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Launce. There; and Saint Nicholas be thy speed ! 20

Speed [reads]. "Item, She can milk.”

Launce. Ay, that she can.

Speed. "Item, She brews good ale."

Launce. And thereof comes the proverb,Blessing of your heart, you brew good ale.

Speed. "Item, She can sew.”

Speed. "Item, She is too liberal." 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

Launce. That's as much as to say, Can she so? mine, and not mine, twice or thrice in that last Speed. "Item, She can knit.”

Launce. What need a man care for a stock with a wench, when she can knit him a stock ? 21 Speed. "Item, She can wash and scour."

Launce. A special virtue; for then she need not be washed and scoured.

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 kissed fasting, in respect

of her breath."

Launce. Well, that fault may be mended with a breakfast. Read on.

Speed. "Item, She hath a sweet mouth.” 22


That makes amends for her sour breath.

Speed. "Item, She doth talk in her sleep."

article. Rehearse that once more.


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"Item, She hath more hair than wit,”— Launce. More hair than wit,-it may be: I'll prove it. The cover of the salt 24 hides the salt, and therefore it's more than the salt; the hair that covers the wit is more than the wit, for the greater hides the less. What's next?

Speed. "And more faults than hairs,"—

Launce. That's monstrous: oh, that that were


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.

Speed. For me!

Launce. For thee! ay; who art thou? he hath stayed for a better man than thee.

Speed. And must I go to him?
Launce. Thou must run to him, for thou hast

Launce. It's no matter for that, so she sleep stayed so long, that going will scarce serve the

not in her talk.

Speed. Item, She is slow in words.”

Launce. Oh, 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 crusts.

Speed. Item, She is curst.” 23



Well, the best is, she hath no teeth to

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Speed. Why didst not tell me sooner ? plague 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. [Exit.

SCENE II.-MILAN. A room in the DUKE's Palace.
Enter DUKE and THURIO.
Duke. Sir Thurio, fear not but that she will
love you,

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.

22. A sweet mouth. What is now called 'a sweet tooth;' though Launce takes it in its more usual and literal sense. Shakespeare has here shown his knowledge of the fact, that an inordinate liking for and consumption of sweetmeats leads to injury of the stomach and consequent spoiling of the breath. 23. Curst. Shrewish.

24. The cover of the salt. The saltcellar, in old English days, was large and covered; forming an important article on the

Duke. This weak impress of love is as a figure Trenched 25 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 theeFor thou hast shown 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. 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


Pro. Ay, if his enemy deliver it:
Therefore it must with circumstance be spoken
By one whom she esteemeth as his friend.

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.

dinner-table, and, placed somewhere near midway, serving as an indication of rank where various classes sat down to meals together. 'Above the salt' were placed those of superior grade; 'below the salt,' their inferiors.

25. Trenched. Cut, carved; French, tranché.

26. Persévers. Shakespeare frequently thus accents the word 'persevere.'

27. Very. True; Latin, verus. The title of one of Massinger's plays is 'A very Woman.' In this passage, "his very friend" means his own friend, his particular friend.

28. Weed her love. Shakespeare uses "weed" as we now say 'weed out;' to eradicate, to take away from. "To weed my vice," &c., "Measure for Measure," iii. 2. "To weed this wormwood from your fruitful brain," "Love's Labour Lost," v. 2.

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 weed her love 23 from Valentine, It follows not that she will love Sir Thurio.

Thu. Therefore, as you unwind her love from



Lest it should ravel and be good to none,
You must provide to bottom 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;
Where you may temper her, by your persuasion,
To hate young Valentine, and love my friend.
Pro. As much as I can do, I will effect :-
you, Sir Thurio, are not sharp enough;
You must lay lime 30 to tangle her desires
By wailful sonnets, whose composed rhymes
Should be full-fraught with serviceable vows.

Duke. Ay, much is the force of heaven-bred


Pro. Say that upon the altar of her beauty
You sacrifice your tears, your sighs, your heart.
Write, till your ink be dry, and with your tears
Moist it again; and frame some feeling line
That may discover such integrity: 31
For Orpheus' lute was strung with poets' sinews;
Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones,
Make tigers tame, and huge leviathans
Forsake unsounded deeps to dance on sands.
After your dire-lamenting elegies,

Visit by night your lady's chamber-window
With some sweet consort; 32 to their instruments
Tune a deploring dump: 33 the night's dead silence
Will well become such sweet complaining griev-


This, or else nothing, will inherit her.

29. To bottom it on me. A 'bottom' is a term used by seam

stresses for that on which silk or thread is wound.

30. Lime. Birdlime.

31. Such integrity. Used here for integrity of such proceedings as have just been described. By this kind of transposition, Shakespeare sometimes makes a small word like "such" do duty elliptically in relation to a previous topic.

32. Consort. Formerly used for a company of musicians. Shakespeare makes Mercutio take the word in this sense, where he says, "Consort! what, dost thou make us minstrels?"

33. Dump. A mournful ditty, an elegiac strain. 34. Inherit. This word was formerly used to indicate possession, without reference to obtaining by heirship.

Duke. This discipline shows thou hast been in love.

Thu. And thy advice this night I'll put in practice.

Therefore, sweet Proteus, my direction-giver,
Let us into the city presently,

To sort 35 some gentlemen well skill'd in music :

I have a sonnet that will serve the turn
To give the onset to thy good advice.
Duke. About it, gentlemen.

Pro. We'll wait upon your grace till after supper,
And afterward determine our proceedings.
Duke. Even now about it: I will pardon you.36


SCENE 1.-The frontiers of MANTUA. A forest. | If crooked fortune had not thwarted me.

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First Out. That's not so, sir,-we are your enemies.

Sec. Out. Peace! we'll hear him.

Third Out. Ay, by my beard, will we, for he's a proper man.1

Val. Then know, that I have little wealth to lose.

A man I am cross'd with adversity:

My riches are these poor habiliments,

Of which if you should here disfurnish me,

You take the sum and substance that I have.

Sec. Out. Whither travel you?

Val. To Verona.

First Out. Whence came you?
Val. From Milan.

Third Out. Have you long sojourn'd there?

Val. Some sixteen months; and longer might have stay'd,

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First Out. What, were you banish'd thence? Val. I was.

Sec. Out. For what offence?

Val. For that which now torments me to rehearse:

I kill'd a man, whose death I much repent;
And yet I slew him manfully, in fight,
Without false vantage or base treachery.

First Out. Why, ne'er repent it, if it were

done so.

But were you banish'd for so small a fault?
Val. I was, and held me glad of such a doom.
Sec. Out. Have you the tongues ?3

Val. My youthful travel therein made me happy,

Or else I often had been miserable.

Third Out. By the bare scalp of Robin Hood's

fat friar,'

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4. Robin Hood's fat friar. Friar Tuck. That the bold outlaws of Sherwood Forest should be cited by those of the Mantuan Forest, need hurt no one's sense of appropriateness who recollects that the poet's license includes the right to introduce all that serves to heighten impression; and the introduction of a wellknown English outlaw's name before an English popular audience would infallibly impress Shakespeare's hearers with extra vivid consciousness of outlaw presence.

5. Awful men. Men calculated to inspire awe and respect;


Third Outlaw. Stand, sir, and throw us that you have about you.

Speed. Sir, we are undone; these are the villains that all the travellers do fear so much.

For practising to steal away a lady,
An heir, and near allied unto the duke.

Sec. Out. And I from Mantua, for a gentleman, Who, in my mood,' I stabb'd unto the heart. First Out. And I for such-like petty crimes as


But to the purpose,-for we cite our faults,
That they may hold excus'd our lawless lives;
And partly, seeing you are beautified
With goodly shape, and by your own report
A linguist, and a man of such perfection

men of worth, probity, and dignity. There is significance of lawful authority and position included in Shakespeare's use of this word; not only here, but in other passages: such, for instance, as the one in "Taming of the Shrew," "awful rule and right supremacy;" in "2 Henry IV.," iv. 1, "come within our awful banks again;" and v. 2, "pluck down justice from your awful bench."

Act IV. Scene I.

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