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Clo. One good woman in ten, Madam, which is a purifying o' th' fong: 'would God would ferve the world fo all the year! we'd find no fault with the tithe-woman, if I were the parfon. One in ten, quoth 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 that fhould be at a woman's command, and yet no hurt done! tho' honefty be no Puritan, yet it will do no hurt; it will wear the furplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart. I am going, forfooth, the business is for Helen to come hither. [Exit.

Count. Well, now.

Stew. I know, Madam, you love your gentlewoman entirely.

Count. 'Faith, I do; her father bequeath'd her to me; and she herself, without other advantages, may lawfully make title to as much love as fhe finds: there is more owing her than is paid, and more fhall be paid her than fhe'll demand.

Stew. Madam, I was very late more near her than I think fhe wifh'd me; alone fhe was, and did communicate to herfelf her own words to her own ears; fhe thought, I dare vow for her, they touch'd not any stranger fenfe. Her matter was, fhe lov'd your fon : Fortune, fhe faid, was no goddefs, that had put fuch difference betwixt their two eftates; Love, no god, that would not extend his might, only where qualities were level; Diana, no queen of virgins, that would fuffer her poor knight to be furpris'd without refcue in the firft affault, or ranfom afterward. This fhe deliver'd in the moft bitter touch of forrow that e'er I heard a virgin exclaim in; which I held it my duty fpeedily to acquaint you withal; fithence, in the lofs that may happen, it concerns you fomething to know it.

Count. You have discharg'd this honeftly, keep it to yourfelf: many likelihoods inform'd me of this before, which hung fo tottering in the balance, that I could n her believe nor mildoubt. Play you, leave me;

neft

I will speak with care;

ftall this in your bofom, and I thank you for

your ho

you

further anon.

[Exit Steward.

Enter Helena.

SCENE VII.

Count. Ev'n fo it was with me when I was young; If we are nature's, these are ours: this thorn

Doth to our rofe of youth rightly belong;

Our blood to us, this to our blood, is born;

It is the fhow and feal of nature's truth,

Where love's ftrong paffion is impress'd in youth;

By our remembrances of days foregone,

Such were our faults; O! then we thought them none. Her eye is fick on't; I observe her now.

Hel. What is your pleasure, Madam?

Count. Helen, you know I am a mother to you.
Hel. Mine honourable Mistress.

Count. Nay, a mother.

Why not a mother? when I faid a mother,
Methought you faw a ferpent; what's in mother,
That you ftart at it? I fay, I'm your mother;
And put you in the catalogue of thofe,
That were enwombed mine; 'tis often feen,
Adoption ftrives with nature; and choice breeds
A native flip to us from foreign feeds.

You e'er opprefs'd me with a mother's groan,
Yet I exprefs to you a mother's care.

God's mercy! maiden, do's it curd thy blood,
To fay, I am thy mother? what's the matter,
That this diftemper'd meffenger of wet,
The many-colour'd Iris, round thine eyes ?
Why, that you are my daughter?

Hel. That I am not.

Count. I fay I am your mother.
Hel. Pardon, Madam.

The Count Roufillon cannot be my brother;
I am from humble, he from honour'd name;
No note upon my parents, his all noble.
My mafter, my dear lord he is; and I
His fervant live, and will his vaffal die :
He must not be my brother.-

Count. Nor I your mother?

Hel. You are my mother, Madam; would you were (So that my Lord, your fon, were not my brother) Indeed my mother! -or were you both our mothers, (I can no more fear than I do fear heav'n),

So I were not his fifter: can't no other,

But I your daughter, he must be my brother?

Count. Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-inlaw;

God fhield you mean it not, daughter and mother
So ftrive upon your pulfe. What! pale again?
My fear hath catch'd your fondnefs.- -Now I fee
The mystery of your loneliness, and find
Your falt tears' head; now to all fenfe 'tis grofs,
You love my fon; invention is afham'd,
Against the proclamation of thy paffion,

To fay thou doft not; therefore tell me true;
But tell me then 'tis fo. For, look, thy cheeks
Confefs it one to th' other; and thine eyes
See it fo grofsly fhown in thy behaviour,
That in their kind they fpeak it: only fin
And hellish obstinacy tie thy tongue,

That truth fhould be fufpected; fpeak, is 't fo?
If it be fo, you've wound a goodly clew:

If it be not, forfwear 't; howe'er, I charge thee,
As heav'n fhall work in me for thine avail,

To tell me truly.

Hel. Good Madam, pardon me.
Count. Do you love my fon?
Hel. Your pardon, noble Miftrefs.

Count. Love you my fon?

Hel. Do not you love him, Madam?

Count. Go not about; my love hath in 't a bond,

Whereof the world takes note: come, come, difclofe

The ftate of your affection; for your paffions

Have to the full appeach'd.

Hel. Then, I confefs,

Here on my knee, before high heav'ns and you,
That before you, and next unto high heav'n,
I love your fon.

My friends were poor, but honeft; fo's my love.
Be not offended; for it hurts not him,

That he is lov'd of me; I follow him not

By any token of prefumptuous fuit:

Nor would I have him, till I do deferve him;
Yet never know, how that defert fhall be.
I know I love in vain, ftrive against hope;
Yet, in this captious and intenible fieve,
I ftill pour in the waters of my love,

And lack not to lose still: thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore

My dearest Madam,

Dian

The fun that looks upon his worshipper,
But knows of him no more.
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
For loving where you do; but if yourself,
Whofe aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in so true a flame of liking
Wish chaftly, and love dearly, that your
Was both herself and love; O then give pity
To her, whofe ftate is fuch, that cannot chufe
But lend, and give, where she is fure to lofe;
That feeks not to find that which fearch implies;
But, riddle-like, lives fweetly where she dies.
Count. Had you not lately an intent, fpeak truly,
To go to Paris ?

Hel. Madam, I had.

Count. Wherefore tell true.

Hel. I will tell truth; by grace itself, I fwear.
You know, my father left me fome prefcriptions
Of rare and prov'd effects; fuch as his reading
And manifeft experience had collected

For general fov'reignty; and that he will'd me,
In heedfull'ft reservation to bestow them,
As notes, whofe faculties inclufive were,
More than they were in note: amongst the rest,
There is a remedy, approv'd, fet down,
To cure the defperate languishings whereof
The King is render'd loft.

Count. This was your motive for Paris, was it, fpeak? Hel. My Lord your fon made me to think of this; Elfe Paris, and the medicine, and the King, Had from the converfation of my thoughts

Haply been absent then.

Count. But think you, Helen,

If you fhould tender your fuppofed aid,

He would receive it? He and his phyficians

Are of a mind; he, that they cannot help him;
They, that they cannot help. How fhall they credit
A poor unlearned virgin, when the schools,
Embowell'd of their doctrine, have left off
The danger to itself?

Hel. There's fomething hints

More than my father's fkill, (which was the great'ft
Of his profeffion), that his good receipt

Shall for my legacy be fanctified

By th' luckiest stars in heav'n; and, would your Honour But give me leave to try fuccefs, I'd venture

The well-loft life of mine on his Grace's cure,

By fuch a day and hour.

Count. Doft thou believe 't?

Hel. Ay, Madam, knowingly.

Count. Why, Helen, thou fhalt have my leave and love;

Means and attendants; and my loving greetings
To thofe of mine in court. I'll stay at home,
And pray God's bleffing into thy attempt:
Begone, to-morrow; and be sure of this,
What I can help thee to, thou fhalt not mifs.

ACT II.

[Exeunt.

[blocks in formation]

The court of France.

Enter the King, with divers young Lords taking leave for the Florentine war. Bertram and Parolles. Flourish

cornets.

King. Arewel, young Lords: thefe warlike prin

FAre

ciples

Do not throw from you: you, my Lords, farewel; Share the advice betwixt you.

If both gain,

The gift doth ftretch itself as 'tis receiv'd,

And is enough for both.

I Lord. 'Tis our hope, Sir,

After well-enter'd foldiers, to return

And find your Grace in health.

King. No, no, it cannot be; and yet my heart

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