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But first I beg my pardon,—the young lord
Did to his majesty, his mother, and his lady,
Offence of mighty note, but to himself
The greatest wrong of all : he lost 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 call'd mistress.
King.

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

hither.
We are 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
The incensing relics of it: let him approach,
A stranger, no offender; and inform him,
So 't is our will he should.
Gent.

I shall, my liege. [Exit Gentleman.
King. What says he to your daughter ? have you

spoke ? Laf. All that he is hath reference to your highKing. Then shall we have a match. I have letters

ness.

a

sent me,

That set him high in fame.

Enter BERTRAM.
Laf.

He looks well on't.
King. I am not a day of season,
For thou may'st see a sunshine and a hail
In me at once ; but to the brightest beams
Distracted clouds give way: so stand thou forth;
The time is fair again.
Ber.

My high repented blames,
Dear sovereign, pardon to me.

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'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

Vol. III.-20

King.

1

I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue :
Where the impression of mine eye infixing,
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 stolen,
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 dust that did offend it.
King.

Well excus'd :
That thou didst love her strikes some scores away
From the great compt. But love, that comes too late,
Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried,
To the great sender turns a sore' offence,
Crying, that's good that's gone. Our rash faults
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 dust ;
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.
Laf. Which better than the first, 0, dear heaven,

bless !3
Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cease*.
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 every hair that's on’t, Helen, that 's dead,
Was a sweet creature : such a ring as this,
The last time ere she took her leave 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 fasten'd' to't.-

2

1 sour: in f. e. ? This and the next line are erased by the MS. emendator of the folio, 1632. 3f. e. assign this and the next line to the Countess. * Old copies : cesse.

5 ere I : in f. e.

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.
Count.

Son, on my life,
I have seen her wear it; and she reckon'd it
At her life's rate.
Laf.

I am 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,
Wrapp'd in a paper, which contain’d the name
Of her that threw it. Noble she was, and thought
I stood engag'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 overture, she ceas'd,
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: 't was mine, 't was Helen's, Whoever gave it you. Then, if you know That you are well acquainted with 't yourself, Confess 't was 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 yourself in bed, Where you have never come, or sent it us Upon her great disaster. Ber.

She never saw it. King. Thou speak’st it falsely, as I love mine honour, And mak'st conjectural fears to come into me, Which I would fain shut out. If it should prove That thou art so inhuman,-'t will not prove so ;And yet I know not :—thou didst hate her deadly, And she is dead ;—which nothing, but to close Her eyes myself, could win me to believe,

1 An allusion to the Alchemists.

1

а

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'd too little.- Away with him!
We'll sift this matter farther.
Ber.

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

Exit BERTRAM, guarded.
Enter the Gentleman, a Stranger.'
King. I am wrapp'd in dismal thinkings.
Gent.

Gracious sovereign, Whether I have been to blame, or no, I know not: Here's a petition from a Florentine, Who hath, for four or five removes, come short To tender it herself. 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 herself.

King. [Reads.] “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: his vows are forfeited to me, and my honour 's paid to him. He stole from Florence, taking no leave, and I follow him to his country for justice. Grant it me, O king! in you it best lies; otherwise a seducer flourishes, and a poor maid is undone. “DIANA CAPILET."

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

Lafeu, To bring forth this discovery.--Seek these suitors.Go speedily, and bring again the count.

[Exeunt Gentleman, and some Attendants. I am afeard, the life of Helen, lady, Was foully snatch'd. Count.

Now, justice on the doers ! 1 Enter a Gentleman: in f. e. 2 A “toll” was paid for the privilege of selling a horse at a fair.

a

Re-enter BERTRAM, guarded. King. I wonder, sir, for, wives are monsters to you,' And that you fly them as you swear them lordship, Yet you desire to marry - What woman's that?

Re-enter Gentleman, with Widow, and DIANA. Dia. I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine, Derived from the ancient Capilet : (Kneeling My suit, 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, county'. Do you know these

women ? Ber. My lord, I neither can, nor will deny But that I know them. Do they charge me farther? Dia. Why do you look so strange upon your wife ?

(Rising: Ber. She's none of mine, my lord. Dia.

If you shall marry, You give away this hand, and that is mine; You give away heaven's vows, and those are mine ; You give away myself, which is known mine; For I by vow am so embodied yours, That she which marries you must marry me; Either both, or none.

Laf. (To BERTRAM.] Your reputation comes too short for my daughter : you are no husband for her.

Ber. My lord, this is a fond and desperate creature, Whom sometime I have laugh'd with.

highness Lay a more noble thought upon mine honour, Than so to think that I would sink it here. [friend,

King. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill tó
Till your deeds gain them : fairer prove your honour,
Than in my thought it lies.
Dia.

Good my lord,
Ask him upon his oath, if he does think
He had not my virginity.

King. What say'st thou to her ?
Ber.

She 's impudent, my lord ;

Let your

1 This word is inserted in place of "sir,” in Lord F. Egerton's MS. annotated folio, 1623. 2 Not in f. e. 3 count: in f. o. Not in f. e.

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