The Two Gentlemen of Verona

by: William Shakespeare

Act 2 Scene 5

page Act 2 Scene 5 Page 1

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Enter, meeting, SPEED and LANCE with his dog Crab
SPEED and LANCE, with his dog, Crab, enter and meet.

SPEED

Lance, by mine honesty, welcome to Milan!

SPEED

Lance, honestly, welcome to Milan!

LANCE

Forswear not thyself, sweet youth, for I am not welcome. I reckon this always, that a man is never undone till he be hanged, nor never welcome to a place till some certain shot be paid and the hostess say “Welcome!”

LANCE

Don’t lie, my friend, because I am not welcome. I always believe a man is never sunk until he’s hanged, nor ever welcome to a place until the bill has been paid and the hostess says, “Welcome!”

SPEED

Come on, you madcap, I’ll to the alehouse with you presently, where, for one shot of five pence, thou shalt have five thousand welcomes. But, sirrah, how did thy master part with Madam Julia?

SPEED

Come you, you lunatic, I’ll go to the pub with you soon, where you can have five thousand welcomes for five pence. But tell me, pal, how did your master say goodbye to Madame Julia?

LANCE

Marry, after they closed in earnest, they parted very fairly in jest.

LANCE

You know, after they said their earnest goodbyes, they parted with a few jokes.

SPEED

5But shall she marry him?

SPEED

But will she marry him?

LANCE

No.

LANCE

No.

SPEED

How then? Shall he marry her?

SPEED

What then? Will he marry her?

LANCE

No, neither.

LANCE

No, not that either.

SPEED

What, are they broken?

SPEED

What, have they broken up?

LANCE

10No, they are both as whole as a fish.

LANCE

No, they’re as whole as ever.

SPEED

Why, then, how stands the matter with them?

SPEED

Well, then, where do they stand on the matter?

LANCE

Marry, thus: when it stands well with him, it stands well with her.

LANCE

Indeed, that’s the way it is: when he stands erect, he’s in good standing with her.

SPEED

What an ass art thou! I understand thee not.

SPEED

What an ass you are! I don’t understand you.

LANCE

What a block art thou, that thou canst not! My staff understands me.

LANCE

What a blockhead you are, since you can’t understand me! My wooden staff understands me.

SPEED

15What thou sayest?

SPEED

What are you talking about?

LANCE

Ay, and what I do too. Look thee, I’ll but lean, and my staff understands me.

LANCE

Yes, and it’s what I do, too. Look here—I simply have to lean, and my staff understands me.

SPEED

It stands under thee, indeed.

SPEED

It stands under you, indeed.

LANCE

Why, stand-under and under-stand is all one.

LANCE

Well, standing-under, under-standing—it’s all the same.

SPEED

But tell me true, will ’t be a match?

SPEED

But tell me honestly, will they get married?

LANCE

20Ask my dog. If he say ay, it will; if he say no, it will; if he shake his tail and say nothing, it will.

LANCE

Ask my dog. If he says yes, then they will. If he says no, then they will. If he shakes his tail and says nothing, then they will.

SPEED

The conclusion is then that it will.

SPEED

So no matter what then, they will get married.

LANCE

Thou shalt never get such a secret from me but by a parable.

LANCE

You’ll never get me to reveal the secret except in riddles.

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