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(O, that had! how sad a passage 'tis !) whose skill was almost as great as his honesty; had it stretch'd 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 disease.
Laf. How call'd you the man you speak of, madam?
Count. He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was his great right to be so: Gerard de Narbon.
Laf. He was excellent, indeed, madam; the king very lately spoke of him, admiringly, and mourningly he was skilful enough to have liv'd still, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.
Ber. What is it, my good lord, the king languishes of?
Laf. A fistula, my lord.
Ber. I heard not of it before.
Laf. I would, it were not notorious.-Was this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?
Count. 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 make 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.
Laf. Your commendations, madam, get from her
Count. "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.
Hel. I do affect a sorrow, indeed, but I have it too.
Laf. Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead, excessive grief the enemy to the living.
Count. If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it soon mortal.
Ber. Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
Laf. How understand we that?
Count. Be thou blest, 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 birth-right! Love all, trust a few, Do wrong to none: be able for thine enemy Rather in power, than use; and keep thy friend Under thy own life's key: be check'd for silence, But never tax'd for speech. What heaven more will,
That thee may furnish, and my prayers pluck down, Fall on thy head! Farewel.-My lord,
'Tis an unseason'd courtier; good my lord, Advise him.
That shall attend his love.
Count. Heaven bless him!-Farewel, Bertram. [Exit Countess. Ber. The best wishes, that can be forged in your
He cannot want the best
thoughts, [To Helena.] be servants to you! Be comfortable to my mother, your mistress, and make much of her.
Laf. Farewel, pretty lady: You must hold the credit of your father. [Exeunt Bertram and Lafeu. Hel. O, were that all!-I think not on my fa
And these great tears grace his remembrance more,
Of every line and trick of his sweet favour:
One that goes with him: I love him for his sake;
Think him a great way fool, solely a coward;
That they take place, when virtue's steely bones Look bleak in the cold wind: withal, full oft we see Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.
Par. Save you, fair queen.
Hel. And you, monárch.
Hel. And no,
Par. Are you meditating on virginity?
Hel. Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you; let me ask you a question: Man is enemy to vir, ginity; how may we barricado it against him?
Par. Keep him out.
Hel. But he assails; and our virginity, though valiant in the defence, yet is weak: unfold to us some warlike resistance.
Par. There is none; man, sitting down before you, will undermine you, and blow you up.
Hel. Bless our poor virginity from underminers, and blowers up!-Is there no military policy, how virgins might blow up men?
Par. 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 politick 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 metal 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 it.
Hel. I will stand for't a little, though therefore I die a virgin.
Par. 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, idle, made of self-love, which is the most inhibited sin in the canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but lose by't: Out with't: within ten years it will make itself ten, which is a goodly increase; and the principal itself not much the worse: Away with't.
Hel. How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own liking?
Par. 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 tooth-pick, which wear not now: Your date is better in your pye and your porridge, than in your cheek: And your virginity, your old virginity, is like one of our French wither'd pears; it looks ill, it eats dryly; marry, 'tis a wither'd pear; it was formerly better; marry,