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King. What says he to your daughter? Have you
spoke? Laf. All, that he is, hath reference to your Highness. King. Then shall we have a match. I have letters
That set him high in fame.
Laf. He looks well on't.
King. I'm not a day of season,
For thou may ft see a sun-fhine and a hail
In me at once; but to the brightest beams
Distracted clouds give way; fo stand thou forth,
The time is fair again.
Ber. My high repented blames,
Dear Sovereign, pardon to me.
King. All is whole,
Not one word more of the consumed time,
Let's take the instant by the forward top;
For we are old, and on our quick'st decrees
Th’ inaudible and noiseless foot of time
Steals, ere we can effect them. You remember
The daughter of this Lord ?
Ber. Admiringly, my Liege. At first
I ftuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
Durft make too bold a herald of my tongue :
Where the impression of mine eye enfixing,
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 stoll'n;
Extended or contracted all proportions
To a molt hideous object : thence it came,
That she, whom all men prais’d, and whom myself,
Since I have lost, have lov'd, was in mine eye
The dust that did offend it.
King. Well excus'd:
That thou do'st love her, strikes fome scores away
From the great 'compt; but love, that comes too la:e,
Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried,
To the great sender turns a fowre offence,
Crying, that's good that is gone : our rash faults
Make trivial price of serious things we have,
Not knowing them, until we know their grave,
Oft our displeasures, to our selves unjust,
Destroy our friends, and, after, weep their duft:
Our own love, waking, cries. to see what's done,
While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon.
Be this sweet Helen's knell; and now, forget her.
Send forth your amorous token for fair Maudlin,
The main consents are had, and here we'll stay
To see our widower's second marriage-day:
Count. (25) Which better than the first, dear
Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cease!
Laf. Come on, my son, in whom my house's name Must be digelted : give a favour from you To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter, That she may quickly come. By my old beard, And ev'ry hair that's on't, Helen, that's dead, Was a sweet creature: such a ring as this, The last that e'er she took her leave at court, I saw upon her finger.
Ber. Her's 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 bad 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? (25) Which betier than the first, o dear Heav'n, blefs,
Or, e'er they meet, in me, O Nature, cease!] I have ven. tur'd, against the Authority of the printed copies, to prefix the Countess's Name to these two Lines. The King appears, indeed, to be a Favourer of Beriram: but if Bertram mould make a bad Husband the second Time, why ihould it give thic King such mortal Pangs: A fond and disappointed Mother might reasonably not delire to live to see such a Day : and from her the Wilh of dying, rather than to behold it, comes with Propriety.
Ber. My gracious Sovereign,
Howe'er it pleases you to take it so,
The ring was never her's.
Count. Son, on my life,
I've seen her wear it, and the reckon'd it
At her life's rate.
Laf. I'm sure, I saw her wear it.
Ber. You are deceiv'd, my Lord, she never saw it ;
In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,
Wrap'd in a paper, which contain’d the name
Of her that threw it: (26) Noble she was, and thought
I ftood ungag’d; but when I had subscrib'd
To mine own fortune, and inform’d her fully,
I could not answer in that course of honour
As she had made the overture, she ceast
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.
Ber. She never faw it.
noble She was, and thought I food engag'd ;-) I don't understand this Reading; if we are to underfand, that she thought Bertram engag'd to her in Affe&ion, insoar'd by her Charms, this Meaning is too obscurely express’d. The Context rather makes me believe, that the Poet wrote,
a noble She was, and thought
I stood ungag'd; i, e. upengag'd: neither my Heart, nor Person, dispos'd of.
King. Thou speak'it it falsely, as I love mine honour ;
And mak'st conject'ral fears to come into me,
Which I would fain shut out ; if it should
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 myfelf, could win me to believe,
More than to see this ring. Take him away.
[Guards seize Bertran.
My fore-palt proofs, howe'er the matter fall,
Shall tax my fears of little vanity,
Having vainly fear'd too little. Away with him,
We'll lift this matter further.
Ber. If you shall prove,
This ring was ever hers, you shall as eafie
Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence,
Where yet she never was.
Exit Bertram guarded.
Enter a Gentleman.
King. I'm wrap'd in dismal thinkings.
Gent. Gracious Sovereign,
Whether I've been to blame or no, I know not:
Here's a petition from a Florentire,
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.
The King reads a letter. Upon his many protestations to marry me, when his wife was dead, I bluso 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 this country for justice : grant it me, O King, in you it best lyes ; otherwise a seducer flourishes, and a poor maid is undone. Diana Capulet.
Laf. I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll for him. For this, I'll none of him.
King. The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafew,
To bring forth this discov'ry: Seek these suitors :
Go speedily, and bring again the Count.
I am afraid, the life of Helen (lady)
Was foully snatch'd.
Count. Now justice on the doers !
King. I wonder, Sir, wives are so monstrous to you,
And that you fly them as you swear to them ;
Yet you desire to wed. What woman's that?
Enter. Widow and Diana.
Dia. I am, my Lord, a wretched Florentine,
Derived from the ancient Capulet;
My suit, as I do understand, you know,
And therefore know how far Í may be pitied.
Wid. 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 wo
men? Ber. My Lord, I neither can, nor will, deny But that I know them ; do they charge me further ?
Dia. Why do you look so strange upon your wife?
Ber. She's none of mine, my Lord.
Dia. If you fhall marry,
You give away this hand, and that is mine ;
You give away heav'n'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, mult marry me,
Either both or none.
Laf. Your reputation comes too fhort for my daughter, you are no husband for her.
[To Bertram. Ber. My Lord, this is a fond and desp'rate creature, Whom fometime I have laugh'd with let your Highness