Enter young Bertram, Count of Rossillion, his mother
the Countess, Helena, and Lord Lafew; all in black
In delivering my son from me, I bury a second
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.
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.
What hope is there of his majesty's
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.
This young gentlewoman had a father – O
that ‘ had,’ 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
have play for lack of work. Would for the King's sake he
were living! I think it would be the death of the King's
How called you the man you speak of, madam?
He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it
was his great right to be so: Gerard de Narbon.
He was excellent indeed, madam. The King very
lately spoke of him admiringly, and mourningly. He
was skilful enough to have lived still, if knowledge could
be set up against mortality.
What is it, my good lord, the King languishes
A fistula, my lord.
I heard not of it before.
I would it were not notorious. Was this gentlewoman
the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?
His sole child, my lord, and bequeathed to my
overlooking. I have those hopes of her good, that her
education promises her dispositions she inherits – which
makes fair gifts fairer; for where an unclean mind
carries virtuous qualities, there commendations go with
pity: they are virtues and traitors too. In her they are the
better for their simpleness. She derives her honesty and
achieves her goodness.
Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.
'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her
praise in. The remembrance of her father never
approaches her heart but the tyranny of her sorrows
takes all livelihood from her cheek. No more of this,
Helena; go to, no more, lest it be rather thought you
affect a sorrow than to have't.
affect (v.) 3
assume, display, put on, practise in an artificial way
I do affect a sorrow indeed, but I have it too.
Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead,
excessive grief the enemy to the living.
If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess
makes it soon mortal.
Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
How understand we that?
Be thou blessed, Bertram, and succeed thy father
In manners as in shape! 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
able (adj.) 1
powerful enough, sufficient, capable of dealing [with]
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,
tax (v.) 1
censure, blame, take to task, disparage
That thee may furnish and my prayers pluck down,
Fall on thy head! Farewell. – My lord,
'Tis an unseasoned courtier: good my lord,
He cannot want the best
That shall attend his love.
Heaven bless him! Farewell, Bertram.
The best wishes that can be forged in your
thoughts be servants to you! (To Helena) Be comfortable
to my mother, your mistress, and make much of her.
Farewell, pretty lady. You must hold the credit of
Exeunt Bertram and Lafew
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?
I have forgot him. My imagination
Carries no favour in't but Bertram's.
I am undone: there is no living, none,
If Bertram be away. 'Twere all one
That I should love a bright particular star
And think to wed it, he is so above me.
In his bright radiance and collateral light
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
sphere (n.) 1
celestial globe in which a heavenly body was thought to move, orbit
Th' ambition in my love thus plagues itself:
The hind that would be mated by the lion
Must die for love. 'Twas pretty, though a plague,
To see him every hour, to sit and draw
His arched brows, his hawking eye, his curls,
In our heart's table – heart too capable
Of every line and trick of his sweet favour.
trick (n.) 3
peculiarity, idiosyncrasy, distinguishing trait
But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy
Must sanctify his relics. Who comes here?
One that goes with him. I love him for his sake,
And yet I know him a notorious liar,
Think him a great way fool, solely a coward,
Yet these fixed evils sit so fit in him
That they take place when virtue's steely bones
Look bleak i'th' cold wind. Withal, full oft we see
Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.
Save you, fair queen!
And you, monarch!
Are you meditating on virginity?
Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you: let me
ask you a question. Man is enemy to virginity; how may
we barricado it against him?
Keep him out.
But he assails, and our virginity, though valiant,
in the defence yet is weak. Unfold to us some warlike
There is none. Man setting down before you
will undermine you and blow you up.
Bless our poor virginity from underminers and
blowers-up! Is there no military policy how virgins
might blow up men?
Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier
be blown up; marry, in blowing him down again,
with the breach yourselves made you lose your city. It
is not politic in the commonwealth of nature to preserve
virginity. Loss of virginity is rational increase, and
there was never virgin got till virginity was first lost.
That you were made of is mettle to make virgins.
Virginity, by being once lost, may be ten times found; by
being ever kept it is ever lost. 'Tis too cold a
companion. Away with't!
I will stand for't a little, though therefore I die
There's little can be said in't; 'tis against the
rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity is to
accuse your mothers, which is most infallible
disobedience. He that hangs himself is a virgin; virginity
murders itself, and should be buried in highways out of
all sanctified limit, as a desperate offendress against
nature. Virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese, consumes
itself to the very paring, and so dies with feeding
his own stomach. Besides, virginity is peevish, proud,
peevish (adj.) 2
obstinate, perverse, self-willed [contrast modern sense of ‘irritable, morose’]
idle, made of self-love which is the most inhibited sin in
the canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but loose by't.
Out with't! Within ten year it will make itself two, which
is a goodly increase, and the principal itself not much
the worse. Away with't!
How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own
Let me see. Marry, ill, to like him that ne'er it
likes. 'Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with lying;
the longer kept, the less worth. Off with't while 'tis
vendible; answer the time of request. Virginity, like an
old courtier, wears her cap out of fashion, richly suited
but unsuitable, just like the brooch and the toothpick,
which wear not now. Your date is better in your pie and
your porridge than in your cheek; and your virginity,
your old virginity, is like one of our French withered
pears: it looks ill, it eats drily; marry, 'tis a withered
pear; it was formerly better; marry, yet 'tis a withered
pear. Will you anything with it?
Not my virginity yet...
There shall your master have a thousand loves,
A mother, and a mistress, and a friend,
A phoenix, captain, and an enemy,
A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign,
A counsellor, a traitress, and a dear;
His humble ambition, proud humility,
His jarring concord, and his discord dulcet,
His faith, his sweet disaster; with a world
Of pretty, fond, adoptious christendoms
That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he –
I know not what he shall. God send him well!
The court's a learning-place, and he is one –
What one, i' faith?
That I wish well. 'Tis pity –
That wishing well had not a body in't
Which might be felt, that we, the poorer born,
Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes,
Might with effects of them follow our friends,
And show what we alone must think, which never
Return us thanks.
Monsieur Parolles, my lord calls for you.
Little Helen, farewell. If I can remember thee
I will think of thee at court.
Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a
Under Mars, I.
I especially think under Mars.
Why under Mars?
The wars have so kept you under that you must
needs be born under Mars.
When he was predominant.
When he was retrograde, I think rather.
Why think you so?
You go so much backward when you fight.
That's for advantage.
So is running away, when fear proposes the
safety. But the composition that your valour and fear
makes in you is a virtue of a good wing, and I like the
I am so full of businesses I cannot answer thee
acutely. I will return perfect courtier, in the which my
instruction shall serve to naturalize thee, so thou wilt be
capable of a courtier's counsel, and understand what
advice shall thrust upon thee; else thou diest in thine
unthankfulness, and thine ignorance makes thee away.
Farewell. When thou hast leisure, say thy prayers; when
thou hast none, remember thy friends. Get thee a good
husband, and use him as he uses thee. So, farewell.
Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to heaven. The fated sky
Gives us free scope, only doth backward pull
Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.
What power is it which mounts my love so high,
That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye?
The mightiest space in fortune nature brings
To join like likes, and kiss like native things.
Impossible be strange attempts to those
That weigh their pains in sense, and do suppose
What hath been cannot be. Who ever strove
To show her merit that did miss her love?
The King's disease – my project may deceive me,
But my intents are fixed, and will not leave me.