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Книга Alls Wel that ends Well. Страница 10

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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.

Re-enter CLOWN

CLOWN. O madam, yonder is heavy news within between two soldiers

and my young lady.

COUNTESS. What is the -matter?

CLOWN. Nay, there is some comfort in the news, some comfort; your

son will not be kill'd so soon as I thought he would. 

COUNTESS. Why should he be kill'd?

CLOWN. 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. Exit


SECOND GENTLEMAN. Save you, good madam.

HELENA. Madam, my lord is gone, for ever gone.

FIRST GENTLEMAN. Do not say so.

COUNTESS. 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?

FIRST GENTLEMAN. 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.

HELENA. Look on this letter, madam; here's my passport. 

[Reads] '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.

COUNTESS. Brought you this letter, gentlemen?


And for the contents' sake are sorry for our pains.

COUNTESS. I prithee, lady, have a better cheer;

If thou engrossest all the griefs are thine,

Thou robb'st 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?


COUNTESS. And to be a soldier?

FIRST GENTLEMAN. Such is his noble purpose; and, believe 't,

The Duke will lay upon him all the honour

That good convenience claims.

COUNTESS. Return you thither?

SECOND GENTLEMAN. Ay, madam, with the swiftest wing of speed. 

HELENA. [Reads] 'Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France.'

'Tis bitter.

COUNTESS. Find you that there?

HELENA. Ay, madam.

SECOND GENTLEMAN. 'Tis but the boldness of his hand haply, which

his heart was not consenting to.

COUNTESS. 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?

SECOND GENTLEMAN. A servant only, and a gentleman

Which I have sometime known.

COUNTESS. Parolles, was it not?

SECOND GENTLEMAN. Ay, my good lady, he.

COUNTESS. A very tainted fellow, and full of wickedness.

My son corrupts a well-derived nature

With his inducement.

SECOND GENTLEMAN. Indeed, good lady,

The fellow has a deal of that too much 

Which holds him much to have.

COUNTESS. 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.

FIRST GENTLEMAN. We serve you, madam,

In that and all your worthiest affairs.

COUNTESS. Not so, but as we change our courtesies.

Will you draw near? Exeunt COUNTESS and GENTLEMEN

HELENA. 'Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France.'

Nothing in France until he has no wife!

Thou shalt have none, Rousillon, none in France

Then hast thou all again. Poor lord! is't

That chase thee from thy country, and expose

Those tender limbs of thine to the event

Of the non-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;

And though I kill him not, I am the cause

His death was so effected. Better 'twere

I met the ravin lion when he roar'd

With sharp constraint of hunger; better 'twere

That all the miseries which nature owes

Were mine at once. No; come thou home, Rousillon,

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 offic'd 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. Exit


Florence. Before the DUKE's palace
drum and trumpets

DUKE. The General of our Horse thou art; and we,

Great in our hope, lay our best love and credence

Upon thy promising fortune.

BERTRAM. Sir, it is

A charge too heavy for my strength; but yet

We'll strive to bear it for your worthy sake

To th' extreme edge of hazard.

DUKE. Then go thou forth;

And Fortune play upon thy prosperous helm,

As thy auspicious mistress!

BERTRAM. This very day,

Great Mars, I put myself into thy file;

Make me but like my thoughts, and I shall prove

A lover of thy drum, hater of love. Exeunt


Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace

COUNTESS. Alas! and would you take the letter of her?

Might you not know she would do as she has done

By sending me a letter? Read it again.

STEWARD. [Reads] 'I am Saint Jaques' pilgrim, thither gone.

Ambitious love hath so in me offended

That barefoot plod I the cold ground upon,

With sainted vow my faults to have amended.

Write, write, that from the bloody course of war

My dearest master, your dear son, may hie.

Bless him at home in peace, whilst I from far

His name with zealous fervour sanctify.

His taken labours bid him me forgive;

I, his despiteful Juno, sent him forth

From courtly friends, with camping foes to live,

Where death and danger dogs the heels of worth.

He is too good and fair for death and me;

Whom I myself embrace to set him free.' 

COUNTESS. Ah, what sharp stings are in her mildest words!

Rinaldo, you did never lack advice so much

As letting her pass so; had I spoke with her,

I could have well diverted her intents,

Which thus she hath prevented.

STEWARD. Pardon me, madam;

If I had given you this at over-night,

She might have been o'er ta'en; and yet she writes

Pursuit would be but vain.

COUNTESS. What angel shall

Bless this unworthy husband? He cannot thrive,

Unless her prayers, whom heaven delights to hear

And loves to grant, reprieve him from the wrath

Of greatest justice. Write, write, Rinaldo,

To this unworthy husband of his wife;

Let every word weigh heavy of her worth

That he does weigh too light. My greatest grief,


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