Imágenes de páginas

And I had that, which any inferior might'
At market-price have bought.



I must be patient:
You, that have turn'd off a first so noble wife,
May justly diet me3. I pray you yet,
(Since you lack virtue, I will lose a husband,)
Send for your ring; I will return it home,
And give me mine again.


I have it not.

King. What ring was yours, I pray you?


Sir, much like

The same upon your finger.
King. Know you this ring? this ring was his of


Is this the man you speak of?



Dia. And this was it I gave him, being a-bed. King. The story then goes false, you threw it him Out of a casement.


I have spoke the truth.


Ber. My lord, I do confess, the ring was hers.

King. You boggle shrewdly, every feather starts

Ay, my lord.

2 And I had that, which ANY inferior might] This line illustrates the worse than needlessness of the change made by Pope in a line in "Love's Labour's Lost," Vol. ii. p. 287 :—


Why should I joy in any abortive birth ?" Pope substituted an for any, because only one syllable was required for the tensyllable measure. The fact is, that in both these instances "any" being pronounced in the time of one syllable, the metre is perfect, and such as Shakespeare intended.

3 May justly DIET me.] The meaning, according to the explanation of Collins, seems to be, "You may justly make me fast, by depriving me (as Desdemona says) of the rites for which I love you." Steevens quotes "to fast like one that takes diet," from "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," A. ii. sc. 1, to show that to fast and to diet were used in some sort synonymously.

Enter Parolles.] In the old folios the entrance of Parolles is twice marked, here, and with the Widow and Diana. This is evidently the proper place for him to make his appearance.


King. Tell me, sirrah, but tell me true, I charge


Not fearing the displeasure of your master,
(Which, on your just proceeding, I'll keep off,)
By him, and by this woman here, what know you?

Par. So please your majesty, my master hath been an honourable gentleman: tricks he hath had in him, which gentlemen have.

King. Come, come; to the purpose. Did he love this woman?

Par. 'Faith, sir, he did love her; but how?

King. How, I pray you?

Par. He did love her, sir, as a gentleman loves a

King. How is that?

Par. He loved her, sir, and loved her not.

King. As thou art a knave, and no knave.

What an equivocal companion is this!

Par. I am a poor man, and at your majesty's command.

Laf. He's a good drum, my lord, but a naughty


Dia. Do you know, he promised me marriage?
Par. 'Faith, I know more than I'll speak.
King. But wilt thou not speak all thou know'st?

Par. Yes, so please your majesty. I did go between them, as I said; but more than that, he loved her,for, indeed, he was mad for her, and talked of Satan, and of limbo, and of furies, and I know not what: yet I was in that credit with them at that time, that I knew of their going to bed, and of other motions, as promising her marriage, and things that would derive me ill will to speak of: therefore, I will not speak what I know.

King. Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou


Say they are married. But thou art too fine

In thy evidence"; therefore, stand aside.—
This ring, you say, was yours?

Ay, my good lord.
King. Where did you buy it? or who gave it you?
Dia. It was not given me, nor I did not buy it.
King. Who lent it you?
King. Where did you find it then?

It was not lent me neither.

I found it not.

King. If it were yours by none of all these ways, How could you give it him?


I never gave it him. Laf. This woman's an easy glove, my lord: she goes off and on at pleasure.

King. This ring was mine: I gave it his first wife. Dia. It might be yours, or hers, for aught I know. King. Take her away: I do not like her now. To prison with her; and away with him.Unless thou tell'st me where thou had'st this ring, Thou diest within this hour.

I'll never tell you.

I'll put in bail, my liege. King. I think thee now some common customer. Dia. By Jove, if ever I knew man, 'twas you. King. Wherefore hast thou accus'd him all this


King. Take her away.


Dia. Because he's guilty, and he is not guilty.
He knows I am no maid, and he'll swear to't:
I'll swear I am a maid, and he knows not.
Great king, I am no strumpet, by my life!
I am either maid, or else this old man's wife.

[Pointing to LAFEU.

5 But thou art TOO FINE in thy evidence ;] i. e. Too full of finesse; too artful. Malone needlessly cites several instances.

6 This ring, you say, was yours?] This speech is clearly metrical, though printed as prose in all the editions, ancient and modern. The King invariably uses blank-verse.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

King. She does abuse our ears. To prison with


Dia. Good mother, fetch my bail.-[Exit Widow.]
Stay, royal sir:

The jeweller that owes the ring is sent for,
And he shall surety me. But for this lord,
Who hath abus'd me, as he knows himself,
Though yet he never harm'd me, here I 'quit him.
He knows himself my bed he hath defil'd,
And at that time he got his wife with child:
Dead though she be, she feels her young one kick:
So there's my riddle, one that's dead is quick;
And now behold the meaning.

Re-enter Widow, with HELENA.

Beguiles the truer office of mine eyes?

Is't real, that I see?

Is there no exorcist

No, my good lord:
'Tis but the shadow of a wife you see;
The name, and not the thing.

Both, both! O, pardon!
Hel. O! my good lord, when I was like this maid,
I found you wondrous kind. There is your ring;
And, look you, here's your letter: this it says:
"When from my finger you can get this ring,
And are by me with child'," &c.-This is done :
Will you be mine, now you are doubly won?

Ber. If she, my liege, can make me know this

I'll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly.

Hel. If it appear not plain, and prove untrue3,

7" And ARE by me with child,"] Is for "are," a grammatical error running through all the old copies. Helena only gives the import of the words of the letter, and not the exact words. Her repetition of them shows clearly the sense of the passage. See p. 258.

8 If it appear not plain, and prove untrue,] In Painter, and in his original, Boccaccio, Helen comes before Count Bertram at Rousillon with twins in her




Deadly divorce step between me and you!—
O! my dear mother, do I see you living?

Laf. Mine eyes smell onions, I shall weep anon.Good Tom Drum, [To PAROLLES.] lend me a handkerchief: so, I thank thee. Wait on me home, I'll make sport with thee: let thy courtesies alone, they are scurvy ones.

King. Let us from point to point this story know, To make the even truth in pleasure flow.

[TO DIANA.] If thou be'st yet a fresh uncropped flower,
Choose thou thy husband, and I'll pay thy dower;
For I can guess, that by thy honest aid

Thou kept'st a wife herself, thyself a maid.—
Of that, and all the progress, more and less,
Resolvedly more leisure shall express :
All yet seems well; and if it end so meet,
The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet.


The king's a beggar, now the play is done.
All is well ended, if this suit be won,
That you express content; which we will pay,
With strife to please you, day exceeding day:
Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts;
Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.

[Exeunt omnes.

arms, "Io ti richieggio per Dio, che le conditioni postemi per li due cavalieri, che io ti mandai, tu le mi osservi: ed ecco nelle mie braccia non un solo figliuolo di te ma due; ed ecco qui il tuo anello:" which Painter thus renders :-"Therefore I now beseche thee, for the honoure of God, that thou wilt observe the conditions which the twoo Knightes that I sent unto thee did commannde me to doe for beholde here, in my armes, not onely one sonne begotten by thee, but twayne, and likewyse thy ryng." Palace of Pleasure, i. fo. 92. Edit. Marsh. It is to be remarked, that in the original story the King is not present at Rousillon at the reconcilement of Bertram and Helena.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »