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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 3 Scene 1
No Fear Act 3 Scene 1 Page 6

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VALENTINE

It will be light, my lord, that you may bear it
130Under a cloak that is of any length.

VALENTINE

It will be so light, my lord, that you’ll be able to carry it under any size cloak.

DUKE

A cloak as long as thine will serve the turn?

DUKE

A cloak as long as yours will do?

VALENTINE

Ay, my good lord.

VALENTINE

Yes, my lord.

DUKE

Then let me see thy cloak.
I’ll get me one of such another length.

DUKE

Then let me see your cloak. I’ll get one of that same length.

VALENTINE

135Why, any cloak will serve the turn, my lord.

VALENTINE

Why, any cloak will work just fine, my lord.

DUKE

How shall I fashion me to wear a cloak?
I pray thee, let me feel thy cloak upon me.

DUKE

How will I get used to wearing a cloak? Please, let me try on your cloak.
He pulls open VALENTINE’s cloak.
He pulls open Valentine’s cloak.
What letter is this same? What’s here? “To Sylvia”!
And here an engine fit for my proceeding.
140I’ll be so bold to break the seal for once.
What’s this letter? What does it say? “To Sylvia”! And a tool for climbing like the kind you suggested. I’ll be so bold as to break the seal.
Reads
He reads.
“My thoughts do harbor with my Sylvia nightly,
And slaves they are to me, that send them flying.
O, could their master come and go as lightly,
Himself would lodge where, senseless, they are lying!
145My herald thoughts in thy pure bosom rest them,
While I, their king, that thither them importune,
Do curse the grace that with such grace hath blest them,
Because myself do want my servants’ fortune.
I curse myself, for they are sent by me,
150That they should harbor where their lord should be.”
What’s here?
"Sylvia, this night I will enfranchise thee.”
’Tis so; and here’s the ladder for the purpose.
Why, Phaëthon, for thou art Merops’ son
155Wilt thou aspire to guide the heavenly car
And with thy daring folly burn the world?
Wilt thou reach stars because they shine on thee?
Go, base intruder, overweening slave!
Bestow thy fawning smiles on equal mates,
160And think my patience, more than thy desert,
Is privilege for thy departure hence.
Thank me for this more than for all the favors
Which, all too much, I have bestowed on thee.
But if thou linger in my territories
165Longer than swiftest expedition
Will give thee time to leave our royal court,
By heaven, my wrath shall far exceed the love
I ever bore my daughter or thyself.
Begone! I will not hear thy vain excuse,
170But, as thou lov’st thy life, make speed from hence.
“My thoughts are with my Sylvia every night. They are like my slaves, and I send them flying. Oh, I wish that I could come and go to her just as easily, and lie where my thoughts, which cannot feel, are lying. Let my thoughts, which come to you as my messengers, rest in your breast, while I, their king who sent them, curse the luck that has blessed them with such favor. I want to be as fortunate as my slaves. I curse myself, too, because I sent them to the place where I, their lord, should be.” What’s this here at the end? “Sylvia, this night I will free you.” So that’s it, and here’s the ladder you planned to use. Why,

Phaethon—for you are Merops’ son

In Greek myth, Phaethon set the world on fire when he accidentally drove the chariot of his father, Helios, the sun god, too close to the earth. The Duke may refer to Valentine as “Merops’ son” as a way of calling him an illegitimate child, because even though Phaethon’s mother was married to Merops, she had Phaethon with Helios.

Phaethon—for you are Merops’ son
—will you try to drive the sun god’s chariot and burn the world in your brash idiocy? Will you grasp at the stars because they shine on you, as you grasp at my daughter for favoring you? Go, vulgar intruder, arrogant slave! Flash your fawning smiles on someone in your own class, and know that my patience—which is more than you deserve—allows you to leave this place. Thank me for this more than you’ve thanked me for all the favors I’ve granted you, which were too many. But if you stay here in my kingdom any longer than it takes to hurry away, then by heaven my anger will be far greater than any love I’ve ever felt for my daughter or for you. Get out of here! I will not hear your futile excuses. If you love your life, then you’ll hurry on your way from here.

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