Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

Stew. 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.

Count. 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

[blocks in formation]

Count. Such friends are thine enemies, knave. Clo. You are shallow, madam; e'en great friends; for the knaves come to do that for me, which I am a-weary of. He, that ears my land, spares my team, and gives me leave to inn 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, howsoe'er their hearts are severed in religion, their heads are both one, they may joll horns together, like any deer i' the herd.

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

Clo. A prophet I, madam; and I speak the truth the next way:

[blocks in formation]

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.

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

Clo. One good woman in ten, madam? which is a purifying o'the song: 'Would God would serve the world so all the year! we'd find no fault with the tythe-woman, 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 earthquake, '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 command you?

Clo. 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 wea. the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart. -I am going, forsooth; the business is for Helen to come hither. [Erit Clown.

Count. Well, now.

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

Count. 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.

Stew. 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; Diana, no queen of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight to be surprised, without rescue, in the first assault, or insome 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.

Count. 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.

Count. Even so it was with me, when I was young:

If 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.
Hel. What is your pleasure, madam?
Count.
You know, Helen,

I am a mother to you.

Hel. Mine honourable mistress.

Count.

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?

Hel

That I am not.

Count. I say, I am your mother. Hel. 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.

Count.
Nor I your mother?
Hel. 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?
Count. 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: No. 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 asham'd,
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, one to the other; and thine eyes
See it so grossly shown in thy behaviours,
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 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.
Your pardon, noble mistress!
Count. Love you my son?
Hel.

Do not you love him, madam?
Count. 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.

Hel.

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 lov'd 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.
Count. Had you not lately an intent, speak truly,
To go to Paris?

Madam, I had.

Hel.
Count.
Wherefore? tell true.
Hel. I will tell truth; by grace itself, I swear.
You know, my father left me some prescriptions
Of rare and prov'd effects, such as his reading,
And manifest experience, had collected

For general sovereignty; and that he will'd me
In heedfullest reservation to bestow them,
As notes, whose faculties inclusive were,
More than they were in note: amongst the rest,
There is a remedy, approv'd, set down,
To cure the desperate languishes, whereof
The king is render'd lost.

Count.

This was your motive

For Paris, was it? speak.

Hel. 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.

Count.

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?

Hel. There's something hints, More than my father's skill, which was the greates Of his profession, that his good receipt

Shall for my legacy, be sanctified By the luckiest stars in heaven: and, would your honour

Count. Why, Helen, thou shalt have my leave, and love,

But give me leave to try success, I'd venture The well-lost life of mine on his grace's cure, By such a day, and hour.

Count.

Hel. Ay, madam, knowingly.

Dost thou believ't?

SCENE I.. - Paris. A Room in the King's Palace. Flourish. Enter KING, with young Lords, taking leave for the Florentine war; BERTRAM, PAROLLES, and Attendants.

-and you, my lord, fare

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

1 Lord.
It is 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.

2 Lord. Health, at your bidding, serve your majesty!

ACT II.

[ocr errors]

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.

[The KING retires to a couch.

1 Lord. O my sweet lord, that you will stay be-. hind us!

Par. 'Tis not his fault; the spark

2 Lord. O, 'tis brave wars! Par. Most admirable; I have seen those wars. Ber. I am commanded here, and kept a coil with, Too young, and the next year, and 'tis too early.

Par. An thy mind stand to it, boy, steal away bravely.

Ber. 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. 1 Lord. There's honour in the theft. Par. Commit it, count. 2 Lord. I am your accessary; and so farewell. Ber. I grow to you, and our parting is a tortured body.

1 Lord. Farewell, captain.

2 Lord. Sweet monsieur Parolles!

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

Par. 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.

2 Lord. We shall, noble captain.

Par. Mars dote on you for his novices! [Exeunt Lords.] What will do? you

Ber. Stay; the king

[Seeing him rise. Par. 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.

[blocks in formation]

Laf. Pardon, my lord, [kneeling.] for me and for my tidings.

King. I'll fee thee to stand up. Laf. 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.

Laf.

Goodfaith, across; But, my good lord, 'tis thus; Will you be cured Of your infirmity?

King.

No.

Laf.
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 his hand
And write to her a love-line.

King.

What her is this? Laf. Why, doctor she; My lord, there's one arriv'd,

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 amaz'd me more
Than I dare blame my weakness: Will you see

her

[blocks in formation]

Hel. Ay, my good lord. Gerard de Narbon was My father; in what he did profess, well found. King. I knew him.

Hel. The rather will I spare my praises towards him; Knowing him, is enough. On his bed of death Many receipts he gave me; chiefly one, Which, as the dearest issue of his practice, And of his old experience the only darling, He bad 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 inaidable estate, I say we must not
So stain our judgment, or corrupt our hope,
To prostitute our past-cure malady

To empiricks; or to dissever so
Our great self and our credit, to esteem

A senseless help, when help past sense we deem.
Hel. 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 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.

Hel. 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 sits.

King. I must not hear thee; fare thee well, kind maid;

Thy pains, not us'd, must by thyself be paid :
Proffers, not took, reap thanks for their reward.
Hel. 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. Art thou so confident? Within what space
Hop'st thou my cure?

Hel.
The greatest 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 dar'st thou venture?

Hel.

Tax of impudence, A strumpet's boldness, a divulged shame, Traduc'd by odious ballads; my maiden's name Sear'd otherwise; no worse of worst 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, virtue, all
That happiness and prime can happy call:
Thou this to hazard, needs must intimate
Skill infinite, or monstrous desperate.
Sweet practiser, thy physick I will try ;
That ministers thine own death, if I die.

Hel. If I break time, or flinch in property
Of what I spoke, unpitied let me die ;
And well deserv'd: Not helping, death's my
fee;

But, if I help, what do you promise me?
King. Make thy demand.

Hel.

But will you make it even King. Ay, by my sceptre, and my hopes of heaven. Hel. Then shalt thou give me, with thy kingly hand,

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Clo. 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.

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

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

Count. Will your answer serve fit to all questions?

Clo. As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney, as your French crown for your taffata punk, as Tib's rush for Tom's fore-finger, 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 quean to a wrangling knave, as the nun's lip to the friar's mouth; nay, as the pudding to his skin.

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

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

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

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Count. I play the noble housewife with the time, to entertain it so merrily with a foul.

Clo. O Lord, sir,-Why, there't serves well again. Count. 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.

Clo. Not much commendation to them.

Count. Not much employment for you: You understand me?

Clo. Most fruitfully; I am there before my legs. Count. Haste you again. [Exeunt severally. SCENE III. Paris. A Room in the King's Palace.

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

serve ever.

[ocr errors]

Enter BERTRAM, LAFEU, and PAROLLES. Laf. 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.

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

Ber. And so 'tis.

Laf. To be relinquish'd of the artists, ·

Par. So I say; both of Galen and Paracelsus. Laf. Of all the learned and authentick fellows,— Par. Right, so I say.

Laf. That gave him out incurable.
Par. Why, there 'tis; so say I too.
Laf. Not to be helped, -

Par. Right: as 'twere a man assured of an— Laf. Uncertain life, and sure death.

Par. Just, you say well; so would I have said. Laf. I may truly say, it is a novelty to the world. Par. It is, indeed: if you will have it in showing, you shall read it in, What do you call

there? Laf. A showing of a heavenly effect in an earthly

actor.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »