Page images

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 ?

Clo. A prophet I, madam ; and I speak the truth the next way:

For I the ballad will repeat,

Which men full true shall find ;
Your marriage comes by destiny,

Your cuckoo sings by kind.
Count. Get you gone, sir ; I'll talk with

, 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

I speak with her; Helen I mean. Clo. Ius this fair face the cause,' quoth she,

[Singing Why the Grecians sacked Troy? Fond done, done fond,

Was this king Priam's joy.

you more


A prophet I, madam; and I speak the truth the next way :) It is a superstition, which has run through all ages and people, that natural fools have something in them of divinity. On which account they were esteemed sacred: Travellers tell us in what esteem the Turks now hold them; nor had the less honour paid them heretofore in France, as appears from the old word bềnet, for a natural fool. Next way, is nearest way.

9 Was this fair face the cause, &c.] The name of Helen, whom


With that she sighed as she stood,
With that she sighed as she stood,

And gave this sentence then;
Among nine bad if one be good,
Among nine bad if one be good,

There's yet one good in ten.
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 tythe-woman, if I were the parson : One in ten, quoth a'! an we might have a good woman born but every blazing star, or at an eartlıquake, '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.

the Countess has just called for, brings an old ballad on the sacking of Troy to the Clown's mind. Fond done is foolishly done.

'twould mend the lottery well;] This surely is a strange kind of phraseology. I have never met with any example of it in any of the contemporary writers; and if there were any proof that in the lotteries of Queen Elizabeth's time wheels were employed, I should be inclined to read-lottery rheel. MalOnE.

Clo. That man, &c.] Here is an allusion, violently enough forced in, to satirize the obstinacy with which the puritans refused the use of the ecclesiastical habits, which was, at that time, one principal cause of the breach of the union, and, perhaps, to insinuate, that the modest purity of the surplice was sometimes a cover for pride.

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 to be surprised, without rescue, in the first assault, or ransome 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;

[blocks in formation]

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


Her eye is sick on't; I observe her now.

Hel. What is your pleasure, madam?

You know, Helen, I am a mother to you.

Hel. Mine honourable mistress.

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 :-

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?

That I am not.
Count. I say, I am your mother.

Pardon, madam ; The count Rousillon cannot be


brother :

[ocr errors]

* By our remembrances-] That is, according to our recollection. So we say, he is old by my reckoning. Johnson.

What's the matter,
That this distemper'd messenger of wet,

The many-colourd Iris, rounds thine eye?] There is something exquisitely beautiful in this representation of that suffusion of colours which glimmers round the sight when the eye-lashes are wet with tears. Henley.

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 vassal die :
He must not be my brother.

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, 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

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. Now to all sense 'tis

You love my son; invention is asham’d,
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?

"I care no more for,] There is a designed ambiguity : I care no more for, is, I care as much for. I wish it equally. FARMER.

7 strive -] To strive is to contend.

8 Your salt tears' head.] The source, the fountain of your tears, the cause of your grief. JOHNSON.

9 in their kind --] i.e. in their language, according to their nature.

« PreviousContinue »