Hel. Mine honourable mistress.

Nay, a mother;
Why. not a mother? When I said, a mother,
Methought you saw a serpent: What's in mother,
That you start at it? I say, I am your mother;
And put you in the catalogue of those
That were enwombed mine: 'Tis often seen
Adoption strives with nature: and choice breeds
A native slip to us from foreign seeds :
You ne'er oppress'd me with a mother's groan,
Yet I express to you a mother's care:-
God's mercy, maiden! does it curd thy blood,

I am thy mother? What's the matter,
That this distemper'd messenger of wet,
The many-colour'd Iris, rounds thine eye 18 ?

—that you are my daughter? Hel.

That I am not. Count. I



am your mother. Hel.

Pardon, madam; The count Rousillon cannot be


I am from humble, he from honour'd name;
No note upon my parents, his all noble:
My master, my dear lord he is; and I
His servant live, and will his vassal die:
He must not be


brother. Count.

Nor I

your mother? Hel. You are my mother,madam; 'Would, you were (So that my lord, your son, were not my brother,) Indeed, my mother!—or were you both our mothers,

18 There is something exquisitely beautiful in this representation of that suffusion of colours which glimmers around the sight when eyelashes are wet with tears. The poet has described the same appearance in his Rape of Lucrece :-

. And round about her tear-distained eye
Blae circles stream'd like rainbows in the sky.'

To say:

I care no more for 19, than I do for heaven,
So I were not his sister: Can't no other 20,
But, I your daughter, he must be my brother?
Count. Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-

in-law; God shield, you mean it not! daughter, and mother, So strive 21

upon your pulse: What, pale again?
My fear hath catch'd your fondness: Now I see
The mystery of your loneliness, and find
Your salt tears' head 23. Now to all sense 'tis gross,
You love my son; invention is asham'd,
Against the proclamation of thy passion,

thou dost not: therefore tell me true :
But tell me then, 'tis so:—for, look, thy cheeks
Confess it, one to the other: and thine eyes
See it so grossly shown in thy behaviours,
That in their kind 24 they speak it: only sin
And hellish obstinacy tie thy tongue,
That truth should be suspected: Speak, is't so?
If it be so, you have wound a goodly clue;
If it be not, forswear't: howe'er, I charge thee,
As heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
To tell me truly.

Good madam, pardon me!
Count. Do
you love my

son? Hel.

Your pardon, noble mistress! Count. Love you my son ?

20 i.e.

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19 There is a designed ambiguity, i.e. I care as much for: I wish it equally.

can it be no other way, but if I be your daughter, he must be my brother?'

21 Contend.

22 The old copy reads loveliness. The emendation is Theobald's. It has been proposed to read lowliness.

23 The source, the cause of your grief.
24 In their language, according to their nature.


Do not

you love him, madam ?
Count. Go not about; my love hath in't a bond,
Whereof the world takes note: come, come, disclose
The state of your affection; for your passions
Have to the full appeach'd.

Then, I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high heaven,
I love your son :
My friends were poor, but honest; so's


love: Be not offended; for it hurts not him, That he is lov'd of me: I follow him not By any token of presumptuous suit; Nor would I have him, till I do deserve him; Yet never know how that desert should be. I know I love in vain, strive against hope; Yet, in this captious and intenible sieve, I still pour in the waters of my love, And lack not to lose still: thus, Indian-like, Religious in mine error, I adore The sun, that looks upon his worshipper, But knows of him no more. My dearest madam, Let not your hate encounter with my


25 Johnson is perplexed about this word captious, ' which (says he) I never found in this sense, yet I cannot tell what to substitute, unless carious for rotten.' Farmer supposes captious to be a contraction of capacious! Steevens believes that captious meant recipient! capable of receiving! and intenible incapable of holding or retaining :-he rightly explains the latter word, which is printed in the old copy intemible by mistake.

The attempts of these learned commentators to guess at the meaning of the word are not so much a matter of surprise, as that none of them ever stumbled by accident upon its obvious sense, or discovered that the old common acceptation of it was the same as the Latin Captiosus, viz. captious, DECEITFUL. Any old Dictionary would have taught them this. See Cooper's Latin Dictionary, 1584; or Cotgrave in voce Captieux; or Florio in the word Captioso. It has also escaped Dr. Nares, and the diligent editor of Johnson's Dictionary.


For loving where you do: but, if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth 26,
Did ever, in so true a flame of liking,
Wish chastly, and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and love 27; 0 then, give pity
To her, whose state is such, that cannot choose
But lend and give, where she is sure to lose;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But, riddle-like, lives sweetly where she dies.

Count. Had you not lately an intent, speak truly, To to Paris ?

Hel. Madam, I had.

Wherefore? tell true.
Hel. I will tell truth; by grace itself, I swear.
You know, my father left me some prescriptions
Of rare and proved effects, such as his reading,
And manifest experience, had collected
For general sovereignty; and that he willid me
In heedfulest reservation to bestow them,
As notes, whose faculties inclusive were,
More than they were in note 28: amongst the rest,
There is a remedy, approv'd, set down,
To cure the desperate languishes, whereof
The king is render'd lost.

This was your motive For Paris, was it? speak.

Hel. My lord your son made me to think of this;

26 i.e. whose respectable conduct in age proves that you were no less virtuous when young.

27 Helena means to say—If ever you wished that the deity who presides over chastity, and the queen of amorous rites, were one and the same person, or, in other words, if ever you wished for the honest and lawful completion of your chaste desires.' Malone thinks the line should be thus read :

• Love dearly, and wish chastly, that your Dian,' &c. 28 Receipts in which greater virtues were enclosed than appeared to observation.

Else Paris, and the medicine, and the king,
Had, from the conversation of my thoughts,
Haply, been absent then.

But think you, Helen,
If you should tender your supposed aid,
He would receive it? He and his physicians
Are of a mind; he, that they cannot help him ;
They, that they cannot help: How shall they credit
A poor unlearned virgin, when the schools,
Embowell’d of their doctrine 29, have left off
The danger to itself?

There's something hints 30, More than


father's skill, which was the greatest
Of his profession, that his good receipt
Shall, for my legacy, be sanctified
By the luckiest stars in heaven: and, would your

But give me leave to try success, I'd venture
The well-lost life of mine on his grace's cure,
By such a day, and hour.

Dost thou believe't?
Hel. Ay, madam, knowingly.
Count. Why, Helen, thou shalt have my leave,

and love,
Means, and attendants, and my loving greetings
To those of mine in court; I'll stay at home,
And pray God's blessing into 31 thy attempt:
Be gone to-morrow; and be sure of this,
What I can help thee to, thou shalt not miss.

[Exeunt. 29 Exhausted of their skill. 30 The old copy reads---in't. The emendation is Hanmer's.

31 Into for unto. A common form of expression with old writers. See Troilus and Cressida, Act iii. Sc. 3, note 2. The third folio reads unto.

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