Page images
[ocr errors]

Laf. Lustick,' as the Dutchman says. I'll like a maid the better, whilst I have a tooth in my head. Why, he's able to lead her a coranto.

Par. 'Mort du Vinaigre! Is not this Helen ?
Laf. Fore God, I think so.
King. Go, call before me all the lords in court.-

[Exit an Attendant.
Sit, my preserver, by thy patient's side;
And with this healthful hand, whose banished sense
Thou hast repealed, a second time receive
The confirmation of my promised gift,
Which but attends thy naming.

Enter several Lords. Fair maid, send forth thine eye. This youthful parcel Of noble bachelors stand at my bestowing, O'er whom both sovereign power and father's voice ? I have to use. Thy frank election make; Thou hast power to choose, and they none to forsake.

Hel. To each of you one fair and virtuous mistress Fall, when love please! Marry, to each, but one !3

Laf. I'd give bay Curtal,- and his furniture,
My mouth no more were broken than these boys',
And writ as little beard.

Peruse them well :
Not one of those, but had a noble father.

Hel. Gentlemen, Heaven hath, through me, restored the king to health. All. We understand it, and thank Heaven for

you. Hel. I am a simple maid ; and therein wealthiest, That, I protest, I simply am a maid.Please it your majesty, I have done already. The blushes in my cheeks thus whisper me, We blush, that thou shouldst choose ; but, be refused,

i Lustigh is the Dutch for active, pleasant, playful, sportive.
2 They
were wards as well

as subjects.
3 i. e. except one, meaning Bertram ; but in the sense of be-out.

4 A curtal was the common phrase for a horse ; i. e. “ I'd give my bay horse, &c. that my age were not greater than these boys':” a broken mouth is a mouth which has lost part of its teeth.

Let the white death sit on thy cheek forever ;
We'll ne'er come there again."

Make choice; and, see, Who shuns thy love, shuns all his love in me.

Hel. Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly;
And to imperial Love, that god most high,
Do my sighs stream.—Sir, will you hear my suit ?

1 Lord. And grant it.

Thanks, sir; all the rest is mute. Laf. I had rather be in this choice, than throw ames-ace for my life. Hel. The honor, sir, that flames in your


eyes, Before I speak, too threateningly replies. Love make your fortunes twenty times above Her that so wishes, and her humble love!

2 Lord. No better, if you please. Hel.

My wish receive, Which great love grant! and so I take my leave.

. Laf. Do all they deny her ? 3 An they were sons of mine, I'd have them whipped; or would send them to the Turk, to make eunuchs of. Hel. Be not afraid [To a lord.] that I

should take;
I'll never do you wrong for your own sake.
Blessing upon your vows! and in your bed
Find fairer fortune, if you ever wed!

Laf. These boys are boys of ice; they'll none have her. Sure, they are bastards to the English; the French ne'er got them.

Hel. You are too young, too happy, and too good, To make yourself a son out of my blood.

4 Lord. Fair one, I think not so.

Laf. There's one grape yet,-I am sure thy father drank wine.-But if thou be'st not an ass, I am a youth of fourteen; I have known thee already.

your hand

1 Be refused means the same as “ thou being refused," or "be thou refused.” The white death is the paleness of death.

2 The lowest chance of the dice.

3 The scene must be so regulated that Lafeu and Parolles talk at a distance, where they may see what passes between Helena and the lords, but not hear it; so that they know not by whom the refusal is made.

Hel. I dare not say, I take you; [To BERTRAM.]

but I give

Me, and my service, ever whilst I live,
Into your guiding power.—This is the man.
King. Why then, young Bertram, take her; she's

thy wife. Ber. My wife, my liege? I shall beseech your

In such a business give me leave to use
The help of mine own eyes.

Know'st thou not, Bertram,
What she has done for me?

Yes, my good lord; But never hope to know why I should marry her. King. Thou know'st she has raised me from my

sickly bed.
Ber. But follows it, my lord, to bring me down
Must answer for your rising? I know her well;
She had her breeding at my father's charge.
A poor physician's daughter my wife !- Disdain
Rather corrupt me ever!
King. 'Tis only titled thou disdain'st in her, the

I can build up. Strange is it that our bloods,
Of color, weight, and heat, poured all together,
Would quite confound distinction, yet stand off
In differences so mighty. If she be
All that is virtuous, (save what thou dislik'st,
A poor physician's daughter,) thou dislik’st
Of virtue for the name. But do not so.
From lowest place when virtuous things proceed,
The place is dignified by the doer's deed;
Where great additions” swell, and virtue none,
It is a dropsied honor. Good alone
Is good ;-without a name, vileness is so :3

1 i. e. the want of title. 2 Titles.

3 Good is good, independent of any worldly distinction; and so vileness would be ever vile, did not rank, power, and fortune, screen it from opprobrium.

The property by what it is should

Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair ;
In these to nature she's immediate heir ;
And these breed honor; that is honor's scorn,
Which challenges itself as honor's born,
And is not like the sire. Honors best thrive,
When rather from our acts we them derive
Than our fore-goers. The mere word's a slave,
Debauched on every tomb; on every grave,
A lying trophy, and as oft is dumb,
Where dust and damned oblivion is the tomb
Of honored bones indeed. What should be said ?
If thou canst like this creature as a maid,
I can create the rest. Virtue, and she,
Is her own dower; honor and wealth from me.

Ber. I cannot love her, nor will strive to do't.
King. Thou wrong'st thyself, if thou shouldst strive

to choose. Hel. That you are well restored, my lord, I am glad ; Let the rest go.

King. My honor's at the stake; which to defeat, I must produce my power: Here, take her hand, Proud, scornful boy, unworthy this good gift; That dost in vile misprision shackle up My love, and her desert; that canst not dream, We, poising us in her defective scale, Shall weigh thee to the beam; that wilt not know, It is in us to plant thine honor, where We please to have it grow. Check thy contempt: Obey our will, which travails in thy good : Believe not thy disdain, but presently Do thine own fortunes that obedient right, Which both thy duty owes, and our power claims; Or I will throw thee from my care forever, Into the staggers * and the careless lapse

1 i. e. the child of honor.
2 The first folio omits best; the second folio supplies it.

3 The implication or clause of the sentence (as the grammarians say) here serves for the antecedent—" which danger to defeat."

4 The allusion appears to be to the reeling gait of intoxication.

Of youth and ignorance; both my revenge and hate,

, Loosing upon thee in the name of justice, Without all terms of pity. Speak; thine answer.

Ber. Pardon, my gracious lord; for I submit
My fancy to your eyes. When I consider,
What great creation, and what dole of honor,
Flies where you bid it, I find, that she, which late
Was in my nobler thoughts most base, is now
The praised of the king; who, so ennobled,
Is, as 'twere, born so.

Take her by the hand,
And tell her, she is thine; to whom I promise
A counterpoise; if not to thy estate,
A balance more replete.

I take her hand.
King. Good fortune, and the favor of the king,
Smile upon this contract; whose ceremony
Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief,
And be performed to-night:) the solemn feast
Shall more attend upon the coming space,
Expecting absent friends. As thou lov'st her,
Thy love's to me religious; else, does err.
[Exeunt King, BERTRAM, HELENA, Lords,

and Attendants. Laf. Do you hear, monsieur ? A word with you. Par. Your pleasure, sir ?

Laf. Your lord and master did well to make his recantation.

Par. Recantation! My lord ? My master ?
Laf. Ay; is it not a language I speak ?

Par. A most harsh one; and not to be understood without bloody succeeding. My master ?

Laf. Are you companion to the count Rousillon ? Par. To any count; to all counts; to what is


Laf. To what is count's man; count's master is of another style.

i Shakspeare uses expedient and expediently in the sense of expeditiously; and brief in the sense of a short note or intimation concerning any business, and sometimes without the idea of writing.

« PreviousContinue »