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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 heedfull'st 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 languishings whereof
The king is render'd lost.


For Paris, was it? speak.

This was your motive

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.


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 unlearnèd virgin, when the schools,

Embowell'd of their doctrine, have left off
The danger to itself?


There's something in 't,

More than my father's skill, which was the greatest

Of his profession, that his good receipt

Shall, for my legacy, be sanctified

By the luckiest stars in heaven: and, would your honour

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.


Dost thou believe 't?

Hel. Ay, Madam, knowingly.

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



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.

King. Farewell, young lord; these warlike principles Do not throw from you :—and you, my lord, farewell :Share the advice betwixt you; if both gain all,

The gift doth stretch itself as 'tis receiv'd,

And is enough for both.

I 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!
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 Lords.

Our hearts receive your warnings.

King. Farewell.-[Retires to a couch, beckoning Attendants.]

Come hither to me.

I Lord. O my sweet lord, that you will stay
Par. 'Tis not his fault, the spark.

2 Lord.

behind us!

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 't, 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.

I Lord. There's honour in the theft.


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 !

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 you do?

Ber. Stay; the king—

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. Ber. And I will do so.

Par. Worthy fellows, and like to prove most sinewy swordmen. [Exeunt BERTRAM and PAROLLES.

Enter LAFEU.

Laf. [Kneeling.] Pardon, my lord, for me and for my tidings.
King. I'll see 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. Good faith, across: but, my good lord, 'tis thus ;
Will you be cur'd 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 's hand,
And write to her a love-line.

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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 deliv'rance, 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,
(For that is her demand,) and know her business?
That done, laugh well at me.

Now, good Lafeu,
Bring in the admiration; that we with thee
May spend our wonder too, or take off thine,
By wond'ring how thou took'st it.


And not be all day neither.

Nay, I'll fit you,


King. Thus he his special nothing ever prologues.

Re-enter LAFEU, with HELENA.

This haste hath wings indeed.

Laf. Nay, come your ways.


Laf. Nay, come your ways;

This is his majesty, say your mind to him:
A traitor you do look like; but such traitors
His majesty seldom fears: I am Cressid's uncle,
That dare leave two together; fare you well.

King. Now, fair one, does your business follow us?
Hel. Ay, my good lord.

Gerard de Narbon was my father;

In what he did profess, well found.


I knew him.

Hel. The rather will I spare my praises towards him ; Knowing him is enough. On's 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 bade 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.



We thank you, maiden;

But may not be so credulous of cure,
When our most learnèd 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 empirics; or to dissever so


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 fits.

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;

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