Explanatory notes for Act 2, Scene 1
From The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Ed. Israel Gollancz. New York: University Society.
2. one: - On and one were sometimes pronounced alike, and
also written so; this is but a quibble based on such identity of
24. takes diet: - To take diet is to be under a regimen for a
26. Hallowmas: - The feast of All-hallows, or All Saints, at
which time the poor in some places went from parish to parish
a-souling, as they called it; that is, begging and puling (or singing
small, as Bailey's Dictionary explains puling), for soul-cakes, and
singing what they called the souler's song. These terms point out
the condition of this benevolence, which was, that the beggars
should pray for the souls of the giver's departed friends.
27. none else would; i.e. 'no one else would perceive
73. going ungartered: - This is mentioned by Rosalind (As You
Like It, III. iii.) as one of the undoubted marks of love: "Then
your hose should be ungartered, your bonnet unhanded," etc.
78. to put on your hose, various suggestions have been made for the emendation of these words: - 'to beyond your nose,'
'to put spectacles on your nose,' 'to put on your shoes,' 'to button
your hose.' It is not certain that a rhyming couplet was intended.
Probably 'unable to see to put on one's hose' was a proverbial expression meaning 'unable to tell which leg to put into one's hose
first,' i.e. 'not to have one's wits about one.'
85. Set for seated, in opposition to stand in the preceding line.
It appears, however, to be used metaphorically in the sense applied to the sun when it sinks below the horizon.
94. As motion signified a puppet-show, whereat the showman
was called the interpreter, Speed means, "What a fine puppet show shall we have now! Here is the principal puppet to whom
my master will act as showman."
99. Sir Valentine and servant: - "Here," says Sir J. Hawkins,
"Silvia calls her lover servant, and again her gentle servant. This
was the common language of ladies to their lovers, at the time
when Shakespeare wrote." Henry James Pye, in his Comments
on the Commentators, observes that, "in the Noble Gentlemen of
Beaumont and Fletcher, the lady's gallant has no other name in the
dramatis personae than servant," and that "mistress and servant
are always used for lovers in Dryden's plays." Knight, however,
believes "that Shakespeare here uses the words in a much more
general sense than that which expresses the relations between two
lovers. At the very moment that Valentine calls Silvia mistress
he says that he has written for her a letter - 'some lines to one
she loves' - unto a 'secret nameless friend'; and what is still
stronger evidence that the word 'servant' had not the full meaning of lover, but meant a much more general admirer, Valentine,
introducing Proteus to Silvia, says,
'Sweet lady, entertain him
To be my fellow-servant to your ladyship;'
and Silvia, consenting, says to Proteus,
'Servant, you are welcome to a worthless mistress.'
"Now, when Silvia says this, which, according to the meaning
which has been attached to the words servant and mistress, would
be a speech of endearment, she had accepted Valentine really as
her betrothed lover, and she had been told by Valentine that
'Had come along with me, but that his mistress
Did hold his eyes lock'd in her crystal looks.'
"It appears, therefore, that we must receive these words in a
very vague sense, and regard them as titles of courtesy, derived,
perhaps, from the chivalric times, when many a harnessed knight
and sportive troubadour described the lady whom they had gazed
upon in the tiltyard as their 'mistress,' and the same lady looked
upon each of the gallant train as a 'servant' dedicated to the
defence of her honour, or the praise of her beauty."
166. for in print I found it. Probably these lines are
quoted from some old ballad or play, though their source has not
yet been found. One cannot help thinking that Shakespeare is
quoting from some play of the 'Two Italian Gentleman' type;
the reprinted extracts contain passages strongly reminding one of
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Ed. Israel Gollancz. New York: University Society, 1901. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/two_2_1.html >.