To leave my Julia, shall I be forsworn;
To love fair Sylvia, shall I be forsworn;
To wrong my friend, I shall be much forsworn.
And ev’n that power which gave me first my oath
5Provokes me to this threefold perjury.
Love bade me swear, and Love bids me forswear.
O sweet-suggesting Love, if thou hast sinned,
Teach me, thy tempted subject, to excuse it!
At first I did adore a twinkling star,
10But now I worship a celestial sun.
Unheedful vows may heedfully be broken,
And he wants wit that wants resolvèd will
To learn his wit t’ exchange the bad for better.
Fie, fie, unreverent tongue, to call her bad
15Whose sovereignty so oft thou hast preferred
With twenty thousand soul-confirming oaths!
I cannot leave to love, and yet I do;
But there I leave to love where I should love.
Julia I lose, and Valentine I lose.
20If I keep them, I needs must lose myself.
If I lose them, thus find I by their loss
For Valentine, myself; for Julia, Sylvia.
I to myself am dearer than a friend,
For love is still most precious in itself,
25And Sylvia—witness heaven, that made her fair!—
Shows Julia but a swarthy Ethiop.
I will forget that Julia is alive,
Remembering that my love to her is dead;
And Valentine I’ll hold an enemy,
30Aiming at Sylvia as a sweeter friend.
I cannot now prove constant to myself
Without some treachery used to Valentine.
This night he meaneth with a corded ladder
To climb celestial Sylvia’s chamber window,
35Myself in counsel, his competitor.
Now presently I’ll give her father notice
Of their disguising and pretended flight,
Who, all enraged, will banish Valentine;
For Thurio, he intends, shall wed his daughter;
40But, Valentine being gone, I’ll quickly cross
By some sly trick blunt Thurio’s dull proceeding.
Love, lend me wings to make my purpose swift,
As thou hast lent me wit to plot this drift!