Rossillion. The Count’s palace.
(Clown; Countess of Roussillion; Lafew)
Lafew and the Countess mourn for Helena, believing the rumor of her death. Lafew has received the consent of the King and of the Countess to marry his daughter to Bertram, now that Helena is (as they suppose) dead. (38 lines)
Enter Clown, old Lady Countess, and Lafew.
No, no, no, your son was misled with a snipt-taffata fellow there, whose villainous saffron would have made all the unbak’d and doughy youth of a nation in his color. Your daughter-in-law had been alive at this hour, and your son here at home, more advanc’d by the King than by that red-tail’d humble-bee I speak of.
I would I had not known him; it was the death of the most virtuous gentlewoman that ever nature had praise for creating. If she had partaken of my flesh, and cost me the dearest groans of a mother, I could not have ow’d her a more rooted love.
’Twas a good lady, ’twas a good lady. We may pick a thousand sallets ere we light on such another herb.
Indeed, sir, she was the sweet marjorom of the sallet, or rather the herb of grace.
They are not herbs, you knave, they are nose-herbs.
I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir, I have not much skill in grass.
Whether dost thou profess thyself—a knave or a fool?
A fool, sir, at a woman’s service, and a knave at a man’s.
I would cozen the man of his wife and do his service.
So you were a knave at his service indeed.
And I would give his wife my bauble, sir, to do her service.
I will subscribe for thee, thou art both knave and fool.
At your service.
No, no, no.
Why, sir, if I cannot serve you, I can serve as great a prince as you are.
Who’s that? A Frenchman?
Faith, sir, ’a has an English name, but his fisnomy is more hotter in France than there.
What prince is that?
The black prince, sir, alias the prince of darkness, alias the devil.
Hold thee, there’s my purse. I give thee not this to suggest thee from thy master thou talk’st of; serve him still.
I am a woodland fellow, sir, that always lov’d a great fire, and the master I speak of ever keeps a good fire. But sure he is the prince of the world; let his nobility remain in ’s court. I am for the house with the narrow gate, which I take to be too little for pomp to enter. Some that humble themselves may, but the many will be too chill and tender, and they’ll be for the flow’ry way that leads to the broad gate and the great fire.
Go thy ways, I begin to be a-weary of thee, and I tell thee so before, because I would not fall out with thee. Go thy ways, let my horses be well look’d to, without any tricks.
If I put any tricks upon ’em, sir, they shall be jades’ tricks, which are their own right by the law of nature.
A shrewd knave and an unhappy.
So ’a is. My lord that’s gone made himself much sport out of him. By his authority he remains here, which he thinks is a patent for his sauciness, and indeed he has no pace, but runs where he will.
I like him well, ’tis not amiss. And I was about to tell you, since I heard of the good lady’s death, and that my lord your son was upon his return home, I mov’d the King my master to speak in the behalf of my daughter, which in the minority of them both, his Majesty, out of a self-gracious remembrance, did first propose. His Highness hath promis’d me to do it, and to stop up the displeasure he hath conceiv’d against your son, there is no fitter matter. How does your ladyship like it?
With very much content, my lord, and I wish it happily effected.
His Highness comes post from Marsellis, of as able body as when he number’d thirty. ’A will be here tomorrow, or I am deceiv’d by him that in such intelligence hath seldom fail’d.
It rejoices me, that I hope I shall see him ere I die. I have letters that my son will be here tonight. I shall beseech your lordship to remain with me till they meet together.
Madam, I was thinking with what manners I might safely be admitted.
You need but plead your honorable privilege.
Lady, of that I have made a bold charter, but I thank my God it holds yet.
O madam, yonder’s my lord your son with a patch of velvet on ’s face. Whether there be a scar under’t or no, the velvet knows, but ’tis a goodly patch of velvet. His left cheek is a cheek of two pile and a half, but his right cheek is worn bare.
A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good liv’ry of honor; so belike is that.
But it is your carbinado’d face.
Let us go see your son I pray you. I long to talk with the young noble soldier.
Faith, there’s a dozen of ’em, with delicate fine hats, and most courteous feathers, which bow the head, and nod at every man.