Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

They, that they cannot help. How shall they credit
A poor unlearned virgin, when the schools,
Embowelld of their doctrine, have left off
The danger to itself?
HEL.

There's something hints, a
More than my father's skill, which was the greatest
Of his profession, that his good receipt
Shall, for my legacy, be sanctified
By the luckiest stars in heaven: and, would your honour
But give me leave to try success, I'd venture
The well-lost life of mine on his grace's cure,
By such a day, and * hour.
COUNT.

Dost thou believe 't?
HEL. Ay, madam, knowingly.

COUNT. Why, Helen, thou shalt have my leave, and love,
Means, and attendants, and my loving greetings
To those of mine in court; I'll stay at home,
And pray God's blessing intoc thy attempt :
Be gone to-morrow; and be sure of this,
What I can help thee to, thou shalt not miss.

[Exeunt.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

ACT II.
SCENE I.- Paris. A Room in the King's Palace.
Flourish. Enter King, with divers young Lords, taking leave for the

Florentine war ; BERTRAM, PAROLLES, and Attendants.
King. Farewell, young lords, a these warlike principles
Do not throw from you and you, my lords, farewell :-
Share the advice betwixt you ; if both gain all,
The gift doth stretch itself as 't is receiv'd,
And is enough for both.
1 LORD.

Tis our hope, sir,
After well-entered soldiers, to return
And find your grace in health.

(*) First folio, an. - There's something hints,–] The old copy has “in't.Hanmer made the obvious correction.

b To try success,-) Success here means the consequence, the issue. So in “Much I do about Nothing," Act IV. Sc. 1:

"- And doubt not but success

Will fashion the event,” &c. “In this sense,” as Johnson remarks, “successo is employed in Italian."

c Into-] Into or unto were often used indiscriminately by the old writers.

d Farewell, young lords,-) Thus the old copy. Many of the modern editors read, “Farewell, young lord," supposing there are only two French lords about to serve in Italy; but this is an error. There are “divers" young noblemen taking leave, and to these the king first addresses himself; he then turns to the two lords who are the spokesmen in the scene, and bids them share in the advice just given to their young companions.

King. No, no, it cannot be, and yet my heart
Will not confess he owes the malady
That doth my life besiege. Farewell, young lords ;
Whether I live or die, be you the sons
Of worthy Frenchmen: let higher Italy (1)
(Those 'bated, that inherit but the fall
Of the last monarchy) see that you come
Not to woo honour, but to wed it; when
The bravest questant shrinks, find what you seek,
That fame may cry you loud : I say, farewell.

2 LORD. Health, at your bidding, serve your majesty!

KING. Those girls of Italy, take heed of them ;
They say, our French lack language to deny,
If they demand; beware of being captives,
Before you serve.
BOTH.

Our hearts receive your warnings. KING. Farewell.—Come hither to me. [The King retires to a couch. 1 LORD. O my sweet lord, that you will stay behind us ! PAR. 'T is not his fault, the spark. 2 LORD.

O, 't is brave wars!
PAR. Most admirable; I have seen those wars.
BER. I am commanded here, and kept a coil with,
Too young, and the next year, and 't is too early.

Par. An thy mind stand to't, boy, steal away bravely.

BER. I shall stay here the fore-horse to a smock, a
Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry,
Till honour be bought up, and no sword worn,
But one to dance with ! (2) By heaven, I 'll steal away.

1 LORD. There's honour in the theft.
PAR.

Commit it, count. 2 LORD. I am your accessary; and so farewell. BER. I grow to you, and our parting is a tortured body.! 1 LORD. Farewell, captain. 2 LORD. Sweet monsieur Parolles !

Par. Noble heroes, my sword and yours are kin. Good sparks and lustrous, a word, good metals. You shall find in the regiment of the Spinii, one captain Spurio, with his cicatrice, * an emblem of war, here on his sinister cheek; it was this very sword entrenched it: say to him, I live; and observe his reports for me.

2 LORD. We shall, noble captain.

PAR. Mars dote on you for his novices! [E.reunt Lords.] What will youf do?

BER. Stay: the king-
PAR. Use a more spacious ceremony to the noble lords ; you have

(*) First folio, his cicatrice with.

(t) Old text, ye. The fore-horse to a smock,-) The fore-horse of a team was gaily ornamented with tufts, and ribbons, and bells. Bertram complains that, bedizened like one of these animals, he will have to squire ladies at the court, instead of achieving honour in the wars. o Our parting is a tortured body.) As is understood :

“ Our parting is as a tortured body."

restrained yourself within the list of too cold an adieu : be more expressive to them ; for they wear themselves in the cap of the time; there, do muster true gait, eat, speak, and move under the influence of the most received star ; and though the devil lead the measure, such are to be followed: after them, and take a more dilated farewell.

BER. And I will do so.
PAR. Worthy fellows; and like to prove most sinewy sword-men.

[Exeunt BERTRAM and PAROLLES.

Enter LAFEU.
LAF. Pardon, my lord, [Kneeling.] for me and for my tidings.
KING. I'll sue a thee to stand up.

LAF. Then here's a man stands, that has brought his pardon.
I would you had kneeld, my lord, to ask me mercy;
And that, at my bidding, you could so stand up.

KING. I would I had; so I had broke thy pate,
And ask'd thee mercy for’t.

LAF. Good faith, across :b but, my good lord, 't is thus; Will you be cur'd of your infirmity ?

KING. No.

LAF. 0, will you eat no grapes, my royal fox ?
Yes, but you will, my noble grapes, an if
My royal fox could reach them: I have seen a medicine,
That's able to breathe life into a stone,
Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary,
With sprightly fire and motion ; whose simple touch
Is powerful to araise king Pepin, nay,
To give great Charlemaine a pen in 's hand,
And write to her a love-line.
KING.

What her is this?

I'U sue thee to stand up.] The old copy reads, “I'll see thee," &c. When any

kneels to a sovereign, it is to ask permission to stand in his presence. Thus, in “Richard II.” Act V. Sc. 3, Bolingbroke says

“Good aunt, stand up;" to which she answers,

“I do not sue to stand.Upon Lafeu prostrating himself, the afflicted king, mindful of his own debility, remarks, “Instead of your begging permission of me to rise, I'll sue thee for the same grace;'Lafeu immediately responds,

“I would you had kneel'd, my lord,” &c. b Good faith, across :) Across, in reference to the sports of chivalry, in which, to break a spear across the body of an opponent was disgraceful, came to be used in derision when any pass of wit miscarried. Here however, we believe Lafeu alludes rather to some game, where certain successes entitle the achiever to mark a cross.

c Yes, but you will, my noble grapes,-] My in this passage has been changed in some modern editions to ay, but needlessly; we have only to read “myemphatically, and the sense is obvious :

“0, will you eat no grapes ? &c.

Yes, but you will, my noble grapes." d And make you dance canary,-) To what has already been said on the nature of this sprightly dance (see note (-), Vol. I., p. 88), may be added, that the dancers accompanied their movements with castagnets: see Florio, who defines Chioppare “ to clacke or snap, or phip, or click, or lirp with ones fingers, as they that dance the Canaries, or as some barbers.

LAF. Why, doctor she; my lord, there's one arriv’d,
If you will see her,—now, by my faith and honour,
If seriously I may convey my thoughts
In this my light deliverance, I have spoke
With one, that, in her sex, her years, profession,
Wisdom, and constancy, hath amaz'd me more
Than I dare blame my weakness. Will you see her,
(For that is her demand,) and know her business ?
That done, laugh well at me.
KING.

Now, good Lafeu,
Bring in the admiration; that we with thee
May spend our wonder too, or take off thine,
By wondring how thou took'st it.
LAF.

Nay, I'll fit you,
And not be all day neither.

[Exit LAFEU. KING. Thus he his special nothing ever prologues.

Re-enter LAFEU; HELENA following.
LAF. Nay, come your ways.
KING.

This haste hath wings indeed.
LAF. Nay, come your ways;
This is his majesty, say your mind to him :
A traitor you do look like, but such traitors
His majesty seldom fears: I am Cressid's uncle,
That dare leave two together: fare you well.

. [Exit. KING. Now, fair one, does your business follow us ?

HEL. Ay, my good lord. Gerard de Narbon was my father ;
In what he did profess, well found.
KING.

I knew him.
HEL. The rather will I spare my praises towards him ;
Knowing him, is enough. On's bed of death
Many receipts he gave me; chiefly one,
Which, as the dearest issue of his practice,
And of his old experience th' only darling,
He bade me store up, as a triple eye,
Safer than mine own two more dear: I have so;
And, hearing your high majesty is touch'd
With that malignant cause, wherein the honour
Of my dear father's gift stands chief in power,
I come to tender it, and my appliance,
With all bound humbleness.
KING.

We thank you, maiden ;
But may not be so credulous of cure,
When our most learned doctors leave us; and
The congregated college have concluded
That labouring art can never ransom nature
From her inaidable estate ; I say we must not
So stain our judgment, or corrupt our hope,
To prostitute our past-cure malady
To empirics; or to dissever so

Our great self and our credit, to esteem
A senseless help, when help past sense we deem.

HEL. My duty then shall pay me for my pains:
I will no more enforce mine office on you ;
Humbly entreating from your royal thoughts
A modest one, to bear me back again.

KING. I cannot give thee less, to be call'd grateful :
Thou thought'st to help me, and such thanks I give,
As one near death to those that wish him live:
But, what at full I know, thou know'st no part;
I knowing all my peril, thou no art.

HEL. What I can do, can do no hurt to try,
Since you set up your rest 'gainst remedy:
He that of greatest works is finisher,
Oft does them by the weakest minister:
So holy writ in babes hath judgment shown,
When judges have been babes.(3) Great floods have flown
From simple sources; and great seas have dried,
When miracles have by the greatest been denied.
Oft expectation fails, and most oft there
Where most it promises ; and oft it hits,
Where hope is coldest, and despair most fits.a

KING. I must not hear thee; fare thee well, kind maid;
Thy pains, not us'd, must by thyself be paid :
Proffers, not took, reap thanks for their reward.

HEL. Inspired merit so by breath is barr'd:
It is not so with him that all things knows,
As 't is with us that square our guess by shows :
But most it is presumption in us, when
The help of heaven we count the act of men.
Dear sir, to my endeavours give consent ;
Of heaven, not me, make an experiment.
I am not an impostor, that proclaim
Myself against the level of mine aim,
But know I think, and think I know most sure,
My art is not past power, nor you past cure.

King. Art thou so confident ? within what space
Hop'st thou my cure?
HEL.

The great’st grace lending grace,
Ere twice the horses of the sun shall bring
Their fiery torcher his diurnal ring ;
Ere twice in murk and occidental damp
Moist Hesperus hath quench'd his * sleepy lamp:
Or four and twenty times the pilot's glass
Hath told the thievish minutes how they pass;
What is infirm, from your sound parts shall fly,
Health shall live free, and sickness freely die.

(*) First folio, her. * Where hope is coldest, and despair most fits.] Shifts, in first folio. Mr. Collier assigns the emendation, fits, to a MS. correction in Lord Ellesmere's folio, 1623, but it is due to Theobald. (See Nichols's Illustrations, Vol. II. p. 343.)

« ZurückWeiter »