Now tell me: how do all from whence you came?
Your friends are well and have them much commended.
And how do yours?
I left them all in health.
How does your lady, and how thrives your love?
My tales of love were wont to weary you;
I know you joy not in a love-discourse.
Ay, Proteus, but that life is alter’d now:
I have done penance for contemning Love,
Whose high imperious thoughts have punish’d me
With bitter fasts, with penitential groans,
With nightly tears, and daily heart-sore sighs,
For in revenge of my contempt of love,
Love hath chas’d sleep from my enthralled eyes,
And made them watchers of mine own heart’s sorrow.
O gentle Proteus, Love’s a mighty lord,
And hath so humbled me as I confess
There is no woe to his correction,
Nor to his service no such joy on earth:
Now no discourse, except it be of love;
Now can I break my fast, dine, sup, and sleep,
Upon the very naked name of love.
Enough; I read your fortune in your eye.
Was this the idol that you worship so?
Even she; and is she not a heavenly saint?
No; but she is an earthly paragon.
Call her divine.
I will not flatter her.
O, flatter me; for love delights in praises.
When I was sick, you gave me bitter pills,
And I must minister the like to you.
Then speak the truth by her; if not divine,
Yet let her be a principality,
Sovereign to all the creatures on the earth.
Except my mistress.
Sweet, except not any,
Except thou wilt except against my love.
Have I not reason to prefer mine own?
And I will help thee to prefer her too:
She shall be dignified with this high honor—
To bear my lady’s train, lest the base earth
Should from her vesture chance to steal a kiss,
And of so great a favor growing proud,
Disdain to root the summer-swelling flow’r,
And make rough winter everlastingly.
Why, Valentine, what braggadism is this?
Pardon me, Proteus, all I can is nothing
To her, whose worth makes other worthies nothing:
She is alone.
Then let her alone.
Not for the world. Why, man, she is mine own,
And I as rich in having such a jewel
As twenty seas, if all their sand were pearl,
The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold.
Forgive me, that I do not dream on thee,
Because thou seest me dote upon my love.
My foolish rival, that her father likes
(Only for his possessions are so huge),
Is gone with her along, and I must after,
For love, thou know’st, is full of jealousy.
But she loves you?
Ay, and we are betroth’d: nay more, our marriage hour,
With all the cunning manner of our flight,
Determin’d of—how I must climb her window,
The ladder made of cords, and all the means
Plotted and ’greed on for my happiness.
Good Proteus, go with me to my chamber,
In these affairs to aid me with thy counsel.
Go on before; I shall inquire you forth.
I must unto the road, to disembark
Some necessaries that I needs must use,
And then I’ll presently attend you.
Will you make haste?