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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.
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 imbodied yours,
That she, which marries you, must marry me,
Either both or none.
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 sometimes I have laughed with: let your highness
Lay a more noble thought upon mine honor,
Than for to think that I would sink it here.
King. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them in to friend,
Till your deeds gain them. Fairer prove your honor,
Than in my thought it lies!
Good my lord,
Ask him upon his oath, if he does think
He had not my virginity.
King. What say'st thou to her?
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: 0, 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
Conferred by testament to the sequent issue,
Hath it been owned and worn.
This is his wife:
That ring's a thousand proofs.
Methought you said
You saw one here in court could witness it.
Dia. I did, my lord, but loath 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.
What of him?
He's quoted for a most perfidious slave,
With all the spots o' the world taxed and deboshed;
Whose nature sickens but to speak a truth.
Am I or that, or this, for what he'll utter,
That will speak any thing ?
She hath that ring of yours.
Ber. I think she has : certain it is, I liked her,
And boarded her i'the wanton way of youth.
She knew her distance, and did angle for me,
Maddening 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.
I must be patient;
You that turned off a first so noble wife,
May justly diet me. I pray you, yet,
(Since you 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.
King. What ring was yours, I pray you?
Sir, much like The same upon your finger.
King. Know you this ring? This ring was his of late. Dia. And this was it I gave him, being abed.
King. The story then goes false, you threw it him Out of a casement. Dia.
I have spoke the truth.
Ber. My lord, I do confess the ring was hers.
King. You boggle shrewdly; every feather starts you.
Is this the man you speak of?
Ay, my lord.
King. Tell me, sirrah, but tell me true, I charge you,
Not fearing the displeasure of your master,
(Which, on your just proceeding, I'll keep off,)
By him, and by this woman here, what know you ?
Par. So please your majesty, my master hath been an honorable gentleman; tricks he hath had in him, which
gen tlemen have. King. Come, come, to the purpose. Did he love this woman?
Par. 'Faith, sir, he did love her; but how?
King. How, I pray you?
Par. He did love her, sir, as a gentleman loves a woman.
King. How is that?
Par. He loved her, sir, and loved her not.
King. As thou art a knave, and no knave. — What an equivocal companion is this !
Par. I am a poor man, and at your majesty's command
Laf. He's a good drum, my lord, but a naughty orator.
Dia. Do you know he promised me marriage ?
Par. 'Faith, I know more than I'll speak.
King. But wilt thou not speak all thou know'st?
Par. Yes, so please your majesty. I did go between them, as I said; but more than that, he loved her, - for, indeed, he was mad for her, and talked of Satan, and of limbo, and of furies, and I know not what: yet I was in that credit with them at that time, that I knew of their going to bed, and of other motions, as promising her marriage, and things that would derive me ill will to speak of; therefore I will not speak what I know.
King. Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou canst say they are married. But thou art too fine in thy evidence: therefore stand aside.This ring, you say, was yours? Dia.
Ay, my good lord.
king. Where did you buy it? or who gave it you?
Dia. It was not given me, nor I did not buy it.
King. Who lent it you?
It was not lent me neither.
King. Where did you find it then ?
I found it not. King. If it were yours by none of all these ways, How could you give it him? Dia.
I never gave it him. Laf. This woman's an easy glove, my lord; she goes off and on at pleasure.
King. This ring was mine; I gave it his first wife.
Dia. It might be yours, or hers, for aught I know.
King. Take her away; I do not like her now;
To prison with her: and away with him.
Unless thou tellst me where thou hadst this ring,
Thou diest within this hour.
I'll never tell you.
King. Take her away.
I'll put in bail, my liege.
King. I think thee now some common customer.
Dia. By Jove, if ever I knew man, 'twas you.
King. Wherefore hast thou accused him all this while?
Dia. Because he's guilty, and he is not guilty:
He knows I am no maid, and he'll swear to't:
I'll swear I am a maid, and he knows not.
Great king, I am no strumpet, by my life;
I am either maid, or else this old man's wife.
[Pointing to LAFEU. King. She does abuse our ears; to prison with her. Dia. Good mother, fetch my bail. — Stay, royal sir ;
The jeweller that owes the ring is sent for,
And he shall surety me.
But for this lord,
Who hath abused me, as he knows himself,
Though yet he never harmed me, here I quit him.
He knows himself my bed he hath defiled;
And at that time he got his wife with child:
Dead though she be, she feels her young one kick;
So there's my riddle, One that's dead is quick.
And now behold the meaning.
Re-enter Widow, with HELENA.
Is there no exorcist
Beguiles the truer office of mine eyes ?
Is't real that I see?
No, my good lord;
'Tis but the shadow of a wife you see,
The name, and not the thing.
Both, both. O, pardon !
Hel. O my good lord, when I was like this maid,
I found you wondrous kind. There is your ring,
And, look you, here's your letter.
When from my finger you can get this ring,
And are by me with child, &c. - This is done:
Will you be mine, now you are doubly won ?
Ber. If she, my liege, can make me know this clearly,
I'll love her dearly; ever, ever dearly.
Hel. If it appear not plain, and prove untrue,
Deadly divorce step between me and you !
O my dear mother, do I see you living ?
Laf. Mine eyes smell onions; I shall weep anon. —
Good Tom Drum, [To PAROLLES. lend me a handkerchief.
So, I thank thee; wait on me home. I'll make sport with
thée. Let thy courtesies alone; they are scurvy ones.
King. Let us from point to point this story know
To make the even truth in pleasure flow.-
If thou be'st yet a fresh, uncropped flower, [TO DIANA.
Choose thou thy husband, and I'll pay thy dower:
For I can guess, that, by thy honest aid,
Thou kept'st a wife herself, thyself a maid.-
Of that, and all the progress, more and less,
Resolvedly more leisure shall express;
All yet seems well; and if it end so meet,
The bitter past more welcome is the sweet. [Flourish.
The king's a beggar, now the play is done :
All is well ended, if this suit be won,
That you express content which we will pay,
With strife to please you, day exceeding day.
Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts ;
Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.