Document: All > Shakespeare > Comedies > The Two Gentlemen of Verona > Act IV, scene IV
[Enter LAUNCE, with his his Dog]
LAUNCE: When a man's servant shall play the cur with him,
look you, it goes hard: one that I brought up of a
puppy; one that I saved from drowning, when three or
four of his blind brothers and sisters went to it.
I have taught him, even as one would say precisely,
'thus I would teach a dog.' I was sent to deliver
him as a present to Mistress Silvia from my master;
and I came no sooner into the dining-chamber but he
steps me to her trencher and steals her capon's leg:
O, 'tis a foul thing when a cur cannot keep himself
in all companies! I would have, as one should say,
one that takes upon him to be a dog indeed, to be,
as it were, a dog at all things. If I had not had
more wit than he, to take a fault upon me that he did,
I think verily he had been hanged for't; sure as I
live, he had suffered for't; you shall judge. He
thrusts me himself into the company of three or four
gentlemanlike dogs under the duke's table: he had
not been there--bless the mark!--a pissing while, but
all the chamber smelt him. 'Out with the dog!' says
one: 'What cur is that?' says another: 'Whip him
out' says the third: 'Hang him up' says the duke.
I, having been acquainted with the smell before,
knew it was Crab, and goes me to the fellow that
whips the dogs: 'Friend,' quoth I, 'you mean to whip
the dog?' 'Ay, marry, do I,' quoth he. 'You do him
the more wrong,' quoth I; ''twas I did the thing you
wot of.' He makes me no more ado, but whips me out
of the chamber. How many masters would do this for
his servant? Nay, I'll be sworn, I have sat in the
stocks for puddings he hath stolen, otherwise he had
been executed; I have stood on the pillory for geese
he hath killed, otherwise he had suffered for't.
Thou thinkest not of this now. Nay, I remember the
trick you served me when I took my leave of Madam
Silvia: did not I bid thee still mark me and do as I
do? when didst thou see me heave up my leg and make
water against a gentlewoman's farthingale? didst
thou ever see me do such a trick?
[Enter PROTEUS and JULIA]
PROTEUS: Sebastian is thy name? I like thee well
And will employ thee in some service presently.
JULIA: In what you please: I'll do what I can.
PROTEUS: I hope thou wilt.
How now, you whoreson peasant!
Where have you been these two days loitering?
LAUNCE: Marry, sir, I carried Mistress Silvia the dog you bade me.
PROTEUS: And what says she to my little jewel?
LAUNCE: Marry, she says your dog was a cur, and tells you
currish thanks is good enough for such a present.
PROTEUS: But she received my dog?
LAUNCE: No, indeed, did she not: here have I brought him
PROTEUS: What, didst thou offer her this from me?
LAUNCE: Ay, sir: the other squirrel was stolen from me by
the hangman boys in the market-place: and then I
offered her mine own, who is a dog as big as ten of
yours, and therefore the gift the greater.
PROTEUS: Go get thee hence, and find my dog again,
Or ne'er return again into my sight.
Away, I say! stay'st thou to vex me here?
A slave, that still an end turns me to shame!
Sebastian, I have entertained thee,
Partly that I have need of such a youth
That can with some discretion do my business,
For 'tis no trusting to yond foolish lout,
But chiefly for thy face and thy behavior,
Which, if my augury deceive me not,
Witness good bringing up, fortune and truth:
Therefore know thou, for this I entertain thee.
Go presently and take this ring with thee,
Deliver it to Madam Silvia:
She loved me well deliver'd it to me.
JULIA: It seems you loved not her, to leave her token.
She is dead, belike?
PROTEUS: Not so; I think she lives.
PROTEUS: Why dost thou cry 'alas'?
JULIA: I cannot choose
But pity her.
PROTEUS: Wherefore shouldst thou pity her?
JULIA: Because methinks that she loved you as well
As you do love your lady Silvia:
She dreams of him that has forgot her love;
You dote on her that cares not for your love.
'Tis pity love should be so contrary;
And thinking of it makes me cry 'alas!'
PROTEUS: Well, give her that ring and therewithal
This letter. That's her chamber. Tell my lady
I claim the promise for her heavenly picture.
Your message done, hie home unto my chamber,
Where thou shalt find me, sad and solitary.
JULIA: How many women would do such a message?
Alas, poor Proteus! thou hast entertain'd
A fox to be the shepherd of thy lambs.
Alas, poor fool! why do I pity him
That with his very heart despiseth me?
Because he loves her, he despiseth me;
Because I love him I must pity him.
This ring I gave him when he parted from me,
To bind him to remember my good will;
And now am I, unhappy messenger,
To plead for that which I would not obtain,
To carry that which I would have refused,
To praise his faith which I would have dispraised.
I am my master's true-confirmed love;
But cannot be true servant to my master,
Unless I prove false traitor to myself.
Yet will I woo for him, but yet so coldly
As, heaven it knows, I would not have him speed.
[Enter SILVIA, attended]
Gentlewoman, good day! I pray you, be my mean
To bring me where to speak with Madam Silvia.
SILVIA: What would you with her, if that I be she?
JULIA: If you be she, I do entreat your patience
To hear me speak the message I am sent on.
SILVIA: From whom?
JULIA: From my master, Sir Proteus, madam.
SILVIA: O, he sends you for a picture.
JULIA: Ay, madam.
SILVIA: Ursula, bring my picture here.
Go give your master this: tell him from me,
One Julia, that his changing thoughts forget,
Would better fit his chamber than this shadow.
JULIA: Madam, please you peruse this letter.--
Pardon me, madam; I have unadvised
Deliver'd you a paper that I should not:
This is the letter to your ladyship.
SILVIA: I pray thee, let me look on that again.
JULIA: It may not be; good madam, pardon me.
SILVIA: There, hold!
I will not look upon your master's lines:
I know they are stuff'd with protestations
And full of new-found oaths; which he will break
As easily as I do tear his paper.
JULIA: Madam, he sends your ladyship this ring.
SILVIA: The more shame for him that he sends it me;
For I have heard him say a thousand times
His Julia gave it him at his departure.
Though his false finger have profaned the ring,
Mine shall not do his Julia so much wrong.
JULIA: She thanks you.
SILVIA: What say'st thou?
JULIA: I thank you, madam, that you tender her.
Poor gentlewoman! my master wrongs her much.
SILVIA: Dost thou know her?
JULIA: Almost as well as I do know myself:
To think upon her woes I do protest
That I have wept a hundred several times.
SILVIA: Belike she thinks that Proteus hath forsook her.
JULIA: I think she doth; and that's her cause of sorrow.
SILVIA: Is she not passing fair?
JULIA: She hath been fairer, madam, than she is:
When she did think my master loved her well,
She, in my judgment, was as fair as you:
But since she did neglect her looking-glass
And threw her sun-expelling mask away,
The air hath starved the roses in her cheeks
And pinch'd the lily-tincture of her face,
That now she is become as black as I.
SILVIA: How tall was she?
JULIA: About my stature; for at Pentecost,
When all our pageants of delight were play'd,
Our youth got me to play the woman's part,
And I was trimm'd in Madam Julia's gown,
Which served me as fit, by all men's judgments,
As if the garment had been made for me:
Therefore I know she is about my height.
And at that time I made her weep agood,
For I did play a lamentable part:
Madam, 'twas Ariadne passioning
For Theseus' perjury and unjust flight;
Which I so lively acted with my tears
That my poor mistress, moved therewithal,
Wept bitterly; and would I might be dead
If I in thought felt not her very sorrow!
SILVIA: She is beholding to thee, gentle youth.
Alas, poor lady, desolate and left!
I weep myself to think upon thy words.
Here, youth, there is my purse; I give thee this
For thy sweet mistress' sake, because thou lovest her.
[Exit SILVIA, with attendants]
JULIA: And she shall thank you for't, if e'er you know her.
A virtuous gentlewoman, mild and beautiful
I hope my master's suit will be but cold,
Since she respects my mistress' love so much.
Alas, how love can trifle with itself!
Here is her picture: let me see; I think,
If I had such a tire, this face of mine
Were full as lovely as is this of hers:
And yet the painter flatter'd her a little,
Unless I flatter with myself too much.
Her hair is auburn, mine is perfect yellow:
If that be all the difference in his love,
I'll get me such a colour'd periwig.
Her eyes are grey as glass, and so are mine:
Ay, but her forehead's low, and mine's as high.
What should it be that he respects in her
But I can make respective in myself,
If this fond Love were not a blinded god?
Come, shadow, come and take this shadow up,
For 'tis thy rival. O thou senseless form,
Thou shalt be worshipp'd, kiss'd, loved and adored!
And, were there sense in his idolatry,
My substance should be statue in thy stead.
I'll use thee kindly for thy mistress' sake,
That used me so; or else, by Jove I vow,
I should have scratch'd out your unseeing eyes
To make my master out of love with thee!
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA