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KING OF FRANCE.
COUNTESS OF ROUSILLON, Mother to BERTRAM.
} Neighbours and Friends to the Widow.
Lords, Officers, Soldiers, &c., French and Florentine.
SCENE, -Partly in FRANCE and partly in TUSCANY,
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
SCENE I.-ROUSILLON. A Room in the COUNTESS's Mansion. Enter BERTRAM, the COUNTESS OF ROUSILLON, HELENA, and LAFEU,
all in black. Count. In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.
Ber. And I, in going, Madam, weep o'er my father's death anew : but I must attend his majesty's command, to whom I am now in ward, evermore in subjection.
Laf. You shall find of the king a husband, Madam ;-you, Sir, a father: he that so generally is at all times good, must of necessity hold his virtue to you ; whose worthiness would stir it up where it wanted, rather than lack it where there is such abundance.
Count. What hope is there of his majesty's amendment?
Laf. He hath abandoned his physicians, Madam ; under whose practices he hath persecuted time with hope ; and finds no other advantage in the process but only the losing of hope by time.
Count. This young gentlewoman had a father,—0, that “had!” how sad a passage 'tis !—whose skill was almost as great as his honesty; had it stretched so far, would have made nature immortal, and death should have play for lack of work. Would, for the king's sake, he were living! I think it would be the death of the king's disease.
Laf. How called you the man you speak of, Madam ?
Count. He was famous, Sir, in his profession, and it was his great right to be so,- Gerard de Narbon.
Laf. He was excellent, indeed, Madam : the king very lately spoke of him admiringly and mourningly: he was skilful enough to have lived still, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.
Ber. What is it, my good lord, the king languishes of?
Ber. I heard not of it before.
Laf. I would it were not notorious.—Was this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon ?
Count. His sole child, my lord ; and bequeathed to my overlooking. I have those hopes of her good that her education promises : her dispositions she inherits, which make fair gifts fairer ; for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, their commendations go with pity,—they are virtues and traitors too: in her they are the better for their simpleness; she derives her honesty, and achieves her goodness.
Laf. Your commendations, Madam, get from her tears.
Count. 'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in. The remembrance of her father never approaches her heart, but the tyranny of her sorrows takes all livelihood from her cheek.- No more of this, Helena,-go to, no more ; lest it be rather thought you affect a sorrow, than to have.
Hel. I do affect a sorrow, indeed ; but I have it too.
Laf. Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead; excessive grief the enemy to the living.
Hel. If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it soon mortal.
Ber. Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
In manners, as in shape! thy blood and virtue
He cannot want the best
[Exit. Ber. [To HELENA.] The best wishes that can be forged in your thoughts be servants to you! Be cornfortable to my mother, your mistress, and make much of her.
Laf. Farewell, pretty lady: you must hold the credit of your father.
[Exeunt BERTRAM and LAFEU.