Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ACT I. SCENE I.-Rousillon, in France.The Hall of the

Countess of Rousillon's House. Enter (L.) LEFEU, the Countess of Rousillon. BERTRAM, HELENÁ, Dumain, and Lewis, (who cross behind to R.)

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

Ber. 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.

Count. What hope is there of his majesty's amendment?

Lef. He hath abandon'd 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 his honesty; had it stretch'd so far, it would have made nature immortal. 'Would, for the king's sake, he were living !

Lef. How call'd you the man you speak of, madam ?

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

Lef. He was excellent, indeed, madam; the king very lately spoke of him, admiringly, and mourningly.

-Was this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon ?

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

Lef. 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 from her cheek.- No more of this, [Crosses to Hel.] 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.

Count. Your time calls on you. 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 birth-right! What heaven more will, That thee may furnish, and my prayers pluck down, Fall on thy head! Farewell, (Embracing him.] My lord, 'Tis an unseason'd courtier; good my lord, Advise him.

Lef. He cannot want the best That shall attend his love.

Ber. The best wishes, that can be forg'd in your thoughts, be servants to you, Helen!

Lef. Farewell, pretty lady: you must hold the credit of your father.

Ber. Farewell, dear mother!

Count. Heaven bless thee !-Farewell, Bertram.I'll see you on your way. [Exeunt all, but Helena, R.

Hel. Oh, were that all !-I think not on my father ; And these my tears grace Bertram's absence more Than those I shed for him. What was he like ? I have forgot him : my imagination Carries no favour in it, but Bertram's.

Par. [Without.] Halloa ! where are these knaves ?

Hel. Who comes here?
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 fix'd evils sit so fit in him,
That they take place, when virtue's steely bones
Look bleak in the cold wind.

Enter PAROLES, L. Par. What, is the Count gone?-Little Helen, farewell : if I can remember thee, I will think of thee at court.

[Crosses, R. Hel

. Monsieur Paroles, you were born under a charitable star.

Par. Under Mars, I,
When he was predominant.

Hel. When he was retrograde, I think, rather.
Par. Why think you so ?
Hel. You go so much backward when you fight,

Par. That's for advantage.

Hel 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.

Par. I am so full of businesses, I cannot answer thee acutely. Farewell. When thou hast leisure, say thy prayers; when thou hast none, remember thy friends: get thee a good busband, and use him as he uses thee : so, farewell.

[Exit Paroles, R. Hel. I am undone ; there is no living, none, If Bertram be away. It were 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 a 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 relics.

[Exit, L. SCENE II.—The Countess of Rousillon's Garden.

Enter COUNTESS and STEWARD, R. Count. He's gone; and 'tis weakness to mourn over his departure..I will now hear : What say you of this gentlewoman?

(Clown sings without. What does this knave here?

Enter CLOWN, L. Get you gone, sirrah !

Clown. Tis not unknown to you, madam, that I am a Count. Well, sir,

Clown. No, madam, 'tis not so well, that I am poor ; though many of the rich are damn'd: 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.

Count. Wilt thou needs be a beggar?
Clown. I do beg your good-will in this case.
Count. In what case ?
Clown. In Isbel's case, and mine own. Service is no

poor fellow.

heritage: and, I think, I shall never have the blessing of heaven, till I have issue of my body; for, they say, bearns are blessings.

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

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

Count. Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman, I would speak with her; Helen I mean. Clown. [Sings.]“Was this fair face the cause, quoth she,

* Why the Grecians sacked Troy?.
“Fond done, done fond ; for Paris he,

“ Was this king Priam's joy.
“ With that she sighed as she stood,

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

“There's yet one good in ten." Count. What, one good in ten ? You corrupt the song, sirrah.

Clown. One good woman in ten, madam ; which is a purifying o' the song: 'Would heaven would serve the world so all the year! we'd find no fault with the tithewoman, if I were the parson : One in ten, quoth’a! an we might have a good woman born but every blazing star, or at an earthqnake, 'twould mend the lottery well; a man may draw his heart out, ere he pluck one.

Count. You'll be gone, sir knave, and do as I com

Clown. That man should be at woman's command, and yet no hurt done !-I am going, forsooth. The business is, for Helen to come hither.-[Sings.] Among nine bad, if one be good, &c.

[Exit Clown, L. Count. Well, now ?

Stew. I know madam, you love your gentlewoman entirely.

Count. 'Faith, I do: her father bequeath'd her to me; and she herself, without other advantage, may lawfully make title to as much love as she finds: there is more owing her, than is paid ; and more shall be paid her, than she'll demand.

Stew. Madam, I was, very late, more near her, than, I think, she wish'd me: alone she was, and did com'municate to herself, her own words to her own ears. Her matter was, she lov'd your son : Fortune, she said, was no goddess, that had put such difference betwixt their two estates'; Love, no god, that would not extend

mand you.

his might, only where qualities were level. This she deliver'd in the most bitter touch of sorrow, that e'er I heard virgin exclaim in : which I held my duty speedily to acquaint you withal ; sithence, in the loss that may happen, it concerns you something to know it.

Count. You have discharg'd this honestly ; keep it to yourself.—Many likelihoods inform’d me of this before.

-She is coming. 'Pray you, leave me. I will speak with you further anon.

[Exit Steward, R. Her eye is sick on't ; I.observe her now: E'en so it was with me, when I was young.

Enter HELENA, L.
Hel. What is your pleasure, madam ?

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

Hel. Mine honourable mistress.

Count. Nay, a mother:-
Heaven's mercy, maiden ! does it curd thy blood
To say, I am thy mother? What's the matter ?
Weep you, that you're my daughter ?

Hel. That I'm not.
Count. I say, I am your mother.
Hel. Pardon, madam;
The count Rousillon cannot be my brother,
I am from humble, he from bonour'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.

Count. Nor I your mother ?
Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-in-law ;
Heaven 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.
If it be so, you have wound a goodly clue;
If it be not, forswear't: howe'er, I charge thee,
As heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
To tell me truly.

Hel. Good madam, pardon me.
Count. Do you love my son ?
Hel. Do not you love him, madam ?
Count. Go not about: Come, come, disclose

[ocr errors]

B

« ZurückWeiter »