Full Play Text
Scene: Rousillon; Paris; Florence; Marseilles
Enter BERTRAM, the
COUNTESS of Rousillon, HELENA,
Enter COUNTESS, Steward, and Clown
Flourish of cornets.
Enter the KING, attended with divers young Lords taking leave for the
Enter COUNTESS and Clown
Enter BERTRAM, LAFEU, and PAROLLES
Enter HELENA and Clown
Enter LAFEU and BERTRAM
Flourish. Enter the
DUKE of Florence attended;
Enter COUNTESS and Clown
Flourish. Enter the DUKE of
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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
|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?|
|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;
|HELENA||Which is the Frenchman?|
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.|
|Second Lord||Nay, good my lord, put him to't; let him have his
|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
|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.
|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
|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
|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
|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.|
|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
|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.|
|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.|
|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.
|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.
|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
|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?|
|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,--|
|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.
|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.|
|BERTRAM||They told me that your name was Fontibell.|
|DIANA||No, my good lord, Diana.|
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.|
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.|
|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.
|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
|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.
|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
|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
|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
|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
|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.|
|'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
|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 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,
|BERTRAM||He shall be whipped through the army with this rhyme
|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
|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.|
|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.
|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.
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.
|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.|
|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.
|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
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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!|
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.
|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
|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
|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
|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
|PAROLLES||My lord, I am a man whom fortune hath cruelly
|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.
|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.|
|KING||We lost a jewel of her; and
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.|
|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.
|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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
|KING||I am wrapp'd in dismal thinkings.|
|[Enter a Gentleman]|
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.
|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
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
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
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
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.|
|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
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:|
|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
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:|
|Good Tom Drum, lend me a
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.
|If thou be'st yet a fresh
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.
|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.
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