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Count. [Reads.] I have sent you a daughter-inlaw: she hath recovered the king, and undone me. I have wedded her, not bedded her; and sworn to make the not eternal. You shall hear, I am run away; know it, before the report come. If there be breadth enough in the world, I will hold a long distance. you.

My duty to

Your unfortunate son,

BERTRAM.

This is not well, rash and unbridled boy,
To fly the favours of so good a king;
To pluck his indignation on thy head,
By the misprizing of a maid too virtuous
For the contempt of empire.

Re-enter Clown.

Clo. O madam, yonder is heavy news within, between two soldiers and my young lady.

Count. What is the matter?

Clo. Nay, there is some comfort in the news, some comfort; your son will not be kill'd so soon as I thought he would.

Count. Why should he be kill'd?

Clo. So say I, madam, if he run away, as I hear he does: the danger is in standing to't; that's the loss of men, though it be the getting of children. Here they come, will tell you more: for my part, I only hear, your son was run away. [Exit Clown.

Enter Helena and two Gentlemen.

1Gen. Save you, good madam.
Hel. Madam, my lord is gone, for ever gone.
2 Gen. Do not say so.

Count. Think upon patience.-'Pray you, gentle

men,

I have felt so many quirks of joy, and grief,
That the first face of neither, on the start,
Can woman me unto't:-Where is my son, I pray

you?

2 Gen. Madam, he's gone to serve the duke of Florence:

We met him thitherward; for thence we came,
And, after some despatch in hand at court,
Thither we bend again.

Hel. Look on his letter, madam; here's my passport.

[Reads.] When thou canst get the ring upon my finger, which never shall come off, and show me a child begotten of thy body, that I am father to, then call me husband: but in such a then I write

a never.

This is a dreadful sentence.

Count. Brought you this letter, gentlemen? 1 Gen. Ay, madam; And, for the contents' sake, are sorry for our pains. Count. I pr'ythee, lady, have a better cheer; If thou engrossest all the griefs are thine, Thou robb'st me of a moiety: He was my son; But I do wash his name out of my blood, And thou art all my child.-Towards Florence is he?

2 Gen. Ay, madam.

Count.

And to be a soldier?

2 Gen. Such is his noble purpose: and, believe't, The duke will lay upon him all the honour That good convenience claims.

Return you thither?

Count.

1 Gen. Ay, madam, with the swiftest wing of speed. Hel. [Reads.] 'Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France.

"Tis bitter.

Count. Find

Hel.

Ay, madam. 1 Gen. 'Tis but the boldness of his hand, haply, which

you that there?

His heart was not consenting to.

Count. Nothing in France, until he have no wife!
There's nothing here, that is too good for him,
But only she; and she deserves a lord,
That twenty such rude boys might tend upon,
And call her hourly, mistress. Who was with him?
1 Gen. A servant only, and a gentleman
Which I have some time known.

Count.
Parolles, was't not?
1 Gen. Ay, my good lady, he.
Count. A very tainted fellow, and full of wicked-

ness.

My son corrupts a well-derived nature

With his inducement.

1 Gen.
Indeed, good lady,
The fellow has a deal of that, too much,
Which holds him much to have.

Count. You are welcome, gentlemen;

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I will entreat you, when you see my son,
To tell him, that his sword can never win
The honour that he loses: more I'll entreat you
Written to bear along.

2 Gen. We serve you, madam, In that and all your worthiest affairs. Count. Not so, but as we change our courtesies. Will you draw near?

[Exeunt Countess and Gentlemen.
Hel. Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France.
Nothing in France, until he has no wife!
Thou shalt have none, Rousillon, none in France,
Then hast thou all again. Poor lord! is't I
That chase thee from thy country, and expose
Those tender limbs of thine to the event
Of the none-sparing war? and is it I

That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou
Wast shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark
Of smoky muskets? O you leaden messengers,
That ride upon the violent speed of fire,
Fly with false aim; move the still-piecing air,
That sings with piercing, do not touch my
lord!
Whoever shoots at him, I set him there;
Whoever charges on his forward breast,
I am the caitiff, that do hold him to it;
And, though I kill him not, I am the cause
His death was so effected: better 'twere,
I met the ravin lion when he roar'd

With sharp constraint of hunger; better 'twere
That all the miseries, which nature owes,

Were mine at once: No, come thou home, Rou

sillon,

Whence honour but of danger wins a scar,
As oft it loses all; I will be gone:

My being here it is, that holds thee hence:
Shall I stay here to do't? no, no, although
The air of paradise did fan the house,
And angels offic'd all: I will be gone;
That pitiful rumour may report my flight,
To consolate thine ear. Come, night; end, day!
For, with the dark, poor thief, I'll steal away.

[Exit.

FLORENCE.

SCENE III.

BEFORE THE DUKE'S PALACE.

Flourish. Enter the Duke of Florence, Bertram, Lords, Officers, Soldiers, and Others.

Duke. The general of our horse thou art; and we, Great in our hope, lay our best love and credence, Upon thy promising fortune.

Sir, it is

Ber.
A charge too heavy for my strength; but yet
We'll strive to bear it for your worthy sake,
To the extreme edge of hazard.

Duke.
And fortune play upon thy
As thy auspicious mistress!

This very day,

Ber. Great Mars, I put myself into thy file: Make me but like my thoughts; and I shall prove

A lover of thy drum, hater of love.

[Exeunt.

Then go thou forth; prosperous helm,

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