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'The Two GENTLEMEN OF VERONA' was first | Spanish was pretty widely diffused in Engprinted in the folio collection of Shakspere's land in Shakspere's youth; and we must not plays, edited by John Heminge and Henry too readily fall in with the notion that such Condell, and published in 1623, seven years a book could not be accessible to him withafter his death. The text is singularly cor- out a translation. rect. There are not more than half a dozen Pope calls the style of The Two Gentlepassages of any real importance upon which men of Verona' “ simple and unaffected.” a doubt can be entertained, if printed ac- It was opposed to Shakspere's later style, cording to the original. It is, in all proba- which is teeming with allusion upon allubility, a play written very early in Shak- sion. With the exception of the few obsospere's life.

lete words, and the unfamiliar application of The scene of this play is, in the first act, words still in use, this comedy has a very at Verona, and afterwards chiefly at Milan. modern air. The thoughts are natural and The action is not founded upon any histori- obvious, the images familiar and general. cal event. The one historical fact men. The most celebrated passages have a chationed in this play is that of the emperor racter of grace rather than of beauty; the holding his court at Milan, which was under elegance of a youthful poet aiming to be the government of a duke, who was a vassal correct. Johnson considered this comedy to of the empire. Assuming that this fact be wanting in “diversity of character.” The prescribes a limit to the period of the ac- action, it must be observed, is mainly sustion, we must necessarily place that period tained by Proteus and Valentine, and by at least half a century before the date of the Julia and Silvia; and the conduct of the composition of this drama.

plot is relieved by the familiar scenes in The incident of Julia following her lover which Speed and Launce appear. The other in the disguise of a page, and her subsequent actors are very subordinate, and we scarcely knowledge of his faithlessness, is common demand any great diversity of character enough in the old Italian and Spanish no- amongst them; but it appears to us, with vels. In the ‘Diana' of Montemayor, a regard to Proteus and Valentine, Julia and Spanish romance, which was translated in Silvia, Speed and Launce, that the charac1598, we find this resemblance to some ters are exhibited, as it were, in pairs, upon scenes of the Two Gentlemen of Verona.' a principle of very defined though delicate Indeed, in some turns of expression the contrast. dialogue is similar. The knowledge of


Appears, Act II. sc. 4. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 2.

Act V. sc. 2; sc. 4.

VALENTINE. Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act II. sc. 1; sc. 4. Act III. sc. 1.

Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 4.

PROTEUS. Appears, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act II. sc. 2; sc. 4; sc. 6. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 2. Act IV. sc. 2; sc. 4.

Act V. sc. 2; sc. 4.

Appears, Act I. sc. 3.

Appears, Act II. sc. 4. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 2. Act IV. sc. 2.

Act V. sc. 2; sc. 4.

Appears, Act IV. sc. 3. Act V. sc. I.

Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act II. sc. 1; sc. 4; sc. 5.

Act III. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 1.

Appears, Act II. sc. 3; sc.5. Act III. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 4.

Appears, Act I. sc. 3. Act II. sc. 2; sc. 3.

Appears, Act IV. sc. 2.

Appear, Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 3; sc. 4.

Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act II. sc. 2; sc. 7.
Act IV. sc. 2; sc. 4. Act V. sc. 2; sc. 4.

Appears, Act II. sc. l; sc. 4. Act IV. sc. 2; sc. 3; sc. 4.

Act V. sc. 1; sc. 3; sc. 4.

Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act II. sc. 7.

Servants, Musicians.


In the original edition of 1623 the Persons Represented are thus described :

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VAL. Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus";

Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits ;
Wer 't not affection chains thy tender days
To the sweet glances of thy honour'd love,
I rather would entreat thy company,
To see the wonders of the world abroad,
Than, living dully sluggardiz'd at home,
Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.
But, since thou lov'st, love still, and thrive therein,

Even as I would, when I to love begin.
Pro. Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu !

Think on thy Proteus, when thou, haply, seest
Some rare note-worthy object in thy travel :
Wish me partaker in thy happiness,
When thou dost meet good hap: and in thy danger,
If ever danger do environ thee,
Commend thy grievance to my holy prayers,
For I will be thy beadsman, Valentine'.

• In the original this proper name name is invariably spelt Protheus.

Val. And on a love-book pray for my success ?
Pro. Upon some book I love, I 'll pray for thee.
Val. That 's on some shallow story of deep love,

How young Leander cross'd the Hellespont.
Pro. That 's a deep story of a deeper love;

For he was more than over shoes in love.
Val. 'T is true; for you are over boots in love,

And yet you never swom the Hellespont.
Pro. Over the boots ? nay, give me not the boots ?.
Val. Nay, I will not, for it boots thee not.

What ?
VAL. To be in love, where scorn is bought with groans;

Coy looks with heart-sore sighs'; one fading moment's mirth
With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights;
If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain ;
If lost, why then a grievous labour won;
Howevera, but a folly bought with wit,

Or else a wit by folly vanquished.
Pro. So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.
VAL. So, by your circumstance, I fear, you

'11 prove.
Pro. "T is love you cavil at; I am not love.
Val. Love is your master, for he masters you:

And he that is so yoked by a fool,

Methinks should not be chronicled for wise. Pro. Yet writers say, as in the sweetest bud

The eating canker dwells", so eating love

Inhabits in the finest wits of all.
Val. And writers say, as the most forward bud

Is eaten by the canker ere it blow,
Even so by love the young and tender wit
Is turn'd to folly; blasting in the bud,
Losing his verdure even in the prime,
And all the fair effects of future hopes.
But wherefore waste I time to counsel thee,
That art a votary to fond desire ?
Once more adieu : my father at the road

Expects my coming, there to see me shipp'd.
Pro. And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.
Val. Sweet Proteus, no; now let us take our leave.

To Milan let me hear from thee by letters,
Of thy success in love, and what news else

" However—in whatsoever way, “ haply won,” or “ lost.”

Circumstance. The word is used by the two speakers in different senses. Proteus employs it in the meaning of circumstantial deduction ;-Valentine in that of position.

To Milan. Let me hear from thee by letters, addressed to Milan.

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Betideth here in absence of thy friend;

And I likewise will visit thee with mine.
Pro. All happiness bechance to thee in Milan!
Val. As much to you at home! and so, farewell.
PRO. He after honour hunts, I after love:

He leaves his friends to dignify them more ;
I leave myself, my friends, and all for love.
Thou, Julia, thou hast metamorphos'd me;
Made me neglect my studies, lose my time,
War with good counsel, set the world at nought;
Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with thought.

Enter SPEED.

SPEED. Sir Proteus, save you: Saw you my master ?
Pro. But now he parted hence, to embark for Milan.
SPEED. Twenty to one then he is shipp'd already;

And I have play'd the sheep in losing him.
PRO. Indeed a sheep doth very often stray,

An if the shepherd be a while away. SPEED. You conclude that my master is a shepherd then, and I a sheep? PRO. I do. SPEED. Why then my horns are his horns, whether I wake or sleep. Pro. A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep. SPEED. This proves me still a sheep. PRO. True; and thy master a shepherd. SPEED. Nay, that I can deny by a circumstance. Pro. It shall go hard but I 'll prove it by another. SPEED. The shepherd seeks the sheep, and not the sheep the shepherd; but I

seek my master, and my master seeks not me: therefore, I am no sheep. Pro. The sheep for fodder follow the shepherd, the shepherd for food follows

not the sheep; thou for wages followest thy master, thy master for wages

follows not thee: therefore, thou art a sheep. SPEED. Such another proof will make me cry baa. Pro. But dost thou hear? gav'st thou my letter to Julia ? SPEED. Ay, sir; I, a lost mutton, gave your letter to her, a laced muttono;

and she, a laced mutton, gave me, a lost mutton, nothing for my labour ! Pro. Here's too small a pasture for such store of muttons.

The original copy reads, “I love myself.” The present reading was introduced by Pope.

Sheep is pronounced ship in many English counties; hence Speed's small jest. Mr. Collier observes that in writings of the time “ Sheep-street, in Stratford-upon-Avon, is often spelt Shipstreet."

* A laced mutton. The commentators have much doubtful learning on this passage. They maintain that the epithet “laced” was a very uncomplimentary epithet of Shakspere's time; and that the words taken together apply to a female of loose character. This is probable; but then the insolent application, by Speed, of the term to Julia is received by Proteus very patiently. The jest would scarcely cover the coarseness, provided the slang term were of general acceptation.

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