Imagens das páginas




King of France.

Duke of Florence.

Bertram, count of Rousillon.

Lafeu,2 an old lord.

Parolles, a follower of Bertram.

Several young French lords, that serve with Bertram in the Florentine war.


A page.

servants to the countess of Rousillon.

Countess of Rousillon mother to Bertram.

Helena, a gentlewoman protected by the countess.

An old widow of Florence.

Diana, daughter to the widow.



neighbours and friends to the widow.

Lords, attending on the king; officers, soldiers, &c. French

and Florentine.


Partly in France, and partly in Tuscany.

1 The persons were first enumerated by Mr. Rowe.

2 Lafeu,] We should read-Lefeu. Steevens.

3 Parolles,] I suppose we should write this name-Paroles, i. e. a creature made up of empty words. Steevens.

4 Violenta only enters once, and then she neither speaks, nor is spoken to. This name appears to be borrowed from an old metrical history, entitled Didaco and Violenta, 1576. Steevens.



Rousillon. A Room in the Countess's Palace.

Enter BERTRAM, the Countess of Rousillon, HELENA, and LAFEU, in mourning.

Count. In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.

Ber. And I, in going, madam, weep o'er my father's death anew: but I must attend his majesty's command, to whom I am now in ward,1 evermore in subjection.

Laf. You shall find of the king a husband, madam ;— you, sir, a father: He that so generally is at all times good, must of necessity hold his virtue to you; whose

The story of All's well that ends well, or, as I suppose it to have been sometimes called, Love's Labour Wonne, is originally indeed the property of Boccace, but it came immediately to Shakspeare from Painter's Giletta of Narbon, in the First Vol. of The Palace of Pleasure, 4to. 1566, p. 88. Farmer.

Shakspeare is indebted to the novel only for a few leading circumstances in the graver parts of the piece. The comic business appears to be entirely of his own formation. Steevens.

1 in ward,] Under his particular care, as my guardian, till I come to age. It is now almost forgotten in England, that the heirs of great fortunes were the King's wards. Whether the same practice prevailed in France, it is of no great use to inquire, for Shakspeare gives to all nations the manners of England.


Howell's fifteenth letter acquaints us that the province of Normandy was subject to wardships, and no other part of France besides; but the supposition of the contrary furnished Shakspeare with a reason why the King compelled Rousillon to marry Helen.


The prerogative of a wardship is a branch of the feudal law, and may as well be supposed to be incorporated with the constitution of France, as it was with that of England, till the reign of Charles II. Sir J. Hawkins.

worthiness would stir it up where it wanted, rather than lack it where there is such abundance.

Count. What hope is there of his majesty's amendment? Laf. He hath abandoned his physicians, madam; under whose practices he hath persecuted 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 sad a passage 'tis !2) whose skill was almost as great as his honesty: had it stretched so far, would have made nature immortal, and death should have play for lack of work. 'Would, for the king's

2 O, that had! how sad a passage 'tis !] Imitated from the Heautontimorumenos of Terence, (then translated) where Mene. demus says:


Filium unicum adolescentulum

"Habio. Ah, quid dixi? habere me? imo

66 habui, Chreme,

"Nunc habeam necne incertum est." Blackstone.

So, in Spenser's Shepheard's Calender :

“Shee, while she was, (that was a woeful word to saine) "For beauties praise and pleasaunce had no peere."

Again, in Wily Beguil'd, 1606:

"She is not mine, I have no daughter now;

"That I should say I had, thence comes my grief."


Passage is any thing that passes. So we now say, a passage of an author, and we said about a century ago, the passages of a reign. When the Countess mentions Helena's loss of a father, she recollects her own loss of a husband, and stops to observe how heavily the word had passes through her mind. Johnson.

Thus Shakspeare himself. See The Comedy of Errors, Act III,

sc. i:

"Now in the stirring passage of the day."

So, in The Gamester, by Shirley, 1637: "I'll not be witness of your passages myself:" i. e. of what passes between you. Again, in A Woman's a Weathercock, 1612:


[ocr errors]

never lov'd these prying listening men "That ask of others' states and passages."

"I knew the passages 'twixt her and Scudamore." Again, in The Dumb Knight, 1633:

[ocr errors][merged small]

"Your vile and most lascivious passages."

Again, in The English Intelligencer, a tragi-comedy, 1641: "-two philosophers that jeer and weep at the passages of the world."


« AnteriorContinuar »