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The laft that e'er fhe took her leave at court,

I faw upon her finger.

Ber. Her's it was not.

King. Now, pray you, let me see it: For mine eye, While I was speaking, oft was faften'd to❜t.

This ring was mine; and, when I gave it Helen,
I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood

Neceffity'd to help, that by this token

I would relieve her. Had you that craft to reave her Of what should stead her moft?

Ber. My gracious fovereign, Howe'er it pleases you to take it so, The ring was never her's.

Count. Son, on my life,

I have feen her wear it; and fhe reckon'd it
At her life's rate.

Laf. I am fure, I saw her wear it.

Ber. You are deceiv'd, my lord, fhe never faw it? In Florence was it from a cafement thrown me3, Wrap'd in a paper, which contain'd the name Of her that threw it: Noble fhe was, and thought I ftood engag'd; but when I had fubfcrib'd

3 In Florence was it from a cafement]

Bertram ftill continues to have too little virtue to deserve Helen. He did not know indeed that it was Helen's ring, but he knew that he had it not from a window. JOHNSON.

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I don't understand this reading; if we are to understand, that the thought Bertram engag'd to her in affection, infnared by her charms, this meaning is too obfcurely exprefs'd. The context rather makes me believe, that the poet wrote,

noble fhe was, and thought

I ftood ungag'd ;

i. e. unengag'd: neither my heart, nor perfon, difpos'd of.


The plain meaning is, when the faw me receive the ring, the thought me engaged to her. JOHNSON.


To mine own fortune, and inform'd her fully,
I could not answer in that course of honour
As fhe had made the overture, fhe ceas'd
In heavy fatisfaction, and would never
Receive the ring again.

King. Plutus himself,

That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine',
Hath not in nature's mystery more science,

Than I have in this ring. 'Twas mine, 'twas Helen's,
Whoever gave it you: Then, if you know,
That you are well acquainted with yourself,
Confefs 'twas hers, and by what rough enforcement
You got it from her. She call'd the faints to furety,
That she would never put it from her finger,
Unless she gave it to yourself in bed,

(Where you have never come) or fent it us
Upon her great difaster.

Ber. She never faw it.

King. Thou speak'ft it falfely, as I love mine honour, And mak'ft conjectural fears to come into me, Which I would fain fhut out: If it fhould prove

5 King. Plutus himflf,

That knows the tinet and multiplying medicine,]

Plutus the grand alchemift, who knows the tnture which confers the properties of gold upon bafe metals, and the matter by which gold is multiplied, by which a fmall quantity of gold is made to communicate its qualities to a large mafs of metal.

In the reign of Henry the fourth a law was made to forbid all men thenceforth to multiply gold, or use any craft of multiplication. Of which law Mr. Boyle, when he was warm with the hope of tranfmutation, procured a repeal. JOHNSON.

6 Then if you know,

That you are well acquainted with yourself,]

i. e. then if you be wife. A ftrange way of expreffing so trivial a thought! WARBURTON.

The true meaning of this range expreffion is, If you know that your faculties are fo found, as that you have the proper consciousness of your own actions, and are able to recollect and relate what you have done, tell me, &c. JOHNSON.




That thou art fo inhuman,-'twill not prove fo ;-
And yet I know not :--thou didft hate her deadly,
And he is dead; which nothing, but to clofe
Her eyes myself, could win me to believe,
More than to fee this ring. Take him away,

[Guards feize Bertram. My fore-paft proofs, howe'er the matter fall",

Shall tax my fears of little vanity,

Having vainly fear'd too little.-Away with him ;— We'll fift this matter further.

Ber. If you fhall prove,

This ring was ever hers, you fhall as eafy

Prove that I hufbanded her bed in Florence,
Where yet she never was.

[Exit Bertram guarded.

Enter a Gentleman.

King. I am wrap'd in dismal thinkings.
Gent. Gracious fovereign,

Whether I have been to blame, or no, I know not:

Here's a petition from a Florentine,

Who hath, fome four or five removes, come short
To tender it herfelf. I undertook it,
Vanquish'd thereto by the fair grace and speech

7 My fore paft proofs, bowe'er the matter fall,
Shall tax my fears of little vanity,

Having vainly fear'd too little.-]

The proofs which I have already had, are fufficient to fhew that my fears were not vain and irrational. I have rather been hitherto more eafy than I ought, and have unreasonably had toe little fear. JOHNSON.

8 Who hath FOR four or five removes come fhort】

We should read,

Who hath SOME four or five removes come short.

So in king Lear,

For that I am SOME tavelve or fourteen moonfbines
Lag of a brother,-

Removes are journies or poft-ftages. JOHNSON,


Of the poor fuppliant, who by this, I know,
Is here attending: her bufinefs looks in her
With an importing vifage; and fhe told me,
In a fweet verbal brief, it did concern
Your highness with herself.

The King reads a letter.

Upon his many proteftations to marry me, when his wife was dead, I blush to say it, he won me. Now is the count Roufillon a widower, his vows are forfeited to me, and my bonour's paid to him. He ftole from Florence, taking no leave, and I follow him to this country for justice: Grant it me, O King; in you it best lies; otherwife a feducer flourishes, and a poor maid is undone. DIANA CAPULET.

Laf. I will buy me a fon-in-law in a fair, and toll for this.

I'll none of him.

King. The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafeu, To bring forth this difcovery.-Seek thefe fuitors: Go, fpeedily, and bring again the count.

Enter Bertram, guarded.

I am afraid, the life of Helen, (lady)
Was fouly fnatch'd.

Count. Now, juftice on the doers!

King. I wonder, fir, wives are fo monstrous to you; And that you fly them as you fwear to them; you defire to marry. What woman's that?


Enter Widow and Diana.

Dia. I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine,
Derived from the ancient Capulet;

My fuit, as I do understand, you know,
And therefore know how far I may be pitied.

Wid. I am her mother, fir, whofe age and honour Both fuffer under this complaint we bring,

K z


And both fhall cease, without your remedy.

King. Come hither, count; do you know thefe wo


Ber. My lord, I neither can, nor will, deny But that I know them: Do they charge me further? Dia. Why do you look fo ftrange upon your wife? Ber. She's none of mine, my lord.

Dia. If you fhall marry,

You give away this hand, and that is mine;
You give away heaven's vows, and those are mine,
You give away myfelf, which is known mine;
For I by vow am fo embodied yours,

That fhe, which marries you, must marry me,
Either both, or none.

Laf. Your reputation comes too fhort for my daughter, you are no hufband for her. [To Bertram.

Ber. My lord, this is a fond and defperate creature, Whom fometime I have laugh'd with: let your highnefs

Lay a more noble thought upon mine honour,
Than for to think that I would fink it here.

King. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend,

'Till your deeds gain them: Fairer prove your honour, Than in my thought it lies!

Dia. Good my lord,

Afk him upon his oath, if he does think

He had not my virginity.

King. What fay'st thou to her?

Ber. She's impudent, my lord;

And was a common gamefter to the camp.

Dia. He does me wrong, my lord, if I were so, He might have bought me at a common price. Do not believe him. O, behold this ring,

9fhall ceafe,] i. e. deceafe, die. So in king Lear"Fall and ceafe." I think the word is used in the fame fenfe in another scene of this comedy. STEEVENS,


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