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SCENE III.-Rousillon. A Room in the COUNTESS'S Palace.
Count. I will now hear: what say you of this gentlewoman? Stew. Madam, the care 1 have had to even your content,* I wish might be found in the calendar of my past endeavours; for then we wound our modesty, and make foul the clearness of our deservings, when of ourselves we publish them.
Count. What does this knave here? Get you gone, sirrah: The complaints, I have heard of you, I do not at all believe; 'tis my slowness, that I do not: for, I know, you lack not folly to commit them, and have ability enough to make such knaveries yours.
Clo. 'Tis not unknown to you, Madam, I am a poor fellow.
Clo. No, Madam, 'tis not so well, that I am poor; though many of the rich are damned: But, if I may have your ladyship's good will to go to the world,+ Isbel the woman and I will do as we may. Count. Wilt thou needs be a beggar ?
Clo. I do beg your good-will in this case.
Clo. In Isbel's case, and mine own. Service is no heritage: and, I think, I shall never have the blessing of God, till I have issue of my body; for they say, bearns are blessings.
Count. Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.
Clo. My poor body, Madam, requires it: I am driven on by the flesh; and he must needs go, that the devil drives.
Count. Is this all your worship's reason?
Clo. Faith, Madam, I have other holy reasons, such as they
Count. May the world know them?
Clo. have been, Madam, a wicked creature, as you and all flesh and blood are; and indeed, I do marry, that I may repent. Count. Thy marriage sooner than thy wickedness.
Clo. I am out of friends, Madam; and I hope to have friends for my wife's sake.
Count. Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
Clo. You are shallow, Madam; e'en great friends; for the knaves come to do that for me which I am a-weary of. He that ears§ my land, spares my team, and gives me leave to inn the the crop: if I be his cuckold, he's my drudge: He, that comforts my wife, is the cherisher of my flesh and blood; he, that cherishes my flesh and blood, loves my flesh and blood; he, that loves my flesh and blood, is my friend: ergo, he that kisses my wife, is my friend. If men could be contented to be what they are, there were no fear in marriage; for young Charbon the puritan, and old Poysam the papist, howsoe'er their hearts are severed in religion, their heads are both one, they may joll horns together, like any deer i' the herd.
Count. Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouthed and calumnious knave?
* To act up to your desire.
+ To be married.
Clo. A prophet I, Madam; and I speak the truth the next way:
For I the ballad will repeat,
Count. Get you gone, Sir; I'll talk with you more anon. Stew. May it please you, Madam, that he bid Helen come to you; of her I am to speak.
Count. Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman, I would speak with her; Helen, I mean.
Clo. Was this fair face the cause, quoth she, [Singing.
Was this king Priam's joy?
And gave this sentence then;
Count. What, one good in ten ? you corrupt the song, sirrah. Clo. One good woman in ten, Madam; which is a purifying o' the song: "Would God would serve the world so all the year! we'd find no fault with the tithe-woman, if I were the parson: One in ten, quoth a'! an we might have a good woman born but for every blazing star, or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery well; a man may draw his heart out, ere he pluck one.
Count. You'll be gone, sir knave, and do as I command you? Clo. That man should be at woman's command, and yet no hurt done!-Though honesty be no puritan, yet it will do no hurt; it will wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart.-I am going, forsooth: the business is for Helen to come hither. [Exit CLOWN.
Count. Well, now.
Stew. I know, Madam, you love your gentlewoman entirely, Count. Faith, I do: her father bequeathed her to me; and she herself, without other advantage, may lawfully make title to as much love as she finds: there is more owing her, than is paid; and more shall be paid her, than she'll demand.
Stew. Madam, I was very late more near her than, I think, she wished me alone she was, and did communicate to herself, her own words to her own ears; she thought, I dare vow for her, they touched not any stranger sense. Her matter was, she loved your son: Fortune, she said, was no goddess, that had put such difference betwixt their two estates; Love, no god, that would not extend his might, only where qualities were level; Diana, no queen of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight‡ surprised,
*The nearest way.
# (To be.)
† Foolishly done.
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.
Count. Even so it was with me, when I was young:
Our blood to us, this to our blood is born;
Hel. What is your pleasure, Madam?
Count. You know, Helen, I am a mother to you.
Count. Nay, a mother;
Why not a mother? When I said a mother,
You ne'er oppress'd me with a mother's groan,
Hel. That I am not.
Count. I say, I am your mother.
Hel. Pardon, Madam:
The count Rousillon cannot 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),
Indeed, my mother!-or were you both our mothers,
Count. Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-in-law;
Hel. Good Madam, pardon me!
Hel. Your pardon, noble mistress!
Hel. Do not you love him, madam?
Count. Go not about; my love hath in't a bond,
Hel. Then, I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
My friends were poor,
The sun, that looks upon his worshipper,
* I. e. I care as much for: I wish it equally.
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
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.
For general sovereignty; and that he will'd me
More than they were in note:‡ amongst the rest,
To cure the desperate languishes, whereof
Count. This was your motive
For Paris, was it? speak.
Hel. My lord your son made me to think of this;
Count. But think you, Helen,
If you should tender your supposed aid,
They, that they cannot help: How shall they credit
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,
Count. Dost thou believe 't?
Hel. Ay, madam, knowingly.
*I. e. proves.
+ I. e. Venus.
Receipts in which greater virtues were enclosed than appeared.