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All’s Well That Ends Well
Entire Play

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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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ACT 1
Scene 1
Enter young Bertram Count of Rossillion, his mother
the Countess, and Helen, Lord Lafew, all in black.


COUNTESS In delivering my son from me, I bury a second
 husband.
BERTRAM And I in going, madam, weep o’er my
 father’s death anew; but I must attend his Majesty’s
5 command, to whom I am now in ward, evermore
 in subjection.
LAFEW You shall find of the King a husband, madam;
 you, sir, a father. He that so generally is at all times
 good must of necessity hold his virtue to you,
10 whose worthiness would stir it up where it wanted
 rather than lack it where there is such abundance.
COUNTESS What hope is there of his Majesty’s
 amendment?
LAFEW He hath abandoned his physicians, madam,
15 under whose practices he hath persecuted time
 with hope, and finds no other advantage in the
 process but only the losing of hope by time.
COUNTESS This young gentlewoman had a father—O,
 that “had,” how sad a passage ’tis!—whose skill
20 was almost as great as his honesty; had it stretched
 so far, would have made nature immortal, and
 death should have play for lack of work. Would for
7

9
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 1. SC. 1

 the King’s sake he were living! I think it would be
 the death of the King’s disease.
LAFEW 25How called you the man you speak of,
 madam?
COUNTESS He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it
 was his great right to be so: Gerard de Narbon.
LAFEW He was excellent indeed, madam. The King
30 very lately spoke of him admiringly, and mourningly.
 He was skillful enough to have lived still, if
 knowledge could be set up against mortality.
BERTRAM What is it, my good lord, the King languishes
 of?
LAFEW 35A fistula, my lord.
BERTRAM I heard not of it before.
LAFEW I would it were not notorious.—Was this gentlewoman
 the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?
COUNTESS His sole child, my lord, and bequeathed to
40 my overlooking. I have those hopes of her good
 that her education promises. Her dispositions she
 inherits, which makes fair gifts fairer; for where an
 unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there
 commendations go with pity—they are virtues and
45 traitors too. In her they are the better for their simpleness.
 She derives her honesty and achieves her
 goodness.
LAFEW Your commendations, madam, get from her
 tears.
COUNTESS 50’Tis the best brine a maiden can season her
 praise in. The remembrance of her father never
 approaches her heart but the tyranny of her sorrows
 takes all livelihood from her cheek.—No
 more of this, Helena. Go to. No more, lest it be
55 rather thought you affect a sorrow than to have—
HELEN I do affect a sorrow indeed, but I have it too.
LAFEW Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead,
 excessive grief the enemy to the living.

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

COUNTESS If the living be enemy to the grief, the
60 excess makes it soon mortal.
BERTRAM Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
LAFEW How understand we that?
COUNTESS 
 Be thou blessed, Bertram, and succeed thy father
 In manners as in shape. Thy blood and virtue
65 Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
 Share with thy birthright. Love all, trust a few,
 Do wrong to none. Be able for thine enemy
 Rather in power than use, and keep thy friend
 Under thy own life’s key Be checked for silence,
70 But never taxed for speech. What heaven more will,
 That thee may furnish and my prayers pluck down,
 Fall on thy head. To Lafew. Farewell, my lord.
 ’Tis an unseasoned courtier. Good my lord,
 Advise him.
LAFEW 75 He cannot want the best that shall
 Attend his love.
COUNTESS Heaven bless him.—Farewell, Bertram.
BERTRAM The best wishes that can be forged in your
 thoughts be servants to you.Countess exits.
80 To Helen. Be comfortable to my mother, your
 mistress, and make much of her.
LAFEW Farewell, pretty lady. You must hold the credit
 of your father. Bertram and Lafew exit.
HELEN 
 O, were that all! I think not on my father,
85 And these great tears grace his remembrance more
 Than those I shed for him. What was he like?
 I have forgot him. My imagination
 Carries no favor in ’t but Bertram’s.
 I am undone. There is no living, none,
90 If Bertram be away. ’Twere all one
 That I should love a bright particular star
 And think to wed it, he is so above me.

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

 In his bright radiance and collateral light
 Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
95 Th’ ambition in my love thus plagues itself:
 The hind that would be mated by the lion
 Must die for love. ’Twas pretty, though a plague,
 To see him every hour, to sit and draw
 His archèd brows, his hawking eye, his curls
100 In our heart’s table—heart too capable
 Of every line and trick of his sweet favor.
 But now he’s gone, and my idolatrous fancy
 Must sanctify his relics. Who comes here?

Enter Parolles.

 One that goes with him. I love him for his sake,
105 And yet I know him a notorious liar,
 Think him a great way fool, solely a coward.
 Yet these fixed evils sit so fit in him
 That they take place when virtue’s steely bones
 Looks bleak i’ th’ cold wind. Withal, full oft we see
110 Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.
PAROLLES Save you, fair queen.
HELEN And you, monarch.
PAROLLES No.
HELEN And no.
PAROLLES 115Are you meditating on virginity?
HELEN Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you; let
 me ask you a question. Man is enemy to virginity.
 How may we barricado it against him?
PAROLLES Keep him out.
HELEN 120But he assails, and our virginity, though
 valiant in the defense, yet is weak. Unfold to us
 some warlike resistance.
PAROLLES There is none. Man setting down before you
 will undermine you and blow you up.
HELEN 125Bless our poor virginity from underminers and
 blowers-up! Is there no military policy how virgins
 might blow up men?

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

PAROLLES Virginity being blown down, man will
 quicklier be blown up. Marry, in blowing him
130 down again, with the breach yourselves made you
 lose your city. It is not politic in the commonwealth
 of nature to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity
 is rational increase, and there was never
 virgin got till virginity was first lost. That you
135 were made of is metal to make virgins. Virginity by
 being once lost may be ten times found; by being
 ever kept, it is ever lost. ’Tis too cold a companion.
 Away with ’t.
HELEN I will stand for ’t a little, though therefore I
140 die a virgin.
PAROLLES There’s little can be said in ’t. ’Tis against the
 rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity is
 to accuse your mothers, which is most infallible
 disobedience. He that hangs himself is a virgin;
145 virginity murders itself and should be buried in
 highways out of all sanctified limit as a desperate
 offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites,
 much like a cheese, consumes itself to the very
 paring, and so dies with feeding his own stomach.
150 Besides, virginity is peevish, proud, idle, made of
 self-love, which is the most inhibited sin in the
 canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but lose by
 ’t. Out with ’t! Within ten year it will make itself
 two, which is a goodly increase, and the principal
155 itself not much the worse. Away with ’t!
HELEN How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own
 liking?
PAROLLES Let me see. Marry, ill, to like him that ne’er
 it likes. ’Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with
160 lying; the longer kept, the less worth. Off with ’t
 while ’tis vendible; answer the time of request. Virginity,
 like an old courtier, wears her cap out of
 fashion, richly suited but unsuitable, just like the

17
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 1. SC. 1

 brooch and the toothpick, which wear not now.
165 Your date is better in your pie and your porridge
 than in your cheek. And your virginity, your old
 virginity, is like one of our French withered pears:
 it looks ill, it eats dryly; marry, ’tis a withered pear.
 It was formerly better, marry, yet ’tis a withered
170 pear. Will you anything with it?
HELEN Not my virginity, yet—
 There shall your master have a thousand loves,
 A mother, and a mistress, and a friend,
 A phoenix, captain, and an enemy,
175 A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign,
 A counselor, a traitress, and a dear;
 His humble ambition, proud humility,
 His jarring concord, and his discord dulcet,
 His faith, his sweet disaster, with a world
180 Of pretty, fond adoptious christendoms
 That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he—
 I know not what he shall. God send him well.
 The court’s a learning place, and he is one—
PAROLLES What one, i’ faith?
HELEN 185That I wish well. ’Tis pity—
PAROLLES What’s pity?
HELEN 
 That wishing well had not a body in ’t
 Which might be felt, that we, the poorer born,
 Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes,
190 Might with effects of them follow our friends
 And show what we alone must think, which never
 Returns us thanks.

Enter Page.

PAGE Monsieur Parolles, my lord calls for you.
PAROLLES Little Helen, farewell. If I can remember
195 thee, I will think of thee at court.
HELEN Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a
 charitable star.

19
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 1. SC. 1

PAROLLES Under Mars, I.
HELEN I especially think under Mars.
PAROLLES 200Why under Mars?
HELEN The wars hath so kept you under that you
 must needs be born under Mars.
PAROLLES When he was predominant.
HELEN When he was retrograde, I think rather.
PAROLLES 205Why think you so?
HELEN You go so much backward when you fight.
PAROLLES That’s for advantage.
HELEN So is running away, when fear proposes the
 safety. But the composition that your valor and
210 fear makes in you is a virtue of a good wing, and I
 like the wear well.
PAROLLES I am so full of businesses I cannot answer
 thee acutely. I will return perfect courtier, in the
 which my instruction shall serve to naturalize
215 thee, so thou wilt be capable of a courtier’s counsel
 and understand what advice shall thrust upon
 thee, else thou diest in thine unthankfulness, and
 thine ignorance makes thee away. Farewell. When
 thou hast leisure, say thy prayers; when thou hast
220 none, remember thy friends. Get thee a good husband,
 and use him as he uses thee. So, farewell.
Parolles and Page exit.
HELEN 
 Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie
 Which we ascribe to heaven. The fated sky
 Gives us free scope, only doth backward pull
225 Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.
 What power is it which mounts my love so high,
 That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye?
 The mightiest space in fortune nature brings
 To join like likes and kiss like native things.
230 Impossible be strange attempts to those
 That weigh their pains in sense and do suppose

21
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 1. SC. 2

 What hath been cannot be. Who ever strove
 To show her merit that did miss her love?
 The King’s disease—my project may deceive me,
235 But my intents are fixed and will not leave me.
She exits.


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?

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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.




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All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 1. SC. 3

Scene 3
Enter Countess, Steward, and Fool.

COUNTESS I will now hear. What say you of this
 gentlewoman?
STEWARD Madam, the care I have had to even your
 content I wish might be found in the calendar of
5 my past endeavors, for then we wound our modesty
 and make foul the clearness of our deservings
 when of ourselves we publish them.
COUNTESS What does this knave here? To Fool. Get
 you gone, sirrah. The complaints I have heard of
10 you I do not all believe. ’Tis my slowness that I do
 not, for I know you lack not folly to commit them
 and have ability enough to make such knaveries
 yours.
FOOL ’Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a poor
15 fellow.
COUNTESS Well, sir.
FOOL No, madam, ’tis not so well that I am poor,
 though many of the rich are damned. But if I may
 have your Ladyship’s good will to go to the world,
20 Isbel the woman and I will do as we may.
COUNTESS Wilt thou needs be a beggar?
FOOL I do beg your good will in this case.
COUNTESS In what case?
FOOL In Isbel’s case and mine own. Service is no heritage,
25 and I think I shall never have the blessing of
 God till I have issue o’ my body, for they say bairns
 are blessings.
COUNTESS Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.
FOOL My poor body, madam, requires it. I am driven
30 on by the flesh, and he must needs go that the devil
 drives.
COUNTESS Is this all your Worship’s reason?
FOOL Faith, madam, I have other holy reasons, such
 as they are.

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ACT 1. SC. 3

COUNTESS 35May the world know them?
FOOL I have been, madam, a wicked creature, as you
 and all flesh and blood are, and indeed I do marry
 that I may repent.
COUNTESS Thy marriage sooner than thy wickedness.
FOOL 40I am out o’ friends, madam, and I hope to have
 friends for my wife’s sake.
COUNTESS Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
FOOL You’re shallow, madam, in great friends, for the
 knaves come to do that for me which I am aweary
45 of. He that ears my land spares my team and gives
 me leave to in the crop; if I be his cuckold, he’s my
 drudge. He that comforts my wife is the cherisher
 of my flesh and blood; he that cherishes my flesh
 and blood loves my flesh and blood; he that loves
50 my flesh and blood is my friend. Ergo, he that
 kisses my wife is my friend. If men could be contented
 to be what they are, there were no fear in
 marriage, for young Charbon the Puritan and old
 Poysam the Papist, howsome’er their hearts are
55 severed in religion, their heads are both one; they
 may jowl horns together like any deer i’ th’ herd.
COUNTESS Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouthed and
 calumnious knave?
FOOL A prophet I, madam, and I speak the truth the
60 next way:
Sings. For I the ballad will repeat
  Which men full true shall find:
 Your marriage comes by destiny;
  Your cuckoo sings by kind.

COUNTESS 65Get you gone, sir. I’ll talk with you more
 anon.
STEWARD May it please you, madam, that he bid Helen
 come to you. Of her I am to speak.
COUNTESS Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman I would speak
70 with her—Helen, I mean.

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All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 1. SC. 3

FOOL sings 
 “Was this fair face the cause,” quoth she,
  “Why the Grecians sackèd Troy?
 Fond done, done fond.
  Was this King Priam’s joy?”
75 With that she sighèd as she stood,
 With that she sighèd as she stood,
  And gave this sentence then:
 “Among nine bad if one be good,
 Among nine bad if one be good,
80  There’s yet one good in ten.”

COUNTESS What, one good in ten? You corrupt the
 song, sirrah.
FOOL One good woman in ten, madam, which is a
 purifying o’ th’ song. Would God would serve the
85 world so all the year! We’d find no fault with the
 tithe-woman if I were the parson. One in ten,
 quoth he? An we might have a good woman born
 but or every blazing star or at an earthquake,
 ’twould mend the lottery well. A man may draw his
90 heart out ere he pluck one.
COUNTESS You’ll be gone, sir knave, and do as I command
 you!
FOOL That man should be at woman’s command, and
 yet no hurt done! Though honesty be no Puritan,
95 yet it will do no hurt; it will wear the surplice of
 humility over the black gown of a big heart. I am
 going, forsooth. The business is for Helen to come
 hither.He exits.
COUNTESS Well, now.
STEWARD 100I 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.
105 There is more owing her than is paid, and more
 shall be paid her than she’ll demand.

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ACT 1. SC. 3

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
110 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
115 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
120 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
125 before, which hung so tott’ring 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.Steward exits.

Enter Helen.

Aside.
130 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,
135 Where love’s strong passion is impressed 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.
HELEN What is your pleasure, madam?

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All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 1. SC. 3

COUNTESS 
140 You know, Helen, I am a mother to you.
HELEN 
 Mine honorable mistress.
COUNTESS  Nay, a mother.
 Why not a mother? When I said “a mother,”
 Methought you saw a serpent. What’s in “mother”
145 That you start at it? I say I am your mother
 And put you in the catalogue of those
 That were enwombèd mine. ’Tis often seen
 Adoption strives with nature, and choice breeds
 A native slip to us from foreign seeds.
150 You ne’er oppressed 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 distempered messenger of wet,
155 The many-colored Iris, rounds thine eye?
 Why? That you are my daughter?
HELEN  That I am not.
COUNTESS 
 I say I am your mother.
HELEN  Pardon, madam.
160 The Count Rossillion cannot be my brother.
 I am from humble, he from honored 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.
165 He must not be my brother.
COUNTESS  Nor I your mother?
HELEN 
 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,
170 I care no more for than I do for heaven,
 So I were not his sister. Can ’t no other

37
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 1. SC. 3

 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”
175 So strive upon your pulse. What, pale again?
 My fear hath catched 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
180 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
185 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,
190 As heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
 To tell me truly.
HELEN  Good madam, pardon me.
COUNTESS 
 Do you love my son?
HELEN  Your pardon, noble mistress.
COUNTESS 
195 Love you my son?
HELEN  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
200 Have to the full appeached.
HELEN, kneeling  Then I confess
 Here on my knee before high heaven and you
 That before you and next unto high heaven

39
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 1. SC. 3

 I love your son.
205 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,
210 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,
215 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,
220 Whose agèd honor 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
225 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.
COUNTESS 
 Had you not lately an intent—speak truly—
 To go to Paris?
HELEN 230 Madam, I had.
COUNTESS  Wherefore?
 Tell true.
HELEN, standing 
 I will tell truth, by grace itself I swear.
 You know my father left me some prescriptions
235 Of rare and proved effects, such as his reading
 And manifest experience had collected
 For general sovereignty; and that he willed me

41
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 1. SC. 3

 In heedfull’st reservation to bestow them
 As notes whose faculties inclusive were
240 More than they were in note. Amongst the rest
 There is a remedy, approved, set down,
 To cure the desperate languishings whereof
 The King is rendered lost.
COUNTESS 
 This was your motive for Paris, was it? Speak.
HELEN 
245 My lord your son made me to think of this;
 Else Paris, and the medicine, and the King
 Had from the conversation of my thoughts
 Haply been absent then.
COUNTESS  But think you, Helen,
250 If you should tender your supposèd aid,
 He would receive it? He and his physicians
 Are of a mind: he that they cannot help him,
 They that they cannot help. How shall they credit
 A poor unlearnèd virgin, when the schools
255 Emboweled of their doctrine have left off
 The danger to itself?
HELEN  There’s something in ’t
 More than my father’s skill, which was the great’st
 Of his profession, that his good receipt
260 Shall for my legacy be sanctified
 By th’ luckiest stars in heaven; and would your
 Honor
 But give me leave to try success, I’d venture
 The well-lost life of mine on his Grace’s cure
265 By such a day, an hour.
COUNTESS  Dost thou believe ’t?
HELEN Ay, madam, knowingly.
COUNTESS 
 Why, Helen, thou shalt have my leave and love,
 Means and attendants, and my loving greetings
270 To those of mine in court. I’ll stay at home

43
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 1. SC. 3

 And pray God’s blessing into thy attempt.
 Be gone tomorrow, and be sure of this:
 What I can help thee to thou shalt not miss.
They exit.


ACT 2
Scene 1
Flourish cornets. Enter the King, attended, with divers
young Lords, taking leave for the Florentine war;
Bertram Count Rossillion, and Parolles.


KING 
 Farewell, young lords. These warlike principles
 Do not throw from you.—And you, my lords,
 farewell.
 Share the advice betwixt you. If both gain all,
5 The gift doth stretch itself as ’tis received
 And is enough for both.
FIRST LORD  ’Tis our hope, sir,
 After well-entered soldiers, to return
 And find your Grace in health.
KING 
10 No, no, it cannot be. And yet my heart
 Will not confess he owes the malady
 That doth my life besiege. Farewell, young lords.
 Whether I live or die, be you the sons
 Of worthy Frenchmen. Let higher Italy—
15 Those bated that inherit but the fall
 Of the last monarchy—see that you come
 Not to woo honor but to wed it. When
 The bravest questant shrinks, find what you seek,
 That fame may cry you loud. I say farewell.
47

49
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 1

FIRST LORD 
20 Health at your bidding serve your Majesty!
KING 
 Those girls of Italy, take heed of them.
 They say our French lack language to deny
 If they demand. Beware of being captives
 Before you serve.
LORDS 25 Our hearts receive your warnings.
KING Farewell.—Come hither to me.
The King speaks to Attendants, while Bertram,
Parolles, and other Lords come forward.

FIRST LORD, to Bertram 
 O my sweet lord, that you will stay behind us!
PAROLLES 
 ’Tis not his fault, the spark.
SECOND LORD  O, ’tis brave wars.
PAROLLES 
30 Most admirable. I have seen those wars.
BERTRAM 
 I am commanded here and kept a coil
 With “Too young,” and “The next year,” and “’Tis
 too early.”
PAROLLES 
 An thy mind stand to ’t, boy, steal away bravely.
BERTRAM 
35 I shall stay here the forehorse to a smock,
 Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry
 Till honor be bought up, and no sword worn
 But one to dance with. By heaven, I’ll steal away!
FIRST LORD 
 There’s honor in the theft.
PAROLLES 40 Commit it, count.
SECOND LORD 
 I am your accessory. And so, farewell.
BERTRAM I grow to you, and our parting is a tortured
 body.

51
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 1

FIRST LORD Farewell, captain.
SECOND LORD 45Sweet Monsieur Parolles.
PAROLLES Noble heroes, my sword and yours are kin.
 Good sparks and lustrous, a word, good metals.
 You shall find in the regiment of the Spinii one
 Captain Spurio with his cicatrice, an emblem of
50 war, here on his sinister cheek. It was this very
 sword entrenched it. Say to him I live, and observe
 his reports for me.
FIRST LORD We shall, noble captain.
PAROLLES Mars dote on you for his novices.
Lords exit.
55 To Bertram. What will you do?
BERTRAM Stay the King.
PAROLLES Use a more spacious ceremony to the noble
 lords. You have restrained yourself within the list
 of too cold an adieu. Be more expressive to them,
60 for they wear themselves in the cap of the time;
 there do muster true gait; eat, speak, and move
 under the influence of the most received star, and,
 though the devil lead the measure, such are to be
 followed. After them, and take a more dilated
65 farewell.
BERTRAM And I will do so.
PAROLLES Worthy fellows, and like to prove most
 sinewy swordmen.Bertram and Parolles exit.

Enter Lafew, to the King.

LAFEW, kneeling 
 Pardon, my lord, for me and for my tidings.
KING 70I’ll fee thee to stand up.
LAFEW, standing 
 Then here’s a man stands that has brought his
 pardon.
 I would you had kneeled, my lord, to ask me mercy,
 And that at my bidding you could so stand up.

53
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 1

KING 
75 I would I had, so I had broke thy pate
 And asked thee mercy for ’t.
LAFEW  Good faith, across.
 But, my good lord, ’tis thus: will you be cured
 Of your infirmity?
KING 80 No.
LAFEW  O, will you eat
 No grapes, my royal fox? Yes, but you will
 My noble grapes, an if my royal fox
 Could reach them. I have seen a medicine
85 That’s able to breathe life into a stone,
 Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary
 With sprightly fire and motion, whose simple touch
 Is powerful to araise King Pippen, nay,
 To give great Charlemagne a pen in ’s hand
90 And write to her a love line.
KING  What “her” is this?
LAFEW 
 Why, Doctor She. My lord, there’s one arrived,
 If you will see her. Now, by my faith and honor,
 If seriously I may convey my thoughts
95 In this my light deliverance, I have spoke
 With one that in her sex, her years, profession,
 Wisdom, and constancy hath amazed me more
 Than I dare blame my weakness. Will you see her—
 For that is her demand—and know her business?
100 That done, laugh well at me.
KING  Now, good Lafew,
 Bring in the admiration, that we with thee
 May spend our wonder too, or take off thine
 By wond’ring how thou took’st it.
LAFEW 105 Nay, I’ll fit you,
 And not be all day neither.
He goes to bring in Helen.
KING 
 Thus he his special nothing ever prologues.

55
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 1

Enter Helen.

LAFEW, to Helen Nay, come your ways.
KING This haste hath wings indeed.
LAFEW 110Nay, come your ways.
 This is his Majesty. Say your mind to him.
 A traitor you do look like, but such traitors
 His Majesty seldom fears. I am Cressid’s uncle
 That dare leave two together. Fare you well.
He exits.
KING 
115 Now, fair one, does your business follow us?
HELEN Ay, my good lord,
 Gerard de Narbon was my father,
 In what he did profess well found.
KING  I knew him.
HELEN 
120 The rather will I spare my praises towards him.
 Knowing him is enough. On ’s bed of death
 Many receipts he gave me, chiefly one
 Which, as the dearest issue of his practice,
 And of his old experience th’ only darling,
125 He bade me store up as a triple eye,
 Safer than mine own two, more dear. I have so,
 And hearing your high Majesty is touched
 With that malignant cause wherein the honor
 Of my dear father’s gift stands chief in power,
130 I come to tender it and my appliance
 With all bound humbleness.
KING  We thank you, maiden,
 But may not be so credulous of cure,
 When our most learnèd doctors leave us and
135 The congregated college have concluded
 That laboring art can never ransom nature
 From her inaidible estate. I say we must not
 So stain our judgment or corrupt our hope

57
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 1

 To prostitute our past-cure malady
140 To empirics, or to dissever so
 Our great self and our credit to esteem
 A senseless help when help past sense we deem.
HELEN 
 My duty, then, shall pay me for my pains.
 I will no more enforce mine office on you,
145 Humbly entreating from your royal thoughts
 A modest one to bear me back again.
KING 
 I cannot give thee less, to be called grateful.
 Thou thought’st to help me, and such thanks I give
 As one near death to those that wish him live.
150 But what at full I know, thou know’st no part,
 I knowing all my peril, thou no art.
HELEN 
 What I can do can do no hurt to try
 Since you set up your rest ’gainst remedy.
 He that of greatest works is finisher
155 Oft does them by the weakest minister.
 So holy writ in babes hath judgment shown
 When judges have been babes. Great floods have flown
 From simple sources, and great seas have dried
 When miracles have by the great’st been denied.
160 Oft expectation fails, and most oft there
 Where most it promises, and oft it hits
 Where hope is coldest and despair most shifts.
KING 
 I must not hear thee. Fare thee well, kind maid.
 Thy pains, not used, must by thyself be paid.
165 Proffers not took reap thanks for their reward.
HELEN 
 Inspirèd merit so by breath is barred.
 It is not so with Him that all things knows
 As ’tis with us that square our guess by shows;
 But most it is presumption in us when

59
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 1

170 The help of heaven we count the act of men.
 Dear sir, to my endeavors give consent.
 Of heaven, not me, make an experiment.
 I am not an impostor that proclaim
 Myself against the level of mine aim,
175 But know I think and think I know most sure
 My art is not past power nor you past cure.
KING 
 Art thou so confident? Within what space
 Hop’st thou my cure?
HELEN  The greatest grace lending grace,
180 Ere twice the horses of the sun shall bring
 Their fiery torcher his diurnal ring;
 Ere twice in murk and occidental damp
 Moist Hesperus hath quenched her sleepy lamp;
 Or four and twenty times the pilot’s glass
185 Hath told the thievish minutes, how they pass,
 What is infirm from your sound parts shall fly,
 Health shall live free, and sickness freely die.
KING 
 Upon thy certainty and confidence
 What dar’st thou venture?
HELEN 190 Tax of impudence,
 A strumpet’s boldness, a divulgèd shame;
 Traduced by odious ballads, my maiden’s name
 Seared otherwise; nay, worse of worst, extended
 With vilest torture let my life be ended.
KING 
195 Methinks in thee some blessèd spirit doth speak
 His powerful sound within an organ weak,
 And what impossibility would slay
 In common sense, sense saves another way.
 Thy life is dear, for all that life can rate
200 Worth name of life in thee hath estimate:
 Youth, beauty, wisdom, courage, all
 That happiness and prime can happy call.

61
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Thou this to hazard needs must intimate
 Skill infinite or monstrous desperate.
205 Sweet practicer, thy physic I will try,
 That ministers thine own death if I die.
HELEN 
 If I break time or flinch in property
 Of what I spoke, unpitied let me die,
 And well deserved. Not helping, death’s my fee.
210 But if I help, what do you promise me?
KING 
 Make thy demand.
HELEN  But will you make it even?
KING 
 Ay, by my scepter and my hopes of heaven.
HELEN 
 Then shalt thou give me with thy kingly hand
215 What husband in thy power I will command.
 Exempted be from me the arrogance
 To choose from forth the royal blood of France,
 My low and humble name to propagate
 With any branch or image of thy state;
220 But such a one, thy vassal, whom I know
 Is free for me to ask, thee to bestow.
KING 
 Here is my hand. The premises observed,
 Thy will by my performance shall be served.
 So make the choice of thy own time, for I,
225 Thy resolved patient, on thee still rely.
 More should I question thee, and more I must,
 Though more to know could not be more to trust:
 From whence thou cam’st, how tended on; but rest
 Unquestioned welcome and undoubted blessed.—
230 Give me some help here, ho!—If thou proceed
 As high as word, my deed shall match thy deed.
Flourish. They exit, the King assisted.




63
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 2

Scene 2
Enter Countess and Fool.

COUNTESS Come on, sir. I shall now put you to the
 height of your breeding.
FOOL I will show myself highly fed and lowly taught. I
 know my business is but to the court.
COUNTESS 5“To the court”? Why, what place make you
 special when you put off that with such contempt?
 “But to the court”?
FOOL Truly, madam, if God have lent a man any manners,
 he may easily put it off at court. He that cannot
10 make a leg, put off ’s cap, kiss his hand, and
 say nothing, has neither leg, hands, lip, nor cap;
 and indeed such a fellow, to say precisely, were
 not for the court. But, for me, I have an answer
 will serve all men.
COUNTESS 15Marry, that’s a bountiful answer that fits all
 questions.
FOOL It is like a barber’s chair that fits all buttocks:
 the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn-buttock,
 or any buttock.
COUNTESS 20Will your answer serve fit to all questions?
FOOL As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney,
 as your French crown for your taffety punk, as
 Tib’s rush for Tom’s forefinger, as a pancake for
 Shrove Tuesday, a morris for May Day, as the nail
25 to his hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a scolding
 quean to a wrangling knave, as the nun’s lip to the
 friar’s mouth, nay, as the pudding to his skin.
COUNTESS Have you, I say, an answer of such fitness
 for all questions?
FOOL 30From below your duke to beneath your constable,
 it will fit any question.
COUNTESS It must be an answer of most monstrous
 size that must fit all demands.

65
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 2

FOOL But a trifle neither, in good faith, if the learned
35 should speak truth of it. Here it is, and all that
 belongs to ’t. Ask me if I am a courtier; it shall do
 you no harm to learn.
COUNTESS To be young again, if we could! I will be a
 fool in question, hoping to be the wiser by your
40 answer. I pray you, sir, are you a courtier?
FOOL O Lord, sir!—There’s a simple putting off. More,
 more, a hundred of them.
COUNTESS Sir, I am a poor friend of yours that loves
 you.
FOOL 45O Lord, sir!—Thick, thick. Spare not me.
COUNTESS I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely
 meat.
FOOL O Lord, sir!—Nay, put me to ’t, I warrant you.
COUNTESS You were lately whipped, sir, as I think.
FOOL 50O Lord, sir!—Spare not me.
COUNTESS Do you cry “O Lord, sir!” at your whipping,
 and “spare not me”? Indeed your “O Lord, sir!” is
 very sequent to your whipping. You would answer
 very well to a whipping if you were but bound to ’t.
FOOL 55I ne’er had worse luck in my life in my “O Lord,
 sir!” I see things may serve long but not serve ever.
COUNTESS I play the noble huswife with the time to
 entertain it so merrily with a fool.
FOOL O Lord, sir!—Why, there ’t serves well again.
COUNTESS, giving him a paper 
60 An end, sir. To your business. Give Helen this,
 And urge her to a present answer back.
 Commend me to my kinsmen and my son.
 This is not much.
FOOL Not much commendation to them?
COUNTESS 
65 Not much employment for you. You understand me.
FOOL Most fruitfully. I am there before my legs.
COUNTESS Haste you again.
They exit.




67
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 3

Scene 3
Enter Count Bertram, Lafew, and Parolles.

LAFEW They say miracles are past, and we have our
 philosophical persons to make modern and familiar
 things supernatural and causeless. Hence is it
 that we make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves
5 into seeming knowledge when we should
 submit ourselves to an unknown fear.
PAROLLES Why, ’tis the rarest argument of wonder that
 hath shot out in our latter times.
BERTRAM And so ’tis.
LAFEW 10To be relinquished of the artists—
PAROLLES So I say, both of Galen and Paracelsus.
LAFEW Of all the learned and authentic fellows—
PAROLLES Right, so I say.
LAFEW That gave him out incurable—
PAROLLES 15Why, there ’tis. So say I too.
LAFEW Not to be helped.
PAROLLES Right, as ’twere a man assured of a—
LAFEW Uncertain life and sure death.
PAROLLES Just. You say well. So would I have said.
LAFEW 20I may truly say it is a novelty to the world.
PAROLLES It is indeed. If you will have it in showing,
 you shall read it in what-do-you-call there.
He points to a paper in Lafew’s hand.
LAFEW reads A showing of a heavenly effect in an earthly
 actor.

PAROLLES 25That’s it. I would have said the very same.
LAFEW Why, your dolphin is not lustier. ’Fore me, I
 speak in respect—
PAROLLES Nay, ’tis strange, ’tis very strange; that is the
 brief and the tedious of it; and he’s of a most facinorous
30 spirit that will not acknowledge it to be
 the—
LAFEW Very hand of heaven.

69
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 3

PAROLLES Ay, so I say.
LAFEW In a most weak—
PAROLLES 35And debile minister. Great power, great
 transcendence, which should indeed give us a further
 use to be made than alone the recov’ry of the
 King, as to be—
LAFEW Generally thankful.

Enter King, Helen, and Attendants.

PAROLLES 40I would have said it. You say well. Here
 comes the King.
LAFEW Lustig, as the Dutchman says. I’ll like a maid
 the better whilst I have a tooth in my head. Why,
 he’s able to lead her a coranto.
PAROLLES 45Mort du vinaigre! Is not this Helen?
LAFEW ’Fore God, I think so.
KING 
 Go, call before me all the lords in court.
An Attendant exits.
 Sit, my preserver, by thy patient’s side,
 And with this healthful hand, whose banished sense
50 Thou hast repealed, a second time receive
 The confirmation of my promised gift,
 Which but attends thy naming.

Enter three or four Court Lords.

 Fair maid, send forth thine eye. This youthful parcel
 Of noble bachelors stand at my bestowing,
55 O’er whom both sovereign power and father’s voice
 I have to use. Thy frank election make.
 Thou hast power to choose, and they none to forsake.
HELEN 
 To each of you one fair and virtuous mistress
 Fall when Love please! Marry, to each but one.
LAFEW, aside 
60 I’d give bay Curtal and his furniture

71
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 3

 My mouth no more were broken than these boys’
 And writ as little beard.
KING  Peruse them well.
 Not one of those but had a noble father.
HELEN 65Gentlemen,
 Heaven hath through me restored the King to health.
ALL 
 We understand it and thank heaven for you.
HELEN 
 I am a simple maid, and therein wealthiest
 That I protest I simply am a maid.—
70 Please it your Majesty, I have done already.
 The blushes in my cheeks thus whisper me:
 “We blush that thou shouldst choose; but, be
 refused,
 Let the white death sit on thy cheek forever;
75 We’ll ne’er come there again.”
KING  Make choice and see.
 Who shuns thy love shuns all his love in me.
HELEN 
 Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly,
 And to imperial Love, that god most high,
80 Do my sighs stream.She addresses her to a Lord.
 Sir, will you hear my suit?
FIRST COURT LORD 
 And grant it.
HELEN  Thanks, sir. All the
 rest is mute.
LAFEW, aside 85I had rather be in this choice than
 throw ambs-ace for my life.
HELEN, to another Lord 
 The honor, sir, that flames in your fair eyes
 Before I speak too threat’ningly replies.
 Love make your fortunes twenty times above
90 Her that so wishes, and her humble love.
SECOND COURT LORD 
 No better, if you please.
HELEN  My wish receive,

73
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 3

 Which great Love grant, and so I take my leave.
LAFEW, aside Do all they deny her? An they were sons
95 of mine, I’d have them whipped, or I would send
 them to th’ Turk to make eunuchs of.
HELEN, to another Lord 
 Be not afraid that I your hand should take.
 I’ll never do you wrong, for your own sake.
 Blessing upon your vows, and in your bed
100 Find fairer fortune if you ever wed.
LAFEW, aside These boys are boys of ice; they’ll none
 have her. Sure they are bastards to the English;
 the French ne’er got ’em.
HELEN, to another Lord 
 You are too young, too happy, and too good
105 To make yourself a son out of my blood.
FOURTH COURT LORD Fair one, I think not so.
LAFEW, aside There’s one grape yet. I am sure thy
 father drunk wine. But if thou be’st not an ass, I
 am a youth of fourteen; I have known thee already.
HELEN, to Bertram 
110 I dare not say I take you, but I give
 Me and my service ever whilst I live
 Into your guiding power.—This is the man.
KING 
 Why then, young Bertram, take her. She’s thy wife.
BERTRAM 
 My wife, my liege? I shall beseech your Highness
115 In such a business give me leave to use
 The help of mine own eyes.
KING  Know’st thou not,
 Bertram,
 What she has done for me?
BERTRAM 120 Yes, my good lord,
 But never hope to know why I should marry her.
KING 
 Thou know’st she has raised me from my sickly bed.

75
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 3

BERTRAM 
 But follows it, my lord, to bring me down
 Must answer for your raising? I know her well;
125 She had her breeding at my father’s charge.
 A poor physician’s daughter my wife? Disdain
 Rather corrupt me ever!
KING 
 ’Tis only title thou disdain’st in her, the which
 I can build up. Strange is it that our bloods,
130 Of color, weight, and heat, poured all together,
 Would quite confound distinction, yet stands off
 In differences so mighty. If she be
 All that is virtuous, save what thou dislik’st—
 “A poor physician’s daughter”—thou dislik’st
135 Of virtue for the name. But do not so.
 From lowest place whence virtuous things proceed,
 The place is dignified by th’ doer’s deed.
 Where great additions swell ’s, and virtue none,
 It is a dropsied honor. Good alone
140 Is good, without a name; vileness is so;
 The property by what it is should go,
 Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair;
 In these to nature she’s immediate heir,
 And these breed honor. That is honor’s scorn
145 Which challenges itself as honor’s born
 And is not like the sire. Honors thrive
 When rather from our acts we them derive
 Than our foregoers. The mere word’s a slave
 Debauched on every tomb, on every grave
150 A lying trophy, and as oft is dumb
 Where dust and damned oblivion is the tomb
 Of honored bones indeed. What should be said?
 If thou canst like this creature as a maid,
 I can create the rest. Virtue and she
155 Is her own dower, honor and wealth from me.

77
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 3

BERTRAM 
 I cannot love her, nor will strive to do ’t.
KING 
 Thou wrong’st thyself if thou shouldst strive to
 choose.
HELEN 
 That you are well restored, my lord, I’m glad.
160 Let the rest go.
KING 
 My honor’s at the stake, which to defeat
 I must produce my power.—Here, take her hand,
 Proud, scornful boy, unworthy this good gift,
 That dost in vile misprision shackle up
165 My love and her desert; that canst not dream
 We, poising us in her defective scale,
 Shall weigh thee to the beam; that wilt not know
 It is in us to plant thine honor where
 We please to have it grow. Check thy contempt;
170 Obey our will, which travails in thy good.
 Believe not thy disdain, but presently
 Do thine own fortunes that obedient right
 Which both thy duty owes and our power claims,
 Or I will throw thee from my care forever
175 Into the staggers and the careless lapse
 Of youth and ignorance, both my revenge and hate
 Loosing upon thee in the name of justice
 Without all terms of pity. Speak. Thine answer.
BERTRAM 
 Pardon, my gracious lord, for I submit
180 My fancy to your eyes. When I consider
 What great creation and what dole of honor
 Flies where you bid it, I find that she which late
 Was in my nobler thoughts most base is now
 The praisèd of the King, who, so ennobled,
185 Is as ’twere born so.
KING  Take her by the hand,

79
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 3

 And tell her she is thine, to whom I promise
 A counterpoise, if not to thy estate,
 A balance more replete.
BERTRAM 190 I take her hand.
KING 
 Good fortune and the favor of the King
 Smile upon this contract, whose ceremony
 Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief
 And be performed tonight. The solemn feast
195 Shall more attend upon the coming space,
 Expecting absent friends. As thou lov’st her
 Thy love’s to me religious; else, does err.
They exit. Parolles and Lafew stay behind,
commenting of this wedding.

LAFEW Do you hear, monsieur? A word with you.
PAROLLES Your pleasure, sir.
LAFEW 200Your lord and master did well to make his
 recantation.
PAROLLES “Recantation”? My “lord”? My “master”?
LAFEW Ay. Is it not a language I speak?
PAROLLES A most harsh one, and not to be understood
205 without bloody succeeding. My “master”?
LAFEW Are you companion to the Count Rossillion?
PAROLLES To any count, to all counts, to what is man.
LAFEW To what is count’s man. Count’s master is of
 another style.
PAROLLES 210You are too old, sir; let it satisfy you, you are
 too old.
LAFEW I must tell thee, sirrah, I write man, to which
 title age cannot bring thee.
PAROLLES What I dare too well do, I dare not do.
LAFEW 215I did think thee, for two ordinaries, to be a
 pretty wise fellow; thou didst make tolerable vent
 of thy travel; it might pass. Yet the scarves and the
 bannerets about thee did manifoldly dissuade me
 from believing thee a vessel of too great a burden.

81
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 3

220 I have now found thee. When I lose thee again, I
 care not. Yet art thou good for nothing but taking
 up, and that thou ’rt scarce worth.
PAROLLES Hadst thou not the privilege of antiquity
 upon thee—
LAFEW 225Do not plunge thyself too far in anger lest thou
 hasten thy trial, which if—Lord have mercy on
 thee for a hen! So, my good window of lattice, fare
 thee well; thy casement I need not open, for I look
 through thee. Give me thy hand.
PAROLLES 230My lord, you give me most egregious
 indignity.
LAFEW Ay, with all my heart, and thou art worthy of it.
PAROLLES I have not, my lord, deserved it.
LAFEW Yes, good faith, ev’ry dram of it, and I will not
235 bate thee a scruple.
PAROLLES Well, I shall be wiser.
LAFEW Ev’n as soon as thou canst, for thou hast to
 pull at a smack o’ th’ contrary. If ever thou be’st
 bound in thy scarf and beaten, thou shalt find
240 what it is to be proud of thy bondage. I have a
 desire to hold my acquaintance with thee, or
 rather my knowledge, that I may say in the default
 “He is a man I know.”
PAROLLES My lord, you do me most insupportable
245 vexation.
LAFEW I would it were hell pains for thy sake, and my
 poor doing eternal; for doing I am past, as I will by
 thee in what motion age will give me leave.
He exits.
PAROLLES Well, thou hast a son shall take this disgrace
250 off me. Scurvy, old, filthy, scurvy lord! Well, I must
 be patient; there is no fettering of authority. I’ll
 beat him, by my life, if I can meet him with any
 convenience, an he were double and double a lord.
 I’ll have no more pity of his age than I would have
255 of—I’ll beat him, an if I could but meet him again.

83
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 3

Enter Lafew.

LAFEW Sirrah, your lord and master’s married. There’s
 news for you: you have a new mistress.
PAROLLES I most unfeignedly beseech your Lordship
 to make some reservation of your wrongs. He is
260 my good lord; whom I serve above is my master.
LAFEW Who? God?
PAROLLES Ay, sir.
LAFEW The devil it is that’s thy master. Why dost thou
 garter up thy arms o’ this fashion? Dost make hose
265 of thy sleeves? Do other servants so? Thou wert
 best set thy lower part where thy nose stands. By
 mine honor, if I were but two hours younger, I’d
 beat thee. Methink’st thou art a general offense,
 and every man should beat thee. I think thou wast
270 created for men to breathe themselves upon thee.
PAROLLES This is hard and undeserved measure, my
 lord.
LAFEW Go to, sir. You were beaten in Italy for picking a
 kernel out of a pomegranate. You are a vagabond,
275 and no true traveler. You are more saucy with
 lords and honorable personages than the commission
 of your birth and virtue gives you heraldry.
 You are not worth another word; else I’d call you
 knave. I leave you.He exits.
PAROLLES 280Good, very good! It is so, then. Good, very
 good. Let it be concealed awhile.

Enter Bertram Count Rossillion.

BERTRAM 
 Undone, and forfeited to cares forever!
PAROLLES What’s the matter, sweetheart?
BERTRAM 
 Although before the solemn priest I have sworn,
285 I will not bed her.

85
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 3

PAROLLES What, what, sweetheart?
BERTRAM 
 O my Parolles, they have married me!
 I’ll to the Tuscan wars and never bed her.
PAROLLES France is a dog-hole, and it no more merits
290 the tread of a man’s foot. To th’ wars!
BERTRAM There’s letters from my mother. What th’
 import is I know not yet.
PAROLLES Ay, that would be known. To th’ wars, my
 boy, to th’ wars!
295 He wears his honor in a box unseen
 That hugs his kicky-wicky here at home,
 Spending his manly marrow in her arms
 Which should sustain the bound and high curvet
 Of Mars’s fiery steed. To other regions!
300 France is a stable, we that dwell in ’t jades.
 Therefore, to th’ war!
BERTRAM 
 It shall be so. I’ll send her to my house,
 Acquaint my mother with my hate to her
 And wherefore I am fled, write to the King
305 That which I durst not speak. His present gift
 Shall furnish me to those Italian fields
 Where noble fellows strike. Wars is no strife
 To the dark house and the detested wife.
PAROLLES 
 Will this capriccio hold in thee? Art sure?
BERTRAM 
310 Go with me to my chamber, and advise me.
 I’ll send her straight away. Tomorrow
 I’ll to the wars, she to her single sorrow.
PAROLLES 
 Why, these balls bound; there’s noise in it. ’Tis hard.
 A young man married is a man that’s marred.
315 Therefore away, and leave her bravely. Go.
 The King has done you wrong, but hush, ’tis so.
They exit.




87
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 4

Scene 4
Enter Helen with a paper, and Fool.

HELEN My mother greets me kindly. Is she well?
FOOL She is not well, but yet she has her health. She’s
 very merry, but yet she is not well. But, thanks be
 given, she’s very well and wants nothing i’ th’ world,
5 but yet she is not well.
HELEN If she be very well, what does she ail that she’s
 not very well?
FOOL Truly, she’s very well indeed, but for two things.
HELEN What two things?
FOOL 10One, that she’s not in heaven, whither God send
 her quickly; the other, that she’s in Earth, from
 whence God send her quickly.

Enter Parolles.

PAROLLES Bless you, my fortunate lady.
HELEN I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine
15 own good fortunes.
PAROLLES You had my prayers to lead them on, and to
 keep them on have them still.—O my knave, how
 does my old lady?
FOOL So that you had her wrinkles and I her money, I
20 would she did as you say.
PAROLLES Why, I say nothing.
FOOL Marry, you are the wiser man, for many a man’s
 tongue shakes out his master’s undoing. To say
 nothing, to do nothing, to know nothing, and to
25 have nothing is to be a great part of your title,
 which is within a very little of nothing.
PAROLLES Away. Thou ’rt a knave.
FOOL You should have said, sir, “Before a knave,
 thou ’rt a knave”; that’s “Before me, thou ’rt a
30 knave.” This had been truth, sir.
PAROLLES Go to. Thou art a witty fool. I have found
 thee.

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All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 4

FOOL Did you find me in yourself, sir, or were you
 taught to find me?
PAROLLES 
FOOL 35The search, sir, was profitable, and much fool
 may you find in you, even to the world’s pleasure
 and the increase of laughter.
PAROLLES A good knave, i’ faith, and well fed.
 Madam, my lord will go away tonight;
40 A very serious business calls on him.
 The great prerogative and rite of love,
 Which as your due time claims, he does acknowledge
 But puts it off to a compelled restraint,
 Whose want and whose delay is strewed with sweets,
45 Which they distill now in the curbèd time
 To make the coming hour o’erflow with joy
 And pleasure drown the brim.
HELEN  What’s his will else?
PAROLLES 
 That you will take your instant leave o’ th’ King
50 And make this haste as your own good proceeding,
 Strengthened with what apology you think
 May make it probable need.
HELEN  What more commands he?
PAROLLES 
 That, having this obtained, you presently
55 Attend his further pleasure.
HELEN 
 In everything I wait upon his will.
PAROLLES I shall report it so.Parolles exits.
HELEN, to Fool I pray you, come, sirrah.
They exit.




91
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 5

Scene 5
Enter Lafew and Bertram.

LAFEW But I hope your Lordship thinks not him a
 soldier.
BERTRAM Yes, my lord, and of very valiant approof.
LAFEW You have it from his own deliverance.
BERTRAM 5And by other warranted testimony.
LAFEW Then my dial goes not true. I took this lark for
 a bunting.
BERTRAM I do assure you, my lord, he is very great in
 knowledge and accordingly valiant.
LAFEW 10I have then sinned against his experience and
 transgressed against his valor, and my state that
 way is dangerous since I cannot yet find in my
 heart to repent. Here he comes. I pray you make us
 friends. I will pursue the amity.

Enter Parolles.

PAROLLES, to Bertram 15These things shall be done, sir.
LAFEW, to Bertram Pray you, sir, who’s his tailor?
PAROLLES Sir?
LAFEW O, I know him well. Ay, sir, he, sir, ’s a good
 workman, a very good tailor.
BERTRAM, aside to Parolles 20Is she gone to the King?
PAROLLES She is.
BERTRAM Will she away tonight?
PAROLLES As you’ll have her.
BERTRAM 
 I have writ my letters, casketed my treasure,
25 Given order for our horses, and tonight,
 When I should take possession of the bride,
 End ere I do begin.
LAFEW, aside A good traveler is something at the latter
 end of a dinner, but one that lies three thirds,
30 and uses a known truth to pass a thousand nothings

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All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 5

 with, should be once heard and thrice beaten.—
 God save you, captain.
BERTRAM, to Parolles Is there any unkindness
 between my lord and you, monsieur?
PAROLLES 35I know not how I have deserved to run into
 my lord’s displeasure.
LAFEW You have made shift to run into ’t, boots and
 spurs and all, like him that leapt into the custard;
 and out of it you’ll run again rather than suffer
40 question for your residence.
BERTRAM It may be you have mistaken him, my lord.
LAFEW And shall do so ever, though I took him at ’s
 prayers. Fare you well, my lord, and believe this of
 me: there can be no kernel in this light nut. The
45 soul of this man is his clothes. Trust him not in
 matter of heavy consequence. I have kept of them
 tame and know their natures.—Farewell, monsieur.
 I have spoken better of you than you have or
 will to deserve at my hand, but we must do good
50 against evil.He exits.
PAROLLES An idle lord, I swear.
BERTRAM I think not so.
PAROLLES Why, do you not know him?
BERTRAM 
 Yes, I do know him well, and common speech
55 Gives him a worthy pass.

Enter Helen.

 Here comes my clog.
HELEN 
 I have, sir, as I was commanded from you,
 Spoke with the King and have procured his leave
 For present parting. Only he desires
60 Some private speech with you.
BERTRAM I shall obey his will.
 You must not marvel, Helen, at my course,

95
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 5

 Which holds not color with the time, nor does
 The ministration and requirèd office
65 On my particular. Prepared I was not
 For such a business; therefore am I found
 So much unsettled. This drives me to entreat you
 That presently you take your way for home,
 And rather muse than ask why I entreat you;
70 For my respects are better than they seem,
 And my appointments have in them a need
 Greater than shows itself at the first view
 To you that know them not.Giving her a paper.
 This to my mother.
75 ’Twill be two days ere I shall see you, so
 I leave you to your wisdom.
HELEN Sir, I can nothing say
 But that I am your most obedient servant—
BERTRAM 
 Come, come, no more of that.
HELEN 80 And ever shall
 With true observance seek to eke out that
 Wherein toward me my homely stars have failed
 To equal my great fortune.
BERTRAM  Let that go.
85 My haste is very great. Farewell. Hie home.
HELEN 
 Pray, sir, your pardon.
BERTRAM  Well, what would you say?
HELEN 
 I am not worthy of the wealth I owe,
 Nor dare I say ’tis mine—and yet it is—
90 But, like a timorous thief, most fain would steal
 What law does vouch mine own.
BERTRAM  What would you have?
HELEN 
 Something, and scarce so much; nothing, indeed.

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All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 5

 I would not tell you what I would, my lord. Faith,
95 yes:
 Strangers and foes do sunder and not kiss.
BERTRAM 
 I pray you stay not, but in haste to horse.
HELEN 
 I shall not break your bidding, good my lord.—
 Where are my other men?—Monsieur, farewell.
She exits.
BERTRAM 
100 Go thou toward home, where I will never come
 Whilst I can shake my sword or hear the drum.—
 Away, and for our flight.
PAROLLES  Bravely, coraggio!
They exit.


ACT 3
Scene 1
Flourish. Enter the Duke of Florence, the two French
Lords, with a troop of Soldiers.


DUKE 
 So that from point to point now have you heard
 The fundamental reasons of this war,
 Whose great decision hath much blood let forth
 And more thirsts after.
FIRST LORD 5 Holy seems the quarrel
 Upon your Grace’s part, black and fearful
 On the opposer.
DUKE 
 Therefore we marvel much our cousin France
 Would in so just a business shut his bosom
10 Against our borrowing prayers.
SECOND LORD  Good my lord,
 The reasons of our state I cannot yield
 But like a common and an outward man
 That the great figure of a council frames
15 By self-unable motion; therefore dare not
 Say what I think of it, since I have found
 Myself in my incertain grounds to fail
 As often as I guessed.
DUKE  Be it his pleasure.
101

103
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 3. SC. 2

FIRST LORD 
20 But I am sure the younger of our nation,
 That surfeit on their ease, will day by day
 Come here for physic.
DUKE  Welcome shall they be,
 And all the honors that can fly from us
25 Shall on them settle. You know your places well.
 When better fall, for your avails they fell.
 Tomorrow to th’ field.
Flourish. They exit.


Scene 2
Enter Countess, with a paper, and Fool.

COUNTESS It hath happened all as I would have had it,
 save that he comes not along with her.
FOOL By my troth, I take my young lord to be a very
 melancholy man.
COUNTESS 5By what observance, I pray you?
FOOL Why, he will look upon his boot and sing, mend
 the ruff and sing, ask questions and sing, pick his
 teeth and sing. I know a man that had this trick of
 melancholy sold a goodly manor for a song.
COUNTESS 10Let me see what he writes and when he
 means to come.She opens the letter.
FOOL I have no mind to Isbel since I was at court. Our
 old lings and our Isbels o’ th’ country are nothing
 like your old ling and your Isbels o’ th’ court. The
15 brains of my Cupid’s knocked out, and I begin to
 love as an old man loves money, with no stomach.
COUNTESS What have we here?
FOOL E’en that you have there.He exits.
COUNTESS reads. I have sent you a daughter-in-law.
20 She hath recovered the King and undone me. I have
 wedded her, not bedded her, and sworn to make the

105
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 3. SC. 2

 “not” eternal. You shall hear I am run away. Know it
 before the report come. If there be breadth enough in
 the world, I will hold a long distance. My duty to
25 you.
 Your unfortunate son,
 Bertram.

 This is not well, rash and unbridled boy:
 To fly the favors of so good a king,
30 To pluck his indignation on thy head
 By the misprizing of a maid too virtuous
 For the contempt of empire.

Enter Fool.

FOOL O madam, yonder is heavy news within, between
 two soldiers and my young lady.
COUNTESS 35What is the matter?
FOOL Nay, there is some comfort in the news, some
 comfort. Your son will not be killed so soon as I
 thought he would.
COUNTESS Why should he be killed?
FOOL 40So say I, madam, if he run away, as I hear he
 does. The danger is in standing to ’t; that’s the loss
 of men, though it be the getting of children. Here
 they come will tell you more. For my part, I only
 hear your son was run away.He exits.

Enter Helen, with a paper, and two Gentlemen.

FIRST GENTLEMAN, to Countess 45Save you, good
 madam.
HELEN 
 Madam, my lord is gone, forever gone.
SECOND GENTLEMAN Do not say so.
COUNTESS 
 Think upon patience, pray you.—Gentlemen,
50 I have felt so many quirks of joy and grief
 That the first face of neither on the start
 Can woman me unto ’t. Where is my son, I pray you?

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All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 3. SC. 2

SECOND GENTLEMAN 
 Madam, he’s gone to serve the Duke of Florence.
 We met him thitherward, for thence we came,
55 And, after some dispatch in hand at court,
 Thither we bend again.
HELEN 
 Look on his letter, madam; here’s my passport.
 She reads. When thou canst get the ring upon
 my finger, which never shall come off, and show me
60 a child begotten of thy body that I am father to, then
 call me husband. But in such a “then” I write a
 “never.”

 This is a dreadful sentence.
COUNTESS 
 Brought you this letter, gentlemen?
SECOND GENTLEMAN 65 Ay, madam,
 And for the contents’ sake are sorry for our pains.
COUNTESS 
 I prithee, lady, have a better cheer.
 If thou engrossest all the griefs are thine,
 Thou robb’st me of a moiety. He was my son,
70 But I do wash his name out of my blood,
 And thou art all my child.—Towards Florence is he?
SECOND GENTLEMAN Ay, madam.
COUNTESS And to be a soldier?
SECOND GENTLEMAN 
 Such is his noble purpose, and, believe ’t,
75 The Duke will lay upon him all the honor
 That good convenience claims.
COUNTESS  Return you thither?
FIRST GENTLEMAN 
 Ay, madam, with the swiftest wing of speed.
HELEN reads 
 Till I have no wife I have nothing in France.
80 ’Tis bitter.

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All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 3. SC. 2

COUNTESS  Find you that there?
HELEN  Ay, madam.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 
 ’Tis but the boldness of his hand, haply,
 Which his heart was not consenting to.
COUNTESS 
85 Nothing in France until he have no wife!
 There’s nothing here that is too good for him
 But only she, and she deserves a lord
 That twenty such rude boys might tend upon
 And call her hourly mistress. Who was with him?
FIRST GENTLEMAN 
90 A servant only, and a gentleman
 Which I have sometime known.
COUNTESS Parolles was it not?
FIRST GENTLEMAN Ay, my good lady, he.
COUNTESS 
 A very tainted fellow, and full of wickedness.
95 My son corrupts a well-derivèd nature
 With his inducement.
FIRST GENTLEMAN  Indeed, good lady,
 The fellow has a deal of that too much
 Which holds him much to have.
COUNTESS 100 You’re welcome,
 gentlemen.
 I will entreat you when you see my son
 To tell him that his sword can never win
 The honor that he loses. More I’ll entreat you
105 Written to bear along.
SECOND GENTLEMAN  We serve you, madam,
 In that and all your worthiest affairs.
COUNTESS 
 Not so, but as we change our courtesies.
 Will you draw near?
She exits with the Gentlemen.

111
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 3. SC. 2

HELEN 
110 “Till I have no wife I have nothing in France.”
 Nothing in France until he has no wife.
 Thou shalt have none, Rossillion, none in France.
 Then hast thou all again. Poor lord, is ’t I
 That chase thee from thy country and expose
115 Those tender limbs of thine to the event
 Of the none-sparing war? And is it I
 That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou
 Wast shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark
 Of smoky muskets? O you leaden messengers
120 That ride upon the violent speed of fire,
 Fly with false aim; move the still-’pearing air
 That sings with piercing; do not touch my lord.
 Whoever shoots at him, I set him there;
 Whoever charges on his forward breast,
125 I am the caitiff that do hold him to ’t;
 And though I kill him not, I am the cause
 His death was so effected. Better ’twere
 I met the ravin lion when he roared
 With sharp constraint of hunger; better ’twere
130 That all the miseries which nature owes
 Were mine at once. No, come thou home, Rossillion,
 Whence honor but of danger wins a scar,
 As oft it loses all. I will be gone.
 My being here it is that holds thee hence.
135 Shall I stay here to do ’t? No, no, although
 The air of paradise did fan the house
 And angels officed all. I will be gone,
 That pitiful rumor may report my flight
 To consolate thine ear. Come, night; end, day;
140 For with the dark, poor thief, I’ll steal away.
She exits.




113
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 3. SC. 4

Scene 3
Flourish. Enter the Duke of Florence, Bertram Count
Rossillion, Drum and Trumpets, Soldiers, Parolles.


DUKE, to Bertram 
 The general of our horse thou art, and we,
 Great in our hope, lay our best love and credence
 Upon thy promising fortune.
BERTRAM  Sir, it is
5 A charge too heavy for my strength, but yet
 We’ll strive to bear it for your worthy sake
 To th’ extreme edge of hazard.
DUKE  Then go thou forth,
 And Fortune play upon thy prosperous helm
10 As thy auspicious mistress.
BERTRAM  This very day,
 Great Mars, I put myself into thy file.
 Make me but like my thoughts, and I shall prove
 A lover of thy drum, hater of love.
All exit.


Scene 4
Enter Countess and Steward, with a paper.

COUNTESS 
 Alas! And would you take the letter of her?
 Might you not know she would do as she has done
 By sending me a letter? Read it again.
STEWARD reads the letter 
 I am Saint Jaques’ pilgrim, thither gone.
5  Ambitious love hath so in me offended
 That barefoot plod I the cold ground upon,
  With sainted vow my faults to have amended.
 Write, write, that from the bloody course of war
  My dearest master, your dear son, may hie.

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10 Bless him at home in peace, whilst I from far
  His name with zealous fervor sanctify.
 His taken labors bid him me forgive;
  I, his despiteful Juno, sent him forth
 From courtly friends, with camping foes to live
15  Where death and danger dogs the heels of worth.
 He is too good and fair for death and me,
 Whom I myself embrace to set him free.

COUNTESS 
 Ah, what sharp stings are in her mildest words!
 Rinaldo, you did never lack advice so much
20 As letting her pass so. Had I spoke with her,
 I could have well diverted her intents,
 Which thus she hath prevented.
STEWARD  Pardon me, madam.
 If I had given you this at overnight,
25 She might have been o’erta’en. And yet she writes
 Pursuit would be but vain.
COUNTESS  What angel shall
 Bless this unworthy husband? He cannot thrive
 Unless her prayers, whom heaven delights to hear
30 And loves to grant, reprieve him from the wrath
 Of greatest justice. Write, write, Rinaldo,
 To this unworthy husband of his wife.
 Let every word weigh heavy of her worth
 That he does weigh too light. My greatest grief,
35 Though little he do feel it, set down sharply.
 Dispatch the most convenient messenger.
 When haply he shall hear that she is gone,
 He will return; and hope I may that she,
 Hearing so much, will speed her foot again,
40 Led hither by pure love. Which of them both
 Is dearest to me, I have no skill in sense
 To make distinction. Provide this messenger.
 My heart is heavy, and mine age is weak.
 Grief would have tears, and sorrow bids me speak.
They exit.




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ACT 3. SC. 5

Scene 5
A tucket afar off. Enter old Widow of Florence, her
daughter Diana, and Mariana, with other Citizens.


WIDOW Nay, come, for if they do approach the city, we
 shall lose all the sight.
DIANA They say the French count has done most honorable
 service.
WIDOW 5It is reported that he has taken their great’st
 commander, and that with his own hand he slew
 the Duke’s brother. A trumpet sounds. We have
 lost our labor. They are gone a contrary way. Hark,
 you may know by their trumpets.
MARIANA 10Come, let’s return again and suffice ourselves
 with the report of it.—Well, Diana, take heed of
 this French earl. The honor of a maid is her name,
 and no legacy is so rich as honesty.
WIDOW, to Diana I have told my neighbor how you
15 have been solicited by a gentleman, his
 companion.
MARIANA I know that knave, hang him! One Parolles, a
 filthy officer he is in those suggestions for the
 young earl.—Beware of them, Diana. Their promises,
20 enticements, oaths, tokens, and all these
 engines of lust are not the things they go under.
 Many a maid hath been seduced by them; and
 the misery is example that so terrible shows in the
 wrack of maidenhood cannot for all that dissuade
25 succession, but that they are limed with the twigs
 that threatens them. I hope I need not to advise
 you further, but I hope your own grace will keep
 you where you are, though there were no further
 danger known but the modesty which is so lost.
DIANA 30You shall not need to fear me.
WIDOW I hope so.

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Enter Helen as a pilgrim.

 Look, here comes a pilgrim. I know she will lie at
 my house; thither they send one another. I’ll question
 her.—God save you, pilgrim. Whither are
35 bound?
HELEN, as pilgrim To Saint Jaques le Grand.
 Where do the palmers lodge, I do beseech you?
WIDOW 
 At the Saint Francis here beside the port.
HELEN, as pilgrim Is this the way?A march afar.
WIDOW 
40 Ay, marry, is ’t.—Hark you, they come this way.—
 If you will tarry, holy pilgrim,
 But till the troops come by,
 I will conduct you where you shall be lodged,
 The rather for I think I know your hostess
45 As ample as myself.
HELEN, as pilgrim Is it yourself?
WIDOW If you shall please so, pilgrim.
HELEN, as pilgrim 
 I thank you, and will stay upon your leisure.
WIDOW 
 You came I think from France?
HELEN, as pilgrim 50 I did so.
WIDOW 
 Here you shall see a countryman of yours
 That has done worthy service.
HELEN, as pilgrim  His name, I pray you?
DIANA 
 The Count Rossillion. Know you such a one?
HELEN, as pilgrim 
55 But by the ear, that hears most nobly of him.
 His face I know not.
DIANA  Whatsome’er he is,
 He’s bravely taken here. He stole from France,

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 As ’tis reported, for the King had married him
60 Against his liking. Think you it is so?
HELEN, as pilgrim 
 Ay, surely, mere the truth. I know his lady.
DIANA 
 There is a gentleman that serves the Count
 Reports but coarsely of her.
HELEN, as pilgrim  What’s his name?
DIANA 
65 Monsieur Parolles.
HELEN, as pilgrim  O, I believe with him.
 In argument of praise, or to the worth
 Of the great count himself, she is too mean
 To have her name repeated. All her deserving
70 Is a reservèd honesty, and that
 I have not heard examined.
DIANA  Alas, poor lady,
 ’Tis a hard bondage to become the wife
 Of a detesting lord.
WIDOW 
75 I warrant, good creature, wheresoe’er she is,
 Her heart weighs sadly. This young maid might do
 her
 A shrewd turn if she pleased.
HELEN, as pilgrim  How do you mean?
80 Maybe the amorous count solicits her
 In the unlawful purpose?
WIDOW  He does indeed,
 And brokes with all that can in such a suit
 Corrupt the tender honor of a maid,
85 But she is armed for him and keeps her guard
 In honestest defense.
MARIANA 
 The gods forbid else!

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ACT 3. SC. 5

Drum and Colors. Enter Bertram Count Rossillion,
Parolles, and the whole Army.


WIDOW  So, now they come.
 That is Antonio, the Duke’s eldest son;
90 That, Escalus.
HELEN, as pilgrim  Which is the Frenchman?
DIANA  He,
 That with the plume. ’Tis a most gallant fellow.
 I would he loved his wife. If he were honester,
95 He were much goodlier. Is ’t not a handsome
 gentleman?
HELEN, as pilgrim I like him well.
DIANA 
 ’Tis pity he is not honest. Yond’s that same knave
 That leads him to these places. Were I his lady,
100 I would poison that vile rascal.
HELEN, as pilgrim  Which is he?
DIANA 
 That jackanapes with scarves. Why is he melancholy?
HELEN, as pilgrim Perchance he’s hurt i’ th’ battle.
PAROLLES Lose our drum? Well.
MARIANA 105He’s shrewdly vexed at something. Look, he
 has spied us.
WIDOW, to Parolles Marry, hang you.
MARIANA, to Parolles And your courtesy, for a
 ring-carrier.
Bertram, Parolles, and the army exit.
WIDOW 
110 The troop is passed. Come, pilgrim, I will bring you
 Where you shall host. Of enjoined penitents
 There’s four or five, to Great Saint Jaques bound,
 Already at my house.
HELEN, as pilgrim  I humbly thank you.
115 Please it this matron and this gentle maid
 To eat with us tonight, the charge and thanking

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ACT 3. SC. 6

 Shall be for me. And to requite you further,
 I will bestow some precepts of this virgin
 Worthy the note.
BOTH 120 We’ll take your offer kindly.
They exit.


Scene 6
Enter Bertram Count Rossillion and the French
Lords, as at first.


FIRST LORD Nay, good my lord, put him to ’t. Let him
 have his way.
SECOND LORD If your Lordship find him not a hilding,
 hold me no more in your respect.
FIRST LORD 5On my life, my lord, a bubble.
BERTRAM Do you think I am so far deceived in him?
FIRST LORD Believe it, my lord. In mine own direct
 knowledge, without any malice, but to speak of
 him as my kinsman, he’s a most notable coward,
10 an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise-breaker,
 the owner of no one good quality worthy
 your Lordship’s entertainment.
SECOND LORD It were fit you knew him, lest, reposing
 too far in his virtue, which he hath not, he might
15 at some great and trusty business in a main danger
 fail you.
BERTRAM I would I knew in what particular action to
 try him.
SECOND LORD None better than to let him fetch off his
20 drum, which you hear him so confidently undertake
 to do.
FIRST LORD I, with a troop of Florentines, will suddenly
 surprise him. Such I will have whom I am sure
 he knows not from the enemy. We will bind and
25 hoodwink him so, that he shall suppose no other

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 but that he is carried into the leaguer of the adversary’s
 when we bring him to our own tents. Be but
 your Lordship present at his examination. If he do
 not for the promise of his life, and in the highest
30 compulsion of base fear, offer to betray you and
 deliver all the intelligence in his power against
 you, and that with the divine forfeit of his soul
 upon oath, never trust my judgment in anything.
SECOND LORD O, for the love of laughter, let him fetch
35 his drum. He says he has a stratagem for ’t. When
 your Lordship sees the bottom of his success in
 ’t, and to what metal this counterfeit lump of ore
 will be melted, if you give him not John Drum’s
 entertainment, your inclining cannot be removed.
40 Here he comes.

Enter Parolles.

FIRST LORD, aside to Bertram O, for the love of laughter,
 hinder not the honor of his design. Let him
 fetch off his drum in any hand.
BERTRAM, to Parolles How now, monsieur? This
45 drum sticks sorely in your disposition.
SECOND LORD A pox on ’t! Let it go. ’Tis but a drum.
PAROLLES But a drum! Is ’t but a drum? A drum so
 lost! There was excellent command, to charge in
 with our horse upon our own wings and to rend
50 our own soldiers!
SECOND LORD That was not to be blamed in the command
 of the service. It was a disaster of war that
 Caesar himself could not have prevented if he had
 been there to command.
BERTRAM 55Well, we cannot greatly condemn our success.
 Some dishonor we had in the loss of that
 drum, but it is not to be recovered.
PAROLLES It might have been recovered.
BERTRAM It might, but it is not now.

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PAROLLES 60It is to be recovered. But that the merit of
 service is seldom attributed to the true and exact
 performer, I would have that drum or another, or
 hic jacet.
BERTRAM Why, if you have a stomach, to ’t, monsieur!
65 If you think your mystery in stratagem can bring
 this instrument of honor again into his native
 quarter, be magnanimous in the enterprise and go
 on. I will grace the attempt for a worthy exploit. If
 you speed well in it, the Duke shall both speak of it
70 and extend to you what further becomes his greatness,
 even to the utmost syllable of your
 worthiness.
PAROLLES By the hand of a soldier, I will undertake it.
BERTRAM But you must not now slumber in it.
PAROLLES 75I’ll about it this evening, and I will presently
 pen down my dilemmas, encourage myself in my
 certainty, put myself into my mortal preparation;
 and by midnight look to hear further from me.
BERTRAM May I be bold to acquaint his Grace you are
80 gone about it?
PAROLLES I know not what the success will be, my
 lord, but the attempt I vow.
BERTRAM I know thou ’rt valiant, and to the possibility
 of thy soldiership will subscribe for thee. Farewell.
PAROLLES 85I love not many words.He exits.
FIRST LORD No more than a fish loves water. Is not this
 a strange fellow, my lord, that so confidently seems
 to undertake this business which he knows is not
 to be done, damns himself to do, and dares better
90 be damned than to do ’t?
SECOND LORD You do not know him, my lord, as we do.
 Certain it is that he will steal himself into a man’s
 favor and for a week escape a great deal of discoveries,
 but when you find him out, you have him
95 ever after.

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BERTRAM Why, do you think he will make no deed at
 all of this that so seriously he does address himself
 unto?
FIRST LORD None in the world, but return with an
100 invention and clap upon you two or three probable
 lies. But we have almost embossed him. You shall
 see his fall tonight; for indeed he is not for your
 Lordship’s respect.
SECOND LORD We’ll make you some sport with the fox
105 ere we case him. He was first smoked by the old
 Lord Lafew. When his disguise and he is parted,
 tell me what a sprat you shall find him, which you
 shall see this very night.
FIRST LORD I must go look my twigs. He shall be
110 caught.
BERTRAM Your brother he shall go along with me.
FIRST LORD As ’t please your Lordship. I’ll leave you.
He exits.
BERTRAM 
 Now will I lead you to the house and show you
 The lass I spoke of.
SECOND LORD 115 But you say she’s honest.
BERTRAM 
 That’s all the fault. I spoke with her but once
 And found her wondrous cold. But I sent to her,
 By this same coxcomb that we have i’ th’ wind,
 Tokens and letters, which she did re-send.
120 And this is all I have done. She’s a fair creature.
 Will you go see her?
SECOND LORD  With all my heart, my lord.
They exit.




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ACT 3. SC. 7

Scene 7
Enter Helen and Widow.

HELEN 
 If you misdoubt me that I am not she,
 I know not how I shall assure you further
 But I shall lose the grounds I work upon.
WIDOW 
 Though my estate be fall’n, I was well born,
5 Nothing acquainted with these businesses,
 And would not put my reputation now
 In any staining act.
HELEN  Nor would I wish you.
 First give me trust the Count he is my husband,
10 And what to your sworn counsel I have spoken
 Is so from word to word; and then you cannot,
 By the good aid that I of you shall borrow,
 Err in bestowing it.
WIDOW  I should believe you,
15 For you have showed me that which well approves
 You’re great in fortune.
HELEN  Take this purse of gold,
 And let me buy your friendly help thus far,
 Which I will overpay and pay again
20 When I have found it. The Count he woos your
 daughter,
 Lays down his wanton siege before her beauty,
 Resolved to carry her. Let her in fine consent
 As we’ll direct her how ’tis best to bear it.
25 Now his important blood will naught deny
 That she’ll demand. A ring the County wears
 That downward hath succeeded in his house
 From son to son some four or five descents
 Since the first father wore it. This ring he holds
30 In most rich choice. Yet, in his idle fire,
 To buy his will it would not seem too dear,
 Howe’er repented after.

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WIDOW 
 Now I see the bottom of your purpose.
HELEN 
 You see it lawful, then. It is no more
35 But that your daughter, ere she seems as won,
 Desires this ring, appoints him an encounter,
 In fine, delivers me to fill the time,
 Herself most chastely absent. After,
 To marry her, I’ll add three thousand crowns
40 To what is passed already.
WIDOW  I have yielded.
 Instruct my daughter how she shall persever
 That time and place with this deceit so lawful
 May prove coherent. Every night he comes
45 With musics of all sorts and songs composed
 To her unworthiness. It nothing steads us
 To chide him from our eaves, for he persists
 As if his life lay on ’t.
HELEN  Why then tonight
50 Let us assay our plot, which, if it speed,
 Is wicked meaning in a lawful deed,
 And lawful meaning in a lawful act,
 Where both not sin, and yet a sinful fact.
 But let’s about it.
They exit.


ACT 4
Scene 1
Enter one of the French Lords, with five or six other
Soldiers in ambush.


LORD He can come no other way but by this hedge
 corner. When you sally upon him, speak what terrible
 language you will. Though you understand it
 not yourselves, no matter. For we must not seem to
5 understand him, unless some one among us whom
 we must produce for an interpreter.
FIRST SOLDIER Good captain, let me be th’ interpreter.
LORD Art not acquainted with him? Knows he not thy
 voice?
FIRST SOLDIER 10No, sir, I warrant you.
LORD But what linsey-woolsey hast thou to speak to
 us again?
FIRST SOLDIER E’en such as you speak to me.
LORD He must think us some band of strangers i’ th’
15 adversary’s entertainment. Now, he hath a smack
 of all neighboring languages. Therefore we must
 every one be a man of his own fancy, not to know
 what we speak one to another. So we seem to know
 is to know straight our purpose: choughs’ language,
20 gabble enough and good enough. As for
 you, interpreter, you must seem very politic. But
 couch, ho! Here he comes to beguile two hours in
139

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ACT 4. SC. 1

 a sleep and then to return and swear the lies he
 forges.They move aside.

Enter Parolles.

PAROLLES 25Ten o’clock. Within these three hours ’twill
 be time enough to go home. What shall I say I have
 done? It must be a very plausive invention that
 carries it. They begin to smoke me, and disgraces
 have of late knocked too often at my door. I find
30 my tongue is too foolhardy, but my heart hath the
 fear of Mars before it, and of his creatures, not
 daring the reports of my tongue.
LORD, aside This is the first truth that e’er thine own
 tongue was guilty of.
PAROLLES 35What the devil should move me to undertake
 the recovery of this drum, being not ignorant
 of the impossibility and knowing I had no such
 purpose? I must give myself some hurts and say I
 got them in exploit. Yet slight ones will not carry it.
40 They will say “Came you off with so little?” And
 great ones I dare not give. Wherefore? What’s the
 instance? Tongue, I must put you into a butter-woman’s
 mouth and buy myself another of
 Bajazeth’s mule if you prattle me into these perils.
LORD, aside 45Is it possible he should know what he is,
 and be that he is?
PAROLLES I would the cutting of my garments would
 serve the turn, or the breaking of my Spanish
 sword.
LORD, aside 50We cannot afford you so.
PAROLLES Or the baring of my beard, and to say it was
 in stratagem.
LORD, aside ’Twould not do.
PAROLLES Or to drown my clothes and say I was
55 stripped.
LORD, aside Hardly serve.

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ACT 4. SC. 1

PAROLLES Though I swore I leapt from the window of
 the citadel—
LORD, aside How deep?
PAROLLES 60Thirty fathom.
LORD, aside Three great oaths would scarce make
 that be believed.
PAROLLES I would I had any drum of the enemy’s. I
 would swear I recovered it.
LORD, aside 65You shall hear one anon.
PAROLLES A drum, now, of the enemy’s—
Alarum within.
LORD, advancing Throca movousus, cargo, cargo,
 cargo.

ALL Cargo, cargo, cargo, villianda par corbo, cargo.
They seize him.
PAROLLES 70O ransom, ransom! Do not hide mine eyes.
They blindfold him.
FIRST SOLDIER Boskos thromuldo boskos.
PAROLLES 
 I know you are the Muskos’ regiment,
 And I shall lose my life for want of language.
 If there be here German or Dane, Low Dutch,
75 Italian, or French, let him speak to me.
 I’ll discover that which shall undo the Florentine.
FIRST SOLDIER Boskos vauvado, I understand thee and
 can speak thy tongue. Kerelybonto, sir, betake thee
 to thy faith, for seventeen poniards are at thy
80 bosom.
PAROLLES O!
FIRST SOLDIER O, pray, pray, pray! Manka reuania
 dulche.

LORD Oscorbidulchos voliuorco.
FIRST SOLDIER 
85 The General is content to spare thee yet
 And, hoodwinked as thou art, will lead thee on
 To gather from thee. Haply thou mayst inform
 Something to save thy life.

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ACT 4. SC. 2

PAROLLES  O, let me live,
90 And all the secrets of our camp I’ll show,
 Their force, their purposes. Nay, I’ll speak that
 Which you will wonder at.
FIRST SOLDIER But wilt thou faithfully?
PAROLLES If I do not, damn me.
FIRST SOLDIER 95Acordo linta. Come on, thou art
 granted space.
He exits with Parolles under guard.
A short alarum within.
LORD 
 Go tell the Count Rossillion and my brother
 We have caught the woodcock and will keep him
 muffled
100 Till we do hear from them.
SECOND SOLDIER  Captain, I will.
LORD 
 He will betray us all unto ourselves.
 Inform on that.
SECOND SOLDIER So I will, sir.
LORD 
105 Till then I’ll keep him dark and safely locked.
They exit.


Scene 2
Enter Bertram and the maid called Diana.

BERTRAM 
 They told me that your name was Fontibell.
DIANA 
 No, my good lord, Diana.
BERTRAM  Titled goddess,
 And worth it, with addition. But, fair soul,
5 In your fine frame hath love no quality?
 If the quick fire of youth light not your mind,

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ACT 4. SC. 2

 You are no maiden but a monument.
 When you are dead, you should be such a one
 As you are now, for you are cold and stern,
10 And now you should be as your mother was
 When your sweet self was got.
DIANA 
 She then was honest.
BERTRAM  So should you be.
DIANA  No.
15 My mother did but duty—such, my lord,
 As you owe to your wife.
BERTRAM  No more o’ that.
 I prithee do not strive against my vows.
 I was compelled to her, but I love thee
20 By love’s own sweet constraint, and will forever
 Do thee all rights of service.
DIANA  Ay, so you serve us
 Till we serve you. But when you have our roses,
 You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves
25 And mock us with our bareness.
BERTRAM  How have I sworn!
DIANA 
 ’Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth,
 But the plain single vow that is vowed true.
 What is not holy, that we swear not by,
30 But take the high’st to witness. Then pray you, tell
 me,
 If I should swear by Jove’s great attributes
 I loved you dearly, would you believe my oaths
 When I did love you ill? This has no holding
35 To swear by him whom I protest to love
 That I will work against him. Therefore your oaths
 Are words, and poor conditions but unsealed,
 At least in my opinion.
BERTRAM  Change it, change it.
40 Be not so holy-cruel. Love is holy,

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ACT 4. SC. 2

 And my integrity ne’er knew the crafts
 That you do charge men with. Stand no more off,
 But give thyself unto my sick desires,
 Who then recovers. Say thou art mine, and ever
45 My love as it begins shall so persever.
DIANA 
 I see that men may rope ’s in such a snare
 That we’ll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.
BERTRAM 
 I’ll lend it thee, my dear, but have no power
 To give it from me.
DIANA 50 Will you not, my lord?
BERTRAM 
 It is an honor ’longing to our house,
 Bequeathèd down from many ancestors,
 Which were the greatest obloquy i’ th’ world
 In me to lose.
DIANA 55 Mine honor’s such a ring.
 My chastity’s the jewel of our house,
 Bequeathèd down from many ancestors,
 Which were the greatest obloquy i’ th’ world
 In me to lose. Thus your own proper wisdom
60 Brings in the champion Honor on my part
 Against your vain assault.
BERTRAM  Here, take my ring.
 My house, mine honor, yea, my life be thine,
 And I’ll be bid by thee.
DIANA 
65 When midnight comes, knock at my chamber
 window.
 I’ll order take my mother shall not hear.
 Now will I charge you in the band of truth,
 When you have conquered my yet maiden bed,
70 Remain there but an hour, nor speak to me.
 My reasons are most strong, and you shall know them
 When back again this ring shall be delivered.

151
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 4. SC. 3

 And on your finger in the night I’ll put
 Another ring, that what in time proceeds
75 May token to the future our past deeds.
 Adieu till then; then, fail not. You have won
 A wife of me, though there my hope be done.
BERTRAM 
 A heaven on Earth I have won by wooing thee.
DIANA 
 For which live long to thank both heaven and me!
80 You may so in the end.He exits.
 My mother told me just how he would woo
 As if she sat in ’s heart. She says all men
 Have the like oaths. He had sworn to marry me
 When his wife’s dead. Therefore I’ll lie with him
85 When I am buried. Since Frenchmen are so braid,
 Marry that will, I live and die a maid.
 Only, in this disguise I think ’t no sin
 To cozen him that would unjustly win.
She exits.


Scene 3
Enter the two French Lords and some two
or three Soldiers.


FIRST LORD You have not given him his mother’s
 letter?
SECOND LORD I have delivered it an hour since. There
 is something in ’t that stings his nature, for on the
5 reading it he changed almost into another man.
FIRST LORD He has much worthy blame laid upon him
 for shaking off so good a wife and so sweet a lady.
SECOND LORD Especially he hath incurred the everlasting
 displeasure of the King, who had even tuned
10 his bounty to sing happiness to him. I will tell you
 a thing, but you shall let it dwell darkly with you.

153
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 4. SC. 3

FIRST LORD When you have spoken it, ’tis dead, and I
 am the grave of it.
SECOND LORD He hath perverted a young gentlewoman
15 here in Florence of a most chaste renown,
 and this night he fleshes his will in the spoil of her
 honor. He hath given her his monumental ring and
 thinks himself made in the unchaste composition.
FIRST LORD Now God delay our rebellion! As we are
20 ourselves, what things are we!
SECOND LORD Merely our own traitors. And, as in the
 common course of all treasons we still see them
 reveal themselves till they attain to their abhorred
 ends, so he that in this action contrives against his
25 own nobility, in his proper stream o’erflows
 himself.
FIRST LORD Is it not meant damnable in us to be trumpeters
 of our unlawful intents? We shall not, then,
 have his company tonight?
SECOND LORD 30Not till after midnight, for he is dieted to
 his hour.
FIRST LORD That approaches apace. I would gladly
 have him see his company anatomized, that he
 might take a measure of his own judgments
35 wherein so curiously he had set this counterfeit.
SECOND LORD We will not meddle with him till he
 come, for his presence must be the whip of the
 other.
FIRST LORD In the meantime, what hear you of these
40 wars?
SECOND LORD I hear there is an overture of peace.
FIRST LORD Nay, I assure you, a peace concluded.
SECOND LORD What will Count Rossillion do then?
 Will he travel higher or return again into France?
FIRST LORD 45I perceive by this demand you are not altogether
 of his counsel.
SECOND LORD Let it be forbid, sir! So should I be a
 great deal of his act.

155
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 4. SC. 3

FIRST LORD Sir, his wife some two months since fled
50 from his house. Her pretense is a pilgrimage to
 Saint Jaques le Grand, which holy undertaking
 with most austere sanctimony she accomplished.
 And, there residing, the tenderness of her nature
 became as a prey to her grief; in fine, made a groan
55 of her last breath, and now she sings in heaven.
SECOND LORD How is this justified?
FIRST LORD The stronger part of it by her own letters,
 which makes her story true even to the point of her
 death. Her death itself, which could not be her
60 office to say is come, was faithfully confirmed by
 the rector of the place.
SECOND LORD Hath the Count all this intelligence?
FIRST LORD Ay, and the particular confirmations, point
 from point, to the full arming of the verity.
SECOND LORD 65I am heartily sorry that he’ll be glad of
 this.
FIRST LORD How mightily sometimes we make us
 comforts of our losses.
SECOND LORD And how mightily some other times we
70 drown our gain in tears. The great dignity that his
 valor hath here acquired for him shall at home be
 encountered with a shame as ample.
FIRST LORD The web of our life is of a mingled yarn,
 good and ill together. Our virtues would be proud
75 if our faults whipped them not, and our crimes
 would despair if they were not cherished by our
 virtues.

Enter a Servant.

 How now? Where’s your master?
SERVANT He met the Duke in the street, sir, of whom
80 he hath taken a solemn leave. His Lordship will
 next morning for France. The Duke hath offered
 him letters of commendations to the King.

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ACT 4. SC. 3

SECOND LORD They shall be no more than needful
 there, if they were more than they can commend.
85 They cannot be too sweet for the King’s tartness.

Enter Bertram Count Rossillion.

 Here’s his Lordship now.—How now, my lord? Is ’t
 not after midnight?
BERTRAM I have tonight dispatched sixteen businesses,
 a month’s length apiece. By an abstract of
90 success: I have congeed with the Duke, done my
 adieu with his nearest, buried a wife, mourned for
 her, writ to my lady mother I am returning, entertained
 my convoy, and between these main parcels
 of dispatch effected many nicer needs. The last
95 was the greatest, but that I have not ended yet.
SECOND LORD If the business be of any difficulty, and
 this morning your departure hence, it requires
 haste of your Lordship.
BERTRAM I mean the business is not ended as fearing
100 to hear of it hereafter. But shall we have this dialogue
 between the Fool and the Soldier? Come,
 bring forth this counterfeit module; has deceived
 me like a double-meaning prophesier.
SECOND LORD Bring him forth. Has sat i’ th’ stocks all
105 night, poor gallant knave.Soldiers exit.
BERTRAM No matter. His heels have deserved it in
 usurping his spurs so long. How does he carry
 himself?
SECOND LORD I have told your Lordship already: the
110 stocks carry him. But to answer you as you would
 be understood: he weeps like a wench that had
 shed her milk. He hath confessed himself to Morgan,
 whom he supposes to be a friar, from the time
 of his remembrance to this very instant disaster of
115 his setting i’ th’ stocks. And what think you he hath
 confessed?

159
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ACT 4. SC. 3

BERTRAM Nothing of me, has he?
SECOND LORD His confession is taken, and it shall be
 read to his face. If your Lordship be in ’t, as I
120 believe you are, you must have the patience to
 hear it.

Enter Parolles, blindfolded, with his Interpreter,
the First Soldier.


BERTRAM A plague upon him! Muffled! He can say
 nothing of me.
FIRST LORD, aside to Bertram Hush, hush. Hoodman
125 comes.—Portotartarossa.
FIRST SOLDIER, to Parolles He calls for the tortures.
 What will you say without ’em?
PAROLLES I will confess what I know without constraint.
 If you pinch me like a pasty, I can say no
130 more.
FIRST SOLDIER Bosko Chimurcho.
FIRST LORD Boblibindo chicurmurco.
FIRST SOLDIER You are a merciful general.—Our general
 bids you answer to what I shall ask you out of a
135 note.
PAROLLES And truly, as I hope to live.
FIRST SOLDIER, as if reading a note First, demand of
 him how many horse the Duke is strong.
—What say
 you to that?
PAROLLES 140Five or six thousand, but very weak and
 unserviceable. The troops are all scattered, and the
 commanders very poor rogues, upon my reputation
 and credit, and as I hope to live.
FIRST SOLDIER Shall I set down your answer so?
PAROLLES 145Do. I’ll take the Sacrament on ’t, how and
 which way you will.
BERTRAM, aside All’s one to him. What a past-saving
 slave is this!
FIRST LORD, aside to Bertram You’re deceived, my

161
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 4. SC. 3

150 lord. This is Monsieur Parolles, the gallant
 militarist—that was his own phrase—that had the
 whole theoric of war in the knot of his scarf, and
 the practice in the chape of his dagger.
SECOND LORD, aside I will never trust a man again for
155 keeping his sword clean, nor believe he can have
 everything in him by wearing his apparel neatly.
FIRST SOLDIER, to Parolles Well, that’s set down.
PAROLLES “Five or six thousand horse,” I said—I will
 say true—“or thereabouts” set down, for I’ll speak
160 truth.
FIRST LORD, aside He’s very near the truth in this.
BERTRAM, aside But I con him no thanks for ’t, in the
 nature he delivers it.
PAROLLES “Poor rogues,” I pray you say.
FIRST SOLDIER 165Well, that’s set down.
PAROLLES I humbly thank you, sir. A truth’s a truth.
 The rogues are marvelous poor.
FIRST SOLDIER, as if reading a note Demand of him of
 what strength they are o’ foot.
—What say you to
170 that?
PAROLLES By my troth, sir, if I were to live but this
 present hour, I will tell true. Let me see: Spurio a
 hundred and fifty, Sebastian so many, Corambus
 so many, Jaques so many; Guiltian, Cosmo,
175 Lodowick and Gratii, two hundred fifty each; mine
 own company, Chitopher, Vaumond, Bentii, two
 hundred fifty each; so that the muster-file, rotten
 and sound, upon my life amounts not to fifteen
 thousand poll, half of the which dare not shake the
180 snow from off their cassocks lest they shake themselves
 to pieces.
BERTRAM, aside What shall be done to him?
FIRST LORD, aside Nothing but let him have thanks.
 (Aside to First Soldier.) Demand of him my condition
185 and what credit I have with the Duke.

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All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 4. SC. 3

FIRST SOLDIER, to Parolles Well, that’s set down. Pretending
 to read: 
You shall demand of him whether
 one Captain Dumaine be i’ th’ camp, a Frenchman;
 what his reputation is with the Duke, what his valor,
190 honesty, and expertness in wars; or whether he
 thinks it were not possible with well-weighing sums
 of gold to corrupt him to a revolt.
—What say you to
 this? What do you know of it?
PAROLLES I beseech you let me answer to the particular
195 of the inter’gatories. Demand them singly.
FIRST SOLDIER Do you know this Captain Dumaine?
PAROLLES I know him. He was a botcher’s prentice in
 Paris, from whence he was whipped for getting the
 shrieve’s fool with child, a dumb innocent that
200 could not say him nay.
BERTRAM, aside to First Lord Nay, by your leave, hold
 your hands, though I know his brains are forfeit to
 the next tile that falls.
FIRST SOLDIER Well, is this captain in the Duke of
205 Florence’s camp?
PAROLLES Upon my knowledge he is, and lousy.
FIRST LORD, aside to Bertram Nay, look not so upon
 me. We shall hear of your Lordship anon.
FIRST SOLDIER What is his reputation with the Duke?
PAROLLES 210The Duke knows him for no other but a
 poor officer of mine, and writ to me this other day
 to turn him out o’ th’ band. I think I have his letter
 in my pocket.
FIRST SOLDIER Marry, we’ll search.
They search Parolles’ pockets.
PAROLLES 215In good sadness, I do not know. Either it is
 there, or it is upon a file with the Duke’s other letters
 in my tent.
FIRST SOLDIER Here ’tis; here’s a paper. Shall I read it to
 you?
PAROLLES 220I do not know if it be it or no.

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All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 4. SC. 3

BERTRAM, aside Our interpreter does it well.
FIRST LORD, aside Excellently.
FIRST SOLDIER reads Dian, the Count’s a fool and full
 of gold—

PAROLLES 225That is not the Duke’s letter, sir. That is an
 advertisement to a proper maid in Florence, one
 Diana, to take heed of the allurement of one Count
 Rossillion, a foolish idle boy, but for all that very
 ruttish. I pray you, sir, put it up again.
FIRST SOLDIER 230Nay, I’ll read it first, by your favor.
PAROLLES My meaning in ’t, I protest, was very honest
 in the behalf of the maid, for I knew the young
 count to be a dangerous and lascivious boy, who is
 a whale to virginity and devours up all the fry it
235 finds.
BERTRAM, aside Damnable both-sides rogue!
FIRST SOLDIER reads 
 When he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and
  take it.
  After he scores, he never pays the score.
240 Half won is match well made. Match, and well
  make it.
  He ne’er pays after-debts. Take it before.
 And say a soldier, Dian, told thee this:
 Men are to mell with; boys are not to kiss.
245 For count of this: the Count’s a fool, I know it,
 Who pays before, but not when he does owe it.

 Thine, as he vowed to thee in thine ear,
 Parolles.

BERTRAM, aside He shall be whipped through the
250 army with this rhyme in ’s forehead.
SECOND LORD, aside This is your devoted friend, sir,
 the manifold linguist and the armipotent soldier.
BERTRAM, aside I could endure anything before but a
 cat, and now he’s a cat to me.
FIRST SOLDIER, to Parolles 255I perceive, sir, by our
 general’s looks we shall be fain to hang you.

167
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 4. SC. 3

PAROLLES My life, sir, in any case! Not that I am afraid
 to die, but that, my offenses being many, I would
 repent out the remainder of nature. Let me live,
260 sir, in a dungeon, i’ th’ stocks, or anywhere, so I
 may live.
FIRST SOLDIER We’ll see what may be done, so you confess
 freely. Therefore once more to this Captain
 Dumaine: you have answered to his reputation
265 with the Duke, and to his valor. What is his
 honesty?
PAROLLES He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister. For
 rapes and ravishments, he parallels Nessus. He
 professes not keeping of oaths. In breaking ’em he
270 is stronger than Hercules. He will lie, sir, with such
 volubility that you would think truth were a fool.
 Drunkenness is his best virtue, for he will be
 swine-drunk, and in his sleep he does little harm,
 save to his bedclothes about him; but they know
275 his conditions and lay him in straw. I have but
 little more to say, sir, of his honesty; he has everything
 that an honest man should not have; what an
 honest man should have, he has nothing.
FIRST LORD, aside I begin to love him for this.
BERTRAM, aside 280For this description of thine honesty?
 A pox upon him! For me, he’s more and more
 a cat.
FIRST SOLDIER What say you to his expertness in war?
PAROLLES Faith, sir, has led the drum before the English
285 tragedians. To belie him I will not, and more
 of his soldiership I know not, except in that country
 he had the honor to be the officer at a place
 there called Mile End, to instruct for the doubling
 of files. I would do the man what honor I can, but
290 of this I am not certain.
FIRST LORD, aside He hath out-villained villainy so
 far that the rarity redeems him.

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ACT 4. SC. 3

BERTRAM, aside A pox on him! He’s a cat still.
FIRST SOLDIER His qualities being at this poor price,
295 I need not to ask you if gold will corrupt him to
 revolt.
PAROLLES Sir, for a cardecu he will sell the fee-simple
 of his salvation, the inheritance of it, and cut th’
 entail from all remainders, and a perpetual succession
300 for it perpetually.
FIRST SOLDIER What’s his brother, the other Captain
 Dumaine?
SECOND LORD, aside Why does he ask him of me?
FIRST SOLDIER What’s he?
PAROLLES 305E’en a crow o’ th’ same nest: not altogether
 so great as the first in goodness, but greater a great
 deal in evil. He excels his brother for a coward, yet
 his brother is reputed one of the best that is. In a
 retreat he outruns any lackey. Marry, in coming on
310 he has the cramp.
FIRST SOLDIER If your life be saved, will you undertake
 to betray the Florentine?
PAROLLES Ay, and the captain of his horse, Count
 Rossillion.
FIRST SOLDIER 315I’ll whisper with the General and know
 his pleasure.
PAROLLES, aside I’ll no more drumming. A plague of
 all drums! Only to seem to deserve well, and to
 beguile the supposition of that lascivious young
320 boy the Count, have I run into this danger. Yet who
 would have suspected an ambush where I was
 taken?
FIRST SOLDIER There is no remedy, sir, but you must
 die. The General says you that have so traitorously
325 discovered the secrets of your army and made
 such pestiferous reports of men very nobly held
 can serve the world for no honest use. Therefore
 you must die.—Come, headsman, off with his
 head.

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ACT 4. SC. 3

PAROLLES 330O Lord, sir, let me live, or let me see my
 death!
FIRST SOLDIER That shall you, and take your leave of
 all your friends. He removes the blindfold. So,
 look about you. Know you any here?
BERTRAM 335Good morrow, noble captain.
SECOND LORD God bless you, Captain Parolles.
FIRST LORD God save you, noble captain.
SECOND LORD Captain, what greeting will you to my
 Lord Lafew? I am for France.
FIRST LORD 340Good captain, will you give me a copy of
 the sonnet you writ to Diana in behalf of the Count
 Rossillion? An I were not a very coward, I’d compel
 it of you. But fare you well.
Bertram and Lords exit.
FIRST SOLDIER You are undone, captain—all but your
345 scarf; that has a knot on ’t yet.
PAROLLES Who cannot be crushed with a plot?
FIRST SOLDIER If you could find out a country where
 but women were that had received so much
 shame, you might begin an impudent nation. Fare
350 you well, sir. I am for France too. We shall speak of
 you there.He exits.
PAROLLES 
 Yet am I thankful. If my heart were great,
 ’Twould burst at this. Captain I’ll be no more,
 But I will eat and drink, and sleep as soft
355 As captain shall. Simply the thing I am
 Shall make me live. Who knows himself a braggart,
 Let him fear this, for it will come to pass
 That every braggart shall be found an ass.
 Rust, sword; cool, blushes; and Parolles live
360 Safest in shame. Being fooled, by fool’ry thrive.
 There’s place and means for every man alive.
 I’ll after them.He exits.




173
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 4. SC. 4

Scene 4
Enter Helen, Widow, and Diana.

HELEN 
 That you may well perceive I have not wronged you,
 One of the greatest in the Christian world
 Shall be my surety, ’fore whose throne ’tis needful,
 Ere I can perfect mine intents, to kneel.
5 Time was, I did him a desirèd office
 Dear almost as his life, which gratitude
 Through flinty Tartar’s bosom would peep forth
 And answer thanks. I duly am informed
 His Grace is at Marseilles, to which place
10 We have convenient convoy. You must know
 I am supposèd dead. The army breaking,
 My husband hies him home, where, heaven aiding
 And by the leave of my good lord the King,
 We’ll be before our welcome.
WIDOW 15 Gentle madam,
 You never had a servant to whose trust
 Your business was more welcome.
HELEN  Nor you, mistress,
 Ever a friend whose thoughts more truly labor
20 To recompense your love. Doubt not but heaven
 Hath brought me up to be your daughter’s dower,
 As it hath fated her to be my motive
 And helper to a husband. But O, strange men,
 That can such sweet use make of what they hate
25 When saucy trusting of the cozened thoughts
 Defiles the pitchy night! So lust doth play
 With what it loathes for that which is away.
 But more of this hereafter.—You, Diana,
 Under my poor instructions yet must suffer
30 Something in my behalf.
DIANA  Let death and honesty
 Go with your impositions, I am yours
 Upon your will to suffer.

175
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 4. SC. 5

HELEN  Yet, I pray you—
35 But with the word “The time will bring on summer,”
 When briers shall have leaves as well as thorns
 And be as sweet as sharp. We must away.
 Our wagon is prepared, and time revives us.
 All’s well that ends well. Still the fine’s the crown.
40 Whate’er the course, the end is the renown.
They exit.


Scene 5
Enter Fool, Countess, and Lafew.

LAFEW No, no, no, your son was misled with a
 snipped-taffeta fellow there, whose villainous saffron
 would have made all the unbaked and doughy
 youth of a nation in his color. Your daughter-in-law
5 had been alive at this hour, and your son here
 at home, more advanced by the King than by that
 red-tailed humble-bee I speak of.
COUNTESS I would I had not known him. It was the
 death of the most virtuous gentlewoman that ever
10 nature had praise for creating. If she had partaken
 of my flesh and cost me the dearest groans of a
 mother, I could not have owed her a more rooted
 love.
LAFEW ’Twas a good lady, ’twas a good lady. We may
15 pick a thousand salads ere we light on such another
 herb.
FOOL Indeed, sir, she was the sweet marjoram of the
 salad, or rather the herb of grace.
LAFEW They are not herbs, you knave. They are
20 nose-herbs.
FOOL I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir. I have not
 much skill in grass.
LAFEW Whether dost thou profess thyself, a knave or a
 fool?

177
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ACT 4. SC. 5

FOOL 25A fool, sir, at a woman’s service, and a knave at a
 man’s.
LAFEW Your distinction?
FOOL I would cozen the man of his wife and do his
 service.
LAFEW 30So you were a knave at his service indeed.
FOOL And I would give his wife my bauble, sir, to do
 her service.
LAFEW I will subscribe for thee, thou art both knave
 and fool.
FOOL 35At your service.
LAFEW No, no, no.
FOOL Why, sir, if I cannot serve you, I can serve as
 great a prince as you are.
LAFEW Who’s that, a Frenchman?
FOOL 40Faith, sir, he has an English name, but his
 phys’nomy is more hotter in France than there.
LAFEW What prince is that?
FOOL The black prince, sir, alias the prince of darkness,
 alias the devil.
LAFEW, giving him money 45Hold thee, there’s my
 purse. I give thee not this to suggest thee from thy
 master thou talk’st of. Serve him still.
FOOL I am a woodland fellow, sir, that always loved a
 great fire, and the master I speak of ever keeps a
50 good fire. But sure he is the prince of the world; let
 his Nobility remain in ’s court. I am for the house
 with the narrow gate, which I take to be too little
 for pomp to enter. Some that humble themselves
 may, but the many will be too chill and tender, and
55 they’ll be for the flow’ry way that leads to the
 broad gate and the great fire.
LAFEW Go thy ways. I begin to be aweary of thee. And
 I tell thee so before because I would not fall out
 with thee. Go thy ways. Let my horses be well
60 looked to, without any tricks.

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ACT 4. SC. 5

FOOL If I put any tricks upon ’em, sir, they shall be
 jades’ tricks, which are their own right by the law
 of nature.He exits.
LAFEW A shrewd knave and an unhappy.
COUNTESS 65So he is. My lord that’s gone made himself
 much sport out of him. By his authority he
 remains here, which he thinks is a patent for his
 sauciness, and indeed he has no pace, but runs
 where he will.
LAFEW 70I like him well. ’Tis not amiss. And I was about
 to tell you, since I heard of the good lady’s death
 and that my lord your son was upon his return
 home, I moved the King my master to speak in the
 behalf of my daughter, which in the minority of
75 them both his Majesty out of a self-gracious
 remembrance did first propose. His Highness hath
 promised me to do it, and to stop up the displeasure
 he hath conceived against your son there is
 no fitter matter. How does your Ladyship like it?
COUNTESS 80With very much content, my lord, and I
 wish it happily effected.
LAFEW His Highness comes post from Marseilles, of
 as able body as when he numbered thirty. He will
 be here tomorrow, or I am deceived by him that in
85 such intelligence hath seldom failed.
COUNTESS It rejoices me that, I hope, I shall see him
 ere I die. I have letters that my son will be here
 tonight. I shall beseech your Lordship to remain
 with me till they meet together.
LAFEW 90Madam, I was thinking with what manners I
 might safely be admitted.
COUNTESS You need but plead your honorable
 privilege.
LAFEW Lady, of that I have made a bold charter. But I
95 thank my God it holds yet.

181
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ACT 4. SC. 5

Enter Fool.

FOOL O madam, yonder’s my lord your son with a
 patch of velvet on ’s face. Whether there be a scar
 under ’t or no, the velvet knows, but ’tis a goodly
 patch of velvet. His left cheek is a cheek of two pile
100 and a half, but his right cheek is worn bare.
LAFEW A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good liv’ry
 of honor. So belike is that.
FOOL But it is your carbonadoed face.
LAFEW Let us go see your son, I pray you. I long to talk
105 with the young noble soldier.
FOOL ’Faith, there’s a dozen of ’em, with delicate fine
 hats, and most courteous feathers which bow the
 head and nod at every man.
They exit.


ACT 5
Scene 1
Enter Helen, Widow, and Diana, with two Attendants.

HELEN 
 But this exceeding posting day and night
 Must wear your spirits low. We cannot help it.
 But since you have made the days and nights as one
 To wear your gentle limbs in my affairs,
5 Be bold you do so grow in my requital
 As nothing can unroot you.

Enter a Gentleman, a gentle Astringer.

 In happy time!
 This man may help me to his Majesty’s ear,
 If he would spend his power.—God save you, sir.
GENTLEMAN 10And you.
HELEN 
 Sir, I have seen you in the court of France.
GENTLEMAN I have been sometimes there.
HELEN 
 I do presume, sir, that you are not fall’n
 From the report that goes upon your goodness,
15 And therefore, goaded with most sharp occasions
 Which lay nice manners by, I put you to
 The use of your own virtues, for the which
 I shall continue thankful.
185

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ACT 5. SC. 1

GENTLEMAN  What’s your will?
HELEN, taking out a paper 20That it will please you
 To give this poor petition to the King
 And aid me with that store of power you have
 To come into his presence.
GENTLEMAN 
 The King’s not here.
HELEN 25 Not here, sir?
GENTLEMAN  Not indeed.
 He hence removed last night, and with more haste
 Than is his use.
WIDOW  Lord, how we lose our pains!
HELEN 30All’s well that ends well yet,
 Though time seem so adverse and means unfit.—
 I do beseech you, whither is he gone?
GENTLEMAN 
 Marry, as I take it, to Rossillion,
 Whither I am going.
HELEN, giving him the paper 35 I do beseech you, sir,
 Since you are like to see the King before me,
 Commend the paper to his gracious hand,
 Which I presume shall render you no blame
 But rather make you thank your pains for it.
40 I will come after you with what good speed
 Our means will make us means.
GENTLEMAN This I’ll do for you.
HELEN 
 And you shall find yourself to be well thanked
 Whate’er falls more. We must to horse again.—
45 Go, go, provide.
They exit.




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ACT 5. SC. 2

Scene 2
Enter Fool and Parolles.

PAROLLES, holding out a paper Good Monsieur
 Lavatch, give my lord Lafew this letter. I have ere
 now, sir, been better known to you, when I have
 held familiarity with fresher clothes. But I am
5 now, sir, muddied in Fortune’s mood, and smell
 somewhat strong of her strong displeasure.
FOOL Truly, Fortune’s displeasure is but sluttish if it
 smell so strongly as thou speak’st of. I will henceforth
 eat no fish of Fortune’s butt’ring. Prithee,
10 allow the wind.
PAROLLES Nay, you need not to stop your nose, sir. I
 spake but by a metaphor.
FOOL Indeed, sir, if your metaphor stink I will stop my
 nose, or against any man’s metaphor. Prithee, get
15 thee further.
PAROLLES Pray you, sir, deliver me this paper.
FOOL Foh! Prithee, stand away. A paper from Fortune’s
 close-stool, to give to a nobleman!

Enter Lafew.

 Look, here he comes himself.—Here is a purr of
20 Fortune’s, sir, or of Fortune’s cat—but not a
 musk-cat—that has fall’n into the unclean fishpond
 of her displeasure and, as he says, is muddied
 withal. Pray you, sir, use the carp as you may,
 for he looks like a poor, decayed, ingenious, foolish,
25 rascally knave. I do pity his distress in my
 smiles of comfort, and leave him to your Lordship.
He exits.
PAROLLES My lord, I am a man whom Fortune hath
 cruelly scratched.
LAFEW And what would you have me to do? ’Tis too
30 late to pare her nails now. Wherein have you

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ACT 5. SC. 3

 played the knave with Fortune that she should
 scratch you, who of herself is a good lady and
 would not have knaves thrive long under her?
 There’s a cardecu for you. Let the justices make
35 you and Fortune friends. I am for other business.
PAROLLES I beseech your Honor to hear me one single
 word.
LAFEW You beg a single penny more. Come, you shall
 ha ’t. Save your word.
PAROLLES 40My name, my good lord, is Parolles.
LAFEW You beg more than a word, then. Cock’s my
 passion; give me your hand. How does your drum?
PAROLLES O my good lord, you were the first that
 found me.
LAFEW 45Was I, in sooth? And I was the first that lost
 thee.
PAROLLES It lies in you, my lord, to bring me in some
 grace, for you did bring me out.
LAFEW Out upon thee, knave! Dost thou put upon me
50 at once both the office of God and the devil? One
 brings thee in grace, and the other brings thee out.
 Trumpets sound. The King’s coming. I know by
 his trumpets. Sirrah, inquire further after me. I
 had talk of you last night. Though you are a fool
55 and a knave, you shall eat. Go to, follow.
PAROLLES I praise God for you.
They exit.


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


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

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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.
KING 
 What says he to your daughter? Have you spoke?
LAFEW 
 All that he is hath reference to your Highness.
KING 
35 Then shall we have a match. I have letters sent me
 That sets him high in fame.

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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,

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 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.
COUNTESS 
80 Which better than the first, O dear heaven, bless,
 Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cesse!
LAFEW 
 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.
KING 
 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
 sovereign,

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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.
BERTRAM 
 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.
KING 
 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,

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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.
KING 
 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.


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LAFEW I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll for
 this. I’ll none of him.
KING 
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.

KING 
 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?
DIANA 
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.
WIDOW 
 I am her mother, sir, whose age and honor
185 Both suffer under this complaint we bring,
 And both shall cease without your remedy.
KING 
 Come hither, count. Do you know these women?
BERTRAM 
 My lord, I neither can nor will deny
 But that I know them. Do they charge me further?
DIANA 
190 Why do you look so strange upon your wife?

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BERTRAM 
 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
 Highness
 Lay a more noble thought upon mine honor
205 Than for to think that I would sink it here.
KING 
 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.
KING 
 What sayst thou to her?
BERTRAM  She’s impudent, my lord,
 And was a common gamester to the camp.
DIANA 
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.

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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.
DIANA 
 I did, my lord, but loath am to produce
230 So bad an instrument. His name’s Parolles.
LAFEW 
 I saw the man today, if man he be.
KING 
 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.
BERTRAM 
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—

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 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?
DIANA 
 Sir, much like the same upon your finger.
KING 
 Know you this ring? This ring was his of late.
DIANA 
260 And this was it I gave him, being abed.
KING 
 The story, then, goes false you threw it him
 Out of a casement?
DIANA  I have spoke the truth.

Enter Parolles.

BERTRAM 
 My lord, I do confess the ring was hers.
KING 
265 You boggle shrewdly. Every feather starts you.—
 Is this the man you speak of?
DIANA  Ay, my lord.
KING 
 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
 woman?
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.

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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
 command.
LAFEW He’s a good drum, my lord, but a naughty
 orator.
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.
KING 
 Where did you buy it? Or who gave it you?
DIANA 
 It was not given me, nor I did not buy it.
KING 
 Who lent it you?
DIANA  It was not lent me neither.
KING 
310 Where did you find it then?
DIANA  I found it not.

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KING 
 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.
KING 
 This ring was mine. I gave it his first wife.
DIANA 
 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.
KING 
 Take her away.
DIANA 325 I’ll put in bail, my liege.
KING 
 I think thee now some common customer.
DIANA, to Bertram 
 By Jove, if ever I knew man, ’twas you.
KING 
 Wherefore hast thou accused him all this while?
DIANA 
 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.
KING 
 She does abuse our ears. To prison with her.
DIANA 
335 Good mother, fetch my bail. Widow exits. Stay,
 royal sir.

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 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!
HELEN 
 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
 paper. 
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?
BERTRAM 
360 If she, my liege, can make me know this clearly,
 I’ll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly.
HELEN 
 If it appear not plain and prove untrue,
 Deadly divorce step between me and you.—
 O my dear mother, do I see you living?
LAFEW 
365 Mine eyes smell onions. I shall weep anon.—
 To Parolles. Good Tom Drum, lend me a handkercher.

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 So, I thank thee. Wait on me home.
 I’ll make sport with thee. Let thy courtesies alone.
 They are scurvy ones.
KING 
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.
Flourish.



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EPILOGUE

EPILOGUE
 
 The King’s a beggar, now the play is done.
 All is well ended if this suit be won,
 That you express content, which we will pay,
 With strift to please you, day exceeding day.
5 Ours be your patience, then, and yours our parts.
 Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.
All exit.