :

Therefore it must with circumstance be spoken

By one whom she esteemeth as a friend.

Duke. Then you must undertake to slander him.

Pro. And that, my lord, I shall be loath to do: "Tis an ill office for a gentleman,

Especially against his very friend.

Duke. Where your good word cannot advantage him,





Your slander never can endamage him;
Therefore the office is indifferent,

Being entreated to it by your friend.

Pro. You have prevail'd, my lord: if I can do it
By ought that I can speak in his dispraise,
She shall not long continue love to him.
But say this weed her love from Valentine,

It follows not that she will love Sir Thurio.

Thu. Therefore, as you unwind her love from him, Lest it should ravel and be good to none,

You must provide to bottom it on me;

Which must be done by praising me as much

As you in worth dispraise Sir Valentine.

Duke. And, Proteus, we dare trust you in this kind, Because we know, on Valentine's report,

You are already Love's firm votary

And cannot soon revolt and change your mind.
Upon this warrant shall you have access
Where you with Silvia may confer at large;
For she is lumpish, heavy, melancholy,

And, for your friend's sake, will be glad of you;
Where you may temper her by your persuasion
To hate young Valentine and love my friend.
Pro. As much as I can do, I will effect:
But you, Sir Thurio, are not sharp enough;
You must lay line to tangle her desires
By wailful sonnets, whose composed rhymes
Should be full-fraught with serviceable vows.
Duke. Ay,

Much is the force of heaven-bred poesy.

Pro. Say that upon the altar of her beauty
You sacrifice your tears, your sighs, your heart:
Write till your ink be dry, and with your tears
Moist it again, and frame some feeling line
That may discover such integrity:

Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones,

For Orpheus' lute was strung with poets' sinews,

Make tigers tame and huge leviathans

Forsake unsounded deeps to dance on sands.

Visit by night your lady's chamber-window

After your dire-lamenting elegies,

With some sweet coneert; to their instruments
Tune a deploring dump: the night's dead silence
Wil well become such sweet-complaining grievance.
This, or else nothing, will inherit her.

Duke. This discipline shows thou hast been in love.
Thu. And thy advice this night I'll put in practice.




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