Page images

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.

[ocr errors]

Speed. Item, She is curst.'

Launce. Well; the best is, she hath no teeth to bite.

Speed. Item, 'She will often praise her liquor.' 1 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. Rehearse that once more.

[ocr errors]

Speed. Item, She hath more hair than wit,—' Launce. More hair than wit,-it may be; I'll

Show how well she likes her liquor by drinking often.
Licentious in discourse.

prove it: 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 next?

Speed. And more faults than hairs,—'

Launce. That's monstrous: O, that that were out!

[ocr errors]

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 stayed so long, that going will scarce serve the turn. Speed. Why didst not tell me sooner? 'pox of your love-letters!


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.


1 Graceful.


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 despised 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 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

[blocks in formation]

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 persevers 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 falshood, 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,1 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 loath 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,

With the addition of such incidental particulars, as may induce belief.

She shall not long continue love to him.
But say, this weed 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 bottom it on me :


Which must be done, by praising me as much


you in worth dispraise sir Valentine.

Duke. And, Proteus, we dare trust you in this


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 :-
But you, sir Thurio, are not sharp enough;
You must lay lime,3 to tangle her desires,
By wailful sonnets, whose composed rhymes
Should be full fraught with serviceable vows.
Duke. Ay,

As you wind off her love from him, make me the bottom on which you wind it. The housewife's term for a ball of thread wound on a central body, is a bottom of thread.

2 Mould her, like wax, to whatever shape you please. 3 Birdlime.

« PreviousContinue »