List iconAll’s Well That Ends Well:
Act 5, scene 3
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All’s Well That Ends Well
Act 5, scene 3



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 3
Flourish. Enter King, Countess, Lafew, the two French
Lords, with Attendants.

 We lost a jewel of her, and our esteem
 Was made much poorer by it. But your son,

All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 5. SC. 3

 As mad in folly, lacked the sense to know
 Her estimation home.
COUNTESS 5 ’Tis past, my liege,
 And I beseech your Majesty to make it
 Natural rebellion done i’ th’ blade of youth,
 When oil and fire, too strong for reason’s force,
 O’erbears it and burns on.
KING 10 My honored lady,
 I have forgiven and forgotten all,
 Though my revenges were high bent upon him
 And watched the time to shoot.
LAFEW  This I must say—
15 But first I beg my pardon: the young lord
 Did to his Majesty, his mother, and his lady
 Offense of mighty note, but to himself
 The greatest wrong of all. He lost a wife
 Whose beauty did astonish the survey
20 Of richest eyes, whose words all ears took captive,
 Whose dear perfection hearts that scorned to serve
 Humbly called mistress.
KING  Praising what is lost
 Makes the remembrance dear. Well, call him hither.
25 We are reconciled, and the first view shall kill
 All repetition. Let him not ask our pardon.
 The nature of his great offense is dead,
 And deeper than oblivion we do bury
 Th’ incensing relics of it. Let him approach
30 A stranger, no offender, and inform him
 So ’tis our will he should.
GENTLEMAN  I shall, my liege.He exits.
 What says he to your daughter? Have you spoke?
 All that he is hath reference to your Highness.
35 Then shall we have a match. I have letters sent me
 That sets him high in fame.

All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 5. SC. 3

Enter Count Bertram.

LAFEW He looks well on ’t.
KING I am not a day of season,
 For thou mayst see a sunshine and a hail
40 In me at once. But to the brightest beams
 Distracted clouds give way. So stand thou forth.
 The time is fair again.
BERTRAM My high-repented blames,
 Dear sovereign, pardon to me.
KING 45 All is whole.
 Not one word more of the consumèd time.
 Let’s take the instant by the forward top,
 For we are old, and on our quick’st decrees
 Th’ inaudible and noiseless foot of time
50 Steals ere we can effect them. You remember
 The daughter of this lord?
BERTRAM Admiringly, my liege. At first
 I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
 Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue;
55 Where the impression of mine eye infixing,
 Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me,
 Which warped the line of every other favor,
 Scorned a fair color or expressed it stol’n,
 Extended or contracted all proportions
60 To a most hideous object. Thence it came
 That she whom all men praised and whom myself,
 Since I have lost, have loved, was in mine eye
 The dust that did offend it.
KING  Well excused.
65 That thou didst love her strikes some scores away
 From the great compt. But love that comes too late,
 Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried,
 To the great sender turns a sour offense,
 Crying “That’s good that’s gone!” Our rash faults
70 Make trivial price of serious things we have,

All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Not knowing them until we know their grave.
 Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust,
 Destroy our friends and after weep their dust.
 Our own love, waking, cries to see what’s done,
75 While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon.
 Be this sweet Helen’s knell, and now forget her.
 Send forth your amorous token for fair Maudlin.
 The main consents are had, and here we’ll stay
 To see our widower’s second marriage day.
80 Which better than the first, O dear heaven, bless,
 Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cesse!
 Come on, my son, in whom my house’s name
 Must be digested, give a favor from you
 To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter,
85 That she may quickly come.
Bertram gives him a ring.
 By my old beard
 And ev’ry hair that’s on ’t, Helen that’s dead
 Was a sweet creature. Such a ring as this,
 The last that e’er I took her leave at court,
90 I saw upon her finger.
BERTRAM  Hers it was not.
 Now, pray you, let me see it, for mine eye,
 While I was speaking, oft was fastened to ’t.
Lafew passes the ring to the King.
 This ring was mine, and when I gave it Helen,
95 I bade her if her fortunes ever stood
 Necessitied to help, that by this token
 I would relieve her. To Bertram. Had you that craft to
 reave her
 Of what should stead her most?
BERTRAM 100 My gracious

All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Howe’er it pleases you to take it so,
 The ring was never hers.
COUNTESS  Son, on my life,
105 I have seen her wear it, and she reckoned it
 At her life’s rate.
LAFEW  I am sure I saw her wear it.
 You are deceived, my lord. She never saw it.
 In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,
110 Wrapped in a paper which contained the name
 Of her that threw it. Noble she was, and thought
 I stood ungaged, but when I had subscribed
 To mine own fortune and informed her fully
 I could not answer in that course of honor
115 As she had made the overture, she ceased
 In heavy satisfaction and would never
 Receive the ring again.
KING  Plutus himself,
 That knows the tinct and multiplying med’cine,
120 Hath not in nature’s mystery more science
 Than I have in this ring. ’Twas mine, ’twas Helen’s,
 Whoever gave it you. Then if you know
 That you are well acquainted with yourself,
 Confess ’twas hers and by what rough enforcement
125 You got it from her. She called the saints to surety
 That she would never put it from her finger
 Unless she gave it to yourself in bed,
 Where you have never come, or sent it us
 Upon her great disaster.
BERTRAM 130 She never saw it.
 Thou speak’st it falsely, as I love mine honor,
 And mak’st conjectural fears to come into me
 Which I would fain shut out. If it should prove
 That thou art so inhuman—’twill not prove so,
135 And yet I know not. Thou didst hate her deadly,

All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 5. SC. 3

 And she is dead, which nothing but to close
 Her eyes myself could win me to believe
 More than to see this ring.—Take him away.
 My forepast proofs, howe’er the matter fall,
140 Shall tax my fears of little vanity,
 Having vainly feared too little. Away with him.
 We’ll sift this matter further.
BERTRAM  If you shall prove
 This ring was ever hers, you shall as easy
145 Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence,
 Where yet she never was.He exits, under guard.
 I am wrapped in dismal thinkings.

Enter a Gentleman.

GENTLEMAN  Gracious sovereign,
 Whether I have been to blame or no, I know not.
He gives the King a paper.
150 Here’s a petition from a Florentine
 Who hath for four or five removes come short
 To tender it herself. I undertook it,
 Vanquished thereto by the fair grace and speech
 Of the poor suppliant, who, by this, I know
155 Is here attending. Her business looks in her
 With an importing visage, and she told me,
 In a sweet verbal brief, it did concern
 Your Highness with herself.
KING reads Upon his many protestations to marry me
160 when his wife was dead, I blush to say it, he won
 me. Now is the Count Rossillion a widower, his
 vows are forfeited to me and my honor’s paid to him.
 He stole from Florence, taking no leave, and I follow
 him to his country for justice. Grant it me, O king.
165 In you it best lies. Otherwise a seducer flourishes,
 and a poor maid is undone.
 Diana Capilet.

All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 5. SC. 3

LAFEW I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll for
 this. I’ll none of him.
170 The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafew,
 To bring forth this discov’ry.—Seek these suitors.
 Go speedily, and bring again the Count.
Gentleman and Attendants exit.
 I am afeard the life of Helen, lady,
 Was foully snatched.
COUNTESS 175 Now justice on the doers!

Enter Bertram under guard.

 I wonder, sir, since wives are monsters to you
 And that you fly them as you swear them lordship,
 Yet you desire to marry.

Enter Widow and Diana.

 What woman’s that?
180 I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine,
 Derivèd from the ancient Capilet.
 My suit, as I do understand, you know
 And therefore know how far I may be pitied.
 I am her mother, sir, whose age and honor
185 Both suffer under this complaint we bring,
 And both shall cease without your remedy.
 Come hither, count. Do you know these women?
 My lord, I neither can nor will deny
 But that I know them. Do they charge me further?
190 Why do you look so strange upon your wife?

All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 5. SC. 3

 She’s none of mine, my lord.
DIANA  If you shall marry,
 You give away this hand, and that is mine;
 You give away heaven’s vows, and those are mine;
195 You give away myself, which is known mine,
 For I by vow am so embodied yours
 That she which marries you must marry me,
 Either both or none.
LAFEW, to Bertram Your reputation comes too short
200 for my daughter. You are no husband for her.
BERTRAM, to the King 
 My lord, this is a fond and desp’rate creature
 Whom sometime I have laughed with. Let your
 Lay a more noble thought upon mine honor
205 Than for to think that I would sink it here.
 Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend
 Till your deeds gain them. Fairer prove your honor
 Than in my thought it lies.
DIANA  Good my lord,
210 Ask him upon his oath if he does think
 He had not my virginity.
 What sayst thou to her?
BERTRAM  She’s impudent, my lord,
 And was a common gamester to the camp.
215 He does me wrong, my lord. If I were so,
 He might have bought me at a common price.
 Do not believe him. O, behold this ring,
 Whose high respect and rich validity
 Did lack a parallel. Yet for all that
220 He gave it to a commoner o’ th’ camp,
 If I be one.

All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 5. SC. 3

COUNTESS  He blushes, and ’tis hit.
 Of six preceding ancestors that gem,
 Conferred by testament to th’ sequent issue,
225 Hath it been owed and worn. This is his wife.
 That ring’s a thousand proofs.
KING, to Diana  Methought you said
 You saw one here in court could witness it.
 I did, my lord, but loath am to produce
230 So bad an instrument. His name’s Parolles.
 I saw the man today, if man he be.
 Find him, and bring him hither.Attendant exits.
BERTRAM  What of him?
 He’s quoted for a most perfidious slave,
235 With all the spots o’ th’ world taxed and debauched,
 Whose nature sickens but to speak a truth.
 Am I or that or this for what he’ll utter,
 That will speak anything?
KING She hath that ring of yours.
240 I think she has. Certain it is I liked her
 And boarded her i’ th’ wanton way of youth.
 She knew her distance and did angle for me,
 Madding my eagerness with her restraint,
 As all impediments in fancy’s course
245 Are motives of more fancy; and in fine
 Her infinite cunning with her modern grace
 Subdued me to her rate. She got the ring,
 And I had that which any inferior might
 At market price have bought.
DIANA 250 I must be patient.
 You that have turned off a first so noble wife
 May justly diet me. I pray you yet—
 Since you lack virtue, I will lose a husband—

All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Send for your ring. I will return it home,
255 And give me mine again.
BERTRAM I have it not.
KING, to Diana What ring was yours, I pray you?
 Sir, much like the same upon your finger.
 Know you this ring? This ring was his of late.
260 And this was it I gave him, being abed.
 The story, then, goes false you threw it him
 Out of a casement?
DIANA  I have spoke the truth.

Enter Parolles.

 My lord, I do confess the ring was hers.
265 You boggle shrewdly. Every feather starts you.—
 Is this the man you speak of?
DIANA  Ay, my lord.
 Tell me, sirrah—but tell me true, I charge you,
 Not fearing the displeasure of your master,
270 Which, on your just proceeding, I’ll keep off—
 By him and by this woman here what know you?
PAROLLES So please your Majesty, my master hath
 been an honorable gentleman. Tricks he hath had
 in him which gentlemen have.
KING 275Come, come, to th’ purpose. Did he love this
PAROLLES Faith, sir, he did love her, but how?
KING How, I pray you?
PAROLLES He did love her, sir, as a gentleman loves a
280 woman.

All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 5. SC. 3

KING How is that?
PAROLLES He loved her, sir, and loved her not.
KING As thou art a knave and no knave. What an
 equivocal companion is this!
PAROLLES 285I am a poor man, and at your Majesty’s
LAFEW He’s a good drum, my lord, but a naughty
DIANA Do you know he promised me marriage?
PAROLLES 290Faith, I know more than I’ll speak.
KING But wilt thou not speak all thou know’st?
PAROLLES Yes, so please your Majesty. I did go
 between them, as I said; but more than that he
 loved her, for indeed he was mad for her, and
295 talked of Satan and of limbo and of furies and I
 know not what. Yet I was in that credit with them
 at that time, that I knew of their going to bed and
 of other motions, as promising her marriage, and
 things which would derive me ill will to speak of.
300 Therefore I will not speak what I know.
KING Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou canst
 say they are married. But thou art too fine in thy
 evidence. Therefore stand aside.
To Diana.
 This ring you say was yours?
DIANA 305 Ay, my good lord.
 Where did you buy it? Or who gave it you?
 It was not given me, nor I did not buy it.
 Who lent it you?
DIANA  It was not lent me neither.
310 Where did you find it then?
DIANA  I found it not.

All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 5. SC. 3

 If it were yours by none of all these ways,
 How could you give it him?
DIANA  I never gave it him.
LAFEW 315This woman’s an easy glove, my lord; she goes
 off and on at pleasure.
 This ring was mine. I gave it his first wife.
 It might be yours or hers for aught I know.
KING, to Attendants 
 Take her away. I do not like her now.
320 To prison with her, and away with him.—
 Unless thou tell’st me where thou hadst this ring,
 Thou diest within this hour.
DIANA  I’ll never tell you.
 Take her away.
DIANA 325 I’ll put in bail, my liege.
 I think thee now some common customer.
DIANA, to Bertram 
 By Jove, if ever I knew man, ’twas you.
 Wherefore hast thou accused him all this while?
 Because he’s guilty and he is not guilty.
330 He knows I am no maid, and he’ll swear to ’t.
 I’ll swear I am a maid, and he knows not.
 Great king, I am no strumpet. By my life,
 I am either maid or else this old man’s wife.
 She does abuse our ears. To prison with her.
335 Good mother, fetch my bail. Widow exits. Stay,
 royal sir.

All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 5. SC. 3

 The jeweler that owes the ring is sent for,
 And he shall surety me. But for this lord
 Who hath abused me as he knows himself,
340 Though yet he never harmed me, here I quit him.
 He knows himself my bed he hath defiled,
 And at that time he got his wife with child.
 Dead though she be, she feels her young one kick.
 So there’s my riddle: one that’s dead is quick.
345 And now behold the meaning.

Enter Helen and Widow.

KING Is there no exorcist
 Beguiles the truer office of mine eyes?
 Is ’t real that I see?
HELEN No, my good lord,
350 ’Tis but the shadow of a wife you see,
 The name and not the thing.
BERTRAM  Both, both. O, pardon!
 O, my good lord, when I was like this maid,
 I found you wondrous kind. There is your ring,
355 And, look you, here’s your letter. She takes out a
This it says:
 When from my finger you can get this ring
 And are by me with child, etc.
 This is done.
 Will you be mine now you are doubly won?
360 If she, my liege, can make me know this clearly,
 I’ll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly.
 If it appear not plain and prove untrue,
 Deadly divorce step between me and you.—
 O my dear mother, do I see you living?
365 Mine eyes smell onions. I shall weep anon.—
 To Parolles. Good Tom Drum, lend me a handkercher.

All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 5. SC. 3

 So, I thank thee. Wait on me home.
 I’ll make sport with thee. Let thy courtesies alone.
 They are scurvy ones.
370 Let us from point to point this story know,
 To make the even truth in pleasure flow.
 To Diana. If thou be’st yet a fresh uncroppèd flower,
 Choose thou thy husband, and I’ll pay thy dower.
 For I can guess that by thy honest aid
375 Thou kept’st a wife herself, thyself a maid.
 Of that and all the progress more and less,
 Resolvedly more leisure shall express.
 All yet seems well, and if it end so meet,
 The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet.