Two Gents Act 3, Scene 1 – United Nations grounds, Geneva

There are some things I didn’t read particularly well I’m afraid.  The vanished/banished jokes for example, after further watching (of myself), should really be pronounced as two syllable words, not three (vanished, not vanishéd)…

There are a few things I want to point out in this passage:


DUKE            No, trust me; she is peevish, sullen, froward,

69            Proud, disobedient, stubborn, lacking duty,

70            Neither regarding that she is my child

71            Nor fearing me as if I were her father,

72            And, may I say to thee, this pride of hers,

73            Upon advice, hath drawn my love from her;

74            And, where I thought the remnant of mine age

75            Should have been cherish’d by her child-like duty,

76            I now am full resolved to take a wife

77            And turn her out to who will take her in:

78            Then let her beauty be her wedding-dower,

79            For me and my possessions she esteems not.

VALENTINE            What would your Grace have me to do in this

DUKE            There is a lady in Verona here

82            Whom I affect; but she is nice and coy

83            And nought esteems my aged eloquence:

85            Now therefore would I have thee to my tutor–

First let’s look at the thought from 72 to 77.  In the folio this is a colon after ‘Nor fearing me as if I were her father,’ not a comma.  This means to the actor that the thought beginning on ‘And may I say to thee, this pride of hers,’ has got to drive all the way through the next piece of major punctuation – 6 lines later.

That line, wouldn’t you know it, is a special monosyllabic line, “And turn her out to who will take her in,” which is ostensibly harsh and clearly the pre-conceived conclusion of his troublesome meditations on his daughter Silvia.  He wraps it all with a couplet.   Take-aways?  Use line 77 for all its worth.

If the Duke does, we may get a volley going, for Valentine’s line is a mirrored monosyllabic response.  The ear can be struck to recognize this.

Lastly, the Duke’s line last line printed above, ‘Now therefore would I have thee to my tutor’ – is perfectly regular, but use of the word ‘therefore’ has to be more significant than we use it today.  The connotation of the word in this context (‘in this affair,’ or ‘here’), needs that extra thought, and really leaning on the meter can help.

Then a few lines later, Valentine speaking of love launches into some very compelling rhymes:

VALENTINE            Win her with gifts, if she respect not words:

90            Dumb jewels often in their silent kind

91            More than quick words do move a woman’s mind.

DUKE            But she did scorn a present that I sent her.

VALENTINE            A woman sometimes scorns what best contents her.

94            Send her another; never give her o’er;

95            For scorn at first makes after-love the more.

96            If she do frown, ’tis not in hate of you,

97            But rather to beget more love in you:

98            If she do chide, ’tis not to have you gone;

99            For why, the fools are mad, if left alone.

100            Take no repulse, whatever she doth say;

101            For ‘get you gone,’ she doth not mean ‘away!’

102            Flatter and praise, commend, extol their graces;

103            Though ne’er so black, say they have angels’ faces.

104            That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man,

105            If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.

90 and 91 are what I’m going to call ‘Auden rhymes.’  Here’s Auden on Shakespeare’s early rhymes:

“Rhymes can have a…comic effect if the rhymed words, on the basis of their auditory friendship, look as if they have taken charge of the situation: as if, instead of an event requiring words to describe it, words had the power to create an event.”

What I take from this is, the character knows he is rhyming.  It is not a coincidence, the pleasure of which is exclusively for the audience.  Valentine gets on a role here, and his conspicuously detailed knowledge of the affairs of clandestine love are only worsening his plight with the Duke.

I think the rhyming is so self-confident that the actor could surely steal a laugh self-consciously rhyming ‘man’ with ‘woman.’

A little thing: make sure ‘privilege’ gets three whole syllables – today it normally gets two:


160            Is privilege for thy departure hence

Musical words:


179            There is no music in the nightengale.


208            For they are harsh, untuneable, and bad.

Now this is really cool.  Compare ‘twenty seas if all their sand were pearl’ with ‘A sea of melting pearl, which some call tears;’ below:

VALENTINE from II;iv (to Proteus)

Why, man, she is mine own,

And I as rich in having such a jewel

As twenty seas, if all their sand were pearl,

The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold.

With this now from III;i


PROTEUS (to Valentine)

Ay, ay; and she hath offer’d to the doom–

Which, unreversed, stands in effectual force–

A sea of melting pearl, which some call tears:

Those at her father’s churlish feet she tender’d;

Proteus’s ‘Cease to lament’ to Valentine mirrors exactly the opening words of the play ‘Cease to persuade’ that Valentine said to him.  It’s the beginning of a big speech and beat shift here for Proteus, and at the end of the page is a great place for the Interval (breaking up III;I).

The scene ends with Lance and Speed doing what should hopefully be a very funny bit with yet another letter.  How many letters are there in this play?  (The word ‘letter’ appears 32 times – once in Comedy of Errors, once in Taming of the Shrew, and 29 times in ‘Love’s Labors Lost…’)


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