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Polyxène. Voilà la plus jolie villageoise qui jamais ait foulé la verte pelouse; son air .et ses actes ont quelque chose de plus élevé que sa condition, je ne sais quoi de trop noble pour cette cabane.
Camille. Il lui dit quelque chose qui fait monter l'incarnat sur ses joues: en vérité, c'est la crême des jeunes filles.
Le Bouffon. Allons, la musique, jouez.
Le Bouffon. Pas un mot, pas un mot; tenons nous prêts: attention ! Allons, jouez!
Danse de Bergers et de Bergères. Polyxène. (Au vieux berger.) Bon berger, dites-moi, je vous prie, quel est ce villageois qui danse avec votre fille ?
Le Berger. Son nom est Doricles; il se vante de posséder de riches pâturages; je ne le tiens que de lui, mais je le crois. Il a l'air sincère: il dit qu'il aime ma fille ; je le crois aussi. A le voir debout occupé à contempler ma fille, et lisant, pour ainsi dire, dans ses yeux, on dirait la lune se mirant dans l'eau. A vous parler franchement, je pense qu'ils s'aiment également, et qu'il n'y a pas entre leur deux tendresses la différence d'un demi-baiser.
Polyxène.—Elle danse avec grâce.
Le Berger. C'est ainsi qu'elle fait toute chose; ce n'est pas à moi de le dire, je devrais me taire. N'importe; si le jeune Doriclès fixe son choix sur elle, elle lui apportera une dot à laquelle il ne s'attend pas.
CONTE D'HIVER.-Acte IV. Scene III.
But knows of him no more." The fortunes of HELENA constitute the most interesting features of All's Well That Ends Well. In her, we find a noble instance of devotion, both as a lover and wife, combined with the tact and readiness of resource, so commonly found in woman. Tried by circumstances of the deepest pain to her feelings, she yet maintains her fortitude, conscious of her purity of soul, and burning with affection to a husband unworthy of her, whom she lovingly seeks, although spurned by him.
HELENA is the daughter of a famous physician, who, at his death, “ bequeathed” her to the “overlooking” of the COUNTESS OF Rousillon. With the son of the Countess, BERTRAM, HELENA had fallen in love. He is sent to Paris, and she is represented as so deeply mourning his loss, that her adopted mother, divining the cause, insists on her direct reply to the inquiry she puts to her. Fearing the Countess' displeasure, HELENA long fences the question, but at last confesses—“I love your son.” In the hope of again seeing him, she had meditated flying to Paris, and framed as an excuse, her desire to benefit the health of the King OF FRANCE, by medicines left her by her father. The Countess accedes to her plan; and HELENA, proceeding to Paris, is so far successful as to effect the complete cure of the King. She had asked but one condition of him as the reward of her success—
" Then shalt thou give me, with thy kingly hand,
What husband in thy power I will command.” But Helena had forgotten that, whilst she might command the hand of BERTRAM, she could not secure his love; for, after being wedded to him, he, in disgust, forsakes her as beneath him in rank, and instantly departs to the wars then raging near Florence.
Returning heart-broken to Rousillon, HELENA disguises herself as a pilgrim, and proceeds to Florence. There she meets with a maiden, to whom BERTRAM had promised marriage, on the death of his wife. HELENA spreads a report that she has died, and induces this young maiden to so manage as to possess herself of a ring worn by BERTRAM, as an heir-loom of his family. He had sworn never to acknowledge HELENA, until she could prove that he had given her this ring; and she, to make her recognition at a proper time quite certain, also manages, by stratagem, to give him her own ring, without his knowing her as the giver.
The war having ceased, BERTRAM returns horne, and is on the point of marrying the daughter of LAFEU, a French Lord, when Diana, the maiden he had courted at Florence, presents herself, and demands the completion of his promise. She produces the ring that he had given HELENA in Florence, when mistaken by him for Diana, and thus proves her story. By accident, both the King and LAFEU recognise the ring that BERTRAM wears, which still more fully adds evidence in her favour. Diana, however, is ordered to prison; but asking that she might produce her surety, brings forth HELENA, who is instantly recognised by all. BERTRAM at lasts accepts her as his wife, and so tardily rewards her heroic devotion to him.