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Hel. What I can do, can do no hurt to try,
Since you set up your rest' 'gainst remedy.
He that of greatest works is finisher,
Oft does them by the weakest minister
So holy writ in babes hath judgment shown,


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When judges have been babes. Great floods have


From simple sources; and great seas have dried, When miracles have by the greatest been denied.Oft expectation fails, and most oft there

Where most it promises, and oft it hits,

Where hope is coldest, and despair most sits.

King. I must not hear thee; fare thee well, kind maid;

Thy pains, not used, must by thyself be paid.
Proffers, not took, reap thanks for their reward.
Hel. Inspired merit so by breath is barred.
It is not so with him that all things knows,
As 'tis with us that square our guess by shows;
But most it is presumption in us, when
The help of Heaven we count the act of men.
Dear sir, to my endeavors give consent;
Of Heaven, not me, make an experiment.
I am not an impostor, that proclaim
Myself against the level of mine aim;
But know I think, and think I know most sure,
My art is not past power, nor you past cure.
King. Art thou so confident? Within what
Hop'st thou my cure?




The greatest grace lending grace,1

Ere twice the horses of the sun shall bring

Their fiery torcher his diurnal ring;

Ere twice in murk and occidental damp

Moist Hesperus hath quenched his sleepy lamp;

1 i. e. "Since you have determined or made up your mind that there is no remedy."

2 An allusion to Daniel judging the two elders.

3 I am not an impostor, that proclaim one thing and design another,

that proclaim a cure and aim at a fraud. I think what I speak.

4 ie. the divine grace, lending me grace or power to accomplish it.

Or four-and-twenty times the pilot's glass
Hath told the thievish minutes how they pass;
What is infirm from your sound parts shall fly,
Health shall live free, and sickness freely die.
King. Upon thy certainty and confidence,
What dar'st thou venture?


Tax of impudence,—

A strumpet's boldness, a divulged shame,-
Traduced by odious ballads; my maiden's name
Seared otherwise; ne worse of worst extended,
With vilest torture let my life be ended.1

King. Methinks in thee some blessed spirit doth speak;

His powerful sound within an organ weak;
And what impossibility would slay

In common sense, sense saves another
Thy life is dear; for all, that life can rate
Worth name of life, in thee hath estimate;
Youth, beauty, wisdom, courage, virtue, all
That happiness and prime can happy call.
Thou this to hazard, needs must intimate
Skill infinite, or monstrous desperate.
Sweet practiser, thy physic I will try;
That ministers thine own death, if I die.
Hel. If I break time, or flinch in property

Of what I spoke, unpitied let me die


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And well deserved. Not helping, death's my fee;
But, if I help, what do you promise me?

King. Make thy demand.


But will you make it even? King. Ay, by my sceptre, and my hopes of help.3 Hel. Then shalt thou give me, with thy kingly hand, What husband in thy power I will command.

Let me be stigmatized as a strumpet, and, in addition (although that could not be worse, or a more extended evil than what I have mentioned, the loss of my honor, which is the worst that could happen), let me die with torture. Ne is nor.

? Property seems to be used here for performance or achievement, singular as it may seem.

3 Thirlby proposes to read hopes of heaven.

Exempted be from me the arrogance

To choose from forth the royal blood of France;
My low and humble name to propagate
With any
branch or impage of thy state;
But such a one, thy vassal, whom I know

Is free for me to ask, thee to bestow.


King. Here is my hand; the premises observed, Thy will by my performance shall be served ; So make the choice of thy own time; for I, Thy resolved patient, on thee still rely. More should I question thee, and more I must; Though more to know, could not be more to trust, From whence thou cam'st, how tended on, but rest Unquestioned welcome, and undoubted blessed.— Give me some help here, ho!-If thou proceed As high as word, my deed shall match thy deed.

[Flourish. Exeunt.

SCENE II. Rousillon. A Room in the Countess's


Enter Countess and Clown.

Count. Come on, sir; I shall now put you to the height of your breeding.

Clo. I will show myself highly fed and lowly taught. I know my business is but to the court.

Count. To the court! why, what place make you special, when you put off that with such contempt? But to the court!

Clo. Truly, madam, if God have lent a man any manners, he may easily put it off at court. He that cannot make a leg, put off's cap, kiss his hand, and say nothing, has neither leg, hands, lip, nor cap; and, indeed, such a fellow, to say precisely, were not for

1 The old copy reads "image of thy state." Warburton proposed impage, which Steevens rejects, saying, unadvisedly, "there is no such word.” It is evident that Shakspeare formed it from "an impe, a scion, or young slip of a tree."

the court: but, for me, I have an answer will serve all men.

Count. Marry, that's a bountiful answer, that fits all questions.

Clo. It is like a barber's chair, that fits all buttocks ; the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn-buttock, or any buttock.

Count. Will your answer serve fit to all questions? Clo. As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney, as your French crown for your taffeta punk, as Tib's rush for Tom's fore-finger,1 as a pancake for Shrove-Tuesday, a morris for May-day, as the nail to his hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a scolding quean to a wrangling knave, as the nun's lip to the friar's mouth; nay, as the pudding to his skin.

Count. Have you, I say, an answer of such fitness for all questions?

Clo. From below your duke, to beneath your constable, it will fit any question.

Count. It must be an answer of most monstrous size, that must fit all demands.

Clo. But a trifle neither, in good faith, if the learned should speak truth of it: here it is, and all that belongs to❜t. Ask me if I am a courtier; it shall do you no harm to learn.

Count. To be young again, if we could. I will be a fool in question, hoping to be the wiser by your answer. I pray you, sir, are you a courtier ?

Clo. O Lord, sir.' 2

There's a simple putting off; -more, more, a hundred of them.

Count. Sir, I am a poor friend of yours, that loves you. Clo. O Lord, sir.-Thick, thick, spare not me. Count. I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely meat.

Clo. O Lord, sir.-Nay, put me to't, I warrant you.

1 The rush ring seems to have been a kind of love token, for plighting of troth among rustic lovers.

2 A ridicule on this silly expletive of speech, then in vogue at court. Thus Clove and Orange, in Every Man in his Humor: "You conceive me, sir ?-O Lord, sir!"

Count. You were lately whipped, sir, as I think.
Clo. O Lord, sir.-Spare not me.

Count. Do you cry, O Lord, sir, at your whipping, and spare not me? Indeed, your O Lord, sir, is very sequent to your whipping; you would answer very well to a whipping, if you were but bound to't.

Clo. I ne'er had worse luck in my life, in myO Lord, sir. I see, things may serve long, but not

serve ever.

Count. I play the noble housewife with the time, to entertain it so merrily with a fool.

Clo. O Lord, sir.--Why, there't serves well again. Count. An end, sir, to your business.


And urge her to a present answer back.
Commend me to my kinsmen, and my son;
This is not much.

Clo. Not much commendation to them.

Give Helen

Count. Not much employment for you. You understand me?

Clo. Most fruitfully; I am there before my legs. Count. Haste you again. [Exeunt severally.

SCENE III. Paris. A Room in the King's Palace.


Laf. They say, miracles are past; and we have our philosophical persons, to make modern1 and familiar things supernatural and causeless. Hence is it, that we make trifles of terrors; ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge, when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear."

Par. Why, 'tis the rarest argument of wonder, that hath shot out in our latter times.

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