Page images

As mad in folly, lack'd the sense to know
Her estimation home.

Count. 'Tis past, my Liege ;
And I beseech your Majesty to make it
(39) Natural rebellion, done i'th' blade of youth,
When oil and fire, too strong for reason's force,
O’erbears it, and burns on.

King. My honour'd Lady,
I have forgiven and forgotten all;
Tho' my revenges were high bent upon him,
And watch'd the time to shoot.

Laf. This I must say,
But first I beg my pardon; the young

Did to his Majesty, his Mother, and his Lady,
Offence of mighty note; but to himself
The greatest wrong of all. He loft a Wife,
Whose beauty did astonish the Survey
Of richest eyes; whose words all ears took captive ;
Whose dear perfection, hearts, that scorn'd to serve,
Humbly callid Mistress.

King. Praising what is lost,
Makes the remembrance dear. Well call him

We're reconcil'd, and the first view shall kill
All repetition : let him not ask our pardon.
The nature of his great offence is dead,
And deeper than oblivion we do bury
Th’ incensing relicks of it. Let him approach,

(39) Natural Rebellion, done i'th' blade of Youth,] If this Reading be genuine, the Metaphor must be from any Grain, or Plant, taking Fire: but, I own, it seems more in Shakespeare's way of Thinking to suppose He wrote ;

Natural Rebellion, done i'th' blaze of Youth, i. e. in the Fervour, Flame, &c. So He has expressd himself, upon a like Occasion, in Hamlet,

I do know,
When the Blood burns, how prodigal the Soul

Lends the Tongue Vows. These Blazes, O my Daughter, &c.
And so, again, in his Troilus and Crefida ;

For Hector, in bis Blaze of Wrath, subscribes
To tender Objets.


A stranger, no offender; and inform him,
So 'tis our will he should.

Gent. I shall, my Liege.
King. What says he to your Daughter? Have you

spoke? Laf. All, that he is, hath reference to your High

ness. King. Then shall we have a Match. I have letters

sent me,

That set him high in fame.

Enter Bertram.

Laf. He looks well on't.

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

Ber. My high-repented Blames,
Dear Sovereign, pardon to me.

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

Ber. Admiringly, my Liege. At first
I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
Durft 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 express’d it stoll'n,
Extended or contracted all proportions
To a most hideous object : thence it came,
Than she, whom all men prais’d, and whom my self,
Since I have lost, have lov’d, was in mine eye
The dust that did offend it.

King. Well excus'd: That thou didst love her, strikes fome scores away From the great 'compt; but Love, that comes too late, Like a remorseful Pardon flowly carried, To the great Sender turns a lowre offence, Crying, that's good that is gone: our rash faults Make trivial price of serious things we have, Not knowing them, until we know their Grave. Oft our displeasures, to our selves unjust, Destroy our Friends, and, after, weep their duft: Our own love, waking, cries to see what's done, While shameful hate fleeps 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, О dear

heav'n, bless, Or, ere they meet, in me, nature, cease!

Laf. Come on, my Son, in whom my House's Name Must be digested: give a favour from you To sparkle in the spirits of my Daughter, That she 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 leave at Court, I saw upon her finger.

Ber. Her's it was not. King. Now, pray you, let me see it. For mine eye, While I was speaking, oft was fasten'd to't : This ring was mine; and, when I gave it Helen, I bad her, if her fortunes ever stood

(40) Which better than the first, o dear Heav'n, blefs,

Or, e'er they meet, in me, o Nature, cease?] I have ventur'd, against the Authority of the printed Copies, to prehx the Countess's Name to these two Lines. The King appears, indeed, to be a Favourer 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 desire to live to see such a Day: and from her the Wilh of dying, rather than to behold it, comes with Propriety.


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 her's.

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 honour
As she had made the overturc, 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. "I was mine, 'twas Helen's,
Whoever gave it you : then if you know,
That you are well acquainted with your self,
Confess 'twas hers, and by what rough enforcement
You got it from her. She call'd the Saints to surety,
That she would never put it from her finger,
Unless she gave it to your self in bed,
(Where you have never come) or sent it us
Upon her great disaster.

Ber. She never saw it.

[ocr errors]


noble She was, and thought
I ftood engag'd ;-) I don't understand this Reading; if We
are to understand, that She thought Bertram engag'd to her in Affection,
infnar'd by her Charms, this Meaning is too obscurely exprefsd. The
Context rather makes me believe, that the Poet wrote,

noble She was, and thought
I stood ungag’d;
i. e. unengaged: neither my Heart, nor Person, dispos'd of.

you shall

King. Thou speak't it falsely, as I love mine konour;
And mak’st 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 so

I know not-thou didst hate her deadly,
And she is dead; which nothing, but to close
Her eyes my self, could win me to believe,
More than to see this ring. Take him away.

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

prove, This ring was ever hers, you shall as easie Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence, Where yet she never was. [Exit Bertram guarded.

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

Gent. Gracious Sovereign,
Whether I've been to blame or no, I know not :
Here's a petition from a Florentine,
Who hath for four or five Removės come fhort
To tender it her self. I undertook it,
Vanquish'd thereto by the fair grace 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 her self.

The King reads a Letter.. Upon bis 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 Honour's paid to bim. He stole from Florence, taking no leave, and I follow him to this Country for justice : grant it me, Ó King, in you it bejt lyes; otherwise a seducer flourishes, and a poor Maid is undone.

Diana Capulet.


« PreviousContinue »