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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 1

page Act 3 Scene 1 Page 12

Original Text

Modern Text

SPEED

“Item: She can knit.”

SPEED

“Also: she can knit.”

LANCE

285What need a man care for a stock with a wench, when she can knit him a stock?

LANCE

What does a man care if a girl’s dowry doesn’t include stockings, when she can knit him a stocking?

SPEED

“Item: She can wash and scour.”

SPEED

“Also: she can wash and scour.”

LANCE

A special virtue, for then she need not be washed and scoured.

LANCE

SPEED

“Item: She can spin.”

SPEED

“Also: she can spin yarn.”

LANCE

Then may I set the world on wheels, when she can spin for her living.

LANCE

Then I can take it easy, since she can spin for a living.

SPEED

290“Item: She hath many nameless virtues.”

SPEED

“Also: she has many virtues that can’t be named.”

LANCE

That’s as much as to say, bastard virtues, that indeed know not their fathers and therefore have no names.

LANCE

That’s the same as saying they’re bastard virtues that don’t know their fathers and therefore have no names.

SPEED

Here follow her vices.

SPEED

Now comes a list of her vices.

LANCE

Close at the heels of her virtues.

LANCE

Following right behind her virtues.

SPEED

“Item: She is not to be kissed fasting, in respect of her breath.”

SPEED

“Also: she is not to be kissed while fasting, because of her bad breath.”

LANCE

295Well, that fault may be mended with a breakfast. Read on.

LANCE

Well, that fault can be fixed with some breakfast. Read on.

SPEED

“Item: She hath a sweet mouth.”

SPEED

“Also: she has a sweet tooth.”

LANCE

That makes amends for her sour breath.

LANCE

That makes up for her sour breath.

SPEED

“Item: She doth talk in her sleep.”

SPEED

“Also: she talks in her sleep.”

LANCE

It’s no matter for that, so she sleep not in her talk.

LANCE

That doesn’t matter, as long as she doesn’t sleep while she talks.

SPEED

300“Item: She is slow in words.”

SPEED

“Also: she is slow with words.”

LANCE

O villain, that set this down among her vices! To be slow in words is a woman’s only virtue. I pray thee, out with ’t, and place it for her chief virtue.

LANCE

What a scoundrel who listed this among her vices! To speak little is a woman’s only virtue! Please, cross that out and list it as her chief virtue.

SPEED

“Item: She is proud.”

SPEED

“Also: she is proud.”

LANCE

Out with that too; it was Eve’s legacy, and cannot be ta’en from her.

LANCE

Cross that out, too. It was Eve’s legacy to all women, so it can’t be taken from her.

SPEED

“Item: She hath no teeth.”

SPEED

“Also: she has no teeth.”

LANCE

305I care not for that neither, because I love crusts.

LANCE

I don’t care about that either, because I love gums.

SPEED

“Item: She is curst.”

SPEED

“Also: she’s a bitch.”

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