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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 1

page Act 3 Scene 1 Page 2

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Proteus, I thank thee for thine honest care,
Which to requite, command me while I live.
This love of theirs myself have often seen,
25Haply when they have judged me fast asleep,
And oftentimes have purposed to forbid
Sir Valentine her company and my court.
But, fearing lest my jealous aim might err,
And so, unworthily, disgrace the man—
30A rashness that I ever yet have shunned—
I gave him gentle looks, thereby to find
That which thyself hast now disclosed to me.
And, that thou mayst perceive my fear of this,
Knowing that tender youth is soon suggested,
35I nightly lodge her in an upper tower,
The key whereof myself have ever kept;
And thence she cannot be conveyed away.


Proteus, I thank you for your honest concern. In return, ask anything you want of me while I still live. I’ve often happened to see this love of theirs for myself, when they’ve thought me asleep, and frequently I’ve considered forbidding Sir Valentine from seeing her or attending my court. But I’ve been afraid my jealousy might be misplaced, and as a result I might needlessly disgrace him—I’ve always disdained foolish impulsiveness. So I treated him kindly, only to learn of this deceitful plot you’ve just revealed. And, so you know how much I fear this, I make her sleep in one of the upper towers of the castle every night, because I know how impressionable youth can be led astray. I always keep the key myself, so that she cannot be taken away.


Know, noble lord, they have devised a means
How he her chamber window will ascend
40And with a corded ladder fetch her down;
For which the youthful lover now is gone,
And this way comes he with it presently,
Where, if it please you, you may intercept him.
But, good my lord, do it so cunningly
45That my discovery be not aimèd at;
For, love of you, not hate unto my friend,
Hath made me publisher of this pretence.


You should know, my noble lord, they have devised a way for him to climb up to her bedroom window and bring her down using a rope ladder. That’s why this young lover has gone away, but he’s coming back with it soon, allowing you to intercept him, if you like. But, my good lord, be cunning about it, so that he won’t know I told you. It was because of my love for you, not hatred for my friend, that I told you of this plot.

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