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Which, being writ to me, shall be delivered
Val. I pray thee, Launce, an if thou seest my boy, Bid him make haste, and meet me at the north gate.
Pro Go, sirrah, find him out. Come, Valentine.
[Exeunt VALENTINE and PROTEUS. Laun. I am but a fool, look you; and yet I have the wit to think, my master is a kind of a knave: but that's all one, if he be but one knave. He lives not now, that knows me to be in love: yet I am in love; but a team of horse shall not pluck that from me; nor who 'tis I love, and yet 'tis a woman : but what woman, I will not tell myself: and yet 'tis a milk-maid: yet ’tis not a maid, for she hath had gossips: yet 'tis a maid, for she is her master's maid, and serves for wages. She hath more qualities than a water-spaniel, -which is much in a bare Christian. Here is the cate-log [pulling out a paper] of her condition. Imprimis, She can fetch and carry. Why, a horse can do no more; nay, a horse cannot fetch, but only carry; therefore is she better than a jade. Item, She can milk ; look you, a sweet virtue in a maid with clean hands.
Enter SPEED. Speed. How now, signior Launce ? what news with your mastership?
Laun. With my master's ship? why, it is at sea.
Speed. Well, your old vice still; mistake the word : What news then in your paper ?
Laun. The blackest news that ever thou heard'st.
Laun. O illiterate loiterer! it was the son of thy grandmother: this proves that thou canst not read.
Speed. Come, fool, come: try me in thy paper.
Laun. There: and saint Nicholas be thy speed!
Laun. And therefore comes the proverb, — Blessing of your heart, you brew good ale.
Speed. Item, She can sew.
Laun. What need a man care for a stock with a wench, when she can knit him a stock.
Speed. Item, She can wash and scour.
Laun. A special virtue; for then she need not be washed and scoured.
Speed. Item, She can spin.
Laun. Then may I set the world on wheels, when she can spin for her living.
Speed. Item, She hath many nameless virtues.
Laun. That's as much as to say, bastard virtues; that, indeed, know not their fathers, and therefore have no names.
Speed. Here follow her vices.
Speed. Item, She is not to be kissed fasting, in respect of her breath.
Laun. Well, that fault may be mended with a breakfast: Read on.
Speed. Item, She hath a sweet mouth.
Laun. O villain, that set this down among her vices ! To be slow in words, is a woman's only virtue: I pray thee, out with’t; and place it for her chief virtue.
Speed. Item, She is proud.
Laun. Out with that too; it was Eve's legacy, and cannot be ta'en from her.
Speed. Item, She hath no teeth.
Laun. If her liquor be good, she shall: if she will not, I will; for good things should be praised.
Speed. Item, She is too liberal. .
she is slow of: of her purse she shall not; for that I'll keep shut: now of another thing she may; and that cannot I help. Well, proceed.
Speed. Item, She hath more hair than wit, and more faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults.
Laun. Stop there; I'll have her: she was mine, and not mine, twice or thrice in that last article: Rehearse that once more.
Speed. Item, She hath more hair than wit
Laun. More hair than wit,- it may be ; I'll prove it; The cover of the salt hides the salt, and therefore it is more than the salt; the hair that covers the wit, is more than the wit; for the greater hides the less. What's next?
Speed. And more faults than hairs—
Laun. Why, that word makes the faults gracious. Well, I'll have her: and if it be a match, as nothing is impossible,
Speed. What then?
Laun. Why, then will I tell thee, that thy master stays for thee at the north gate.
Speed. For me?
Laun. For thee? ay; who art thou ? he hath staid for a better man than thee. .
Speed. And must I go to him?
Laun. Thou must run to him, for thou hast staid so long, that going will scarce serve the turn.
Speed. Why did'st not tell me sooner? 'pox of your loveletters?
[Exit. Laun. Now will he be swinged for reading my letter: An unmannerly slave, that will thrust himself into secrets ! I'll after, to rejoice in the boy's correction.
SCENE II. The same. A Room in the Duke's Palace.
Enter Duke and TAURIO; PROTEUS behind.
Thu. Since his exile she has despised me most,
Duke. This weak impress of love is as a figure
And worthless Valentine shall be forgot.-
Pro. Gone, my good lord.
Duke. So I believe; but Thurio thinks not so.-
Pro. Longer than I prove loyal to your grace,
Duke. Thou know'st, how willingly I would effect The match between Sir Thurio and my daughter..
Pro. I do, my lord.
Duke. And also, I think, thou art not ignorant How she opposes her against my will.
Pro. She did, my lord, when Valentine was here.
Duke. Ay, and perversely she persévers so. What might we do, to make the girl forget The love of Valentine, and love Sir Thurio ?
Pro. The best way is to slander Valentine With falsehood, cowardice, and poor descent; Three things that women highly hold in hate.
Duke. Ay, but she'll think that it is spoke in hate,
Pro. Ay, if his enemy deliver it:
Duke. Then you must undertake to slander him.
Pro. And that, my lord, I shall be loath to do: 'Tis an ill office for a gentleman; Especially against his very friend.
Duke. Where your good word cannot advantage him, Your slander never can endamage him; Therefore the office is indifferent, Being entreated to it by your friend.
Pro. You have prevailed, my lord: if I can do it, By aught that I can speak in his dispraise, She shall not long continue love to him. But say, this weed her love from Valentine, It follows not that she will love Sir Thurio.
Thu. Therefore, as you unwind her love from him, Lest it should ravel, and be good to none, You must provide to bottom it on me: Which must be done, by praising me as much As you in worth dispraise Sir Valentine.
Duke. And, Proteus, we dare trust you in this kind;
Pro. As much as I can do, I will effect:-
Duke. Ay, much is the force of heaven-bred poesy.
Pro. Say, that upon the altar of her beauty
Duke. This discipline shows thou hast been in love.
Thu. And thy advice this night I'll put in practice: Therefore, sweet Proteus, my direction-giver Let us into the city presently To sort some gentlemen well skilled in music: I have a sonnet, that will serve the turn, To give the onset to thy good advice.
Duke. About it, gentlemen.
Pro. We'll wait upon your grace till after supper: And afterward determine our proceedings. Duke. Even now about it; I will pardon you.