"Love All, Trust A Few"

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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 141

Context: Bertram, Count of Rousillon, is about to depart for service at the Court of France. His mother, recently widowed, gives him advice and her blessing. (It is interesting to compare the countess' brief speech of advice and farewell here with Polonius' lengthy discourse as he says goodbye to his son Laertes in Hamlet. Inasmuch as the plays' dates of composition are close together, and Shakespeare was near the apex of his career, the difference between the speeches is a clear example of how the bard gave the stamp of individuality to his characters.)

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COUNTESS
Be thou blessed, Bertram, and succeed thy father
In manners, as in shape. Thy blood and virtue
Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
Share with thy birthright. Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none.
. . .
Be checked for silence,
But never taxed for speech.
. . .
Farewell my lord.
. . .

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