Log in Page Discussion History Go to the site toolbox

All's Well That Ends Well-

From BluWiki

All's Well That Ends Well Shakespeare homepage | All's Well That Ends Well | Entire play ACT I SCENE I. Rousillon. The COUNT's palace.

   Enter BERTRAM, the COUNTESS of Rousillon, HELENA, and LAFEU, all in black 

COUNTESS

   In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.

BERTRAM

   And I in going, madam, weep o'er my father's death
   anew: but I must attend his majesty's command, to
   whom I am now in ward, evermore in subjection.

LAFEU

   You shall find of the king a husband, madam; you,
   sir, a father: he that so generally is at all times
   good must of necessity hold his virtue to you; whose
   worthiness would stir it up where it wanted rather
   than lack it where there is such abundance.

COUNTESS

   What hope is there of his majesty's amendment?

LAFEU

   He hath abandoned his physicians, madam; under whose
   practises he hath persecuted time with hope, and
   finds no other advantage in the process but only the
   losing of hope by time.

COUNTESS

   This young gentlewoman had a father,--O, that
   'had'! how sad a passage 'tis!--whose skill was
   almost as great as his honesty; had it stretched so
   far, would have made nature immortal, and death
   should have play for lack of work. Would, for the
   king's sake, he were living! I think it would be
   the death of the king's disease.

LAFEU

   How called you the man you speak of, madam?

COUNTESS

   He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was
   his great right to be so: Gerard de Narbon.

LAFEU

   He was excellent indeed, madam: the king very
   lately spoke of him admiringly and mourningly: he
   was skilful enough to have lived still, if knowledge
   could be set up against mortality.

BERTRAM

   What is it, my good lord, the king languishes of?

LAFEU

   A fistula, my lord.

BERTRAM

   I heard not of it before.

LAFEU

   I would it were not notorious. Was this gentlewoman
   the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?

COUNTESS

   His sole child, my lord, and bequeathed to my
   overlooking. I have those hopes of her good that
   her education promises; her dispositions she
   inherits, which makes fair gifts fairer; for where
   an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there
   commendations go with pity; they are virtues and
   traitors too; in her they are the better for their
   simpleness; she derives her honesty and achieves her goodness.

LAFEU

   Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.

COUNTESS

   'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise
   in. The remembrance of her father never approaches
   her heart but the tyranny of her sorrows takes all
   livelihood from her cheek. No more of this, Helena;
   go to, no more; lest it be rather thought you affect
   a sorrow than have it.

HELENA

   I do affect a sorrow indeed, but I have it too.

LAFEU

   Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead,
   excessive grief the enemy to the living.

COUNTESS

   If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess
   makes it soon mortal.

BERTRAM

   Madam, I desire your holy wishes.

LAFEU

   How understand we that?

COUNTESS

   Be thou blest, Bertram, and succeed thy father
   In manners, as in shape! thy blood and virtue
   Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
   Share with thy birthright! Love all, trust a few,
   Do wrong to none: be able for thine enemy
   Rather in power than use, and keep thy friend
   Under thy own life's key: be cheque'd for silence,
   But never tax'd for speech. What heaven more will,
   That thee may furnish and my prayers pluck down,
   Fall on thy head! Farewell, my lord;
   'Tis an unseason'd courtier; good my lord,
   Advise him.

LAFEU

   He cannot want the best
   That shall attend his love.

COUNTESS

   Heaven bless him! Farewell, Bertram.
   Exit

BERTRAM

   [To HELENA] The best wishes that can be forged in
   your thoughts be servants to you! Be comfortable
   to my mother, your mistress, and make much of her.

LAFEU

   Farewell, pretty lady: you must hold the credit of
   your father.
   Exeunt BERTRAM and LAFEU

HELENA

   O, were that all! I think not on my father;
   And these great tears grace his remembrance more
   Than those I shed for him. What was he like?
   I have forgot him: my imagination
   Carries no favour in't but Bertram's.
   I am undone: there is no living, none,
   If Bertram be away. 'Twere all one
   That I should love a bright particular star
   And think to wed it, he is so above me:
   In his bright radiance and collateral light
   Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
   The ambition in my love thus plagues itself:
   The hind that would be mated by the lion
   Must die for love. 'Twas pretty, though plague,
   To see him every hour; to sit and draw
   His arched brows, his hawking eye, his curls,
   In our heart's table; heart too capable
   Of every line and trick of his sweet favour:
   But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy
   Must sanctify his reliques. Who comes here?
   Enter PAROLLES
   Aside
   One that goes with him: I love him for his sake;
   And yet I know him a notorious liar,
   Think him a great way fool, solely a coward;
   Yet these fixed evils sit so fit in him,
   That they take place, when virtue's steely bones
   Look bleak i' the cold wind: withal, full oft we see
   Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.

PAROLLES

   Save you, fair queen!

HELENA

   And you, monarch!

PAROLLES

   No.

HELENA

   And no.

PAROLLES

   Are you meditating on virginity?

HELENA

   Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you: let me
   ask you a question. Man is enemy to virginity; how
   may we barricado it against him?

PAROLLES

   Keep him out.

HELENA

   But he assails; and our virginity, though valiant,
   in the defence yet is weak: unfold to us some
   warlike resistance.

PAROLLES

   There is none: man, sitting down before you, will
   undermine you and blow you up.

HELENA

   Bless our poor virginity from underminers and
   blowers up! Is there no military policy, how
   virgins might blow up men?

PAROLLES

   Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier be
   blown up: marry, in blowing him down again, with
   the breach yourselves made, you lose your city. It
   is not politic in the commonwealth of nature to
   preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is rational
   increase and there was never virgin got till
   virginity was first lost. That you were made of is
   metal to make virgins. Virginity by being once lost
   may be ten times found; by being ever kept, it is
   ever lost: 'tis too cold a companion; away with 't!

HELENA

   I will stand for 't a little, though therefore I die a virgin.

PAROLLES

   There's little can be said in 't; 'tis against the
   rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity,
   is to accuse your mothers; which is most infallible
   disobedience. He that hangs himself is a virgin:
   virginity murders itself and should be buried in
   highways out of all sanctified limit, as a desperate
   offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites,
   much like a cheese; consumes itself to the very
   paring, and so dies with feeding his own stomach.
   Besides, virginity is peevish, proud, idle, made of
   self-love, which is the most inhibited sin in the
   canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but loose
   by't: out with 't! within ten year it will make
   itself ten, which is a goodly increase; and the
   principal itself not much the worse: away with 't!

HELENA

   How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own liking?

PAROLLES

   Let me see: marry, ill, to like him that ne'er it
   likes. 'Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with
   lying; the longer kept, the less worth: off with 't
   while 'tis vendible; answer the time of request.
   Virginity, like an old courtier, wears her cap out
   of fashion: richly suited, but unsuitable: just
   like the brooch and the tooth-pick, which wear not
   now. Your date is better in your pie and your
   porridge than in your cheek; and your virginity,
   your old virginity, is like one of our French
   withered pears, it looks ill, it eats drily; marry,
   'tis a withered pear; it was formerly better;
   marry, yet 'tis a withered pear: will you anything with it?

HELENA

   Not my virginity yet [ ]
   There shall your master have a thousand loves,
   A mother and a mistress and a friend,
   A phoenix, captain and an enemy,
   A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign,
   A counsellor, a traitress, and a dear;
   His humble ambition, proud humility,
   His jarring concord, and his discord dulcet,
   His faith, his sweet disaster; with a world
   Of pretty, fond, adoptious christendoms,
   That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he--
   I know not what he shall. God send him well!
   The court's a learning place, and he is one--

PAROLLES

   What one, i' faith?

HELENA

   That I wish well. 'Tis pity--

PAROLLES

   What's pity?

HELENA

   That wishing well had not a body in't,
   Which might be felt; that we, the poorer born,
   Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes,
   Might with effects of them follow our friends,
   And show what we alone must think, which never
   Return us thanks.
   Enter Page

Page

   Monsieur Parolles, my lord calls for you.
   Exit

PAROLLES

   Little Helen, farewell; if I can remember thee, I
   will think of thee at court.

HELENA

   Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a charitable star.

PAROLLES

   Under Mars, I.

HELENA

   I especially think, under Mars.

PAROLLES

   Why under Mars?

HELENA

   The wars have so kept you under that you must needs
   be born under Mars.

PAROLLES

   When he was predominant.

HELENA

   When he was retrograde, I think, rather.

PAROLLES

   Why think you so?

HELENA

   You go so much backward when you fight.

PAROLLES

   That's for advantage.

HELENA

   So is running away, when fear proposes the safety;
   but the composition that your valour and fear makes
   in you is a virtue of a good wing, and I like the wear well.

PAROLLES

   I am so full of businesses, I cannot answer thee
   acutely. I will return perfect courtier; in the
   which, my instruction shall serve to naturalize
   thee, so thou wilt be capable of a courtier's
   counsel and understand what advice shall thrust upon
   thee; else thou diest in thine unthankfulness, and
   thine ignorance makes thee away: farewell. When
   thou hast leisure, say thy prayers; when thou hast
   none, remember thy friends; get thee a good husband,
   and use him as he uses thee; so, farewell.
   Exit

HELENA

   Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
   Which we ascribe to heaven: the fated sky
   Gives us free scope, only doth backward pull
   Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.
   What power is it which mounts my love so high,
   That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye?
   The mightiest space in fortune nature brings
   To join like likes and kiss like native things.
   Impossible be strange attempts to those
   That weigh their pains in sense and do suppose
   What hath been cannot be: who ever strove
   So show her merit, that did miss her love?
   The king's disease--my project may deceive me,
   But my intents are fix'd and will not leave me.
   Exit

SCENE II. Paris. The KING's palace.

   Flourish of cornets. Enter the KING of France, with letters, and divers Attendants 

KING

   The Florentines and Senoys are by the ears;
   Have fought with equal fortune and continue
   A braving war.

First Lord

   So 'tis reported, sir.

KING

   Nay, 'tis most credible; we here received it
   A certainty, vouch'd from our cousin Austria,
   With caution that the Florentine will move us
   For speedy aid; wherein our dearest friend
   Prejudicates the business and would seem
   To have us make denial.

First Lord

   His love and wisdom,
   Approved so to your majesty, may plead
   For amplest credence.

KING

   He hath arm'd our answer,
   And Florence is denied before he comes:
   Yet, for our gentlemen that mean to see
   The Tuscan service, freely have they leave
   To stand on either part.

Second Lord

   It well may serve
   A nursery to our gentry, who are sick
   For breathing and exploit.

KING

   What's he comes here?
   Enter BERTRAM, LAFEU, and PAROLLES

First Lord

   It is the Count Rousillon, my good lord,
   Young Bertram.

KING

   Youth, thou bear'st thy father's face;
   Frank nature, rather curious than in haste,
   Hath well composed thee. Thy father's moral parts
   Mayst thou inherit too! Welcome to Paris.

BERTRAM

   My thanks and duty are your majesty's.

KING

   I would I had that corporal soundness now,
   As when thy father and myself in friendship
   First tried our soldiership! He did look far
   Into the service of the time and was
   Discipled of the bravest: he lasted long;
   But on us both did haggish age steal on
   And wore us out of act. It much repairs me
   To talk of your good father. In his youth
   He had the wit which I can well observe
   To-day in our young lords; but they may jest
   Till their own scorn return to them unnoted
   Ere they can hide their levity in honour;
   So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness
   Were in his pride or sharpness; if they were,
   His equal had awaked them, and his honour,
   Clock to itself, knew the true minute when
   Exception bid him speak, and at this time
   His tongue obey'd his hand: who were below him
   He used as creatures of another place
   And bow'd his eminent top to their low ranks,
   Making them proud of his humility,
   In their poor praise he humbled. Such a man
   Might be a copy to these younger times;
   Which, follow'd well, would demonstrate them now
   But goers backward.

BERTRAM

   His good remembrance, sir,
   Lies richer in your thoughts than on his tomb;
   So in approof lives not his epitaph
   As in your royal speech.

KING

   Would I were with him! He would always say--
   Methinks I hear him now; his plausive words
   He scatter'd not in ears, but grafted them,
   To grow there and to bear,--'Let me not live,'--
   This his good melancholy oft began,
   On the catastrophe and heel of pastime,
   When it was out,--'Let me not live,' quoth he,
   'After my flame lacks oil, to be the snuff
   Of younger spirits, whose apprehensive senses
   All but new things disdain; whose judgments are
   Mere fathers of their garments; whose constancies
   Expire before their fashions.' This he wish'd;
   I after him do after him wish too,
   Since I nor wax nor honey can bring home,
   I quickly were dissolved from my hive,
   To give some labourers room.

Second Lord

   You are loved, sir:
   They that least lend it you shall lack you first.

KING

   I fill a place, I know't. How long is't, count,
   Since the physician at your father's died?
   He was much famed.

BERTRAM

   Some six months since, my lord.

KING

   If he were living, I would try him yet.
   Lend me an arm; the rest have worn me out
   With several applications; nature and sickness
   Debate it at their leisure. Welcome, count;
   My son's no dearer.

BERTRAM

   Thank your majesty.
   Exeunt. Flourish

SCENE III. Rousillon. The COUNT's palace.

   Enter COUNTESS, Steward, and Clown 

COUNTESS

   I will now hear; what say you of this gentlewoman?

Steward

   Madam, the care I 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.

COUNTESS

   What does this knave here? Get you gone, sirrah:
   the complaints I have heard of you I do not 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.

Clown

   'Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a poor fellow.

COUNTESS

   Well, sir.

Clown

   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.

COUNTESS

   Wilt thou needs be a beggar?

Clown

   I do beg your good will in this case.

COUNTESS

   In what case?

Clown

   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 o' my body; for
   they say barnes are blessings.

COUNTESS

   Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.

Clown

   My poor body, madam, requires it: I am driven on
   by the flesh; and he must needs go that the devil drives.

COUNTESS

   Is this all your worship's reason?

Clown

   Faith, madam, I have other holy reasons such as they
   are.

COUNTESS

   May the world know them?

Clown

   I have been, madam, a wicked creature, as you and
   all flesh and blood are; and, indeed, I do marry
   that I may repent.

COUNTESS

   Thy marriage, sooner than thy wickedness.

Clown

   I am out o' friends, madam; and I hope to have
   friends for my wife's sake.

COUNTESS

   Such friends are thine enemies, knave.

Clown

   You're shallow, madam, in great friends; for the
   knaves come to do that for me which I am aweary of.
   He that ears my land spares my team and gives me
   leave to in 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, howsome'er their hearts are severed in
   religion, their heads are both one; they may jowl
   horns together, like any deer i' the herd.

COUNTESS

   Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouthed and calumnious knave?

Clown

   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.

COUNTESS

   Get you gone, sir; I'll talk with you more anon.

Steward

   May it please you, madam, that he bid Helen come to
   you: of her I am to speak.

COUNTESS

   Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman I would speak with her;
   Helen, I mean.

Clown

   Was this fair face the cause, quoth she,
   Why the Grecians sacked Troy?
   Fond done, done fond,
   Was this King Priam's joy?
   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.

COUNTESS

   What, one good in ten? you corrupt the song, sirrah.

Clown

   One good woman in ten, madam; which is a purifying
   o' the song: would God would serve the world so all
   the year! we'ld 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 one every blazing
   star, or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery
   well: a man may draw his heart out, ere a' pluck
   one.

COUNTESS

   You'll be gone, sir knave, and do as I command you.

Clown

   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

COUNTESS

   Well, now.

Steward

   I know, madam, you love your gentlewoman entirely.

COUNTESS

   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.

Steward

   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; Dian no queen of virgins, that
   would suffer her poor knight surprised, 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.

COUNTESS

   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
   Even so it was with me when I was young:
   If ever 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.

HELENA

   What is your pleasure, madam?

COUNTESS

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

HELENA

   Mine honourable mistress.

COUNTESS

   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?

HELENA

   That I am not.

COUNTESS

   I say, I am your mother.

HELENA

   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 vassal die:
   He must not be my brother.

COUNTESS

   Nor I your mother?

HELENA

   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?

COUNTESS

   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: 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, th' one to th' other; and thine eyes
   See it so grossly shown in thy behaviors
   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 clew;
   If it be not, forswear't: howe'er, I charge thee,
   As heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
   Tell me truly.

HELENA

   Good madam, pardon me!

COUNTESS

   Do you love my son?

HELENA

   Your pardon, noble mistress!

COUNTESS

   Love you my son?

HELENA

   Do not you love him, madam?

COUNTESS

   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.

HELENA

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

COUNTESS

   Had you not lately an intent,--speak truly,--
   To go to Paris?

HELENA

   Madam, I had.

COUNTESS

   Wherefore? tell true.

HELENA

   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 will'd me
   In heedfull'st reservation to bestow them,
   As notes whose faculties inclusive were
   More than they were in note: amongst the rest,
   There is a remedy, approved, set down,
   To cure the desperate languishings whereof
   The king is render'd lost.

COUNTESS

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

HELENA

   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.

COUNTESS

   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?

HELENA

   There's something in't,
   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'ld venture
   The well-lost life of mine on his grace's cure
   By such a day and hour.

COUNTESS

   Dost thou believe't?

HELENA

   Ay, madam, knowingly.

COUNTESS

   Why, Helen, thou shalt have my leave and love,
   Means and attendants and my loving greetings
   To those of mine in 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 thee to thou shalt not miss.
   Exeunt

ACT II SCENE I. Paris. The KING's palace.

   Flourish of cornets. Enter the KING, attended with divers young Lords taking leave for the Florentine war; BERTRAM, and PAROLLES 

KING

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

First Lord

   'Tis 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.

Second 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.

Both

   Our hearts receive your warnings.

KING

   Farewell. Come hither to me.
   Exit, attended

First Lord

   O, my sweet lord, that you will stay behind us!

PAROLLES

   'Tis not his fault, the spark.

Second Lord

   O, 'tis brave wars!

PAROLLES

   Most admirable: I have seen those wars.

BERTRAM

   I am commanded here, and kept a coil with
   'Too young' and 'the next year' and tis too early.'

PAROLLES

   An thy mind stand to't, boy, steal away bravely.

BERTRAM

   I shall stay here the forehorse to a smock,
   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.

First Lord

   There's honour in the theft.

PAROLLES

   Commit it, count.

Second Lord

   I am your accessary; and so, farewell.

BERTRAM

   I grow to you, and our parting is a tortured body.

First Lord

   Farewell, captain.

Second Lord

   Sweet Monsieur Parolles!

PAROLLES

   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
   entrenched it: say to him, I live; and observe his
   reports for me.

First Lord

   We shall, noble captain.
   Exeunt Lords

PAROLLES

   Mars dote on you for his novices! what will ye do?

BERTRAM

   Stay: the king.
   Re-enter KING. BERTRAM and PAROLLES retire

PAROLLES

   [To BERTRAM] 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, there do muster true gait, eat, speak, and
   move under the influence of the most received star;
   and though the devil lead the measure, such are to
   be followed: after them, and take a more dilated farewell.

BERTRAM

   And I will do so.

PAROLLES

   Worthy fellows; and like to prove most sinewy sword-men.
   Exeunt BERTRAM and PAROLLES
   Enter LAFEU

LAFEU

   [Kneeling] Pardon, my lord, for me and for my tidings.

KING

   I'll fee thee to stand up.

LAFEU

   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 for't.

LAFEU

   Good faith, across: but, my good lord 'tis thus;
   Will you be cured of your infirmity?

KING

   No.

LAFEU

   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
   That's able to breathe life into a stone,
   Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary
   With spritely fire and motion; whose simple touch,
   Is powerful to araise King Pepin, nay,
   To give great Charlemain a pen in's hand,
   And write to her a love-line.

KING

   What 'her' is this?

LAFEU

   Why, Doctor She: my lord, there's one arrived,
   If you will see her: now, by my faith and honour,
   If seriously I may convey my thoughts
   In this my light deliverance, I have spoke
   With one that, in her sex, her years, profession,
   Wisdom and constancy, hath amazed me more
   Than I dare blame my weakness: will you see her
   For that is her demand, and know her business?
   That done, laugh well at me.

KING

   Now, good Lafeu,
   Bring in the admiration; that we with thee
   May spend our wonder too, or take off thine
   By wondering how thou took'st it.

LAFEU

   Nay, I'll fit you,
   And not be all day neither.
   Exit

KING

   Thus he his special nothing ever prologues.
   Re-enter LAFEU, with HELENA

LAFEU

   Nay, come your ways.

KING

   This haste hath wings indeed.

LAFEU

   Nay, come your ways:
   This is his majesty; say your mind to him:
   A traitor you do look like; but such traitors
   His majesty seldom fears: I am Cressid's uncle,
   That dare leave two together; fare you well.
   Exit

KING

   Now, fair one, does your business follow us?

HELENA

   Ay, my good lord.
   Gerard de Narbon was my father;
   In what he did profess, well found.

KING

   I knew him.

HELENA

   The rather will I spare my praises towards him:
   Knowing him is enough. On's bed of death
   Many receipts he gave me: chiefly one.
   Which, as the dearest issue of his practise,
   And of his old experience the oily darling,
   He bade me store up, as a triple eye,
   Safer than mine own two, more dear; I have so;
   And hearing your high majesty is touch'd
   With that malignant cause wherein the honour
   Of my dear father's gift stands chief in power,
   I come to tender it and my appliance
   With all bound humbleness.

KING

   We thank you, maiden;
   But may not be so credulous of cure,
   When our most learned doctors leave us and
   The congregated college have concluded
   That labouring art can never ransom nature
   From her inaidible estate; I say we must not
   So stain our judgment, or corrupt our hope,
   To prostitute our past-cure malady
   To empirics, or to dissever so
   Our great self and our credit, to esteem
   A senseless help when help past sense we deem.

HELENA

   My duty then shall pay me for my pains:
   I will no more enforce mine office on you.
   Humbly entreating from your royal thoughts
   A modest one, to bear me back a again.

KING

   I cannot give thee less, to be call'd grateful:
   Thou thought'st to help me; and such thanks I give
   As one near death to those that wish him live:
   But what at full I know, thou know'st no part,
   I knowing all my peril, thou no art.

HELENA

   What I can do can do no hurt to try,
   Since you set up your rest 'gainst remedy.
   He that of greatest works is finisher
   Oft does them by the weakest minister:
   So holy writ in babes hath judgment shown,
   When judges have been babes; great floods have flown
   From simple sources, and great seas have dried
   When miracles have by the greatest been denied.
   Oft expectation fails and most oft there
   Where most it promises, and oft it hits
   Where hope is coldest and despair most fits.

KING

   I must not hear thee; fare thee well, kind maid;
   Thy pains not used must by thyself be paid:
   Proffers not took reap thanks for their reward.

HELENA

   Inspired merit so by breath is barr'd:
   It is not so with Him that all things knows
   As 'tis with us that square our guess by shows;
   But most it is presumption in us when
   The help of heaven we count the act of men.
   Dear sir, to my endeavours give consent;
   Of heaven, not me, make an experiment.
   I am not an impostor that proclaim
   Myself against the level of mine aim;
   But know I think and think I know most sure
   My art is not past power nor you past cure.

KING

   Are thou so confident? within what space
   Hopest thou my cure?

HELENA

   The great'st grace lending grace
   Ere twice the horses of the sun shall bring
   Their fiery torcher his diurnal ring,
   Ere twice in murk and occidental damp
   Moist Hesperus hath quench'd his sleepy lamp,
   Or four and twenty times the pilot's glass
   Hath told the thievish minutes how they pass,
   What is infirm from your sound parts shall fly,
   Health shall live free and sickness freely die.

KING

   Upon thy certainty and confidence
   What darest thou venture?

HELENA

   Tax of impudence,
   A strumpet's boldness, a divulged shame
   Traduced by odious ballads: my maiden's name
   Sear'd otherwise; nay, worse--if worse--extended
   With vilest torture let my life be ended.

KING

   Methinks in thee some blessed spirit doth speak
   His powerful sound within an organ weak:
   And what impossibility would slay
   In common sense, sense saves another way.
   Thy life is dear; for all that life can rate
   Worth name of life in thee hath estimate,
   Youth, beauty, wisdom, courage, all
   That happiness and prime can happy call:
   Thou this to hazard needs must intimate
   Skill infinite or monstrous desperate.
   Sweet practiser, thy physic I will try,
   That ministers thine own death if I die.

HELENA

   If I break time, or flinch in property
   Of what I spoke, unpitied let me die,
   And well deserved: not helping, death's my fee;
   But, if I help, what do you promise me?

KING

   Make thy demand.

HELENA

   But will you make it even?

KING

   Ay, by my sceptre and my hopes of heaven.

HELENA

   Then shalt thou give me with thy kingly hand
   What husband in thy power I will command:
   Exempted be from me the arrogance
   To choose from forth the royal blood of France,
   My low and humble name to propagate
   With any branch or image of thy state;
   But such a one, thy vassal, whom I know
   Is free for me to ask, thee to bestow.

KING

   Here is my hand; the premises observed,
   Thy will by my performance shall be served:
   So make the choice of thy own time, for I,
   Thy resolved patient, on thee still rely.
   More should I question thee, and more I must,
   Though more to know could not be more to trust,
   From whence thou camest, how tended on: but rest
   Unquestion'd welcome and undoubted blest.
   Give me some help here, ho! If thou proceed
   As high as word, my deed shall match thy meed.
   Flourish. Exeunt

SCENE II. Rousillon. The COUNT's palace.

   Enter COUNTESS and Clown 

COUNTESS

   Come on, sir; I shall now put you to the height of
   your breeding.

Clown

   I will show myself highly fed and lowly taught: I
   know my business is but to the court.

COUNTESS

   To the court! why, what place make you special,
   when you put off that with such contempt? But to the court!

Clown

   Truly, madam, if God have lent a man any manners, he
   may easily put it off at court: he that cannot make
   a leg, put off's cap, kiss his hand and say nothing,
   has neither leg, hands, lip, nor cap; and indeed
   such a fellow, to say precisely, were not for the
   court; but for me, I have an answer will serve all
   men.

COUNTESS

   Marry, that's a bountiful answer that fits all
   questions.

Clown

   It is like a barber's chair that fits all buttocks,
   the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn
   buttock, or any buttock.

COUNTESS

   Will your answer serve fit to all questions?

Clown

   As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney,
   as your French crown for your taffeta punk, as Tib's
   rush for Tom's forefinger, as a pancake for Shrove
   Tuesday, a morris for May-day, as the nail to his
   hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a scolding queen
   to a wrangling knave, as the nun's lip to the
   friar's mouth, nay, as the pudding to his skin.

COUNTESS

   Have you, I say, an answer of such fitness for all
   questions?

Clown

   From below your duke to beneath your constable, it
   will fit any question.

COUNTESS

   It must be an answer of most monstrous size that
   must fit all demands.

Clown

   But a trifle neither, in good faith, if the learned
   should speak truth of it: here it is, and all that
   belongs to't. Ask me if I am a courtier: it shall
   do you no harm to learn.

COUNTESS

   To be young again, if we could: I will be a fool in
   question, hoping to be the wiser by your answer. I
   pray you, sir, are you a courtier?

Clown

   O Lord, sir! There's a simple putting off. More,
   more, a hundred of them.

COUNTESS

   Sir, I am a poor friend of yours, that loves you.

Clown

   O Lord, sir! Thick, thick, spare not me.

COUNTESS

   I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely meat.

Clown

   O Lord, sir! Nay, put me to't, I warrant you.

COUNTESS

   You were lately whipped, sir, as I think.

Clown

   O Lord, sir! spare not me.

COUNTESS

   Do you cry, 'O Lord, sir!' at your whipping, and
   'spare not me?' Indeed your 'O Lord, sir!' is very
   sequent to your whipping: you would answer very well
   to a whipping, if you were but bound to't.

Clown

   I ne'er had worse luck in my life in my 'O Lord,
   sir!' I see things may serve long, but not serve ever.

COUNTESS

   I play the noble housewife with the time
   To entertain't so merrily with a fool.

Clown

   O Lord, sir! why, there't serves well again.

COUNTESS

   An end, sir; to your business. Give Helen this,
   And urge her to a present answer back:
   Commend me to my kinsmen and my son:
   This is not much.

Clown

   Not much commendation to them.

COUNTESS

   Not much employment for you: you understand me?

Clown

   Most fruitfully: I am there before my legs.

COUNTESS

   Haste you again.
   Exeunt severally

SCENE III. Paris. The KING's palace.

   Enter BERTRAM, LAFEU, and PAROLLES 

LAFEU

   They say miracles are past; and we have our
   philosophical persons, to make modern and familiar,
   things supernatural and causeless. Hence is it that
   we make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves
   into seeming knowledge, when we should submit
   ourselves to an unknown fear.

PAROLLES

   Why, 'tis the rarest argument of wonder that hath
   shot out in our latter times.

BERTRAM

   And so 'tis.

LAFEU

   To be relinquish'd of the artists,--

PAROLLES

   So I say.

LAFEU

   Both of Galen and Paracelsus.

PAROLLES

   So I say.

LAFEU

   Of all the learned and authentic fellows,--

PAROLLES

   Right; so I say.

LAFEU

   That gave him out incurable,--

PAROLLES

   Why, there 'tis; so say I too.

LAFEU

   Not to be helped,--

PAROLLES

   Right; as 'twere, a man assured of a--

LAFEU

   Uncertain life, and sure death.

PAROLLES

   Just, you say well; so would I have said.

LAFEU

   I may truly say, it is a novelty to the world.

PAROLLES

   It is, indeed: if you will have it in showing, you
   shall read it in--what do you call there?

LAFEU

   A showing of a heavenly effect in an earthly actor.

PAROLLES

   That's it; I would have said the very same.

LAFEU

   Why, your dolphin is not lustier: 'fore me,
   I speak in respect--

PAROLLES

   Nay, 'tis strange, 'tis very strange, that is the
   brief and the tedious of it; and he's of a most
   facinerious spirit that will not acknowledge it to be the--

LAFEU

   Very hand of heaven.

PAROLLES

   Ay, so I say.

LAFEU

   In a most weak--
   pausing
   and debile minister, great power, great
   transcendence: which should, indeed, give us a
   further use to be made than alone the recovery of
   the king, as to be--
   pausing
   generally thankful.

PAROLLES

   I would have said it; you say well. Here comes the king.
   Enter KING, HELENA, and Attendants. LAFEU and PAROLLES retire

LAFEU

   Lustig, as the Dutchman says: I'll like a maid the
   better, whilst I have a tooth in my head: why, he's
   able to lead her a coranto.

PAROLLES

   Mort du vinaigre! is not this Helen?

LAFEU

   'Fore God, I think so.

KING

   Go, call before me all the lords in court.
   Sit, my preserver, by thy patient's side;
   And with this healthful hand, whose banish'd sense
   Thou hast repeal'd, a second time receive
   The confirmation of my promised gift,
   Which but attends thy naming.
   Enter three or four Lords
   Fair maid, send forth thine eye: this youthful parcel
   Of noble bachelors stand at my bestowing,
   O'er whom both sovereign power and father's voice
   I have to use: thy frank election make;
   Thou hast power to choose, and they none to forsake.

HELENA

   To each of you one fair and virtuous mistress
   Fall, when Love please! marry, to each, but one!

LAFEU

   I'ld give bay Curtal and his furniture,
   My mouth no more were broken than these boys',
   And writ as little beard.

KING

   Peruse them well:
   Not one of those but had a noble father.

HELENA

   Gentlemen,
   Heaven hath through me restored the king to health.

All

   We understand it, and thank heaven for you.

HELENA

   I am a simple maid, and therein wealthiest,
   That I protest I simply am a maid.
   Please it your majesty, I have done already:
   The blushes in my cheeks thus whisper me,
   'We blush that thou shouldst choose; but, be refused,
   Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever;
   We'll ne'er come there again.'

KING

   Make choice; and, see,
   Who shuns thy love shuns all his love in me.

HELENA

   Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly,
   And to imperial Love, that god most high,
   Do my sighs stream. Sir, will you hear my suit?

First Lord

   And grant it.

HELENA

   Thanks, sir; all the rest is mute.

LAFEU

   I had rather be in this choice than throw ames-ace
   for my life.

HELENA

   The honour, sir, that flames in your fair eyes,
   Before I speak, too threateningly replies:
   Love make your fortunes twenty times above
   Her that so wishes and her humble love!

Second Lord

   No better, if you please.

HELENA

   My wish receive,
   Which great Love grant! and so, I take my leave.

LAFEU

   Do all they deny her? An they were sons of mine,
   I'd have them whipped; or I would send them to the
   Turk, to make eunuchs of.

HELENA

   Be not afraid that I your hand should take;
   I'll never do you wrong for your own sake:
   Blessing upon your vows! and in your bed
   Find fairer fortune, if you ever wed!

LAFEU

   These boys are boys of ice, they'll none have her:
   sure, they are bastards to the English; the French
   ne'er got 'em.

HELENA

   You are too young, too happy, and too good,
   To make yourself a son out of my blood.

Fourth Lord

   Fair one, I think not so.

LAFEU

   There's one grape yet; I am sure thy father drunk
   wine: but if thou be'st not an ass, I am a youth
   of fourteen; I have known thee already.

HELENA

   [To BERTRAM] I dare not say I take you; but I give
   Me and my service, ever whilst I live,
   Into your guiding power. This is the man.

KING

   Why, then, young Bertram, take her; she's thy wife.

BERTRAM

   My wife, my liege! I shall beseech your highness,
   In such a business give me leave to use
   The help of mine own eyes.

KING

   Know'st thou not, Bertram,
   What she has done for me?

BERTRAM

   Yes, my good lord;
   But never hope to know why I should marry her.

KING

   Thou know'st she has raised me from my sickly bed.

BERTRAM

   But follows it, my lord, to bring me down
   Must answer for your raising? I know her well:
   She had her breeding at my father's charge.
   A poor physician's daughter my wife! Disdain
   Rather corrupt me ever!

KING

   'Tis only title thou disdain'st in her, the which
   I can build up. Strange is it that our bloods,
   Of colour, weight, and heat, pour'd all together,
   Would quite confound distinction, yet stand off
   In differences so mighty. If she be
   All that is virtuous, save what thou dislikest,
   A poor physician's daughter, thou dislikest
   Of virtue for the name: but do not so:
   From lowest place when virtuous things proceed,
   The place is dignified by the doer's deed:
   Where great additions swell's, and virtue none,
   It is a dropsied honour. Good alone
   Is good without a name. Vileness is so:
   The property by what it is should go,
   Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair;
   In these to nature she's immediate heir,
   And these breed honour: that is honour's scorn,
   Which challenges itself as honour's born
   And is not like the sire: honours thrive,
   When rather from our acts we them derive
   Than our foregoers: the mere word's a slave
   Debosh'd on every tomb, on every grave
   A lying trophy, and as oft is dumb
   Where dust and damn'd oblivion is the tomb
   Of honour'd bones indeed. What should be said?
   If thou canst like this creature as a maid,
   I can create the rest: virtue and she
   Is her own dower; honour and wealth from me.

BERTRAM

   I cannot love her, nor will strive to do't.

KING

   Thou wrong'st thyself, if thou shouldst strive to choose.

HELENA

   That you are well restored, my lord, I'm glad:
   Let the rest go.

KING

   My honour's at the stake; which to defeat,
   I must produce my power. Here, take her hand,
   Proud scornful boy, unworthy this good gift;
   That dost in vile misprision shackle up
   My love and her desert; that canst not dream,
   We, poising us in her defective scale,
   Shall weigh thee to the beam; that wilt not know,
   It is in us to plant thine honour where
   We please to have it grow. Cheque thy contempt:
   Obey our will, which travails in thy good:
   Believe not thy disdain, but presently
   Do thine own fortunes that obedient right
   Which both thy duty owes and our power claims;
   Or I will throw thee from my care for ever
   Into the staggers and the careless lapse
   Of youth and ignorance; both my revenge and hate
   Loosing upon thee, in the name of justice,
   Without all terms of pity. Speak; thine answer.

BERTRAM

   Pardon, my gracious lord; for I submit
   My fancy to your eyes: when I consider
   What great creation and what dole of honour
   Flies where you bid it, I find that she, which late
   Was in my nobler thoughts most base, is now
   The praised of the king; who, so ennobled,
   Is as 'twere born so.

KING

   Take her by the hand,
   And tell her she is thine: to whom I promise
   A counterpoise, if not to thy estate
   A balance more replete.

BERTRAM

   I take her hand.

KING

   Good fortune and the favour of the king
   Smile upon this contract; whose ceremony
   Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief,
   And be perform'd to-night: the solemn feast
   Shall more attend upon the coming space,
   Expecting absent friends. As thou lovest her,
   Thy love's to me religious; else, does err.
   Exeunt all but LAFEU and PAROLLES

LAFEU

   [Advancing] Do you hear, monsieur? a word with you.

PAROLLES

   Your pleasure, sir?

LAFEU

   Your lord and master did well to make his
   recantation.

PAROLLES

   Recantation! My lord! my master!

LAFEU

   Ay; is it not a language I speak?

PAROLLES

   A most harsh one, and not to be understood without
   bloody succeeding. My master!

LAFEU

   Are you companion to the Count Rousillon?

PAROLLES

   To any count, to all counts, to what is man.

LAFEU

   To what is count's man: count's master is of
   another style.

PAROLLES

   You are too old, sir; let it satisfy you, you are too old.

LAFEU

   I must tell thee, sirrah, I write man; to which
   title age cannot bring thee.

PAROLLES

   What I dare too well do, I dare not do.

LAFEU

   I did think thee, for two ordinaries, to be a pretty
   wise fellow; thou didst make tolerable vent of thy
   travel; it might pass: yet the scarfs and the
   bannerets about thee did manifoldly dissuade me from
   believing thee a vessel of too great a burthen. I
   have now found thee; when I lose thee again, I care
   not: yet art thou good for nothing but taking up; and
   that thou't scarce worth.

PAROLLES

   Hadst thou not the privilege of antiquity upon thee,--

LAFEU

   Do not plunge thyself too far in anger, lest thou
   hasten thy trial; which if--Lord have mercy on thee
   for a hen! So, my good window of lattice, fare thee
   well: thy casement I need not open, for I look
   through thee. Give me thy hand.

PAROLLES

   My lord, you give me most egregious indignity.

LAFEU

   Ay, with all my heart; and thou art worthy of it.

PAROLLES

   I have not, my lord, deserved it.

LAFEU

   Yes, good faith, every dram of it; and I will not
   bate thee a scruple.

PAROLLES

   Well, I shall be wiser.

LAFEU

   Even as soon as thou canst, for thou hast to pull at
   a smack o' the contrary. If ever thou be'st bound
   in thy scarf and beaten, thou shalt find what it is
   to be proud of thy bondage. I have a desire to hold
   my acquaintance with thee, or rather my knowledge,
   that I may say in the default, he is a man I know.

PAROLLES

   My lord, you do me most insupportable vexation.

LAFEU

   I would it were hell-pains for thy sake, and my poor
   doing eternal: for doing I am past: as I will by
   thee, in what motion age will give me leave.
   Exit

PAROLLES

   Well, thou hast a son shall take this disgrace off
   me; scurvy, old, filthy, scurvy lord! Well, I must
   be patient; there is no fettering of authority.
   I'll beat him, by my life, if I can meet him with
   any convenience, an he were double and double a
   lord. I'll have no more pity of his age than I
   would of--I'll beat him, an if I could but meet him again.
   Re-enter LAFEU

LAFEU

   Sirrah, your lord and master's married; there's news
   for you: you have a new mistress.

PAROLLES

   I most unfeignedly beseech your lordship to make
   some reservation of your wrongs: he is my good
   lord: whom I serve above is my master.

LAFEU

   Who? God?

PAROLLES

   Ay, sir.

LAFEU

   The devil it is that's thy master. Why dost thou
   garter up thy arms o' this fashion? dost make hose of
   sleeves? do other servants so? Thou wert best set
   thy lower part where thy nose stands. By mine
   honour, if I were but two hours younger, I'ld beat
   thee: methinks, thou art a general offence, and
   every man should beat thee: I think thou wast
   created for men to breathe themselves upon thee.

PAROLLES

   This is hard and undeserved measure, my lord.

LAFEU

   Go to, sir; you were beaten in Italy for picking a
   kernel out of a pomegranate; you are a vagabond and
   no true traveller: you are more saucy with lords
   and honourable personages than the commission of your
   birth and virtue gives you heraldry. You are not
   worth another word, else I'ld call you knave. I leave you.
   Exit

PAROLLES

   Good, very good; it is so then: good, very good;
   let it be concealed awhile.
   Re-enter BERTRAM

BERTRAM

   Undone, and forfeited to cares for ever!

PAROLLES

   What's the matter, sweet-heart?

BERTRAM

   Although before the solemn priest I have sworn,
   I will not bed her.

PAROLLES

   What, what, sweet-heart?

BERTRAM

   O my Parolles, they have married me!
   I'll to the Tuscan wars, and never bed her.

PAROLLES

   France is a dog-hole, and it no more merits
   The tread of a man's foot: to the wars!

BERTRAM

   There's letters from my mother: what the import is,
   I know not yet.

PAROLLES

   Ay, that would be known. To the wars, my boy, to the wars!
   He wears his honour in a box unseen,
   That hugs his kicky-wicky here at home,
   Spending his manly marrow in her arms,
   Which should sustain the bound and high curvet
   Of Mars's fiery steed. To other regions
   France is a stable; we that dwell in't jades;
   Therefore, to the war!

BERTRAM

   It shall be so: I'll send her to my house,
   Acquaint my mother with my hate to her,
   And wherefore I am fled; write to the king
   That which I durst not speak; his present gift
   Shall furnish me to those Italian fields,
   Where noble fellows strike: war is no strife
   To the dark house and the detested wife.

PAROLLES

   Will this capriccio hold in thee? art sure?

BERTRAM

   Go with me to my chamber, and advise me.
   I'll send her straight away: to-morrow
   I'll to the wars, she to her single sorrow.

PAROLLES

   Why, these balls bound; there's noise in it. 'Tis hard:
   A young man married is a man that's marr'd:
   Therefore away, and leave her bravely; go:
   The king has done you wrong: but, hush, 'tis so.
   Exeunt

SCENE IV. Paris. The KING's palace.

   Enter HELENA and Clown 

HELENA

   My mother greets me kindly; is she well?

Clown

   She is not well; but yet she has her health: she's
   very merry; but yet she is not well: but thanks be
   given, she's very well and wants nothing i', the
   world; but yet she is not well.

HELENA

   If she be very well, what does she ail, that she's
   not very well?

Clown

   Truly, she's very well indeed, but for two things.

HELENA

   What two things?

Clown

   One, that she's not in heaven, whither God send her
   quickly! the other that she's in earth, from whence
   God send her quickly!
   Enter PAROLLES

PAROLLES

   Bless you, my fortunate lady!

HELENA

   I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine own
   good fortunes.

PAROLLES

   You had my prayers to lead them on; and to keep them
   on, have them still. O, my knave, how does my old lady?

Clown

   So that you had her wrinkles and I her money,
   I would she did as you say.

PAROLLES

   Why, I say nothing.

Clown

   Marry, you are the wiser man; for many a man's
   tongue shakes out his master's undoing: to say
   nothing, to do nothing, to know nothing, and to have
   nothing, is to be a great part of your title; which
   is within a very little of nothing.

PAROLLES

   Away! thou'rt a knave.

Clown

   You should have said, sir, before a knave thou'rt a
   knave; that's, before me thou'rt a knave: this had
   been truth, sir.

PAROLLES

   Go to, thou art a witty fool; I have found thee.

Clown

   Did you find me in yourself, sir? or were you
   taught to find me? The search, sir, was profitable;
   and much fool may you find in you, even to the
   world's pleasure and the increase of laughter.

PAROLLES

   A good knave, i' faith, and well fed.
   Madam, my lord will go away to-night;
   A very serious business calls on him.
   The great prerogative and rite of love,
   Which, as your due, time claims, he does acknowledge;
   But puts it off to a compell'd restraint;
   Whose want, and whose delay, is strew'd with sweets,
   Which they distil now in the curbed time,
   To make the coming hour o'erflow with joy
   And pleasure drown the brim.

HELENA

   What's his will else?

PAROLLES

   That you will take your instant leave o' the king
   And make this haste as your own good proceeding,
   Strengthen'd with what apology you think
   May make it probable need.

HELENA

   What more commands he?

PAROLLES

   That, having this obtain'd, you presently
   Attend his further pleasure.

HELENA

   In every thing I wait upon his will.

PAROLLES

   I shall report it so.

HELENA

   I pray you.
   Exit PAROLLES
   Come, sirrah.
   Exeunt

SCENE V. Paris. The KING's palace.

   Enter LAFEU and BERTRAM 

LAFEU

   But I hope your lordship thinks not him a soldier.

BERTRAM

   Yes, my lord, and of very valiant approof.

LAFEU

   You have it from his own deliverance.

BERTRAM

   And by other warranted testimony.

LAFEU

   Then my dial goes not true: I took this lark for a bunting.

BERTRAM

   I do assure you, my lord, he is very great in
   knowledge and accordingly valiant.

LAFEU

   I have then sinned against his experience and
   transgressed against his valour; and my state that
   way is dangerous, since I cannot yet find in my
   heart to repent. Here he comes: I pray you, make
   us friends; I will pursue the amity.
   Enter PAROLLES

PAROLLES

   [To BERTRAM] These things shall be done, sir.

LAFEU

   Pray you, sir, who's his tailor?

PAROLLES

   Sir?

LAFEU

   O, I know him well, I, sir; he, sir, 's a good
   workman, a very good tailor.

BERTRAM

   [Aside to PAROLLES] Is she gone to the king?

PAROLLES

   She is.

BERTRAM

   Will she away to-night?

PAROLLES

   As you'll have her.

BERTRAM

   I have writ my letters, casketed my treasure,
   Given order for our horses; and to-night,
   When I should take possession of the bride,
   End ere I do begin.

LAFEU

   A good traveller is something at the latter end of a
   dinner; but one that lies three thirds and uses a
   known truth to pass a thousand nothings with, should
   be once heard and thrice beaten. God save you, captain.

BERTRAM

   Is there any unkindness between my lord and you, monsieur?

PAROLLES

   I know not how I have deserved to run into my lord's
   displeasure.

LAFEU

   You have made shift to run into 't, boots and spurs
   and all, like him that leaped into the custard; and
   out of it you'll run again, rather than suffer
   question for your residence.

BERTRAM

   It may be you have mistaken him, my lord.

LAFEU

   And shall do so ever, though I took him at 's
   prayers. Fare you well, my lord; and believe this
   of me, there can be no kernel in this light nut; the
   soul of this man is his clothes. Trust him not in
   matter of heavy consequence; I have kept of them
   tame, and know their natures. Farewell, monsieur:
   I have spoken better of you than you have or will to
   deserve at my hand; but we must do good against evil.
   Exit

PAROLLES

   An idle lord. I swear.

BERTRAM

   I think so.

PAROLLES

   Why, do you not know him?

BERTRAM

   Yes, I do know him well, and common speech
   Gives him a worthy pass. Here comes my clog.
   Enter HELENA

HELENA

   I have, sir, as I was commanded from you,
   Spoke with the king and have procured his leave
   For present parting; only he desires
   Some private speech with you.

BERTRAM

   I shall obey his will.
   You must not marvel, Helen, at my course,
   Which holds not colour with the time, nor does
   The ministration and required office
   On my particular. Prepared I was not
   For such a business; therefore am I found
   So much unsettled: this drives me to entreat you
   That presently you take our way for home;
   And rather muse than ask why I entreat you,
   For my respects are better than they seem
   And my appointments have in them a need
   Greater than shows itself at the first view
   To you that know them not. This to my mother:
   Giving a letter
   'Twill be two days ere I shall see you, so
   I leave you to your wisdom.

HELENA

   Sir, I can nothing say,
   But that I am your most obedient servant.

BERTRAM

   Come, come, no more of that.

HELENA

   And ever shall
   With true observance seek to eke out that
   Wherein toward me my homely stars have fail'd
   To equal my great fortune.

BERTRAM

   Let that go:
   My haste is very great: farewell; hie home.

HELENA

   Pray, sir, your pardon.

BERTRAM

   Well, what would you say?

HELENA

   I am not worthy of the wealth I owe,
   Nor dare I say 'tis mine, and yet it is;
   But, like a timorous thief, most fain would steal
   What law does vouch mine own.

BERTRAM

   What would you have?

HELENA

   Something; and scarce so much: nothing, indeed.
   I would not tell you what I would, my lord:
   Faith yes;
   Strangers and foes do sunder, and not kiss.

BERTRAM

   I pray you, stay not, but in haste to horse.

HELENA

   I shall not break your bidding, good my lord.

BERTRAM

   Where are my other men, monsieur? Farewell.
   Exit HELENA
   Go thou toward home; where I will never come
   Whilst I can shake my sword or hear the drum.
   Away, and for our flight.

PAROLLES

   Bravely, coragio!
   Exeunt

ACT III SCENE I. Florence. The DUKE's palace.

   Flourish. Enter the DUKE of Florence attended; the two Frenchmen, with a troop of soldiers. 

DUKE

   So that from point to point now have you heard
   The fundamental reasons of this war,
   Whose great decision hath much blood let forth
   And more thirsts after.

First Lord

   Holy seems the quarrel
   Upon your grace's part; black and fearful
   On the opposer.

DUKE

   Therefore we marvel much our cousin France
   Would in so just a business shut his bosom
   Against our borrowing prayers.

Second Lord

   Good my lord,
   The reasons of our state I cannot yield,
   But like a common and an outward man,
   That the great figure of a council frames
   By self-unable motion: therefore dare not
   Say what I think of it, since I have found
   Myself in my incertain grounds to fail
   As often as I guess'd.

DUKE

   Be it his pleasure.

First Lord

   But I am sure the younger of our nature,
   That surfeit on their ease, will day by day
   Come here for physic.

DUKE

   Welcome shall they be;
   And all the honours that can fly from us
   Shall on them settle. You know your places well;
   When better fall, for your avails they fell:
   To-morrow to the field.
   Flourish. Exeunt

SCENE II. Rousillon. The COUNT's palace.

   Enter COUNTESS and Clown 

COUNTESS

   It hath happened all as I would have had it, save
   that he comes not along with her.

Clown

   By my troth, I take my young lord to be a very
   melancholy man.

COUNTESS

   By what observance, I pray you?

Clown

   Why, he will look upon his boot and sing; mend the
   ruff and sing; ask questions and sing; pick his
   teeth and sing. I know a man that had this trick of
   melancholy sold a goodly manor for a song.

COUNTESS

   Let me see what he writes, and when he means to come.
   Opening a letter

Clown

   I have no mind to Isbel since I was at court: our
   old ling and our Isbels o' the country are nothing
   like your old ling and your Isbels o' the court:
   the brains of my Cupid's knocked out, and I begin to
   love, as an old man loves money, with no stomach.

COUNTESS

   What have we here?

Clown

   E'en that you have there.
   Exit

COUNTESS

   [Reads] I have sent you a daughter-in-law: she hath
   recovered the king, and undone me. I have wedded
   her, not bedded her; and sworn to make the 'not'
   eternal. You shall hear I am run away: know it
   before the report come. If there be breadth enough
   in the world, I will hold a long distance. My duty
   to you. Your unfortunate son,
   BERTRAM.
   This is not well, rash and unbridled boy.
   To fly the favours of so good a king;
   To pluck his indignation on thy head
   By the misprising of a maid too virtuous
   For the contempt of empire.
   Re-enter Clown

Clown

   O madam, yonder is heavy news within between two
   soldiers and my young lady!

COUNTESS

   What is the matter?

Clown

   Nay, there is some comfort in the news, some
   comfort; your son will not be killed so soon as I
   thought he would.

COUNTESS

   Why should he be killed?

Clown

   So say I, madam, if he run away, as I hear he does:
   the danger is in standing to't; that's the loss of
   men, though it be the getting of children. Here
   they come will tell you more: for my part, I only
   hear your son was run away.
   Exit
   Enter HELENA, and two Gentlemen

First Gentleman

   Save you, good madam.

HELENA

   Madam, my lord is gone, for ever gone.

Second Gentleman

   Do not say so.

COUNTESS

   Think upon patience. Pray you, gentlemen,
   I have felt so many quirks of joy and grief,
   That the first face of neither, on the start,
   Can woman me unto't: where is my son, I pray you?

Second Gentleman

   Madam, he's gone to serve the duke of Florence:
   We met him thitherward; for thence we came,
   And, after some dispatch in hand at court,
   Thither we bend again.

HELENA

   Look on his letter, madam; here's my passport.
   Reads
   When thou canst get the ring upon my finger which
   never shall come off, and show me a child begotten
   of thy body that I am father to, then call me
   husband: but in such a 'then' I write a 'never.'
   This is a dreadful sentence.

COUNTESS

   Brought you this letter, gentlemen?

First Gentleman

   Ay, madam;
   And for the contents' sake are sorry for our pain.

COUNTESS

   I prithee, lady, have a better cheer;
   If thou engrossest all the griefs are thine,
   Thou robb'st me of a moiety: he was my son;
   But I do wash his name out of my blood,
   And thou art all my child. Towards Florence is he?

Second Gentleman

   Ay, madam.

COUNTESS

   And to be a soldier?

Second Gentleman

   Such is his noble purpose; and believe 't,
   The duke will lay upon him all the honour
   That good convenience claims.

COUNTESS

   Return you thither?

First Gentleman

   Ay, madam, with the swiftest wing of speed.

HELENA

   [Reads] Till I have no wife I have nothing in France.
   'Tis bitter.

COUNTESS

   Find you that there?

HELENA

   Ay, madam.

First Gentleman

   'Tis but the boldness of his hand, haply, which his
   heart was not consenting to.

COUNTESS

   Nothing in France, until he have no wife!
   There's nothing here that is too good for him
   But only she; and she deserves a lord
   That twenty such rude boys might tend upon
   And call her hourly mistress. Who was with him?

First Gentleman

   A servant only, and a gentleman
   Which I have sometime known.

COUNTESS

   Parolles, was it not?

First Gentleman

   Ay, my good lady, he.

COUNTESS

   A very tainted fellow, and full of wickedness.
   My son corrupts a well-derived nature
   With his inducement.

First Gentleman

   Indeed, good lady,
   The fellow has a deal of that too much,
   Which holds him much to have.

COUNTESS

   You're welcome, gentlemen.
   I will entreat you, when you see my son,
   To tell him that his sword can never win
   The honour that he loses: more I'll entreat you
   Written to bear along.

Second Gentleman

   We serve you, madam,
   In that and all your worthiest affairs.

COUNTESS

   Not so, but as we change our courtesies.
   Will you draw near!
   Exeunt COUNTESS and Gentlemen

HELENA

   'Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France.'
   Nothing in France, until he has no wife!
   Thou shalt have none, Rousillon, none in France;
   Then hast thou all again. Poor lord! is't I
   That chase thee from thy country and expose
   Those tender limbs of thine to the event
   Of the none-sparing war? and is it I
   That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou
   Wast shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark
   Of smoky muskets? O you leaden messengers,
   That ride upon the violent speed of fire,
   Fly with false aim; move the still-peering air,
   That sings with piercing; do not touch my lord.
   Whoever shoots at him, I set him there;
   Whoever charges on his forward breast,
   I am the caitiff that do hold him to't;
   And, though I kill him not, I am the cause
   His death was so effected: better 'twere
   I met the ravin lion when he roar'd
   With sharp constraint of hunger; better 'twere
   That all the miseries which nature owes
   Were mine at once. No, come thou home, Rousillon,
   Whence honour but of danger wins a scar,
   As oft it loses all: I will be gone;
   My being here it is that holds thee hence:
   Shall I stay here to do't? no, no, although
   The air of paradise did fan the house
   And angels officed all: I will be gone,
   That pitiful rumour may report my flight,
   To consolate thine ear. Come, night; end, day!
   For with the dark, poor thief, I'll steal away.
   Exit

SCENE III. Florence. Before the DUKE's palace.

   Flourish. Enter the DUKE of Florence, BERTRAM, PAROLLES, Soldiers, Drum, and Trumpets 

DUKE

   The general of our horse thou art; and we,
   Great in our hope, lay our best love and credence
   Upon thy promising fortune.

BERTRAM

   Sir, it is
   A charge too heavy for my strength, but yet
   We'll strive to bear it for your worthy sake
   To the extreme edge of hazard.

DUKE

   Then go thou forth;
   And fortune play upon thy prosperous helm,
   As thy auspicious mistress!

BERTRAM

   This very day,
   Great Mars, I put myself into thy file:
   Make me but like my thoughts, and I shall prove
   A lover of thy drum, hater of love.
   Exeunt

SCENE IV. Rousillon. The COUNT's palace.

   Enter COUNTESS and Steward 

COUNTESS

   Alas! and would you take the letter of her?
   Might you not know she would do as she has done,
   By sending me a letter? Read it again.

Steward

   [Reads]
   I am Saint Jaques' pilgrim, thither gone:
   Ambitious love hath so in me offended,
   That barefoot plod I the cold ground upon,
   With sainted vow my faults to have amended.
   Write, write, that from the bloody course of war
   My dearest master, your dear son, may hie:
   Bless him at home in peace, whilst I from far
   His name with zealous fervor sanctify:
   His taken labours bid him me forgive;
   I, his despiteful Juno, sent him forth
   From courtly friends, with camping foes to live,
   Where death and danger dogs the heels of worth:
   He is too good and fair for death and me:
   Whom I myself embrace, to set him free.

COUNTESS

   Ah, what sharp stings are in her mildest words!
   Rinaldo, you did never lack advice so much,
   As letting her pass so: had I spoke with her,
   I could have well diverted her intents,
   Which thus she hath prevented.

Steward

   Pardon me, madam:
   If I had given you this at over-night,
   She might have been o'erta'en; and yet she writes,
   Pursuit would be but vain.

COUNTESS

   What angel shall
   Bless this unworthy husband? he cannot thrive,
   Unless her prayers, whom heaven delights to hear
   And loves to grant, reprieve him from the wrath
   Of greatest justice. Write, write, Rinaldo,
   To this unworthy husband of his wife;
   Let every word weigh heavy of her worth
   That he does weigh too light: my greatest grief.
   Though little he do feel it, set down sharply.
   Dispatch the most convenient messenger:
   When haply he shall hear that she is gone,
   He will return; and hope I may that she,
   Hearing so much, will speed her foot again,
   Led hither by pure love: which of them both
   Is dearest to me. I have no skill in sense
   To make distinction: provide this messenger:
   My heart is heavy and mine age is weak;
   Grief would have tears, and sorrow bids me speak.
   Exeunt

SCENE V. Florence. Without the walls. A tucket afar off.

   Enter an old Widow of Florence, DIANA, VIOLENTA, and MARIANA, with other Citizens 

Widow

   Nay, come; for if they do approach the city, we
   shall lose all the sight.

DIANA

   They say the French count has done most honourable service.

Widow

   It is reported that he has taken their greatest
   commander; and that with his own hand he slew the
   duke's brother.
   Tucket
   We have lost our labour; they are gone a contrary
   way: hark! you may know by their trumpets.

MARIANA

   Come, let's return again, and suffice ourselves with
   the report of it. Well, Diana, take heed of this
   French earl: the honour of a maid is her name; and
   no legacy is so rich as honesty.

Widow

   I have told my neighbour how you have been solicited
   by a gentleman his companion.

MARIANA

   I know that knave; hang him! one Parolles: a
   filthy officer he is in those suggestions for the
   young earl. Beware of them, Diana; their promises,
   enticements, oaths, tokens, and all these engines of
   lust, are not the things they go under: many a maid
   hath been seduced by them; and the misery is,
   example, that so terrible shows in the wreck of
   maidenhood, cannot for all that dissuade succession,
   but that they are limed with the twigs that threaten
   them. I hope I need not to advise you further; but
   I hope your own grace will keep you where you are,
   though there were no further danger known but the
   modesty which is so lost.

DIANA

   You shall not need to fear me.

Widow

   I hope so.
   Enter HELENA, disguised like a Pilgrim
   Look, here comes a pilgrim: I know she will lie at
   my house; thither they send one another: I'll
   question her. God save you, pilgrim! whither are you bound?

HELENA

   To Saint Jaques le Grand.
   Where do the palmers lodge, I do beseech you?

Widow

   At the Saint Francis here beside the port.

HELENA

   Is this the way?

Widow

   Ay, marry, is't.
   A march afar
   Hark you! they come this way.
   If you will tarry, holy pilgrim,
   But till the troops come by,
   I will conduct you where you shall be lodged;
   The rather, for I think I know your hostess
   As ample as myself.

HELENA

   Is it yourself?

Widow

   If you shall please so, pilgrim.

HELENA

   I thank you, and will stay upon your leisure.

Widow

   You came, I think, from France?

HELENA

   I did so.

Widow

   Here you shall see a countryman of yours
   That has done worthy service.

HELENA

   His name, I pray you.

DIANA

   The Count Rousillon: know you such a one?

HELENA

   But by the ear, that hears most nobly of him:
   His face I know not.

DIANA

   Whatsome'er he is,
   He's bravely taken here. He stole from France,
   As 'tis reported, for the king had married him
   Against his liking: think you it is so?

HELENA

   Ay, surely, mere the truth: I know his lady.

DIANA

   There is a gentleman that serves the count
   Reports but coarsely of her.

HELENA

   What's his name?

DIANA

   Monsieur Parolles.

HELENA

   O, I believe with him,
   In argument of praise, or to the worth
   Of the great count himself, she is too mean
   To have her name repeated: all her deserving
   Is a reserved honesty, and that
   I have not heard examined.

DIANA

   Alas, poor lady!
   'Tis a hard bondage to become the wife
   Of a detesting lord.

Widow

   I warrant, good creature, wheresoe'er she is,
   Her heart weighs sadly: this young maid might do her
   A shrewd turn, if she pleased.

HELENA

   How do you mean?
   May be the amorous count solicits her
   In the unlawful purpose.

Widow

   He does indeed;
   And brokes with all that can in such a suit
   Corrupt the tender honour of a maid:
   But she is arm'd for him and keeps her guard
   In honestest defence.

MARIANA

   The gods forbid else!

Widow

   So, now they come:
   Drum and Colours
   Enter BERTRAM, PAROLLES, and the whole army
   That is Antonio, the duke's eldest son;
   That, Escalus.

HELENA

   Which is the Frenchman?

DIANA

   He;
   That with the plume: 'tis a most gallant fellow.
   I would he loved his wife: if he were honester
   He were much goodlier: is't not a handsome gentleman?

HELENA

   I like him well.

DIANA

   'Tis pity he is not honest: yond's that same knave
   That leads him to these places: were I his lady,
   I would Poison that vile rascal.

HELENA

   Which is he?

DIANA

   That jack-an-apes with scarfs: why is he melancholy?

HELENA

   Perchance he's hurt i' the battle.

PAROLLES

   Lose our drum! well.

MARIANA

   He's shrewdly vexed at something: look, he has spied us.

Widow

   Marry, hang you!

MARIANA

   And your courtesy, for a ring-carrier!
   Exeunt BERTRAM, PAROLLES, and army

Widow

   The troop is past. Come, pilgrim, I will bring you
   Where you shall host: of enjoin'd penitents
   There's four or five, to great Saint Jaques bound,
   Already at my house.

HELENA

   I humbly thank you:
   Please it this matron and this gentle maid
   To eat with us to-night, the charge and thanking
   Shall be for me; and, to requite you further,
   I will bestow some precepts of this virgin
   Worthy the note.

BOTH

   We'll take your offer kindly.
   Exeunt

SCENE VI. Camp before Florence.

   Enter BERTRAM and the two French Lords 

Second Lord

   Nay, good my lord, put him to't; let him have his
   way.

First Lord

   If your lordship find him not a hilding, hold me no
   more in your respect.

Second Lord

   On my life, my lord, a bubble.

BERTRAM

   Do you think I am so far deceived in him?

Second Lord

   Believe it, my lord, in mine own direct knowledge,
   without any malice, but to speak of him as my
   kinsman, he's a most notable coward, an infinite and
   endless liar, an hourly promise-breaker, the owner
   of no one good quality worthy your lordship's
   entertainment.

First Lord

   It were fit you knew him; lest, reposing too far in
   his virtue, which he hath not, he might at some
   great and trusty business in a main danger fail you.

BERTRAM

   I would I knew in what particular action to try him.

First Lord

   None better than to let him fetch off his drum,
   which you hear him so confidently undertake to do.

Second Lord

   I, with a troop of Florentines, will suddenly
   surprise him; such I will have, whom I am sure he
   knows not from the enemy: we will bind and hoodwink
   him so, that he shall suppose no other but that he
   is carried into the leaguer of the adversaries, when
   we bring him to our own tents. Be but your lordship
   present at his examination: if he do not, for the
   promise of his life and in the highest compulsion of
   base fear, offer to betray you and deliver all the
   intelligence in his power against you, and that with
   the divine forfeit of his soul upon oath, never
   trust my judgment in any thing.

First Lord

   O, for the love of laughter, let him fetch his drum;
   he says he has a stratagem for't: when your
   lordship sees the bottom of his success in't, and to
   what metal this counterfeit lump of ore will be
   melted, if you give him not John Drum's
   entertainment, your inclining cannot be removed.
   Here he comes.
   Enter PAROLLES

Second Lord

   [Aside to BERTRAM] O, for the love of laughter,
   hinder not the honour of his design: let him fetch
   off his drum in any hand.

BERTRAM

   How now, monsieur! this drum sticks sorely in your
   disposition.

First Lord

   A pox on't, let it go; 'tis but a drum.

PAROLLES

   'But a drum'! is't 'but a drum'? A drum so lost!
   There was excellent command,--to charge in with our
   horse upon our own wings, and to rend our own soldiers!

First Lord

   That was not to be blamed in the command of the
   service: it was a disaster of war that Caesar
   himself could not have prevented, if he had been
   there to command.

BERTRAM

   Well, we cannot greatly condemn our success: some
   dishonour we had in the loss of that drum; but it is
   not to be recovered.

PAROLLES

   It might have been recovered.

BERTRAM

   It might; but it is not now.

PAROLLES

   It is to be recovered: but that the merit of
   service is seldom attributed to the true and exact
   performer, I would have that drum or another, or
   'hic jacet.'

BERTRAM

   Why, if you have a stomach, to't, monsieur: if you
   think your mystery in stratagem can bring this
   instrument of honour again into his native quarter,
   be magnanimous in the enterprise and go on; I will
   grace the attempt for a worthy exploit: if you
   speed well in it, the duke shall both speak of it.
   and extend to you what further becomes his
   greatness, even to the utmost syllable of your
   worthiness.

PAROLLES

   By the hand of a soldier, I will undertake it.

BERTRAM

   But you must not now slumber in it.

PAROLLES

   I'll about it this evening: and I will presently
   pen down my dilemmas, encourage myself in my
   certainty, put myself into my mortal preparation;
   and by midnight look to hear further from me.

BERTRAM

   May I be bold to acquaint his grace you are gone about it?

PAROLLES

   I know not what the success will be, my lord; but
   the attempt I vow.

BERTRAM

   I know thou'rt valiant; and, to the possibility of
   thy soldiership, will subscribe for thee. Farewell.

PAROLLES

   I love not many words.
   Exit

Second Lord

   No more than a fish loves water. Is not this a
   strange fellow, my lord, that so confidently seems
   to undertake this business, which he knows is not to
   be done; damns himself to do and dares better be
   damned than to do't?

First Lord

   You do not know him, my lord, as we do: certain it
   is that he will steal himself into a man's favour and
   for a week escape a great deal of discoveries; but
   when you find him out, you have him ever after.

BERTRAM

   Why, do you think he will make no deed at all of
   this that so seriously he does address himself unto?

Second Lord

   None in the world; but return with an invention and
   clap upon you two or three probable lies: but we
   have almost embossed him; you shall see his fall
   to-night; for indeed he is not for your lordship's respect.

First Lord

   We'll make you some sport with the fox ere we case
   him. He was first smoked by the old lord Lafeu:
   when his disguise and he is parted, tell me what a
   sprat you shall find him; which you shall see this
   very night.

Second Lord

   I must go look my twigs: he shall be caught.

BERTRAM

   Your brother he shall go along with me.

Second Lord

   As't please your lordship: I'll leave you.
   Exit

BERTRAM

   Now will I lead you to the house, and show you
   The lass I spoke of.

First Lord

   But you say she's honest.

BERTRAM

   That's all the fault: I spoke with her but once
   And found her wondrous cold; but I sent to her,
   By this same coxcomb that we have i' the wind,
   Tokens and letters which she did re-send;
   And this is all I have done. She's a fair creature:
   Will you go see her?

First Lord

   With all my heart, my lord.
   Exeunt

SCENE VII. Florence. The Widow's house.

   Enter HELENA and Widow 

HELENA

   If you misdoubt me that I am not she,
   I know not how I shall assure you further,
   But I shall lose the grounds I work upon.

Widow

   Though my estate be fallen, I was well born,
   Nothing acquainted with these businesses;
   And would not put my reputation now
   In any staining act.

HELENA

   Nor would I wish you.
   First, give me trust, the count he is my husband,
   And what to your sworn counsel I have spoken
   Is so from word to word; and then you cannot,
   By the good aid that I of you shall borrow,
   Err in bestowing it.

Widow

   I should believe you:
   For you have show'd me that which well approves
   You're great in fortune.

HELENA

   Take this purse of gold,
   And let me buy your friendly help thus far,
   Which I will over-pay and pay again
   When I have found it. The count he wooes your daughter,
   Lays down his wanton siege before her beauty,
   Resolved to carry her: let her in fine consent,
   As we'll direct her how 'tis best to bear it.
   Now his important blood will nought deny
   That she'll demand: a ring the county wears,
   That downward hath succeeded in his house
   From son to son, some four or five descents
   Since the first father wore it: this ring he holds
   In most rich choice; yet in his idle fire,
   To buy his will, it would not seem too dear,
   Howe'er repented after.

Widow

   Now I see
   The bottom of your purpose.

HELENA

   You see it lawful, then: it is no more,
   But that your daughter, ere she seems as won,
   Desires this ring; appoints him an encounter;
   In fine, delivers me to fill the time,
   Herself most chastely absent: after this,
   To marry her, I'll add three thousand crowns
   To what is passed already.

Widow

   I have yielded:
   Instruct my daughter how she shall persever,
   That time and place with this deceit so lawful
   May prove coherent. Every night he comes
   With musics of all sorts and songs composed
   To her unworthiness: it nothing steads us
   To chide him from our eaves; for he persists
   As if his life lay on't.

HELENA

   Why then to-night
   Let us assay our plot; which, if it speed,
   Is wicked meaning in a lawful deed
   And lawful meaning in a lawful act,
   Where both not sin, and yet a sinful fact:
   But let's about it.
   Exeunt

ACT IV SCENE I. Without the Florentine camp.

   Enter Second French Lord, with five or six other Soldiers in ambush 

Second Lord

   He can come no other way but by this hedge-corner.
   When you sally upon him, speak what terrible
   language you will: though you understand it not
   yourselves, no matter; for we must not seem to
   understand him, unless some one among us whom we
   must produce for an interpreter.

First Soldier

   Good captain, let me be the interpreter.

Second Lord

   Art not acquainted with him? knows he not thy voice?

First Soldier

   No, sir, I warrant you.

Second Lord

   But what linsey-woolsey hast thou to speak to us again?

First Soldier

   E'en such as you speak to me.

Second Lord

   He must think us some band of strangers i' the
   adversary's entertainment. Now he hath a smack of
   all neighbouring languages; therefore we must every
   one be a man of his own fancy, not to know what we
   speak one to another; so we seem to know, is to
   know straight our purpose: choughs' language,
   gabble enough, and good enough. As for you,
   interpreter, you must seem very politic. But couch,
   ho! here he comes, to beguile two hours in a sleep,
   and then to return and swear the lies he forges.
   Enter PAROLLES

PAROLLES

   Ten o'clock: within these three hours 'twill be
   time enough to go home. What shall I say I have
   done? It must be a very plausive invention that
   carries it: they begin to smoke me; and disgraces
   have of late knocked too often at my door. I find
   my tongue is too foolhardy; but my heart hath the
   fear of Mars before it and of his creatures, not
   daring the reports of my tongue.

Second Lord

   This is the first truth that e'er thine own tongue
   was guilty of.

PAROLLES

   What the devil should move me to undertake the
   recovery of this drum, being not ignorant of the
   impossibility, and knowing I had no such purpose? I
   must give myself some hurts, and say I got them in
   exploit: yet slight ones will not carry it; they
   will say, 'Came you off with so little?' and great
   ones I dare not give. Wherefore, what's the
   instance? Tongue, I must put you into a
   butter-woman's mouth and buy myself another of
   Bajazet's mule, if you prattle me into these perils.

Second Lord

   Is it possible he should know what he is, and be
   that he is?

PAROLLES

   I would the cutting of my garments would serve the
   turn, or the breaking of my Spanish sword.

Second Lord

   We cannot afford you so.

PAROLLES

   Or the baring of my beard; and to say it was in
   stratagem.

Second Lord

   'Twould not do.

PAROLLES

   Or to drown my clothes, and say I was stripped.

Second Lord

   Hardly serve.

PAROLLES

   Though I swore I leaped from the window of the citadel.

Second Lord

   How deep?

PAROLLES

   Thirty fathom.

Second Lord

   Three great oaths would scarce make that be believed.

PAROLLES

   I would I had any drum of the enemy's: I would swear
   I recovered it.

Second Lord

   You shall hear one anon.

PAROLLES

   A drum now of the enemy's,--
   Alarum within

Second Lord

   Throca movousus, cargo, cargo, cargo.

All

   Cargo, cargo, cargo, villiando par corbo, cargo.

PAROLLES

   O, ransom, ransom! do not hide mine eyes.
   They seize and blindfold him

First Soldier

   Boskos thromuldo boskos.

PAROLLES

   I know you are the Muskos' regiment:
   And I shall lose my life for want of language;
   If there be here German, or Dane, low Dutch,
   Italian, or French, let him speak to me; I'll
   Discover that which shall undo the Florentine.

First Soldier

   Boskos vauvado: I understand thee, and can speak
   thy tongue. Kerely bonto, sir, betake thee to thy
   faith, for seventeen poniards are at thy bosom.

PAROLLES

   O!

First Soldier

   O, pray, pray, pray! Manka revania dulche.

Second Lord

   Oscorbidulchos volivorco.

First Soldier

   The general is content to spare thee yet;
   And, hoodwink'd as thou art, will lead thee on
   To gather from thee: haply thou mayst inform
   Something to save thy life.

PAROLLES

   O, let me live!
   And all the secrets of our camp I'll show,
   Their force, their purposes; nay, I'll speak that
   Which you will wonder at.

First Soldier

   But wilt thou faithfully?

PAROLLES

   If I do not, damn me.

First Soldier

   Acordo linta.
   Come on; thou art granted space.
   Exit, with PAROLLES guarded. A short alarum within

Second Lord

   Go, tell the Count Rousillon, and my brother,
   We have caught the woodcock, and will keep him muffled
   Till we do hear from them.

Second Soldier

   Captain, I will.

Second Lord

   A' will betray us all unto ourselves:
   Inform on that.

Second Soldier

   So I will, sir.

Second Lord

   Till then I'll keep him dark and safely lock'd.
   Exeunt

SCENE II. Florence. The Widow's house.

   Enter BERTRAM and DIANA 

BERTRAM

   They told me that your name was Fontibell.

DIANA

   No, my good lord, Diana.

BERTRAM

   Titled goddess;
   And worth it, with addition! But, fair soul,
   In your fine frame hath love no quality?
   If quick fire of youth light not your mind,
   You are no maiden, but a monument:
   When you are dead, you should be such a one
   As you are now, for you are cold and stem;
   And now you should be as your mother was
   When your sweet self was got.

DIANA

   She then was honest.

BERTRAM

   So should you be.

DIANA

   No:
   My mother did but duty; such, my lord,
   As you owe to your wife.

BERTRAM

   No more o' that;
   I prithee, do not strive against my vows:
   I was compell'd to her; but I love thee
   By love's own sweet constraint, and will for ever
   Do thee all rights of service.

DIANA

   Ay, so you serve us
   Till we serve you; but when you have our roses,
   You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves
   And mock us with our bareness.

BERTRAM

   How have I sworn!

DIANA

   'Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth,
   But the plain single vow that is vow'd true.
   What is not holy, that we swear not by,
   But take the High'st to witness: then, pray you, tell me,
   If I should swear by God's great attributes,
   I loved you dearly, would you believe my oaths,
   When I did love you ill? This has no holding,
   To swear by him whom I protest to love,
   That I will work against him: therefore your oaths
   Are words and poor conditions, but unseal'd,
   At least in my opinion.

BERTRAM

   Change it, change it;
   Be not so holy-cruel: love is holy;
   And my integrity ne'er knew the crafts
   That you do charge men with. Stand no more off,
   But give thyself unto my sick desires,
   Who then recover: say thou art mine, and ever
   My love as it begins shall so persever.

DIANA

   I see that men make ropes in such a scarre
   That we'll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.

BERTRAM

   I'll lend it thee, my dear; but have no power
   To give it from me.

DIANA

   Will you not, my lord?

BERTRAM

   It is an honour 'longing to our house,
   Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
   Which were the greatest obloquy i' the world
   In me to lose.

DIANA

   Mine honour's such a ring:
   My chastity's the jewel of our house,
   Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
   Which were the greatest obloquy i' the world
   In me to lose: thus your own proper wisdom
   Brings in the champion Honour on my part,
   Against your vain assault.

BERTRAM

   Here, take my ring:
   My house, mine honour, yea, my life, be thine,
   And I'll be bid by thee.

DIANA

   When midnight comes, knock at my chamber-window:
   I'll order take my mother shall not hear.
   Now will I charge you in the band of truth,
   When you have conquer'd my yet maiden bed,
   Remain there but an hour, nor speak to me:
   My reasons are most strong; and you shall know them
   When back again this ring shall be deliver'd:
   And on your finger in the night I'll put
   Another ring, that what in time proceeds
   May token to the future our past deeds.
   Adieu, till then; then, fail not. You have won
   A wife of me, though there my hope be done.

BERTRAM

   A heaven on earth I have won by wooing thee.
   Exit

DIANA

   For which live long to thank both heaven and me!
   You may so in the end.
   My mother told me just how he would woo,
   As if she sat in 's heart; she says all men
   Have the like oaths: he had sworn to marry me
   When his wife's dead; therefore I'll lie with him
   When I am buried. Since Frenchmen are so braid,
   Marry that will, I live and die a maid:
   Only in this disguise I think't no sin
   To cozen him that would unjustly win.
   Exit

SCENE III. The Florentine camp.

   Enter the two French Lords and some two or three Soldiers 

First Lord

   You have not given him his mother's letter?

Second Lord

   I have delivered it an hour since: there is
   something in't that stings his nature; for on the
   reading it he changed almost into another man.

First Lord

   He has much worthy blame laid upon him for shaking
   off so good a wife and so sweet a lady.

Second Lord

   Especially he hath incurred the everlasting
   displeasure of the king, who had even tuned his
   bounty to sing happiness to him. I will tell you a
   thing, but you shall let it dwell darkly with you.

First Lord

   When you have spoken it, 'tis dead, and I am the
   grave of it.

Second Lord

   He hath perverted a young gentlewoman here in
   Florence, of a most chaste renown; and this night he
   fleshes his will in the spoil of her honour: he hath
   given her his monumental ring, and thinks himself
   made in the unchaste composition.

First Lord

   Now, God delay our rebellion! as we are ourselves,
   what things are we!

Second Lord

   Merely our own traitors. And as in the common course
   of all treasons, we still see them reveal
   themselves, till they attain to their abhorred ends,
   so he that in this action contrives against his own
   nobility, in his proper stream o'erflows himself.

First Lord

   Is it not meant damnable in us, to be trumpeters of
   our unlawful intents? We shall not then have his
   company to-night?

Second Lord

   Not till after midnight; for he is dieted to his hour.

First Lord

   That approaches apace; I would gladly have him see
   his company anatomized, that he might take a measure
   of his own judgments, wherein so curiously he had
   set this counterfeit.

Second Lord

   We will not meddle with him till he come; for his
   presence must be the whip of the other.

First Lord

   In the mean time, what hear you of these wars?

Second Lord

   I hear there is an overture of peace.

First Lord

   Nay, I assure you, a peace concluded.

Second Lord

   What will Count Rousillon do then? will he travel
   higher, or return again into France?

First Lord

   I perceive, by this demand, you are not altogether
   of his council.

Second Lord

   Let it be forbid, sir; so should I be a great deal
   of his act.

First Lord

   Sir, his wife some two months since fled from his
   house: her pretence is a pilgrimage to Saint Jaques
   le Grand; which holy undertaking with most austere
   sanctimony she accomplished; and, there residing the
   tenderness of her nature became as a prey to her
   grief; in fine, made a groan of her last breath, and
   now she sings in heaven.

Second Lord

   How is this justified?

First Lord

   The stronger part of it by her own letters, which
   makes her story true, even to the point of her
   death: her death itself, which could not be her
   office to say is come, was faithfully confirmed by
   the rector of the place.

Second Lord

   Hath the count all this intelligence?

First Lord

   Ay, and the particular confirmations, point from
   point, so to the full arming of the verity.

Second Lord

   I am heartily sorry that he'll be glad of this.

First Lord

   How mightily sometimes we make us comforts of our losses!

Second Lord

   And how mightily some other times we drown our gain
   in tears! The great dignity that his valour hath
   here acquired for him shall at home be encountered
   with a shame as ample.

First Lord

   The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and
   ill together: our virtues would be proud, if our
   faults whipped them not; and our crimes would
   despair, if they were not cherished by our virtues.
   Enter a Messenger
   How now! where's your master?

Servant

   He met the duke in the street, sir, of whom he hath
   taken a solemn leave: his lordship will next
   morning for France. The duke hath offered him
   letters of commendations to the king.

Second Lord

   They shall be no more than needful there, if they
   were more than they can commend.

First Lord

   They cannot be too sweet for the king's tartness.
   Here's his lordship now.
   Enter BERTRAM
   How now, my lord! is't not after midnight?

BERTRAM

   I have to-night dispatched sixteen businesses, a
   month's length a-piece, by an abstract of success:
   I have congied with the duke, done my adieu with his
   nearest; buried a wife, mourned for her; writ to my
   lady mother I am returning; entertained my convoy;
   and between these main parcels of dispatch effected
   many nicer needs; the last was the greatest, but
   that I have not ended yet.

Second Lord

   If the business be of any difficulty, and this
   morning your departure hence, it requires haste of
   your lordship.

BERTRAM

   I mean, the business is not ended, as fearing to
   hear of it hereafter. But shall we have this
   dialogue between the fool and the soldier? Come,
   bring forth this counterfeit module, he has deceived
   me, like a double-meaning prophesier.

Second Lord

   Bring him forth: has sat i' the stocks all night,
   poor gallant knave.

BERTRAM

   No matter: his heels have deserved it, in usurping
   his spurs so long. How does he carry himself?

Second Lord

   I have told your lordship already, the stocks carry
   him. But to answer you as you would be understood;
   he weeps like a wench that had shed her milk: he
   hath confessed himself to Morgan, whom he supposes
   to be a friar, from the time of his remembrance to
   this very instant disaster of his setting i' the
   stocks: and what think you he hath confessed?

BERTRAM

   Nothing of me, has a'?

Second Lord

   His confession is taken, and it shall be read to his
   face: if your lordship be in't, as I believe you
   are, you must have the patience to hear it.
   Enter PAROLLES guarded, and First Soldier

BERTRAM

   A plague upon him! muffled! he can say nothing of
   me: hush, hush!

First Lord

   Hoodman comes! Portotartarosa

First Soldier

   He calls for the tortures: what will you say
   without 'em?

PAROLLES

   I will confess what I know without constraint: if
   ye pinch me like a pasty, I can say no more.

First Soldier

   Bosko chimurcho.

First Lord

   Boblibindo chicurmurco.

First Soldier

   You are a merciful general. Our general bids you
   answer to what I shall ask you out of a note.

PAROLLES

   And truly, as I hope to live.

First Soldier

   [Reads] 'First demand of him how many horse the
   duke is strong.' What say you to that?

PAROLLES

   Five or six thousand; but very weak and
   unserviceable: the troops are all scattered, and
   the commanders very poor rogues, upon my reputation
   and credit and as I hope to live.

First Soldier

   Shall I set down your answer so?

PAROLLES

   Do: I'll take the sacrament on't, how and which way you will.

BERTRAM

   All's one to him. What a past-saving slave is this!

First Lord

   You're deceived, my lord: this is Monsieur
   Parolles, the gallant militarist,--that was his own
   phrase,--that had the whole theoric of war in the
   knot of his scarf, and the practise in the chape of
   his dagger.

Second Lord

   I will never trust a man again for keeping his sword
   clean. nor believe he can have every thing in him
   by wearing his apparel neatly.

First Soldier

   Well, that's set down.

PAROLLES

   Five or six thousand horse, I said,-- I will say
   true,--or thereabouts, set down, for I'll speak truth.

First Lord

   He's very near the truth in this.

BERTRAM

   But I con him no thanks for't, in the nature he
   delivers it.

PAROLLES

   Poor rogues, I pray you, say.

First Soldier

   Well, that's set down.

PAROLLES

   I humbly thank you, sir: a truth's a truth, the
   rogues are marvellous poor.

First Soldier

   [Reads] 'Demand of him, of what strength they are
   a-foot.' What say you to that?

PAROLLES

   By my troth, sir, if I were to live this present
   hour, I will tell true. Let me see: Spurio, a
   hundred and fifty; Sebastian, so many; Corambus, so
   many; Jaques, so many; Guiltian, Cosmo, Lodowick,
   and Gratii, two hundred and fifty each; mine own
   company, Chitopher, Vaumond, Bentii, two hundred and
   fifty each: so that the muster-file, rotten and
   sound, upon my life, amounts not to fifteen thousand
   poll; half of the which dare not shake snow from off
   their cassocks, lest they shake themselves to pieces.

BERTRAM

   What shall be done to him?

First Lord

   Nothing, but let him have thanks. Demand of him my
   condition, and what credit I have with the duke.

First Soldier

   Well, that's set down.
   Reads
   'You shall demand of him, whether one Captain Dumain
   be i' the camp, a Frenchman; what his reputation is
   with the duke; what his valour, honesty, and
   expertness in wars; or whether he thinks it were not
   possible, with well-weighing sums of gold, to
   corrupt him to revolt.' What say you to this? what
   do you know of it?

PAROLLES

   I beseech you, let me answer to the particular of
   the inter'gatories: demand them singly.

First Soldier

   Do you know this Captain Dumain?

PAROLLES

   I know him: a' was a botcher's 'prentice in Paris,
   from whence he was whipped for getting the shrieve's
   fool with child,--a dumb innocent, that could not
   say him nay.

BERTRAM

   Nay, by your leave, hold your hands; though I know
   his brains are forfeit to the next tile that falls.

First Soldier

   Well, is this captain in the duke of Florence's camp?

PAROLLES

   Upon my knowledge, he is, and lousy.

First Lord

   Nay look not so upon me; we shall hear of your
   lordship anon.

First Soldier

   What is his reputation with the duke?

PAROLLES

   The duke knows him for no other but a poor officer
   of mine; and writ to me this other day to turn him
   out o' the band: I think I have his letter in my pocket.

First Soldier

   Marry, we'll search.

PAROLLES

   In good sadness, I do not know; either it is there,
   or it is upon a file with the duke's other letters
   in my tent.

First Soldier

   Here 'tis; here's a paper: shall I read it to you?

PAROLLES

   I do not know if it be it or no.

BERTRAM

   Our interpreter does it well.

First Lord

   Excellently.

First Soldier

   [Reads] 'Dian, the count's a fool, and full of gold,'--

PAROLLES

   That is not the duke's letter, sir; that is an
   advertisement to a proper maid in Florence, one
   Diana, to take heed of the allurement of one Count
   Rousillon, a foolish idle boy, but for all that very
   ruttish: I pray you, sir, put it up again.

First Soldier

   Nay, I'll read it first, by your favour.

PAROLLES

   My meaning in't, I protest, was very honest in the
   behalf of the maid; for I knew the young count to be
   a dangerous and lascivious boy, who is a whale to
   virginity and devours up all the fry it finds.

BERTRAM

   Damnable both-sides rogue!

First Soldier

   [Reads] 'When he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and take it;
   After he scores, he never pays the score:
   Half won is match well made; match, and well make it;
   He ne'er pays after-debts, take it before;
   And say a soldier, Dian, told thee this,
   Men are to mell with, boys are not to kiss:
   For count of this, the count's a fool, I know it,
   Who pays before, but not when he does owe it.
   Thine, as he vowed to thee in thine ear,
   PAROLLES.'

BERTRAM

   He shall be whipped through the army with this rhyme
   in's forehead.

Second Lord

   This is your devoted friend, sir, the manifold
   linguist and the armipotent soldier.

BERTRAM

   I could endure any thing before but a cat, and now
   he's a cat to me.

First Soldier

   I perceive, sir, by the general's looks, we shall be
   fain to hang you.

PAROLLES

   My life, sir, in any case: not that I am afraid to
   die; but that, my offences being many, I would
   repent out the remainder of nature: let me live,
   sir, in a dungeon, i' the stocks, or any where, so I may live.

First Soldier

   We'll see what may be done, so you confess freely;
   therefore, once more to this Captain Dumain: you
   have answered to his reputation with the duke and to
   his valour: what is his honesty?

PAROLLES

   He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister: for
   rapes and ravishments he parallels Nessus: he
   professes not keeping of oaths; in breaking 'em he
   is stronger than Hercules: he will lie, sir, with
   such volubility, that you would think truth were a
   fool: drunkenness is his best virtue, for he will
   be swine-drunk; and in his sleep he does little
   harm, save to his bed-clothes about him; but they
   know his conditions and lay him in straw. I have but
   little more to say, sir, of his honesty: he has
   every thing that an honest man should not have; what
   an honest man should have, he has nothing.

First Lord

   I begin to love him for this.

BERTRAM

   For this description of thine honesty? A pox upon
   him for me, he's more and more a cat.

First Soldier

   What say you to his expertness in war?

PAROLLES

   Faith, sir, he has led the drum before the English
   tragedians; to belie him, I will not, and more of
   his soldiership I know not; except, in that country
   he had the honour to be the officer at a place there
   called Mile-end, to instruct for the doubling of
   files: I would do the man what honour I can, but of
   this I am not certain.

First Lord

   He hath out-villained villany so far, that the
   rarity redeems him.

BERTRAM

   A pox on him, he's a cat still.

First Soldier

   His qualities being at this poor price, I need not
   to ask you if gold will corrupt him to revolt.

PAROLLES

   Sir, for a quart d'ecu he will sell the fee-simple
   of his salvation, the inheritance of it; and cut the
   entail from all remainders, and a perpetual
   succession for it perpetually.

First Soldier

   What's his brother, the other Captain Dumain?

Second Lord

   Why does be ask him of me?

First Soldier

   What's he?

PAROLLES

   E'en a crow o' the same nest; not altogether so
   great as the first in goodness, but greater a great
   deal in evil: he excels his brother for a coward,
   yet his brother is reputed one of the best that is:
   in a retreat he outruns any lackey; marry, in coming
   on he has the cramp.

First Soldier

   If your life be saved, will you undertake to betray
   the Florentine?

PAROLLES

   Ay, and the captain of his horse, Count Rousillon.

First Soldier

   I'll whisper with the general, and know his pleasure.

PAROLLES

   [Aside] I'll no more drumming; a plague of all
   drums! Only to seem to deserve well, and to
   beguile the supposition of that lascivious young boy
   the count, have I run into this danger. Yet who
   would have suspected an ambush where I was taken?

First Soldier

   There is no remedy, sir, but you must die: the
   general says, you that have so traitorously
   discovered the secrets of your army and made such
   pestiferous reports of men very nobly held, can
   serve the world for no honest use; therefore you
   must die. Come, headsman, off with his head.

PAROLLES

   O Lord, sir, let me live, or let me see my death!

First Lord

   That shall you, and take your leave of all your friends.
   Unblinding him
   So, look about you: know you any here?

BERTRAM

   Good morrow, noble captain.

Second Lord

   God bless you, Captain Parolles.

First Lord

   God save you, noble captain.

Second Lord

   Captain, what greeting will you to my Lord Lafeu?
   I am for France.

First Lord

   Good captain, will you give me a copy of the sonnet
   you writ to Diana in behalf of the Count Rousillon?
   an I were not a very coward, I'ld compel it of you:
   but fare you well.
   Exeunt BERTRAM and Lords

First Soldier

   You are undone, captain, all but your scarf; that
   has a knot on't yet

PAROLLES

   Who cannot be crushed with a plot?

First Soldier

   If you could find out a country where but women were
   that had received so much shame, you might begin an
   impudent nation. Fare ye well, sir; I am for France
   too: we shall speak of you there.
   Exit with Soldiers

PAROLLES

   Yet am I thankful: if my heart were great,
   'Twould burst at this. Captain I'll be no more;
   But I will eat and drink, and sleep as soft
   As captain shall: simply the thing I am
   Shall make me live. Who knows himself a braggart,
   Let him fear this, for it will come to pass
   that every braggart shall be found an ass.
   Rust, sword? cool, blushes! and, Parolles, live
   Safest in shame! being fool'd, by foolery thrive!
   There's place and means for every man alive.
   I'll after them.
   Exit

SCENE IV. Florence. The Widow's house.

   Enter HELENA, Widow, and DIANA 

HELENA

   That you may well perceive I have not wrong'd you,
   One of the greatest in the Christian world
   Shall be my surety; 'fore whose throne 'tis needful,
   Ere I can perfect mine intents, to kneel:
   Time was, I did him a desired office,
   Dear almost as his life; which gratitude
   Through flinty Tartar's bosom would peep forth,
   And answer, thanks: I duly am inform'd
   His grace is at Marseilles; to which place
   We have convenient convoy. You must know
   I am supposed dead: the army breaking,
   My husband hies him home; where, heaven aiding,
   And by the leave of my good lord the king,
   We'll be before our welcome.

Widow

   Gentle madam,
   You never had a servant to whose trust
   Your business was more welcome.

HELENA

   Nor you, mistress,
   Ever a friend whose thoughts more truly labour
   To recompense your love: doubt not but heaven
   Hath brought me up to be your daughter's dower,
   As it hath fated her to be my motive
   And helper to a husband. But, O strange men!
   That can such sweet use make of what they hate,
   When saucy trusting of the cozen'd thoughts
   Defiles the pitchy night: so lust doth play
   With what it loathes for that which is away.
   But more of this hereafter. You, Diana,
   Under my poor instructions yet must suffer
   Something in my behalf.

DIANA

   Let death and honesty
   Go with your impositions, I am yours
   Upon your will to suffer.

HELENA

   Yet, I pray you:
   But with the word the time will bring on summer,
   When briers shall have leaves as well as thorns,
   And be as sweet as sharp. We must away;
   Our wagon is prepared, and time revives us:
   All's well that ends well; still the fine's the crown;
   Whate'er the course, the end is the renown.
   Exeunt

SCENE V. Rousillon. The COUNT's palace.

   Enter COUNTESS, LAFEU, and Clown 

LAFEU

   No, no, no, your son was misled with a snipt-taffeta
   fellow there, whose villanous saffron would have
   made all the unbaked and doughy youth of a nation in
   his colour: your daughter-in-law had been alive at
   this hour, and your son here at home, more advanced
   by the king than by that red-tailed humble-bee I speak of.

COUNTESS

   I would I had not known him; it was the death of the
   most virtuous gentlewoman that ever nature had
   praise for creating. If she had partaken of my
   flesh, and cost me the dearest groans of a mother, I
   could not have owed her a more rooted love.

LAFEU

   'Twas a good lady, 'twas a good lady: we may pick a
   thousand salads ere we light on such another herb.

Clown

   Indeed, sir, she was the sweet marjoram of the
   salad, or rather, the herb of grace.

LAFEU

   They are not herbs, you knave; they are nose-herbs.

Clown

   I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir; I have not much
   skill in grass.

LAFEU

   Whether dost thou profess thyself, a knave or a fool?

Clown

   A fool, sir, at a woman's service, and a knave at a man's.

LAFEU

   Your distinction?

Clown

   I would cozen the man of his wife and do his service.

LAFEU

   So you were a knave at his service, indeed.

Clown

   And I would give his wife my bauble, sir, to do her service.

LAFEU

   I will subscribe for thee, thou art both knave and fool.

Clown

   At your service.

LAFEU

   No, no, no.

Clown

   Why, sir, if I cannot serve you, I can serve as
   great a prince as you are.

LAFEU

   Who's that? a Frenchman?

Clown

   Faith, sir, a' has an English name; but his fisnomy
   is more hotter in France than there.

LAFEU

   What prince is that?

Clown

   The black prince, sir; alias, the prince of
   darkness; alias, the devil.

LAFEU

   Hold thee, there's my purse: I give thee not this
   to suggest thee from thy master thou talkest of;
   serve him still.

Clown

   I am a woodland fellow, sir, that always loved a
   great fire; and the master I speak of ever keeps a
   good fire. But, sure, he is the prince of the
   world; let his nobility remain in's court. I am for
   the house with the narrow gate, which I take to be
   too little for pomp to enter: some that humble
   themselves may; but the many will be too chill and
   tender, and they'll be for the flowery way that
   leads to the broad gate and the great fire.

LAFEU

   Go thy ways, I begin to be aweary of thee; and I
   tell thee so before, because I would not fall out
   with thee. Go thy ways: let my horses be well
   looked to, without any tricks.

Clown

   If I put any tricks upon 'em, sir, they shall be
   jades' tricks; which are their own right by the law of nature.
   Exit

LAFEU

   A shrewd knave and an unhappy.

COUNTESS

   So he is. My lord that's gone made himself much
   sport out of him: by his authority he remains here,
   which he thinks is a patent for his sauciness; and,
   indeed, he has no pace, but runs where he will.

LAFEU

   I like him well; 'tis not amiss. And I was about to
   tell you, since I heard of the good lady's death and
   that my lord your son was upon his return home, I
   moved the king my master to speak in the behalf of
   my daughter; which, in the minority of them both,
   his majesty, out of a self-gracious remembrance, did
   first propose: his highness hath promised me to do
   it: and, to stop up the displeasure he hath
   conceived against your son, there is no fitter
   matter. How does your ladyship like it?

COUNTESS

   With very much content, my lord; and I wish it
   happily effected.

LAFEU

   His highness comes post from Marseilles, of as able
   body as when he numbered thirty: he will be here
   to-morrow, or I am deceived by him that in such
   intelligence hath seldom failed.

COUNTESS

   It rejoices me, that I hope I shall see him ere I
   die. I have letters that my son will be here
   to-night: I shall beseech your lordship to remain
   with me till they meet together.

LAFEU

   Madam, I was thinking with what manners I might
   safely be admitted.

COUNTESS

   You need but plead your honourable privilege.

LAFEU

   Lady, of that I have made a bold charter; but I
   thank my God it holds yet.
   Re-enter Clown

Clown

   O madam, yonder's my lord your son with a patch of
   velvet on's face: whether there be a scar under't
   or no, the velvet knows; but 'tis a goodly patch of
   velvet: his left cheek is a cheek of two pile and a
   half, but his right cheek is worn bare.

LAFEU

   A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good livery
   of honour; so belike is that.

Clown

   But it is your carbonadoed face.

LAFEU

   Let us go see your son, I pray you: I long to talk
   with the young noble soldier.

Clown

   Faith there's a dozen of 'em, with delicate fine
   hats and most courteous feathers, which bow the head
   and nod at every man.
   Exeunt

ACT V SCENE I. Marseilles. A street.

   Enter HELENA, Widow, and DIANA, with two Attendants 

HELENA

   But this exceeding posting day and night
   Must wear your spirits low; we cannot help it:
   But since you have made the days and nights as one,
   To wear your gentle limbs in my affairs,
   Be bold you do so grow in my requital
   As nothing can unroot you. In happy time;
   Enter a Gentleman
   This man may help me to his majesty's ear,
   If he would spend his power. God save you, sir.

Gentleman

   And you.

HELENA

   Sir, I have seen you in the court of France.

Gentleman

   I have been sometimes there.

HELENA

   I do presume, sir, that you are not fallen
   From the report that goes upon your goodness;
   An therefore, goaded with most sharp occasions,
   Which lay nice manners by, I put you to
   The use of your own virtues, for the which
   I shall continue thankful.

Gentleman

   What's your will?

HELENA

   That it will please you
   To give this poor petition to the king,
   And aid me with that store of power you have
   To come into his presence.

Gentleman

   The king's not here.

HELENA

   Not here, sir!

Gentleman

   Not, indeed:
   He hence removed last night and with more haste
   Than is his use.

Widow

   Lord, how we lose our pains!

HELENA

   ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL yet,
   Though time seem so adverse and means unfit.
   I do beseech you, whither is he gone?

Gentleman

   Marry, as I take it, to Rousillon;
   Whither I am going.

HELENA

   I do beseech you, sir,
   Since you are like to see the king before me,
   Commend the paper to his gracious hand,
   Which I presume shall render you no blame
   But rather make you thank your pains for it.
   I will come after you with what good speed
   Our means will make us means.

Gentleman

   This I'll do for you.

HELENA

   And you shall find yourself to be well thank'd,
   Whate'er falls more. We must to horse again.
   Go, go, provide.
   Exeunt

SCENE II. Rousillon. Before the COUNT's palace.

   Enter Clown, and PAROLLES, following 

PAROLLES

   Good Monsieur Lavache, give my Lord Lafeu this
   letter: I have ere now, sir, been better known to
   you, when I have held familiarity with fresher
   clothes; but I am now, sir, muddied in fortune's
   mood, and smell somewhat strong of her strong
   displeasure.

Clown

   Truly, fortune's displeasure is but sluttish, if it
   smell so strongly as thou speakest of: I will
   henceforth eat no fish of fortune's buttering.
   Prithee, allow the wind.

PAROLLES

   Nay, you need not to stop your nose, sir; I spake
   but by a metaphor.

Clown

   Indeed, sir, if your metaphor stink, I will stop my
   nose; or against any man's metaphor. Prithee, get
   thee further.

PAROLLES

   Pray you, sir, deliver me this paper.

Clown

   Foh! prithee, stand away: a paper from fortune's
   close-stool to give to a nobleman! Look, here he
   comes himself.
   Enter LAFEU
   Here is a purr of fortune's, sir, or of fortune's
   cat,--but not a musk-cat,--that has fallen into the
   unclean fishpond of her displeasure, and, as he
   says, is muddied withal: pray you, sir, use the
   carp as you may; for he looks like a poor, decayed,
   ingenious, foolish, rascally knave. I do pity his
   distress in my similes of comfort and leave him to
   your lordship.
   Exit

PAROLLES

   My lord, I am a man whom fortune hath cruelly
   scratched.

LAFEU

   And what would you have me to do? 'Tis too late to
   pare her nails now. Wherein have you played the
   knave with fortune, that she should scratch you, who
   of herself is a good lady and would not have knaves
   thrive long under her? There's a quart d'ecu for
   you: let the justices make you and fortune friends:
   I am for other business.

PAROLLES

   I beseech your honour to hear me one single word.

LAFEU

   You beg a single penny more: come, you shall ha't;
   save your word.

PAROLLES

   My name, my good lord, is Parolles.

LAFEU

   You beg more than 'word,' then. Cox my passion!
   give me your hand. How does your drum?

PAROLLES

   O my good lord, you were the first that found me!

LAFEU

   Was I, in sooth? and I was the first that lost thee.

PAROLLES

   It lies in you, my lord, to bring me in some grace,
   for you did bring me out.

LAFEU

   Out upon thee, knave! dost thou put upon me at once
   both the office of God and the devil? One brings
   thee in grace and the other brings thee out.
   Trumpets sound
   The king's coming; I know by his trumpets. Sirrah,
   inquire further after me; I had talk of you last
   night: though you are a fool and a knave, you shall
   eat; go to, follow.

PAROLLES

   I praise God for you.
   Exeunt

SCENE III. Rousillon. The COUNT's palace.

   Flourish. Enter KING, COUNTESS, LAFEU, the two French Lords, with Attendants 

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.

COUNTESS

   '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.

LAFEU

   This I must say,
   But first I beg my pardon, the young 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
   Of richest eyes, whose words all ears took captive,
   Whose dear perfection hearts that scorn'd to serve
   Humbly call'd mistress.

KING

   Praising what is lost
   Makes the remembrance dear. Well, call him hither;
   We are reconciled, 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 we do bury
   The incensing relics of it: let him approach,
   A stranger, no offender; and inform him
   So 'tis our will he should.

Gentleman

   I shall, my liege.
   Exit

KING

   What says he to your daughter? have you spoke?

LAFEU

   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

LAFEU

   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.

BERTRAM

   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?

BERTRAM

   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 stolen;
   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 shame full late 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.

COUNTESS

   Which better than the first, O dear heaven, bless!
   Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cesse!

LAFEU

   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.
   BERTRAM gives a ring
   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 at court,
   I saw upon her finger.

BERTRAM

   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?

BERTRAM

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

COUNTESS

   Son, on my life,
   I have seen her wear it; and she reckon'd it
   At her life's rate.

LAFEU

   I am sure I saw her wear it.

BERTRAM

   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 engaged: 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 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
   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.

BERTRAM

   She never saw it.

KING

   Thou speak'st it falsely, as I love mine honour;
   And makest 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.
   Guards seize BERTRAM
   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.

BERTRAM

   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, guarded

KING

   I am wrapp'd in dismal thinkings.
   Enter a Gentleman

Gentleman

   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 CAPILET.

LAFEU

   I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll 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.
   I am afeard the life of Helen, lady,
   Was foully snatch'd.

COUNTESS

   Now, justice on the doers!
   Re-enter BERTRAM, guarded

KING

   I wonder, sir, sith wives are monsters to you,
   And that you fly them as you swear them lordship,
   Yet you desire to marry.
   Enter Widow and DIANA
   What woman's that?

DIANA

   I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine,
   Derived from the ancient Capilet:
   My suit, as I do understand, you know,
   And therefore know how far I may be pitied.

Widow

   I am her mother, sir, whose age and honour
   Both suffer under this complaint we bring,
   And both shall cease, without your remedy.

KING

   Come hither, count; do you know these women?

BERTRAM

   My lord, I neither can nor will deny
   But that I know them: do they charge me further?

DIANA

   Why do you look so strange upon your wife?

BERTRAM

   She's none of mine, my lord.

DIANA

   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.

LAFEU

   Your reputation comes too short for my daughter; you
   are no husband for her.

BERTRAM

   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.

DIANA

   Good my lord,
   Ask him upon his oath, if he does think
   He had not my virginity.

KING

   What say'st thou to her?

BERTRAM

   She's impudent, my lord,
   And was a common gamester to the camp.

DIANA

   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.

COUNTESS

   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.

DIANA

   I did, my lord, but loath am to produce
   So bad an instrument: his name's Parolles.

LAFEU

   I saw the man to-day, if man he be.

KING

   Find him, and bring him hither.
   Exit an Attendant

BERTRAM

   What of him?
   He's quoted for a most perfidious slave,
   With all the spots o' the world tax'd and debosh'd;
   Whose nature sickens but to speak a truth.
   Am I or that or this for what he'll utter,
   That will speak any thing?

KING

   She hath that ring of yours.

BERTRAM

   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's course
   Are motives of more fancy; and, in fine,
   Her infinite cunning, with her modern grace,
   Subdued me to her rate: she got the ring;
   And I had that which any inferior might
   At market-price have bought.

DIANA

   I must be patient:
   You, that have 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.

BERTRAM

   I have it not.

KING

   What ring was yours, I pray you?

DIANA

   Sir, much like
   The same upon your finger.

KING

   Know you this ring? this ring was his of late.

DIANA

   And this was it I gave him, being abed.

KING

   The story then goes false, you threw it him
   Out of a casement.

DIANA

   I have spoke the truth.
   Enter PAROLLES

BERTRAM

   My lord, I do confess the ring was hers.

KING

   You boggle shrewdly, every feather stars you.
   Is this the man you speak of?

DIANA

   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?

PAROLLES

   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?

PAROLLES

   Faith, sir, he did love her; but how?

KING

   How, I pray you?

PAROLLES

   He did love her, sir, as a gentleman loves a woman.

KING

   How is that?

PAROLLES

   He loved her, sir, and loved her not.

KING

   As thou art a knave, and no knave. What an
   equivocal companion is this!

PAROLLES

   I am a poor man, and at your majesty's command.

LAFEU

   He's a good drum, my lord, but a naughty orator.

DIANA

   Do you know he promised me marriage?

PAROLLES

   Faith, I know more than I'll speak.

KING

   But wilt thou not speak all thou knowest?

PAROLLES

   Yes, so please your majesty. I did go between them,
   as I said; but more than that, he loved her: for
   indeed he was mad for her, and talked of Satan and
   of Limbo and of Furies and I know not what: yet I
   was in that credit with them at that time that I
   knew of their going to bed, and of other motions,
   as promising her marriage, and things which would
   derive me ill will to speak of; therefore I will not
   speak what I know.

KING

   Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou canst say
   they are married: but thou art too fine in thy
   evidence; therefore stand aside.
   This ring, you say, was yours?

DIANA

   Ay, my good lord.

KING

   Where did you buy it? or who gave it you?

DIANA

   It was not given me, nor I did not buy it.

KING

   Who lent it you?

DIANA

   It was not lent me neither.

KING

   Where did you find it, then?

DIANA

   I found it not.

KING

   If it were yours by none of all these ways,
   How could you give it him?

DIANA

   I never gave it him.

LAFEU

   This woman's an easy glove, my lord; she goes off
   and on at pleasure.

KING

   This ring was mine; I gave it his first wife.

DIANA

   It might be yours or hers, for aught I know.

KING

   Take her away; I do not like her now;
   To prison with her: and away with him.
   Unless thou tell'st me where thou hadst this ring,
   Thou diest within this hour.

DIANA

   I'll never tell you.

KING

   Take her away.

DIANA

   I'll put in bail, my liege.

KING

   I think thee now some common customer.

DIANA

   By Jove, if ever I knew man, 'twas you.

KING

   Wherefore hast thou accused him all this while?

DIANA

   Because he's guilty, and he is not guilty:
   He knows I am no maid, and he'll swear to't;
   I'll swear I am a maid, and he knows not.
   Great king, I am no strumpet, by my life;
   I am either maid, or else this old man's wife.

KING

   She does abuse our ears: to prison with her.

DIANA

   Good mother, fetch my bail. Stay, royal sir:
   Exit Widow
   The jeweller that owes the ring is sent for,
   And he shall surety me. But for this lord,
   Who hath abused me, as he knows himself,
   Though yet he never harm'd me, here I quit him:
   He knows himself my bed he hath defiled;
   And at that time he got his wife with child:
   Dead though she be, she feels her young one kick:
   So there's my riddle: one that's dead is quick:
   And now behold the meaning.
   Re-enter Widow, with HELENA

KING

   Is there no exorcist
   Beguiles the truer office of mine eyes?
   Is't real that I see?

HELENA

   No, my good lord;
   'Tis but the shadow of a wife you see,
   The name and not the thing.

BERTRAM

   Both, both. O, pardon!

HELENA

   O my good lord, when I was like this maid,
   I found you wondrous kind. There is your ring;
   And, look you, here's your letter; this it says:
   'When from my finger you can get this ring
   And are by me with child,' & c. This is done:
   Will you be mine, now you are doubly won?

BERTRAM

   If she, my liege, can make me know this clearly,
   I'll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly.

HELENA

   If it appear not plain and prove untrue,
   Deadly divorce step between me and you!
   O my dear mother, do I see you living?

LAFEU

   Mine eyes smell onions; I shall weep anon:
   To PAROLLES
   Good Tom Drum, lend me a handkercher: so,
   I thank thee: wait on me home, I'll make sport with thee:
   Let thy courtesies alone, they are scurvy ones.

KING

   Let us from point to point this story know,
   To make the even truth in pleasure flow.
   To DIANA
   If thou be'st yet a fresh uncropped flower,
   Choose thou thy husband, and I'll pay thy dower;
   For I can guess that by thy honest aid
   Thou keep'st a wife herself, thyself a maid.
   Of that and all the progress, more or less,
   Resolvedly more leisure shall express:
   All yet seems well; and if it end so meet,
   The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet.
   Flourish
   EPILOGUE

KING

   The king's a beggar, now the play is done:
   All is well ended, if this suit be won,
   That you express content; which we will pay,
   With strife to please you, day exceeding day:
   Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts;
   Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.
   Exeunt


http://www.icongalore.com/images/wi_wm_gifs/wi0149-48.gif mariroshan

Site Toolbox:

Personal tools
GNU Free Documentation License 1.2
This page was last modified on 12 December 2007, at 06:08.
Disclaimers - About BluWiki