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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.
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 a GENTLEMAN.
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.
DÍANA CAPULET. Laf. I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll him:t 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 !
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 ?
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.
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. 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 !
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 ;
And was a common gamestert 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: 0, behold this ring,
Whose high respect, and rich validity,
Did lack a parallel ; yet, for all that,
He gave 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 owed 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,
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 anything?
King. She hath that ring of yours.
Ber. I think, she has : certain it is, I liked 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'st course
Are motives of more fancy; and, in fine,
Her insuit coming with her moderns 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.
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.
Dia. I have spoke the truth.
Ber. My lord, I do confess, the ring was hers.
King. You boggle shrewdly, every feather starts you.-
Is this the man you speak of?
Dia. 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 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? * Only.
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: therefore stand aside. This ring, you say, was yours? Dia. Ay, my good lord. 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.t
Dia. By Jove, if ever I knew man, 'twas you.
King. Wherefore hast thou accused 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;
The jeweller, that owest the ring, is sent for,
And he shall surety me. But for this lord,
Who hath abused me, as he knows himself,
Though yet he never harm’d me, here I quit him:
He knows himself, my bed he hath defiled;
And at that time he got his wife with child :
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, 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 PAROLLES], 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:-
1f thou beʼst yet a fresh uncropped flower, [.70 DIANA.
Choose thou thy husband, and I'll pay thy dower;
For I can guess, that, by thy honest aid,
Thou kept'st 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 ;
Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.