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King of France.
Duke of Florence. ,
BERTRAM, Count of Rousillon.
LAFEU, an old Lord.
PARolles, a follower of Bertram.
Several young French Lords, that serve with Bertram in the Florentine war.
Steward, Servants to the Countess of Rousillon.
Countess of Rousillon, Mother to Bertram.
M. } Neighbors and Friends to the Widow.
Lords, attending on the King; Officers, Soldiers, &c., French and Florentine.
Enter BERTRAM, the Countess of Rousillon, HELENA, and LAFEU, in mourning.
Countess. 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 1 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
1 The heirs of great fortunes were formerly the king's wards. This prerogative was a branch of the feudal law.
have play for lack of work. ‘Would, for the king's
1. We feel regret even in commending such qualities, joined with an evil disposition; they are traitors, because they give the possessors power over others; who, admiring such estimable qualities, are often betrayed by the malevolence of the possessors. Helena's virtues are the better because they are artless and open.
* All appearance of life.
Count. If the living be enemy to the grief, the ex cess makes it soon mortal." Ber. Madam, I desire your holy wishes. Laf. How understand we that? Count. Be thou blessed Bertrams and succeed thy father In manners, as in shapel 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 checked for silence, But never taxed for speech. What Heaven more will That thee may furnish,” and my prayers pluck down, Fall on thy head! Farewell.—My lord, 'Tis an unseasoned courtier; good my lord, Advise him. Laf. He cannot want the best That shall attend his love. Count. Heaven bless him —Farewell, Bertram. [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. [Eveunt 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 P I have forgot him: my imagination Carries no favor in it, but Bertram’s. I am undone; there is no living, none, If Bertram be away. It were all one,
1 That is, “if the living do not indulge grief, grief destroys itself by its own excess.”
2 i. e. that may help thee with more and better qualifications.
3 That is, Helen's own tears, which were caused, in reality, by the departure of Bertram, though attributed by Lafeu and the countess to the loss of her father, and which, from this misapprehension of theirs, graced his memory more than those she actually shed for him.
That I should love a bright particular star,
One that goes with him: I love him for his sake,
1 1. e. countenance. - * i. e. altogether. 3 That is, some tincture, some little of the hue or color of a soldier.