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(Where you have never come,) or sent it us Upon her great disaster.

Ber.

She never saw it.

King. Thou speak'st it falsely, as I love mine honour; And mak'st conjectural fears to come into me, Which I would fain shut out: If it should prove That thou art so inhuman,-'t will 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.

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 the Astringer.

King. I am wrapp'd in dismal thinkings.

Ast. Gracious sovereign, Whether I have been to blame, or no, I know not;

Here's a petition from a Florentine,

Who hath, for four or five removes,a 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

a Removes-stages.

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 CAPULET."

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

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 the Astringer and some Attendants. I am afeard the life of Helen, lady,

Was foully snatch'd.

Count.

Now, justice on the doers!

Enter BERTRAM, guarded.

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

Re-enter the Astringer, 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 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 wife? Ber. She's none of mine, my lord.

Dia.

If you shall marry,

The tolling in a fair was necessary to the validity of a bargain; and Lafeu will get rid of Bertram by toll and sale, according to one reading, or he will buy a son-in law, and toll him, according to the other.

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 [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 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.

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!

Dia.

Good my lord, Ask him upon his oath, if he does think

He had not my virginity.

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,a
Did lack a parallel; yet, for all that,
He gave it to a commoner o' the camp,
If I be one.

Count. He blushes, and 't is it:

Of six preceding ancestors, that gem

Conferr'd by testament to the sequent issue,
Hath it been ow'd and worn. This is his wife;
That ring 's a thousand proofs.

King.

Methought, you said,

You saw one here in court could witness it.

a Validity-value.

Dia. I did, my lord, but loth 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.
Ber.

What of him? 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:
Am I or that, or this, for what he 'll utter,
That will speak anything?

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

She hath that ring of yours.

Dia.
I must be patient;
You, that have turn'd off a first so noble wife,
May justly diet me. 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.

Ber.

I have it not.
?

King. What ring was yours, I pray you'

Dia. Sir, much like the same upon your finger.

King. Know you this ring? this ring was his of

late.

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.

Dia. I have spoke the truth.

a Boarded-accosted.

Enter PAROLLES.

Ber. My lord, I do confess the ring was hers.
King. You boggle shrewdly, every feather starts

[blocks in formation]

Ay, my lord.

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

woman.

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

orator.

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 which would derive me ill

VOL. I.

2A

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