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I am sorry, I must never trust thee more,
But count the world a stranger for thy sake.
The private wound is deepest: O time, most curst! 'Mongst all foes, that a friend should be the worst!
Pro. My shame and guilt confounds me.Forgive me, Valentine: if hearty sorrow
Be a sufficient ransom for offence,
I tender it here; I do as truly suffer,
Then I am paid;
And once again I do receive thee honest.-
Is nor of heaven, nor earth; for these are pleas'd;
Jul. O me, unhappy!
Pro. Look to the boy.
Val. Why, boy! why, wag! how now? what is the
To deliver a ring to madam Silvia;
Which, out of my neglect, was never done.
Pro. Where is that ring, boy?
Here 'tis: this is it.
[Gives a ring.
Pro. How! let me see:
Why this is the ring I gave to Julia.
Jul. O, cry you mercy, sir, I have mistook;
This is the ring you sent to Silvia.
[Shows another ring.
Pro. But, how cam'st thou by this ring? at my
I gave this unto Julia.
Jul. And Julia herself did give it me;
And Julia herself hath brought it hither.
Pro. How! Julia!
Jul. Behold her that gave aim to all thy oaths,
And entertain'd them deeply in her heart:
It is the lesser blot, modesty finds,
Women to change their shapes, than men their minds. Pro. Than men their minds? 'tis true: O heaven;
But constant, he were perfect: that one error Fills him with faults; makes him run through all sins:
Inconstancy falls off, ere it begins:
What is in Silvia's face, but I may spy
'Twere pity two such friends should be long foes. Pro. Bear witness, heaven, I have my wish for
Jul. And I have mine.
Enter Out-laws, with Duke and Thurio.
A prize, a prize, a prize!
Val. Forbear, I say; it is my lord the duke. Your grace is welcome to a man disgrac'd, Banished Valentine.
Thu. Yonder is Silvia; and Silvia's mine.
Val. Thurio, give back, or else embrace thy death; Come not within the measuret of my wrath: Do not name Silvia thine; if once again, Milan shall not behold thee. Here she stands, Take but possession of her with a touch!
I dare thee but to breathe upon my love,
* An allusion to cleaving the piu in archery.
Thu. Sir Valentine, I care not for her, I; I hold him but a fool, that will endanger His body for a girl that loves him not:
I claim her not, and therefore she is thine.
Duke. The more degenerate and base art thou, To make such means for her as thou hast done, And leave her on such slight conditions.Now, by the honour of my ancestry,
I do applaud thy spirit, Valentine,
And think thee worthy of an empress' love.
I now beseech you, for your daughter's sake,
Duke. I grant it, for thine own, whate'er it be. Val. These banish'd men, that I have kept withal, Are men endued with worthy qualities;
Forgive them what they have committed here,
They are reformed, civil, full of good,
And fit for great employment, worthy lord.
Duke. Thou hast prevail'd: I pardon them and
Dispose of them, as thou know'st their deserts.
With triumphs, mirth, and rare solemnity.
Val. And, as we walk along, I dare be bold
Duke. I think the boy hath grace in him; he blushes.
Val. I warrant you, my lord; more grace than boy.
* Interest. + Conclude.
Duke. What mean you by that saying?
Val. Please you, I'll tell you as we pass along, That you will wonder what hath fortuned.Come, Proteus; 'tis your penance, but to hear The story of your loves discovered:
That done, our day of marriage shall be yours;
In this play there is a strange mixture of knowledge and ignorance, of care and negligence. The versification is often excellent, the allusions are learned and just; but the author conveys his heroes by sea. from one inland town to another in the same country; he places the emperor at Milan, and sends his young men to attend him, but never mentions him more; he makes Proteus, after an interview with Silvia, say he has only seen her picture: and, if we may credit the old copies, he has, by mistaking places, left his scenery inextricable. The reason of all this confusion seems to be, that he took his story from a novel which he sometimes followed, and sometimes forsook; sometimes remembered, and sometimes forgot.
That this play is rightly attributed to Shakspeare, I have little doubt. If it be taken from him, to whom shall it be given? This question may be asked of all the disputed plays, except Titus Andronicus; and it will be found more credible, that Shakspeare might sometimes sink below his highest flights, than that any other should rise up to his lowest.