Sir Valentine, whither away so fast?
Please it your Grace, there is a messenger
That stays to bear my letters to my friends,
And I am going to deliver them.
Be they of much import?
The tenure of them doth but signify
My health and happy being at your court.
Nay then no matter; stay with me a while;
I am to break with thee of some affairs
That touch me near, wherein thou must be secret.
’Tis not unknown to thee that I have sought
To match my friend Sir Thurio to my daughter.
I know it well, my lord, and sure the match
Were rich and honorable; besides, the gentleman
Is full of virtue, bounty, worth, and qualities
Beseeming such a wife as your fair daughter.
Cannot your Grace win her to fancy him?
No, trust me, she is peevish, sullen, froward,
Proud, disobedient, stubborn, lacking duty,
Neither regarding that she is my child,
Nor fearing me as if I were her father;
And may I say to thee, this pride of hers
(Upon advice) hath drawn my love from her,
And where I thought the remnant of mine age
Should have been cherish’d by her child-like duty,
I now am full resolv’d to take a wife,
And turn her out to who will take her in:
Then let her beauty be her wedding-dow’r,
For me and my possessions she esteems not.
What would your Grace have me to do in this?
There is a lady in Milano here
Whom I affect; but she is nice and coy,
And nought esteems my aged eloquence.
Now therefore would I have thee to my tutor
(For long agone I have forgot to court;
Besides, the fashion of the time is chang’d)
How and which way I may bestow myself
To be regarded in her sun-bright eye.
Win her with gifts, if she respect not words:
Dumb jewels often in their silent kind
More than quick words do move a woman’s mind.
But she did scorn a present that I sent her.
A woman sometime scorns what best contents her.
Send her another; never give her o’er,
For scorn at first makes after-love the more.
If she do frown, ’tis not in hate of you,
But rather to beget more love in you.
If she do chide, ’tis not to have you gone,
For why, the fools are mad, if left alone.
Take no repulse, what ever she doth say;
For “get you gone,” she doth not mean “away!”
Flatter and praise, commend, extol their graces;
Though ne’er so black, say they have angels’ faces.
That man that hath a tongue, I say is no man,
If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.
But she I mean is promis’d by her friends
Unto a youthful gentleman of worth,
And kept severely from resort of men,
That no man hath access by day to her.
Why then I would resort to her by night.
Ay, but the doors be lock’d, and keys kept safe,
That no man hath recourse to her by night.
What lets but one may enter at her window?
Her chamber is aloft, far from the ground,
And built so shelving that one cannot climb it
Without apparent hazard of his life.
Why then a ladder, quaintly made of cords,
To cast up, with a pair of anchoring hooks,
Would serve to scale another Hero’s tow’r,
So bold Leander would adventure it.
Now as thou art a gentleman of blood,
Advise me where I may have such a ladder.
When would you use it? pray, sir, tell me that.
This very night; for Love is like a child,
That longs for every thing that he can come by.
By seven a’ clock I’ll get you such a ladder.
But hark thee: I will go to her alone.
How shall I best convey the ladder thither?
It will be light, my lord, that you may bear it
Under a cloak that is of any length.
A cloak as long as thine will serve the turn?
Ay, my good lord.
Then let me see thy cloak—
I’ll get me one of such another length.
Why, any cloak will serve the turn, my lord.
How shall I fashion me to wear a cloak?
I pray thee let me feel thy cloak upon me.
What letter is this same? What’s here? “To Silvia”?
And here an engine fit for my proceeding!
I’ll be so bold to break the seal for once.
“My thoughts do harbor with my Silvia nightly,
And slaves they are to me that send them flying:
O, could their master come and go as lightly,
Himself would lodge where, senseless, they are lying!
My herald thoughts in thy pure bosom rest them,
While I, their king, that thither them importune,
Do curse the grace that with such grace hath blest them,
Because myself do want my servants’ fortune.
I curse myself, for they are sent by me,
That they should harbor where their lord should be.”
“Silvia, this night I will enfranchise thee.”
’Tis so; and here’s the ladder for the purpose.
Why, Phaëton (for thou art Merops’ son),
Wilt thou aspire to guide the heavenly car,
And with thy daring folly burn the world?
Wilt thou reach stars, because they shine on thee?
Go, base intruder, overweening slave,
Bestow thy fawning smiles on equal mates,
And think my patience (more than thy desert)
Is privilege for thy departure hence.
Thank me for this more than for all the favors
Which (all too much) I have bestowed on thee.
But if thou linger in my territories
Longer than swiftest expedition
Will give thee time to leave our royal court,
By heaven, my wrath shall far exceed the love
I ever bore my daughter, or thyself.
Be gone, I will not hear thy vain excuse,
But as thou lov’st thy life, make speed from hence.
And why not death, rather than living torment?
To die is to be banish’d from myself,
And Silvia is myself: banish’d from her
Is self from self, a deadly banishment.
What light is light, if Silvia be not seen?
What joy is joy, if Silvia be not by?
Unless it be to think that she is by,
And feed upon the shadow of perfection.
Except I be by Silvia in the night,
There is no music in the nightingale;
Unless I look on Silvia in the day,
There is no day for me to look upon.
She is my essence, and I leave to be,
If I be not by her fair influence
Foster’d, illumin’d, cherish’d, kept alive.
I fly not death, to fly his deadly doom:
Tarry I here, I but attend on death,
But fly I hence, I fly away from life.