Milan. Outside the Duke’s palace.
(Proteus; Thurio; Musicians; Host; Julia; Silvia)
Proteus is in anguish over how he is betraying both Valentine and Thurio to no purpose, for Silvia refuses to listen to his protestations of love and reminds him of all his betrayals. Thurio arrives and together they go to serenade Silvia, but not before Julia is brought in by the Host of the inn where she’s staying to spy on Proteus. Overhearing the song to Silvia, she grows worried, and her worries are confirmed when, after Thurio leaves, she hears Proteus wooing Silvia, who rejects him. Proteus assures Silvia that Julia is dead, and claims he has heard that Valentine is too. To be rid of him, Silvia promises to give him a picture of her in the morning. Julia is disconsolate. (133 lines)
Already have I been false to Valentine,
And now I must be as unjust to Thurio:
Under the color of commending him,
I have access my own love to prefer—
But Silvia is too fair, too true, too holy,
To be corrupted with my worthless gifts.
When I protest true loyalty to her,
She twits me with my falsehood to my friend;
When to her beauty I commend my vows,
She bids me think how I have been forsworn
In breaking faith with Julia whom I lov’d;
And notwithstanding all her sudden quips,
The least whereof would quell a lover’s hope,
Yet, spaniel-like, the more she spurns my love,
The more it grows, and fawneth on her still.
Enter Thurio, Musicians.
But here comes Thurio. Now must we to her window,
And give some evening music to her ear.
How now, Sir Proteus, are you crept before us?
Ay, gentle Thurio, for you know that love
Will creep in service where it cannot go.
Ay, but I hope, sir, that you love not here.
Sir, but I do; or else I would be hence.
Ay, Silvia—for your sake.
I thank you for your own. Now, gentlemen,
Let’s tune, and to it lustily a while.
Enter at one side Host, Julia in boy’s clothes, as Sebastian.
Now, my young guest, methinks you’re allycholly; I pray you, why is it?
Marry, mine host, because I cannot be merry.
Come, we’ll have you merry: I’ll bring you where you shall hear music and see the gentleman that you ask’d for.
But shall I hear him speak?
Ay, that you shall.
That will be music.
Is he among these?
Ay; but peace, let’s hear ’em.
Who is Silvia? What is she,
That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair, and wise is she;
The heaven such grace did lend her,
That she might admired be.
Is she kind as she is fair?
For beauty lives with kindness.
Love doth to her eyes repair,
To help him of his blindness;
And, being help’d, inhabits there.
Then to Silvia let us sing,
That Silvia is excelling;
She excels each mortal thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling.
To her let us garlands bring.
How now? Are you sadder than you were before? How do you, man? The music likes you not.
You mistake; the musician likes me not.
Why, my pretty youth?
He plays false, father.
How, out of tune on the strings?
Not so; but yet so false that he grieves my very heart-strings.
You have a quick ear.
Ay, I would I were deaf; it makes me have a slow heart.
I perceive you delight not in music.
Not a whit, when it jars so.
Hark, what fine change is in the music.
Ay; that change is the spite.
You would have them always play but one thing?
I would always have one play but one thing.
But, host, doth this Sir Proteus that we talk on
Often resort unto this gentlewoman?
I tell you what Launce, his man, told me: he lov’d her out of all nick.
Where is Launce?
Gone to seek his dog, which tomorrow, by his master’s command, he must carry for a present to his lady.
Peace, stand aside, the company parts.
Sir Thurio, fear not you, I will so plead,
That you shall say my cunning drift excels.
Where meet we?
At Saint Gregory’s well.
Exeunt Thurio and Musicians.
Enter Silvia above at her window.
Madam, good ev’n to your ladyship.
I thank you for your music, gentlemen.
Who is that that spake?
One, lady, if you knew his pure heart’s truth,
You would quickly learn to know him by his voice.
Sir Proteus, as I take it.
Sir Proteus, gentle lady, and your servant.
What’s your will?
That I may compass yours.
You have your wish: my will is even this,
That presently you hie you home to bed.
Thou subtile, perjur’d, false, disloyal man,
Think’st thou I am so shallow, so conceitless,
To be seduced by thy flattery,
That hast deceiv’d so many with thy vows?
Return, return, and make thy love amends.
For me (by this pale queen of night I swear),
I am so far from granting thy request,
That I despise thee for thy wrongful suit,
And by and by intend to chide myself
Even for this time I spend in talking to thee.
I grant, sweet love, that I did love a lady;
But she is dead.
’Twere false, if I should speak it;
For I am sure she is not buried.
Say that she be; yet Valentine thy friend
Survives; to whom (thyself art witness)
I am betroth’d; and art thou not asham’d
To wrong him with thy importunacy?
I likewise hear that Valentine is dead.
And so suppose am I; for in his grave
Assure thyself my love is buried.
Sweet lady, let me rake it from the earth.
Go to thy lady’s grave and call hers thence,
Or at the least, in hers sepulchre thine.
He heard not that.
Madam, if your heart be so obdurate,
Vouchsafe me yet your picture for my love,
The picture that is hanging in your chamber;
To that I’ll speak, to that I’ll sigh and weep;
For since the substance of your perfect self
Is else devoted, I am but a shadow;
And to your shadow will I make true love.
If ’twere a substance, you would sure deceive it,
And make it but a shadow, as I am.
I am very loath to be your idol, sir;
But since your falsehood shall become you well
To worship shadows and adore false shapes,
Send to me in the morning, and I’ll send it;
And so, good rest.
As wretches have o’ernight
That wait for execution in the morn.
Exeunt Proteus and Silvia.
Host, will you go?
By my halidom, I was fast asleep.
Pray you, where lies Sir Proteus?
Marry, at my house. Trust me, I think ’tis almost day.
Not so; but it hath been the longest night
That e’er I watch’d, and the most heaviest.