William Shakespeare: Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act V, Scene IV
How use doth breed a habit in a man! This shadowy desert, unfrequented woods, I better brook than flourishing peopled towns: Here can I sit alone, unseen of any, And to the nightingale's complaining notes Tune my distresses and record my woes. O thou that dost inhabit in my breast, Leave not the mansion so long tenantless, Lest, growing ruinous, the building fall And leave no memory of what it was! Repair me with thy presence, Silvia; Thou gentle nymph, cherish thy forlorn swain! What halloing and what stir is this to-day? These are my mates, that make their wills their law, Have some unhappy passenger in chase. They love me well; yet I have much to do To keep them from uncivil outrages. Withdraw thee, Valentine: who's this comes here?
Enter Proteus, Silvia, and Julia
Madam, this service I have done for you, Though you respect not aught your servant doth, To hazard life and rescue you from him That would have forced your honour and your love; Vouchsafe me, for my meed, but one fair look; A smaller boon than this I cannot beg And less than this, I am sure, you cannot give.
Had I been seized by a hungry lion, I would have been a breakfast to the beast, Rather than have false Proteus rescue me. O, Heaven be judge how I love Valentine, Whose life's as tender to me as my soul! And full as much, for more there cannot be, I do detest false perjured Proteus. Therefore be gone; solicit me no more.
What dangerous action, stood it next to death, Would I not undergo for one calm look! O, 'tis the curse in love, and still approved, When women cannot love where they're beloved!
When Proteus cannot love where he's beloved. Read over Julia's heart, thy first best love, For whose dear sake thou didst then rend thy faith Into a thousand oaths; and all those oaths Descended into perjury, to love me. Thou hast no faith left now, unless thou'dst two; And that's far worse than none; better have none Than plural faith which is too much by one: Thou counterfeit to thy true friend!
Nay, if the gentle spirit of moving words Can no way change you to a milder form, I'll woo you like a soldier, at arms' end, And love you 'gainst the nature of love,—force ye.
Thou common friend, that's without faith or love, For such is a friend now; treacherous man! Thou hast beguiled my hopes; nought but mine eye Could have persuaded me: now I dare not say I have one friend alive; thou wouldst disprove me. Who should be trusted, when one's own right hand Is perjured to the bosom? Proteus, I am sorry I must never trust thee more, But count the world a stranger for thy sake. The private wound is deepest: O time most accurst, 'Mongst all foes that a friend should be the worst!
My shame and guilt confounds me. Forgive me, Valentine: if hearty sorrow Be a sufficient ransom for offence, I tender 't 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 pleased. By penitence the Eternal's wrath's appeased: And, that my love may appear plain and free, All that was mine in Silvia I give thee.
O good sir, my master charged me to deliver a ring to Madam Silvia, which, out of my neglect, was never done.
Behold her that gave aim to all thy oaths, And entertain'd 'em deeply in her heart. How oft hast thou with perjury cleft the root! O Proteus, let this habit make thee blush! Be thou ashamed that I have took upon me Such an immodest raiment, if shame live In a disguise of love: It is the lesser blot, modesty finds, Women to change their shapes than men their minds.
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?
Come, come, a hand from either: Let me be blest to make this happy close; 'Twere pity two such friends should be long foes.
Enter Outlaws, with Duke and Thurio
Forbear, forbear, I say! it is my lord the duke. Your grace is welcome to a man disgraced, Banished Valentine.
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; Take but possession of her with a touch: I dare thee but to breathe upon my love.
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.
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 derived; Take thou thy Silvia, for thou hast deserved her.
I thank your grace; the gift hath made me happy. I now beseech you, for your daughter's sake, To grant one boom that I shall ask of you.
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.
Thou hast prevail'd; I pardon them and thee: Dispose of them as thou know'st their deserts. Come, let us go: we will include all jars With triumphs, mirth and rare solemnity.
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?
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.