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Which, being writ to me, shall be deliver'd
[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.
SPEED. Why, man, how black?
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.
LAUNCE. The blackest news that ever thou heard'st.
LAUNCE. Fie on thee, jolt-head: thou canst not read!
LAUNCE. I will try thee. Tell me this: who begot thee?
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
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 names.
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
LAUNCE. Well, that fault may be mended with a breakfast. 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
SPEED. Item: She is slow in words.
LAUNCE. O villain, that set this down among her vices!
LAUNCE. Out with that too: it was Eve's legacy, and
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.
LAUNCE. If her liquor be good, she shall: if she will not,
I will; for good things should be praised.
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. Rehearse
that once more.
SPEED. Item: She hath more hair than wit.
SPEED. And more faults than hairs.
LAUNCE. That's monstrous: O, that that were out!
LAUNCE. Why, that word makes the faults gracious!
SPEED. What then?
LAUNCE. Why, then will I tell thee-that thy master stays for thee at the North-gate.
SPEED. For me?
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 love-letters!
[exit. 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
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,
DUKE. My daughter takes his going grievously.
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
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.
What might we do to make the girl forget
With falsehood, cowardice, and poor descent:
Therefore it must with circumstance be spoken
DUKE. Where your good word cannot advantage him
Being entreated to it by your friend.
PRO. You have prevail'd, my Lord: if I can do it
THU. Therefore, as you unwind her love from him,
Which must be done by praising me as much
And cannot soon revolt and change your mind.