Two Gentlemen of Verona By William Shakespeare Act III: Scene 1

VALENTINE.
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, illumin'd, 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.

[Enter PROTEUS and LAUNCE.]

PROTEUS.
Run, boy; run, run, seek him out.

LAUNCE.
Soho! soho!

PROTEUS.
What seest thou?

LAUNCE.
Him we go to find: there's not a hair on 's head but 'tis a
Valentine.

PROTEUS.
Valentine?

VALENTINE.
No.

PROTEUS.
Who then? his spirit?

VALENTINE.
Neither.

PROTEUS.
What then?

VALENTINE.
Nothing.

LAUNCE.
Can nothing speak? Master, shall I strike?

PROTEUS.
Who wouldst thou strike?

LAUNCE.
Nothing.

PROTEUS.
Villain, forbear.

LAUNCE.
Why, sir, I'll strike nothing. I pray you, —

PROTEUS.
Sirrah, I say, forbear. — Friend Valentine, a word.

VALENTINE.
My ears are stopp'd and cannot hear good news,
So much of bad already hath possess'd them.

PROTEUS.
Then in dumb silence will I bury mine,
For they are harsh, untuneable, and bad.

VALENTINE.
Is Silvia dead?

PROTEUS.
No, Valentine.

VALENTINE.
No Valentine, indeed, for sacred Silvia.
Hath she forsworn me?

PROTEUS.
No, Valentine.

VALENTINE.
No Valentine, if Silvia have forsworn me.
What is your news?

LAUNCE.
Sir, there is a proclamation that you are vanished.

PROTEUS.
That thou art banished, O, that's the news,
From hence, from Silvia, and from me thy friend.

VALENTINE.
O, I have fed upon this woe already,
And now excess of it will make me surfeit.
Doth Silvia know that I am banished?

PROTEUS.
Ay, ay; and she hath offer'd to the doom —
Which, unrevers'd, stands in effectual force —
A sea of melting pearl, which some call tears;
Those at her father's churlish feet she tender'd;
With them, upon her knees, her humble self,
Wringing her hands, whose whiteness so became them
As if but now they waxed pale for woe:
But neither bended knees, pure hands held up,
Sad sighs, deep groans, nor silver-shedding tears,
Could penetrate her uncompassionate sire;
But Valentine, if he be ta'en, must die.
Besides, her intercession chaf'd him so,
When she for thy repeal was suppliant,
That to close prison he commanded her,
With many bitter threats of biding there.

VALENTINE.
No more; unless the next word that thou speak'st
Have some malignant power upon my life:
If so, I pray thee breathe it in mine ear,
As ending anthem of my endless dolour.

PROTEUS.
Cease to lament for that thou canst not help,
And study help for that which thou lament'st.
Time is the nurse and breeder of all good.
Here if thou stay thou canst not see thy love;
Besides, thy staying will abridge thy life.
Hope is a lover's staff; walk hence with that
And manage it against despairing thoughts.
Thy letters may be here, though thou art hence,
Which, being writ to me, shall be deliver'd
Even in the milk-white bosom of thy love.
The time now serves not to expostulate:
Come, I'll convey thee through the city-gate;
And, ere I part with thee, confer at large
Of all that may concern thy love-affairs.
As thou lov'st Silvia, though not for thyself,
Regard thy danger, and along with me!

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