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DRAMATIS PERSON Æ.
KING of France.
vain, and a great pretender to valour. Two young French Lords, that serve with Bertram in the
ARD,} Servants to the Countess of Roufillon.
Countess of Rousillon, Mother to BERTRAM.
some time since dead.
IOLENTA;} Neighbours and friends to the Widow. MARIANA,
Lords attending on the King, Oficers, Soldiers, &c.
SCENE lies partly in France, and partly in Tuscany.
The plot taken from Boccace, Decam. 3. Nov. 9.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
ACT 1. SCENE I.
Rousillon in France. Enter Bertram, the Countess of Rousillon, Helena, and Lafeu,
all in mourning
father's death anew: but I must attend his majesty's command, to whom I am now in ward, evermore in subjection.
Laf. You shall find of the king a husband, madam you, fir, a father. He, that so generally is at all times good, must of necessity hold his virtue to you, whose worthiness would stir it up where it wanted, rather than slack it where there is such abundance.
Count. What hope is there of his majesty's amendment ?
Laf. He hath abandon’d his physicians, madam; under whose practices he hath prosecuted time with hope, and finds no other advantage in the process, but only the losing of hope by time.
Count. This young gentlewoman had a father, (o, that had ! how fad a preface 'tis !) whose skill was almost as great as his honesty; had it stretch'd so far, it would have made nature immortal, and death should have had play for lack of work. Would, for the king's fake, he were living! I think, it would be the death of the king's disease. Laf. How call’d you the man you speak of, madam?
Count. He was famous, fir, in his profession, and it was his great right to be so; Gerard de Narbon.
Laf. He was excellent, indeed, madam; the king very lately spoke of him admiringly, and mourningly: he was skilful enough to have lived still, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.
Ber. What is it, my good lord, the king languishes of?
Laf. I would, it were not notorious. Was this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?
Count. His sole child, my lord; and bequeathed to my overlooking. I have those hopes of her good, that her education promises : her disposition she inherits, which makes fair gifts fairer; for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there commendations go with pity, they are virtues and traitors too: in her they are the better for her simpleness; she derives her honesty, and atchieves her goodness.
Laf. Your commendations, madam, get tears from her.
Count. 'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in. The remembrance of her father never approaches her heart, but the tyranny of her sorrows takes all livelihood from her cheek. No more of this, Helena, go to, no more; left you be rather thought to affect a forrow, than to have.
Hel. I do affect a forrow, indeed, but I have it too.
Laf. Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead, excessive grief the enemy of the living.
Count. If the living be not enemy to the grief, the excess makes it foon mortal.
Ber. Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
Count. Be thou blest, Bertram, and succeed thy father
a By virtuous qualities here are not meant those of a moral kind, but such as are acquired by erudition, and good breeding.
Do wrong to none: be able for thine
Laf. He cannot want the best, that shall attend
[Exit Count. Ber. [to Hel.] The best wishes that can be forg’d in your thoughts be servants to you! be comfortable to my mother, your mistress, and make much of her.
Laf. Farewel, pretty lady; you must hold the credit of your father.
[Exeunt Ber. and Laf.
line and trick of his fweet favour. But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy Must sanctify his relicks. Who comes here?
I know him a notorious liar;
Par. 'Save fair
Hel. Ay: you have fome stain of soldier in you; let me ask you a question : Man is enemy to virginity; how may we barricado it against him to keep him out? for he assails; and our virginity, though valiant, in the defence yet is weak : unfold to us fome warlike resistance.
Par. There is none: man, setting down before you, will undermine you, and blow you up. Hel
. Bless our poor virginity from underminers, and blowers up! Is there no military policy, how virgins might blow up men ?
Par. Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier be blown up: marry, in blowing him down again, with the breach yourselves made you
lose your city. It is not politick in the commonwealth of nature, to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is national increase, and there was never virgin got, till virginity was first loft. That you were made of is metal to make virgins. Virginity, by