The Two Gentlemen of Verona

play by William Shakespeare

The Two Gentlemen of Verona is an early comedy by William Shakespeare. Its date of composition is unknown, but it is believed to have been written in the early 1590s. The play deals with the themes of friendship and infidelity, the conflict between friendship and love, and the foolish behaviour of people in love.

Act I

  • Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits.
    • Valentine, scene i

  • He was more than over-shoes in love.
    • Proteus, scene i

  • I have no other but a woman's reason:
    I think him so, because I think him so.
    • Lucetta, scene ii

  • Fie, fie! how wayward is this foolish love,
    That, like a testy babe, will scratch the nurse,
    And presently, all humbled, kiss the rod!
    • Julia, scene ii

  • O hateful hands, to tear such loving words!
    Injurious wasps, to feed on such sweet honey,
    And kill the bees, that yield it, with your stings!
    I'll kiss each several paper for amends.
    Look, here is writ — kind Julia. — Unkind Julia!
    As in revenge of thy ingratitude,
    I throw thy name against the bruising stones,
    Trampling contemptuously on thy disdain.
    And here is writ — love-wounded Proteus.
    Poor wounded name! My bosom, as a bed,
    Shall lodge thee, till thy wound be thoroughly healed;
    And thus I search it with a sovereign kiss.
    But twice or thrice was Proteus written down.
    Be calm, good wind, blow not a word away,
    Till I have found each letter in the letter,
    Except mine own name: that some whirlwind bear
    Unto a ragged, fearful, hanging rock,
    And throw it thence into the raging sea!
    Lo, here in one line is his name twice writ, —
    Poor forlorn Proteus, passionate Proteus,
    To the sweet Julia.
    That I'll tear away;
    And yet I will not, sith so prettily
    He couples it to his complaining names.
    Thus will I fold them one upon another,
    Now kiss, embrace, contend, do what you will.
    • Julia, scene ii

  • Oh, how this spring of love resembleth
    The uncertain glory of an April day;
    Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
    And by and by a cloud takes all away!
    • Proteus, scene iii

Act II

  • I was in love with my bed.
    • Speed, scene i

  • And if it please you, so; if not, why, so.
    • Silvia, scene i

  • O jest unseen, inscrutable, invisible,
    As a nose on a man’s face, or a weathercock on a steeple.
    • Speed, scene i

  • What! gone without a word?
    Ay, so true love should do: it cannot speak;
    For truth hath better deeds, than words, to grace it.
    • Proteus, scene ii

  • Nay, 'twill be this hour ere I have done weeping; all the kind of the Launces have this very fault. I have received my proportion, like the prodigious son, and am going with Sir Proteus to the Imperial's court. I think Crab my dog be the sourest-natured dog that lives. My mother weeping, my father wailing, my sister crying, our maid howling, our cat wringing her hands, and all our house in a great perplexity, yet did not this cruel-hearted cur shed one tear. He is a stone, a very pebble stone, and has no more pity in him than a dog. A Jew would have wept to have seen our parting. Why, my grandam, having no eyes, look you, wept herself blind at my parting. Nay, I'll show you the manner of it. This shoe is my father. No, this left shoe is my father. No, no, this left shoe is my mother. Nay, that cannot be so neither. Yes, it is so, it is so — it hath the worser sole. This shoe, with the hole in it, is my mother, and this my father. A vengeance on't! There 'tis. Now, sir, this staff is my sister; for, look you, she is as white as a lily and as small as a wand. This hat is Nan, our maid. I am the dog. — no, the dog is himself, and I am the dog — O, the dog is me, and I am myself; ay, so, so. Now come I to my father: Father, your blessing. Now should not the shoe speak a word for weeping. Now should I kiss my father — well, he weeps on. Now come I to my mother. O, that shoe could speak now, like a wood woman! Well, I kiss her — why, there 'tis: here's my mother's breath up and down. Now come I to my sister; mark the moan she makes. Now the dog all this while sheds not a tear, nor speaks a word; but see how I lay the dust with my tears.
    • Launce, scene iii

  • A fine volley of words, gentlemen, and quickly shot off.
    • Silvia, scene iv

  • When I was sick, you gave me bitter pills;
    And I must minister the like to you.
    • Proteus, scene iv

  • 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.
    • Valentine, scene iv

  • For love, thou know'st, is full of jealousy.
    • Valentine, scene iv

  • Or as one nail by strength drives out another,
    So the remembrance of my former love
    Is by a newer object quite forgotten.
    • Proteus, scene iv

  • Didst thou but know the inly touch of love;
    Thou wouldst as soon go kindle fire with snow,
    As seek to quench the fire of love with words.
    • Julia, scene vii

  • Lucetta: I do not seek to quench your love's hot fire;
    But qualify the fire's extreme rage,
    Lest it should burn above the bounds of reason.
    Julia: The more thou dam'st it up, the more it burns.
    The current that with gentle murmur glides,
    Thou know'st, being stopp'd, impatiently doth rage;
    But, when his fair course is not hindered,
    He makes sweet music with th' enamell'd stones,
    Giving a gentle kiss to every sedge
    He overtaketh in his pilgrimage;
    And so by many winding nooks he strays
    With willing sport, to the wild ocean.
    Then let me go, and hinder not my course.
    I'll be as patient as a gentle stream
    And make a pastime of each weary step,
    Till the last step have brought me to my love;
    And there I'll rest, as, after much turmoil,
    A blessed soul doth in Elysium.
    • Scene vii


  • 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.
    • Valentine, scene i

  • That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man,
    If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.
    • Valentine, scene i

  • Love is like a child,
    That longs for every thing that he can come by.
    • Duke, scene i

  • 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, illumined, 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.
    • Valentine, scene i

  • The best way is, to slander Valentine
    With falsehood, cowardice, and poor descent;
    Three things that women highly hold in hate.
    • Proteus, scene ii

  • You must lay lime, to tangle her desires
    By wailful sonnets.
    • Proteus, scene ii

  • Ay, much the force of heaven-bred poesy.
    • Duke, scene ii

Act IV

  • A man I am, cross’d with adversity.
    • Valentine, scene i

  • 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 admiréd 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 helped, 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.
    • Song, scene ii

  • Is she not passing fair?
    • Silvia, scene iv

Act V

  • How use doth breed a habit in a man!
    • Valentine, scene iv

  • O heaven! were man
    But constant, he were perfect.
    • Proteus, scene iv

  • Come not within the measure of my wrath.
    • Valentine, scene iv
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