I know, madam, you love your gentlewoman entirely.
Faith I do: her father bequeathed her to me; and she herself,
without other advantage, may lawfully make title to as much love
as she finds: there is more owing her than is paid; and more
shall be paid her than she'll demand.
Madam, I was very late more near her than I think she wished me:
alone she was, and did communicate to herself her own words to
her own ears; she thought, I dare vow for her, they touched not
any stranger sense. Her matter was, she loved your son: Fortune,
she said, was no goddess, that had put such difference betwixt
their two estates; Love no god, that would not extend his might
only where qualities were level; Diana no queen of virgins, that
would suffer her poor knight surprise, without rescue in the
first assault, or ransom afterward. This she delivered in the
most bitter touch of sorrow that e'er I heard virgin exclaim in;
which I held my duty speedily to acquaint you withal; sithence,
in the loss that may happen, it concerns you something to know
You have discharged this honestly; keep it to yourself; many
likelihoods informed me of this before, which hung so
tottering in the balance that I could neither believe nor
misdoubt. Pray you leave me: stall this in your bosom; and I
thank you for your honest care: I will speak with you further
Even so it was with me when I was young:
If ever we are nature's, these are ours; this thorn
Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong;
Our blood to us, this to our blood is born;
It is the show and seal of nature's truth,
Where love's strong passion is impress'd in youth:
By our remembrances of days foregone,
Such were our faults: — or then we thought them none.
Her eye is sick on't; — I observe her now.
What is your pleasure, madam?
You know, Helen,
I am a mother to you.
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
To say I am thy mother? What's the matter,
That this distemper'd messenger of wet,
The many-colour'd iris, rounds thine eye?
Why, — that you are my daughter?
That I am not.
I say, I am your mother.
The Count Rousillon cannot be my brother:
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 my brother.
Nor I your mother?
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,
I care no more for than I do for heaven,
So I were not his sister. Can't no other,
But, I your daughter, he must be my brother?
Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-in-law:
God shield you mean it not! daughter and mother
So strive 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. Now to all sense 'tis gross
You love my son; invention is asham'd,
Against the proclamation of thy passion,
To say 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 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!
Do you love my son?