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Hel. What is your pleasure, madaia ?
Count.

You know, Helen, I am a mother to you.

Hel. Mine honourable mistress.
Count.

Nay, a mother ;
Why not a mother? When I said 'a mother,'
Methought you saw a serpent : what's in ‘mother,'
That you start at it? I say, I am your mother ;
And put you in the catalogue of those
That were enwombed mine ; 'tis often seen
Adoption strives with nature and choice breeds
A native slip to us from foreign seeds;
You ne'er oppress'd me with a mother's groan,
Yet I express to you a mother's care :
God's mercy, maiden ! does it curd thy blood
To say I am thy mother? What's the matter,
That this distemper'd messenger of wet,
The many.colour'd Iris, rounds thine eye ?
Why? that you are my daughter ?
Hel.

That I am not.
Count. I say, I am your mother.
Hel.

Pardon, niadam ;
The Count Roussillon cannot be my brother ;
I am from humble, he from honour'd name;
No note upon my parents, his all noble ;
My master, my dear lord he is; and I
Ilis servant live, and will his vassal die :
He must not be my brother.
Count.

Nor I
your

mother?
Hcl. You are my mother, madam ; would you were,
So that my lord your son were not my brother,-
Indeed my mother ! or were you both our mothers,
I carc no more for than I do for heaven,
So I were not his sister. Can't no other,
But I your daughter, he must be my brother?

Count. Yes, Ilelen, you might be my daughter-in-law ;
God shield you mean it not! daughter and mother
So strive upon your pulse. What, pale again?
My fear hath catch'd your fondness; now I see
The mystery of your loneliness, and find
Your salt tears' head; now to all sense 'tis gross
You love iny son ; invention is ashamed,
Against the proclamation of thy passion,
To say thou dost not; therefore tell me true ;
But tell me then, 'tis so; for, look, thy chceks
Confess it, th' one to th' other; and thine eyes
See it so grossly shown in thy behaviours
That in their kind they speak it; only sin

And hellish obstinacy tie thy tongue,
That truth should be suspected. Speak, is't so?
If it be so, you have wound a goodly clew;
If it be not, forswear't ; howe'er, I charge thee,
As heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
To tell me truly.
Hel.

Good madam, pardon me !
Count. Do you love my son ?
Hel. Your pardon, noble mistress!
Count. Love you my son?
Hel. Do not you love him, madam?

Count. Go not about ; my love hath in't a bond,
Whereof the world takes note : come, come, disclose
The state of your affection ; for your passions
Have to the full appeach'd.
Іг. .

Then, I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high heaven,
I love your son.
My friends were poor, but honest ; so's my love :
Be not offended; for it hurts not hini
That he is loved of me; I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit ;
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him ;
Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope ;
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
I still pour in the waters of my love,
And lack not to lose still; thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun, that looks upon his worshipper,
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love
For loving where you do; but if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in so true a fame of liking
Wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and love; O, then, give pity
To her whose state is such that cannot choose
But lend and give where she is sure to lose ;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But riddle-like lives sweetly where she dies !

All's Well that Ends Well, act i. scene 3.

The confession of her love is drawn from her by force, she struggles against it, her whole being is shaken; but when at last the irresistible pressure put upon her by the Countess has brought it to her lips, she regains her selfpossession, her calm, her peace of mind. She admits her love without subtleties of expression, without vain pretension, with a simple but carnest passion, which, having broken for the first time from her closed hcart, finds vent in words full of cloqucncc. The Countess Roussillon is onc of those old women who, under wrinkles and white hair, remember thic brightness and beauty of their youth. How infinitely more worthy of affection she appears than the old Lady Capulet, Juliet's mother, who for the lovely being who is her own child has never one of the tender expressions by which Countess Roussillon shows that she bears her adopted daughter a true and warm mother's love. And what is the conduct of this worthy lady after Helena has confessed her passion for the young Count, and begs forgiveness of his mother for presuming to love him ? Her demeanour is original and peculiar, but quite comprehensible, if we consider her character and her sentiments towards Helena. She answers not a word to the confession she has forced, in so energetic a manner, and for which she has now not a word either of reproof or encouragement. But what she says, the questions she puts to Helena, although they seem to have no connection either with her love or with her fate, are more than an encouragement to the young girl, are almost a complete assurance that she, the mother, has no objection to her love, or even to her marriage with Bertram. Without replying to Helena's ardent words and prayers, she asks the maiden, in quiet tones, if she had not lately an intention of visiting Paris, and with what purpose she was going there? Helena answers that she had the idea of going thither because she had heard that the King of France had fallen into a malignant illness, against which all advice and all remedies proved useless, though the best and most celebrated physicians had been called in. As she has inherited from her father a prescription to cure this very disease, she deems it may prove effectual

against the king's sickness. When the Countess, as sole reply to the girl's confession of love, has put this question, when she has rejoined to Helena's answer another question, docs Helena think that the king, whose own best physicians cannot help him, will “crcdit a poor unlcarncd virgin, when the schools have lost the danger to itself," and as Hclcna rcitcratcs her intention to proceed to Paris (whither Bertram has alrcady gone), shc gives her lcave to go in these words:

Why, IIclen, thou shalt have my leave and love,
Means and attendants and my loving greetings
To those of minc in court: I'll stay at home
And pray God's blessing into thy attempt ;
Bc gonc to.morrow; and lic sure of this,
What I can help thcc to thou shalt not miss.

All's Well that Ends Well, act i. scene 3.

Hence it is clear that Helena's love has nothing to fear from the pride of the old Countess. Helena's soliloquy, before her confession, shows that she regards her journey to Paris and attempt to cure the king only as a means to an end, the only way of reaching her earthly bliss, the possession of Bertram and his love. She cherishes, on the other hand, an unshaken faith in the mighty and magical power of a love so warni and deep as hers. She trusts that this love will at last prove victorious, and obtain the answering passion of the man she adores.

Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to heaven : the fated sky
Gives us free scope, only doth backward pull
Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.
What power is it which mounts my love so high,
That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye?
The mightiest space in fortune nature brings
To join like likes and kiss like native things.
Impossible be strange attempts to those
That weigh their pains in sense and do suppose
What hath been cannot be ; who ever strove
To show her merit that did miss her love?

The king's discnscmy project may deceive me,
But my intents arc fix'd and will not Icave mc.

All's Well that Ends Well, act I. scene 1,

Helena carries out her resolution, and goes to the king's court at Paris. At first the king will not confide himself to her treatment, because he considers his illncss incurable, but the unshaken faith with which she offers her own life as a pledge for its success moves him to make a trial :

King. Methinks in thee some blessed spirit doth speak
His powerful sound within an organ weak ;
And what impossibility would slay
In common sense, sense saves another way.
Thy life is dear; for all that life can rate
Worth name of life in thee hath estimate,
Youth, beauty, wisdom, courage, all
That happiness and prime can happy call :
Thou this to hazard needs must intimate
Skill infinite or monstrous desperate.
Sweet practiser, thy physic I will try,
That ministers thine own death if I die.

All's Well that Ends Well, act ii. scene i.

Helena answers :

Not helping, death's my fee ;
But, if I help, what do you promise me?

“Make thy demand," the king answers, and swears to fulfil it. She rejoins :

Then shalt thou give me with thy kingly hand
What husband in thy power I will command.
Such a one, thy vassal, whom I know
Is free for me to ask, thee to bestow.

The king promises to fulfil her desire. The cure is miraculously effected. Helena asks for Count Bertram of Roussillon as a husband. True to his word, the king says, “Why then, young Bertram, take her; she's thy wife." Bertram with angry and contemptuous expressions refuses :

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