Page images

Luc. Ay, madam; so you stumble not unheedfully. Jul. Of all the fair resort of gentlemen, That every day with parle1 encounter me, In thy opinion, which is worthiest love?

Luc. Please you, repeat their names, I'll show my mind

According to my shallow, simple skill.

Jul. What think'st thou of the fair Sir Eglamour? Luc. As of a knight well-spoken, neat and fine; But, were I you, he never should be mine.

Jul. What think'st thou of the rich Mercatio?
Luc. Well of his wealth; but of himself, so, so.
Jul. What think'st thou of the gentle Proteus?
Luc. Lord, lord! to see what folly reigns in us!
Jul. How now! what means this passion at his

Luc. Pardon, dear madam; 'tis a passing shame, That I, unworthy body as I am,


Should censure thus on lovely gentlemen.

Jul. Why not on Proteus, as of all the rest?

Luc. Then thus,of many good I think him best.

Jul. Your reason?

Luc. I have no other but a woman's reason;

I think him so, because I think him so.

Jul. And would'st thou have me cast my love on him?

Luc. Ay, if you thought your love not cast away
Jul. Why, he of all the rest hath never moved me
Luc. Yet he of all the rest, I think, best loves ye.
Jul. His little speaking shows his love but small.
Luc. Fire, that's closest kept, burns most of all.
Jul. They do not love that do not show their love.
Luc. O, they love least, that let men know their love.
Jul. I would, I knew his mind.

Peruse this
Jul. To Julia.-Say, from whom?

1 Talk.

paper, madam.

2 To censure, in Shakspeare's time, generally signified to give one's judgment or opinion.


That the contents will show.

Jul. Say, say; who gave it thee?

Luc. Sir Valentine's page; and sent, I think, from


He would have given it you, but I, being in the way,
Did in your name receive it; pardon the fault,
I pray.

Jul. Now, by my modesty, a goodly broker!
Dare you presume to harbor wanton lines?
To whisper and conspire against my youth?
Now, trust me, 'tis an office of great worth,
And you an officer fit for the place.

There, take the paper, see it be returned;
Or else return no more into my sight.

Luc. To plead for love deserves more fee than hate.

Jul. Will you be gone?


That you may ruminate. [Exit.
Jul. And yet, I would I had o'erlooked the letter.
It were a shame to call her back again,
And pray her to a fault for which I chid her.
What fool is she, that knows I am a maid,
And would not force the letter to my view!
Since maids, in modesty, say No, to that
Which they would have the profferer construe, Ay.
Fie, fie, how wayward is this foolish love,
That, like a testy babe, will scratch the nurse,
And presently, all humbled, kiss the rod !

How churlishly I chid Lucetta hence,
When willingly I would have had her here!
How angerly I taught my brow to frown,
When inward joy enforced my heart to smile!
My penance is, to call Lucetta back,

And ask permission for my folly past:—
What ho! Lucetta!

[blocks in formation]

That you might kill your stomach1 on your meat,

And not upon your maid.

Jul. What is't you took up

So gingerly?

Luc. Nothing.

Jul. Why didst thou stoop then?

Luc. To take a paper up that I let fall.

Jul. And is that paper nothing?

Luc. Nothing concerning me.

Jul. Then let it lie for those that it concerns. Luc. Madam, it will not lie where it concerns, Unless it have a false interpreter.

Jul. Some love of yours hath writ to you in rhyme. Luc. That I might sing it, madam, to a tune: Give me a note: your ladyship can set.

Jul. As little by such toys as may be possible: Best sing it to the tune of Light o' love.

Luc. It is too heavy for so light a tune.

Jul. Heavy? belike it hath some burden then.

Luc. Ay; and melodious were it, would you sing it. Jul. And why not you?

Luc. I cannot reach so high.

Jul. Let's see your song:-How now, minion?

Luc. Keep tune there still, so you will sing it out.

And yet, methinks, I do not like this tune.

Jul. You do not?

Luc. No, madam; it is too sharp.
Jul. You, minion, are too saucy.

Luc. Nay, now you are too flat,

And mar the concord with too harsh a descant: 2
There wanteth but a mean to fill your song.

Jul The mean is drowned with your unruly base.
Luc. Indeed, I bid the base3 for Proteus.

Jul. This babble shall not henceforth trouble me.

1 Passion or obstinacy.

2 Descant signified formerly what we now call variations. The mean is the tenor in music.

3 To bid the base means, to run fast, challenging another to pursue at the rustic game called Base, or Prisonbase. The allusion is somewhat obscure, but it appears to mean here, "to challenge to an encounter."

Here is a coil1 with protestation!

[Tears the letter.

Go, get you gone; and let the papers lie:
You would be fingering them, to anger me.

Luc. She makes it strange; but she would be best


To be so angered with another letter.


Jul. Nay, would I were as angered with the same!
O hateful hands, to tear such loving words!
Injurious wasps! to feed on such sweet honey,
And kill the bees, that yield it, with your stings!
I'll kiss each several paper for amends.
And here is writ-kind Julia;—unkind Julia!
As in revenge of thy ingratitude,

I throw thy name against the bruising stones,
Trampling contemptuously on thy disdain.
Look, here is writ-love-wounded Proteus;
Poor wounded name! my bosom, as a bed,
Shall lodge thee, till thy wound be thoroughly healed ;
And thus I search it with a sovereign kiss.
But twice, or thrice, was Proteus written down:
Be calm, good wind, blow not a word away,

Till I have found each letter in the letter,

Except mine own name; that some whirlwind bear Unto a rugged, fearful, hanging rock,

And throw it thence into the raging sea!

Lo, here in one line is his name twice writ,-
Poor, forlorn Proteus, passionate Proteus,
To the sweet Julia ;-that I'll tear away;
And yet I will not, sith 2 so prettily
He couples it to his complaining names:
Thus will I fold them one upon another;
Now kiss, embrace, contend, do what you will.

Luc. Madam,

Re-enter Lucetta.

Dinner is ready, and your father stays.

Jul. Well, let us go.

Luc. What, shall these papers lie like telltales here?

[blocks in formation]

Jul. If you respect them, best to take them up. Luc. Nay, I was taken up for laying them down: Yet here they shall not lie, for catching cold.

Jul. I see you have a month's mind to them. Luc. Ay, madam, you may say what sights you see, I see things too, although you judge I wink. Jul. Come, come, will't please you go?


SCENE III. The same. A Room in Antonio's



Ant. Tell me, Panthino, what sad talk was that, Wherewith my brother held you in the cloister? Pant. 'Twas of his nephew Proteus, your son. Ant. Why, what of him?

He wondered, that your lordship
Would suffer him to spend his youth at home;
While other men, of slender reputation,
Put forth their sons to seek preferment out:
Some, to the wars, to try their fortune there;
Some, to discover islands far away;
Some, to the studious universities.
For any, or for all these exercises,

He said, that Proteus, your son, was meet;
And did request me, to impórtune you,
To let him spend his time no more at home,

Which would be great impeachment1 to his age,

In having known no travel in his youth.

Ant. Nor need'st thou much impórtune me to that Whereon this month I have been hammering.

I have considered well his loss of time;
And how he cannot be a perfect man,
Not being tried and tutored in the world:
Experience is by industry achieved,

And perfected by the swift course of time:

Then, tell me, whither were I best to send him?

1 Reproach or imputation.

« PreviousContinue »