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Count. If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it soon mortal.f
Ber. Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
Count. Be thou blest, Bertram! and succeed thy father
to none: be able for thine enemy
He cannot want the best
[Exit Countess. Ber. The best wishes, that can be forged in your thoughts, [to Helena] be servants to you! Be comfortable to my mother, your mistress, and make much of her.
Laf. Farewell, pretty lady : You must hold the credit of your father.
[Exeunt BERTRAM and LAFEU. Hel. O, were that all !- I think not on my father ; And these great tears grace his remembrance more Than those I shed for him. What was he like? I have forgot him : my imagination Carries no favour in it, but Bertram's. I am undone ; there is no living, none, If Bertram be
It were all one, f If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it soon mortal.] Lafeu says, excessive grief is the enemy of the living: the countess replies, If the living be an enemy to grief, the excess soon makes it mortal: that is, If the living do not indulge grief, grief destroys itself by its own excess. By the word mortal, I understand that which dies.—Jounson.
& That thee may furnish,] That may help thee with more and better qualifications.-Johnson.. h The best wishes, &c.] i. e. May you be mistress of your wishes.
You must hold the credit of your father, &c.] Lafeu endeavours to sooth the grief of Helena by desiring her to hold in mind the credit of her father, and console herself for his loss by the recollection of his fame, which drawg from her the exclamation, Oh, were that all !-Would that I had no other cause f solicitude !
That I should love a bright particular star,
every hour; to sit and draw
idolatrous fancy Must sanctify his relicks. Who comes here?
One that goes with him : I love him for his sake;
Par. Save you, fair queen.
Hel. Ay. You have some stain of soldier' in you ; let me ask you a question: Man is enemy to virginity; how may we barricado it against him?
Par. Keep him out.
not in his sphere.] I cannot be united with him and move in the same sphere, but must be comforted at a distance by the radiance that shoots on all sides from him.-Johnson.
trick of his sweet favour:] i. e. Peculiarity of his countenance. m Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.) Cold for naked: as superfluous for over-clothed. This makes the propriety of the antithesis.-WARBURTON.
Monarch.] Steevens is most probably correct in imagining that this answer conveyed an allusion to Monarcho, a ridiculous fantastical character of the age of Shakspeare, of whom an account has been given in the note to Love's Labour's Lost, act iv. sc. 1. ° And no.] I am no more a queen than you a monarch, or monarcho.
stain of soldier--] For what we now say, tincture, some qualities, at least superficial, of a soldier.--Johnson.
in the defence, yet is weak: unfold to us some warlike resistance.
Par. There is none; man sitting down before you, will undermine you, and blow you up.
Hel. Bless our poor virginity from underminers, and blowers up !Is there no military policy, how virgins might blow up men?
Par. Virginity, being blown down, men will quicklier be blown up: marry, in blowing him down again, with the breach yourselves made, you lose your city. It is not politick in the commonwealth of nature, to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is rational increase; and there was never virgin got, till virginity was first lost. That, you were made of, is metal to make virgins. Virginity, by being once lost, may be ten times found; by being ever kept, it is ever lost : 'tis too cold a companion : away with it.
Hel. I will stand for't a little, though therefore I die a virgin.
Par. There's little can be said in't; 'tis against the rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity, is to accuse your mothers; which is most infallible disobedience. He, that hangs himself, is a virgin : virginity murders itself; and should be buried in highways, out of all sanctified limit, as a desperate offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese; consumes itself to the very paring, and so dies with feeding his own stomach. Besides, virginity is peevish, proud, idle, made of self-love, which is the most inhibiteda sin in the canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but lose by't. Out with’t: within ten years it will make itself ten, which is a goodly increase; and the principal itself not much the worse : Away with't.
Hel. How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own liking ?
Par. Let me see: Marry, ill, to like him that ne'er it likes." 'Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with lying; the longer kept, the less worth: off with’t, while 'tis ven
inhibited--] i. e. Forbidden.
Marry, ill, to like him that ne'er it likes.] Parolles, in answer to the tion, “How one shall lose virginity to her own liking?"-plays upon the word liking and says,
“She must do ill, for virginity, to be so lost, must like him that likes not virginity.--JOHNSON.
dible : answer the time of request. Virginity, like an old
Hel. Not my virginity yet.
Par. What one, i'faith?
Hel. That wishing well had not a body in't,
which wear not now:] i. e. Which we wear not now.--TYRWHITT.
date] Here is a quibble on the word date, which means both age, and a candid fruit.-STEEVENS.
Will you any thing with it?] The proposed emendation of Tyrwhitt ought to be here admitted into the text, for it renders an obscure passage perfectly intelligible.--He would read, Will you any thing with us?-i.e. Will you send any thing?
--to which Helena answers “ Not my virginity yet.”—Will you, in the sense of will you send, is used in Twelfth Night, act 3. sc. 1.
traitress,] This word, and those of captain and enemy in the last line but one, and the rest of this catalogue of whimsical titles, are all terms of endearment, for every one of which, it would not be difficult to find an authority in the love poetry of Shakspeare's time.-HEATH.
christendoms,] Appellations. Christendom was not only used by our ancestors for the Christian part of the world, but also for baptism; and hence for the name given in baptism.--"This passage," says Archdeacon Nares in his invaluable Glossary, “the commentators appear not to have understood : adoptious christendoms that blinking Cupid gossips, means, adopted appellations to which blind Cupid stands godfather.
And show 'what we alone must think, which never
Enter a Page.
Page. Monsieur Parolles, my lord calls for you.
[Exit Page. Par. Little Helen, farewell : if I can remember thee, I will think of thee at court.
Hel. Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a charitable star.
Par. Under Mars, I.
Hel. The wars have so kept you under, that you must needs be born under Mars.
Par. When he was predominant.
Hel. So is running away, when fear proposes the safety: But the composition, that your valour and fear makes in you, is a virtue of a good wing," and I like the wear well.
Par. I am so full of businesses, I cannot answer thee acutely : I will return perfect courtier ; in the which, my instruction shall serve to naturalize thee, so thou wilt be capable of a courtier's counsel, and understand what advice shall thrust upon thee; else thou diest in thine unthankfulness, and thine ignorance makes thee away: 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: so farewell. [Exit.
Hel. Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, Which we ascribe to heaven : the fated sky Gives us free scope; only, doth backward pull Our slow designs, when we ourselves are dull. Might with effects of them follow our friends,
of a good wing,] A bird of a good wing is a bird of a swift and strong flight; and such was the virtue of Parolles; for his valour allowed him to go backward for advantage, and his fear, for the same reason, made him run away.