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    Act 4, Scene II

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    Chapter 17
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    SCENE II. Florence. The Widow's house.

    Enter BERTRAM and DIANA
    BERTRAM
    They told me that your name was Fontibell.

    DIANA
    No, my good lord, Diana.

    BERTRAM
    Titled goddess;
    And worth it, with addition! But, fair soul,
    In your fine frame hath love no quality?
    If quick fire of youth light not your mind,
    You are no maiden, but a monument:
    When you are dead, you should be such a one
    As you are now, for you are cold and stem;
    And now you should be as your mother was
    When your sweet self was got.

    DIANA
    She then was honest.

    BERTRAM
    So should you be.

    DIANA
    No:
    My mother did but duty; such, my lord,
    As you owe to your wife.

    BERTRAM
    No more o' that;
    I prithee, do not strive against my vows:
    I was compell'd to her; but I love thee
    By love's own sweet constraint, and will for ever
    Do thee all rights of service.

    DIANA
    Ay, so you serve us
    Till we serve you; but when you have our roses,
    You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves
    And mock us with our bareness.

    BERTRAM
    How have I sworn!

    DIANA
    'Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth,
    But the plain single vow that is vow'd true.
    What is not holy, that we swear not by,
    But take the High'st to witness: then, pray you, tell me,
    If I should swear by God's great attributes,
    I loved you dearly, would you believe my oaths,
    When I did love you ill? This has no holding,
    To swear by him whom I protest to love,
    That I will work against him: therefore your oaths
    Are words and poor conditions, but unseal'd,
    At least in my opinion.

    BERTRAM
    Change it, change it;
    Be not so holy-cruel: love is holy;
    And my integrity ne'er knew the crafts
    That you do charge men with. Stand no more off,
    But give thyself unto my sick desires,
    Who then recover: say thou art mine, and ever
    My love as it begins shall so persever.

    DIANA
    I see that men make ropes in such a scarre
    That we'll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.

    BERTRAM
    I'll lend it thee, my dear; but have no power
    To give it from me.

    DIANA
    Will you not, my lord?

    BERTRAM
    It is an honour 'longing to our house,
    Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
    Which were the greatest obloquy i' the world
    In me to lose.

    DIANA
    Mine honour's such a ring:
    My chastity's the jewel of our house,
    Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
    Which were the greatest obloquy i' the world
    In me to lose: thus your own proper wisdom
    Brings in the champion Honour on my part,
    Against your vain assault.

    BERTRAM
    Here, take my ring:
    My house, mine honour, yea, my life, be thine,
    And I'll be bid by thee.

    DIANA
    When midnight comes, knock at my chamber-window:
    I'll order take my mother shall not hear.
    Now will I charge you in the band of truth,
    When you have conquer'd my yet maiden bed,
    Remain there but an hour, nor speak to me:
    My reasons are most strong; and you shall know them
    When back again this ring shall be deliver'd:
    And on your finger in the night I'll put
    Another ring, that what in time proceeds
    May token to the future our past deeds.
    Adieu, till then; then, fail not. You have won
    A wife of me, though there my hope be done.

    BERTRAM
    A heaven on earth I have won by wooing thee.

    Exit

    DIANA
    For which live long to thank both heaven and me!
    You may so in the end.
    My mother told me just how he would woo,
    As if she sat in 's heart; she says all men
    Have the like oaths: he had sworn to marry me
    When his wife's dead; therefore I'll lie with him
    When I am buried. Since Frenchmen are so braid,
    Marry that will, I live and die a maid:
    Only in this disguise I think't no sin
    To cozen him that would unjustly win.

    Exit
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    Chapter 17
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