Two Gentlemen of Verona By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scenes 3-4

JULIA.
Because methinks that she lov'd you as well
As you do love your lady Silvia.
She dreams on him that has forgot her love:
You dote on her that cares not for your love.
'Tis pity love should be so contrary;
And thinking on it makes me cry 'alas!'

PROTEUS.
Well, give her that ring, and therewithal
This letter: that's her chamber. Tell my lady
I claim the promise for her heavenly picture.
Your message done, hie home unto my chamber,
Where thou shalt find me sad and solitary.

[Exit.]

JULIA.
How many women would do such a message?
Alas, poor Proteus! thou hast entertain'd
A fox to be the shepherd of thy lambs.
Alas, poor fool! why do I pity him
That with his very heart despiseth me?
Because he loves her, he despiseth me;
Because I love him, I must pity him.
This ring I gave him, when he parted from me,
To bind him to remember my good will;
And now am I — unhappy messenger —
To plead for that which I would not obtain,
To carry that which I would have refus'd,
To praise his faith, which I would have disprais'd.
I am my master's true-confirmed love,
But cannot be true servant to my master
Unless I prove false traitor to myself.
Yet will I woo for him, but yet so coldly
As, heaven it knows, I would not have him speed.

[Enter SILVIA, attended.]

Gentlewoman, good day! I pray you be my mean
To bring me where to speak with Madam Silvia.

SILVIA.
What would you with her, if that I be she?

JULIA.
If you be she, I do entreat your patience
To hear me speak the message I am sent on.

SILVIA.
From whom?

JULIA.
From my master, Sir Proteus, madam.

SILVIA.
O! he sends you for a picture?

JULIA.
Ay, madam.

SILVIA.
Ursula, bring my picture there.

[A picture brought.]

Go, give your master this. Tell him from me,
One Julia, that his changing thoughts forget,
Would better fit his chamber than this shadow.

JULIA.
Madam, please you peruse this letter. —
Pardon me, madam; I have unadvis'd
Deliver'd you a paper that I should not:
This is the letter to your ladyship.

SILVIA.
I pray thee, let me look on that again.

JULIA.
It may not be: good madam, pardon me.

SILVIA.
There, hold.
I will not look upon your master's lines:
I know they are stuff'd with protestations
And full of new-found oaths, which he will break
As easily as I do tear his paper.

JULIA.
Madam, he sends your ladyship this ring.

SILVIA.
The more shame for him that he sends it me;
For I have heard him say a thousand times
His Julia gave it him at his departure.
Though his false finger have profan'd the ring,
Mine shall not do his Julia so much wrong.

JULIA.
She thanks you.

SILVIA.
What say'st thou?

JULIA.
I thank you, madam, that you tender her.
Poor gentlewoman, my master wrongs her much.

SILVIA.
Dost thou know her?

JULIA.
Almost as well as I do know myself:
To think upon her woes, I do protest
That I have wept a hundred several times.

SILVIA.
Belike she thinks, that Proteus hath forsook her.

JULIA.
I think she doth, and that's her cause of sorrow.

SILVIA.
Is she not passing fair?

JULIA.
She hath been fairer, madam, than she is.
When she did think my master lov'd her well,
She, in my judgment, was as fair as you;
But since she did neglect her looking-glass
And threw her sun-expelling mask away,
The air hath starv'd the roses in her cheeks
And pinch'd the lily-tincture of her face,
That now she is become as black as I.

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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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