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SCENE I

Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace.
Enter BERTRAM, the COUNTESS OF ROUSILLON, HELENA, and LAFEU, all in black.

Count.
In delivering my son from me, I
bury a second husband.

Ber.
And I in going, madam, weep o'er
my father's death anew: but I must attend
his majesty's command, to whom I am now
in ward, evermore in subjection.

Laf.
You shall find of the king a husband,
madam; you, sir, a father: he that so generally
is at all times good must of necessity
hold his virtue to you; whose worthiness
would stir it up where it wanted rather than
lack it where there is such abundance.

Count.
What hope is there of his majesty's
amendment?

Laf.
He hath abandoned his physicians,
madam; under whose practices he hath persecuted
time with hope, and finds no other advantage
in the process but only the losing
of hope by time.

Count.
This young gentlewoman had a father,--O
that 'had'! how sad a passage 'tis!--
whose skill was almost as great as his honesty;
had it stretched so far, would have made
nature immortal, and death should have play for
lack of work. Would, for the king's sake, he
were living! I think it would be the death
of the king's disease.

Laf.
How called you the man you speak
of, madam?

Count.
He was famous, sir, in his profession,
and it was his great right to be so: (31)
Gerard de Narbon.

Laf.
He was excellent indeed, madam: the
king very lately spoke of him admiringly and
mourningly: he was skilful enough to have
lived still, if knowledge could be set up
against mortality.

Ber.
What is it, my good lord, the king
languishes of?

Laf.
A fistula, my lord.

Ber.
I heard not of it before.

Laf.
I would it were not notorious. Was
this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?

Count.
His sole child, my lord, and bequeathed
to my overlooking. I have those
hopes of her good that her education promises;
her dispositions she inherits, which
makes fair gifts fairer; for where an unclean mind
carries virtuous qualities, there commendations
go with pity; they are virtues and traitors too;
in her they are the better for their simpleness;
she derives her honesty and achieves her goodness.

Laf.
Your commendations, madam, get
from her tears.

Count.
'Tis the best brine a maiden can
season her praise in. The remembrance of her
father never approaches her heart but the tyranny
of her sorrows takes all livelihood from
her cheek. No more of this, Helena; go to, no
more; lest it be rather thought you affect a (61)
sorrow than have it.

Hel.
I do affect a sorrow indeed, but I have
it too.

Laf.
Moderate lamentation is the right of
the dead, excessive grief the enemy to the living.

Count.
If the living be enemy to the grief,
the excess makes it soon mortal.

Ber.
Madam, I desire your holy wishes.

Laf.
How understand we that? (70)

Count.
Be thou blest, Bertram, and succeed thy father
in manners, as in shape! thy blood and virtue
Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
Share with thy birthright! Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none: be able for thine enemy
Rather in power than use, and keep thy friend
Under thy own life's key; be check'd for silence,
But never tax'd for speech. What heaven more will,
That thee may furnish and my prayers pluck down,
Fall on thy head! Farewell, my lord; (80)
'Tis an unseason'd courtier; good my lord,
Advise him.

Laf.
He cannot want the best
That shall attend his love.

Count.
Heavens bless him! Farewell, Bertram. [Exit.

Ber.
[To Helena]
The best wishes that can
be forged in your thoughts 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. (90)

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't but Bertram's.
I am undone: there is no living, none,
If Bertram be away. 'Twere all one
That I should love a bright particular star
And think to wed it, he is so above me:
In his bright radiance and collateral light (100)
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
The ambition in my love thus plagues itself:
The hind that would be mated by the lion
Must die for love. 'Twas pretty, though a plague,
To see him every hour; to sit and draw
His arched brows, his hawking eye, his curls,
In our heart's table; heart too capable
Of every line and trick of his sweet favour:
But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy
Must sanctify his reliques. Who comes here? Enter PAROLLES. [Aside] (110)
One that goes with him: I love him for his sake;
And yet I know him a notorious liar,
Think him a great way fool, solely a coward;
Yet these fix'd evils sit so fit in him,
That they take place, when virtue's steely bones
Look bleak i' the cold wind: withal, full oft we see
Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.

Par.
Save you, fair queen!

Hel.
And you, monarch!

Par.
No. (120)

Hel.
And no.

Par.
Are you meditating on virginity?

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.

Hel.
But he assails; and our virginity,
though valiant, 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? (134)

Par.
Virginity being blown down, man will
quicklier be blown up: marry, in blowing him
down again, with the breach yourselves made,
you lose your city. It is not politic 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 't!

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 inhibited sin in
the canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but
lose by 't: out with't! within ten year 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 vendible; answer
the time of request. Virginity, like an old courtier,
wears her cap out of fashion: richly
suited, but unsuitable: just like the brooch and
the tooth-pick, which wear not now. Your date
is better in your pie and your porridge than in
your cheek: and your virginity, your old virginity
is like one of our French withered
pears, it looks ill, it eats drily; marry, 'tis a
withered pear; it was formerly better; marry,
yet 'tis a withered pear: will you anything
with it?

Hel.
Not my virginity yet. . . .
There shall your master have a thousand loves, (181)
A mother and a mistress and a friend,
A phoenix, captain and an enemy,
A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign,
A counsellor, a traitress, and a dear;
His humble ambition, proud humility,
His jarring concord, and his discord dulcet,
His faith, his sweet disaster; with a world
Of pretty, fond, adoptious christendoms,
That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he--
I know not what he shall. God send him well!
The court's a learning place, and he is one--

Par.
What one, i' faith?

Hel.
That I wish well. 'Tis pity--

Par.
What's pity?

Hel.
That wishing well had not a body in 't,
Which might be felt; that we, the poorer born,
Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes,
Might with effects of them follow our friends,
And show what we alone must think, which never (200)
Return us thanks. Enter Page.

Page.
Monsieur Parolles, my lord calls for you. [Exit.

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.
I especially think, under Mars.

Par.
Why under Mars?

Hel.
The wars have so kept you under that (210)
you must needs be born under Mars.

Par.
When he was predominant.

Hel.
When he was retrograde, I think, rather.

Par.
Why think you so?

Hel.
You go so much backward when you fight.

Par.
That's for advantage.

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 (219)
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, (230)
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.
What power is it which mounts my love so high,
That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye?
The mightiest space in fortune nature brings
To join like likes and kiss like native things. (239)
Impossible be strange attempts to those
That weigh their pains in sense and do suppose
What hath been cannot be: who ever strove
To show her merit, that did miss her love?
The king's disease--my project may deceive me,
But my intents are fix'd and will not leave me. [Exit.

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