Page images

SCENE II. Rofillion. A Room in the Count's Palace.

Enter. Countess, and Clown. Cou. It hath happen'd all as I would have had it, fave, that he comes not along with her.

Cle. By my troth, I take my young lord to be a very melancholy man. Cou. By what observance, I pray you

? Clo. Why, he will look upon his boot, and sing; mend the ruff, and sing ; ask questions, and sing; pick his teeth, and fing: I know a man, that had this trick of melancholy, sold a goodly manor for a song.

Cou. Let me see what he writes, and when he means to come.

[opening the Letter. Clo. I have no mind to Isbel, since I was at court : our old ling, and our Isbels, o'the country, are nothing like

your old ling, and your Isbels o' the court: the brains of my Cupid's knock'd out; and I begin to love, as an old man loves money, with no stomack.

Cou. What have we here? Clo. E'en that you have there. [Exit Clown. Cou. (reads.] I have sent you a daughter-in-law: the hath recovered the king, and undone me : I have wedded her, not bedded her; and sworn to make the noť eternal. You shall hear, I am run away ; know it, before the report come : if there be breadth enough in the world, I will hold a long distance. My duty to you.

Your unfortunate fon, Bertram. This is not well, rash and unbridld boy, To fly the favours of so good a king; To pluck his indignation on thy head, By the misprising of a maid too virtuous

[blocks in formation]

For the contempt of empire.

Re-enter Clown. Clo. O, madam, yonder is heavy news within, between two soldiers and my young lady.

Cou. What is the matter?

Clo. Nay, there is fome comfort in the news, fome comfort; your son will not be kill'd fo soon as I thought he would.

Cou. Why should he be kill'd!

Clo. So say I, madam, if he run away, as I hear he does : the danger is in standing to't ; that's the lofs of men, though it be the getting of children. Here they come, will tell you more : for my part, I only hear, your son was run away,

[Exit Clown. Enter Helena, and two Gentlemen. 2. G. Save you, good madam. Madam, my

lord is

for ever gone. 1. G. Do not say so. Cou. Think upon patience._Pray you, gentlemen,I have felt so many quirks of joy, and grief, That the first face of neither, on the start, Can woman me unto't, where is my son, I pray you ?

1. G. Madam, he's gone to serve the duke of Florence: We met him thitherward; for thence we came, And, after some dispatch in hand at court, Thither we bend again.

Hel. Look on his letter, madam, here's t my paffport. [reads.] When thou can'A get the ring upon my finger,

which never shall come off, and shew me a child begotten of thy body, that I am father to, then call me

husband: but in such a then I write a never. This is a dreadful sentence,


Cou. Brought you this letter, gentlemen ?

1. G. Ay, madam ;
And, for the contents' sake, are sorry for our pains.

Cou. I prythee, lady, have a better cheer;
If thou engrosseft all the griefs are thine,
Thou rob'ft me of a moiety: He was my son ;
But I do wash his name out of my

blood, And thou art all my child. - Towards Florence is he?

1. G. Ay, madam. Cou. And to be a soldier ? 1. G. Such is his noble purpose : and, believe't, The duke will lay upon him all the honour That good convenience claims.

Cou. Return you thither? 2. G. Ay, madam, with the swiftest wing of speed.

HEL. [reads.] 'Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France. - 'Tis bitter. Cou. Find


that there? Hel, Ay, madam.

2. G. 'Tis but the boldness of his hand, haply, which His heart was not consenting to.

Cou. Nothing in France, until he have no wife! There's nothing here, that is too good for him, But only she; and the deserves a lord, That twenty such rude boys might tend upon, And call her hourly mistress. – Who was with him?

2. G. A fervant only, and a gentleman Which I have sometime known.

Cou. Parolles, was't not?
2. G. Ay, my good lady, he.

Cou. A very tainted fellow, and full of wickedness : My son corrupts a well-derived nature

you, when

With his inducement.

2. G. quhy, indeed, good lady, The fellow has a deal of that, too much, Which holds him much to have.

Cou. You're welcome, gentlemen.
I will intreat


my fon,
To tell him, that his sword can never win
The honour that he loses : more I'll intreat you
Written to bear along.

1. G. We serve you, madam,
In that and all your worthiest affairs.

Cou. Not so, but as we change our courtesies. Will you draw near ?

[ Exeunt Cou. and Gen. HEL. 'Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France. Nothing in France, until he has no wife ! Thou shalt have none, Rofillion, none in France, Then hast thou all again. Poor lord, is't I That chace thee from thy country, and expose Those tender limbs of thine to the event Of the none-sparing war ? and is it I That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou Wast shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark Of smoky muskets ? O you leaden messengers, That ride upon the violent speed of fire, Fly with false aim ; pierce the still-moving air, That fings with piercing, do not touch my lord ! Whoever shoots at him, I set him there ; Whoever charges on his forward breaft, I am the caitiff that do hold him to't ; And, though I kill him not, I am the cause His death was so effected : better 'twere, I met the ravin lion when he raard

25 move the still-piercing

With sharp constraint of hunger; better 'twere,
That all the miseries, which nature owes,
Were mine at once : No, come thou home, Rofillion,
Whence honour but of danger wins a scar,
As oft it loses all ; I will be gone ;
My being here it is, that holds thee hence;
Shall I stay here to do't ? no, no, although
The air of paradise did fan the house,
And angels offic'd all : I will be gone;
That pitiful rumour may report my flight,
To consolate thine ear. Come, night; end, day ;
For, with the dark, poor thief, I'll steal away. [Exit.

SCENE III. Florence. Before the Duke's Palace. Flourish. Enter the Duke of Florence, BERTRAM,

Lords, Officers, Soldiers, and Others.
Duk. The general of our horse thou art ; and we,
Great in our hope, lay our best love, and credence,
Upon thy promising fortune.

Ber. Sir, it is
A charge too heavy for my strength; but yet
We'll strive to bear it for your worthy fake,
To the extream edge of hazard.

Duk. Then go thou forth ;
And fortune play upon thy prosperous helm,
As thy auspicious mistress !

Ber. This very day,
Great Mars, I put myself into thy file:
Make me but like my thoughts; and I fall prove
A lover of thy drum, hater of love.


SCENE IV. Rofillion. A Room in the Count's Palace,

« PreviousContinue »