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(Since you lack virtue, I will lose a husband) Send for your ring, I will return it home, And give me mine again.

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King. What ring was yours, I pray you?


The same upon your finger.

Sir, much like

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.


I have spoke the truth.


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


Is this the man you speak of?


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?

the management of hawks, who were half starved till they became tractable. Thus, in Coriolanus:

66 I'll watch him,

"Till he be dieted to my request."

"To fast, like one who takes diet,” is a comparison that occurs in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Steevens.


he did love her; But how?] But how perhaps belongs to the King's next speech:

But how, how, I pray you?

This suits better with the King's apparent impatience and solicitude for Helena. Malone.

Surely all transfer of these words is needless. Hamlet addresses such another flippant interrogatory to himself: "The mouse-trap. Marry, how? Tropically." Steevens.

Par. He did love her, sir, as a gentleman loves a


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 companion1 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 that would derive me ill will to speak of, therefore I will not speak what I know.

King. Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou canst say they are married: But thou art too fine in thy evidence; therefore stand aside.

This ring, you say, was yours?



King. Where did you buy it?

Ay, my good lord.

or who gave it you?

Dia. It was not given me, nor did I buy it.
King. Who lent it you?

companion] i. e. fellow. So, in King Henry VI, P. II : "Why, rude companion, whatsoe'er thou be,

"I know thee not." Steevens.

2 But thou art too fine in thy evidence;] Too fine, too full of finesse; too artful. A French expression-trop fine.

So, in Sir Henry Wotton's celebrated Parallel: "We may rate this one secret, as it was finely carried, at 40001. sterling. Malone.

So, in a very scarce book, entitled A Courtlie Controversie of Cupid's Cautels: conteyning fiue Tragicall Histories, &c. Translated out of French, &c. by H. W. [Henry Wotton] 4to. 1578: "Woulde God, (sayd he) I were to deale with a man, that I might recover my losse by fine force: but sith my controversie is agaynst a woman, it muste be woone by loue and favoure." p. 51. Again, p. 277: ". as a butterflie flickering from floure to floure, if it be caught by a childe that finely followeth it," &c.



It was not lent me, neither.

I found it not.

King. Where did you find it then?

King. If it were yours by none of all these ways,
How could you give it him?


I never gave it him. Laf. This woman 's an easy glove, my lord; she goes off and on at pleasure.

King. This ring was mine, I gave it his first wife. Dia. It might be yours, or hers, for aught I know. King. Take her away, I do not like her now; To prison with her: and away with him.— Unless thou tell'st me where thou had'st this ring, Thou diest within this hour.


King. Take her away.

I'll never tell you.

Dia. I'll put in bail, my liege. King. I think thee now some common customer.3 Dia. By Jove, if ever I knew man, 'twas you. King. Wherefore hast thou accus'd him all this while? Dia. Because he 's guilty, and he is not guilty; He knows, I am no maid, and he 'll swear to 't: I'll swear, I am a maid, and he knows not. Great king, I am no strumpet, by my life; I am either maid, or else this old man's wife.

[Pointing to LAF. King. She does abuse our ears; to prison with her. Dia. Good mother, fetch my bail.-Stay, royal sir;

[Exit Wid.

The jeweller, that owes the ring, is sent for,
And he shall surety me. But for this lord,
Who hath abus'd me, as he knows himself,
Though yet he never harm'd me, here I quit him:
He knows himself, my bed he hath defil'd;4
And at that time he got his wife with child:


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customer] i. e. a common woman. So, in Othello: 'I marry her!-what?-a customer!" Steevens.

↑ He knows himself, &c.] the dialogue is too long, since the audience already knew the whole transaction; nor is there any reason for puzzling the King and playing with his passions; but it was much easier than to make a pathetical interview between Helen and her husband, her mother, and the King. Johnson.

Dead though she be, she feels her young one kick;
So there's my riddle, One, that 's dead, is quick :
And now behold the meaning.


Re-enter Widow, with HELENA.

Is there no exorcist5

Beguiles the truer office of mine eyes?

Is 't real, that I see?


No, my good lord; 'Tis but the shadow of a wife you see,

The name, and not the thing.

Ber. Both, both; O, pardon! Hel. O, my good lord, when I was like this maid, I found you wond'rous kind. There is your ring, And, look you, here's your letter; This it says, When from my finger you can get this ring, And are by me with child, &c.-This is done: Will you be mine, now you are doubly won?

5 exorcist - This word is used, not very properly, for enchanter. Johnson.

Shakspeare invariably uses the word exorcist, to imply a person who can raise spirits, not in the usual sense of one that can lay them. So, Ligarius, in Julius Cæsar, says

"Thou, like an exorcist, hast conjur'd up

'My mortified spirit."

And in The Second Part of Henry VI, where Bolingbroke is about to raise a spirit, he asks of Eleanor

"Will your ladyship behold and hear our exorcisms ?"

M. Mason.

Such was the common acceptation of the word in our author's time. So, Minshieu, in his DICT. 1617: "An Exorcist, or Conjurer."-So also, "To conjure or exorcise a spirit."

The difference between a Conjurer, a Witch, and an Inchanter, according to that writer, is as follows:

"The Conjurer seemeth by praiers and invocations of God's powerful names, to compell the Divell to say or doe what he commandeth him. The Witch dealeth rather by a friendly and voluntarie conference or agreement between him or her and the Divell or Familiar, to have his or her turne served, in lieu or stead of blood or other gift offered unto him, especially of his or her soule:And both these differ from Inchanters or Sorcerers, because the former two have personal conference with the Divell, and the other meddles but with medicines and ceremonial formes of words called charmes, without apparition." Malone.

6 And are] The old copy reads-And. is. Mr. Rowe made the emendation. Malone.

Ber. If she, my liege, can make me know this clearly, I'll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly.

Hel. If it appear not plain, and prove untrue,
Deadly divorce step between me and you!—
O, my dear mother, do I see you living?

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Laf. Mine eyes smell onions, I shall weep anon:Good Tom Drum, [to PAR.] lend me a handkerchief: So, I thank thee: wait on me home, I'll make sport with thee: Let thy courtesies alone, they are scurvy ones. King. Let us from point to point this story know, To make the even truth in pleasure flow If thou be'st yet a fresh uncropped flower, [TO DIA. Choose thou thy husband, and I'll pay thy dower; For can guess, that, by thy honest aid, Thou kept'st a wife herself, thyself a maid.— Of that, and all the progress, more and less, Resolvedly more leisure shall express:

All yet seems well; and, if it end so meet,

The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet. [Flourish.


'The king's a beggar, now the play is done:"
All is well ended, if this suit be won,
That you express content; which we will pay,
With strife to please you, day exceeding day:
Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts;8
Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.


7 The king's a beggar, now the play is done:] Though these lines are sufficiently intelligible in their obvious sense, yet perhaps there is some allusion to the old tale of The King and the Beggar, which was the subject of a ballad, and, as it should seem from the following lines in King Richard II, of some popular interlude also:

"Our scene is altered from a serious thing,

“And now chang'd to the beggar and the king.” Malone.

8 Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts;] The meaning is: Grant us then your patience; hear us without interruption. And take our parts; that is, support and defend us. Johnson.

9 This play has many delightful scenes, though not sufficiently probable, and some happy characters, though not new, nor produced by any deep knowledge of human nature. Parolles is a

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