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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 1

page Act 3 Scene 1 Page 10

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PROTEUS

Cease to lament for that thou canst not help,
And study help for that which thou lament’st.
Time is the nurse and breeder of all good.
Here if thou stay thou canst not see thy love;
245Besides, thy staying will abridge thy life.
Hope is a lover’s staff; walk hence with that
And manage it against despairing thoughts.
Thy letters may be here, though thou art hence,
Which, being writ to me, shall be delivered
250Even in the milk-white bosom of thy love.
The time now serves not to expostulate.
Come, I’ll convey thee through the city gate,
And, ere I part with thee confer at large
Of all that may concern thy love affairs.
255As thou lov’st Sylvia, though not for thyself,
Regard thy danger, and along with me!

PROTEUS

Stop grieving over things you can’t help, and think of ways to fix the things that cause you grief. Time nurtures and breeds all good things. If you stay here, you can’t see your love. Besides, staying here will shorten your life. Hope is a lover’s crutch—walk forward with it and use it to prop yourself up against despair. Your letters can be here though you are far away, and if you write them to me I will deliver them to the milk-white breast of your love. Now is not the time to complain. Come, I’ll escort you through the city gate, and we can talk about everything concerning your love affairs before I part with you. Consider the danger you’re in, if not for yourself then for your love of Sylvia, and come along with me!

VALENTINE

I pray thee, Lance, an if thou seest my boy,
Bid him make haste and meet me at the north gate.

VALENTINE

Please, Lance, if you see my servant boy, tell him to hurry and meet me at the north gate.

PROTEUS

Go, sirrah, find him out.—Come, Valentine.

PROTEUS

Go, boy, find him. Come, Valentine.

VALENTINE

260O my dear Sylvia! Hapless Valentine!

VALENTINE

Oh, my dear Sylvia! Unlucky Valentine!
Exeunt VALENTINE and PROTEUS
VALENTINE and PROTEUS exit.

LANCE

I am but a fool, look you, and yet I have the wit to think my master is a kind of a knave. But that’s all one, if he be but one knave. He lives not now that knows me to be in love, yet I am in love. But a team of horse shall not pluck that from me, nor who ’tis I love. And yet ’tis a woman, but what woman, I will not tell myself. And yet ’tis a milkmaid. Yet ’tis not a maid, for she hath had gossips. Yet ’tis a maid, for she is her master’s maid, and serves for wages. She hath more qualities than a water spaniel, which is much in a bare Christian.

LANCE

You know, I’m just a fool, but I still have enough brains to think my master is kind of a scoundrel. But it’s fine if he is a scoundrel if he’s only a scoundrel regarding love. No one thinks I am in love, yet I am. But a whole team of horses couldn’t tear that secret, or who it is I love, out of me. And yet it’s a woman, but what kind of woman I won’t even say to myself. It’s a milkmaid, but she’s not a virgin

since she has given birth

The term “gossips” in Shakespeare’s original language refers to women who assist in childbirth and the people who serve as sponsors in the baptism of a newborn, suggesting that the woman has had a child.

since she has given birth
. Yet she is a maid, because she is her master’s maid and works for wages. She has more abilities than a water spaniel, which is a lot for a simple Christian.
Pulling out a paper
Pulling out a paper

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