Page images


Clo. One good woman in ten, Madam, which is a purifying o' th' fong: 'would God would ferve the world fo all the year! we'd find no fault with the tithe woman, if I were the parfon. 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 that should be at a woman's command, and yet no hurt done! tho' honefty be no Puritan, yet it will do no hurt; it will wear the furplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart. I am going, forfooth, the bufinefs is for Helen to come hither. [Exit.

Count. Well, now.

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

Count. 'Faith, I do; her father bequeath'd her to me; and the herfelf, without other advantages, may lawfully make title to as much love as fhe finds: there is more ow ing 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 the wifh'd me; alone she was, and did communicate to herself her own words to her own ears; she thought, Í dare vow for her, they touch'd not any ftranger fenfe. Her matter was, the lov'd your fon: Fortune, fhe faid, was no goddefs, that had put such difference betwixt their two eftates; Love, no god, that would not extend his might, only where qualities were level; Diana, no queen of virgins, that would fuffer her poor knight to be furpris'd without refcue in the firft affault, or ranfom afterward. This fhe deliver'd in the most bitter touch of forrow that e'er I heard a virgin exclaim in; which I held it my duty fpeedily to aquaint you withal; fithence, in the lofs that may happen, it concerns you fomething to know it.

Count. You have discharg'd this honefly, keep it to yourfelf: many likelihoods inform'd me of this before, which hung fo tottering in the balance, that I could neither beliève nor mifdoubt. Fray you, leave me


ftall this in your bofom, and I thank you for your honeft care; I will speak with you further anon.

[Exit Steward.

SCENE VII. Enter Helena.

Count. Ev'n fo it was with me when I was young;
If we are nature's, thefe are ours: this thorn

Doth to our rofe of youth rightly belong;

Our blood to us, this to our blood, is born;

It is the fhow and feal of nature's truth,

Where love's ftrong paffion is imprefs'd in youth;
By our remembrances of days foregone,

Such were our faults; O! then we thought them none. is fick on't; I obferve her now.

Her eye

Hel. What is your pleasure, Madam?

Count. Helen, you know, I am a mother to you.
Hel. Mine honourable Mistress.

Count. Nay, a mother.

Why not a mother? when I faid a mother,
Methought you faw a ferpent; what's in mother,
That you ftart at it? I fay, I'm your mother,
And put you in the catalogue of those,
That were enwombed mine; 'tis often feen,
Adoption ftrives with nature; and choice breeds
A native flip to us from foreign seeds.

You ne'er opprefs'd me with a mother's groan,
Yet I exprefs to you a mother's care.

God's mercy! maiden, do's it curd thy blood,
To fay, I am thy mother? what's the matter,
That this diftemper'd meffenger of wet,
The many-colour'd Iris, rounds thine eyes?
Why, that you are my daughter?

Hel. That I am not.

Count. I fay I am your mother.
Hel. Pardon, Madam.

The Count Roufillon cannot be my brother;
1 am from humble, he from honour'd name;
No note upon my parents, his all noble.
My mafter, my dear lord he is; and I
His fervant 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 fon, were not my brother) Indeed my mother!. ▬▬or were you both our mothers, (I can no more fear than I do fear heav'n,)

So I were not his fifter: can't no other,

But I your daughter, he must be my brother?

Count. Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-in-law;
God fhield you mean it not, daughter and mother
So ftrive upon your pulfe. What! pale again?
My fear hath catch'd your fondness.-

Now I fee
The mystery of your loneliness, and find
Your falt tears' head; now to all fenfe 'tis grofs,
You love my fon; invention is afham'd,
Against the proclamation of thy paffion,
To fay thou doft not; therefore tell me true;
But tell me then 'tis fo. For, look, thy cheeks
Confefs it one to th' other; and thine eyes
See it fo grofsly fhown in thy behaviour,
That in their kind they speak it: only fin
And hellish obftinacy tie thy tongue,

That truth fhould be fufpected; fpeak, is't so?
If it be fo, you've wound a goodly clew:
If it be not, forfwear't; howe'er, I charge thee,
As heav'n fhall work in me for thine avail,
To tell me truly.

Hel. Good Madam, pardon me.
Gount. Do you love my fon?
Hel. Your pardon, noble Miftrefs.

Count. Love you my fon?

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 ftate of your affection; for your paffions

Have to the full appeach'd.

Hel. Then, I confefs,

Here on my knee, before high heav'ns and you,
That before you, and next unto high heav'n,

I love your fon.

My friends were poor, but honeft; fo'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 prefumptuous fuit;

Nor would I have him, till I do deferve him;
Yet never know, how that defert fhall be.
I know I love in vain, ftrive against hope;
Yet, in this captious and intenible fieve,
1 ftill pour in the waters of my love,
And lack not to lofe ftill: thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore

My dearest Madam,

The fun that looks apon his worshipper,
But knows of him no more.
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
For loving where you do; but if yourself,
Whofe aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in fo true a flame of liking
Wish chaftly, and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and love; O then give pity
To her, whofe ftate is fuch, that cannot chufe
But lend, and give, where fhe is fure to lose;
That feeks not to find that which fearch implies;
But, riddle-like, lives fweetly where the dies.

Count. Had you not lately an intent, speak truly,
go to Paris?

Hel. Madam, I had.

Count. Wherefore? tell true.

Hel. I will tell truth; by grace itself, I swear.
You know, my father left me fome prescriptions
Of rare and prov'd effects; fuch as his reading
And manifeft experience had collected

For general fov'reignty; and that he will'd me,
In heedfull'ft refervation to bestow them,
As notes, whofe faculties inclufive were,
More than they were in note: amongst the rest,
There is a remedy, approv'd, fet down,
To cure the defperate languifhings whereof

The King is render'd loft.

Count. This was your motive for Paris, was it, speak? Hel. My Lord your fon made me to think of this; Elfe Paris, and the medicine, and the King,

Had from the converfation of my thoughts

Haply been abfent then.

Count. But think you, Helen,

[blocks in formation]

If you should tender your fuppofed * 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 fhall they credit
A poor unlearned virgin, when the schools,
Embowell'd of their doctrine, have left off
The danger to itself?

Hel. There's fomething hints

More than my father's fkill, (which was the great'st
Of his profeffion,) that his good receipt

Shall for my legacy be fanctified

By th' luckieft ftars in heav'n; and, would your Honour But give me leave to try fuccefs, I'd venture

The well-loft life of mine on his Grace's cure,

By fuch a day and hour.

Count. Doft 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 thofe of mine in court. I'll stay at home, And pray God's bleffing into thy attempt: Begone, to-morrow; and be fure of this, What I can help thee to, thou shalt not miss.


The Court of France.


Enter the King, with divers young Lords taking leave for the Florentine war. Bertram and Parolles. Flourish cornets.



AREWELL, young Lords: these warlike

Do not throw from you: you, my Lords, farewell;
Share the advice betwixt you.


If both gain,

gift doth stretch itself as 'tis receiv'd,

And is enough for both.

1 Lord. 'Tis our hope, Sir,

After well-enter'd foldiers, to return

And find your Grace in health.

King. No, no, it cannot be; and yet my heart

* Propping, fupporting.

« PreviousContinue »