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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 marry that I may repent. Count. Thy marriage, sooner than thy wickedness.
Clo. I am out o' friends, madam; and I hope to have friends for my wife's sake.
Count. Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
Clo. You are shallow, madam, in great friends; for the knaves come to do that for me, which I am a-weary of. 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 horns 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 way:9 For I the ballad will repeat,
Which men full true shall find;
Your cuckoo sings by kind.
Count. Get you gone, sir; I'll talk with you more anon. Stew. 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 her; Helen I mean.
Was this fair face the cause, quoth she,
Why the Grecians sacked Troy?
Fond done, done fond,
Was this King Priam's joy?
With that she sighed as she stood,
There's yet one good in ten.
Count. What, one good in ten? you corrupt the 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 tithe-woman, if I were the parson. One in ten, quoth a'! an we might have a good woman born but for every blazing star, or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery well; a man may draw his heart out ere 'a 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 Puritan, yet it will do no hurt; it will wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart.10-I am going, forsooth: the business is for Helen to come hither.
Count. Well, now.
Stew. I know, madam, you love your gentlewoman 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 her than she'll demand.
Stew. Madam, I was very late more near 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 ransom 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,12 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
Count. Even so it was with me, when I was young: If ever 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,
Where love's strong passion is impress'd in youth :
Such were our faults;-or then we thought them none.
Her eye is sick on 't; I observe her now.
Hel. What is your pleasure, madam ?
I am a mother to you.
Hel. Mine honourable mistress.
You know, Helen,
Nay, a mother;
Why not a mother? When I said a mother,
Count. I say, I am your mother.
That I am not.
Pardon, madam ;
I am from humble, he from honour'd name;
Nor I your mother?
Hel. You are my mother, madam; would you were (So that my lord, your son, were not my brother), Indeed, my mother!—or were you both our mothers, I care no more for, than I do for heaven,
So I were not his sister. Can't no other,
But, I your daughter, he must be my brother?
Count. Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-in-law;
To tell me truly.
Good madam, pardon me!
Count. Do you love my son?
Your pardon, noble mistress!
Count. Love you my son?
Do not you love him, madam?
Count. Go not about; my love hath in 't a bond, Whereof the world takes note: come, come, disclose
The state of your affection; for your passions
Have to the full appeach'd.
Then, I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
My friends were poor, but honest; so's
The sun, that looks upon his worshipper,
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,