Artboard Created with Sketch. Close Search Dialog
! Error Created with Sketch.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 2

page Act 3 Scene 2 Page 4

Original Text

Modern Text


Ay, much is the force of heaven-bred poesy.


Yes, poetry bred by heaven is very powerful.


Say that upon the altar of her beauty
You sacrifice your tears, your sighs, your heart.
Write till your ink be dry, and with your tears
75Moist it again, and frame some feeling line
That may discover such integrity:
For Orpheus’ lute was strung with poets’ sinews,
Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones,
Make tigers tame, and huge leviathans
80Forsake unsounded deeps to dance on sands.
After your dire-lamenting elegies,
Visit by night your lady’s chamber window
With some sweet consort. To their instruments
Tune a deploring dump; the night’s dead silence
85Will well become such sweet-complaining grievance.
This, or else nothing, will inherit her.


Say that you sacrifice your tears, your sighs, and your heart on the altar of her beauty. Write until your ink dries up and then moisten it again with your tears, and craft some emotional line that reveals your sincerity—after all,

Orpheus’s lute

In Greek myth, Orpheus was known as such a masterful musician that animals and even inanimate objects would follow him. He played the lute, a stringed instrument played by plucking.

Orpheus’s lute
was made from the same stuff as poetry and could soften steel and stones, make tigers tame, and cause huge whales to leave the deep ocean and dance on the sand. After you give her your love poems, go to her bedroom window at night with a group of musicians. While they play, sing a sad melody, and the silent night will enhance such sweet heartsick yearning. If that doesn’t win her, nothing will.


This discipline shows thou hast been in love.


Your instructions show that you’ve been in love before.


And thy advice this night I’ll put in practice.
Therefore, sweet Proteus, my direction-giver,
90Let us into the city presently
To sort some gentlemen well skilled in music.
I have a sonnet that will serve the turn
To give the onset to thy good advice.


And I’ll act on your advice tonight. Therefore, good Proteus, my guide, let’s go into the city to find some gentlemen skilled at playing instruments. I have a sonnet that will work to set your plan into action.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona: Popular pages