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My suit, as I do understand, you know,
And therefore know how far I may

Wid. I am her mother, sir, whose age and honour
Both suffer under this complaint we bring,
And both shall cease, without your remedy.
King. Come hither, count. Do you know these


be pitied.

Ber. My lord, I neither can, nor will deny

But that I know them. Do they charge me farther?
Dia. Why do you look so strange upon your wife?
Ber. She's none of mine, my lord.
If you shall marry,
You give away this hand, and that is mine;
You give away heaven's vows, and those are mine;
You give away myself, which is known mine;

For I by vow am so embodied yours,

That she which marries you must marry me;
Either both, or none.

Laf. [To BERTRAM.] Your reputation comes too
short for my daughter: you are no husband for her.
Ber. My lord, this is a fond and desperate creature,
Whom sometime I have laugh'd with. Let your high-


Lay a more noble thought upon mine honour,
Than for to think that I would sink it here.

King. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to


Till your deeds gain them: fairer prove your honour, Than in my thought it lies.

Good my lord,

Ask him upon his oath, if he does think
He had not my virginity.

King. What say'st thou to her?


She's impudent, my lord; And was a common gamester to the camp.

Dia. He does me wrong, my lord: if I were so, He might have bought me at a common price :

Do not believe him. O! behold this ring,
Whose high respect, and rich validity,
Did lack a parallel; yet, for all that,
He gave it to a commoner o' the camp,
If I be one.
Count. He blushes, and 'tis his1o:
Of six preceding ancestors, that gem
Conferr'd by testament to the sequent issue,
This is his wife:

Hath it been ow'd and worn.
That ring's a thousand proofs.


You saw one here in court could witness it.

Methought, you said,

Dia. I did, my lord, but loth am to produce
So bad an instrument: his name's Parolles.
Laf. I saw the man to-day, if man he be.
King. Find him, and bring him hither.

What of him?

He's quoted for a most perfidious slave,
With all the spots o' the world tax'd and debauch'd,
Whose nature sickens but to speak a truth.

Am I or that, or this, for what he'll utter,

That will speak any thing?


She hath that ring of
Ber. I think, she has certain it is, I lik'd her,
And boarded her i' the wanton way of youth.
She knew her distance, and did angle for me,
Madding my eagerness with her restraint,
As all impediments in fancy's course
Are motives of more fancy; and, in fine,
Her insuit coming with her modern grace',
Subdued me to her rate: she got the ring,


10 He blushes, and 'tis HIS :] The old folios have hit, instead of his. Malone reads, "He blushes, and 'tis it;" but the error lies in the last not in the first letter of hit, t having been substituted for s. The countess of course means that the ring is the property of Bertram.

1 Her INSUIT coming with her MODERN grace,] i. e. with her common beauty, or beauty that was common. frequent in Shakespeare.

Her solicitation joining
This sense of modern is

And I had that, which any inferior might2
At market-price have bought.


I must be patient:
You, that have turn'd off a first so noble wife,
May justly diet me3. I pray you yet,
(Since you lack virtue, I will lose a husband,)
Send for your ring; I will return it home,
And give me mine again.


I have it not.

King. What ring was yours, I pray you?


Sir, much like

The same upon your finger.

King. Know you this ring? this ring was his of


Dia. And this was it I gave him, being a-bed. King. The story then goes false, you threw it him Out of a casement.


I have spoke the truth.


Is this the man you speak of?



Ber. My lord, I do confess, the ring was hers.
King. You boggle shrewdly, every feather starts

Ay, my lord.

2 And I had that, which ANY inferior might] This line illustrates the worse than needlessness of the change made by Pope in a line in "Love's Labour's Lost," Vol. ii. p. 287 :—

"Why should I joy in any abortive birth ?"

Pope substituted an for any, because only one syllable was required for the tensyllable measure. The fact is, that in both these instances "any" being pronounced in the time of one syllable, the metre is perfect, and such as Shakespeare intended.

3 May justly DIET me.] The meaning, according to the explanation of Collins, seems to be, "You may justly make me fast, by depriving me (as Desdemona says) of the rites for which I love you." Steevens quotes "to fast like one that takes diet," from "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," A. ij. sc. 1, to show that to fast and to diet were used in some sort synonymously.

+ Enter Parolles.] In the old folios the entrance of Parolles is twice marked, here, and with the Widow and Diana. This is evidently the proper place for him to make his appearance.

King. Tell me, sirrah, but tell me true, I charge


Not fearing the displeasure of your master,
(Which, on your just proceeding, I'll keep off,)
By him, and by this woman here, what know you?

Par. So please your majesty, my master hath been an honourable gentleman: tricks he hath had in him, which gentlemen have.

King. Come, come; to the purpose. Did he love this woman?

Par. 'Faith, sir, he did love her; but how?

King. How, I pray you?

Par. He did love her, sir, as a gentleman loves a


King. How is that?

Par. He loved her, sir, and loved her not.

King. As thou art a knave, and no knave.—

What an equivocal companion is this!

Par. I am a poor man, and at your majesty's command.

Laf. He's a good drum, my lord, but a naughty


Dia. Do you know, he promised me marriage?
Par. 'Faith, I know more than I'll speak.

King. But wilt thou not speak all thou know'st?

Par. Yes, so please your majesty. I did go between them, as I said; but more than that, he loved her,for, indeed, he was mad for her, and talked of Satan, and of limbo, and of furies, and I know not what yet I was in that credit with them at that time, that I knew of their going to bed, and of other motions, as promising her marriage, and things that would derive me ill will to speak of: therefore, I will not speak what I know.

King. Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou


Say they are married. But thou art too fine

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In thy evidences; therefore, stand aside.—
This ring, you say, was yours?

Ay, my good lord.
King. Where did you buy it? or who gave it you?
Dia. It was not given me, nor I did not buy it.
King. Who lent it you?
King. Where did you find it then?

It was not lent me neither.

I found it not.

King. If it were yours by none of all these ways, How could you give it him?


I never gave it him. Laf. This woman's an easy glove, my lord: she goes off and on at pleasure.

King. This ring was mine: I gave it his first wife. Dia. It might be yours, or hers, for aught I know. King. Take her away: I do not like her now. To prison with her; and away with him.Unless thou tell'st me where thou had'st this ring, Thou diest within this hour.


I'll never tell you.

King. Take her away.
I'll put in bail, my liege.
King. I think thee now some common customer.
Dia. By Jove, if ever I knew man, 'twas you.

King. Wherefore hast thou accus'd him all this


Dia. Because he's guilty, and he is not guilty.
He knows I am no maid, and he'll swear to't:
I'll swear I am a maid, and he knows not.
Great king, I am no strumpet, by my life!
I am either maid, or else this old man's wife.

[Pointing to LAFEU.

5 But thou art TOO FINE in thy evidence ;] i. e. Too full of finesse; too artful. Malone needlessly cites several instances.

6 This ring, you say, was yours?] This speech is clearly metrical, though printed as prose in all the editions, ancient and modern. The King invariably uses blank-verse.

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