The Two Gentlemen of Verona

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 1

page Act 3 Scene 1 Page 13

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LANCE

Well, the best is, she hath no teeth to bite.

LANCE

Well, at least she has no teeth with which to bite.

SPEED

“Item: She will often praise her liquor.”

SPEED

“Also: she will taste and appraise her liquor before buying it.”

LANCE

If her liquor be good, she shall. If she will not, I will, for good things should be praised.

LANCE

If her liquor is good, then she should. And if she won’t, I will, because good things should be praised.

SPEED

310“Item: She is too liberal.”

SPEED

“Also: she is too loose.”

LANCE

Of her tongue she cannot, for that’s writ down she is slow of; of her purse she shall not, for that I’ll keep shut. Now of another thing she may, and that cannot I help. Well, proceed.

LANCE

That can’t mean her tongue, since it’s already written down that she’s slow with words. And it isn’t about her purse, because I’ll keep that shut. Now she may be loose in another way, and that I can’t help. Well, keep going.

SPEED

“Item: She hath more hair than wit, and more faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults.”

SPEED

“Also: she has more hair than brains, and more faults than hair, and more wealth than faults.”

LANCE

Stop there; I’ll have her; she was mine and not mine twice or thrice in that last article. Rehearse that once more.

LANCE

Stop right there. I’ll take her. She was mine and then not mine two or three times in that last item. Repeat it once more.

SPEED

“Item: She hath more hair than wit—”

SPEED

“Also: she has more hair than brains—”

LANCE

315More hair than wit? It may be: I’ll prove it. The cover of the salt hides the salt, and therefore it is more than the salt; the hair that covers the wit is more than the wit, for the greater hides the less. What’s next?

LANCE

More hair than brains? Maybe that’s so. I’ll prove it. The top of a saltshaker hides the salt, so therefore it is more than the salt. The hair that covers the brains is more than the brains, because the larger thing hides the smaller thing. Okay, what’s next?

SPEED

“And more faults than hairs—”

SPEED

“And more faults than hair—”

LANCE

That’s monstrous. O, that that were out!

LANCE

That’s awful. Oh, I wish that weren’t on the list!

SPEED

“And more wealth than faults.”

SPEED

“And more wealth than the faults.”

LANCE

Why, that word makes the faults gracious. Well, I’ll have her; an if it be a match, as nothing is impossible—

LANCE

Why, that line makes the many faults a good thing. Well, I’ll have her. If it is a good match, since nothing is impossible—”

SPEED

320What then?

SPEED

What then?

LANCE

Why, then will I tell thee—that thy master stays for thee at the north gate.

LANCE

Why, then I’ll tell you that your master is waiting for you at the north gate.

SPEED

For me?

SPEED

For me?

LANCE

For thee? Ay, who art thou? He hath stayed for a better man than thee.

LANCE

For you? Yeah, who are you? He’s been waiting for a better man than you.

SPEED

And must I go to him?

SPEED

And I have to go to him?

LANCE

325Thou must run to him, for thou hast stayed so long that going will scarce serve the turn.

LANCE

You must run to him, because you have stayed so long that simply walking isn’t going to cut it.

SPEED

Why didst not tell me sooner? Pox of your love letters!

SPEED

Why didn’t you tell me sooner? A disease take your love letters!
Exit SPEED
SPEED exits.

LANCE

Now will he be swinged for reading my letter—an unmannerly slave, that will thrust himself into secrets! I’ll after, to rejoice in the boy’s correction.

LANCE

Now he’ll get beaten for reading my letter. What a rude slave for having stuck his nose in someone else’s secrets. I’ll follow after him, to rejoice in seeing his master whip him.
Exit
He exits.

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