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When she for thy repeal was suppliant,
Have some malignant power upon my life:
Pro. Cease to lament for that thou canst not help,
And study help for that which thou lament'st.
pray thee, Launce, an if thou seest my boy,
Bid him make haste, and meet me at the north gate.
Laun. I am but a fool, look you; and yet I have the wit to think, my master is a kind of 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 that 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 cat-log [pulling out a paper] of her conditions. 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.
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.
Speed. Why, man, how black?
Laun. Why, as black as ink.
Laun. Fie on thee, jolt-head; thou canst not
Speed. Thou liest, I can.
Laun. I will try thee: tell me this: who begot thee?
Speed. Marry, the son of my grandfather. 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!
Speed. Item, She brews good ale.
Laun. And thereof comes the proverb,Blessing of your heart, you brew good ale.
(1) St. Nicholas presided over young scholars.
Speed. Item, She can' sew.
Laun. That's as much as to say, Can she so?
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.
Laun. Close at the heels of her virtues.
Speed. Item, She is not to be kiss'd 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. That makes amends for her sour breath.
Laun. It's no matter for that, so she sleep not in her talk.
Speed. Item, She is slow in words.
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. I care not for that neither, because I love crusts.
Speed. Item, She is curst.
Laun. Well; the best is, she hath no teeth to
Speed. Item, She will often praise her liquor. 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.1
Laun. Of her tongue she cannot; for that's writ down she is slow of: of her purse she shall not; for that I'll keep shut: now, of another thing she may; and that I cannot 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. That's monstrous: O, that that were out! Speed. And more wealth than faults.
Laun. Why, that word makes the faults gracious :2 well, I'll have her and if it be a match, as nothing is impossible,— Speed. What then?
Laun. Why, then I will 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 didst not tell me sooner? 'pox of your love-letters! [Exit. Laun. Now will he be swinged for reading my
(1) Licentious in language.
letter: an unmannerly slave, that will thrust himself into secrets!-I'll after, to rejoice in the boy's [Exit.
SCENE II.-The same. A room in the Duke's palace. Enter Duke and Thurio; Proteus behind.
Duke. Sir Thurio, fear not, but that she will love you,
Now Valentine is banish'd from her sight.
Thu. Since his exile she hath despis'd me most, Forsworn my company, and rail'd at me, That I am desperate of obtaining her.
Duke. This weak impress of love is as a figure Trenched1 in ice; which with an hour's heat Dissolves to water, and doth lose his form. A little time will melt her frozen thoughts, And worthless Valentine shall be forgot.How now, sir Proteus? Is your countryman, According to our proclamation, gone?
Pro. Gone, my good lord.
Duke. My daughter takes his going grievously. Pro. A little time, my lord, will kill that grief. Duke. So I believe; but Thurio thinks not so.Proteus, the good conceit I hold of thee (For thou hast shown some sign of good desert,) Makes me the better to confer with thee.
Pro. Longer than I prove loyal to your grace, Let me not live to look upon 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