Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Act 2. Scene V

SCENE V. The same. A street.

Enter SPEED and LAUNCE severally
SPEED
Launce! by mine honesty, welcome to Milan!

LAUNCE
Forswear not thyself, sweet youth, for I am not
welcome. I reckon this always, that a man is never
undone till he be hanged, nor never welcome to a
place till some certain shot be paid and the hostess
say 'Welcome!'

SPEED
Come on, you madcap, I'll to the alehouse with you
presently; where, for one shot of five pence, thou
shalt have five thousand welcomes. But, sirrah, how
did thy master part with Madam Julia?

LAUNCE
Marry, after they closed in earnest, they parted very
fairly in jest.

SPEED
But shall she marry him?

LAUNCE
No.

SPEED
How then? shall he marry her?

LAUNCE
No, neither.

SPEED
What, are they broken?

LAUNCE
No, they are both as whole as a fish.

SPEED
Why, then, how stands the matter with them?

LAUNCE
Marry, thus: when it stands well with him, it
stands well with her.

SPEED
What an ass art thou! I understand thee not.

LAUNCE
What a block art thou, that thou canst not! My
staff understands me.

SPEED
What thou sayest?

LAUNCE
Ay, and what I do too: look thee, I'll but lean,
and my staff understands me.

SPEED
It stands under thee, indeed.

LAUNCE
Why, stand-under and under-stand is all one.

SPEED
But tell me true, will't be a match?

LAUNCE
Ask my dog: if he say ay, it will! if he say no,
it will; if he shake his tail and say nothing, it will.

SPEED
The conclusion is then that it will.

LAUNCE
Thou shalt never get such a secret from me but by a parable.

SPEED
'Tis well that I get it so. But, Launce, how sayest
thou, that my master is become a notable lover?

LAUNCE
I never knew him otherwise.

SPEED
Than how?

LAUNCE
A notable lubber, as thou reportest him to be.

SPEED
Why, thou whoreson ass, thou mistakest me.

LAUNCE
Why, fool, I meant not thee; I meant thy master.

SPEED
I tell thee, my master is become a hot lover.

LAUNCE
Why, I tell thee, I care not though he burn himself
in love. If thou wilt, go with me to the alehouse;
if not, thou art an Hebrew, a Jew, and not worth the
name of a Christian.

SPEED
Why?

LAUNCE
Because thou hast not so much charity in thee as to
go to the ale with a Christian. Wilt thou go?

SPEED
At thy service.

Exeunt

William Shakespeare