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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 1

page Act 3 Scene 1 Page 9

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LANCE

Sir, there is a proclamation that you are vanished.

LANCE

Sir, there’s been an announcement that you are banished.

PROTEUS

That thou art banished—O, that’s the news!—
From hence, from Sylvia, and from me thy friend.

PROTEUS

That you are banished. Oh, that’s the news! Banished from here, from Sylvia, and from me, your friend.

VALENTINE

O, I have fed upon this woe already,
220And now excess of it will make me surfeit.
Doth Sylvia know that I am banished?

VALENTINE

Oh, I’ve already had my fill of this awful news, and now hearing more of it will make me sick. Does Sylvia know that I’m banished?

PROTEUS

Ay, ay; and she hath offered to the doom—
Which, unreversed, stands in effectual force—
A sea of melting pearl, which some call tears.
225Those at her father’s churlish feet she tendered;
With them, upon her knees, her humble self,
Wringing her hands, whose whiteness so became them
As if but now they waxed pale for woe.
But neither bended knees, pure hands held up,
230Sad sighs, deep groans, nor silver-shedding tears
Could penetrate her uncompassionate sire,
But Valentine, if he be ta’en, must die.
Besides, her intercession chafed him so,
When she for thy repeal was suppliant,
235That to close prison he commanded her,
With many bitter threats of biding there.

PROTEUS

Yes, yes, and she’s responded to the sentence—which, if not revoked, will be enforced—by crying a sea of melting pearls, which some people call tears. She cried them out at the feet of her ill-mannered father, and did so upon her knees, wringing her hands, whose beautiful whiteness appropriately seemed to result from her sorrow. But neither begging on her knees, nor extending her pure hands, nor heaving sad sighs, deep groans, or crying tears that flow like silver streams would move her unsympathetic father to change his order that Valentine must die if captured. Besides, her begging to repeal the order of banishment against you bothered him so much that he ordered her locked away and threatened to keep her there permanently.

VALENTINE

No more, unless the next word that thou speak’st
Have some malignant power upon my life!
If so, I pray thee, breathe it in mine ear,
240As ending anthem of my endless dolor.

VALENTINE

Don’t say any more, or the next word you say may kill me! If so, I beg you to whisper it into my ear as a final hymn for my endless misery.

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