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ALL’S WELL, THAT ENDS WELL.
ACT I. SCENE I. Rofillion. A Room in the Count's Palace. Enter BERTRAM, Countess, Helena, and LAFEU.
Cou. In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.
[to Lafeu, presenting her Son. Ber. And I, in going, madam, weep o'er my father's death anew: but I must attend his majesty's command; to whom I am now in ward, evermore in subjection.
LAF. You shall find of the king a husband, madam;you, sir, a father: He, that so generally is at all times good, muft of necessity hold his virtue to you; whose worthiness would stir it up where it wanted, rather than llack it where there is such abundance.
Cou. What hope is there of his majesty's amendment?
LAF. He hath abandon’d his physicians, madam : under whose practises he hath persecuted time with hope ; and finds no other advantage in the process, but only the losing of hope by time.
It then lack
Cou. This young gentlewoman (Showing Helena.] had a father, (o, that had! how fad a passage 'tis !) whose skill was almost as great as his honesty ; had it stretch'd so far, would have made nature immortal, and death should have play for lack of work. 'Would, for the king's sake, he were living! I think, it would be the death of the king's disease.
LAF. How calld you the man you speak of, madam?
Cou. He was famous, fir, in his profession, and it was his great right to be so: Gerard de Narbon.
LAF. He was excellent, indeed, madam; the king very lately spoke of him, admiringly, and mourningly: he was skilful enough to have liv'd still, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.
Ber. What is it, my good lord, the king languishes of? LAF. A fiftula, my
lord. BER. I heard not of it before. LAF. I would it were not notorious.-- Was this
gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon??
Cou. His sole child, my lord ; and bequeathed to my o'er-looking. I have those hopes of her good, that her education promises: her dispositions she inherits, which makes fair gifts fairer; for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there commendations go with pity, they are virtues and traitors too; in her they are the better for her fimpleness ; she derives her honesty, and atchieves her goodness.
LAF. Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.
Cou. 'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in. The remembrance of her father never ap
27 for their sim
proaches her heart, but the tyranny of her sorrows takes all livelihood from her cheek.-No more of this, Helena, go to, no more; left it be rather thought you affect a sorrow, than have it.
Hel. I do affect a sorrow, indeed, but I have it too.
LAF. Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead, excessive grief the enemy to the living.
Cou. If the living be not enemy to the grief, the excess makes it soon mortal.
Ber. Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
Cou. Be thou blest, Bertram! and succeed thy father
LAF. He cannot want the best, That shall attend his love."
Cou. Heaven bless him!_Farewel, Bertram. [Exit.
Ber. The best wishes, that can be forg'd in your thoughts, [10 Helena.] be servants to you! Be comfortable to my mother, your mistress, and make much of her.
LaF. Farewel, pretty lady: You must bold the credit of your father. Exeunt BERTRAM, and LAFEU.
4 then to have
HEL. O, were that all! I think not on my father;
idolatrous fancy Muft sanctify his relicks. Who comes here?
Enter PAROLLES. One that
with him: I love him for his fake;
PAR. Save you, fair queen.
PAR. Are you meditating on virginity?
HEL. Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you ; let me ask you a question: Man is enemy to virginity; how
may we barricado it against him? PAR. Keep him out.
HEL. But he affails; and our virginity, though valiant, in the defence yet is weak: unfold to us fome warlike resiítance.
PAR. There is none; man, setting down before you, will undermine you, and blow you up.
HEL. Bless our poor virginity from underminers, and blowers up!- Is there no military policy, how virgins might blow
up PAR. Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier be blown up: marry, in blowing him down again, with the breach yourselves made, you lose your city. It is not politick' in the common-wealth of nature, to preserve virginity. Lofs of virginity is rational increafe; and there was never virgin got, 'till virginity was first loft. That, you were made of, is metal to make virgins, Virginity, by being once loft, may be ten times found; by being ever kept, it is ever loft: 'tis too cold a companion; away with't.
HEL. I will stand for't a little, though therefore I dye a virgin.
PAR, There's little can be said in't ; 'tis against the rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity, is to accuse your mothers; which is moft infallible disobedience. He, that hangs himself, is a virgin : virginity murders itself; and should be bury'd in highways, out of all fanctify'd limit, as a defperate offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites, much like a