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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 4

page Act 5 Scene 4 Page 2

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VALENTINE

[Aside] How like a dream is this I see and hear!
Love, lend me patience to forbear awhile.

VALENTINE

(aside) What I see and hear is like a dream! Love, give me strength to be patient just a little while longer.

SYLVIA

O miserable, unhappy that I am!

SYLVIA

Oh, what a miserable, unhappy woman I am!

PROTEUS

Unhappy were you, madam, ere I came;
30But by my coming I have made you happy.

PROTEUS

You were unhappy, madam, before I came. But in coming I’ve made you happy.

SYLVIA

By thy approach thou mak’st me most unhappy.

SYLVIA

Your advances make me very unhappy.

JULIA

[Aside] And me, when he approacheth to your presence.

JULIA

(aside) And makes me unhappy when he flirts with you.

SYLVIA

Had I been seizèd by a hungry lion,
I would have been a breakfast to the beast
35Rather than have false Proteus rescue me.
O, heaven be judge how I love Valentine,
Whose life’s as tender to me as my soul!
And full as much—for more there cannot be—
I do detest false, perjured Proteus.
40Therefore begone, solicit me no more.

SYLVIA

If a hungry lion had seized me, I would rather have been eaten by the beast than have treacherous Proteus rescue me. Oh, heaven knows how I love Valentine, whose life is as precious to me as my own soul! And with just as much feeling—for I couldn’t feel any more strongly—I hate the lying, deceitful Proteus. So get out of here, and stop trying to win me.

PROTEUS

What dangerous action, stood it next to death,
Would I not undergo for one calm look?
O, ’tis the curse in love, and still approved,
When women cannot love where they’re beloved!

PROTEUS

What dangerous action, even if it put me at risk of death, would I not undertake for just one gentle look from you? Oh, it is the curse of love, and it is always the case that women never love those who love them!

SYLVIA

45When Proteus cannot love where he’s beloved.
Read over Julia’s heart, thy first, best love,
For whose dear sake thou didst then rend thy faith
Into a thousand oaths, and all those oaths
Descended into perjury, to love me.
50Thou hast no faith left now, unless thou’dst two,
And that’s far worse than none. Better have none
Than plural faith, which is too much by one.
Thou counterfeit to thy true friend!

SYLVIA

You mean Proteus never loves those who love him. Think of Julia’s feelings for you. She was your first, best love, and for her sake you swore your fidelity a thousand times. Now those oaths of faithfulness have sunk into lies, so that you can love me. You have no loyalty left now, unless you were to love two women, and that’s far worse than loving no one. Better not love at all than love two women, which is too many by one. You deceiver of your true friend!

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