The Two Gentlemen of Verona
mine owne. Beleeue not good Lady (saide I) that there is any thing in the worlde, that can make Don Felix forget you. And if he hath cast off another for your sake, woonder not thereat, when your beautie and wisedome is so great, and the others so small, that there is no reason to thinke, that he will (though he hath woorthelie forsaken her for your sake) or euer can forget you for any woman else in the worlde. Doest thou then know Felismena (saide Celia) the lady whom thy Master did once loue and serue in his owne countrey? I know her (saide I) although not so well as it was needfull for me, to haue preuented so many mishaps, (and this I spake softly to my selfe). For my fathers house was neere to hers, but seeing your great beautie adorned with such perfections and wisedome, Don Felix can not be blamed, if he hath forgotten his first loue, onely to embrace and honour yours. To this did Celia answer merily, and smiling. Thou hast learned quickly of thy Master to sooth. Not so faire Ladie, saide I, but to serue you woulde I faine learne: for flatterie cannot be, where (in the iudgement of all) there are so manifest signes and proofes of this due commendation. Celia began in good earnest to aske me what manner of woman Felismena was; whom I answered, that touching her beautie. Some thought her to be very faire, but I was neuer of that opinion, bicause she hath many daies since wanted the chiefest thing that is requisite for it. What is that, said Celia? Content of minde, saide I, bicause perfect beautie can neuer be, where the same is not adioyned to it.'
The reader who will turn from this passage to the corresponding lines of the play (IV. iv. 125–185) may judge of Shakespeare's achievement in delicacy and richness of characterization, in pathos, and in poetry.