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Laf. He looks well on't.

King. I am not a day of season,*

For thou mayst see a sunshine 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 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 praised, and whom myself,
Since I have lost, have loved, was in mine eye
The dust that did offend it.

King. Well excused:

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,

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 heaven, bless! Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cesse !‡

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,

* I, e. of uninterrupted rain.

† Faults.

+ Cease.

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 deceived, 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 ingaged:* but when I had subscribed
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 ceased,
In heavy satisfaction, and would never
Receive the ring again.

King. Plutus himself,

That knows the tinct and multiplying medicinef
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,

You got it from her: she call'd the saints to surety,
That she would never put it from her finger,

Unless she gave it to yourself in bed

(Where you have never come), or sent it us Upon her great disaster.

Ber. She never saw it.

King. Thou speak'st it falsely, as I love mine honour;
And mak'st conjectural fears to come into me,
Which I would fain shut out: If it should prove
That thou art so inhuman,-'twill not prove so ;-
And yet I know not:-thou didst hate her deadly,
And she is dead; which nothing, but to close
Her eyes myself, could win me to believe,
More than to see this ring.-Take him away.—

In the sense of unengaged.

[Guards seize BERTRAM.

†The philosopher's stone.

My fore-past proofs, howe'er the matter fall,
Shall tax my fears of little vanity,

Having vainly fear'd too little.-Away with him ;—
We'll sift this matter further.

Ber. If you shall prove

This ring was ever hers, you shall as easy

Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence,

Where yet she never was.

[Exit BERTRAM, guarded.


King. I am wrapp'd in dismal thinkings.

Gent. Gracious sovereign,

Whether I have been to blame, or no, I know not;-
Here's a petition from a Florentine,

Who hath, for four or five removes,* come short
To tender it herself. I undertook it,

Vanquish'd thereto by the fair grace and speech
Of the poor suppliant, who by this, I know,
Is here attending: her business looks in her
With an importing visage; and she told me,
In a sweet verbal brief, it did concern

Your highness with herself.

King. [Reads.] Upon his many protestations to marry me, when his wife was dead, I blush to say it, he won me. Now is the count Rousillon a widower; his vows are forfeited to me, and my honour's paid to him. He stole from Florence, taking no leave, and I follow him to his country for justice: Grant it me, O king; in you it best lies; otherwise a seducer flourishes, and a poor maid is undone. DIANA CAPULET.

Laf. I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll him:† for this, I'll none of him.

King. The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafeu, To bring forth this discovery.-Seek these suitors:

Go, speedily, and bring again the count.

[Exeunt GENTLEMAN, and some Attendants.

I am afeard, the life of Helen, lady,

Was foully snatch'd.

Count. Now, justice on the doers!

Enter BERTRAM, guarded.

King. I wonder, Sir, since wives are monsters to you,
And that you fly them as you swear them lordship,
Yet you desire to marry.-What woman's that?

Re-enter GENTLEMAN, with WIDOW and DIANA.
Dia. I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine,
Derived from the ancient Capulet;

My suit, as I do understand, you know,
And therefore know how far I may be pitied.

Wid. I am her mother, Sir, whose age and honour

* Post-stages.

† Pay toll for him.

Both suffer under this complaint we bring,
And both shall cease* without your remedy.

King. Come hither, count; Do you know these women?
Ber. My lord, I neither can nor will deny

But that I know them: Do they charge me further?

Dia. Why do you look so strange upon your wife?
Ber. She's none of mine, my lord.

Dia. If you shall marry,

You give away this hand, and that is mine;

You give away heaven's vows, and those are mine;

You give away myself, which is known mine;
For I by vow am so embodied yours,

That she, which marries you, must marry me,
Either both, or none.

Laf. Your reputation [To BERTRAM] comes too short for my daughter, you are no husband for her.

Ber. My lord, this is a fond and desperate creature,

Whom sometime I have laugh'd with: let your highness
Lay a more noble thought upon mine honour,

Than for to think that I would sink it here.

King. Sir, for my thoughts you have them ill to friend, Till your deeds gain them: Fairer prove your honour, Than in my thought it lies!

Dia. Good my lord,

Ask him upon his oath, if he does think

He had not my virginity.

King. What say'st thou to her?

Ber. She's impudent, my lord;

And was a common gamestert to the camp.

Dia. He does me wrong, my lord; if I were so,

He might have bought me at a common price;

Do not believe him: O, behold this ring,
Whose high respect, and rich validity,+
Did lack a parallel; yet, for all that,
He gave it to a commoner o' the camp,
If I be one.

Count. He blushes, and 'tis it:

Of six preceding ancestors, that gem

Conferr'd by testament to the sequent issue,
Hath it been owed and worn. This is his wife;
That ring 's a thousand proofs.

King. Methought, you said,

You saw one here in court could witness it.
Dia. I did, my lord, but loath am to produce
So bad an instrument; his name's Parolles.
Laf. I saw the man to-day, if man he be.
King. Find him, and bring him hither.
Ber. What of him?

He's quoted § for a most perfidious slave,

With all the spots o' the world tax'd and debosh'd; ||


† A common woman.

+ Value.

§ Noted.


Whose nature sickens, but to speak a truth:
Am I or that, or this, for what he'll utter,
That will speak anything?

King. She hath that ring of yours.

Ber. I think, she has: certain it is, I liked her,
And boarded her i' the wanton way of youth:
She knew her distance, and did angle for me,
Madding my eagerness with her restraint,
As all impediments in fancy'st course
Are motives of more fancy; and, in fine,
Her insuit coming with her modernt grace,
Subdued me to her rate: she got the ring;
And I had that, which any inferior might
At market-price have bought.

Dia. I must be patient;

You, that turn'd off a first so noble wife,
May justly diet me.§ I pray you yet

(Since you lack virtue, I will lose a husband),
Send for your ring, I will return it home,
And give me mine again.

Ber. I have it not.

King. What ring was yours, I pray you?
Dia. Sir, much like

The same upon your finger.

King. Know you this ring? this ring was his of late.
Dia. And this was it I gave him, being a-bed.

King. The story then goes false, you threw it him

Out of a casement.

Dia. I have spoke the truth.


Ber. My lord, I do confess, the ring was hers.

King. You boggle shrewdly, every feather starts you.

Is this the man you speak of?

Dia. Ay, my lord.

King. Tell me, sirrah, but, tell me true, I charge you,

Not fearing the displeasure of your master

(Which, on your just proceeding, I'll keep off),

By him, and by this woman here, what know you?

Par. So please your majesty, my master hath been an honourable gentleman; tricks he hath had in him, which gentlemen have.

King. Come, come, to the purpose: Did he love this woman? Par. 'Faith, Sir, he did love her; But how?

King. How, I pray you?

Par. He did love her, Sir, as a gentleman loves a woman.
King. How is that?

Par. He loved her, Sir, and loved her not.

King. As thou art a knave, and no knave :

What an equivocal companion || is this?

[blocks in formation]

Attractions, though these were not extraordinary.
May justly make me fast.


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