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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 That fet him high in fame.
Laf. He looks well on't.
King. I'm not a day of season,
For thou may' fee a fun-fhine and a hail
Ber. My high-repented blames,
Dear fovereign, pardon to me.
Not one word more of the confumed time,
Ber. Admiringly, my Liege. At first
That fhe, whom all men prais'd, and whom myself,
The duft that did offend it.
King. Well excus'd:
That thou didst love her, ftrikes fome fcores away
From the great 'compt; but love, that comes too late, Like a remorfeful pardon flowly carried,
To the great fender turns a four offence,
Crying, that's good that is gone: our rafh faults
Make trivial price of ferious things we have,
Deftroy our friends, and, after, weep their duft :
Count. (40) Which better than the firft, O dear heav'n, Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, ceafe! [blefs, Laf. Come on, my fon, in whom my houfe's name Must be digefted: give a favour from you To fparkle in the fpirits of my daughter, That he may quickly come. By my old beard, And ev'ry hair that's on't, Helen, that's dead, Was a fweet creature fuch a ring as this,
The last that e'er fhe took her leave at court, 1 faw upon her finger.
Ber. Hers 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 bade her, if her fortunes ever flood
Neceffitied to help, that by this token
I would relieve her. Had you that craft to reave her Of what should ftead her moft?
Ber. My gracious Sovereign, Howe'er it pleases you to take it fo,
The ring was never hers.
(40) Which better than the firft, O dear beav'n blefs,
Or, ere 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 fhould make a bad hufband the fecond time, why should it give the King fuch mortal pangs? A fond and difappointed 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.
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 cafement thrown me,
Wrap'd in a paper, which contain'd the name
Of her that threw it: (41) Noble fhe was, and thought
I could not answer in that courfe of honour
King. Plutus himself,
That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine,
Than I have in this ring. 'Twas mine, 'twas Helen's,
That you are well acquainted with yourself,
Confefs 'twas her's, and by what rough enforcement it from her. She call'd the faints to furety,
That she would never put it from her finger,
Unless she gave it to yourfelf in bed,
(Where you have never come) or fent it us
Upon her great difafter.
Ber. She never faw it.
King. Thou fpeak'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 fhould prove That thou art fo inhuman-'twill not prove soAnd yet I know not-thou didst hate her deadly,
noble fpe ruas, and thought
I food engag'd;-] I don't understand this reading; if we are to understand, that the 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,
1 ftood ungag'd;
i.e. unengaged: neither my heart, nor perfon, difpos'd of.
And she is dead; which nothing, but to clofe
[Guards jeize Bertram.
My fore-paft proofs, howe'er the matter fall,
Having vainly fear'd too little. Away with him,
Ber. If you shall prove,
This ring was ever hers, you shall as easy
Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence
Where she never was.
[Exit Bertram guarded.
Enter a Gentleman.
King. I'm wrap'd in dismal thinkings.
Gent. Gracious Sovereign,
Whether I've been to blame or no, I know not:
Who hath for fur or five removes come fhort
Vanquish'd thereto by the fair gace and speech
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, bis vows are forfeited to me, and my honours 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 lies; otherwife a feducer flourifbes, and a poor maid is undone.
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?
I am afraid, the life of Helen (Lady)
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 ;
you defire to wed.
What woman's that?
Enter Widow, and Diana.
Dia. I am, my Lord, a wretched Florentine,
My fuit, as I do understand, you know,
Wid. I am her mother, Sir, whofe age and honour Both fuffer under this complaint we bring,
And both fhall 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. If you fhall marry,
You give away this hand, and that is mine;
You give away heav'n's vows, and thofe are mine;
That he, which marries you, muft marry me,
Laf. Your reputation comes too fhort for my daugh. ter, you are no hufband for her
[To Bertram. Ber. My Lord, this is a fond and defp'rate creature, Whom fometime I have laugh'd with: let your Highness Lay a more n ble thought upon mine honour, Than for to think that I would fink it here.
King. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend, 'Till your deeds gain them fairer: prove your honour, Then in my thought it lies.