Page images

suffer her poor knight to be surprised, without rescue, in the first assault, or ransom afterward. This she delivered in the most bitter touch of sorrow that e'er I heard virgin exclaim in; which I held my duty speedily to acquaint you withal; sithence,1 in the loss that may happen, it concerns you something to know it.

Count. You have discharged this honestly; keep it to yourself. Many likelihoods informed me of this before, which hung so tottering in the balance, that I could neither believe, nor misdoubt. Pray you, leave me stall this in your bosom, and I thank you for your honest care. I will speak with you further anon.


[Exit Steward.

Even so it was with me, when I was young.
If we,2 are nature's, these are ours; this thorn

Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong;

Our blood to us, this to our blood is born;

It is the show and seal of nature's truth,

Where love's strong passion is impressed in youth.

By our remembrances of days foregone,

Such were our faults;-or then we thought them none.

Her eye is sick on't; I observe her now.

Hel. What is your pleasure, madam?


I am a mother to you.

Hel. Mine honorable mistress.


You know, Helen,

Nay, a mother;

Why not a mother? When I said, a mother,
Methought you saw a serpent. What's in mother,
That you start at it? I say, I am your mother;
And put you in the catalogue of those

That were enwombed mine. 'Tis often seen,
Adoption strives with nature; and choice breeds
A native slip to us from foreign seeds.

You ne'er oppressed me with a mother's groan,

1 Since.

2 The old copy reads, "If ever we are nature's." The correction is Pope's.

Yet I express to you a mother's care:-
God's mercy, maiden! does it curd thy blood,
To say, I am thy mother? What's the matter,
That this distempered messenger of wet,
The many-colored Iris, rounds thine eye?
Why?—That you are my daughter?


Count. I say, I am your mother.


That I am not.

Pardon, madam

The count Rousillon cannot be my brother:
I am from humble, he from honored name;
No note upon my parents, his all noble·
My master, my dear lord he is; and I
His servant live and will his vassal die.
He must not be my brother.


Nor I your mother? Hel. You are my mother, madam.


'Would you

(So that my lord, your son, were not my brother)
Indeed my mother!-Or were you both our mothers,
I care no more for,1 than I do for Heaven,
So I were not his sister. Can't no other,”
But, I your daughter, he must be my brother?


Count. Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-inlaw;


God shield, you mean it not! daughter and mother
So strive 3 upon your pulse. What, pale again?
My fear hath catched your fondness now I see
The mystery of your loneliness, and find



Your salt tears' head. Now to all sense 'tis gross,
You love my son; invention is ashamed,
Against the proclamation of thy passion,

To say, thou dost not. Therefore, tell me true;
But tell me then, 'tis so:-for, look, thy cheeks

1 There is a designed ambiguity; i. e. I care as much for; I wish it equally.

"Can it be no other way, but if I be your daughter, he must be

2 i. e. my brother?"

3 Contend.

4 The old copy reads loveliness. The emendation is Theobald's. It has been proposed to read lowliness.

Confess it, one to the other; and thine eyes
See it so grossly shown in thy behaviors,
That in their kind1 they speak it; only sin
And hellish obstinacy tie thy tongue,

That truth should be suspected. Speak, is't so?
If it be so, you have wound a goodly clew;
If it be not, forswear't: howe'er, I charge thee,
As Heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
To tell me truly.


Good madam, pardon me!

Count. Do you love my son?

Your pardon, noble mistress!

Do not you love him, madam?

Count. Love you my son?
Count. Go not about; my love hath in't a bond,
Whereof the world takes note.

The state of your affection; for
Have to the full appeached.


Come, come, disclose

your passions

Then, I confess,

Here on my knee, before high Heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high Heaven,
I love your son.-


My friends were poor, but honest: so's my love.
Be not offended; for it hurts not him,
That he is loved of me. I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit;
Nor would I have him, till I do deserve him
Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know, I love in vain, strive against hope ;
Yet, in this captious 2 and intenible sieve,
I still pour in the waters of my love,
And lack not to lose still; thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore

1 In their language, according to their nature.

2 Johnson is perplexed about this word captious, "which (says he) I never found in this sense, yet I cannot tell what to substitute, unless carious, for rotten." Farmer supposes captious to be a contraction of capacious! Steevens believes that captious meant recipient! capable of receiving! and intenible incapable of holding or retaining:-he rightly explains the latter word, which is printed in the old copy intemible by mistake.

The sun, that looks upon his worshipper,
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
For loving where you do; but, if yourself,
Whose aged honor cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever, in so true a flame of liking,
Wish chastely, and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and love ;-O then give pity
To her, whose state is such, that cannot choose
But lend and give, where she is sure to lose;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But, riddle-like, lives sweetly where she dies.
Count. Had you not lately an intent-speak truly—
To go to Paris?

Madam, I had.

Wherefore? Tell true.
Hel. I will tell truth; by grace itself, I swear.
You know, my father left me some prescriptions
Of rare and proved effects, such as his reading,
And manifest experience, had collected

For general sovereignty; and that he willed me
In heedfulest reservation to bestow them,

As notes, whose faculties inclusive were,

More than they were in note.1 Amongst the rest,
There is a remedy approved, set down,

To cure the desperate languishes, whereof

The king is rendered lost.


For Paris, was it? speak.

This was your motive

Hel. My lord your son made me to think of this ;

Else Paris, and the medicine, and the king,

Had, from the conversation of my thoughts,

Haply, been absent then.


But think you, Helen,

If you should tender your supposed aid,

He would receive it? He and his physicians

Are of a mind; he, that they cannot help him;

1 Receipts in which greater virtues were inclosed than appeared to observation.

They, that they cannot help. How shall they credit
A poor unlearned virgin, when the schools,

Embowelled of their doctrine,1 have left off
The danger to itself?


There's something hints,


More than my father's skill, which was the greatest
Of his profession, that his good receipt

Shall, for my legacy, be sanctified

By the luckiest stars in heaven; and would your honor But give me leave to try success, I'd venture

The well-lost life of mine on his grace's cure,

By such a day and hour.


Dost thou believe't?

Hel. Ay, madam, knowingly.

Count. Why, Helen, thou shalt have my leave and love,

Means, and attendants, and my loving greetings
To those of mine in court. I'll stay at home,


And pray God's blessing into thy attempt.
Be gone to-morrow; and be sure of this,
What I can help thee to, thou shalt not miss.


1 Exhausted of their skill.

2 The old copy reads-in't. The emendation is Hanmer's.

3 Into for unto-a common form of expression with old writers. The third folio reads unto.

« PreviousContinue »