Milan. A room in the Duke’s palace.
(Duke; Thurio; Proteus)
The duke tries to reassure Thurio that with Valentine gone, Silvia will love him, but Thurio says that she’s liked him even less since. The duke asks Proteus what the best way to change the girl’s mind would be, and Proteus suggests slandering Valentine. They agree it would be best if Proteus did the slandering, since coming from Valentine’s best friend the tales will be more believable. The Duke and Thurio also ask Proteus to praise Thurio, trusting him to do so due to his already being in love with Julia, so far as they know. Proteus agrees, and also lectures Thurio on how to woo a lady with poetry and music. (97 lines)
Enter Duke, Thurio.
Sir Thurio, fear not but that she will love you
Now Valentine is banish’d from her sight.
Since his exile she hath despis’d me most,
Forsworn my company, and rail’d at me,
That I am desperate of obtaining her.
This weak impress of love is as a figure
Trenched 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?
Gone, my good lord.
My daughter takes his going grievously.
A little time, my lord, will kill that grief.
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.
Longer than I prove loyal to your Grace
Let me not live to look upon your Grace.
Thou know’st how willingly I would effect
The match between Sir Thurio and my daughter?
I do, my lord.
And also, I think, thou art not ignorant
How she opposes her against my will?
She did, my lord, when Valentine was here.
Ay, and perversely she persevers so.
What might we do to make the girl forget
The love of Valentine, and love Sir Thurio?
The best way is to slander Valentine
With falsehood, cowardice, and poor descent,
Three things that women highly hold in hate.
Ay, but she’ll think that it is spoke in hate.
Ay, if his enemy deliver it;
Therefore it must with circumstance be spoken
By one whom she esteemeth as his friend.
Then you must undertake to slander him.
And that, my lord, I shall be loath to do:
’Tis an ill office for a gentleman,
Especially against his very friend.
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.
You have prevail’d, my lord; if I can do it
By aught that I can speak in his dispraise,
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.
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
As you in worth dispraise Sir Valentine.
And, Proteus, we dare trust you in this kind,
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.
As much as I can do, I will effect.
But you, Sir Thurio, are not sharp enough;
You must lay lime to tangle her desires
By wailful sonnets, whose composed rhymes
Should be full-fraught with serviceable vows.
Ay, much is the force of heaven-bred poesy.
Say that upon the altar of her beauty
You sacrifice your tears, your sighs, your heart;
Write till your ink be dry, and with your tears
Moist it again, and frame some feeling line
That may discover such integrity:
For Orpheus’ lute was strung with poets’ sinews,
Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones,
Make tigers tame, and huge leviathans
Forsake unsounded deeps to dance on sands.
After your dire-lamenting elegies,
Visit by night your lady’s chamber-window
With some sweet consort; to their instruments
Tune a deploring dump—the night’s dead silence
Will well become such sweet-complaining grievance.
This, or else nothing, will inherit her.
This discipline shows thou hast been in love.
And thy advice this night I’ll put in practice:
Therefore, sweet Proteus, my direction-giver,
Let us into the city presently
To sort some gentlemen well skill’d in music.
I have a sonnet that will serve the turn
To give the onset to thy good advice.
About it, gentlemen!
We’ll wait upon your Grace till after supper,
And afterward determine our proceedings.
Even now about it! I will pardon you.