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so he seems to have thought that the whole terraqueous globe was at his command; and as he brought in a child at the beginning of a play, who in the fourth act appears as a woman, so he seems to have set geography at defiance, and to have considered countries as inland or maritime, just as it suited his fancy or convenience.”
Some of the incidents in this play may be supposed to have been taken from The Arcadia, book 1. ch. vi., where Pyrocles consents to head the Helots. The Arcadia was entered on the Stationers' books in 1588. The love adventure of Julia resembles that of Viola in Twelfth Night, and is indeed common to many of the ancient novels.
Mrs. Lennox informs us, that the story of Proteus and Julia might be taken from a similar one in “The Diana" of Montemayor. This pastoral romance was translated from the Spanish in Shakspeare's time, by Bartholomew Young, and published in 1598. It does not appear that it was previously published, though it was translated two or three years before by one Thomas Wilson. Perhaps some parts of it may have been made public, or Shakspeare may have found the tale elsewhere. It has before been observed that Meres mentions the Two Gentlemen of Verona in his book, published in 1598. Malone conjectures that this play was the first that Shakspeare wrote, and places the date of its composition in the
DUKE of Milan, Father to Silvia.
JULIA, a Lady of Verona, beloved by Proteus.
SCENE. Sometimes in VERONA; sometimes in Milan; and on the
frontiers of Mantua.
TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA.
SCENE I. An open Place in Verona.
Enter VALENTINE and PROTEUS.
Val. CEASE to persuade, my loving Proteus ; Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits: Wer't not, affection chains thy tender days To the sweet glances of thy honored love, I rather would entreat thy company, To see the wonders of the world abroad, Than living dully sluggardized at home, Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness. But, since thou lov'st, love still, and thrive therein, Even as I would, when I to love begin.
Pro. Wilt thou begone ? Sweet Valentine, adieu
Val. And on a love-book pray for my success.
Val. That's on some shallow story of deep love, How young Leander crossed the Hellespont. "
Pro. That's a deep story of a deeper love; For he was more than over shoes in love.
1 The allusion is to Marlow's poem of Hero and Leander.
Val. 'Tis true; for you are over boots in love,
Pro. Over the boots ? nay, give me not the boots.
What? Val. To be in love, where scorn is bought with
groans; Coy looks, with heart-sore sighs; one fading moment's
Pro. So by your circumstance, you call me fool.
Val. Love is your master, for he masters you:
Pro. Yet writers say, As in the sweetest bud
Val. And writers say, As the most forward bud
Pro. And thither will I bring thee, Valentine.
1 A proverbial expression, now disused, signifying, “Don't make a laughing-stock of me.”
2 Circumstance here means conduct; in the preceding line, circumstantial deduction.
Pro. All happiness bechance to thee in Milan!
Enter SPEED. Speed. Sir Proteus, save you: Saw you my master ? Pro. But now he parted hence, to embark for
Milan. Speed. Twenty to one, then, he is shipped already; And I have played the sheep, in losing him.
Pro. Indeed a sheep doth very often stray, An if the shepherd be awhile away.
Speed. You conclude that my master is a shepherd then, and I a sheep?
Pro. I do.
Speed. Why then, my horns are his horns, whether I wake or sleep.
Pro. A silly answer, and fitting well a sheep.
Speed. The 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.
1 The construction of this passage is, “ Let me hear from thee by letters to Milan."
2 In Warwickshire, and some other counties, a sheep is pronounced a ship.