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DRAMATIS PERSON Æ.
KING of France.
Duke of Florence.
BERTRAM, Count of Roufillon.
LAFEU, an old Lord.
PAROLLES, a parafitical follower of BERTRAM; a coward, but vain, and a great pretender to valour.
Two young French Lords, that ferve with BERTRAM in the Florentine war.
STEWARD, Servants to the Countefs of Roufillon.
Countess of Roufillon, Mother to BERTRAM.
HELENA, Daughter to GERARD DE NARBON, a famous Phyfician, fome time fince dead.
An old Widow of Florence.
DIANA, Daughter to the Widow.
ITA'} Neighbours and friends to the Widow.
Lords attending on the King, Officers, Soldiers, &c.
SCENE lies partly in France, and partly in Tuscany.
The plot taken from Boccace, Decam. 3. Nov. 9.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Roufillon in France.
Enter Bertram, the Countess of Roufillon, Helena, and Lafeu, all in mourning.
N delivering up my fon from me, I bury a second husband.
Laf. You fhall find of the king a husband, madam ; you, fir, a father. He, that fo generally is at all times good, must of neceffity hold his virtue to you, whofe worthinefs would ftir it up where it wanted, rather than flack it where there is fuch abundance.
Count. What hope is there of his majesty's amendment?
Laf. He hath abandon'd his physicians, madam; under whose practices he hath profecuted time with hope, and finds no other advantage in the process, but only the lofing of hope by time.
Count. This young gentlewoman had a father, (0, that had! how fad a preface 'tis !) whose skill was almoft as great as his honesty; had it ftretch'd fo far, it would have made nature immortal, and death should have had play for lack of work. Would, for the king's fake, he were living! I think, it would be the death of the king's disease.
Laf. How call'd you the man you speak of, madam?
Count. He was famous, fir, in his profeffion, and it was his great right to be fo: 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 lived ftill, if knowledge could be fet up against mortality. Ber. What is it, my good lord, the king languishes of? Laf. A fistula, 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?
Count. His fole child, my lord; and bequeathed to my overlooking. I have those hopes of her good, that her education promises: her difpofition fhe 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 fimplenefs; she derives her honesty, and atchieves her goodness.
Laf. Your commendations, madam, get tears from her. Count. 'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in. The remembrance of her father never approaches her heart, but the tyranny of her forrows takes all livelihood from her cheek. No more of this, Helena, go to, no more; left you be rather thought to affect a forrow, than to have.
Hel. I do affect a forrow, indeed, but I have it too.
Laf. Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead, excessive grief the enemy of the living.
Count. If the living be not enemy to the grief, the excess makes it foon mortal.
Ber. Madam, I defire your holy wishes.
Laf. How understand we that ?
Count. Be thou bleft, Bertram, and fucceed thy father
By virtuous qualities here are not meant thofe of a moral kind, but such as are acquired by erudition, and good breeding.
Do wrong to none: be able for thine enemy
Laf. He cannot want the beft, that shall attend
Count. May heaven bless him! Farewel, Bertram.
Ber. [to Hel.] The best wishes that can be forg'd in your thoughts be fervants to you! be comfortable to my mother, your mistress, and make much of her.
Laf. Farewel, pretty lady; you must hold the credit of your father. [Exeunt Ber. and Laf.
Hel. O, were that all! — I think not on my father;
Of every line and trick of his fweet favour.
But now he's gone, and
One that goes with him: I love him for his fake,
That they take place, when virtue's fteely bones
Par. 'Save you, fair queen.
Hel. And you, monarch.
Hel. And no.
Par. Are you meditating on virginity?
Hel. Ay: you have fome stain of foldier in you; let me ask you a question: Man is enemy to virginity; how may we barricado it against him to keep him out? for he affails; and our virginity, though valiant, in the defence yet is weak: unfold to us fome warlike refiftance.
Par. There is none: man, fetting down before you, will undermine you, and blow you up.
Hel. Blefs our poor virginity from underminers, and blowers up! Is there no military policy, how virgins might blow up men?
Par. Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier be blown up: marry, in blowing him down again, with the breach your felves made you lofe your city. It is not politick in the commonwealth of nature, to preserve virginity. Lofs of virginity is national increase, and there was never virgin got, till virginity was first lost. That you were made of is metal to make virgins. Virginity, by