Of six preceding ancestors, that gem
Conferred by testament to the sequent issue,
Hath it been ow'd and worn. This is his wife;
That ring's a thousand proofs.

King. Methought, you said,

You saw one here in court could witness it?
Dia. I did, my lord, but loath am to produce
So bad an instrument; his name's Parolles.
Laf. I saw the man to-day, if man he be.
King. Find him, and bring him hither.
Ber. What of him?

He's quoted for a most perfidious slave, 5

With all the spots o' the world tax'd and debosh'd;
Whose nature sickens, but to speak a truth:

Am I or that, or this, for what he'll utter,

That will speak any thing?

King. She hath that ring of yours.

Ber. I think, she has certain it is, I lik'd her,
And boarded heri' the wanton way of youth:
She knew her distance, and did angle for me,
Madding my eagerness with her restraint,
As all impediments in fancy's course
Are motives of more fancy ; and, in fine,
Her insuit coming with her modern grace,
Subdued me to her rate: she got the ring;
And I had that, which any inferior might
At market-price have bought.

Dia. I must be patient;

You, that turn'd off a first so noble wife,
May justly diet me. I pray you yet,

(Since you lack virtue, I will lose a husband,)

Send for your ring, I will return it home,

And give me mine again.

Ber. I have it not.

King. What ring was yours, I pray you?
Dia. Sir, much like

The same upon your finger.

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King. Know you this ring? this ring was his of late.
Dia. And this was it I gave him, being a-bed.

[5] Quoted has the same sense as noted, or observed.


[6] Every thing that obstructs love is an occasion by which love is heightened. And, to conclude, her solicitation concurring with her fash ionable appearance, she got the ring.' I am not certain that I have attained the true meaning of the word modern, which, perhaps, signifies rather meanly pretty. JOHNS.

King. The story then goes false, you threw it him Out of a casement.

Dia. I have spoke the truth.


Ber. My lord, I do confess, the ring was hers. King. You boggle shrewdly,e very feather starts you.Is this the man you speak of?

Dia. Ay, my lord.

King. Tell me, sirrah, but, teli me true, I charge you, Not fearing the displeasure of your master,

(Which, on your just proceeding, I'll keep off,)

By him, and by this woman here, what know you? Par. So please your majesty, my master hath been an honourable gentleman; tricks he hath had in him, which gentlemen have.

King. Come, come, to the purpose: Did he love this woman?

Par. 'Faith, sir, he did love her: But how?
King. How, I pray you?

Par. He did love her,sir,as a gentleman loves a woman.
King. How is that?

Par. He loved her, sir, and loved her not.

King. As thou art a knave, and no knave :-What an equivocal companion is this?

Par. I am a poor man, and at your majesty's command.
Laf. He's a good drum, my lord, but a naughty orator.
Dia. Do you know, he promised me marriage?
Par. 'Faith, I know more than I'll speak.

King. But wilt thou not speak all thou know'st ? Par. Yes, so please your majesty; I did go between them, as I said; but more than that, he loved her,-for, indeed, he was mad for her, and talked of Satan, and of limbo, and of furies, and I know not what: yet I was in that credit with them at that time, that I knew of their going to bed; and of other motions, as promising her marriage, and things that would derive me ill-will to speak of, therefore I will not speak what I know.

King. Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou canst say they are married: But thou art too fine in thy evidence; 7 therefore, stand aside.-This ring, you say, was yours?

Dia. Ay, my good lord.

[7] Too fine, too full of finesse; too artful. A French expression-trop fine.


King. Where did you buy it? or who gave it you?

Dia. It was not given me, nor I did not buy it.
King. Who lent it you?

Dia. It was not lent me neither.

King. Where did you find it then?

Dia. I found it not.

King. If it were yours by none of all these ways, How could you give it him?

Dia. I never gave it him.

Laf. This woman's an easy glove, my lord; she goes off and on at pleasure.

King. This ring was mine, I gave it his first wife.
Dia. It might be yours, or hers, for aught I know.
King. Take her away, I do not like her now;
To prison with her and away with him.-
Unless thou tell'st me where thou hadst this ring,
Thou diest within this hour.

Dia. I'll never tell you.

King. Take her away.

Dia. I'll put in bail, my liege.

King. I think thee now some common customer. 8

Dia. By Jove, if ever I knew man, 'twas you.

King. Wherefore hast thou accus'd him all this while?
Dia. Because he's guilty, and he is not guilty;

He knows I am no maid, and he'll swear to't:
I'll swear, I am a maid, and he knows not.
Great king, I am no strumpet, by my life;
I am either maid, or else this old man's wife.

[Pointing to LAFEU. King. She does abuse our ears; to prison with her. Dia. Good mother, fetch my bail.-Stay, royal sir ; [Exit Widow.

The jeweller, that owes the ring, is sent for,
And he shall surety me. But for this lord,
Who hath abus'd me, as he knows himself,
Though yet he never harm'd me, here I quit him :
He knows himself, my bed he hath defil'd ;9
And at that time he got his wife with child :

[8] i. e. a common woman. STEEV.

[9] The dialogue is too long, since the audience already knew the whole transaction; nor is there any reason for puzzling the king and playing with his passions; but it was much easier than to make a pathetical interview between Helen and her husband, her mother, and the king. JOHNS.

Dead though she be, she feels her young one kick
So there's my riddle, One, that's dead, is quick :
And now behold the meaning.

Re-enter Widow, with HELENA.

King. Is there no exorcist'

Beguiles the truer office of mine eyes?
Is't real, that I see?

Hel. No, my good lord;

'Tis but the shadow of a wife you see, The name, and not the thing.

Ber. Both, both; O, pardon !


Hel. O, my good lord, when I was like this maid,
I found you wondrous kind. There is your ring,
And, look you, here's your letter; This it says,
When from my finger you can get this ring,
And are by me with child, &c. This is done :
Will you be mine, now you are doubly won ?

Ber. If she, my liege, can make me know this clearly, I'll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly.

Hel. If it appear not plain, and prove untrue, Deadly divorce step between me and you !

O, my dear mother, do I see you living?

Laf. Mine eyes smell onions, I shall weep anon :Good Tom Drum, [To PAR.] lend me a handkerchief: So, I thank thee; wait on me home, I'll make sport with thee Let thy courtesies alone, they are scurvy ones. King. Let us from point to point this story know, To make the even truth in pleasure flow:

If thou be'st yet a fresh uncropped flower,


[1] This word is used, not very properly, for enchanter. JOHNS. Shakspeare invariably uses the word exorcist, to imply a person who can raise spirits, not in the usual sense of one that can lay them. So, Ligarius, in Julius Cæsar, says

"Thou, like an exorcist, hast conjur'd up
"My mortified spirit." M. MASON.

Such was the common acceptation of the word in our author's time. So, Minshen,in his Dict.1617: "The Conjurer seemeth by praiers and invocations of God's powerfull names, to compell the Devill to say or doe what he com. mandeth him. The Witch dealeth rather by a friendly and voluntarie conference or agreement between him or her and the Divell or Familiar, to have his or her turne served, in lieu or stead of blood or other gift offered unto him, especially of his or her soule :-And both these differ from Inchanters or Sorcerers. because the former two have personal conference with the Divell, and the other meddles but with medicines and ceremonial formes of words called charmes, without apparition." MALONE.



Choose thou thy husband, and I'll pay thy dower;
For I can guess, that, by the honest aid,

Thou keptst a wife herself, thyself a maid.-
Of that, and all the progress, more and less,
Resolvedly more leisure shall express:
All yet seems well; and, if it end so meet,
The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet.


The King's a beggar, now the play is done:
All is well ended, if this suit be won,



That you express content; which we will pay,
With strife to please you, day exceeding day :
Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts ;2
Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.


[2] The meaning is: Grant us then your patience; hear us without interruption. And take our parts; that is, support and defend us. JOHNS.

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