The Two Gentlemen of Verona Love Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.
Were 't not affection chains thy tender days
To the sweet glances of thy honour'd love,
I rather would entreat thy company
To see the wonders of the world abroad (1.1.3-6)
Valentine wishes that his best friend would join him to "see the wonders of the world abroad," but Proteus's love for Julia prevents his friend from leaving Verona.
To be in love, where scorn is bought with groans,
Coy looks with heart-sore sighs, one fading
With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights:
If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain;
If lost, why then a grievous labor won;
However, but a folly bought with wit,
Or else a wit by folly vanquishèd. (1.1.30-37)
At the beginning of the play, Valentine is cynical about love. If a man succeeds in winning a woman's heart, he says, it is a "hapless gain." On the other hand, if a man loses in love, it's a "labour won."
I leave myself, my friends and all, for
Thou, Julia, thou hast metamorphosed me,
Made me neglect my studies, lose my time,
War with good counsel, set the world at nought;
Made wit with musing weak, heart sick with thought. (1.1.67-71)
Proteus declares that his love for Julia has transformed him. Ever since he fell in love with Julia, Proteus doesn't study, he argues with his friends, and isn't very witty. Understood this way, love does not change one for the better.
This passage seems to anticipate what famous essayist Francis Bacon later writes (c. 1600) about male-female love: "You may observe, that amongst all the great and worthy persons (whereof the memory remaineth, either ancient or recent) there is not one, that hath been transported to the mad degree of love: which shows that great spirits, and great business, do keep out this weak passion" (Francis Bacon, "Of Love").