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Sc. I

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 lov❜st Silvia, though not for thyself,
Regard thy danger, and along with me.

VAL. I pray thee, Launce, an if thou see'st 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 VALENTINE and PROTEUS. 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 in love. 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 is much in a bare Christian. Here is the cate-log [pulling out a paper] of her conditions. 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 heard'st.

SPEED. Why, man, how black?

LAUNCE. Why, as black as ink.

SPEED. Let me read them.

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. Marry, the son of my grandfather.


LAUNCE. O illiterate loiterer! it was the son of thy
grandmother: 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. 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.

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 ?1

SPEED. Item: She can wash and scour.

LAUNCE. A special virtue; for then she need not be

wash'd and scour❜d.

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.


LAUNCE. That's as much as to say, bastard virtues; that, indeed, know not their fathers, and therefore have no


SPEED. Here follow her vices.

LAUNCE. Close at the heels of her virtues.

SPEED. Item: She is not to be kiss'd 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.2

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.

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Sc. I

Sc. I

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

cannot be ta'en from her.

SPEED. Item: She hath no teeth.


LAUNCE. I care not for that neither, because I love


SPEED. Item: She is curst.1

LAUNCE. Well, the best is, she hath no teeth to bite.
SPEED. 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.2


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.



be: I'll prove it.

SPEED. Item: She hath more hair than wit.
LAUNCE. More hair than wit-it may be: I'll
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

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.

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LAUNCE. For thee? ay; who art thou? he hath stay'd for ACT III

a better man than thee.

SPEED. And must I go to him?


LAUNCE. Thou must run to him, for thou hast stay'd so
long that going will scarce serve the turn.
SPEED. Why didst not tell me sooner? pox of your
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.

SCENE II. The Same. A Room in the
DUKE'S Palace.

Enter DUKE and THURIO; PROTEUS behind.


DUKE. Sir Thurio, fear not but that she will love


Now Valentine is banish'd from her sight.

THU. Since his exile she hath despis'd 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
Trenched1 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 shewn 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?

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Sc. I


Sc. II

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 persévers 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 his friend.
DUKE. Then you must undertake to slander him.
PRO. And that, my Lord, I shall be loth 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 aught that I can speak in his dispraise,
She shall not long continue love to him.
But say this wean 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 bottom1 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;

1 wind.





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