All's Well That Ends Well

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Enter young Bertram, Count of Rossillion, his mother

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the Countess, Helena, and Lord Lafew; all in black

 

COUNTESS

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In delivering my son from me, I bury a second
deliver (v.) 3 free, release, liberate

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husband.

 

BERTRAM

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And I in going, madam, weep o'er my father's

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death anew; but I must attend his majesty's command,
attend (v.) 8 see to, look after, apply oneself to

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to whom I am now in ward, evermore in subjection.
ward, in as a ward, under guardianship

 

LAFEW

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You shall find of the King a husband, madam;

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you, sir, a father. He that so generally is at all times good
generally (adv.) universally, without exception, in the eyes of all

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must of necessity hold his virtue to you, whose worthiness
hold (v.) 1 keep, maintain, observe
virtue (n.) 6 goodness, benevolence, kindness

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would stir it up where it wanted, rather than lack it
want (v.) 3 fall short [of], be deficient [in]

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where there is such abundance.

 

COUNTESS

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What hope is there of his majesty's
amendment (n.) recovery, recuperation, improvement

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amendment?

 

LAFEW

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He hath abandoned his physicians, madam, under

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whose practices he hath persecuted time with hope, and

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finds no other advantage in the process but only the

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losing of hope by time.

 

COUNTESS

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This young gentlewoman had a father – O

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that ‘ had,’ how sad a passage 'tis! – whose skill was
passage (n.) 8 expression, turn of phrase

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almost as great as his honesty; had it stretched so far,
honesty (n.) 2 honour, integrity, uprightness

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would have made nature immortal, and death should

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have play for lack of work. Would for the King's sake he

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were living! I think it would be the death of the King's

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disease.

 

LAFEW

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How called you the man you speak of, madam?

 

COUNTESS

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He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it

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was his great right to be so: Gerard de Narbon.

 

LAFEW

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He was excellent indeed, madam. The King very

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lately spoke of him admiringly, and mourningly. He
lately (adv.) 1 recently, of late
mourningly (adv.) in a spirit of mourning

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was skilful enough to have lived still, if knowledge could

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be set up against mortality.

 

BERTRAM

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What is it, my good lord, the King languishes

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of?

 

LAFEW

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A fistula, my lord.
fistula (n.) type of ulcer, abscess

 

BERTRAM

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I heard not of it before.

 

LAFEW

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I would it were not notorious. Was this gentlewoman

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the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?

 

COUNTESS

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His sole child, my lord, and bequeathed to my

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overlooking. I have those hopes of her good, that her
overlooking (n.) 2 guardianship, looking after, custody

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education promises her dispositions she inherits – which
disposition (n.) 7 aptitude, gift, capacity
promise (v.) 2 add to, reinforce, augment

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makes fair gifts fairer; for where an unclean mind
mind (n.) 3 character, disposition, spirit
unclean (adj.) impure, corrupted, bad

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carries virtuous qualities, there commendations go with
quality (n.) 2 accomplishment, capacity, ability

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pity: they are virtues and traitors too. In her they are the

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better for their simpleness. She derives her honesty and
derive (v.) 2 inherit, fall heir to
simpleness (n.) 1 unpretentiousness, unaffected behaviour, unassuming simplicity

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achieves her goodness.
achieve (v.) 1 gain, obtain, procure

 

LAFEW

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Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.
get (v.) 1 beget, conceive, breed

 

COUNTESS

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'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her
season (v.) 8 preserve, keep

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praise in. The remembrance of her father never
remembrance (n.) 1 memory, bringing to mind, recollection

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approaches her heart but the tyranny of her sorrows
tyranny (n.) cruelty, barbarity, unmerciful violence

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takes all livelihood from her cheek. No more of this,
livelihood (n.) liveliness, animation, vivacity

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Helena; go to, no more, lest it be rather thought you

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affect a sorrow than to have't.
affect (v.) 3 assume, display, put on, practise in an artificial way

 

HELENA

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

 

LAFEW

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Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead,

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excessive grief the enemy to the living.

 

COUNTESS

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If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess

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makes it soon mortal.

 

BERTRAM

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Madam, I desire your holy wishes.

 

LAFEW

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How understand we that?

 

COUNTESS

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Be thou blessed, Bertram, and succeed thy father

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In manners as in shape! Thy blood and virtue
blood (n.) 7 nobility, breeding, gentility, good parentage
manner (n.) 2 (plural) morals, character, way of behaving
shape (n.) 1 appearance, aspect, visible form
virtue (n.) 1 quality, accomplishment, ability

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Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
contend (v.) 2 compete, vie, rival

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Share with thy birthright! Love all, trust a few,
birthright (n.) inherited qualities, naturally endowed traits

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Do wrong to none. Be able for thine enemy
able (adj.) 1 powerful enough, sufficient, capable of dealing [with]

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Rather in power than use, and keep thy friend
power (n.) 4 force, strength, might

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Under thy own life's key. Be checked for silence,
check (v.) 1 rebuke, scold, reprimand

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But never taxed for speech. What heaven more will,
tax (v.) 1 censure, blame, take to task, disparage

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That thee may furnish and my prayers pluck down,
furnish (v.) 1 provide, supply, possess

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Fall on thy head! Farewell. – My lord,

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'Tis an unseasoned courtier: good my lord,
unseasoned (adj.) 2 unready, immature, raw

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Advise him.

 

LAFEW

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                         He cannot want the best

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That shall attend his love.
attend (v.) 4 accompany, follow closely, go with
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without

 

COUNTESS

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Heaven bless him! Farewell, Bertram.

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Exit

 

BERTRAM

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The best wishes that can be forged in your

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thoughts be servants to you! (To Helena) Be comfortable

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to my mother, your mistress, and make much of her.

 

LAFEW

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Farewell, pretty lady. You must hold the credit of
credit (n.) 3 reputation, name, standing, honour
hold (v.) 1 keep, maintain, observe

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your father.

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Exeunt Bertram and Lafew

 

HELENA

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O, were that all! I think not on my father,

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And these great tears grace his remembrance more
grace (v.) 1 favour, add merit to, do honour to
remembrance (n.) 1 memory, bringing to mind, recollection

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Than those I shed for him. What was he like?

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I have forgot him. My imagination

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Carries no favour in't but Bertram's.
favour (n.) 1 [facial] appearance, countenance, features, looks

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I am undone: there is no living, none,
undone (adj.) ruined, destroyed, brought down

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If Bertram be away. 'Twere all one

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That I should love a bright particular star

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And think to wed it, he is so above me.

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In his bright radiance and collateral light
collateral (adj.) 1 [astronomy, of the movement of the spheres] parallel, side by side

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Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
sphere (n.) 1 celestial globe in which a heavenly body was thought to move, orbit

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Th' ambition in my love thus plagues itself:

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The hind that would be mated by the lion

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Must die for love. 'Twas pretty, though a plague,

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To see him every hour, to sit and draw

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His arched brows, his hawking eye, his curls,
brow (n.) 3 eyebrow
hawking (adj.) hawk-like, sharp, alert

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In our heart's table – heart too capable
capable of 1 appreciative of, able to take in
table (n.) 2 tablet, surface, paintbook

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Of every line and trick of his sweet favour.
favour (n.) 1 [facial] appearance, countenance, features, looks
trick (n.) 3 peculiarity, idiosyncrasy, distinguishing trait

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But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy
fancy (n.) 1 love, amorousness, infatuation

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Must sanctify his relics. Who comes here?

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Enter Parolles

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One that goes with him. I love him for his sake,

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And yet I know him a notorious liar,

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Think him a great way fool, solely a coward,
great way complete, total, absolute
solely (adv.) 1 wholly, entirely, altogether

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Yet these fixed evils sit so fit in him
fit (adv.) suitably, fittingly, appropriately

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That they take place when virtue's steely bones
place (n.) 2 precedence, proper place
steely (adj.) hard as steel

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Look bleak i'th' cold wind. Withal, full oft we see
bleak (adj.) 2 pale, pallid, sickly
full (adv.) 2 very, exceedingly, extremely

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Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.
superfluous (adj.) 1 extravagant, wasteful, immoderate

 

PAROLLES

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Save you, fair queen!

 

HELENA

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And you, monarch!

 

PAROLLES

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No.

 

HELENA

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And no.

 

PAROLLES

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Are you meditating on virginity?

 

HELENA

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Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you: let me
stain (n.) 4 hint, tinge, dash

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ask you a question. Man is enemy to virginity; how may

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we barricado it against him?
barricado (v.) fortify, defend, protect [as with a barricade]

 

PAROLLES

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Keep him out.

 

HELENA

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But he assails, and our virginity, though valiant,

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in the defence yet is weak. Unfold to us some warlike

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resistance.

 

PAROLLES

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There is none. Man setting down before you
set down (v.) 5 encamp, lay siege

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will undermine you and blow you up.
undermine (v.) dig underneath; also: overthrow

 

HELENA

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Bless our poor virginity from underminers and
underminer (n.) sapper; also: overthrower

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blowers-up! Is there no military policy how virgins

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might blow up men?

 

PAROLLES

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Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier

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be blown up; marry, in blowing him down again,

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with the breach yourselves made you lose your city. It

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is not politic in the commonwealth of nature to preserve

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virginity. Loss of virginity is rational increase, and

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there was never virgin got till virginity was first lost.
get (v.) 1 beget, conceive, breed

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That you were made of is mettle to make virgins.

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Virginity, by being once lost, may be ten times found; by

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being ever kept it is ever lost. 'Tis too cold a

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companion. Away with't!

 

HELENA

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I will stand for't a little, though therefore I die

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a virgin.

 

PAROLLES

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There's little can be said in't; 'tis against the

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rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity is to

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accuse your mothers, which is most infallible

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disobedience. He that hangs himself is a virgin; virginity

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murders itself, and should be buried in highways out of
murther (n./v.) variant spelling of ‘murder’

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all sanctified limit, as a desperate offendress against
limit (n.) 4 ground, territory
offendress (n.) female offender
sanctified (adj.) 1 consecrated, holy

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nature. Virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese, consumes

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itself to the very paring, and so dies with feeding

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his own stomach. Besides, virginity is peevish, proud,
peevish (adj.) 2 obstinate, perverse, self-willed [contrast modern sense of ‘irritable, morose’]

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idle, made of self-love which is the most inhibited sin in
inhibited (adj.) prohibited, forbidden, proscribed

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the canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but loose by't.
canon (n.) 2 scriptural canon, Bible
keep (v.) 3 guard, watch, tend

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Out with't! Within ten year it will make itself two, which
out (adv.) 11 into public circulation, out to interest

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is a goodly increase, and the principal itself not much

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the worse. Away with't!

 

HELENA

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How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own

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liking?

 

PAROLLES

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Let me see. Marry, ill, to like him that ne'er it
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably

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likes. 'Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with lying;

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the longer kept, the less worth. Off with't while 'tis

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vendible; answer the time of request. Virginity, like an
vendible (adj.) 1 saleable, marketable, sought-after

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old courtier, wears her cap out of fashion, richly suited

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but unsuitable, just like the brooch and the toothpick,
unsuitable (adj.) unfashionable, old-fashioned, passe

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which wear not now. Your date is better in your pie and
wear (v.) 6 be the fashion, be trendy

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your porridge than in your cheek; and your virginity,

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your old virginity, is like one of our French withered

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pears: it looks ill, it eats drily; marry, 'tis a withered
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably

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pear; it was formerly better; marry, yet 'tis a withered

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pear. Will you anything with it?
will (v.), past form would 1 desire, wish, want

 

HELENA

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Not my virginity yet...

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There shall your master have a thousand loves,

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A mother, and a mistress, and a friend,

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A phoenix, captain, and an enemy,
phoenix (n.) 1 wonder, marvel, paragon

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A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign,

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A counsellor, a traitress, and a dear;

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His humble ambition, proud humility,

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His jarring concord, and his discord dulcet,

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His faith, his sweet disaster; with a world
disaster (n.) 2 unlucky star, unfavourable planet

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Of pretty, fond, adoptious christendoms
adoptious (adj.) adopted, appropriated, taken up
christendom (n.) baptismal name, Christian name
fond (adj.) 2 foolish, trifling, frivolous

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That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he –
blinking (adj.) blind, sightless
gossip (v.) 2 act as a godparent, be a sponsor

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I know not what he shall. God send him well!

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The court's a learning-place, and he is one –

 

PAROLLES

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What one, i' faith?

 

HELENA

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That I wish well. 'Tis pity –

 

PAROLLES

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What's pity?

 

HELENA

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That wishing well had not a body in't

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Which might be felt, that we, the poorer born,

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Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes,
base (adj.) 2 low-born, lowly, plebeian, of lower rank

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Might with effects of them follow our friends,

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And show what we alone must think, which never

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Return us thanks.

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Enter Page

 

PAGE

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Monsieur Parolles, my lord calls for you.

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Exit

 

PAROLLES

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Little Helen, farewell. If I can remember thee

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I will think of thee at court.

 

HELENA

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Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a

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charitable star.

 

PAROLLES

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Under Mars, I.

 

HELENA

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I especially think under Mars.

 

PAROLLES

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Why under Mars?

 

HELENA

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The wars have so kept you under that you must
under (adv.) down, in a bad way, in a low position

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needs be born under Mars.

 

PAROLLES

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When he was predominant.
predominant (adj.) [astrology] in the ascendant, ruling

 

HELENA

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When he was retrograde, I think rather.
retrograde (adj.) 1 [astrology] moving in a contrary direction

 

PAROLLES

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Why think you so?

 

HELENA

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You go so much backward when you fight.

 

PAROLLES

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That's for advantage.

 

HELENA

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So is running away, when fear proposes the

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safety. But the composition that your valour and fear
composition (n.) 1 constitution, make-up, state [of mind and body]

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makes in you is a virtue of a good wing, and I like the
wing (n.) 1 flight, manner of flying

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wear well.
wear (n.) fashion, vogue, trend

 

PAROLLES

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I am so full of businesses I cannot answer thee

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acutely. I will return perfect courtier, in the which my

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instruction shall serve to naturalize thee, so thou wilt be
naturalize (v.) familiarize, accustom, enlighten

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capable of a courtier's counsel, and understand what

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advice shall thrust upon thee; else thou diest in thine

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unthankfulness, and thine ignorance makes thee away.

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Farewell. When thou hast leisure, say thy prayers; when
leisure (n.) opportunity, moment, available time

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thou hast none, remember thy friends. Get thee a good

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husband, and use him as he uses thee. So, farewell.

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Exit

 

HELENA

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Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,

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Which we ascribe to heaven. The fated sky
fated (adj.) fateful, controlling our destiny

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Gives us free scope, only doth backward pull

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Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.
dull (adj.) 1 dead, lifeless, sluggish, inactive

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What power is it which mounts my love so high,
power (n.) 8 faculty, function, ability

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That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye?

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The mightiest space in fortune nature brings
space (n.) 2 distance, separation

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To join like likes, and kiss like native things.
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal
like (n.) identity, equivalent, counterpart
native (adj.) 4 closely related, connected by birth

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Impossible be strange attempts to those

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That weigh their pains in sense, and do suppose
sense (n.) 3 feeling, sensibility, capacity to feel

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What hath been cannot be. Who ever strove

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To show her merit that did miss her love?

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The King's disease – my project may deceive me,

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But my intents are fixed, and will not leave me.
intent (n.) intention, purpose, aim

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Exit

 
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