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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,
Whoever gave it you: Then, if you know

That you are well acquainted with yourself,
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 yourself in bed,
(Where you have never come,) or sent it us
Upon her great disaster.


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,-'twill 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, 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 further.


This ring was ever hers, you

If you shall prove

shall as easy

Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence,
Where yet she never was.


[Exit BERTRAM, guarded.

the tinct and multiplying medicine,] Plutus, the grand alchemist, who knows the tincture which confers the properties of gold upon base metals, and the matter by which gold is multiplied, by which a small quantity of gold is made to communicate its qualities to a large mass of base metal.-JOHNSON. e Then, if you know

That you are well acquainted with yourself,

Confess 'twas hers,] The true meaning of this expression is, If you know that your faculties are so sound, as that you have the proper consciousness of your own actions, and are able to recollect and relate what you have done, tell me, &c. -JOHNSON.

My fore-past proofs, &c.] The proofs which I have already had are sufficient to show that my fears were not vain and irrational. I have rather been hitherto more easy than I ought, and have unreasonably had too little fear.—


Enter a Gentleman.

King. I am wrapp'd in dismal thinkings.

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 shorts
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. 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.


Laf. I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll him :h 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.


Now, justice on the doers!

Enter BERTRAM, guarded.

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


· for four or five removes, come short-] Helena had come short, or missed the king at four or five different removes or post-stages.


toll him:] i. e. Enter him on the toll-book, to prove I came honestly by him.-STEEVENS.

Re-enter Gentleman, with Widow, and DIANA.
Dia. I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine,
Derived 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.

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. Your reputation [to BERTRAM.] 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: let your highness Lay a more noble thought upon mine honour,

Than for to think that I would sink it here.

King. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend, Till your deeds gain them: Fairer prove your honour, Than in my thought it lies!


Good my lord,

Ask him upon his oath, if he does think

He had not my virginity.

King. What say'st thou to her?

She's impudent, my lord;

And was a common gamester to the camp.

Dia. He does me wrong, my lord; if I were so,
He might have bought me at a common price :
Do not believe him: O, behold this ring,

i cease,] i. e. Die.

Whose high respect, and rich validity, Did lack a parallel; yet, for all that, it to a commoner o'the camp,



If I be one.

Count. He blushes, and 'tis it:

Of six preceding ancestors, that gem

Conferr'd by testament to the sequent issue,
Hath it been ow'd and worn.

That ring's a thousand proofs.

This is his wife;

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.

He's quoted' for a most perfidious slave,

What of him?

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

Am I or that, or this, for what he'll utter,
That will speak any thing?

She hath that ring of

Ber. I think, she has certain it is, I lik'd her,
And boarded her i'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.


I must be patient; You, that turn'd off a first so noble wife,

May justly diet me. I pray you yet,


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fancy's course-] i. e. Course of love.

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insuit coming with her modern grace,] Insuit is request,—modern is

meanly pretty.

P May justly diet me.] May justly make me fast, by depriving me (as Desdemona says) of the rites for which I love you.-MALONE.

(Since you lack virtue, I will lose a husband,)
Send for your ring, I will return it home,
And give me mine again.


I have it not.

King. What ring was yours, I pray you?


The same upon your finger.

Sir, much like

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

King. The story then goes false, you threw it him

Out of a casement.


I have spoke the truth.


Ber. My lord, I do confess the ring was hers.
King. You boggle shrewdly, every feather starts


Is this the man you speak of?


Ay, my lord.

King. Tell me, sirrah, but, tell 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


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.

equivocal companion] i. e. Equivocating fellow.

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