Imagens das páginas

world so all the year! we'd find no fault with the tithe woman if I were the parson: One in ten, quoth 'a! an' we might have a good woman born but for every blazing star, or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery well; a man may draw his heart out ere 'a pluck one.

Count. You'll be gone, sir knave, and do as I command you!

Clo. That man should be at woman's command, and yet no hurt done ! — Though honesty be no Puritan, yet it will do no hurt; it will wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart. — I am going, forsooth; the business is for Helen to come hither. [_Exit.

Count. Well, now.

Stew. I know, Madam, you love your gentlewoman entirely.

Count. Faith, I do: her father bequeath'd her to me; and she herself, without other advantage, may lawfully make title to as much love as she finds: there is more owing her than is paid; and more shall be paid her than she'll demand.

Stew. Madam, I was very late more near her than, I think, she wish'd me: alone she was, and did communicate to herself her own words to her own ears; she thought, I dare vow for her, they touch'd not any stranger sense. Her matter was, she loved your son. Fortune, she said, was no goddess, that had put such difference betwixt their two estates; Love, no god, that would not extend his might only where qualities were level; [Diana, no] queen of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight surpris'd, without rescue in the first assault, or ransom afterward. This she deliver'd in the most bitter touch of sorrow that e'er I heard virgin exclaim in: which I held my duty speedily to acquaint you withal; sithence, in the loss that may happen, it concerns you something to know it. Count. You have discharg'd this honestly; keep it to yourself: many likelihoods inform'd me of this before, which hung so tott'ring in the balance that I could neither believe nor misdoubt. Pray you, leave me: stall this in your bosom, and I thank you for your honest care: I will speak with you further anon.

\_Exit Steward. Enter Helena. Even so it was with me when I was young:

If ever we are Nature's, these are ours; this thorn Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong: Our blood to us, this to our blood is born; It is the shew and seal of Nature's truth, Where love's strong passion is impress'd in youth: By our remembrances of days foregone, Such were our faults : — or then we thought them none. Her eye is sick on't; I observe her now.

Hel. What is your pleasure, Madam?

Count. You know, Helena, I am a mother to you.

Hel. Mine honourable mistress.

Count. Nay, a mother;

Why not a mother? When I said a mother,
Methought you saw a serpent: What's in 'mother'
That you start at it? I say I am your mother;
And put you in the catalogue of those
That were enwombed mine. 'Tis often seen
Adoption strives with Nature; and choice breeds
A native slip to us from foreign seeds.
You ne'er oppress'd me with a mother's groan,
Yet I express to you a mother's care : —
God's mercy, maiden! does it curd thy blood
To say I am thy mother? What's the matter,

That this distemper'd messenger of wet,
The many-colour'd Iris, rounds thine eye?
Why ? — that you are my daughter?

Hel. That I am not.

Count. I say I am your mother.

Hel. Pardon, Madam;

The Count Rousillon cannot he my brother:
I am from humble, he from honour'd name;
No note upon my parents, his all noble:
My master, my dear lord he is; and I
His servant live, and will his vassal die:
He must not be my brother.

Count. Nor I your mother?

Hel. You are my mother, Madam. Would you were, (So that my lord, your son, were not my brother,) Indeed, my mother! — Or were you both our mothers, I care no more for than I do for Heaven, So I were not his sister. Can't no other But, I your daughter, he must be my brother?

Count. Yes, Helen, you might be my daughterin-law:God shield, you mean it not! daughter, and mother, So strive upon your pulse. What, pale again?My fear hath catch'd your fondness. Now I see The mystery of your loneliness, and find Your salt tears' head. Now to all sense 'tis gross, You love my son; invention is asham'd, Against the proclamation of thy passion, To say thou dost not: therefore tell me true;But tell me then, 'tis so:—for, look, thy cheeks Confess it, th' one to th' other; and thine eyes See it so grossly shewn in thy behaviours, That in their kind they speak it: only sin And hellish obstinacy tie thy tongue,

That truth should be suspected. Speak, is't so?
If it be so, you have wound a goodly clue;
If it be not, forswear't: howe'er, I charge thee,
As Heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
To tell me truly.

Hel. Good Madam, pardon me.

Count. Do you love my son?

Hel. Your pardon, noble mistress!

Count. Love you my son?

Hel. Do not you love him, Madam?

Count. Go not about; my love hath in't a bond, Whereof the world takes note. Come, come, disclose The state of your affection; for your passions Have to the full appeach'd.

Hel. Then, I confess,

Here on my knee, before high Heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high Heaven,
I love your son : —

My friends were poor but honest; so's my love:Be not offended; for it hurts not him
That he is lov'd of me. I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit;Nor would I have him till I do deserve him;Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope;Yet, in this captious and intenible sieve,
I still pour in the waters of my love,
And lack not to lose still: thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun, that looks upon his worshipper,
But knows of him no more. My dearest Madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
For loving where you do: but, if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever, in so true a flame of liking,

Wish chastely, and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and Love, O then, give pity
To her, whose state is such, that cannot choose
But lend and give, where she is sure to lose;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But, riddle-like, lives sweetly where she dies.

Count. Had you not lately an intent — speak truly— To go to Paris?

Hel. Madam, I had.

Count. Wherefore? tell true.

Hel. I will tell truth; by grace itself, I swear. You know my father left me some prescriptions Of rare and prov'd effects, such as his reading, And manifest experience, had collected For general sovereignty; and that he will'd me In heedfull'st reservation to bestow them, As notes, whose faculties inclusive were, More than they were in note: amongst the rest There is a remedy, approv'd, set down, To cure the desperate languishings whereof The King is render'd lost.

Count. This was your motive for Paris, was it? Speak.

Hel. My lord your son made me to think of this; Else Paris, and the medicine, and the King, Had, from the conversation of my thoughts, Haply, been absent then.

Count. But think you, Helen,

If you should tender your supposed aid,
He would receive it? He and his physicians
Are of a mind; he, that they cannot help him,
They, that they cannot help. How shall they credit
A poor unlearned virgin, when the schools,
Embowell'd of their doctrine, have left off
The danger to itselP

« AnteriorContinuar »