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The private wound is deepest: O time most accurst! 'Mongst all foes, that a friend should be the worst !

Pro. My shame and guilt confound me.
Forgive me, Valentine : if hearty sorrow
Be a sufficient ransom for offence,
I tender it here ; I do as truly suffer,
As e'er I did commit.

Then I am paid;
And once again I do receive thee honest.
Who by repentance is not satisfied,
Is nor of heaven, nor earth ; for these are pleas'd:
By penitence the Eternal wrath's appeas'd :-
And, that my love may appear plain and free,
All that was mine in Silvia, I give thee.*

- This is a strange passage. Collier and Knight have tried hard, in different ways, to make it look reasonable ; but there is an extravagance about it that will not yield to editorial skill. The best comment we have seen upon it is in “ Tales from Shakespeare : :“ Proteus expressed such a lively sorrow for the injuries he had done to Valentine, that Valentine, whose nature was noble and generous even to a romantic degree, not only forgave and restored him to his former place in his friendship, but in à sudden flight of heroism he said, I freely do forgive you ; and all the interest I have in Silvia I give it up to you!'" Which shows what Charles Lamb and his sister, “ two highly-gifted and simple-minded persons who had been reading Shakespeare together all their lives," regarded as the true sense of the text. Mr. Dyce, speaking of “ this overstrained and too generous act of friendship,” says : “ Nor would Shakespeare probably, if the play had been written in his maturer years, have made Valentine give way to such a sudden flight of heroism :' but The Two Gentlemen of Verona was evidently an early production of the great Poet; and in many a volume, popular during his youth, he had found similar instances of romantic generosity." This explanation seems much better than the ingenious efforts of Knight and Collier to bring the representation within the lines of nature and Jul. O me, unhappy! [Struggling with grief. Pro. Look to the boy.

How hard it is for them to get round the plain sense of the passage, may be seen in that Knight makes all refer to wrath in the second line above, construes in by on account of, and understands give in the sense of give up or forego; so that the meaning turns out to be : “ All the wrath that was mine on account of Silvia I forego;” which convicts Julia of a gross


Val. Why, boy! why, wag! how now! what is the matter ? Look up; speak.

Jul. O good sir! my master charg’d me to deliver a ring to Madam Silvia ; which, out of my neglect, was never done.

Pro. Where is that ring, boy?
Jul. Here 'tis : this is it.

[Gives a ring Pro. How! let me see: why, this is the ring I

gave to Julia.

Jul. 0! cry you mercy, sir; I have mistook : This is the ring you sent to Silvia.

[Shows another ring. Pro. But how cam'st thou by this ring ? At my depart I gave this unto Julia.

Jul. And Julia herself did give it me;
And Julia herself hath brought it hither.

Pro. How ? Julia !
Jul. Behold her that gave

aim to all thy oaths,
And entertain'd them deeply in her heart :
How oft hast thou with perjury cleft the root ! 8
O Proteus ! let this habit make thee blush :
Be thou asham’d, that I have took upon me
Such an immodest raiment; if shame live
In a disguise of love."


blunder in taking on so at what Valentine says. Collier's more plausible method is, to withdraw Valentine, so that he does not hear what passes between Proteus and Silvia just before, and so, from seeing her thus with his friend, he infers that she is unfaithful or indifferent towards himself.

5 He who gave aim appears to have been called the mark, and was stationed near the butts, to inform the archers how near their arrows fell to the butt.

6 That is, of her heart : the allusion to archery is continued, and to cleaving the pin in shooting at the butts.

? That is, if it be a shame to wear a disguise in such a


It is the lesser blot modesty finds,
Women to change their shapes, than men their minds.

Pro. Than men their minds? 'tis true: O heaven!

were man

But constant, he were perfect : that one error
Fills him with faults ; makes him run through all

the sins :
Inconstancy falls off, ere it begins :
What is in Silvia's face, but I may spy
More fresh in Julia's, with a constant eye ?

Val. Come, come, a hand from either :
Let me be blest to make this happy close :
'Twere pity two such friends should be long foes.
Pro. Bear witness, heaven, I have my wish for-

ever. Jul. And I mine.

Enter "Outlaws, with DUKE and THURIO.
Out. A prize! a prize! a prize!
Val. Forbear : forbear, I say; it is my lord the

Your grace is welcome to a man disgrac'd,
Banished Valentine.

Sir Valentine!
Thu. Yonder is Silvia; and Silvia's mine.

Val. Thurio, give back, or else embrace thy death.
Come not within the measure of my wrath :
Do not name Silvia thine ; if once again,
Verona shall not hold thee. Here she stands :

8 6 Verona shall not hold thee," is the reading of the only authentic copy. Theobald proposed the reading, « Milan shall not behold thee,” which has been adopted by all subsequent editors, but there is no authority for the change. If the reading be erroneous Shakespeare must be held accountable for this as well as some other errors in his early productions.

Take but possession of her with a touch ;-
I dare thee but to breathe upon my love.

Thu. Sir Valentine, I care not for her, I.
I hold him but a fool, that will endanger
His body for a girl that loves him not:
I claim her not, and therefore she is thine.

Duke. The more degenerate and base art thou,
To make such means for her as thou hast done,
And leave her on such slight conditions.
Now, by the honour of my ancestry,
I do applaud thy spirit, Valentine,
And think thee worthy of an empress' love.
Know then, I here forget all former griefs,
Cancel all grudge, repeal thee home again,
Plead a new state in thy unrivall’d merit,
To which I thus subscribe, Sir Valentine,
Thou art a gentleman, and well deriv’d:
Take thou thy Silvia, for thou hast deserv'd her.
Val. I thank your grace; the gift hath made me

happy. I now beseech you, for your daughter's sake, To grant one boon that

shall ask of you. Duke. I grant it for thine own, whate'er it be.

Val. These banish'd men, that I have kept withal, Are men endued with worthy qualities : Forgive them what they have committed here, And let them be recall'd from their exile : They are reformed, civil, full of good, And fit for great employment, worthy lord. Duke. Thou hast prevail'd ; I pardon them, and

thee : Dispose of them, as thou know'st their deserts.

9 « To make such means for her,” to make such interest for, to take such disingenuous pains about her.

10 That is, repeal the sentence of banishment. 11 That is, that I have been living with.



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Come, let us go: we will include all jars
With triumphs," mirth, and rare solemnity.

Val. And, as we walk along, I dare be bold
With our discourse to make your grace to smile :
What think you of this page, my lord ?
Duke. I think the boy hath grace in him : he

blushes. Val. I warrant you, my lord; more grace than

boy. Duke. What mean you by that saying ?

Val. Please you, I'll tell you as we pass along, That you

will wonder what hath fortuned. Come, Proteus ; 'tis your penance, but to hear The story of your loves discovered : That done, our day of marriage shall be yours ; One feast, one house, one mutual happiness.



12 Include is here used for conclude. This is another of Shakespeare's Latinisms.

13 Triumphs are pageants, such as masks and shows.

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