« PreviousContinue »
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.
SCENE VII. Enter Helena.
Count. Ev'n fo it was with me when I was young;
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;
Such were our faults; O! then we thought them none. is fick on't; I obferve her now.
Hel. What is your pleasure, Madam?
Count. Helen, you know, I am a mother to you.
Count. Nay, a mother.
Why not a mother? when I faid a mother,
You ne'er opprefs'd me with a mother's groan,
God's mercy! maiden, do's it curd thy blood,
Hel. That I am not.
Count. I fay I am your mother.
The Count Roufillon cannot be my brother;
Count. Nor I your mother?
Hel. You are my mother, Madam; would
(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;
Now I fee
That truth fhould be fufpected; fpeak, is't so?
Hel. Good Madam, pardon me.
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,
I love your fon.
My friends were poor, but honeft; fo's my love.
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;
My dearest Madam,
The fun that looks apon his worshipper,
Count. Had you not lately an intent, speak truly,
Hel. Madam, I had.
Count. Wherefore? tell true.
Hel. I will tell truth; by grace itself, I swear.
For general fov'reignty; and that he will'd me,
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,
If you should tender your fuppofed * aid,
Hel. There's fomething hints
More than my father's fkill, (which was the great'st
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.
ACT II. SCENE I.
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;
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.