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How have I sworn ? Dia. 'Tis not the many oaths, that make the
truth; But the plain, single vow, that is vowed true. What is not holy, that we swear not by, But take the Highest to witness. Then pray you, tell
Change it, change it;
you do charge men with. Stand no more off,
Dia. "I see that men make hopes, in such a war,3 That we'll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.
Ber. I'll lend it thee, my dear, but have no power
Will you not, my lord ?
1 The sense is, we never swear by what is not holy, but take to witness the Highest, the Divinity.
2 This passage is considered obscure by some commentators; but the meaning appears to be very obvious: an oath has no binding force, when we swear by the Deity, whom we profess to love, that we will commit a deed that is displeasing to him.
3 The old copy reads, “make ropes in such a scarre.” Rowe changed it to, “make hopes in such affairs ;” and Malone to, “make hopes in such a scene.” But affairs and scene have no literal resemblance to the old word scarre: warre is always so written in the old copy; the change is therefore less violent, and more probable.
Mine honor's such a ring.
Here, take my ring :
window; I'll order take, my inother shall not hear. Now will I charge you in the band of truth, When you have conquered my yet maiden bed, Remain there but an hour; nor speak to me: My reasons are most strong; and you shall know them, When back again this ring shall be delivered: And on your finger, in the night, I'll put Another ring; that what in time proceeds, May token to the future our past deeds. Adieu till then; then, fail not. You have won A wife of me, though there my hope be done. Ber. A heaven on earth I have won, by wooing thee.
[Exit. Dia. For which live long to thank both Heaven
and me! You may so in the end. My mother told me just how he would woo, As if she sat in his heart; she says, all men Have the like oaths : he had sworn to marry me When his wife's dead; therefore I'll lie with him When I am buried. Since Frenchmen are so braid, Marry that will, I'll live and die a maid : Only in this disguise I think’t no sin To cozen him that would unjustly win. [Exit.
1 i. e. false, deceitful, tricking, beguiling.
SCENE III. The Florentine Camp.
Enter the two French Lords, and two or three Soldiers.
1 Lord. You have not given him his mother's letter ?
2 Lord. I have delivered it an hour since. There is something in't that stings his nature; for, on the reading it, he changed almost into another man.
1 Lord. He has much worthy blame laid upon him, for shaking off so good a wife, and so sweet a lady. · 2 Lord. Especially he hath incurred the everlasting displeasure of the king, who had even tuned his bounty to sing happiness to him. I will tell you a thing, but you shall let it dwell darkly with you.
1 Lord. When you have spoken it, 'tis dead, and I am the grave of it.
2 Lord. He hath perverted a young gentlewoman here in Florence, of a most chaste renown; and this night he fleshes his will in the spoil of her honor; he hath given her his monumental ring, and thinks himself made in the unchaste composition.
1 Lord. Now, God delay our rebellion; as we are ourselves, what things are we !
2 Lord. Merely our own traitors; and as in the common course of all treasons, we still see them reveal themselves, till they attain to their abhorred ends, so he that in this action contrives against his own nobility, in his proper stream o'erflows himself.
1 Lord. Is it not meant damnable ? in us to be trumpeters of our unlawful intents ? We shall not then have his company to-night.
2 Lord. Not till after midnight; for he is dieted to his hour.
1 Lord. That approaches apace; I would gladly have him see his company: anatomized; that he might
1 i. e. betrays his own secrets in his own talk.
take a measure of his own judgment, wherein so curiously he had set this counterfeit.?
2 Lord. We will not meddle with him till he come; for his presence must be the whip of the other.
1 Lord. In the mean time, what hear you of these wars?
2 Lord. I hear there is an overture of peace. .
2 Lord. What will count Rousillon do then? Will he travel higher, or return again into France ?
1 Lord. I perceive by this demand, you are not altogether of his council.
2 Lord. Let it be forbid, sir! So should I be a great deal of his act.
1 Lord. Sir, his wife, some two months since, fled from his house. Her pretence is a pilgrimage to Saint Jaques le Grand; which holy undertaking, with most austere sanctimony, she accomplished; and, there residing, the tenderness of her nature became as a prey to her grief; in fine, made a groan of her last breath, and now she sings in heaven.
2 Lord. How is this justified ?
1 Lord. The stronger part of it by her own letters which makes her story true, even to the point of her death. Her death itself, which could not be her office to say, is come, was faithfully confirmed by the rector of the place.
2 Lord. Hath the count all this intelligence?
1 Lord. Ay, and the particular confirmations, point from point, to the full arming of the verity.
2 Lord. I am heartily sorry, that he'll be glad of this.
1 Lord. How mightily, sometimes, we make us comforts of our losses !
2 Lord. And how mightily, some other times, we
1 This is a very just and moral reason. Bertram, by finding how erroneously he has judged, will be less confident, and more easily moved by admonition.
2 Counterseit, besides its ordinary signification of a person pretending to be what he is not, also meant a picture ; the word set shows that the word is used in both senses here.
drown our gain in tears ! The great dignity that his valor hath here acquired for him, shall at home be encountered with a shame as ample.
1 Lord. The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together. Our virtues would be proud, if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair, if they were not cherished by our virtues.
Enter a Servant. How now? where's your master ?
Serv. He met the duke in the street, sir, of whom he hath taken a solemn leave ; his lordship will next morning for France. The duke hath offered him letters of commendations to the king,
2 Lord. They shall be no more than needful there, if they were more than they can commend.
Enter BERTRAM. 1 Lord. They cannot be too sweet for the king's tartness. Here's his lordship now.
How now, my lord, is't not after midnight?
Ber. I have to-night despatched sixteen businesses, a month's length apiece, by an abstract of success. I have congeed with the duke, done my adieu with-his nearest; buried a wife, mourned for her; writ to my lady mother I am returning; entertained my convoy ; and, between these main parcels of despatch, effected many nicer needs; the last was the greatest, but that I have not ended yet.
2 Lord. If the business be of any difficulty, and this morning your departure hence, it requires haste of your lordship
Ber. I mean the business is not ended, as fearing to hear of it hereafter. But shall we have this dialogue between the fool and the soldier ? Come, bring forth this counterfeit module;' he has deceived me, , like a double-meaning prophesier.
1 Module and model were synonymous. The meaning is, bring forth this counterfeit representation of a soldier.