ACT II
Scene 3
 

Paris. The KING'S palace

Enter BERTRAM, LAFEU, and PAROLLES

LAFEU
They say miracles are past; and we have our philosophical
persons to make modern and familiar things supernatural and
causeless. Hence is it that we make trifles of terrors,
ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge when we should submit
ourselves to an unknown fear.

PAROLLES
Why, 'tis the rarest argument of wonder that hath shot
out in our latter times.

BERTRAM
And so 'tis.

LAFEU
To be relinquish'd of the artists-

PAROLLES
So I say-both of Galen and Paracelsus.

LAFEU
Of all the learned and authentic fellows-

PAROLLES
Right; so I say.

LAFEU
That gave him out incurable-

PAROLLES
Why, there 'tis; so say I too.

LAFEU
Not to be help'd-

PAROLLES
Right; as 'twere a man assur'd of a-

LAFEU
Uncertain life and sure death.

PAROLLES
Just; you say well; so would I have said.

LAFEU
I may truly say it is a novelty to the world.

PAROLLES
It is indeed. If you will have it in showing, you shall
read it in what-do-ye-call't here.

LAFEU

[Reading the ballad title] 'A Showing of a Heavenly
Effect in an Earthly Actor.'

PAROLLES
That's it; I would have said the very same.

LAFEU
Why, your dolphin is not lustier. 'Fore me, I speak in
respect-

PAROLLES
Nay, 'tis strange, 'tis very strange; that is the brief
and the tedious of it; and he's of a most facinerious spirit that
will not acknowledge it to be the-

LAFEU
Very hand of heaven.

PAROLLES
Ay; so I say.

LAFEU
In a most weak-

PAROLLES
And debile minister, great power, great transcendence;
which should, indeed, give us a further use to be made than alone
the recov'ry of the King, as to be-

LAFEU
Generally thankful.

Enter KING, HELENA, and ATTENDANTS

PAROLLES
I would have said it; you say well. Here comes the King.

LAFEU
Lustig, as the Dutchman says. I'll like a maid the better,
whilst I have a tooth in my head. Why, he's able to lead her a
coranto.

PAROLLES
Mort du vinaigre! Is not this Helen?

LAFEU
'Fore God, I think so.

KING
Go, call before me all the lords in court.

Exit an ATTENDANT

Sit, my preserver, by thy patient's side;
And with this healthful hand, whose banish'd sense
Thou has repeal'd, a second time receive
The confirmation of my promis'd gift,
Which but attends thy naming.

Enter three or four LORDS

Fair maid, send forth thine eye. This youthful parcel
Of noble bachelors stand at my bestowing,
O'er whom both sovereign power and father's voice
I have to use. Thy frank election make;
Thou hast power to choose, and they none to forsake.

HELENA
To each of you one fair and virtuous mistress
Fall, when love please. Marry, to each but one!

LAFEU
I'd give bay Curtal and his furniture
My mouth no more were broken than these boys',
And writ as little beard.

KING
Peruse them well.
Not one of those but had a noble father.

HELENA
Gentlemen,
Heaven hath through me restor'd the King to health.

ALL
We understand it, and thank heaven for you.

HELENA
I am a simple maid, and therein wealthiest
That I protest I simply am a maid.
Please it your Majesty, I have done already.
The blushes in my cheeks thus whisper me:
'We blush that thou shouldst choose; but, be refused,
Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever,
We'll ne'er come there again.'

KING
Make choice and see:
Who shuns thy love shuns all his love in me.

HELENA
Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly,
And to imperial Love, that god most high,
Do my sighs stream. Sir, will you hear my suit?

FIRST LORD
And grant it.

HELENA
Thanks, sir; all the rest is mute.

LAFEU
I had rather be in this choice than throw ames-ace for my
life.

HELENA
The honour, sir, that flames in your fair eyes,
Before I speak, too threat'ningly replies.
Love make your fortunes twenty times above
Her that so wishes, and her humble love!

SECOND LORD
No better, if you please.

HELENA
My wish receive,
Which great Love grant; and so I take my leave.

LAFEU
Do all they deny her? An they were sons of mine I'd have
them whipt; or I would send them to th' Turk to make eunuchs of.

HELENA
Be not afraid that I your hand should take;
I'll never do you wrong for your own sake.
Blessing upon your vows; and in your bed
Find fairer fortune, if you ever wed!

LAFEU
These boys are boys of ice; they'll none have her.
Sure, they are bastards to the English; the French ne'er got 'em.

HELENA
You are too young, too happy, and too good,
To make yourself a son out of my blood.

FOURTH LORD
Fair one, I think not so.

LAFEU
There's one grape yet; I am sure thy father drunk wine-but
if thou be'st not an ass, I am a youth of fourteen; I have known
thee already.

HELENA

[To BERTRAM] I dare not say I take you; but I give
Me and my service, ever whilst I live,
Into your guiding power. This is the man.

KING
Why, then, young Bertram, take her; she's thy wife.

BERTRAM
My wife, my liege! I shall beseech your Highness,
In such a business give me leave to use
The help of mine own eyes.

KING
Know'st thou not, Bertram,
What she has done for me?

BERTRAM
Yes, my good lord;
But never hope to know why I should marry her.

KING
Thou know'st she has rais'd me from my sickly bed.

BERTRAM
But follows it, my lord, to bring me down
Must answer for your raising? I know her well:
She had her breeding at my father's charge.
A poor physician's daughter my wife! Disdain
Rather corrupt me ever!

KING
'Tis only title thou disdain'st in her, the which
I can build up. Strange is it that our bloods,
Of colour, weight, and heat, pour'd all together,
Would quite confound distinction, yet stand off
In differences so mighty. If she be
All that is virtuous-save what thou dislik'st,
A poor physician's daughter-thou dislik'st
Of virtue for the name; but do not so.
From lowest place when virtuous things proceed,
The place is dignified by the doer's deed;
Where great additions swell's, and virtue none,
It is a dropsied honour. Good alone
Is good without a name. Vileness is so:
The property by what it is should go,
Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair;
In these to nature she's immediate heir;
And these breed honour. That is honour's scorn
Which challenges itself as honour's born
And is not like the sire. Honours thrive
When rather from our acts we them derive
Than our fore-goers. The mere word's a slave,
Debauch'd on every tomb, on every grave
A lying trophy; and as oft is dumb
Where dust and damn'd oblivion is the tomb
Of honour'd bones indeed. What should be said?
If thou canst like this creature as a maid,
I can create the rest. Virtue and she
Is her own dower; honour and wealth from me.

BERTRAM
I cannot love her, nor will strive to do 't.

KING
Thou wrong'st thyself, if thou shouldst strive to choose.

HELENA
That you are well restor'd, my lord, I'm glad.
Let the rest go.

KING
My honour's at the stake; which to defeat,
I must produce my power. Here, take her hand,
Proud scornful boy, unworthy this good gift,
That dost in vile misprision shackle up
My love and her desert; that canst not dream
We, poising us in her defective scale,
Shall weigh thee to the beam; that wilt not know
It is in us to plant thine honour where
We please to have it grow. Check thy contempt;
Obey our will, which travails in thy good;
Believe not thy disdain, but presently
Do thine own fortunes that obedient right
Which both thy duty owes and our power claims;
Or I will throw thee from my care for ever
Into the staggers and the careless lapse
Of youth and ignorance; both my revenge and hate
Loosing upon thee in the name of justice,
Without all terms of pity. Speak; thine answer.

BERTRAM
Pardon, my gracious lord; for I submit
My fancy to your eyes. When I consider
What great creation and what dole of honour
Flies where you bid it, I find that she which late
Was in my nobler thoughts most base is now
The praised of the King; who, so ennobled,
Is as 'twere born so.

KING
Take her by the hand,
And tell her she is thine; to whom I promise
A counterpoise, if not to thy estate
A balance more replete.

BERTRAM
I take her hand.

KING
Good fortune and the favour of the King
Smile upon this contract; whose ceremony
Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief,
And be perform'd to-night. The solemn feast
Shall more attend upon the coming space,
Expecting absent friends. As thou lov'st her,
Thy love's to me religious; else, does err.

Exeunt all but LAFEU and PAROLLES who stay behind, commenting of this wedding

LAFEU
Do you hear, monsieur? A word with you.

PAROLLES
Your pleasure, sir?

LAFEU
Your lord and master did well to make his recantation.

PAROLLES
Recantation! My Lord! my master!

LAFEU
Ay; is it not a language I speak?

PAROLLES
A most harsh one, and not to be understood without bloody
succeeding. My master!

LAFEU
Are you companion to the Count Rousillon?

PAROLLES
To any count; to all counts; to what is man.

LAFEU
To what is count's man: count's master is of another style.

PAROLLES
You are too old, sir; let it satisfy you, you are too
old.

LAFEU
I must tell thee, sirrah, I write man; to which title age
cannot bring thee.

PAROLLES
What I dare too well do, I dare not do.

LAFEU
I did think thee, for two ordinaries, to be a pretty wise
fellow; thou didst make tolerable vent of thy travel; it might
pass. Yet the scarfs and the bannerets about thee did manifoldly
dissuade me from believing thee a vessel of too great a burden. I
have now found thee; when I lose thee again I care not; yet art
thou good for nothing but taking up; and that thou'rt scarce
worth.

PAROLLES
Hadst thou not the privilege of antiquity upon thee-

LAFEU
Do not plunge thyself too far in anger, lest thou hasten thy
trial; which if-Lord have mercy on thee for a hen! So, my good
window of lattice, fare thee well; thy casement I need not open,
for I look through thee. Give me thy hand.

PAROLLES
My lord, you give me most egregious indignity.

LAFEU
Ay, with all my heart; and thou art worthy of it.

PAROLLES
I have not, my lord, deserv'd it.

LAFEU
Yes, good faith, ev'ry dram of it; and I will not bate thee
a scruple.

PAROLLES
Well, I shall be wiser.

LAFEU
Ev'n as soon as thou canst, for thou hast to pull at a smack
o' th' contrary. If ever thou be'st bound in thy scarf and
beaten, thou shalt find what it is to be proud of thy bondage. I
have a desire to hold my acquaintance with thee, or rather my
knowledge, that I may say in the default 'He is a man I know.'

PAROLLES
My lord, you do me most insupportable vexation.

LAFEU
I would it were hell pains for thy sake, and my poor doing
eternal; for doing I am past, as I will by thee, in what motion
age will give me leave.

Exit

PAROLLES
Well, thou hast a son shall take this disgrace off me:
scurvy, old, filthy, scurvy lord! Well, I must be patient; there
is no fettering of authority. I'll beat him, by my life, if I can
meet him with any convenience, an he were double and double a
lord. I'll have no more pity of his age than I would have of-
I'll beat him, and if I could but meet him again.

Re-enter LAFEU

LAFEU
Sirrah, your lord and master's married; there's news for
you; you have a new mistress.

PAROLLES
I most unfeignedly beseech your lordship to make some
reservation of your wrongs. He is my good lord: whom I serve
above is my master.

LAFEU
Who? God?

PAROLLES
Ay, sir.

LAFEU
The devil it is that's thy master. Why dost thou garter up
thy arms o' this fashion? Dost make hose of thy sleeves? Do other
servants so? Thou wert best set thy lower part where thy nose
stands. By mine honour, if I were but two hours younger, I'd beat
thee. Methink'st thou art a general offence, and every man should
beat thee. I think thou wast created for men to breathe
themselves upon thee.

PAROLLES
This is hard and undeserved measure, my lord.

LAFEU
Go to, sir; you were beaten in Italy for picking a kernel
out of a pomegranate; you are a vagabond, and no true traveller;
you are more saucy with lords and honourable personages than the
commission of your birth and virtue gives you heraldry. You are
not worth another word, else I'd call you knave. I leave you.

Exit

Enter BERTRAM

PAROLLES
Good, very, good, it is so then. Good, very good; let it
be conceal'd awhile.

BERTRAM
Undone, and forfeited to cares for ever!

PAROLLES
What's the matter, sweetheart?

BERTRAM
Although before the solemn priest I have sworn,
I will not bed her.

PAROLLES
What, what, sweetheart?

BERTRAM
O my Parolles, they have married me!
I'll to the Tuscan wars, and never bed her.

PAROLLES
France is a dog-hole, and it no more merits
The tread of a man's foot. To th' wars!

BERTRAM
There's letters from my mother; what th' import is I know
not yet.

PAROLLES
Ay, that would be known. To th' wars, my boy, to th'
wars!
He wears his honour in a box unseen
That hugs his kicky-wicky here at home,
Spending his manly marrow in her arms,
Which should sustain the bound and high curvet
Of Mars's fiery steed. To other regions!
France is a stable; we that dwell in't jades;
Therefore, to th' war!

BERTRAM
It shall be so; I'll send her to my house,
Acquaint my mother with my hate to her,
And wherefore I am fled; write to the King
That which I durst not speak. His present gift
Shall furnish me to those Italian fields
Where noble fellows strike. War is no strife
To the dark house and the detested wife.

PAROLLES
Will this capriccio hold in thee, art sure?

BERTRAM
Go with me to my chamber and advise me.
I'll send her straight away. To-morrow
I'll to the wars, she to her single sorrow.

PAROLLES
Why, these balls bound; there's noise in it. 'Tis hard:
A young man married is a man that's marr'd.
Therefore away, and leave her bravely; go.
The King has done you wrong; but, hush, 'tis so.

Exeunt