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And I beseech your majesty to make it
Natural rebellion, done i' the blaze of youth;
When oil and fire, too strong for reason's force,
O'erbears it and burns on.


My honour'd lady,
I have forgiven and forgotten all;
Though my revenges were high bent upon him,
And watch'd the time to shoot.

This I must say,
But first I beg my pardon, the young lord
Did to his majesty, his mother and his lady
Offence of mighty note; but to himself
The greatest wrong of all. He lost a wife
Whose beauty did astonish the survey
Of richest eyes, whose words all ears took captive,
Whose dear perfection hearts that scorn'd to serve
Humbly call'd mistress.


Praising what is lost

Makes the remembrance dear. Well, call him hither; 20
We are reconciled, and the first view shall kill
All repetition let him not ask our pardon;
The nature of his great offence is dead,

And deeper than oblivion we do bury
The incensing relics of it: let him approach,
A stranger, no offender; and inform him
So 'tis our will he should.


He looks well on't.
King. I am not a day of season,
For thou mayst see a sunshine and a hail
In me at once: but to the brightest beams
Distracted clouds give way; so stand thou forth;
The time is fair again.


I shall, my liege. [Exit. King. What says he to your daughter? have you spoke? Laf. All that he is hath reference to your highness. King. Then shall we have a match. I have letters sent me That set him high in fame.

My high-repented blames,

Dear sovereign, pardon to me.


All is whole;
Not one word more of the consumed time.
Let's take the instant by the forward top;
For we are old, and on our quick'st degrees
The inaudible and noiseless foot of Time
Steals ere we can affect them. You remember


The daughter of this lord?

Ber. Admiringly, my liege, at first
I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue
Where the impression of mine eye infixing,
Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me,
Which warp'd the line of every other favour;
Scorn'd a fair colour or expressed it stolen ;
Extended or contracted all proportions
To a most hideous object: thence it came
That she whom all men praised and whom myself,
Since I have lost, have loved, was in mine eye
The dust that did offend it.


Well excused:

That thou didst love her, strikes some scores away
From the great compt: but love that comes too late,
Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried,
To the great sender turns a sour offence,
Crying, That's good that's gone.' Our rash faults
Make trivial price of serious things we have,
Not knowing them until we know their grave:
Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust,
Destroy our friends and after weep their dust:


Our own love waking cries to see what's done, While shame full late sleeps out the afternoon. Be this sweet Helen's knell, and now forget her. Send forth your amorous token for fair Maudlin : The main consents are had; and here we'll stay To see our widower's second marriage-day.


Count. Which better than the first, O dear heaven bless! Or, ere they meeet, in me, O nature, cesse !

Laf. Come on, my son, in whom my house's name

Must be digested, give a favour from you
To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter,

That she may quickly come. [Betram gives a ring.] By my old beard,

And every hair that's on't, Helen, that's dead,
Was a sweet creature: such a ring as this,
The last that e'er I took her leave at court,
I saw upon her finger.


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Hers it was not.

King. Now, pray you, let me see it; for mine eye,
While I was speaking, oft was fasten'd to't.
This ring was mine; and, when I gave it Helen,
I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood
Necessitied to help, that by this token

I would relieve her. Had you that craft, to reave her




Of what should stead her most?
Howe'er it pleases you to take it so,
The ring was never hers.


My gracious sovereign,

Son, on my life,

I have seen her wear it; and she reckon'd it

At her life's rate.


I am sure I saw her wear it.

Ber. You are deceived, my lord; she never saw it :
In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,
Wrapp'd in a paper, which contain'd the name
Of her that threw it: noble she was, and thought
I stood engaged: but when I had subscribed
To mine own fortune and inform'd her fully
I could not answer in that course of honour
As she had made the overture, she ceased
In heavy satisfaction and would never
Receive the ring again.




Plutus himself,

That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine,
Hath not in nature's mystery more science

Than I have in this ring: 'twas mine, 'twas Helen's,
Whoever gave it you. Then, if you know
That you are well acquainted with yourself,
Confess 'twas hers, and by what rough enforcement
You got it from her she call'd the saints to surety
That she would never put it from her finger,
Unless she gave it to yourself in bed,
Where you have never come, or sent it us
Upon her great disaster.


She never saw it.

King. Thou speak'st it falsely, as I love mine honour; And makest conjectural fears to come into me, Which I would fain shut out. If it should prove That thou art so inhuman,-'twill not prove so ;And yet I know not thou didst hate her deadly, And she is dead; which nothing, but to close Her eyes myself, could win me to believe, More than to see this ring. Take him away. [Guards seize Bertram. My fore-past proofs, howe'er the matter fall, Shall tax my fears of little vanity, Having vainly fear'd too little. Away with him! We'll sift this matter further.



If you shall prove

This ring was ever hers, you shall as easy
Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence,
Where yet she never was.


[Erit guarded.

King. I am wrapp'd in dismal thinkings.
Enter a Gentleman.

Gracious sovereign,
Whether I have been to blame or no, I know not:
Here's a petition from & Florentine,

Who hath for four or five removes come short
To tender it herself. I undertook it,
Vanquish'd thereto by the fair grace and speech
Of the poor suppliant, who by this I know
Is here attending her business looks in her
With an importing visage; and she told me,
In a sweet verbal brief, it did concern
Your highness with herself.

King. [Reads] Upon his many protestations to marry me when his wife was dead, I blush to say it, he won me. Now is the Count Rousillon a widower: his vows are forfeited to me, and my honour's paid to him. He stole from Florence, taking no leave, and I follow him to his country for justice grant it me, O king! in you it best lies; otherwise a seducer flourishes, and a poor maid is undone.


DIANA CAPILET. Laf. I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll for this I'll none of him.


King. The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafeu, To bring forth this discovery. Seek these suitors: Go speedily and bring again the count. I am afeard the life of Helen, lady,

Was foully snatch'd.


Now, justice on the doers!

Re-enter BERTRAM, guarded.

King. I wonder, sir, sith wives are monsters to you,
And that you fly them as you swear them lordship,
Yet you desire to marry.

Enter Widow and DIANA.

What woman's that?
Dia. I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine,
Derived from the ancient Capilet:
My suit, as I do understand, you know,
And therefore know how far I may be pitied.

Wid. I am her mother, sir, whose age and honour
Both suffer under this complaint we bring,
And both shall 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. Why do you look so strange upon your eng
Ber. She's none of mine, my lord.

If you shall marry,
You give away this hand, and that is mine;
You give away heaven's vows, and those are mine;
You give away myself, which is known mine;
For I by vow am so embodied yours,

That she which marries you must marry me,
Either both or none.

Laf. Your reputation comes too short for my daughter; you are no husband for her.

Ber. My lord, this is a fond and desperate creature, Whom sometime I have laugh'd with let your highness Lay a more noble thought upon mine honour Than for to think that I would sink it here.

Count. He blushes, and 'tis it:

Of six preceding ancestors, that gem,
Conferr'd by testament to the sequent issue,
Hath it been owed and worn. This is his wife;
That ring's a thousand proofs.

King. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend Till your deeds gain them: fairer prove your honour Than in my thought it lies.


You saw one here in court could witness it.
Dia. I did, my lord, but loath am to produce
So bad an instrument: his name's Parolles.


Good my lord,
Ask him upon his oath, if he does think
He had not my virginity.

King. What sayest thou to her?
She's impudent, my lord,
And was a common gamester to the camp.
Dia. He does me wrong, my lord; if I were so,
He might have bought me at a common price:
Do not believe him. O, behold this ring,
Whose high respect and rich validity
Did lack a parallel; yet for all that
He gave it to a commoner o' the camp,
If I be one.

Methought you said

Laf. I saw the man to-day, if man he be.
King. Find him, and bring him hither.


He's quoted for a most perfidious slave,
With all the spots o' the world tax'd and debosh'd;
Whose nature sickens but to speak a truth.


[Exit an Attendant. What of him?

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