« ZurückWeiter »
wanted, rather than lack it where there is such abundance.
Count. What hope is there of his majesty's amend. ment?
Laf. He hath abandoned his physicians, madam; under whose practices he hath persecuted time with hope; and finds no other advantage in the process but only the losing of hope by time.
Count. This young gentlewoman had a father (0, that had*! how sad a passage 'tis!) whose skill was almost as great as liis houesty; had it stretched so far, would have made nature immortal, and death should liave 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.
Laf. How called you the man you speak of, ma. dam?
Count. He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was his great right to be so : Gerard de Narbon.
Laf. He was excellent, indeed, madam; the king very lately spoke of him, admiringly, and mourning ly: he was skilful enough to have lived still, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.
Ber. What is it, my good lord, the king languishes. of?
Laf. A fistula, my lord.
Laf. I would, it were not notorious.-Was this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?
Count. 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, wbich make fair gifts fairer; for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities t, there commendations go with pity, they are virtues and trai
* The countess recollects her own loss of a hus. band, and observes how heavily had passes through her mind.
+ Qualities of good breeding and erudition.
tors too ; in her they are the better for their simpleness;
she derives her honesty, and achieves her goodness.
Laf. Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.
Count. '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 t from her cheek. No more of this, Helena, go to, no more; lest it be rather thought you affect a sorrow, than to have.
Hel. I do affect a sorrow, indeed, but I have it too.
Laf. Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead, excessive grief the enemy to the living.
Count. If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it soon mortal.
Ber. Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
Laf He cannot want the best That shall attend his love.
* i. e. Her excellencies are the better because they are artless. * + All appearance of life.
I i. e. That may help thee with more and better qualifications.
Count. Heaven bless him !- Farewell, Bertram,
[Erit Countess. Ber. The best wishes, that can be forged in your thoughts, [To Helena) be servants to you*! Be comfortable to my mother, your mistress, and make much of her.
Laf. Farewell, pretty lady: You must hold the credit of your father.
(Exeunt Bertram and Lafeu.
• i. e. May you be mistress of your wishes, and have power to bring them to effect.
+ Helena considers her heart as the tablet on which his resemblance was portrayed.
* Peculiarity of feature, Countenance
Yet these fix'd evils sit so fit in him,
Par. Save you, fair queen.
Hel. 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?
Par. Keep him out.
Hel. But he assails; and our virginity, though valiant in the defence, yet is weak: unfold to us some warlike resistance.
Par. There is none; man, sitting down before you, will undermine you, and blow you up.
Hel. Bless our poor virginity from underminers, and blowers up!- Is there no military policy, how virgins might blow up men?
Par. 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 politick 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 it.
Hel. I will stand for't a little, though therefore I die a virgin.
Pur. 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 vir. gin : 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 lose by't: Out withi't: within ten years it will make itself ten, which is a goodly increase; and the principal itself not much the worse: Away with't.
Hel. How might ove do, sir, to lose it to her own liking ?
Par. 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 tooth-pick, which wear not now : Your datet 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 dryly; marry, 'tis a withered pear; it was formerly better; marry, yet, 'tis a withered pear: Will you any thing with it?
Hel. Not my virginity yet.
+ A quibble on date, which means age, and candi. ed fruit.