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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 With several applications:-nature and sickness Debate it at their leisure. Welcome, Count; My son's no dearer.
Thank your majesty.
ROUSILLON. A ROOM IN THE COUNTESS'S PALACE.
Enter Countess, Steward, and Clown.
Count. I will now hear: what say you of this gentlewoman?
Stew. Madam, the care I have had to even your content, I wish might be found in the calendar of my past endeavours; for then we wound our modesty, and make foul the clearness of our deservings, when of ourselves we publish them.
Count. What does this knave here? Get you gone, sirrah: The complaints, I have heard of you, I do not all believe; 'tis my slowness, that I do not: for, I know, you lack not folly to commit them, and have ability enough to make such knaveries yours. Clo. 'Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a poor fellow.
Count. Well, sir.
Clo. No, madam, 'tis not so well, that I am poor; though many of the rich are damn'd: But, if I may
have your ladyship's good will to go to the world, Isbel the woman and I will do as we may. Count. Wilt thou needs be a beggar?
Clo. I do beg your good-will in this case.
Clo. In Isbel's case, and mine own. Service is no heritage: and, I think, I shall never have the blessing of God, till I have issue of my body; for, they say, bearns are blessings.
Count. Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry. Clo. My poor body, madam, requires it: I am driven on by the flesh; and he must needs go, that the devil drives.
Count. Is this all your worship's reason?
Clo. Faith madam, I have other holy reasons, such as they are.
Count. May the world know them?
Clo. I have been, madam, a wicked creature, as you and all flesh and blood are; and, indeed, I do marry, that I may repent.
Count. Thy marriage, sooner than thy wicked
Clo. I am out of friends, madam; and I hope to have friends for my wife's sake.
Count. Such friends are thine enemies, knave. Clo. You are shallow, madam; e'en great friends; for the knaves come to do that for me, which I am a-weary of. He, that ears my land, spares my team, and gives me leave to inn the crop: if I be his cuckold, he's my drudge: He, that comforts my wife, is the cherisher of my flesh and blood; he, that cherishes my flesh and blood, loves my flesh
and blood; he, that loves my flesh and blood, is my friend: ergo, he that kisses my wife, is my friend. If men could be contented to be what they are, there were no fear in marriage; for young Charbon the puritan, and old Poysam the papist, howsoe'er their hearts are sever'd in religion, their heads are both one, they may joul horns together, like any deer i' the herd.
Count. Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouth'd and calumnious knave?
Clo. A prophet I, madam; and I speak the truth the next way:
For I the ballad will repeat,
Which men full true shall find;
Count. Get you gone, sir; I'll talk with you more
Stew. May it please you, madam, that he bid Helen come to you; of her I am to speak.
Count. Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman, I would speak with her; Helen I mean.
Clo. Was this fair face the cause, quoth she,
Why the Grecians sacked Troy?
Was this king Priam's joy.
And gave this sentence then;
There's yet one good in ten.
Count. What, one good in ten? you corrupt the song, sirrah.
Clo. One good woman in ten, madam; which is a purifying o' the song: 'Would God would serve the world so all the year! we'd find no fault with the tythe-woman, if I were the parson: One in ten, quoth a'! an we might have a good woman born but every blazing star, or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery well; a man may draw his heart out, ere he 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 Clown.
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 to be surprised, 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 discharged this honestly; keep it to yourself: many likelihoods inform'd me of this before, which hung so tottering 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 [Exit Steward.
Count. Even so it was with me, when I was young: If 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 show 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