The Two Gentlemen of Verona

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 4

page Act 4 Scene 4 Page 2

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Giving a ring
He gives Julia, disguised as Lance, a ring.
Deliver it to Madam Sylvia—
She loved me well delivered it to me.
The woman who gave it to me loved me very much. Deliver it to Madame Sylvia.

JULIA

30It seems you loved not her, to leave her token.
She’s dead, belike?

JULIA

It seems you didn’t love her if you’re giving away her gift. Is she dead?

PROTEUS

Not so. I think she lives.

PROTEUS

No. I think she’s alive.

JULIA

Alas!

JULIA

Oh no!

PROTEUS

Why dost thou cry “Alas”?

PROTEUS

Why do you cry “Oh no!”?

JULIA

35I cannot choose but pity her.

JULIA

I can’t help but feel sorry for her.

PROTEUS

Wherefore shouldst thou pity her?

PROTEUS

Why would you feel sorry for her?

JULIA

Because methinks that she loved you as well
As you do love your lady Sylvia.
She dreams on him that has forgot her love;
40You dote on her that cares not for your love.
’Tis pity love should be so contrary;
And thinking on it makes me cry “alas!”

JULIA

Because I suspect she loved you as much as you love your lady Sylvia. She dreams of that man who has forgotten her love. You dote on a woman who doesn’t care for your love. It’s a pity love is so difficult, and thinking about it makes me cry “Oh no!”

PROTEUS

Well, give her that ring and therewithal
This letter. [Giving a letter] That’s her chamber. Tell my lady
45I claim the promise for her heavenly picture.
Your message done, hie home unto my chamber,
Where thou shalt find me, sad and solitary.

PROTEUS

Well, give her that ring and with it this letter. (giving a letter) That’s her room. Tell her I want the heavenly picture she promised me. When you’ve finished delivering the message, return home to my room, where you’ll find me sad and alone.
Exit PROTEUS
PROTEUS exits.

JULIA

How many women would do such a message?
Alas, poor Proteus! thou hast entertained
50A fox to be the shepherd of thy lambs.
Alas, poor fool, why do I pity him
That with his very heart despiseth me?
Because he loves her, he despiseth me;
Because I love him, I must pity him.
55This ring I gave him when he parted from me,
To bind him to remember my good will;
And now am I, unhappy messenger,
To plead for that which I would not obtain,
To carry that which I would have refused,
60To praise his faith, which I would have dispraised.
I am my master’s true-confirmèd love,
But cannot be true servant to my master
Unless I prove false traitor to myself.
Yet will I woo for him, but yet so coldly
65As, heaven it knows, I would not have him speed.

JULIA

How many women would deliver such a message? Too bad, poor Proteus! You’ve hired a fox to be the shepherd of your lambs. Why, poor fool that I am, do I pity the man who despises me? He despises me because he loves her, and I feel sorry for him because I love him. This is the ring I gave him when he left, and it was to remind him always of my feelings. And now I’m an unhappy messenger who is supposed to ask for the picture I don’t want him to have, to deliver the ring I want Sylvia to refuse, and to praise his loyalty, which I want to disparage. I am my master’s true love, but I can’t be a loyal servant to my master without being a traitor to myself. Still I’ll woo Sylvia for him, but heaven knows I’ll do it coldly, because I don’t want him to win her.

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