Page images
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

PAROLLES, a follower of Bertram. Steward to the Countess of Rousillon. LAVACHE, a Clown in her household. A Page.


Lords, Officers, Soldiers, &c., French and

SCENE.-Rousillon, Paris, Florence, Marseilles.

[blocks in formation]

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. 12 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. 19 Count. This young gentlewoman had a father, O, 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,


Ber. What is it, my good lord, the king languishes of?

Laf. A fistula, my lord.
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 makes fair gifts fairer; for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there 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. 53 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 have it.


Hel. I do affect a sorrow indeed, but I have it too. 64

Laf. Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead, excessive grief the enemy to the living.

[blocks in formation]

Count. Be thou blest, Bertram; and succeed
thy father

In manners, as in shape! thy blood and virtue 72
Contend for empire in thee; and thy goodness
Share with thy birthright! Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none: be able for thine enemy
Rather in power than use, and keep thy friend 76
Under thy own life's key: be check'd for silence,
But never tax'd for speech. What heaven more

That thee may furnish, and my prayers pluck

Fall on thy head! Farewell, my lord;
'Tis an unseason'd courtier; good my lord,
Advise him.

Laf. He cannot want the best
That shall attend his love.


[blocks in formation]


Than those I shed for him. What was he like?
I have forgot him: my imagination
Carries no favour in 't but Bertram's.
I am undone: there is no living, none,
If Bertram be away. It were all one
That I should love a bright particular star
And think to wed it, he is so above me:
In his bright radiance and collateral light
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
The ambition in my love thus plagues itself:
The hind that would be mated by the lion
Must die for love. 'Twas pretty, though a plague,
To see him every hour; to sit and draw
His arched brows, his hawking eye, his curls,
In our heart's table; heart too capable

[blocks in formation]

Par. Are you meditating on virginity? Hel. Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you; let me ask you a question. Man is enemy to virginity; how may we barricado it against him?

Par. Keep him out.


Hel. But he assails; and our virginity, though valiant in the defence, yet is weak. Unfold to us some war-like resistance.

Par. There is none: man, sitting down before you, will undermine you and blow you up. 132

Hel. Bless our poor virginity from underminers and blowers up! Is there no military policy, how virgins might blow up men?

Par. Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier be blown up: marry in blowing him down again, with the breach yourselves made, you lose your city. It is not politic in the commonwealth of nature to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is rational increase, and there was never virgin got till virginity was first lost. That you were made of is metal to make virgins. Virginity, by being once lost, may be ten times found: by being ever kept, it is ever lost. 'Tis too cold a companion: away with 't!

Hel. I will stand for't a little, though therefore I die a virgin.


Par. There's little can be said in't; 'tis 96 against the rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity is to accuse your mothers, which is most infallible disobedience. He that hangs himself is a virgin: virginity murders itself, and should be buried in highways, out of all sanctified limit, as a desperate offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese, consumes itself to the very paring, and so dies with feeding his own stomach. Besides, virginity is peevish, proud, idle, made of self-love, which is the most inhibited sin in the canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but lose by't! Out with't! within the year it will make itself two, which is a goodly increase, and the principal itself not much the worse. Away with't! 164


Of every line and trick of his sweet favour: 108
But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy
Must sanctify his reliques. Who comes here?
One that goes with him: I love him for his sake;
And yet I know him a notorious liar,
Think him a great way fool, solely a coward;
Yet these fix'd evils sit so fit in him,
That they take place, when virtue's steely bones


Hel. How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own liking?

Par. Let me see: marry, ill, to like him that ne'er it likes. 'Tis a commodity that will lose the gloss with lying; the longer kept, the less

worth: off with 't, while 'tis vendible; answer the
time of request. Virginity, like an old courtier,
wears her cap out of fashion; richly suited, but
unsuitable: just like the brooch and the tooth-
pick, which wear not now. Your date is better in
your pie and your porridge than in your cheek:
and your virginity, your old virginity, is like one
of our French withered pears; it looks ill, it eats
drily; marry,
'tis a withered pear; it was for-
merly better; marry, yet 'tis a withered pear.
Will you anything with it?'

Hel. Not my virginity yet.


Par. I am so full of businesses I cannot answer thee acutely. I will return perfect courtier; in the which, my instruction shall serve to naturalize thee, so thou wilt be capable of a courtier's counsel, and understand what advice shall thrust upon thee; else thou diest in thine unthankfulness, and thine ignorance makes thee away: farewell. When thou hast leisure, say thy prayers; when thou hast none, remember thy friends. Get thee a good husband, and use him as he uses thee: so, farewell. [Exit. Hel. Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie

There shall your master have a thousand loves, Which we ascribe to heaven: the fated sky 236

A mother, and a mistress, and a friend,

A phoenix, captain, and an enemy,

A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign,

A counsellor, a traitress, and a dear;

His humble ambition, proud humility,

Gives us free scope; only doth backward pull 184 Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull. What power is it which mounts my love so high; That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye? The mightiest space in fortune nature brings 241

His jarring concord, and his discord dulcet, 188 To join like likes, and kiss like native things.

His faith, his sweet disaster; with a world
Of pretty, fond, adoptious christendoms,
That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he-
I know not what he shall. God send him well!
The court's a learning-place, and he is one- 193
Par. What one, i' faith?

Hel. That I wish well. 'Tis pity-
Par. What's pity?


Hel. That wishing well had not a body in't, Which might be felt; that we, the poorer born, Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes, Might with effects of them follow our friends, 200 And show what we alone must think, which

[blocks in formation]

Impossible be strange attempts to those

That weigh their pains in sense, and do suppose
What hath been cannot be: who ever strove 245
To show her merit, that did miss her love?
The king's disease,-my project may deceive me,
But my intents are fix'd and will not leave me.

[blocks in formation]

A certainty, vouch'd from our cousin Austria,
With caution that the Florentine will move us
For speedy aid; wherein our dearest friend
Prejudicates the business, and would seem 8
To have us make denial.
First Lord.
His love and wisdom,
Approv'd so to your majesty, may plead
For amplest credence.
He hath arm'd our answer,
And Florence is denied before he comes:
Yet, for our gentlemen that mean to see
The Tuscan service, freely have they leave
To stand on either part.

Sec. Lord.
It well may serve
A nursery to our gentry, who are sick
For breathing and exploit.



What's he comes here?

[blocks in formation]




As when thy father and myself in friendship
First tried our soldiership! He did look far
Into the service of the time and was
Discipled of the bravest: he lasted long;
But on us both did haggish age steal on,
And wore us out of act. It much repairs me
To talk of your good father. In his youth
He had the wit which I can well observe
To-day in our young lords; but they may jest
Till their own scorn return to them unnoted
Ere they can hide their levity in honour.
So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness
Were in his pride or sharpness; if they were,
His equal had awak'd them; and his honour,
Clock to itself, knew the true minute when
Exception bid him speak, and at this time
His tongue obey'd his hand: who were below him
He us'd as creatures of another place,
And bow'd his eminent top to their low ranks,
Making them proud of his humility,




In their poor praise he humbled. Such a man
Might be a copy to these younger times,
Which, follow'd well, would demonstrate them


But goers backward.


His good remembrance, sir, 48 Lies richer in your thoughts than on his tomb; So in approof lives not his epitaph As in your royal speech.

King. Would I were with him! He would always say,



Methinks I hear him now: his plausive words
He scatter'd not in ears, but grafted them,
To grow there and to bear. 'Let me not live,'—
Thus his good melancholy oft began,
On the catastrophe and heel of pastime,
When it was out,-'Let me not live,' quoth he,
'After my flame lacks oil, to be the snuff
Of younger spirits, whose apprehensive senses 60
All but new things disdain; whose judgments are
Mere fathers of their garments; whose con-

Expire before their fashions.' This he wish'd: I, after him, do after him wish too, 64

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »