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I could not answer in that course of honour
Plutus himself, That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine, Hath not in nature's mystery more science, Than I have in this ring: 'twas mine, 'twas Helen's, Whoever gave it you: Then, if you know That you are well acquainted with yourself, Confess 'twas hers, and by what rough enforcement You got it from her: she call'd the saints to surety, That she would never put it from her finger, Unless she gave it to yourself in bed,
(Where you have never come,) or sent it us
And mak'st conjectural fears to come into me,
Having vainly fear'd too little.-Away with him;—
If you shall prove
This ring was ever hers, you shall as easy
Enter a Gentleman.
King. I am wrapp'd in dismal thinkings.
Whether I have been to blame, or no, I know not;
Who hath, for four or five removes, come short
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 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.
Laf. I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll him: for this, I'll none of him.
King. The heavens have thought well on thee,
To bring forth this discovery.-Seek these suitors:-
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 Gentleman, with Widow, and Diana.
My suit, as I do understand, you know,
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, 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,
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,
King. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend,
Till your deeds gain them: Fairer prove your ho
Than in my thought it lies!
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, 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 'tis it: Of six preceding ancestors, that gem Conferr'd by testament to the sequent issue,
This is his wife;
Hath it been ow'd, and worn.
You saw one here in court could witness it.
Methought, you said,
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 any thing?
King. She hath that ring of yours. 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.
Dia. I must be patient; You, that turn'd off a first so noble wife, May justly diet me. I pray you yet, (Since you lack virtue, lack virtue, I will lose a husband,) Send for your ring, I will return it home, And give me mine again.
I have it not.