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Count. In what case ?
Clown. 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 1 are blessings.
Count. Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.
Clown. 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 ?
Clown. Faith, madam, I have other holy reasons, such as they are.
Count. May the world know them ? Clown. I have been, madam, a wicked creature, you
and all flesh and blood are; and, indeed, I do marry that I may repent.
Count. Thy marriage sooner than thy wickedness.
Clown. I am out of friends, madam; and I hope to have friends for my wife's sake.
Count. Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
Clown. You are shallow, madam; ev'n great friends;
for the knaves come to do that for me, which I am aweary 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 severed in religion, their heads are both one : they may joll 1 horns together, like any deer i' the herd.
Count. Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouthed and calumnious knave ?
Clown. A prophet I, madam ; and I speak the truth the next? way :
For I the ballad will repeat,
Which men full true shall find ;
Your cuckoo sings by kind.
Count. Get you gone, sir; I'll talk with you
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.
Clown. Was this fair face the cause, quoth she,
Why the Grecians sacked Troy?
Was this king Priam's joy.
With that she sighed as she stood,
And gave this sentence then :
Among nine bad if one be good,
There's yet one good in ten.
Count. What, one good in ten? you corrupt the
Clown. 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 tithe-woman, if I were the parson. One in ten, quoth a'! an we might have a good woman born but or 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 ?
Clown. 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 iņtirely.
Count. Faith, I do: her father bequeathed 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 inore shall be paid her than she 'll demand.
Stew. Madam, I was very late more near her than, I think, she wished me : alone she was, and did communicate to herself her own words to her own ears : she thought, I dare vow for her, they touched 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 delivered 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 informed 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 farther
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,
is sick on 't: I observe her now. Hel. What is your pleasure, madam ? Count.
You know, Helen, I am a mother to you.
Hel. Mine honorable mistress.
Nay, a mother; Why not a mother? When I said, a mother, Methought you saw a serpent. What's in mother, That you start at it? I say,
That I am not
Pardon, madam ; The count Rousillon cannot be my brother : I am from humble, he from honor'd name; No note upon my parents, his all noble.