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I pr’ythee, do not strive against my vows*: .
I was compellid to her : but I love thee
By love's own sweet constraint, and will for ever
Do thee all rights of service. . .
Dia..

Ay, so you serve us,
Till we serve you : but when you have our roses,
You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves,
And mock us with our bareness. .
Ber.

How have I sworn ?
Dia. 'Tis not the many oaths that make the truth;
But the plain single vow, that is vow'd true.
What is not holy, that we swear not by,
But take the highest to witness t : Then, pray you,

tell me,
If I should swear by Jove's great attributes,
I lov'd you dearly, would you believe my oaths,
When I did love you ill ? this has no holding,
To swear by him whom I protest to love,
That I will work against him: Therefore, your oaths
Are words, and poor conditions ; but unseal’d;
At least, in my opinion.
Ber.

Change it, change it;
Be not so holy-cruel : love is holy;
And my integrity ne'er knew the crafts,. ,
That you do charge men with : Stand no more off,
But give thyself unto my sick desires,
Who then recover : say, thou art mine, and ever
My love, as it begins, shall so persever."

Dia. I see that men make hopes, in such affairs,
That we'll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.

Ber. I'll lend it thee, my dear, but have no power
To give it from me.
Dia.

Will you not, my lord ?
Ber. It is an honour ’longing to our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
Which were the greatest obloquy i'the world

i

* i. e. Against his determined resolution never to cohabit with Helena.

+ The sense is--we never swear by what is not holy, but take to witness the Highest, the Divinity,

In me to lose.
Dia.

Mine honour's such a ring :
My chastity's the jewel of our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
Which were the greatest obloquy i'the world
In me to lose : Thus your own proper wisdom
Brings in the champion honour on my part,
Against your vain assault.
Ber..

. Here, take my ring :
My house, mine honour, yea, my life be thine,
And I'll be bid by thee.
Dia. When midnight comes, knock at my cham-

ber window;
I'll order take, my mother shall not hear.
Now will I charge you in the band of truth,
When you have conquer'd my yet maiden bed,
Remain there but an hour, nor speak to me:
My reasons are most strong; and you shall know

them,
When back again this ring shall be deliver'd :
And on your finger, in the night, I'll put.
Another ring ; that, what in time proceeds,
May token to the future our past deeds.
Adieu, till then; then, fail not: You have won
A wife of me, though there my hope be done.

Ber. A heaven on earth I have won, by wooing i thee.

[Erit. Dia. For which live long to thank both heaven

and me! You may so in the end. My mother told me just how he would woo, As if she sat in his heart; she says, all men Have the like oaths : he had sworn to marry me, When his wife's dead; therefore I'll lie with him, When I am buried. Since Frenchmen are so braid*, Marry that will, I'll live and die a maid : Only, in this disguise, I think't no sin To cozen him, that would unjustly win. (Exit.

* Crafty, deceitful.

SCENE III.

The Florentine camp.

Enter the two French Lords, and two or three

Soldiers. 1 Lord. You have not given him his mother's letter?

2. Lord. I have delivered it an hour since: there is something in't that stings his nature; for, on the reading it, he changed almost into another man.

Lord. He has much worthy blame laid upon him, for shaking off so good a wife, and so sweet a lady.

2 Lord. Especially he hath incurred the everlasting displeasure of the king, who had even tuned his bounty to sing happiness to him. I will tell you a thing, but you shall let it dwell darkly with you.

i Lord. When you have spoken it, 'tis dead, and I am the grave of it.

2 Lord. He hath perverted a young gentlewoman here in Florence, of a most chaste renown; and this night he fleshes his will in the spoil of her honour : he hath given her his monumental ring, and thinks himself made in the unchaste composition.

i Lord. Now, God delay our rebellion; as we. are ourselves, what things are we !

2 Lord. Merely our own traitors.. And as in the common course of all treasons, we still see them reveal themselves, till they attain to their abhorred ends; so he, that in this action contrives against his own nobility, in his proper stream o'erflows himself *. i Lord. Is it not meant damnable t in us, to be :

* i. e. Betrays bis own secrets in his own talk. + Here, as elsewhere, used adverbially.

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