ACT I
Scene I.
 

Verona. An open place

Enter VALENTINE and PROTEUS

VALENTINE
Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus:
Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits.
Were't not affection chains thy tender days
To the sweet glances of thy honour'd love,
I rather would entreat thy company
To see the wonders of the world abroad,
Than, living dully sluggardiz'd at home,
Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.
But since thou lov'st, love still, and thrive therein,
Even as I would, when I to love begin.

PROTEUS
Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu!
Think on thy Proteus, when thou haply seest
Some rare noteworthy object in thy travel.
Wish me partaker in thy happiness
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 headsman, Valentine.

VALENTINE
And on a love-book pray for my success?

PROTEUS
Upon some book I love I'll pray for thee.

VALENTINE
That's on some shallow story of deep love:
How young Leander cross'd the Hellespont.

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

VALENTINE
'Tis true; for you are over boots in love,
And yet you never swum the Hellespont.

PROTEUS
Over the boots! Nay, give me not the boots.

VALENTINE
No, I will not, for it boots thee not.

PROTEUS
What?

VALENTINE
To be in love- where scorn is bought with groans,
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.

PROTEUS
So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.

VALENTINE
So, by your circumstance, I fear you'll prove.

PROTEUS
'Tis love you cavil at; I am not Love.

VALENTINE
Love is your master, for he masters you;
And he that is so yoked by a fool,
Methinks, should not be chronicled for wise.

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

VALENTINE
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 the
That art a votary to fond desire?
Once more adieu. My father at the road
Expects my coming, there to see me shipp'd.

PROTEUS
And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.

VALENTINE
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.

PROTEUS
All happiness bechance to thee in Milan!

VALENTINE
As much to you at home; and so farewell!

Exit VALENTINE

PROTEUS
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 metamorphis'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?

PROTEUS
But now he parted hence to embark for Milan.

SPEED
Twenty to one then he is shipp'd already,
And I have play'd the sheep in losing him.

PROTEUS
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?

PROTEUS
I do.

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

PROTEUS
A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep.

SPEED
This proves me still a sheep.

PROTEUS
True; and thy master a shepherd.

SPEED
Nay, that I can deny by a circumstance.

PROTEUS
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.

PROTEUS
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.'

PROTEUS
But dost thou hear? Gav'st thou my letter to Julia?

SPEED
Ay, sir; I, a lost mutton, gave your letter to her, a lac'd
mutton; and she, a lac'd mutton, gave me, a lost mutton, nothing
for my labour.

PROTEUS
Here's too small a pasture for such store of muttons.

SPEED
If the ground be overcharg'd, you were best stick her.

PROTEUS
Nay, in that you are astray: 'twere best pound you.

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

PROTEUS
You mistake; I mean the pound- a pinfold.

SPEED
From a pound to a pin? Fold it over and over,
'Tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your lover.

PROTEUS
But what said she?

SPEED
[Nodding] Ay.

PROTEUS
Nod- ay. Why, that's 'noddy.'

SPEED
You mistook, sir; I say she did nod; and you ask me if she
did nod; and I say 'Ay.'

PROTEUS
And that set together is 'noddy.'

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

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

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

PROTEUS
Why, sir, how do you bear with me?

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

PROTEUS
Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.

SPEED
And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse.

PROTEUS
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.

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

SPEED
Truly, sir, I think you'll hardly win her.

PROTEUS
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.

PROTEUS
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 me; in requital
whereof, henceforth carry your letters yourself; and so, sir,
I'll commend you to my master.

PROTEUS
Go, go, be gone, to save your ship from wreck,
Which cannot perish, having thee aboard,
Being destin'd to a drier death on shore.

Exit SPEED

I must go send some better messenger.
I fear my Julia would not deign my lines,
Receiving them from such a worthless post.

Exit