Two Gentlemen of Verona By William Shakespeare Act V: Scene 4

ACT V. SCENE 4. Another part of the forest.

[Enter VALENTINE.]

VALENTINE.
How use doth breed a habit in a man!
This shadowy desert, unfrequented woods,
I better brook than flourishing peopled towns.
Here can I sit alone, unseen of any,
And to the nightingale's complaining notes
Tune my distresses and record my woes.
O thou that dost inhabit in my breast,
Leave not the mansion so long tenantless,
Lest, growing ruinous, the building fall
And leave no memory of what it was!
Repair me with thy presence, Silvia!
Thou gentle nymph, cherish thy forlorn swain. [Noise within.]
What halloing and what stir is this to-day?
These are my mates, that make their wills their law,
Have some unhappy passenger in chase.
They love me well; yet I have much to do
To keep them from uncivil outrages.
Withdraw thee, Valentine: who's this comes here?

[Steps aside.]

[Enter PROTEUS, SILVIA, and JULIA.]

PROTEUS.
Madam, this service I have done for you —
Though you respect not aught your servant doth —
To hazard life, and rescue you from him
That would have forc'd your honour and your love.
Vouchsafe me, for my meed, but one fair look;
A smaller boon than this I cannot beg,
And less than this, I am sure, you cannot give.

VALENTINE. [Aside] How like a dream is this I see and hear!
Love, lend me patience to forbear awhile.

SILVIA.
O miserable, unhappy that I am!

PROTEUS.
Unhappy were you, madam, ere I came;
But by my coming I have made you happy.

SILVIA.
By thy approach thou mak'st me most unhappy.

JULIA. [Aside] And me, when he approacheth to your presence.

SILVIA.
Had I been seized by a hungry lion,
I would have been a breakfast to the beast,
Rather than have false Proteus rescue me.
O! heaven be judge how I love Valentine,
Whose life's as tender to me as my soul,
And full as much — for more there cannot be —
I do detest false, perjur'd Proteus.
Therefore be gone; solicit me no more.

PROTEUS.
What dangerous action, stood it next to death,
Would I not undergo for one calm look!
O, 'tis the curse in love, and still approv'd,
When women cannot love where they're belov'd!

SILVIA.
When Proteus cannot love where he's belov'd!
Read over Julia's heart, thy first best love,
For whose dear sake thou didst then rend thy faith
Into a thousand oaths; and all those oaths
Descended into perjury, to love me.
Thou hast no faith left now, unless thou'dst two,
And that's far worse than none: better have none
Than plural faith, which is too much by one.
Thou counterfeit to thy true friend!

PROTEUS.
In love,
Who respects friend?

SILVIA.
All men but Proteus.

PROTEUS.
Nay, if the gentle spirit of moving words
Can no way change you to a milder form,
I'll woo you like a soldier, at arms' end,
And love you 'gainst the nature of love, — force ye.

SILVIA.
O heaven!

PROTEUS.
I'll force thee yield to my desire.

VALENTINE. [Coming forward.]
Ruffian! let go that rude uncivil touch;
Thou friend of an ill fashion!

PROTEUS.
Valentine!

VALENTINE.
Thou common friend, that's without faith or love —
For such is a friend now — treacherous man,
Thou hast beguil'd my hopes; nought but mine eye
Could have persuaded me. Now I dare not say
I have one friend alive: thou wouldst disprove me.
Who should be trusted, when one's own right hand
Is perjur'd to the bosom? Proteus,
I am sorry I must never trust thee more,
But count the world a stranger for thy sake.
The private wound is deep'st. O time most curst!
'Mongst all foes that a friend should be the worst!

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At the end of the play, who does Julia meet and characterize as “A virtuous gentlewoman, mild and beautiful!”



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