List iconAll’s Well That Ends WellList icon

All’s Well That Ends Well
Act 1, scene 2

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Characters in the Play

Entire Play

In All’s Well That Ends Well, a woman is given in marriage to the man she longs for, but, because she…

Act 1, scene 1

Bertram, having become a ward of the court upon his father’s death, departs from Rossillion. Helen, whose own physician-father has…

Act 1, scene 2

The King of France refuses to take sides in the war between Siena and Florence, giving his courtiers permission to…

Act 1, scene 3

Bertram’s mother, the Countess of Rossillion, learns of Helen’s love for Bertram and forces Helen to confess this secret. When…

Act 2, scene 1

The King bids farewell to the French courtiers going off to war, having commanded Bertram to remain behind. Helen arrives…

Act 2, scene 2

The Countess sends the Fool to the court with a letter for Helen.

Act 2, scene 3

Having cured the King, Helen is given several courtiers from whom to choose a husband as her reward. When she…

Act 2, scene 4

Parolles brings Helen word that Bertram is leaving for Tuscany and that she is to get permission from the King…

Act 2, scene 5

Bertram is warned that Parolles is an untrustworthy coward. Bertram gives Helen a letter and instructs her to go immediately…

Act 3, scene 1

The Duke of Florence greets French courtiers who have come to fight on his side.

Act 3, scene 2

The Fool returns to Rossillion with a letter from Bertram that tells the Countess of his plan to run away…

Act 3, scene 3

Bertram is put in command of the Duke of Florence’s cavalry.

Act 3, scene 4

The Countess is given the letter left for her by Helen, in which Helen sets out her intention to make…

Act 3, scene 5

Helen, on her pilgrimage, meets Diana, whom Bertram has been attempting to seduce.

Act 3, scene 6

The French lords in Florence decide that Parolles’ unhappiness about the loss of the troop’s drum can be used as…

Act 3, scene 7

Helen enlists Diana’s mother in contriving to meet Bertram’s conditions. Diana will agree to sleep with Bertram on the condition…

Act 4, scene 1

Parolles is captured and blindfolded by a French lord and soldiers pretending to be the enemy who can speak to…

Act 4, scene 2

Diana agrees to lie with Bertram after he reluctantly gives her his ancestral ring.

Act 4, scene 3

News comes to the Duke of Florence’s court that Bertram’s wife has died while on pilgrimage. When Bertram enters, he…

Act 4, scene 4

Helen sets out with Diana and Diana’s mother to seek the King of France in Marseilles.

Act 4, scene 5

The Countess, who has learned of Helen’s death, receives word that the King of France is approaching Rossillion and then…

Act 5, scene 1

Helen finds herself unable to petition the King because he has already departed for Rossillion.

Act 5, scene 2

Parolles arrives at Rossillion and persuades Lafew to take him into his service.

Act 5, scene 3

The King forgives Bertram and agrees to a marriage between Bertram and Lafew’s daughter. Bertram gives Lafew a ring, which…

Act 5, epilogue

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Scene 2
Flourish cornets. Enter the King of France with letters,
two Lords, and divers Attendants.


KING 
 The Florentines and Senoys are by th’ ears,
 Have fought with equal fortune, and continue
 A braving war.
FIRST LORD  So ’tis reported, sir.
KING 
5 Nay, ’tis most credible. We here receive it
 A certainty vouched from our cousin Austria,
 With caution that the Florentine will move us
 For speedy aid, wherein our dearest friend
 Prejudicates the business and would seem
10 To have us make denial.
FIRST LORD  His love and wisdom,
 Approved so to your Majesty, may plead
 For amplest credence.
KING  He hath armed our answer,
15 And Florence is denied before he comes.
 Yet for our gentlemen that mean to see
 The Tuscan service, freely have they leave
 To stand on either part.
SECOND LORD  It well may serve
20 A nursery to our gentry, who are sick
 For breathing and exploit.

Enter Bertram, Lafew, and Parolles.

KING  What’s he comes here?

23
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 1. SC. 2

FIRST LORD 
 It is the Count Rossillion, my good lord,
 Young Bertram.
KING 25 Youth, thou bear’st thy father’s face.
 Frank nature, rather curious than in haste,
 Hath well composed thee. Thy father’s moral parts
 Mayst thou inherit too. Welcome to Paris.
BERTRAM 
 My thanks and duty are your Majesty’s.
KING 
30 I would I had that corporal soundness now
 As when thy father and myself in friendship
 First tried our soldiership. He did look far
 Into the service of the time and was
 Discipled of the bravest. He lasted long,
35 But on us both did haggish age steal on
 And wore us out of act. It much repairs me
 To talk of your good father. In his youth
 He had the wit which I can well observe
 Today in our young lords; but they may jest
40 Till their own scorn return to them unnoted
 Ere they can hide their levity in honor.
 So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness
 Were in his pride or sharpness; if they were,
 His equal had awaked them, and his honor,
45 Clock to itself, knew the true minute when
 Exception bid him speak, and at this time
 His tongue obeyed his hand. Who were below him
 He used as creatures of another place
 And bowed his eminent top to their low ranks,
50 Making them proud of his humility,
 In their poor praise he humbled. Such a man
 Might be a copy to these younger times,
 Which, followed well, would demonstrate them now
 But goers backward.
BERTRAM 55 His good remembrance, sir,

25
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Lies richer in your thoughts than on his tomb.
 So in approof lives not his epitaph
 As in your royal speech.
KING 
 Would I were with him! He would always say—
60 Methinks I hear him now; his plausive words
 He scattered not in ears, but grafted them
 To grow there and to bear. “Let me not live”—
 This his good melancholy oft began
 On the catastrophe and heel of pastime,
65 When it was out—“Let me not live,” quoth he,
 “After my flame lacks oil, to be the snuff
 Of younger spirits, whose apprehensive senses
 All but new things disdain, whose judgments are
 Mere fathers of their garments, whose constancies
70 Expire before their fashions.” This he wished.
 I, after him, do after him wish too,
 Since I nor wax nor honey can bring home,
 I quickly were dissolvèd from my hive
 To give some laborers room.
SECOND LORD 75 You’re lovèd, sir.
 They that least lend it you shall lack you first.
KING 
 I fill a place, I know ’t.—How long is ’t, count,
 Since the physician at your father’s died?
 He was much famed.
BERTRAM 80 Some six months since, my lord.
KING 
 If he were living, I would try him yet.—
 Lend me an arm.—The rest have worn me out
 With several applications. Nature and sickness
 Debate it at their leisure. Welcome, count.
85 My son’s no dearer.
BERTRAM  Thank your Majesty.
They exit. Flourish.