The Two Gentlemen of Verona

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

PROTEUS

That’s a deep story of a deeper love,
For he was more than over shoes in love.

PROTEUS

That’s a deep story of a deeper love—the love was so deep it covered his shoes.

VALENTINE

25’Tis true; for you are over boots in love,
And yet you never swam the Hellespont.

VALENTINE

It’s true. And your love is so deep it covers your boots, and yet you never swam across the Hellespont.

PROTEUS

Over the boots? Nay, give me not the boots.

PROTEUS

Covers my boots? Don’t make fun of me.

VALENTINE

No, I will not, for it boots thee not.

VALENTINE

No, I won’t, for it doesn’t profit you any.

PROTEUS

What?

PROTEUS

What?

VALENTINE

30To be in love, where scorn is bought with groans,
Coy looks with heartsore sighs, one fading moment’s mirth
With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights.
If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain;
If lost, why then a grievous labour won;
35However, but a folly bought with wit,
Or else a wit by folly vanquishèd.

VALENTINE

When you’re in love, your love-sick groans only earn her scorn, your brokenhearted sighs just get you flirtatious glances, and twenty tedious, sleepless nights spent pining for your sweetheart only yield you a brief moment of happiness. If by chance you succeed, it may turn out to be an unlucky win. And if you don’t, then you’ve only managed to waste your time. Either way, you win foolishness by being clever, or your cleverness is killed by foolishness.

PROTEUS

So, by your circumstance, you call me fool.

PROTEUS

So, by your logic, I’m a fool.

VALENTINE

So, by your circumstance, I fear you’ll prove.

VALENTINE

Because of your logic, I fear you’ll become a fool.

PROTEUS

’Tis love you cavil at. I am not Love.

PROTEUS

It’s love you have a problem with. But don’t blame me—I’m not Love.

VALENTINE

40Love is your master, for he masters you;
And he that is so yokèd by a fool
Methinks, should not be chronicled for wise.

VALENTINE

Love is your master, because he’s got the better of you. And in my opinion, anyone who’s been taken in by a fool shouldn’t be considered very wise himself.

PROTEUS

Yet writers say, as in the sweetest bud
The eating canker dwells, so eating love
45Inhabits in the finest wits of all.

PROTEUS

Yet writers say that just as the destructive caterpillar dwells within the sweetest flower buds, love inhabits the cleverest minds.