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

VALENTINE.
I knew him as myself; for from our infancy
We have convers'd and spent our hours together;
And though myself have been an idle truant,
Omitting the sweet benefit of time
To clothe mine age with angel-like perfection,
Yet hath Sir Proteus, — for that's his name, —
Made use and fair advantage of his days:
His years but young, but his experience old;
His head unmellowed, but his judgment ripe;
And, in a word, — for far behind his worth
Comes all the praises that I now bestow, —
He is complete in feature and in mind,
With all good grace to grace a gentleman.

DUKE.
Beshrew me, sir, but if he make this good,
He is as worthy for an empress' love
As meet to be an emperor's counsellor.
Well, sir, this gentleman is come to me
With commendation from great potentates,
And here he means to spend his time awhile.
I think 'tis no unwelcome news to you.

VALENTINE.
Should I have wish'd a thing, it had been he.

DUKE.
Welcome him, then, according to his worth.
Silvia, I speak to you, and you, Sir Thurio: —
For Valentine, I need not cite him to it.
I will send him hither to you presently.

[Exit.]

VALENTINE.
This is the gentleman I told your ladyship
Had come along with me but that his mistresss
Did hold his eyes lock'd in her crystal looks.

SILVIA.
Belike that now she hath enfranchis'd them
Upon some other pawn for fealty.

VALENTINE.
Nay, sure, I think she holds them prisoners still.

SILVIA.
Nay, then, he should be blind; and, being blind,
How could he see his way to seek out you?

VALENTINE.
Why, lady, Love hath twenty pair of eyes.

THURIO.
They say that Love hath not an eye at all.

VALENTINE.
To see such lovers, Thurio, as yourself:
Upon a homely object Love can wink.

SILVIA.
Have done, have done; here comes the gentleman.

[Enter PROTEUS]

VALENTINE.
Welcome, dear Proteus! Mistress, I beseech you
Confirm his welcome with some special favour.

SILVIA.
His worth is warrant for his welcome hither,
If this be he you oft have wish'd to hear from.

VALENTINE.
Mistress, it is; sweet lady, entertain him
To be my fellow-servant to your ladyship.

SILVIA.
Too low a mistress for so high a servant.

PROTEUS.
Not so, sweet lady; but too mean a servant
To have a look of such a worthy mistress.

VALENTINE.
Leave off discourse of disability;
Sweet lady, entertain him for your servant.

PROTEUS.
My duty will I boast of, nothing else.

SILVIA.
And duty never yet did want his meed.
Servant, you are welcome to a worthless mistress.

PROTEUS.
I'll die on him that says so but yourself.

SILVIA.
That you are welcome?

PROTEUS.
That you are worthless.

[Enter a servant.]

SERVANT.
Madam, my lord your father would speak with you.

SILVIA.
I wait upon his pleasure. [Exit Servant.] Come, Sir Thurio,
Go with me. Once more, new servant, welcome.
I'll leave you to confer of home affairs;
When you have done we look to hear from you.

PROTEUS.
We'll both attend upon your ladyship.

[Exeunt SILVIA, THURIO, and SPEED.]

VALENTINE.
Now, tell me, how do all from whence you came?

PROTEUS.
Your friends are well, and have them much commended.

VALENTINE.
And how do yours?

PROTEUS.
I left them all in health.

VALENTINE.
How does your lady, and how thrives your love?

PROTEUS.
My tales of love were wont to weary you;
I know you joy not in a love-discourse.

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