HELENA
of Rousillon

Helena’s speeches and analyses.

Helena | Act 1, Scene 3 | 111-137

Then I confess | Here on my knee and before high heaven…

Source
RSC | Jonathan Bate & Eric Rasmussen. London: Royal Shakespeare Company, 2001

HELENA
Then, I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high heaven,
I love your son.
My friends were poor, but honest, so’s my love.
Be not offended, for it hurts not him
That he is loved of me; I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit,
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him,
Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope.
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
I still pour in the waters of my love
And lack not to lose still; thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun that looks upon his worshipper
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
For loving where you do; but if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in so true a flame of liking
Wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and love – O, then, give pity
To her whose state is such that cannot choose
But lend and give where she is sure to lose;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But riddle-like lives sweetly where she dies!

Thought Counts
RSC | 2001

Short: 2
Medium: 1
Long: 3 [4]
Total: 6 [7]

End-stopped: 4
Mid-line: 2 [3]

Periods: 5
Exclamations: 1
Questions: 0
Unfinished: 0 [1]

Objective

Helena needs the Countess to…

Thoughts
RSC | 2001

HELENA
1. Then, I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high heaven,
I love your son.
2. My friends were poor, but honest, so’s my love.
3. Be not offended, for it hurts not him
That he is loved of me; I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit,
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him,
Yet never know how that desert should be.
4. I know I love in vain, strive against hope.
5. Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
I still pour in the waters of my love
And lack not to lose still; thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun that looks upon his worshipper
But knows of him no more. 6. My dearest madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
For loving where you do; but if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in so true a flame of liking
Wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and love – O, then, give pity
To her whose state is such that cannot choose
But lend and give where she is sure to lose;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But riddle-like lives sweetly where she dies!

Line Analysis
TBA | 200?

HELENA
Then, I confess,                                                                 | finishing
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,              10 | 11
That before you, and next unto high heaven,        11w | 10
I love your son.                                                                | incomplete
My friends were poor, but honest, so’s my love.            10R
Be not offended, for it hurts not him                             10R 10
That he is loved of me; I follow him not                     10R 11
By any token of presumptuous suit,                             10R | 11 
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him,             11W
Yet never know how that desert should be.             10R
I know I love in vain, strive against hope.           10
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve                 10 – 12
I still pour in the waters of my love                           10R
And lack not to lose still; thus, Indian-like,         10 | 11
Religious in mine error, I adore                         10R 11
The sun that looks upon his worshipper               10R
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,           11w
Let not your hate encounter with my love,                10R
For loving where you do; but if yourself,                10R
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,          10R 11
Did ever in so true a flame of liking                       11w
Wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian       11w
Was both herself and love – O, then, give pity     11w 
To her whose state is such that cannot choose           10R
But lend and give where she is sure to lose;           10R
That seeks not to find that her search implies,      10   missing word (which)
But riddle-like lives sweetly where she dies!              10R

Phrasing and Tempo
TBA | 2009

HELENA
Then, <cI confess,
Here on my knee, <c> before high heaven and you,   slowly |
That before you, <c> and next unto high heaven,
I love your son.   PAUSE    slowly
My friends were poor, <c> but honest, <c> so’s my love.       slowly?
Be not offended, <c> for it hurts not him
That he is loved of me; <c> I follow him not                 slowly |
By any token of presumptuous suit,     carefully
Nor would I have him <c> till I do deserve him,         slowly |
Yet never know how that desert should be.    pause
I know I love in vain, <c> strive against hope.      pause      slowly |
Yet in this captious <c> and intenible sieve
I still <c> pour in the waters of my love
And lack not <c> to lose still; <c> thus, <c> Indian-like,   carefully  slowly |
Religious in mine error, <c> I adore
The sun <c> that looks upon his worshipper
But knows of him no more. <c> My dearest madam,   slowly |
Let not your hate <c> encounter with my love,       slowly?
For loving where you do; <c> but if yourself,
Whose aged honour <c> cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever <c> in so true a flame of liking
Wish chastely <c> and love dearly, <c> that your Dian    carefully
Was both herself and love – <c> O, <c> then, <c> give pity
To her whose state is such that cannot choose    carefully
But lend and give <c> where she is sure to lose;     carefully   slowly
That seeks not to find that her search implies,     slowly?
But riddle-like <c> lives sweetly where she dies!   carefully

Sounds
TBA | 200?

HELENA
Then, I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high heaven,
I love your son.
My friends were poor, but honest, so’s my love.
Be not offended, for it hurts not him
That he is loved of me; I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit,
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him,
Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope.
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
I still pour in the waters of my love
And lack not to lose still; thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun that looks upon his worshipper
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
For loving where you do; but if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in so true a flame of liking
Wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and love – O, then, give pity
To her whose state is such that cannot choose
But lend and give where she is sure to lose;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But riddle-like lives sweetly where she dies!

Rhetoric
TBA | 2009

HELENA
Then, I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,          (this and that)
That before you, and next unto high heaven,              (this and that)
I love your son.
My friends were poor, but honest, so’s my love.         (comparison)
Be not offended, for it hurts not him
That he is loved of me; I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit,
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him,
Yet never know how that desert should be.                 (antithesis)
I know I love in vain, strive against hope.                   (parallel, formidable phraseology, list)
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve                 (this and that, imagery, metaphor)
I still pour in the waters of my love                          (metaphor, imagery)
And lack not to lose still; thus, Indian-like,              (simile)
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun that looks upon his worshipper                  (imagery, metaphor)
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,        (antithesis)
Let not your hate encounter with my love,             (antithesis)
For loving where you do; but if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in so true a flame of liking                        (metaphor, imagery)
Wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian         (comparison, metaphor, imagery, this and that)
Was both herself and love – O, then, give pity        (this and that)
To her whose state is such that cannot choose
But lend and give where she is sure to lose;                (this and that, antithesis)
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But riddle-like lives sweetly where she dies!                (antithesis, simile, imagery)

Before and After
TBA | 200?

COUNTESS
Well, now.

Steward

I know, madam, you love your gentlewoman entirely.

COUNTESS
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.

Steward
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; Dian no queen of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight surprised, 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 it.

COUNTESS
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 anon.

Exit Steward

Enter HELENA

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.

HELENA
What is your pleasure, madam?

COUNTESS
You know, Helen,
I am a mother to you.

HELENA
Mine honourable mistress.

COUNTESS
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?

HELENA
That I am not.

COUNTESS
I say, I am your mother.

HELENA
Pardon, madam;
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.

COUNTESS
Nor I your mother?

HELENA
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?

COUNTESS
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 ashamed,
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, th’ one to th’ other; and thine eyes
See it so grossly shown in thy behaviors
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 clew;
If it be not, forswear’t: howe’er, I charge thee,
As heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
Tell me truly.

HELENA
Good madam, pardon me!

COUNTESS
Do you love my son?

HELENA
Your pardon, noble mistress!

COUNTESS
Love you my son?

HELENA
Do not you love him, madam?

COUNTESS
Go not about; my love hath in’t a bond,
Whereof the world takes note: come, come, disclose
The state of your affection; for your passions
Have to the full appeach’d.

HELENA
Then, I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high heaven,
I love your son.
My friends were poor, but honest, so’s my love.
Be not offended, for it hurts not him
That he is loved of me; I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit,
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him,
Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope.
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
I still pour in the waters of my love
And lack not to lose still; thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun that looks upon his worshipper
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
For loving where you do; but if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in so true a flame of liking
Wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and love – O, then, give pity
To her whose state is such that cannot choose
But lend and give where she is sure to lose;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But riddle-like lives sweetly where she dies!

Definitions
TBA | 2009

HELENA
Then, I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high heaven,
I love your son.
My friends were poor, but honest, so’s my love.
Be not offended, for it hurts not him
That he is loved of me; I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit,
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him,
Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope.
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
I still pour in the waters of my love
And lack not to lose still; thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun that looks upon his worshipper
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
For loving where you do; but if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in so true a flame of liking
Wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and love – O, then, give pity
To her whose state is such that cannot choose
But lend and give where she is sure to lose;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But riddle-like lives sweetly where she dies!

Translation
TBA | 200?

HELENA
Then, I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high heaven,
I love your son.
My friends were poor, but honest, so’s my love.
Be not offended, for it hurts not him
That he is loved of me; I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit,
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him,
Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope.
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
I still pour in the waters of my love
And lack not to lose still; thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun that looks upon his worshipper
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
For loving where you do; but if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in so true a flame of liking
Wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and love – O, then, give pity
To her whose state is such that cannot choose
But lend and give where she is sure to lose;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But riddle-like lives sweetly where she dies!

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