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Kousillon. A room in the Countess's palace.
Enter Countess, Steward, and Clown.
Count. I will now hear; what say you of this gentlewoman?
Stew. Madam, the care I have had to even your content", I wish might be found in the calendar of my past endeavours; for then we wound our modesty, and make foul the clearness of our deservings, when of ourselves we publish them.
Count. What does this knave here? Get you gove, sirrah: The complaints, I have heard of you, I do not all believe; 'tis my slowness, that I do not: for, I know, you lack not folly to commit them, and have ability enough to make such knave. ries yours.
Clo. 'Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a
Count. Well, sir.
well, that I am poor ; though many of the rich are damned: But, if I may have your ladyship's good will to go to the world f, Isbel the woman and I will do as we may.
Count. Wilt thou needs be a beggar?
Clo. In Isbel's case, and mine own. Service is no heritage: and, I think, I shall never have the blessing of God, till I have issue of my body; for, they say, bearns I are blessings.
Count. Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.
* To act up to your desires.
Clo. My poor body, madam, requires it: I am driven on by the flesh; and he must needs go, that the devil drives,
Count. Is this all your worship’s reason?
Clo. Faith, madam, I have other holy reasons, such as they are.
Count. May the world know them?
Clo. I have been, madam, a wicked creature, as you and all flesh and blood are; and, indeed, I do marty, that I may repent,
Count. Thy marriage, sooner than thy wickedness.
Clo. I am out of friends, madam; and I bope to bave friends for my wife's sake.
Count. Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
Clo. You are shallow, madam; e'en great friends; for the knaves come to do that for me, which I am a-weary of. He, that ears* my land, spares my team, and gives nie leave to inn the crop: if I be his cuckold, he's my drudge: He, that comforts my wife, is the cherisher of my flesh and blood; he, that cherishes my flesh and blood, loves my flesh and blood; he, that loves my flesh and blood, is my friend : ergot, he that kisses my wife, is my friend. If men could be contented to be what they are, there were no fear in marriage ; for young Charbon the puritan, and old Poysam the papist, howsoe'er their hearts are severed in religion, their heads are both one, they may joll iiorns together, like any deer i' the herd.
Count. Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouthed and calumnious knave?
Clo. A prophet I, madam; and I speak the truth the next waył:
For I the ballad will repeat,
Which men full true shall find;
Your cuckoo sings by kind.
The nearest way.
Count. Get you gone, sir; I'll talk with you more
Steu. May it please you, madam, that he bid Helen come to you; of her I am to speak.
Count. Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman, I would speak with ber; Helen I mean.
Clo. Was this fair fuce the cause, quoth she,
Was this king Priam's joy.
And guve this sentence then;
There's yet one good in ten.
Count. What, one good in ten? you corrupt the song, sirrah.
Clo. One good woman in ten, madam; which is a purifying o' the song: 'Would God would serve the world so all the year! we'd find no fault with the tythe-woman, if I were the parson: One in ten, qaoth a'! an we might have a good woman born but every blazing star, or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery well; a man may draw his heart out, ere he pluck one.
Count. You'll be gone, sir knave, and do as I command you?
Clo. That man should be at woman's command, and yet no hurt done!—Though honesty be no puri, tan, yet it will do no hurt; it will wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart.I am going, forsooth: the business is for Helen to come hither.
[Erit Clown, Count. Well, now.
* Foolishly done.
Stew. I know, madam, you love your gentle woman entirely.
Count. Faith, I do: her father bequeathed her to me; and she herself, without other advantage, may lawfully make title to as much love as she finds: there is more owing her, than is paid; and more shall be paid ber, than she'll demand.
Stew. Madam, I was very late more vear her than, I think, she wished me: alone she was, and did communicate to herself, her own words to her own ears; she thought, I dare vow for her, they touched not any stranger sense. Her matter was, she loved your son: Fortune, she said, was no goddess, that had put such difference betwixt their two estates; Love, no god, that would not extend his might, only where qualities were level; Diana, no queen of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight to be surprised, without rescue, in the first assault, or ransome afterward: This she delivered in the most bitter touch of sorrow, that e'er I heard virgin exclaim in: which I held my duty, speedily to acquaint you withal; sithence*, in the loss that may happen, it concerns you something to know it.
Count. You have discharged this honestly ; keep it to yourself: many likelihoods informed me of this before, which hung so tottering in the balance, that I could neither believe, nor misdoubt: Pray you, leave me: stall this in your bosom, and I thank you for your honest care: I will speak with you further anon.
Count. Even so it was with me, when I was
young : If we are nature's, these are ours; this thorn Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong;
Our blood to us, this to our blood is born ;
It is the show and seal of nature's truth,
Hel. What is your pleasure, madam ?
You know, Helen, I am a mother to you.
Hel. Mine honourable mistress.
Nay, a mother;
That I am not. Count. I say, I am your mother. Hel.
Pardon, madam; The count Rousillon 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 His servant live, and will his vassal die: He must not be
my brother. Count.
mother Hel. You are my mother, madam; 'Would you
(So that my lord, your son, were not my brother), Indeed, my mother!-or were you both our mothers, I care no niore for*, than I do for heaven,
* 1. c. I care as much for: I wish it equally.