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

VALENTINE.
I pray thee, Launce, an if thou seest my boy,
Bid him make haste and meet me at the North-gate.

PROTEUS.
Go, sirrah, find him out. Come, Valentine.

VALENTINE.
O my dear Silvia! Hapless Valentine!

[Exeunt VALENTINE and PROTEUS.]

LAUNCE.
I am but a fool, look you, and yet I have the wit to think
my master is a kind of a knave; but that's all one if he be but
one knave. He lives not now that knows me to be in love; yet I am
in love; but a team of horse shall not pluck that from me; nor
who 'tis I love; and yet 'tis a woman; but what woman I will not
tell myself; and yet 'tis a milkmaid; yet 'tis not a maid, for
she hath had gossips; yet 'tis a maid, for she is her master's
maid and serves for wages. She hath more qualities than a
water-spaniel — which is much in a bare Christian. [Pulling out a
paper.]
Here is the catelog of her condition. 'Inprimis: She
can fetch and carry.' Why, a horse can do no more: nay, a horse
cannot fetch, but only carry; therefore is she better than a
jade. 'Item: She can milk.' Look you, a sweet virtue in a maid
with clean hands.

[Enter SPEED.]

SPEED.
How now, Signior Launce! What news with your mastership?

LAUNCE.
With my master's ship? Why, it is at sea.

SPEED.
Well, your old vice still: mistake the word. What news,
then, in your paper?

LAUNCE.
The blackest news that ever thou heardest.

SPEED.
Why, man? how black?

LAUNCE.
Why, as black as ink.

SPEED.
Let me read them.

LAUNCE.
Fie on thee, jolthead! thou canst not read.

SPEED.
Thou liest; I can.

LAUNCE.
I will try thee. Tell me this: who begot thee?

SPEED.
Marry, the son of my grandfather.

LAUNCE.
O, illiterate loiterer! It was the son of thy grandmother.
This proves that thou canst not read.

SPEED.
Come, fool, come; try me in thy paper.

LAUNCE.
There; and Saint Nicholas be thy speed!

SPEED.
'Inprimis, She can milk.'

LAUNCE.
Ay, that she can.

SPEED.
'Item, She brews good ale.'

LAUNCE.
And thereof comes the proverb, 'Blessing of your heart, you
brew good ale.'

SPEED.
'Item, She can sew.'

LAUNCE.
That's as much as to say 'Can she so?'

SPEED.
'Item, She can knit.'

LAUNCE.
What need a man care for a stock with a wench, when she can
knit him a stock?

SPEED.
'Item, She can wash and scour.'

LAUNCE.
A special virtue; for then she need not be washed and scoured.

SPEED.
'Item, She can spin.'

LAUNCE.
Then may I set the world on wheels, when she can spin for
her living.

SPEED.
'Item, She hath many nameless virtues.'

LAUNCE.
That's as much as to say, bastard virtues; that indeed
know not their fathers, and therefore have no names.

SPEED.
'Here follow her vices.'

LAUNCE.
Close at the heels of her virtues.

SPEED.
'Item, She is not to be kissed fasting, in respect of her
breath.'

LAUNCE.
Well, that fault may be mended with a breakfast.
Read on.

SPEED.
'Item, She hath a sweet mouth.'

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