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date of its composition in 1606, and observes that a beautiful speech of the sick king has much the air of that moral and judicious reflection that accompanies an advanced period of life.
let me not live
It appears probable that the original title of this play was ‘Love's Labours Wonne:' at least a piece under that title is mentioned by Meres in his “Wits Treasurie,' 1598; but if this was the play referred to, what becomes of Malone's hypothesis relating to the date of its composition ?
King of France.
tram in the Florentine war. Steward,
Servants to the Countess of Rousillon.
MORENTA} Neighbours and Friends to the Widow.
&c. French and Florentine.
SCENE, partly in France, and partly in Tuscany.
* Steevens says that we should write Lefeu and Paroles.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
SCENE I. Rousillon.
A Room in the Countess's Palace.
Enter BertRAM, the Countess of Rousillon,
Countess. In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.
Ber. And I, in going, madam, weep o'er my father's death anew : but I must attend his majesty's command, to whom I am now in ward', evermore in subjection.
Laf. You shall find of the king a husband, madam;-you, sir, a father: He that so generally is at all times good, must of necessity hold his virtue to you; whose worthiness would stir it up where it wanted, rather than lack it where there is such abundance.
Count. What hope is there of his majesty's amendment?
Laf. He hath abandoned his physicians, madam; under whose practises he hath persecuted time with
| The heirs of great fortunes were formerly the king's wards. This prerogative was a branch of the fendal law.
hope; and finds no other advantage in the process but only the losing of hope by time.
Count. This young gentlewoman had a father (O, that had! how sad a passage? 'tis !) whose skill was almost as great as his honesty; had it stretched 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 called 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 lived 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.
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
2 In the Heautontimorumenos of Terence, which had been translated in Shakspeare's time, is the following passage:
Filium unicum adolescentulum
She is not mine, I have no daughter now.
That I should say I had thence comes the grief.' The countess remembers her own loss, and hence her sympathy. Passage is occurrence, circumstance.
unclean mind carries virtuous qualities 3, 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 tears. Count. Tis the best brine a maiden can season
4 her praise in. The remembrance of her father never approaches her heart, but the tyranny of her sorrows takes all livelihood 5 from her cheek. No more of this, Helena, go to, no more; lest it be rather thought you affect a sorrow, than to have 6.
Hel. I do affect a sorrow, indeed, but I have it too7.
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 8.
Ber. Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
3 We feel regret even in commending such qualities, joined with an evil disposition; they are traitors, because they give the possessors power over others; who, admiring such estimable qualities, are often betrayed by the malevolence of the posses
Helena's virtues are the better because they are artless
* So in Chapman's version of the third Iliad:
• Season'd her tears her joys to see,' &c. 5 All appearance of life.
6 This kind of phraseology was not peculiar to Shakspeare, though it appears uncouth to us: it is plain that he meant-lest it be rather thought you affect a sorrow than have it.'
? Helena's affected sorrow was for the death of her father; her real grief related to Bertram and his departure.
8 That is, 'if the living do not indulge grief, grief destroys itself by its own excess.' So in the Winter's Tale:
scarce any joy