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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 4

page Act 4 Scene 4 Page 5

Original Text

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She hath been fairer, madam, than she is.
When she did think my master loved her well,
She, in my judgment, was as fair as you;
110But since she did neglect her looking-glass
And threw her sun-expelling mask away,
The air hath starved the roses in her cheeks
And pinched the lily tincture of her face,
That now she is become as black as I.


She has been more beautiful, madam, than she is now. When she thought my master loved her deeply, she was as beautiful as you, in my opinion. But since she no longer takes care of her appearance and has thrown her

sunblocking mask

A mask worn by women to keep the sun off their faces.

sunblocking mask
away, the air has taken the rosiness from her cheeks and stolen the whiteness from her face, so that now she is as ugly as I am.


115How tall was she?


How tall was she?


About my stature; for at Pentecost,
When all our pageants of delight were played,
Our youth got me to play the woman’s part,
And I was trimmed in Madam Julia’s gown,
120Which servèd me as fit, by all men’s judgments,
As if the garment had been made for me:
Therefore I know she is about my height.
And at that time I made her weep agood,
For I did play a lamentable part:
125Madam, ’twas Ariadne passioning
For Theseus’ perjury and unjust flight;
Which I so lively acted with my tears
That my poor mistress, movèd therewithal,
Wept bitterly; and would I might be dead
130If I in thought felt not her very sorrow!


About my height. When we put on a pageant at


A religious holiday period that followed seven weeks after Easter.

, the young men got me to play the part of a woman, and I was dressed in Madam Julia’s gown, which everyone said fit me very well, as if the garment had been made for me. Therefore, I know she is about my height. And at the time I made her cry a lot, because I played a really sad part—I was


In Greek myth, Ariadne fell in love with Theseus and promised to help him find his way out of the Minotaur’s labrynth if he would take her to Athens and marry her. But on the way, Theseus abandoned her, either accidentally or deliberately depending on the account.

, Madame, suffering from Theseus’ lies and unfair departure. I acted the part so convincingly with my tears that poor Julia, moved with the performance, wept bitterly. I would wish I were dead if I didn’t feel her very sorrow!

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