The Case is Altered/Act III Scene III

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Jaques, Count.

Count. Here is the poor old man.

Jaq. Out of my soul, another! Comes he hither?

Count. Be not dismay'd, old man, I come to chear you.

Jaq. To me, by heaven.

Turn ribs to brass, turn voice into a trumpet,

To rattle out the battles of my thoughts;

One comes to hold me talk, while t'other robs me.


Count. He has forgot me sure; what should this mean?

He fears authority, and my want of wife

Will take his daughter from him to defame her:

He that hath nought on earth but one poor daughter,

May take this extasy of care to keep her.

Enter Jaques.

Jaq. And yet 'tis safe: they mean not to use force,

But fawning coming. I shall easily know,

By his next question, if he think me rich.

Whom see I? my good lord?

Count. Stand up, good father,

I call thee not good father for thy age,

But that I gladly wish to be thy son,

In honour'd marriage with thy beauteous daughter.

Jaq. O, so, so, so, so, so this is for gold.

Now it is sure this is my daughter's neatness

Makes them believe me rich. No, my good lord,

I'll tell you all, how my poor hapless daughter

Got that attire she wears from top to toe.

Count. Why, father, this is nothing.

Jaq. O yes, good my lord.

Count. Indeed it is not.

Jaq. Nay, sweet lord, pardon me, do not dissemble;

Hear your poor beadsman speak: 'tis requisite

That I (so huge a beggar) make account

Of things that pass my calling. She was born

To enjoy nothing underneath the sun;

But that, if she had more than other beggars,

She should be envied: I will tell you then

How she had all she wears. Her warm shoes (God wot)

A kind maid gave her, seeing her go barefoot

In a cold frosty morning; God requite her.

Her homely stockings ——

Count. Father, I'll hear no more, thou mov'st too much

With thy too curious answer for thy daughter,

That doth deserve a thousand times as much.

I'll be thy son-in-law, and she shall wear

Th' attire of countesses.

Jaq. O, good my lord,

Mock not the poor; remembers not your lordship

That poverty is the precious gift of God,

As well as riches? tread upon me, rather

Than mock my poorness.

Count. Rise, I say;

When I mock poorness, then heaven make me poor.