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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 ! 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: 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 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 have mine,
Enter Out-laws, with Duke and THURIO. Out.
A prize, a prize, a prize!
Val. Thurio, give back, or else embrace thy death;
Thu. Sir Valentine, I care pot for her, I;
Duke. The more degenerate and base art thou,
Val. I thank your grace; the gift hath made me happy.
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 from their exile: They are reformed, civil, full of good, And fit for great employment, worthy lord.
Duke. Thou hast prevaild: I pardon them and thee; Dispose of them, as thou know'st their deserts. With triumphs, mirth, and rare solemnity. Come, let us go; we will include all jars.
Val. And, as we walk along, I dare be bold
Duke. I think the boy hath grace in him; lie blushes.
Val. Please you, I'll tell you as we pass along,
In this play there is a strange mixture of knowledge and ignorance, of care and negligence. The versification is often excellent, the allusions are learned and just; but the author conveys his heroes by sea from one inland town to another in the same country; he places the emperor at Milan, and sends his young men to attend him, but never mentions him more; he makes Proteus, after an interview with Silvia, say he has only seen her picture: and, if we may credit the old copies, he has, by mistaking places, left his scenery inextricable. The reason of all this confusion seems to be, that he took his story from a novel which he sometimes followed, and sometimes forsook; sometimes remembered, and sometimes forgot.
That this play is rightly attributed to Shakspeare, I have little doubt. If it be taken from him, to whom shall it be given? This question may be asked of all the disputed plays, except Titus Andronicus; and it will be found more credible, that Shakspeare might sometimes sink below his highest flights, than that any other should rise up to his lowest.