Page images
PDF
EPUB

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,* 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. Enter HELENA. Count. Even so it was with me, when I was young:

If we 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 impress'd 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 ?
Count. You know, Helen, I am a mother to you.
Hel. Mine honourable mistress.

Count. 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 oppress'd me with a mother's groan,
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 distemper'd messenger of wet,
The many-colour'd Iris, rounds thine eye ?
Why ? -that you are my daughter ?

Hel. That I am not.
Count. I say, I am your mother.
Hel. Pardon, Madam :
The count Rousillon cannot be my brother:
I am from humble, he from honour'd name;
No note upon my parents, his all noble:
My master, my dear lord he is; and I
His servant live, and will his vassel die:
He must not be my brother.

Count. Nor I your mother ?
Hel. You are my mother, Madam; 'Would you were
(So that my lord, your son, were not my brother),

* Since.

Indeed, my mother !--or were you both our mothers,
I care no more for,* 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-in-law;
God shield, you mean it not! daughter and mother,
So strive upon your pulse : What, pale again ?
My fear hath catch'd your fondness : Now I see
The mystery of your loneliness, and find
Your salt tears' head.t 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
Confess it one to the other; and thine eyes
See it so grossly shown in thy behaviours,
That in their kind 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 clúe;
If it be not, forswear't: howe'er, I charge thee,
As heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
To tell me truly.
Hel. Good Madam, pardon me!
Count. Do you love my son ?
Hel. Your pardon, noble mistress !
Count. Love you my son ?
Hel. Do not you love him, madam ?
Count. Go not about; my love hath in't a bond,
Whereof the world takes note: come, come, disclose
The state of your affection; for your passions
Have to the full appeach'd.

Hel. 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 and inteniblef 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
The sun, that looks upon his worshipper,
But knows of him no more. My dearest Madam,

* 1.e. I care as much for: I wish it equally. - The source, the cause of your grief. # Receiving, but not retaining.

Let not your hate encounter with my love,
For loving where you do: but, if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites* a vírtuous youth,
Did ever, in so true a flame of liking,
Wish chastely, and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and love ;ť 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 ?

Hel. Madam, I had.
Count. 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 willd me
In heedfullest reservation to bestow them,
As notes, whose faculties inclusive were,
More than they were in note:I amongst the rest,
There is a remedy, approved, set down,
To cure the desperate languishes, whereof
The king is rendered lost.

Count. This was your motive
For Paris, was it ? speak.

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.

Count. 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,
They, that they cannot help: How shall they credit
A poor unlearned virgin, when the schools,
Embowell’d of their doctrine, have left off
The danger to itself?

Hel. 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 honour
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.
Count. Dost thou believe 't?
Hel. Ay, madam, knowingly.

* I.e. proves.

+ I. e. Venus. # Receipts in which greater virtues were enclosed than appeared. $ Exhausted of their skill.

Count. Why, Helen, thou shalt have my leave, and love, Means, and attendants, and my loving greetings To those of mine own 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 thée to, thou shalt not miss. [Exeunt.

ACT II.

SCENE I.-Paris. A Room in the King's Palace. Flourish. Enter King, with young Lords taking leave for the

Florentine war; BERTRAM, PAROLLES, and attendants. King. Farewell, young lord, these warlike principles Do not throw from you :-And you, my lord, farewell :Share the advice betwixt you; if both gain all, The gift doth stretch itself as 'tis received, And is enough for both.

1 Lord. It is our hope, Sir,
After well-enter'd soldiers, to return
And find your grace in health.

King. No, no, it cannot be; and yet my heart
Will not confess he owes the malady
That doth my life besiege. Farewell, young lords;
Whether I live or die, be you the sons
Of worthy Frenchmen: let higher Italy
(Those 'bated, that inherit but the fall
Of the last monarchy) see, that you come
Not to woo honour, but to wed it; when
The bravest questant* shrinks, find what you seek,
That fame may cry you loud : I say, farewell.

2 Lord. Health, at your bidding, serve your majesty!

King. Those girls of Italy, take heed of them;
They say, our French lack language to deny,
If they demand: beware of being captives,
Before you serve.t
Both. Our hearts receive your warnings.
King. Farewell.—Come hither to me.

[The KING retires to a couch. 1 Lord. O my sweet lord, that you will stay behind us ! Par. 'Tis not his fault: the spark2 Lord. O, 'tis brave wars! Par. Most admirable: I have seen those wars. Ber. I am commanded here, and kept a coil with; Too young, and the next year, and 'tis too early. Par. An thy mind stand to it, boy, steal away bravely. Ber. I shall stay here the forehorse to a smock, S * Seeker.

† Be not captives before you are soldiers. I With a noise, bustle.

To lead ladies out to dance,

Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry,
Till honour be bought up, and no sword worn,
But one to dance with! * By heaven, I'll steal away.

1 Lord. There's honour in the theft.
Par. Commit it, count.
2 Lord. I am your accessary; and so farewell.
Ber. I grow to you, and our parting is a tortured body.
i Lord. Farewell, captain.
2 Lord. Sweet Monsieur Parolles !

Par. Noble heroes, my sword and yours are kin. Good sparks and lustrous, a word, good metals :-You shall find in the regiment of the Spinii, one Captain Spurio, with his cicatrice, an emblem of war, here on his sinister cheek; it was this very sword intrenched it: say to him, I live; and observe his reports for me.

2 Lord. We shall, noble captain. Par. Mars dote on you for his novices! (Exeunt LORDS.] What will you do? Ber. Stay, the king

[Seeing him rise. Par. Use a more spacious ceremony to the noble lords; you have restrained yourself within the list of too cold an adieu: be more expressive to them; for they wear themselves in the cap of the time,t there, do muster true gait, I eat, speak, and move under the influence of the most received star; and though the devil lead the measure, ş such are to be followed: after them, and take a more dilated farewell.

Ber. And I will do so.

Par. Worthy fellows; and like to prove most sinewy swordmen.

[Exeunt BERTRAM and PAROLLES.

Enter LAFEU.
Laf. Pardon, my lord [Kneeling), for me and for my tidings.
King. I'll fee thee to stand up.

Laf. Then here's a man
Stands, that has brought his pardon. I would, you
Had kneel’d, my lord, to ask me mercy; and
That, at my bidding, you could so stand up.

King. I would I had; so I had broke thy pate,
And ask'd thee mercy fort.

Laf. Goodfaith, across://
But my good lord, 'tis thus; Will you be cured
Of your infirmity ?

King. No.
Laf. O, will you eat
No grapes, my royal fox ? yes, but you will,
My noble grapes, an if my royal fox
Could reach them: I have seen a medicine, T

* A mere dress-sword.
† They are the foremost in the fashion.
I Have the true military step.

The dance. | A failure; a phrase taken from the exercise at a quaintaine.

A female physician.

« PreviousContinue »