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SCENE III.

The same.

A Room in the Countess's Palace.

Flourish. Enter King, Countess, LAFEU, Lords,

Gentlemen, Guards, fc.
King. We lost a jewel of her; and our esteem
Was made much poorer by it: but your son,
As mad in folly, lack'd the sense to know
Her estimation home.9
Count.

"Tis past, my liege :
And I beseech your majesty to make it
Natural rebellion, done i’the blaze of youth ;
When oil and fire, too strong for reason's force,
O'erbears it, and burns on.
King.

My honour'd lady,
I have forgiven and forgotten all;
Though my revenges were high bent upon him,
And watch'd the time to shoot.
Laf.

This I must say,
But first I beg my pardon, The

lord
Did to his majesty, his mother, and his lady,
Offence of mighty note; but to himself
The greatest wrong of all: he lost a wife,
Whose beauty did astonish the survey

young

Falstaff, and seems to be the character which Shakspeare delighted to draw, a fellow that had more wit than virtue. Though justice required that he should be detected and exposed, yet his vices sit so fit in him that he is not at last suffered to starve. Johnson.

esteem -] Meaning that his esteem was lessened in its value by Bertram's misconduct; since a person who was honoured with it could be so ill treated as Helena had been, and that with impunity.

i home.] That is, completely, in its full extent.

Of richest eyes;' whose words all cars took captive;
Whose dear perfection, hearts that scorn’d to serve,
Humbly called mistress.
King

Praising what is lost, Makes the remembrance dear. Well, call him

hither ;
We are reconcil'd, and the first view shall kill
All repetition : -Let him not ask our pardon ;
The nature of his great offence is dead,
And deeper than oblivion do we bury
The incensing relicks of it: let him approach,
A stranger, no offender; and inform him,
So 'tis our will he should.
Gent.

I shall, my liege.

[Erit Gentleman. King. What says he to your daughter. have you

spoke? Laf. All that he is hath reference to your highness. King. Then shall we have a match. I have letters

sent me,

That set him high in fame.

Enter BERTRAM.

He looks well on't.

Laf.

1

2

Of richest eyes ;] Shakspeare means that her beauty had astonished those, who, having seen the greatest number of fair women, might be said to be the richest in ideas of beauty.

the first view shall kill All repetition :) The first interview shall put an end to all recollection of the past. Shakspeare is now hastening to the end of the play, finds his matter sufficient to fill up his remaining scenes, and therefore, as on such other occasions, contracts his dialogue and precipitates his action. Decency required that Bertram's double crime of cruelty and disobedience, joined likewise with some hypocrisy, should raise more resentment; and that though his mother might easily forgive him, his king should more pertinaciously vindicate his own authority and Helen's merit. Of all this Shakspeare could not be ignorant, but Shakspeare wanted to conclude his play. JOHNSON.

King. I am not a day of season,
For thou may'st see a sun-shine and a hail
In me at once : But to the brightest beams
Distracted clouds give way; so stand thou forth,
The time is fair again.
Ber.

My high-repented blames,
Dear sovereign pardon to me.
King

All is whole;
Not one word more of the consumed time.
Let's take the instant by the forward top ;
For we are old, and on our quick'st decrees
The inaudible and noiseless foot of time
Steals ere we can effect them : You remember
The daughter of this lord ?

Ber. Admiringly, my liege: at first
I I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue:
Where the impression of mine eye infixing,
Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me,
Which warp'd the line of every other favour ;
Scorn'd a fair colour, or express'd it stol'n;
Extended or contracted all proportions,
To a most hideous object: Thence it came,
That she, whom all men prais’d, and whom

myself,
Since I have lost, have lov’d, was in mine eye
The dust that did offend it.
King.

Well excus'd :
That thou didst love her, strikes some scores away
From the great compt: But love, that comes too

late, Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried,

3 I am not a day of season,] That is, of uninterrupted rain : one of those wet days that usually happen about the vernal equinox.

* My high-repented blames, ] High-repented blames, are faults repented of to the height, to the utmost. VOL. III.

BB

To the great sender turns a sour offence,
Crying, That's good that's gone : our rash faults
Make trivial price of serious things we have,
Not knowing them, until we know their grave:
Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust,
Destroy our friends, and after weep their dust:
Our own love waking cries to see what's done,
While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon.
Be this sweet Helen's knell, and now forget her.
Send forth your amorous token for fair Maudlin :
The main consents are had ; and here we'll stay
To see our widower's second marriage-day.

Count. Which better than the first, o dear hea

ven, bless!

Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cease!

Laf. Come on, my son, in whom my house's

name

Must be digested, give a favour from you,
To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter,
That she may quickly come. By my old beard,
And every hair that's on't, Helen, that's dead,
Was a sweet creature ; such a ring as this,
The last that e'er I took her leave at court,
I saw upon her finger.
Ber.

Hers it was not.
King. Now, pray you, let me see it; for mine

eye, While I was speaking, oft was fasten’d to't:This ring was mine; and, when I gave it Helen, I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood Necessitied to help, that by this token I would relieve her: Had you that craft, to reave her Of what should stead her most? Ber.

My gracious sovereign, Howe'er it pleases you to take it so, The ring was never hers. Count.

Son, on my life,

I have seen her wear it; and she reckon'd it
At her life's rate.
Laf.

I am sure, I saw her wear it.
Ber. You are deceiv’d, my lord, she never saw it:
In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,'
Wrapp'd in a paper, which contain’d the name
Of her that threw it: noble she was, and thought
I stood ingag’d:6 but when I had subscrib'd
To mine own fortune, and inform'd her fully,
I could not answer in that course of honour
As she had made the overture, she ceas'd,
In heavy satisfaction, and would never
Receive the ring again.
King.

Plutus himself, That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine, Hath not in nature's mystery more science, Than I have in this ring: 'twas mine, 'twas Helen's, Whoever gave it you: Then, if you know That you are well acquainted with yourself, Confess twas hers, and by what rough enforcement

5 In Florence was it from a casenicnt thrown me,] Bertram still continues to have too little virtue to deserve Helen. He did not know indeed that it was Helen's ring, but he knew that he had it not from a window. Johnson. 6 noble she was, and thought

I stood ingag'd :) Ingaged, in the sense of unengaged, is a word of exactly the same formation as inhabitable, which is used by Shakspeare and the contemporary writers for uninhabitable.

MALONE. 1 Plutus himself,

That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine,] Plutus, the grand alchemist, who knows the tincture which confers the properties of gold upon base metals, and the matter by which gold is multiplied, by which a small quantity of gold is made to commuvicate its qualities to a large mass of base metal.

Then, if you know
That you are well acquainted with yourself,

Confess 'twas hers,] The true meaning of this expression is, If you know that your faculties are so sound, as that you have the proper consciousness of your own actions, and are able to recollect and relate what you have done, tell me, &c. Johnson.

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