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Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever ;
Make choice; and, see, Who shuns thy love, shuns all his love in me.
Hel. Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly;
1 Lord. And grant it.
Thanks, sir, all the rest is mute 13. Laf. I had rather be in this choice, than throw ames-ace 14 for my life.
Hel. The honour, sir, that flames in your fair eyes,
2 Lord. No better, if you please.
My wish receive, Which great love grant! and so I take my leave.
Laf. Do all, they deny her 15? An they were sons of mine, I'd have them whipped; or I would send them to the Turk, to make eunuchs of. Hel. Be not afraid [To a Lord] that I your hand
12 • My blushes (says Helen) thus whisper me-We blush that thou shouldst have the nomination of thy husband. How. ever, choose him at thy peril; but if thou be refused, let thy cheeks be for ever pale; we will never revisit them again. Be refused means the same as “thou being refused ;'or, be thou refused. The white death is the paleness of death.
13 i. e. 'I have no more to say to you. So Hamlet,' the rest is silence.
14 The lowest chance of the dice.
15 The scene must be so regulated that Lafeu and Parolles talk at a distance, where they may see what passes between Helena and the Lords, but not hear it, so that they know not by whom the refusal is made.
Laf. These boys are boys of ice, they'll none have her: sure, they are bastards to the English; the French ne'er got them.
Hel. You are too young, too happy, and too good, To make yourself a son out of my blood.
4 Lord. Fair one, I think not so.
Laf. There's one grape yet, -I am sure, thy father drank wine.—But if thou be'st not an ass, I am a youth of fourteen; I have known thee already. Hel. I dare not say, I take you; [To BERTRAM]
but I give Me, and my service, ever whilst I live, Into your guiding power.—This is the man. King. Why then, young Bertram, take her, she's
Know'st thou not, Bertram,
Yes, my good lord; But never hope to know why I should marry her. King. Thou know'st she has rais’d me from my
16 i. e. the want of title.
All that is virtuous (save what thou dislik’st,
Ber. I cannot love her, nor will strive to do't.
strive to choose.
glad; Let the rest go.
18 Good is good, independent of any worldly distinction; and so vileness would be ever vile, did not rank, power, and fortune screen it from opprobrium.
19 i. e. the child of honour.
King. My honour's at the stake; which to defeat 21, I must produce my power: Here, take her hand, Proud scornful boy, unworthy this good gift; That dost in vile misprision shackle up My love, and her desert; that canst not dream, We, poizing us in her defective scale, Shall weigh thee to the beam: that wilt not know, It is in us to plant thine honour, where We please to have it grow: Check thy contempt: Obey our will, which travails in thy good: Believe not thy disdain, but presently Do thine own fortunes that obedient right. Which both thy duty owes, and our power claims; Or I will throw thee from my care for ever, Into the staggers 22 and the careless lapse Of youth and ignorance; both my revenge and hate, Loosing upon thee in the name of justice, Without all terms of pity: Speak; thine answer.
Ber. Pardon, my gracious lord; for I submit My fancy to your eyes: When I consider, What great creation, and what dole 23 of honour, Flies where you bid it, I find, that she, which late Was in my nobler thoughts most base, is now
21 The implication or clause of the sentence (as the grammarians say) here serves for the antecedent, which danger to defeat.' So in Othello:
" She dying gave it me,
To give it her. i. e. to my wife, though not mentioned before bat by implication.
22 The commentators here kindly inform us that the staygers is a violent disease in horses; but the word in the text has no relation, even metaphorically, to it. The reeling and unsteady course of a drunken or sick man is meant. Shakspeare has the same expression in Cymbeline, where Posthumus says:
Whence come these staggers on me?' 23 i, e. portion.
The praised of the king; who, so ennobled,
Take her by the hand,
I take her hand.
and Attendants. Laf. Do you hear, monsieur? a word with you. Par. Your pleasure, sir?
Laf. Your lord and master did well to make his recantation.
Par. Recantation? My lord? my master?
Par. A most harsh one; and not to be understood without bloody succeeding. My master?
Laf. Are you companion to the count Rousillon? Par. To any count; to all counts; to what is man.
Laf. To what is count's man: count's master is of another style.
24 Shakspeare uses expedient and expediently in the sense of expeditiously: and brief in the sense of a short note or intimation concerning any business, and sometimes without the idea of writing. So in the last act of this play, 'She told me in a sweet verbal brief,' &c. The meaning therefore appears to be. "The ceremonial part of this contract shall immediately pass,--shall follow close upon the troth now briefly plighted between the parties, and be performed this night; the solemn feast shall be delayed to a future time.