The Two Gentlemen of Verona

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 4

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter SPEED
SPEED enters.

SPEED

Sir Proteus, save you! Saw you my master?

SPEED

God save you, Sir Proteus! Have you seen my master?

PROTEUS

But now he parted hence, to embark for Milan.

PROTEUS

He just left here a minute ago on his way to Milan.

SPEED

Twenty to one, then, he is shipped already,
And I have played the sheep in losing him.

SPEED

I’d wager twenty to one, then, that his ship has already left. I’m foolish for having lost him.

PROTEUS

75Indeed, a sheep doth very often stray,
An if the shepherd be a while away.

PROTEUS

Indeed, sheep often go astray when the shepherd has gone away.

SPEED

You conclude that my master is a shepherd, then, and I a sheep?

SPEED

You’re saying that my master is a shepherd, then, and I’m a sheep?

PROTEUS

I do.

PROTEUS

Yes.

SPEED

Why then, my horns are his horns, whether I wake or sleep.

SPEED

Well then, my horns are his horns, whether I’m awake or asleep.

PROTEUS

80A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep.

PROTEUS

What a silly answer—very fitting for a sheep.

SPEED

This proves me still a sheep.

SPEED

This means you think I’m still a sheep.

PROTEUS

True; and thy master a shepherd.

PROTEUS

Yes, and your master a shepherd.

SPEED

Nay, that I can deny by a circumstance.

SPEED

No, I can disprove that with an example.

PROTEUS

It shall go hard but I’ll prove it by another.

PROTEUS

It’ll be a challenge, but I’ll prove it with another example.

SPEED

85The shepherd seeks the sheep, and not the sheep the shepherd; but I seek my master, and my master seeks not me. Therefore I am no sheep.

SPEED

The shepherd looks for the sheep, but the sheep doesn’t look for the shepherd. I’m looking for my master, but my master isn’t looking for me. Therefore, I’m not a sheep.

PROTEUS

The sheep for fodder follow the shepherd; the shepherd for food follows not the sheep. Thou for wages followest thy master; thy master for wages follows not thee. Therefore thou art a sheep.

PROTEUS

The sheep follows the shepherd because it wants food, but the shepherd doesn’t follow the sheep for food. You follow your master for your pay, but your master doesn’t follow you for pay. Therefore, you’re a sheep.

SPEED

Such another proof will make me cry “Baa.”

SPEED

Another bad example like that and I’ll say, “Baa.”

PROTEUS

But dost thou hear? Gav’st thou my letter to Julia?

PROTEUS

But anyway, what happened? Did you give my letter to Julia?

SPEED

Ay, sir. I, a lost mutton, gave your letter to her, a laced mutton, and she, a laced mutton, gave me, a lost mutton, nothing for my labor.

SPEED

Yes, sir. I, a lost sheep, gave your letter to her, a

prostitute

The term “mutton” used in Shakespeare’s original was slang for “prostitute.”

prostitute
. And she, the prostitute, gave me, a lost sheep, nothing for all my hard work.

PROTEUS

90Here’s too small a pasture for such store of muttons.

PROTEUS

The world isn’t big enough for all these darn sheep.

SPEED

If the ground be overcharged, you were best stick her.

SPEED

If it’s too crowded for you, then you should stick her.

PROTEUS

Nay, in that you are astray: ’twere best pound you.

PROTEUS

No, now you’ve really gone astray. I ought to pound you.

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