Enter the Countess and the Clown
It hath happened all as I would have had it,
save that he comes not along with her.
By my troth, I take my young lord to be a very
By what observance, I pray you?
Why, he will look upon his boot and sing, mend
the ruff and sing, ask questions and sing, pick his teeth
and sing. I knew a man that had this trick of melancholy
hold a goodly manor for a song.
Let me see what he writes, and when he
means to come.
She opens the letter
I have no mind to Isbel since I was at court. Our
old lings and our Isbels o'th' country are nothing like
your old ling and your Isbels o'th' court. The brains of
my Cupid's knocked out, and I begin to love as an old
man loves money, with no stomach.
What have we here?
E'en that you have there.
(reading the letter aloud)
I have sent you a
daughter-in-law; she hath recovered the King and undone
me. I have wedded her, not bedded her, and sworn to make
the ‘ not ’ eternal. You shall hear I am run away; know it
before the report come. If there be breadth enough in the
world I will hold a long distance. My duty to you.
Your unfortunate son,
This is not well, rash and unbridled boy,
To fly the favours of so good a King,
To pluck his indignation on thy head
By the misprizing of a maid too virtuous
For the contempt of empire.
O madam, yonder is heavy news within, between
two soldiers and my young lady.
What is the matter?
Nay, there is some comfort in the news, some
comfort: your son will not be killed so soon as I thought
Why should he be killed?
So say I, madam, if he run away, as I hear he
does. The danger is in standing to't; that's the loss of
men, though it be the getting of children. Here they
come will tell you more. For my part, I only hear your
son was run away.
Enter Helena and the two French Lords
Save you, good madam.
Madam, my lord is gone, for ever gone.
Do not say so.
Think upon patience. Pray you, gentlemen –
I have felt so many quirks of joy and grief
That the first face of neither on the start
Can woman me unto't. Where is my son, I pray you?
Madam, he's gone to serve the Duke of Florence.
We met him thitherward, for thence we came,
And, after some dispatch in hand at court,
Thither we bend again.
Look on his letter, madam: here's my passport.
passport (n.) 2
licence given to an inmate of an institution to travel abroad as a beggar
(She reads the letter aloud)
When thou canst get the ring upon my finger, which never
shall come off, and show me a child begotten of thy body
that I am father to, then call me husband; but in such a
‘ then ’ I write a ‘ never.’
This is a dreadful sentence.
Brought you this letter, gentlemen?
Ay, madam, and for the contents' sake are
sorry for our pains.
I prithee, lady, have a better cheer.
If thou engrossest all the griefs are thine
Thou robbest me of a moiety. He was my son,
But I do wash his name out of my blood
And thou art all my child. Towards Florence is he?
And to be a soldier?
Such is his noble purpose; and, believe't,
The Duke will lay upon him all the honour
That good convenience claims.
Return you thither?
Ay, madam, with the swiftest wing of speed.
Till I have no wife I have nothing in France.
Find you that there?
'Tis but the boldness of his hand, haply,
which his heart was not consenting to.
Nothing in France until he have no wife!
There's nothing here that is too good for him
But only she, and she deserves a lord
That twenty such rude boys might tend upon
And call her, hourly, mistress. Who was with him?
A servant only, and a gentleman which I
have sometime known.
Parolles, was it not?
Ay, my good lady, he.
A very tainted fellow, and full of wickedness.
My son corrupts a well-derived nature
With his inducement.
Indeed, good lady,
The fellow has a deal of that too much
Which holds him much to have.
Y'are welcome, gentlemen.
I will entreat you, when you see my son,
To tell him that his sword can never win
The honour that he loses. More I'll entreat you
Written to bear along.
We serve you, madam,
In that and all your worthiest affairs.
Not so, but as we change our courtesies.
Will you draw near?
Exeunt the Countess and the Lords
‘ Till I have no wife I have nothing in France.’
Nothing in France until he has no wife!
Thou shalt have none, Rossillion, none in France,
Then hast thou all again. Poor lord, is't I
That chase thee from thy country, and expose
Those tender limbs of thine to the event
Of the none-sparing war? And is it I
That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou
Wast shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark
Of smoky muskets? O you leaden messengers,
That ride upon the violent speed of fire,
Fly with false aim, move the still-piecing air
That sings with piercing; do not touch my lord.
Whoever shoots at him, I set him there.
Whoever charges on his forward breast,
I am the caitiff that do hold him to't;
[sympathetic or contemptuous] miserable wretch, wretched creature
And though I kill him not, I am the cause
His death was so effected. Better 'twere
I met the ravin lion when he roared
With sharp constraint of hunger; better 'twere
That all the miseries which nature owes
Were mine at once. No, come thou home, Rossillion,
Whence honour but of danger wins a scar,
As oft it loses all. I will be gone;
My being here it is that holds thee hence.
Shall I stay here to do't? No, no, although
The air of paradise did fan the house
And angels officed all. I will be gone,
That pitiful rumour may report my flight
To consolate thine ear. Come, night; end, day!
For with the dark, poor thief, I'll steal away.