صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

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 called 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 honor; And mak'st 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 feared too little.'-Away with him;— We'll sift this matter further.

Ber. 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.

[Exit BERTRAM, guarded.

Enter a Gentleman.

King. I am wrapped in dismal thinkings. Gent. Gracious sovereign, Whether I have been to blame, or no, I know not; Here's a petition from a Florentine,

1 The proofs which I have already had are sufficient to show that my fears were not vain and irrational. I have unreasonably feared too little.

Who hath, for four or five removes,' come short
To tender it herself. I undertook it,
Vanquished 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 honor'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.


Laf. I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll 2 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.

[Exeunt Gentleman, and some Attendants. I am afeard, the life of Helen, lady, Was foully snatched.


Now, justice on the doers!

Enter BERTRAM, guarded.

King. I wonder, sir, since wives are monsters to you,3 And that you fly them as you swear them lordship, Yet you desire to marry. What woman's that?

1 Removes are journeys or post stages; she had not been able to overtake the king on the road.

2 The second folio reads:-"I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll for him for this, I'll none of him."

3 The first folio reads:

"I wonder, sir, sir; wives," &c. The emendation is Mr. Tyrwhitt's. As in the succeeding line means as

soon as.

Re-enter Gentleman, with Widow and DIANA.

Dia. I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine,
Derived from the ancient Capulet.
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 honor Both suffer under this complaint we bring, And both shall cease,' without your remedy.

King. Come hither, count. Do you know these


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 wife? 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 imbodied yours,

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

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

Ber. My lord, this is a fond and desperate creature, Whom sometimes I have laughed with: let your high


Lay a more noble thought upon mine honor,
Than for to think that I would sink it here.

King. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend,

Till your deeds gain them.
Than in my thought it lies!

Fairer prove your honor,

Good my lord,

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

1 Decease, die.

King. What say'st thou to her? Ber. 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.

He blushes, and 'tis it: 2
Of six preceding ancestors, that gem
Conferred by testament to the sequent issue,

Hath it been owned and worn.

That ring's a thousand proofs.

This is his wife:


Methought you said

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

What of him?

He's quoted for a most perfidious slave,
With all the spots o' the world taxed and deboshed;"
Whose nature sickens but to speak a truth.
Am I or that, or this, for what he'll utter,
That will speak any thing?


She hath that ring of yours. Ber. I think she has: certain it is, I liked her, And boarded her i'the wanton way of youth. She knew her distance, and did angle for me, Maddening my eagerness with her restraint, As all impediments in fancy's course Are motives of more fancy; and, in fine,

1 i. e. value.

2 Malone remarks that the old copy reads, 'tis hit, and that in many of our old chronicles he had found hit printed instead of it.

3 Noted.

4 Debauched.

Her insuit coming with her modern grace,
Subdued me to her rate. She got the ring;
And I had that, which any inferior might
At market-price have bought.



I must be patient; You that turned off a first so noble wife, May justly diet me. I pray you, yet, (Since you lack virtue, I 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 late.

you.Is this the man you speak of?


Dia. And this was it I gave him, being abed. 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.

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 honorable gentleman; tricks he hath had in him, which gentlemen have.

1 "Every thing that obstructs love is an occasion by which love is heightened, and, to conclude, her solicitation concurring with her common or ordinary grace, she got the ring."



« السابقةمتابعة »