SCENE I. The frontiers of Mantua. A forest.
Enter certain Outlaws
Then know that I have little wealth to lose:
A man I am cross’d with adversity;
My riches are these poor habiliments,
Of which if you should here disfurnish me,
You take the sum and substance that I have.
For that which now torments me to rehearse:
I kill’d a man, whose death I much repent;
Bu t yet I slew him manfully in fight,
Without false vantage or base treachery.
Know, then, that some of us are gentlemen,
Such as the fury of ungovern’d youth
Thrust from the company of awful men:
Myself was from Verona banished
For practising to steal away a lady,
An heir, and near allied unto the duke.
And I for such like petty crimes as these,
But to the purpose–for we cite our faults,
That they may hold excus’d our lawless lives;
And partly, seeing you are beautified
With goodly shape and by your own report
A linguist and a man of such perfection
As we do in our quality much want–
Indeed, because you are a banish’d man,
Therefore, above the rest, we parley to you:
Are you content to be our general?
To make a virtue of necessity
And live, as we do, in this wilderness?
What say’st thou? wilt thou be of our consort?
Say ay, and be the captain of us all:
We’ll do thee homage and be ruled by thee,
Love thee as our commander and our king.
I take your offer and will live with you,
Provided that you do no outrages
On silly women or poor passengers.