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Now my charms are all o'erthrown,

And what strength I have's mine own,

Which is most faint: now, 'tis true,

I must be here confin'd by you,
Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got,
And pardon'd the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island, by your spell;
But release me from my bands 40
With the help of your good hands.
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want

Spirits to enforce, art to enchant;

And my ending is despair,
Unless I be reliev'd by prayer;

Which pierces so, that it assaults

Mercy itself, and frees all faults.

As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
Let your indulgence set me free.

40. Release me from my bands. "Bands" was formerly used for "bonds ;" and here the rhyme demands that form.

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SCENE 1.-Verona. An open place in the city.


Val. Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus:2 Home-keeping youths have ever homely wits. Were'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 sluggardis'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 see'st 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,

1. This play was first printed in the 1623 Folio; and is supposed by Malone to have been written somewhere about the year 1591. From its internal evidence of style; its youthful exuberance of romance, of prodigal friendship, of extemporaneous falling in love; its robbers, its adventures, its sudden vicissitudes of story, there can be little doubt of "THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA" having been one of Shakespeare's earliest productions. There has been traced considerable resemblance between portions of its plot and an episode (Felismena) in a Spanish romance ("Diana") translated into English early enough to have met Shakespeare's eye in manuscript, although not published until 1598. As the original romance was very popular in its own country, it is not impossible that some particulars of its narrative may have reached England, and have become known to Shakespeare when quite a lad; and as he was of those who, once hearing points of a story, make them their own, so he may have conceived this play-even though he may not have written it out-before he left Stratford for London. This would be an argument in favour of a cherished theory of ours, that Shakespeare had certain early plays of his in

Commend thy grievance to my holy prayers,
For I will be thy bead's-man,3 Valentine.

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. 'Tis true; for you are over boots in love, And yet you never swam the Hellespont. Pro. Over the boots! nay, give me not the boots. Val. No, I will not, for it boots thee not. Pro.


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;

his head, if not in actual manuscript, when he first went up to town, a young fellow of two-and-twenty, in the year 1586.

2. Proteus. This name is throughout spelt Protheus in the Folio; but it was not unusual formerly to introduce a superfluous hinto certain names, as Anthony for Antony. To the fickle, unstable, changeable character thus designated, we have always felt a certain propriety in the poet's assigning the name of Proteus; sea-deity, whose power of changing his shape has become proverbial as a type of changeableness.

3. Bead's-man. One who prays on behalf of another; bead, in Anglo-Saxon, meaning a prayer. The strung or linked grains or small balls, sometimes called a chaplet or rosary, used in the Catholic Church for keeping count when repeating an appointed number of prayers, came to be called 'beads;' and the act'telling one's beads.' Hence the designation of the common ornament known familiarly as 'beads.'

4. Give me not the boots. A proverbial expression equivalent to 'Don't mock me.' "It boots thee not," means 'it avails thee not,' 'is of no advantage to thee.'

If lost, why then a grievous labour won;
However, 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'll

Pro. 'Tis 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 turned 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,
Thou 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
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, fare-

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 naught;
Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with thought.
Enter SPEED.

Speed. Sir Proteus, save you!

master ?

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 awhile 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? gavest thou my letter to Julia ?

Speed. Ay, sir: I, a lost mutton, gave your letter to her, a laced mutton; and she, a laced mutton, gave me, a lost mutton, nothing for my


Pro. Here's too small a pasture for such store of muttons.

Speed. If the ground be overcharged, you were

best tether her.

Pro. Nay, in that you are astray: 'twere best pound you.

Speed. Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve me for carrying your letter.

Pro. You mistake; I mean the pound,—a pinfold. Speed. From a pound to a pin? fold it over and


Saw you my 'Tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your

Pro. But now he parted hence, to embark for Milan.

5. However. Elliptically used for 'however resulting,' whether "won" or "lost."

6. By your circumstance. In the first line used for argumentative statement; in the second, for actual state or condition. 7. Canker. A noxious creature that infests flowers, and destroys their tenderest buds. Shakespeare has several allusions to it; none more beautiful than the one in "King John," where


Pro. But what said she? [Speed nods.] Did

she nod?

Constance, thinking of her boy's rosy cheek, figuratively says"Now will canker sorrow eat my bud," &c.

8. To Milan. Some editions alter this to "At Milan;" but the line implies-'Let me hear from thee by letters sent to Milan.'

9. Sheep. Pronounced ship' in Warwickshire and some other English counties.

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