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When thou dost meet good hap; and, in thy danger,
If ever danger do environ thee,

Commend thy grievance to my holy prayers,
For I will be thy bead's-man, Valentine.

Val. And on a love-book pray for my success. Pro. Upon some book I love, I'll pray for thee. Val. That's on some shallow story of deep love, How young Leander cross'd the Hellespont3.

Pro. That's a deep story of a deeper love; For he was more than over shoes in love.

Val. "Tis true; for you are over boots in love, And yet you never swam the Hellespont. Pro. Over the boots? nay, give me not the boots1. Val. No, I will not, for it boots thee not. Pro.

What? Val. To be in love, where scorn is bought with


Coy looks, with heart-sore sighs; one fading moment's mirth,

With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights:
If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain;
If lost, why then a grievous labour won;
However, but a folly bought with wit,
Or else a wit by folly vanquished.

Pro. So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.
Val. So, by your circumstance 5, I fear, you'll prove.
Pro. "Tis love you cavil at; I am not Love,
Val. Love is your master, for he masters you:
And he that is so yoked by a fool,

Methinks should not be chronicled for wise.

3 The allusion is to Marlowe's poem of Hero and Leander, which was entered on the Stationers books in 1593, though not published till 1598. It was probably circulated in manuscript in the interim, as was the custom at that period. The poem seems to have made an impression on Shakspeare, who appears to have recently perused it, for he again alludes to it in the third act. And in As You Like It he has quoted a line from it.


4 A proverbial expression, now disused, signifying. make a laughing-stock of me. The French have a phrase Bailler foin en corne; which Cotgrave interprets, "To give one the boots; to sell him a bargain. Perhaps deduced from a humorous punishment at harvest home feasts in Warwickshire.

5 Circumstance is used equivocally, It here means conduct; in the preceding line, circumstantial deduction.

Pro. Yet writers say, As in the sweetest bud The eating canker dwells, so eating love Inhabits in the finest wits of all.

Val. And writers say, As the most forward bud Is eaten by the canker ere it blow,

Even so by love the young and tender wit
Is turn'd to folly; blasting in the bud,
Losing his verdure even in the prime,
And all the fair effects of future hopes.
But wherefore waste I time to counsel thee,
That art a votary to fond desire?

Once more adieu: my father at the road
Expects my coming, there to see me shipp'd.
Pro. And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.
Val. Sweet Proteus, no; now let us take our leave.、
To Milan, let me hear from thee by letters,
Of thy success in love, and what news else
Betideth here in absence of thy friend;
And I likewise will visit thee with mine.
Pro. All happiness bechance to thee in Milan!
Val. As much to you at home! and so, farewell!

Pro. He after honour hunts, I after love.
He leaves his friends, to dignify them more;
I leave myself, my friends, and all for love.
Thou, Julia, thou hast metamorphos'd me;
Made me neglect my studies, lose my time,
War with good counsel, set the world at nought;
Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with thought.
Enter SPEED.

Speed. Sir Proteus, save you: Saw you my master? Pro. But now he parted hence, to embark for Milan. Speed. Twenty to one then, he is shipp'd already; And I have played the sheep, in losing him.

6 The construction of this passage is, "Let me hear from thee by letters to Milan," i. e. addressed to Milan.

In Warwickshire, and some other counties, a sheep is pronounced a ship. Without this explanation the jest, such as it is, might escape the reader.



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Pro. Indeed a sheep doth very often stray, An if the shepherd be awhile away.

Speed. You conclude that my master is a shepherd then, and I a sheep?

Pro. I do.

Speed. Why then, my horns are his horns, whether I wake or sleep.

Pro. A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep.
Speed. This proves me still a sheep.

Pro. True; and thy master a shepherd. Speed. Nay, that I can deny by a circumstance. Pro. It shall go hard, but I'll prove it by another. Speed. The shepherd seeks the sheep, and not the sheep the shepherd; but I seek my master, and my master seeks not me: therefore I am no sheep. Pro. The sheep for fodder follow the shepherd, the shepherd for food follows not the sheep; thou for wages followest thy master, thy master for wages follows not thee: therefore, thou art a sheep. Speed. Such another proof will make me cry baa. Pro. But dost thou hear! gav'st thou my letter to Julia?

Speed. Ay, sir; I, a lost mutton, gave your letter to her, a laced mutton 8; and she, a laced mutton, gave me, a lost mutton, nothing for my labour. Pro. Here's too small a pasture for such a store of muttons.

Speed. If the ground be overcharged, you were best stick her.

Pro. Nay, in that you are astray; 'twere best pound you.

Speed. Nay, sir, less than a pound shall serve me for carrying your letter.

Pro. You mistake; I mean the
Speed. From a pound to a pin?


pound, a pinfold.

fold it over and

Cotgrave explains laced mutton, une garce, putain, fille de joye. It was so established a term for a courtezan, that a lane in Clerkenwell, much frequented by loose women, is said to have been thence called Mutton Lane.

"Tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your


Pro. But what said she? [did she nod9.]

Speed. I.

Pro. Nod, I! why, that's noddy.

[SPEED nods.

Speed. You mistook, sir; I say, she did nod: and you ask me, if she did nod; and I say, I. Pro. And that set together is-noddy.

Speed. Now you have taken the pains to set it together, take it for your pains.

Pro. No, no, you shall have it for bearing the letter.

Speed. Well, I perceive I must be fain to bear with you.

Pro. Why, sir, how do you bear with me?

Speed. Marry, sir, the letter very orderly; having nothing but the word, noddy, for my pains.

Pro. Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit. Speed. And yet it cannot overtake your slow. purse.

Pro. Come, come, open the matter in brief: What said she?

Speed. Open your purse, that the money and the matter may be both at once delivered.

Pro. Well, sir, here is for your pains: What said she?

Speed. Truly, sir, I think you'll hardly win her. Pro. Why? Couldst thou perceive so much from her?

Speed. Sir, I could perceive nothing at all from her; no, not so much as a ducat for delivering your letter: And being so hard to me that brought your mind, I fear she'll prove as hard to you in telling your mind. Give her no token but stones, for she's as hard as steel.

These words were supplied by Theobald to introduce what follows. In Speed's answer, the old spelling of the affirmative particle has been retained; otherwise the conceit would be unintelligible. Noddy was a game at cards.

Pro. What, said she nothing?

Speed. No, not so much as-take this for thy pains. To testify your bounty, I thank you, you have testern'd 10 me; in requital whereof, henceforth carry your letters yourself: and so, sir, I'll commend you to my master.

Pro. Go, go, begone, to save your ship from wreck; Which cannot perish, having thee aboard, Being destined to a drier death on shore:I must go send some better messenger; I fear my Julia would not deign my lines, Receiving them from such a worthless post. [Exeunt.


The same. Garden of Julia's House.


Jul. But say, Lucetta, now we are alone, Wouldst thou then counsel me to fall in love? 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!

10 Testens, or, as we now commonly call them, testers, from a head that was upon them, were coined in 1542. Sir H. Spelman says they were a French coin of the value of 18d; and he does not know but that they might have gone for as much in England. They were afterward reduced to 12d., 9d., and finally, to sixpence. 1 Parle is talk.

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