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Since the physician at your father's, died?
Thank your majesty.
SCENE III. ROUSILLON. A Room in the COUNTESS's Mansion. Enter COUNTESS, Steward, and Clown.
Count. I will now hear: what say you of this gentlewoman? 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 yours.
Clo. "Tis not unknown to you, Madam, I am a poor fellow.
Count. Well, Sir.
Clo. No, Madam, 'tis not so well, that I am poor, though many of the rich are damned: 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?
Clo. I do beg your good-will in this case.
Clo. In Isbel's case and mine own.
Service is no heritage and I
think I shall never have the blessing of God, till I have issue of my body; for they say, bearns are blessings.
Count. Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.
Clo. My poor body, Madam, requires it: I am driven on by the flesh; and he must needs go, that the devil drives.
Count. Is this all your worship's reason?
Clo. Faith, Madam, I have other holy reasons, such as they are. Count. May the world know them?
Clo. I have been, Madam, a wicked creature, as you and all flesh and blood are; and, indeed, I do marry that I may repent.
Count. Thy marriage,—sooner than thy wickedness.
Clo. I am out o' friends, Madam: and I hope to have friends for my wife's sake.
Count. Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
Clo. You are shallow, Madam, in 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, howsome'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:
For I the ballad will repeat,
Which men full true shall find;
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.
Was this fair face the cause, quoth she,
Why the Grecians sackèd Troy?
Fond done, done fond,
Was this king Priam's joy?
With that she sighed as she stood,
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 for 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
wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart. am going, forsooth: the business is, for Helen to come hither.
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 surprised, without rescue in the first assault, or ransom 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 farther anon. [Exit Steward.
Even so it was with me when I was young:
If ever 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?
I am a mother to you.
Hel. Mine honourable mistress.
You know, Helen,
Nay, a mother:
Why not a mother? When I said, a mother,
That you start at it? I say, I am your mother;
That were enwombèd mine; 'tis often seen,
Count. I say, I am your mother.
That I am not.
So I were not his sister. Can't no other,
Count. Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-in-law :
Your salt tears' head; now to all sense 'tis gross,
That truth should be suspected. Speak, is 't so?
If it be not, forswear 't: howe'er, I charge thee,
Your pardon, noble mistress :
Do not you love him, Madam ?
Count. Go not about; my love hath in 't a bond,
The state of your affection; for your passions
Then, I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
I love your son :—
My friends were poor, but honest; so's my love :
That he is lov'd of me: I follow him not
The sun, that looks upon his worshipper,
But knows of him no more. My dearest Madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
Count. Had you not lately an intent,-speak truly,—
Madam, I had.
Wherefore? tell true.
Hel. I will tell truth; by grace itself, I swear.