« AnteriorContinuar »
A certain King of France had always manifested sincere affection for a certain Count de Rousillon ; who, consequently, at his death, left his only son—now the young Count Bertram-to become a ward of the King.
The widowed Countess, mother of the youth, had in her household a kind of lady-companion named Helena, the only child of a late celebrated physician, Gerard de Narbonne, whose untimely death had left this daughter entirely unprovided for--except what might be yielded by a few prescriptions and remedies, which her father's long medical experience had proved valuable.
The kind-hearted King had lately been suffering from a malady which baffled the skill of his physicians; and he now sends, while he is able, one of his most distinguished Courtiers, the old Lord Lafeu, to conduct the young Count to Paris, to be publicly graced with the royal favour.
The old Countess had observed that her young companion Helena was frequently in tears, shed, as was supposed, for the death of her father; but, in reality, for the departure of the young Count, for whom the poor girl had conceived, and concealed, a hopeless because unrequited affection.
The opening Scene presents to us a room in the Palace at Rousillon, where the young Count Bertram is, in company with old Lord Lafeu, about to take leave of his mother, the old Countess, who is accompanied by the sorrowing Helena. Countess. 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,“ evermore in subjection. Countess. [lateu.] What hope is there of his Majesty's 'amend
ment? 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. Countess. This young gentlewoman (tak
'had a father, O, that “had!” how sad a passage 't is !—whose skill was almost as great as his 'honesty ; had it stretched so far, it would have made Nature 'immortal. 'Would, for the King's sake, he were 'living !
Old Lord Lafeu inquires : Laf. How 'called you the man you speak of, madlam ? Countess. He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was
his great 'right to be so:-Gerard de Narbonne. Laf. He 'was excellent, indeed, madam: the King very * under guardianship (like a ward in chancery). The heirs of great fortunes were formerly called the King's wards. bimprovement in health. change of circumstances. To see him every hour; to sit and draw reserve, give a zest to. bliveliness, appearance of life. c provide (supply
lately spoke of him, admiringly and mourningly.—Was
this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbonne? Countess. His 'sole child, my lord; and bequeathed to 'my
overlooking. I have those hopes of her good that her 'education promises : her 'dispositions she 'inherits, which make fair gifts fairer; she 'derives her honesty,
and 'achieves her 'goodness. Laf. ... Your commendations, madam, get from her 'tears. Countess. 'T is 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; lest it be rather thought you
'affect a sorrow, than to 'have. Hel. I 'do affect a sorrow, indeed; but I 'have it too.
The young Count, impatient for immediate departure, interrupts
In 'manners, as in shape! thy blood, and virtue,
He cannot want the 'best
And these 'great tears grace Bertram's absence more
10. R. And these great teares grace his remembrance more.
with what is wanted).
e her balm.
His archéd brows, bis hawking eye, his curls,
Cold' wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.
think of thee at Court. Hel. Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a charitable
'acutely. Farewell. When thou hast 'leisure, say thy prayers; when thou hast 'none, remember thy 'friends. Get thee a good husband, and use him as he uses 'thee:
Which we ascribe to 'heaven! Who ever strove
my 'intents are fixed, and will not leave me. (Exit.
The young Count Bertram hastens to Paris in obedience to the royal mandate ; and immediately attends the Court, where the sickly King has received intelligence of some neighbouring wars : King. The Florentines and Senoys' are by the ears ; * tablet. b peculiar expression of face. c countenance. d cool, unimpassioned. e the planet, of astrological war-like i:fluenre
fthe inhabitants of Sienna in Tuscany): the Florentines were at perpetual variance with them.
Have fought with equal fortune, and continue
Lafeu, Bertram, and Parolles enter. 1 Lord. The son of old Count Rousillon, my good lord,
Frank Nature, rather 'curious than in baste,
May'st thou inherit too! Welcome to Paris.
As when thy father, and myself, in friendship
He was much famed.
Some six months since, my lord. King. If he were living, I would try 'him yet:
Lend me an arm :-the 'rest have worn me out
My 'son's no dearer.
Thank your majesty.
The Countess, after her son's departure, was informed by her Steward that Helena had been overheard talking to herself, and making such strange revelations that he felt it was his duty to inform his mistress : Stew. I know, madam, you 'love your gentlewoman entirely. Countess. Indeed I do: her father 'bequeathed 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.
a mutually defying.
40. R. repairs (rejuvenates).
0. R. Rosignel. flay a just claim.
"A i Steward.
Stew. Madam, I was, very late, more near her, than, I think,
she wished me: alone she was, and did communicate to herself, her own words to her own ears. 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. This she delivered in the most bitter touch of sorrow; which I
held my duty speedily to acquaint 'you withal. Countess. You have discharged this honestly: keep it to
yourself. Many likelihoods informed me of this before. She is coming. Pray you, leave me: I will speak with you further anon.
Helena enters : Hel. What is your pleasure, madam? Countess. ... You know, Helen, I am a 'mother to you? Hel. Mine honourable 'mistress. Countess.
'Nay, a mother. Heaven's mercy, maiden! does it curd thy blood, To say, I am thy 'mother? I 'am
mother. Hel. Pardon, madam;
The Count Rousillon cannot be ту 'brother:
brother. Countess. Nor I your mother? Yes, Helen, you might
be ... my daughter-in-law.
To tell me 'truly.
Good madam, pardon me. Countess. 'Do
love Hel. Do not 'you love him, madam ?
my son ?
b of rank and fortune.
e source, origin.
c three inserted words. 20. R. loue.inesse. i most evidcut. & twined,