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Perdita. Sir, the year growing ancient,
Polivenes. Wherefore, gentle maiden,
Perdita. For I have heard it said
Polixenes. Say, there be:
Perdita. So it is.
Polixenes. Then make your garden rich in gilly-flowers, And do not call them bastards.
Perdita. I'll not put
Camillo. I should leave grazing, were I of your flock, And only live by gazing.
Perdita. Oiit, alas ! You'd be so lean, that blasts of January Would blow you through and through. Now, my fairest friends, I would I had some flowers o' the spring, that might Become your time of day; and your's, and your's, That wear upon your virgin branches yet Your maiden-heads growing : 0 Proserpina, For the flowers now, that, frighted, thou let'st fall From Dis's wagon ! daffodils, That come before swallow dares, and take The winds of March with beauty : violets dim, But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes, Or Cytherea's breath; pale primroses, That die unmarried, ere they can behold Bright Phæbus in his strength (a walady Most incident to naids ;) bold oxlips, and The crown-imperial; lilies of all kinds, The fleur-de-lis being one! O, these I lack To make you garlands of ; and, my sweet friend To strow him o'er and o'er.
Florizel. What, like a corse ?
Perdita. No, like a bank, for love to lie and play on ;
Florizel. What you do,
Perdita. O Doricles,
Do plainly give you out an unstained shepherd ;
Florizel. I think you have
Perdita. I'll swear for 'em.
Polixenes. This is the prettiest low-born lass that ever
Camillo. He tells her something
The queen of curds and cream." This delicious scene is interrupted by the father of the prince discovering himself to Florizel, and haughtily breaking off the intended match between his son and Perdita. When Polixenes goes out
“ Even here undone :
But milk my ewes and weep." As Perdita, the supposed shepherdess, turns out to be the daughter of Hermione, and a princess in disguise, both feelings of the pride of birth and the claims of nature, are satisfied by the fortunate event of the story, and the fine romance of poetry is reconciled to the strictest court etiquette.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL is one of the most pleasing of our author's comedies. The interest is however more of a serious than of a comick pature. The character of Helen is one of great sweetness and delicacy. She is placed in circumstances of the most critical kind, and has to court her husband both as a virgin and a wife: get the most scrupulous nicety of female modesty is not once violated. There is not one thought or action that ought to bring a blush into her eheeks, or that for a moment lessens her in our esteem. Perhaps the romantick attachment of a beautiful and virtuous girl to one placed above her hopes by the circumstances of birth and fortune, was never so exquisitely expressed as in the reflections which she utters when young Roussillon leaves his mother's house, under whose protection she has been brought up with him, to repair to the French king's court,
“ Helen. Oh, were that all-I think not on my father,
I am undone, there is no living, uone,
The interest excited by this beautiful picture of a fond and innocent heart is kept up afterwards by her resolution to follow him to France, the success of her experiment in restoring the king's health, her demanding Bertram in marriage as a recompense, his leaving her in disdain, her interview with him afterwards disguised as Diana, a young lady whom he importunes with his secret addresses, and their final reconciliation when the consequences of her stratagem and the proofs of her love are fully made known. The persevering gratitude of the French king to his benefactress, who cures him of a languishing distemper by a prescription hereditary in her family, the indulgent kindness of the Countess, whose pride of birth yields, almost without a struggle, to her affection for Helen, the honesty and uprightness of the good old lord Lafeu, make very interesting parts of the picture. The wilful stubbornness and youthful petulance of Bertram are also very admirably described. The comick part of the play turns on the folly, boasting, and cowardice of