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King. What fays he to your daughter? Have you fpoke?

Laf. All, that he is, hath reference to your Highness. King. Then fhall we have a match. I have letters fent me,

That fet him high in fame.

Enter Bertram.

Laf. He looks well on't.
King. I'm not a day of season,

For thou may'st fee a fun-fhine and a hail
In me at once; but to the brightest beams
Diftracted clouds give way; so stand thou forth,
The time is fair again.

Ber.. My high repented blames, Dear Sovereign, pardon to me. King. All is whole,

You remember.

Not one word more of the confumed time,
Let's take the inftant by the forward top;
For we are old, and on our quick'ft decrees
Th' inaudible and noiseless foot of time
Steals, ere we can effect them.
The daughter of this Lord?
Ber. Admiringly, my Liege. At first
I ftuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
Durft make too bold a herald of my tongue :.
Where the impreffion of mine eye enfixing,
Contempt his fcornful perfpective did lend me,.
Which warp'd the line of every other favour;
Scorn'd a fair colour, or exprefs'd it stoll'n;
Extended or contracted all proportions
To a moft hideous object: thence it came,
That fhe, whom all men prais'd, and whom myself,
Since I have loft, have lov'd, was in mine eye
The duft that did offend it.

King. Well excus'd:

That thou do'ft love her, ftrikes fome scores away
From the great 'compt; but love, that comes too late,
Like a remorfeful pardon flowly carried,

To the great fender turns a fowre offence,


Crying, that's good that is gone: our rash faults
Make trivial price of serious things we have,
Not knowing them, until we know their grave.
Oft our displeasures, to our felves unjust,
Destroy our friends, and, after, weep their duft:
Our own love, waking, cries to fee what's done,
While fhameful hate fleeps out the afternoon.
Be this fweet Helen's knell; and now, forget her.
Send forth your amorous token for fair Maudlin,
The main confents are had, and here we'll stay
To see our widower's fecond marriage-day:

Count. (25) Which better than the firft, O dear
heav'n, blefs,

Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cease!

Laf. Come on, my fon, in whom my house's name Muft be digefted: give a favour from you To sparkle in the fpirits of my daughter, That the may quickly come. By my old beard, And ev'ry hair that's on't, Helen, that's dead, Was a sweet creature: fuch a ring as this, The laft that e'er fhe took her leave at court, I faw upon her finger.

Ber. Her's it was not.

King. Now, pray you, let me fee it: For mine eye, While I was speaking, oft was faften'd to't.

This ring was mine; and, when I gave it Helen,
I bad her, if her fortunes ever ftood
Neceffitied to help, that by this token

I would relieve her. Had you that craft to reave her
Of what fhould ftead her moft?

(25) Which better than the firft, O dear Heav'n, bless,

Or, e'er they meet, in me, O Nature, ceafe!] I have ventur'd, against the Authority of the printed Copies, to prefix the Countess's Name to these two Lines. The King appears, indeed, to be a Favourer of Bertram: but if Bertram should make a bad Husband the fecond Time, why should it give the King fuch mortal Pangs? A fond and disappointed Mother might reafonably not defire to live to fee fuch a Day: and from her the Wish of dying, rather than to behold it, comes with Propriety.


Ber. My gracious Sovereign,
Howe'er it pleases you to take it so,
The ring was never her's.
Count. Son, on my life,

I've seen her wear it, and fhe reckon'd it
At her life's rate.

Laf. I'm fure, I faw her wear it.

Ber. You are deceiv'd, my Lord, she never faw it ;
In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,
Wrap'd in a paper, which contain❜d the name
Of her that threw it: (26) Noble fhe was, and thought
I ftood ungag'd; but when I had fubfcrib'd

To mine own fortune, and inform'd her fully,
I could not answer in that course of honour
As fhe had made the overture, she ceast
In heavy fatisfaction, and would never
Receive the ring again.

King. Plutus himself,

That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine,
Hath not in nature's myftery more fcience,

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,
Confefs 'twas hers, and by what rough enforcement
You got it from her. She call'd the Saints to furety,
That the would never put it from her finger,
Unless she gave it to yourself in bed,
(Where you have never come) or fent it us
Upon her great disaster.

Ber. She never faw it.


noble She was, and thought

1 food engag'd;-] I don't understand this Reading; if we are to understand, that She thought Bertram engag'd to her in Affection, infnar'd by her Charms, this Meaning is too obfcurely exprefs'd. The Context rather makes me believe, that the Poet wrote,

noble She was, and thought

I stood ungag'd ;.

i, e. unengag'd: neither my Heart, nor Perfon, difpos'd of.

King. Thou speak'ft it falfely, as I love mine honour; And mak'ft conject'ral fears to come into me, Which I would fain fhut out; if it should


That thou art fo inhuman 'twill not prove fo
And I know not
thou didst hate her deadly,
And he is dead; which nothing, but to close
Her eyes myself, could win me to believe,
More than to fee this ring. Take him away.

[Guards feize Bertram. My fore-patt proofs, howe'er the matter fall, Shall tax my fears of little vanity,

Having vainly fear'd too little. Away with him,
We'll fift this matter further..

Ber. If you fhall prove,

This ring was ever hers, you fhall as eafie
Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence,
Where yet she never was.

Enter a Gentleman.

Exit Bertram guarded.

King. I'm wrap'd in difmal thinkings.
Gent. Gracious Sovereign,

Whether I've 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 fuppliant, who by this, I know,
Is here attending: her bufinefs looks in her
With an importing vifage; and fhe told me,
In a fweet verbal brief, it did concern
Your Highness with herself.

The King reads a letter.

Upon his many proteftations to marry me, when his wife was dead, I blush to say it, he won me. Now is the Count Roufillon a widower, his vows are forfeited to me, and my honour's paid to him. He ftole from Florence, taking no leave, and I follow him to this country for juftice: grant it me, O King, in you it beft lyes; otherwife a feducer flourishes, and a poor maid is undone. Diana Capulet.


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Laf. I will buy me a fon-in-law in a fair, and toll for him. For this, I'll none of him.

King. The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafeu, To bring forth this difcov'ry. Seek these fuitors: Go fpeedily, and bring again the Count.

Enter Bertram.

I am afraid, the life of Helen (lady)
Was foully fnatch'd.

Count. Now juftice on the doers!

King. I wonder, Sir, wives are fo monftrous to you,
And that you fly them as you fwear to them;
Yet you defire to wed. What woman's that?

Enter Widow and Diana.

Dia. I am, my Lord, a wretched Florentine,
Derived from the ancient Capulet ;
My fuit, as I do understand, you know,
And therefore know how far I may be pitied.

Wid. I am her mother, Sir, whofe age and honour
Both fuffer under this complaint we bring,
And both fhall ceafe without your remedy.

King. Come hither, Count; do you know thefe wo


Ber. My Lord, I neither can, nor will, deny
But that I know them; do they charge me further?
Dia. Why do you look fo ftrange upon your wife?
Ber. She's none of mine, my Lord.
Dia. If you fhall marry,

You give away this hand, and that is mine;
You give away heav'n's vows, and those are mine;
You give away myself, which is known mine;
For I by vow am fo embodied yours,
That the, which marries you, must marry me,
Either both or none.

Laf. Your reputation comes too fhort for my daugh ter, you are no husband for her. [To Bertram. Ber. My Lord, this is a fond and defp'rate creature, Whom fometime I have laugh'd with let your High



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