Page images

King. What says he to your daughter? Have you spoke? Laf. All, that he is, hath reference to your Highness.

King. Then Mall we have a match. I have letters fent That let him high in fame.


Enter Bertram,
Laf. He looks well on't.

King. I'm not a day of season,
For thou may’ht see a sun-shine and a hail
In me at once; but to the brightest beams
Distracted clouds give way; fo ftand thou forth,
The time is fair again,

Ber. My high-repented blames,
Dear fovereign, pardon to me.

King. All is whole,
Not one word more of the consumed time,
Let's take the instant by the forward top ;
For we are old, and on our quick'it decrees
Th'inaudible and noiseless foot of time
Steals, ere we can cffect them. You remember
The daughter of this Lord ?

Ber. Admiringly, my Liege. At first
I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue :
Where the impression of mine eye enfixing,
Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me,
Which warp'd the line of every other favour ;
Scorn'd a fair colour, or exprefs’d it stoll'n,
Extended or contracted all proportions
To a most hideous object : thence it came,
That she, whom all men prais'd, and whom myself,
Since I have lost, have lov’d, was in mine eye
The duft that did offend it.

King. Well excus'd:
That thou did it love her, strikes fome scores away
From the great 'compt; but love, that comes too late,
Like a reinorseful pardon fowly carried,
To the great sender turns a four offence,
Crying, that's good that is gone : our ralh faults


gi Make trivial price of serious things' we have, Not knowing them, until we know their grave. Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust Destroy our friends, and, after, weep their duft: Our own love, waking, cries to see what's done, While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon. Be this sweet Helen's knell; and now, forget her. Send forth your amorous token for fair Maudlin, The main consents are had, and here we'll stay To see our widower's second marriage-day :

Count. (40) Which better than the first, o dear heav'n, Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cease! [bless,

Laf. Come on, my son, in whom my house's name Must be digefted : give a favour from you To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter, That he may-quickly come. By my old beard, And ev'ry hair that's on't, Helen, that's dead, Was a sweet creature : such a ring as this, The last that e'er she took her leavę at court, I saw upon her finger.

Ber. Hers it was not.

King. Now, pray you, let me see it. For mine eye,
While I was speaking, oft was faften’d to’t:
This ring was mine; and, when I gave it Helen,
I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood
Necessitied to help, that by this token
I would relieve her. Had you that craft to reave her
Of what should stead her most?

Ber. My gracious Sovereign,
Howe'er it pleases you to take it so,
The ring was never hers.
(40) Which better than the forf), O dear beav'n bless,

Or, ere tbey meet, in me, 0 nature, cease !) I have ventur'd, against the authority of the printed copies, to prefix the Countess's name to these two lines. The King appears, indeed, to be a fa. vourer of Bertram : but if Bertram should make a bad husband the second time, why should it give the King such mortal pangs? A fond and disappointed mother might reasonably not defire to live to see such a day: and from her the with of dying, rather than to behold it, comes with propriety.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Count, Son, on my life,
I've seen her wear it, and the reckon'd it
At her life's rate.

Laf. I'm sure, I saw her wear it.

Ber. You are deceiv'd, my Lord, she never saw it;
In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,
Wrap'd in a paper, which contain'd the name
Of her that threw it : (41) Noble she was, and thought
I stood ungag'd; but when I had subscrib'd
To mine own fortune, and inform’d her fully,
I could not answer in that course of honoup
As she had made the overture, the ceaft
In heavy satisfaction, and would never
Receive the ring again.

King. Plutus himself,
That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine,
Hath not in Nature's mystery more science,
Than I have in this ring. 'Twas mine, 'twas Helen's,


it you: then if you know,
That you are well acquainted with yourself; ,
Confess 'twas her's, and by what rough enforcement
You got it from her. She call'd the saints to surety:-
That he would never put it from her finger,
Unless fhe gave it to yourself in bed,
(Where you have never come) or sent it us:
Upon her great disafker.
Ber. She never saw it.

King. Thou speak'st it falsely, as I love mine honour;
And mak'it conject'ral fears to come into me,
Which I would fain shut out; if it should prove
That thou art so inhuman-'twill not prove fo-

yet I know not-thou didft hate her deadly,


noble pe was, and tbought I food engag’d ;-] I con't understand this reading; if we are to understand, that the thought Bertram engagid to her in affection, insnar'd by her charms, this meaning is too obscurely express'do The context rather makes me believe, that the Poet wrote,

-noble Me was, and thought

I food ungag'd; i. e, unengaged : neither my heart, nor person, dispos’d of.


And she is dead; which nothing, but to close
Her eyes myself, could win me to believe,
More than to see this ring. Take him away.

(Guards seize Bertram.
My fore-paft proofs, howe'er the matter fall,
Shall tax my fears of little vanity,
Having vainly fear's too little. Away with him,
We'll fift this matter further.

Ber. If you shall prove,
This ring was ever hers, you shall as easy
Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence
Where she never was.

[Exit Bertram guarded.

Enter a Gentleman.
King. I'm wrap'd in dismal thinkings.

Geni. Gracious Sovereign,
Whether I've been to blame or no, I know not ;
Here's a petition from a Florentine,
Who hath for fi ur or five removes come short
To tender it herself. I undertook it,
Vanquilh'd thereto by the fair g:ace and speech
Of the poor suppliant, who by this, I know,
Is here attending: her business looks in her
With an importing visage, and she told me,
In a sweet verbal brief, it did concern
Your Highness with herself.

The King reads a letter. Upon his many protestations to marry me, when his wife was dead, I blush to say it, he won me.

Now is the Count Rousillon a widower, bis vows are forfeited to me, and my bonours paid to him. He ftole from Florence, taking no leave, and I follow him to this country for justice: grant it me, O King, in you it beft lies; otherwise a seducer flou. risbes, and a poor maid is undone.

Diana Capulet. Laf. I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll for him. For this, I'll none of him. King. The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafeu,


To bring forth this discov'ry, Seek these suitors!
Go speedily, and bring again the Count.

Enter Bertram.
I am afraid, the life of Helen (Lady)
Was foully snatch'd.

Count. Now justice on the doers !

King. I wonder, Sir, wives are so monstrous to you,
And that you fly them as you swear to them ;
Yet you desire to wed. What woman's that?

Enter Widow, and Diana.
Dia. I am, my Lord, a wretched Florentine,
Deriv'd from the ancient Capulet ;
My suit, as I do understand, you know,
And therefore know how far I may be pitied.

Wid. I am her mother, Sir, whose age and honour
Both suffer under this complaint we bring,
And both shall cease without your remedy.

King. Come hither, Count; do you know these women!'

Ber. My Lord, I neither can nor will deny
But that I know them ; do they charge me further?

Dia. Why do you look so strange upon your wife?
Ber. She's none of mine, my Lord.
Dia. If


You give away this hand, and that is mine;
You give away heav’n’s vows, and those are mine ;
You give away myself, which is known mine;
For I by vow am so embodied yours,
That me, which marries you, must marry me,
Eiiher both or none.

Laf. Your reputation comes too short for my daugh. ter, you are no husband for her

[T. Bertrani. Ber. My Lord, this is a fond and desp’rāte creature, Whom fometime I have laugh'd with: let your Highness Lay a mort n ble thought upon mine honour, Than for to think that I would fink it here.

king. Sir, fir my thoughts, you have them ill to friend, 'Till your deeds gain them fairer : prove your honour, Then in my thought it lics.

« PreviousContinue »