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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 1

page Act 3 Scene 1 Page 4

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VALENTINE

80What would your Grace have me to do in this?

VALENTINE

What part would Your Grace like me to play in this?

DUKE

There is a lady in Verona here
Whom I affect, but she is nice and coy,
And naught esteems my agèd eloquence.
Now therefore would I have thee to my tutor—
85For long agone I have forgot to court;
Besides, the fashion of the time is changed—
How and which way I may bestow myself
To be regarded in her sun-bright eye.

DUKE

There is a lady here in Verona whom I love, but she is hard to please and coy and doesn’t appreciate my old-fashioned eloquence. I’d like you to teach me how to win her over, since I long ago forgot how to court a woman, and besides, times have changed. How should I act in order for her bright eyes to take notice of me?

VALENTINE

Win her with gifts, if she respect not words.
90Dumb jewels often in their silent kind
More than quick words do move a woman’s mind.

VALENTINE

Win her with gifts if she doesn’t pay attention to words. Jewels, which can’t speak, often sway a woman’s mind more than fast-talking.

DUKE

But she did scorn a present that I sent her.

DUKE

But she already sneered at one present I sent her.

VALENTINE

A woman sometime scorns what best contents her.
Send her another. Never give her o’er,
95For scorn at first makes after-love the more.
If she do frown, ’tis not in hate of you,
But rather to beget more love in you.
If she do chide, ’tis not to have you gone,
Forwhy the fools are mad if left alone.
100Take no repulse, whatever she doth say;
For “Get you gone,” she doth not mean “Away!’”
Flatter and praise, commend, extol their graces;
Though ne’er so black, say they have angels’ faces.
That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man
105If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.

VALENTINE

A woman will sometimes scorn the very thing that pleases her most. Send her another gift. Never give up, because her initial disdain will make her eventual feelings of love even stronger. If she frowns, it’s not out of hatred for you but rather to make you love her even more. If she chides you, it’s not so that you’ll go away, because

the fools

That is, women.

the fools
will go crazy if they’re left alone. Don’t be offended, whatever she says. By “Get out of here,” she doesn’t really mean, “Go away!” Flatter and praise women, compliment them, talk about their graces. Even if they have the blackest skin, say they have the faces of angels. In my opinion, any man that has a tongue isn’t really a man unless he can use it to win a woman.

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