> >William Shakespeare "Alls Well That Ends Well"

William Shakespeare - Alls Well That Ends Well

: William Shakespeare "Alls Well That Ends Well".


Dramatis Personae

BERTRAM, Count of Rousillon
LAFEU, an old lord
PAROLLES, a follower of Bertram
TWO FRENCH LORDS, serving with Bertram

STEWARD, Servant to the Countess of Rousillon
LAVACHE, a clown and Servant to the Countess of Rousillon
A PAGE, Servant to the Countess of Rousillon

COUNTESS OF ROUSILLON, mother to Bertram
HELENA, a gentlewoman protected by the Countess
DIANA, daughter to the Widow

VIOLENTA, neighbour and friend to the Widow
MARIANA, neighbour and friend to the Widow

Lords, Officers, Soldiers, etc., French and Florentine


Rousillon; Paris; Florence; Marseilles

Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace

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 command, to whom I am now in
ward, evermore in subjection.
LAFEU. 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, 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?
LAFEU. He hath abandon'd his physicians, madam; 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 was almost as great as his
honesty; had it stretch'd so far, would have made nature
immortal, and death should have play for lack of work. Would, for
the King's sake, he were living! I think it would be the death of
the King's disease.
LAFEU. How call'd 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.
LAFEU. He was excellent indeed, madam; the King very lately spoke
of him admiringly and mourningly; he was skilful enough to have
liv'd still, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.
BERTRAM. What is it, my good lord, the King languishes of?
LAFEU. A fistula, my lord.
BERTRAM. I heard not of it before.
LAFEU. I would it were not notorious. Was this gentlewoman the
daughter of Gerard de Narbon?
COUNTESS. His sole child, my lord, and bequeathed to 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 traitors
too. In her they are the better for their simpleness; she derives
her honesty, and achieves her goodness.
LAFEU. Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.
COUNTESS. 'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in.
The remembrance of her father never approaches her heart but
tyranny of her sorrows takes all livelihood from her cheek.
more of this, Helena; go to, no more, lest it be rather
you affect a sorrow than to have-
HELENA. I do affect a sorrow indeed, but I have it too.
LAFEU. Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead: excessive
grief the enemy to the living.
COUNTESS. If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes
soon mortal.
BERTRAM. Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
LAFEU. How understand we that?
COUNTESS. Be thou blest, Bertram, and succeed thy father
In manners, as in shape! Thy blood and virtue
Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
Share with thy birthright! Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none; be able for thine enemy
Rather in power than use, and keep thy friend
Under thy own life's key; be check'd for silence,
But never tax'd for speech. What heaven more will,
That thee may furnish, and my prayers pluck down,
Fall on thy head! Farewell. My lord,
'Tis an unseason'd courtier; good my lord,
Advise him.
LAFEU. He cannot want the best
That shall attend his love.
COUNTESS. Heaven bless him! Farewell, Bertram. Exit
BERTRAM. The best wishes that can be forg'd in your thoughts be
servants to you! [To HELENA] Be comfortable to my mother,
mistress, and make much of her.
LAFEU. Farewell, pretty lady; you must hold the credit of your
father. Exeunt BERTRAM and LAFEU
HELENA. O, were that all! I think not on my father;
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 favour in't but Bertram's.
I am undone; there is no living, none,
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.
In his bright radiance and collateral light
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
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 arched brows, his hawking eye, his curls,
In our heart's table-heart too capable
Of every line and trick of his sweet favour.
But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy
Must sanctify his relics. Who comes here?


[Aside] One that goes with him. I love him for his sake;
And yet I know him a notorious liar,
Think him a great way fool, solely a coward;
Yet these fix'd 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
Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.
PAROLLES. Save you, fair queen!
HELENA. And you, monarch!
HELENA. And no.
PAROLLES. Are you meditating on virginity?
HELENA. 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.
HELENA. But he assails; and our virginity, though valiant in
defence, 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.
HELENA. Bless our poor virginity from underminers and
Is there no military policy how virgins might blow up men?
PAROLLES. Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier be
up; marry, in blowing him down again, with the breach
made, you lose your city. It is not politic in the
of nature to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is
increase; and there was never virgin got till virginity was
lost. That you were made of is metal to make virgins.
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.
HELENA. I will stand for 't a little, though therefore I die a
PAROLLES. There's little can be said in 't; 'tis against the
of nature. To speak on the part of virginity is to accuse
mothers; which is most infallible disobedience. He that hangs
himself is a virgin; virginity murders itself, and should be
buried in highways, out of all sanctified limit, as a
offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites, much like
cheese; consumes itself to the very paring, and so dies with
feeding his own stomach. Besides, virginity is peevish,
idle, made of self-love, which is the most inhibited sin in
canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but lose by't. Out
Within ten year it will make itself ten, which is a goodly
increase; and the principal itself not much the worse. Away
HELENA. 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
'Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with lying; the longer
the less worth. Off with't while 'tis vendible; answer the
of request. Virginity, like an old courtier, wears her cap
out of
fashion, richly suited but unsuitable; just like the brooch
the toothpick, which wear not now. Your date is better in
pie and your porridge than in your cheek. And your virginity,
your old virginity, is like one of our French wither'd pears:
looks ill, it eats drily; marry, 'tis a wither'd pear; it was
formerly better; marry, yet 'tis a wither'd pear. Will you
anything with it?
HELENA. 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,
A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign,
A counsellor, 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
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?
HELENA. That I wish well. 'Tis pity-
PAROLLES. What's pity?
HELENA. 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,
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. Exit PAGE

PAROLLES. Little Helen, farewell; if I can remember thee, I
think of thee at court.
HELENA. Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a charitable
PAROLLES. Under Mars, I.
HELENA. I especially think, under Mars.
PAROLLES. Why under Man?
HELENA. The wars hath so kept you under that you must needs be
under Mars.
PAROLLES. When he was predominant.
HELENA. When he was retrograde, I think, rather.
PAROLLES. Why think you so?
HELENA. You go so much backward when you fight.
PAROLLES. That's for advantage.
HELENA. So is running away, when fear proposes the safety: but
composition that your valour and fear makes in you is a
virtue of
a good wing, and I like the wear well.
PAROLLES. I am so full of business I cannot answer thee
acutely. I
will return perfect courtier; in the which my instruction
serve to naturalize thee, so thou wilt be capable of a
counsel, and understand what advice shall thrust upon thee;
thou diest in thine unthankfulness, and thine ignorance makes
thee away. Farewell. When thou hast leisure, say thy prayers;
when thou hast none, remember thy friends. Get thee a good
husband and use him as he uses thee. So, farewell.
HELENA. Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to heaven. The fated sky
Gives us free scope; only doth backward pull
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.
Impossible be strange attempts to those
That weigh their pains in sense, and do suppose
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,
But my intents are fix'd, and will not leave me. Exit


Paris. The KING'S palace

Flourish of cornets. Enter the KING OF FRANCE, with letters,
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. Nay, 'tis most credible. We here receive it,
A certainty, vouch'd 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
To have us make denial.
FIRST LORD. His love and wisdom,
Approv'd so to your Majesty, may plead
For amplest credence.
KING. He hath arm'd our answer,
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
A nursery to our gentry, who are sick
For breathing and exploit.
KING. What's he comes here?


FIRST LORD. It is the Count Rousillon, my good lord,
Young Bertram.
KING. Youth, thou bear'st thy father's face;
Frank nature, rather curious than in haste,
Hath well compos'd thee. Thy father's moral parts
Mayst thou inherit too! Welcome to Paris.
BERTRAM. My thanks and duty are your Majesty's.
KING. 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;
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
To-day in our young lords; but they may jest
Till their own scorn return to them unnoted
Ere they can hide their levity in honour.
So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness
Were in his pride or sharpness; if they were,
His equal had awak'd them; and his honour,
Clock to itself, knew the true minute when
Exception bid him speak, and at this time
His tongue obey'd his hand. Who were below him
He us'd as creatures of another place;
And bow'd his eminent top to their low ranks,
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. His good remembrance, sir,
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-
Methinks I hear him now; his plausive words
He scatter'd 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,
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
Expire before their fashions.' This he wish'd.
I, after him, do after him wish too,
Since I nor wax nor honey can bring home,
I quickly were dissolved from my hive,
To give some labourers room.
SECOND LORD. You're loved, 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 fam'd.
BERTRAM. 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;
My son's no dearer.
BERTRAM. Thank your Majesty. Exeunt [Flourish]


Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace


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 my past endeavours; for
then we
wound our modesty, and make foul the clearness of our
when of ourselves we publish them.
COUNTESS. What does this knave here? Get you gone, sirrah. The
complaints I have heard of you I do not all believe; 'tis my
slowness that I do not, for I know you lack not folly to
them and have ability enough to make such knaveries yours.
CLOWN. 'Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a poor fellow.
COUNTESS. Well, sir.
CLOWN. No, madam, 'tis not so well that I am poor, though many
the rich are damn'd; but if I may have your ladyship's good
to go to the world, Isbel the woman and I will do as we may.
COUNTESS. Wilt thou needs be a beggar?
CLOWN. I do beg your good will in this case.
COUNTESS. In what case?
CLOWN. In Isbel's case and mine own. Service is no heritage;
and I
think I shall never have the blessing of God till I have
issue o'
my body; for they say bames are blessings.
COUNTESS. Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.
CLOWN. My poor body, madam, requires it. I am driven on by the
flesh; and he must needs go that the devil drives.
COUNTESS. Is this all your worship's reason?
CLOWN. Faith, madam, I have other holy reasons, such as they
COUNTESS. May the world know them?
CLOWN. I have been, madam, a wicked creature, as you and all
and blood are; and, indeed, I do marry that I may repent.
COUNTESS. Thy marriage, sooner than thy wickedness.
CLOWN. I am out o' friends, madam, and I hope to have friends
my wife's sake.
COUNTESS. Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
CLOWN. Y'are shallow, madam-in great friends; for the knaves
to do that for me which I am aweary of. He that ears my land
spares my team, and gives me leave to in the crop. If I be
cuckold, he's my drudge. He that comforts my wife is the
cherisher of my flesh and blood; he that cherishes my flesh
blood loves my flesh and blood; he that loves my flesh and
is my friend; ergo, he that kisses my wife is my friend. If
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 sever'd in religion,
heads are both one; they may jowl horns together like any
i' th' herd.
COUNTESS. Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouth'd and calumnious
CLOWN. A prophet I, madam; and I speak the truth the next way:

For I the ballad will repeat,
Which men full true shall find:
Your marriage comes by destiny,
Your cuckoo sings by kind.

COUNTESS. Get you gone, sir; I'll talk with you more anon.
STEWARD. May it please you, madam, that he bid Helen come to
Of her I am to speak.
COUNTESS. Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman I would speak with her;
I mean.
CLOWN. [Sings]

'Was this fair face the cause' quoth she
'Why the Grecians sacked Troy?
Fond done, done fond,
Was this King Priam's joy?'
With that she sighed as she stood,
With that she sighed as she stood,
And gave this sentence then:
'Among nine bad if one be good,
Among nine bad if one be good,
There's yet one good in ten.'

COUNTESS. What, one good in ten? You corrupt the song, sirrah.
CLOWN. One good woman in ten, madam, which is a purifying o'
song. Would God would serve the world so all the year! We'd
no fault with the tithe-woman, if I were the parson. One in
quoth 'a! An we might have a good woman born before every
star, or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery well: a
may draw his heart out ere 'a pluck one.
COUNTESS. You'll be gone, sir knave, and do as I command you.
CLOWN. That man should be at woman's command, and yet no hurt
Though honesty be no puritan, yet it will do no hurt; it will
wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big
I am going, forsooth. The business is for Helen to come
COUNTESS. Well, now.
STEWARD. I know, madam, you love your gentlewoman entirely.
COUNTESS. Faith I do. Her father bequeath'd her to me; and she
herself, without other advantage, may lawfully make title to
much love as she finds. There is more owing her than is paid;
more shall be paid her than she'll demand.
STEWARD. Madam, I was very late more near her than I think she
wish'd me. Alone she was, and did communicate to herself her
words to her own ears; she thought, I dare vow for her, they
touch'd not any stranger sense. Her matter was, she loved
son. Fortune, she said, was no goddess, that had put such
difference betwixt their two estates; Love no god, that would
extend his might only where qualities were level; Diana no
of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight surpris'd
rescue in the first assault, or ransom afterward. This she
deliver'd in the most bitter touch of sorrow that e'er I
virgin exclaim in; which I held my duty speedily to acquaint
withal; sithence, in the loss that may happen, it concerns
something to know it.
COUNTESS. YOU have discharg'd this honestly; keep it to
Many likelihoods inform'd me of this 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. Exit STEWARD


Even so it was with me when I was young.
If ever we are nature's, these are ours; this thorn
Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong;
Our blood to us, this to our blood is born.
It is the show and seal of nature's truth,
Where love's strong passion is impress'd in youth.
By our remembrances of days foregone,
Such were our faults, or then we thought them none.
Her eye is sick on't; I observe her now.
HELENA. What is your pleasure, madam?
COUNTESS. You know, Helen,
I am a mother to you.
HELENA. Mine honourable mistress.
COUNTESS. Nay, a mother.
Why not a mother? When I said 'a mother,'
Methought you saw a serpent. What's in 'mother'
That you start at it? I say I am your mother,
And put you in the catalogue of those
That were enwombed mine. 'Tis often seen
Adoption strives with nature, and choice breeds
A native slip to us from foreign seeds.
You ne'er oppress'd me with a mother's groan,
Yet I express to you a mother's care.
God's mercy, maiden! does it curd thy blood
To say I am thy mother? What's the matter,
That this distempered messenger of wet,
The many-colour'd Iris, rounds thine eye?
Why, that you are my daughter?
HELENA. That I am not.
COUNTESS. I say I am your mother.
HELENA. Pardon, madam.
The Count Rousillon cannot be my brother:
I am from humble, he from honoured name;
No note upon my parents, his all noble.
My master, my dear lord he is; and I
His servant live, and will his vassal die.
He must not be my brother.
COUNTESS. Nor I your mother?
HELENA. You are my mother, madam; would you were-
So that my lord your son were not my brother-
Indeed my mother! Or were you both our mothers,
I care no more for than I do for heaven,
So I were not his sister. Can't no other,
But, I your daughter, he must be my brother?
COUNTESS. Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-in-law.
God shield you mean it not! 'daughter' and 'mother'
So strive upon your pulse. What! pale again?
My fear hath catch'd your fondness. Now I see
The myst'ry of your loneliness, and find
Your salt tears' head. Now to all sense 'tis gross
You love my son; invention is asham'd,
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 behaviours
That in their kind they speak it; only sin
And hellish obstinacy tie thy tongue,
That truth should be suspected. Speak, is't so?
If it be so, you have wound a goodly clew;
If it be not, forswear't; howe'er, I charge thee,
As heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
To tell me truly.
HELENA. Good madam, pardon me.
COUNTESS. Do you love my son?
HELENA. Your pardon, noble mistress.
COUNTESS. Love you my son?
HELENA. Do not you love him, madam?
COUNTESS. Go not about; my love hath in't a bond
Whereof the world takes note. Come, come, disclose
The state of your affection; for your passions
Have to the full appeach'd.
HELENA. Then I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high heaven,
I love your son.
My friends were poor, but honest; so's my love.
Be not offended, for it hurts not him
That he is lov'd of me; I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit,
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him;
Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope;
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
I still pour in the waters of my love,
And lack not to lose still. Thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun that looks upon his worshipper
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
For loving where you do; but if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in so true a flame of liking
Wish chastely and love dearly that your Dian
Was both herself and Love; O, then, give pity
To her whose state is such that cannot choose
But lend and give where she is sure to lose;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But, riddle-like, lives sweetly where she dies!
COUNTESS. Had you not lately an intent-speak truly-
To go to Paris?
HELENA. Madam, I had.
COUNTESS. Wherefore? Tell true.
HELENA. I will tell truth; by grace itself I swear.
You know my father left me some prescriptions
Of rare and prov'd effects, such as his reading
And manifest experience had collected
For general sovereignty; and that he will'd me
In heedfull'st reservation to bestow them,
As notes whose faculties inclusive were
More than they were in note. Amongst the rest
There is a remedy, approv'd, set down,
To cure the desperate languishings whereof
The King is render'd lost.
COUNTESS. This was your motive
For Paris, was it? Speak.
HELENA. 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,
If you should tender your supposed 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 unlearned virgin, when the schools,
Embowell'd of their doctrine, have let off
The danger to itself?
HELENA. There's something in't
More than my father's skill, which was the great'st
Of his profession, that his good receipt
Shall for my legacy be sanctified
By th' luckiest stars in heaven; and, would your honour
But give me leave to try success, I'd venture
The well-lost life of mine on his Grace's cure.
By such a day and hour.
COUNTESS. Dost thou believe't?
HELENA. Ay, madam, knowingly.
COUNTESS. Why, Helen, thou shalt have my leave and love,
Means and attendants, and my loving greetings
To those of mine in court. I'll stay at home,
And pray God's blessing into thy attempt.
Be gone to-morrow; and be sure of this,
What I can help thee to thou shalt not miss. Exeunt



Paris. The KING'S palace

Flourish of cornets. Enter the KING with divers young LORDS
taking leave
for the Florentine war; BERTRAM and PAROLLES; ATTENDANTS

KING. Farewell, young lords; these war-like principles
Do not throw from you. And you, my lords, farewell;
Share the advice betwixt you; if both gain all,
The gift doth stretch itself as 'tis receiv'd,
And is enough for both.
FIRST LORD. 'Tis our hope, sir,
After well-ent'red soldiers, to return
And find your Grace in health.
KING. 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-
Those bated that inherit but the fall
Of the last monarchy-see that you come
Not to woo honour, but to wed it; when
The bravest questant shrinks, find what you seek,
That fame may cry you aloud. I say farewell.
SECOND LORD. 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.
BOTH. Our hearts receive your warnings.
KING. Farewell. [To ATTENDANTS] Come hither to me.
The KING retires attended
FIRST LORD. O my sweet lord, that you will stay behind us!
PAROLLES. 'Tis not his fault, the spark.
SECOND LORD. O, 'tis brave wars!
PAROLLES. Most admirable! I have seen those wars.
BERTRAM. I am commanded here and kept a coil with
'Too young' and next year' and "Tis too early.'
PAROLLES. An thy mind stand to 't, boy, steal away bravely.
BERTRAM. I shall stay here the forehorse to a smock,
Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry,
Till honour be bought up, and no sword worn
But one to dance with. By heaven, I'll steal away.
FIRST LORD. There's honour in the theft.
PAROLLES. Commit it, Count.
SECOND LORD. I am your accessary; and so farewell.
BERTRAM. I grow to you, and our parting is a tortur'd body.
FIRST LORD. Farewell, Captain.
SECOND LORD. Sweet Monsieur Parolles!
PAROLLES. Noble heroes, my sword and yours are kin. Good sparks
lustrous, a word, good metals: you shall find in the regiment
the Spinii one Captain Spurio, with his cicatrice, an emblem
war, here on his sinister cheek; it was this very sword
entrench'd it. Say to him I live; and observe his reports for
FIRST LORD. We shall, noble Captain.
PAROLLES. Mars dote on you for his novices! Exeunt LORDS
What will ye do?

Re-enter the KING

BERTRAM. Stay; the King!
PAROLLES. Use a more spacious ceremony to the noble lords; you
restrain'd yourself within the list of too cold an adieu. Be
expressive to them; for they wear themselves in the cap of
time; there do muster true gait; eat, speak, and move, under
influence of the most receiv'd star; and though the devil
the measure, such are to be followed. After them, and take a
dilated farewell.
BERTRAM. And I will do so.
PAROLLES. Worthy fellows; and like to prove most sinewy


LAFEU. [Kneeling] Pardon, my lord, for me and for my tidings.
KING. I'll fee thee to stand up.
LAFEU. Then here's a man stands that has brought his pardon.
I would you had kneel'd, my lord, to ask me mercy;
And that at my bidding you could so stand up.
KING. I would I had; so I had broke thy pate,
And ask'd thee mercy for't.
LAFEU. Good faith, across!
But, my good lord, 'tis thus: will you be cur'd
Of your infirmity?
LAFEU. 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
That's able to breathe life into a stone,
Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary
With spritely fire and motion; whose simple touch
Is powerful to araise King Pepin, nay,
To give great Charlemain a pen in's hand
And write to her a love-line.
KING. What her is this?
LAFEU. Why, Doctor She! My lord, there's one arriv'd,
If you will see her. Now, by my faith and honour,
If seriously I may convey my thoughts
In this my light deliverance, I have spoke
With one that in her sex, her years, profession,
Wisdom, and constancy, hath amaz'd me more
Than I dare blame my weakness. Will you see her,
For that is her demand, and know her business?
That done, laugh well at me.
KING. Now, good Lafeu,
Bring in the admiration, that we with the
May spend our wonder too, or take off thine
By wond'ring how thou took'st it.
LAFEU. Nay, I'll fit you,
And not be all day neither. Exit LAFEU
KING. Thus he his special nothing ever prologues.

Re-enter LAFEU with HELENA

LAFEU. Nay, come your ways.
KING. This haste hath wings indeed.
LAFEU. Nay, 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. Exit
KING. Now, fair one, does your business follow us?
HELENA. Ay, my good lord.
Gerard de Narbon was my father,
In what he did profess, well found.
KING. I knew him.
HELENA. 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,
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 touch'd
With that malignant cause wherein the honour
Of my dear father's gift stands chief in power,
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 learned doctors leave us, and
The congregated college have concluded
That labouring art can never ransom nature
From her inaidable estate-I say we must not
So stain our judgment, or corrupt our hope,
To prostitute our past-cure malady
To empirics; or to dissever so
Our great self and our credit to esteem
A senseless help, when help past sense we deem.
HELENA. My duty then shall pay me for my pains.
I will no more enforce mine office on you;
Humbly entreating from your royal thoughts
A modest one to bear me back again.
KING. I cannot give thee less, to be call'd grateful.
Thou thought'st to help me; and such thanks I give
As one near death to those that wish him live.
But what at full I know, thou know'st no part;
I knowing all my peril, thou no art.
HELENA. 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
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 greatest been denied.
Oft expectation fails, and most oft there
Where most it promises; and oft it hits
Where hope is coldest, and despair most fits.
KING. I must not hear thee. Fare thee well, kind maid;
Thy pains, not us'd, must by thyself be paid;
Proffers not took reap thanks for their reward.
HELENA. Inspired merit so by breath is barr'd.
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
The help of heaven we count the act of men.
Dear sir, to my endeavours give consent;
Of heaven, not me, make an experiment.
I am not an impostor, that proclaim
Myself against the level of mine aim;
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?
HELENA. The greatest Grace lending grace.
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 quench'd his sleepy lamp,
Or four and twenty times the pilot's glass
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?
HELENA. Tax of impudence,
A strumpet's boldness, a divulged shame,
Traduc'd by odious ballads; my maiden's name
Sear'd otherwise; ne worse of worst-extended
With vilest torture let my life be ended.
KING. Methinks in thee some blessed 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
Worth name of life in thee hath estimate:
Youth, beauty, wisdom, courage, all
That happiness and prime can happy call.
Thou this to hazard needs must intimate
Skill infinite or monstrous desperate.
Sweet practiser, thy physic I will try,
That ministers thine own death if I die.
HELENA. If I break time, or flinch in property
Of what I spoke, unpitied let me die;
And well deserv'd. Not helping, death's my fee;
But, if I help, what do you promise me?
KING. Make thy demand.
HELENA. But will you make it even?
KING. Ay, by my sceptre and my hopes of heaven.
HELENA. Then shalt thou give me with thy kingly hand
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;
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 observ'd,
Thy will by my performance shall be serv'd.
So make the choice of thy own time, for I,
Thy resolv'd 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
Unquestion'd welcome and undoubted blest.
Give me some help here, ho! If thou proceed
As high as word, my deed shall match thy deed.
[Flourish. Exeunt]


Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace


COUNTESS. Come on, sir; I shall now put you to the height of
CLOWN. I will show myself highly fed and lowly taught. I know
business is but to the court.
COUNTESS. To the court! Why, what place make you special, when
put off that with such contempt? But to the court!
CLOWN. Truly, madam, if God have lent a man any manners, he may
easily put it off at court. He that cannot make a leg, put
cap, kiss his hand, and say nothing, has neither leg, hands,
nor cap; and indeed such a fellow, to say precisely, were not
the court; but for me, I have an answer will serve all men.
COUNTESS. Marry, that's a bountiful answer that fits all
CLOWN. It is like a barber's chair, that fits all buttocks-the
buttock, the quatch buttock, the brawn buttock, or any
COUNTESS. Will your answer serve fit to all questions?
CLOWN. As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney, as
French crown for your taffety punk, as Tib's rush for Tom's
forefinger, as a pancake for Shrove Tuesday, a morris for
as the nail to his hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a
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
CLOWN. From below your duke to beneath your constable, it will
any question.
COUNTESS. It must be an answer of most monstrous size that must
all demands.
CLOWN. But a trifle neither, in good faith, if the learned
speak truth of it. Here it is, and all that belongs to't. Ask
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 answer. I pray you,
are you a courtier?
CLOWN. 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.
CLOWN. O Lord, sir!-Thick, thick; spare not me.
COUNTESS. I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely meat.
CLOWN. O Lord, sir!-Nay, put me to't, I warrant you.
COUNTESS. You were lately whipp'd, sir, as I think.
CLOWN. O Lord, sir!-Spare not me.
COUNTESS. Do you cry 'O Lord, sir!' at your whipping, and
not me'? Indeed your 'O Lord, sir!' is very sequent to your
whipping. You would answer very well to a whipping, if you
but bound to't.
CLOWN. I ne'er had worse luck in my life in my 'O Lord, sir!' I
thing's may serve long, but not serve ever.
COUNTESS. I play the noble housewife with the time,
To entertain it so merrily with a fool.
CLOWN. O Lord, sir!-Why, there't serves well again.
COUNTESS. 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.
CLOWN. Not much commendation to them?
COUNTESS. Not much employment for you. You understand me?
CLOWN. Most fruitfully; I am there before my legs.
COUNTESS. Haste you again. Exeunt


Paris. The KING'S palace


LAFEU. They say miracles are past; and we have our
persons to make modern and familiar things supernatural and
causeless. Hence is it that we make trifles of terrors,
ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge when we should
ourselves to an unknown fear.
PAROLLES. Why, 'tis the rarest argument of wonder that hath
out in our latter times.
BERTRAM. And so 'tis.
LAFEU. To be relinquish'd of the artists-
PAROLLES. So I say-both of Galen and Paracelsus.
LAFEU. Of all the learned and authentic fellows-
PAROLLES. Right; so I say.
LAFEU. That gave him out incurable-
PAROLLES. Why, there 'tis; so say I too.
LAFEU. Not to be help'd-
PAROLLES. Right; as 'twere a man assur'd of a-
LAFEU. Uncertain life and sure death.
PAROLLES. Just; you say well; so would I have said.
LAFEU. I may truly say it is a novelty to the world.
PAROLLES. It is indeed. If you will have it in showing, you
read it in what-do-ye-call't here.
LAFEU. [Reading the ballad title] 'A Showing of a Heavenly
Effect in an Earthly Actor.'
PAROLLES. That's it; I would have said the very same.
LAFEU. Why, your dolphin is not lustier. 'Fore me, I speak in
PAROLLES. Nay, 'tis strange, 'tis very strange; that is the
and the tedious of it; and he's of a most facinerious spirit
will not acknowledge it to be the-
LAFEU. Very hand of heaven.
PAROLLES. Ay; so I say.
LAFEU. In a most weak-
PAROLLES. And debile minister, great power, great
which should, indeed, give us a further use to be made than
the recov'ry of the King, as to be-
LAFEU. Generally thankful.


PAROLLES. I would have said it; you say well. Here comes the
LAFEU. Lustig, as the Dutchman says. I'll like a maid the
whilst I have a tooth in my head. Why, he's able to lead her
PAROLLES. Mort du vinaigre! Is not this Helen?
LAFEU. 'Fore God, I think so.
KING. Go, call before me all the lords in court.
Sit, my preserver, by thy patient's side;
And with this healthful hand, whose banish'd sense
Thou has repeal'd, a second time receive
The confirmation of my promis'd gift,
Which but attends thy naming.

Enter three or four LORDS

Fair maid, send forth thine eye. This youthful parcel
Of noble bachelors stand at my bestowing,
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.
HELENA. To each of you one fair and virtuous mistress
Fall, when love please. Marry, to each but one!
LAFEU. I'd give bay Curtal and his furniture
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.
HELENA. Gentlemen,
Heaven hath through me restor'd the King to health.
ALL. We understand it, and thank heaven for you.
HELENA. I am a simple maid, and therein wealthiest
That I protest I simply am a maid.
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 for ever,
We'll ne'er come there again.'
KING. Make choice and see:
Who shuns thy love shuns all his love in me.
HELENA. Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly,
And to imperial Love, that god most high,
Do my sighs stream. Sir, will you hear my suit?
FIRST LORD. And grant it.
HELENA. Thanks, sir; all the rest is mute.
LAFEU. I had rather be in this choice than throw ames-ace for
HELENA. The honour, sir, that flames in your fair eyes,
Before I speak, too threat'ningly replies.
Love make your fortunes twenty times above
Her that so wishes, and her humble love!
SECOND LORD. No better, if you please.
HELENA. My wish receive,
Which great Love grant; and so I take my leave.
LAFEU. Do all they deny her? An they were sons of mine I'd have
them whipt; or I would send them to th' Turk to make eunuchs
HELENA. 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
Find fairer fortune, if you ever wed!
LAFEU. These boys are boys of ice; they'll none have her.
Sure, they are bastards to the English; the French ne'er got
HELENA. You are too young, too happy, and too good,
To make yourself a son out of my blood.
FOURTH LORD. Fair one, I think not so.
LAFEU. There's one grape yet; I am sure thy father drunk
if thou be'st not an ass, I am a youth of fourteen; I have
thee already.
HELENA. [To BERTRAM] 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,
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. Yes, my good lord;
But never hope to know why I should marry her.
KING. Thou know'st she has rais'd me from my sickly bed.
BERTRAM. But follows it, my lord, to bring me down
Must answer for your raising? I know her well:
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,
Of colour, weight, and heat, pour'd all together,
Would quite confound distinction, yet stand 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
Of virtue for the name; but do not so.
From lowest place when virtuous things proceed,
The place is dignified by the doer's deed;
Where great additions swell's, and virtue none,
It is a dropsied honour. Good alone
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 honour. That is honour's scorn
Which challenges itself as honour's born
And is not like the sire. Honours thrive
When rather from our acts we them derive
Than our fore-goers. The mere word's a slave,
Debauch'd on every tomb, on every grave
A lying trophy; and as oft is dumb
Where dust and damn'd oblivion is the tomb
Of honour'd bones indeed. What should be said?
If thou canst like this creature as a maid,
I can create the rest. Virtue and she
Is her own dower; honour and wealth from me.
BERTRAM. I cannot love her, nor will strive to do 't.
KING. Thou wrong'st thyself, if thou shouldst strive to choose.
HELENA. That you are well restor'd, my lord, I'm glad.
Let the rest go.
KING. My honour'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
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 honour where
We please to have it grow. Check thy contempt;
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 for ever
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
My fancy to your eyes. When I consider
What great creation and what dole of honour
Flies where you bid it, I find that she which late
Was in my nobler thoughts most base is now
The praised of the King; who, so ennobled,
Is as 'twere born so.
KING. Take her by the hand,
And tell her she is thine; to whom I promise
A counterpoise, if not to thy estate
A balance more replete.
BERTRAM. I take her hand.
KING. Good fortune and the favour of the King
Smile upon this contract; whose ceremony
Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief,
And be perform'd to-night. The solemn feast
Shall more attend upon the coming space,
Expecting absent friends. As thou lov'st her,
Thy love's to me religious; else, does err.
Exeunt all but LAFEU and PAROLLES who stay behind,
commenting of this wedding
LAFEU. Do you hear, monsieur? A word with you.
PAROLLES. Your pleasure, sir?
LAFEU. Your lord and master did well to make his recantation.
PAROLLES. Recantation! My Lord! my master!
LAFEU. Ay; is it not a language I speak?
PAROLLES. A most harsh one, and not to be understood without
succeeding. My master!
LAFEU. Are you companion to the Count Rousillon?
PAROLLES. To any count; to all counts; to what is man.
LAFEU. To what is count's man: count's master is of another
PAROLLES. You are too old, sir; let it satisfy you, you are too
LAFEU. I must tell thee, sirrah, I write man; to which title
cannot bring thee.
PAROLLES. What I dare too well do, I dare not do.
LAFEU. I did think thee, for two ordinaries, to be a pretty
fellow; thou didst make tolerable vent of thy travel; it
pass. Yet the scarfs and the bannerets about thee did
dissuade me from believing thee a vessel of too great a
burden. I
have now found thee; when I lose thee again I care not; yet
thou good for nothing but taking up; and that thou'rt scarce
PAROLLES. Hadst thou not the privilege of antiquity upon thee-
LAFEU. Do not plunge thyself too far in anger, lest thou hasten
trial; which if-Lord have mercy on thee for a hen! So, my
window of lattice, fare thee well; thy casement I need not
for I look through thee. Give me thy hand.
PAROLLES. My lord, you give me most egregious indignity.
LAFEU. Ay, with all my heart; and thou art worthy of it.
PAROLLES. I have not, my lord, deserv'd it.
LAFEU. Yes, good faith, ev'ry dram of it; and I will not bate
a scruple.
PAROLLES. Well, I shall be wiser.
LAFEU. Ev'n as soon as thou canst, for thou hast to pull at a
o' th' contrary. If ever thou be'st bound in thy scarf and
beaten, thou shalt find 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
PAROLLES. My lord, you do me most insupportable vexation.
LAFEU. I would it were hell pains for thy sake, and my poor
eternal; for doing I am past, as I will by thee, in what
age will give me leave. Exit

PAROLLES. Well, thou hast a son shall take this disgrace off
scurvy, old, filthy, scurvy lord! Well, I must be patient;
is no fettering of authority. I'll beat him, by my life, if I
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 of-
I'll beat him, and if I could but meet him again.

Re-enter LAFEU

LAFEU. 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 my good lord: whom I serve
above is my master.
LAFEU. Who? God?
PAROLLES. Ay, sir.
LAFEU. The devil it is that's thy master. Why dost thou garter
thy arms o' this fashion? Dost make hose of thy sleeves? Do
servants so? Thou wert best set thy lower part where thy nose
stands. By mine honour, if I were but two hours younger, I'd
thee. Methink'st thou art a general offence, and every man
beat thee. I think thou wast created for men to breathe
themselves upon thee.
PAROLLES. This is hard and undeserved measure, my lord.
LAFEU. Go to, sir; you were beaten in Italy for picking a
out of a pomegranate; you are a vagabond, and no true
you are more saucy with lords and honourable personages than
commission of your birth and virtue gives you heraldry. You
not worth another word, else I'd call you knave. I leave you.


PAROLLES. Good, very, good, it is so then. Good, very good; let
be conceal'd awhile.
BERTRAM. Undone, and forfeited to cares for ever!
PAROLLES. What's the matter, sweetheart?
BERTRAM. Although before the solemn priest I have sworn,
I will not bed her.
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
The tread of a man's foot. To th' wars!
BERTRAM. There's letters from my mother; what th' import is I
not yet.
PAROLLES. Ay, that would be known. To th' wars, my boy, to th'
He wears his honour 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!
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
That which I durst not speak. His present gift
Shall furnish me to those Italian fields
Where noble fellows strike. War is no strife
To the dark house and the detested wife.
PAROLLES. Will this capriccio hold in thee, art sure?
BERTRAM. Go with me to my chamber and advise me.
I'll send her straight away. To-morrow
I'll to the wars, she to her single sorrow.
PAROLLES. Why, these balls bound; there's noise in it. 'Tis
A young man married is a man that's marr'd.
Therefore away, and leave her bravely; go.
The King has done you wrong; but, hush, 'tis so. Exeunt


Paris. The KING'S palace


HELENA. My mother greets me kindly; is she well?
CLOWN. 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
well, and wants nothing i' th' world; but yet she is not
HELENA. If she be very well, what does she ail that she's not
CLOWN. Truly, she's very well indeed, but for two things.
HELENA. What two things?
CLOWN. One, that she's not in heaven, whither God send her
The other, that she's in earth, from whence God send her


PAROLLES. Bless you, my fortunate lady!
HELENA. I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine own
PAROLLES. You had my prayers to lead them on; and to keep them
have them still. O, my knave, how does my old lady?
CLOWN. So that you had her wrinkles and I her money, I would
did as you say.
PAROLLES. Why, I say nothing.
CLOWN. Marry, you are the wiser man; for many a man's tongue
out his master's undoing. To say nothing, to do nothing, to
nothing, and to have nothing, is to be a great part of your
title, which is within a very little of nothing.
PAROLLES. Away! th'art a knave.
CLOWN. You should have said, sir, 'Before a knave th'art a
that's 'Before me th'art a knave.' This had been truth, sir.
PAROLLES. Go to, thou art a witty fool; I have found thee.
CLOWN. Did you find me in yourself, sir, or were you taught to
me? The search, sir, was profitable; and much fool may you
in you, even to the world's pleasure and the increase of
PAROLLES. A good knave, i' faith, and well fed.
Madam, my lord will go away to-night:
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 compell'd restraint;
Whose want, and whose delay, is strew'd with sweets,
Which they distil now in the curbed time,
To make the coming hour o'erflow with joy
And pleasure drown the brim.
HELENA. What's his else?
PAROLLES. That you will take your instant leave o' th' King,
And make this haste as your own good proceeding,
Strength'ned with what apology you think
May make it probable need.
HELENA. What more commands he?
PAROLLES. That, having this obtain'd, you presently
Attend his further pleasure.
HELENA. In everything I wait upon his will.
PAROLLES. I shall report it so.
HELENA. I pray you. Exit PAROLLES
Come, sirrah. Exeunt


Paris. The KING'S palace


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


PAROLLES. [To BERTRAM] These things shall be done, sir.
LAFEU. Pray you, sir, who's his tailor?
LAFEU. O, I know him well. Ay, sir; he, sir, 's a good workman,
very good tailor.
BERTRAM. [Aside to PAROLLES] Is she gone to the King?
BERTRAM. Will she away to-night?
PAROLLES. As you'll have her.
BERTRAM. I have writ my letters, casketed my treasure,
Given order for our horses; and to-night,
When I should take possession of the bride,
End ere I do begin.
LAFEU. A good traveller is something at the latter end of a
but one that lies three-thirds and uses a known truth to pass
thousand nothings with, should be once heard and thrice
God save you, Captain.
BERTRAM. Is there any unkindness between my lord and you,
PAROLLES. I know not how I have deserved to run into my lord's
LAFEU. You have made shift to run into 't, boots and spurs and
like him that leapt into the custard; and out of it you'll
again, rather than suffer question for your residence.
BERTRAM. It may be you have mistaken him, my lord.
LAFEU. 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
kernal in this light nut; the soul of this man is his
trust him not in matter of heavy consequence; I have kept of
tame, and know their natures. Farewell, monsieur; I have
better of you than you have or will to deserve at my hand;
but we
must do good against evil. Exit
PAROLLES. An idle lord, I swear.
BERTRAM. I think so.
PAROLLES. Why, do you not know him?
BERTRAM. Yes, I do know him well; and common speech
Gives him a worthy pass. Here comes my clog.


HELENA. I have, sir, as I was commanded from you,
Spoke with the King, and have procur'd his leave
For present parting; only he desires
Some private speech with you.
BERTRAM. I shall obey his will.
You must not marvel, Helen, at my course,
Which holds not colour with the time, nor does
The ministration and required office
On my particular. Prepar'd 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;
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. This to my mother.
[Giving a letter]
'Twill be two days ere I shall see you; so
I leave you to your wisdom.
HELENA. Sir, I can nothing say
But that I am your most obedient servant.
BERTRAM. Come, come, no more of that.
HELENA. And ever shall
With true observance seek to eke out that
Wherein toward me my homely stars have fail'd
To equal my great fortune.
BERTRAM. Let that go.
My haste is very great. Farewell; hie home.
HELENA. Pray, sir, your pardon.
BERTRAM. Well, what would you say?
HELENA. I am not worthy of the wealth I owe,
Nor dare I say 'tis mine, and yet it is;
But, like a timorous thief, most fain would steal
What law does vouch mine own.
BERTRAM. What would you have?
HELENA. Something; and scarce so much; nothing, indeed.
I would not tell you what I would, my lord.
Faith, yes:
Strangers and foes do sunder and not kiss.
BERTRAM. I pray you, stay not, but in haste to horse.
HELENA. I shall not break your bidding, good my lord.
BERTRAM. Where are my other men, monsieur?
Farewell! Exit HELENA

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, coragio! Exeunt

Florence. The DUKE's palace

Flourish. Enter the DUKE OF FLORENCE, attended; two

DUKE. So that, from point to point, now have you hear
The fundamental reasons of this war;
Whose great decision hath much blood let forth
And more thirsts after.
FIRST LORD. 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
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
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 guess'd.
DUKE. Be it his pleasure.
FIRST LORD. But I am sure the younger of our nature,
That surfeit on their ease, will day by day
Come here for physic.
DUKE. Welcome shall they be
And all the honours that can fly from us
Shall on them settle. You know your places well;
When better fall, for your avails they fell.
To-morrow to th' field. Flourish. Exeunt


Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace


COUNTESS. It hath happen'd all as I would have had it, save
that he
comes not along with her.
CLOWN. By my troth, I take my young lord to be a very
COUNTESS. By what observance, I pray you?
CLOWN. Why, he will look upon his boot and sing; mend the ruff
sing; ask questions and sing; pick his teeth and sing. I know
man that had this trick of melancholy sold a goodly manor for
COUNTESS. Let me see what he writes, and when he means to come.
[Opening a letter]
CLOWN. I have no mind to Isbel since I was at court. Our old
and our Isbels o' th' country are nothing like your old ling
your Isbels o' th' court. The brains of my Cupid's knock'd
and I begin to love, as an old man loves money, with no
COUNTESS. What have we here?
CLOWN. E'en that you have there. Exit

COUNTESS. [Reads] 'I have sent you a daughter-in-law; she
recovered the King and undone me. I have wedded her, not
her; and sworn to make the "not" eternal. You shall hear I am
away; know it before the report come. If there be breadth
in the world, I will hold a long distance. My duty to you.
Your unfortunate son,
This is not well, rash and unbridled boy,
To fly the favours of so good a king,
To pluck his indignation on thy head
By the misprizing of a maid too virtuous
For the contempt of empire.

Re-enter CLOWN

CLOWN. O madam, yonder is heavy news within between two
and my young lady.
COUNTESS. What is the -matter?
CLOWN. Nay, there is some comfort in the news, some comfort;
son will not be kill'd so soon as I thought he would.
COUNTESS. Why should he be kill'd?
CLOWN. So 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. Exit


SECOND GENTLEMAN. Save you, good madam.
HELENA. Madam, my lord is gone, for ever gone.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Do not say so.
COUNTESS. Think upon patience. Pray you, gentlemen-
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?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Madam, he's gone to serve the Duke of
We met him thitherward; for thence we came,
And, after some dispatch in hand at court,
Thither we bend again.
HELENA. Look on this letter, madam; here's my passport.
[Reads] 'When thou canst get the ring upon my finger, which
never shall come off, and show me a child begotten of thy
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?
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;
But I do wash his name out of my blood,
And thou art all my child. Towards Florence is he?
COUNTESS. And to be a soldier?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Such is his noble purpose; and, believe 't,
The Duke will lay upon him all the honour
That good convenience claims.
COUNTESS. Return you thither?
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Ay, madam, with the swiftest wing of speed.
HELENA. [Reads] 'Till I have no wife, I have nothing in
'Tis bitter.
COUNTESS. Find you that there?
HELENA. Ay, madam.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. 'Tis but the boldness of his hand haply,
his heart was not consenting to.
COUNTESS. 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?
SECOND GENTLEMAN. A servant only, and a gentleman
Which I have sometime known.
COUNTESS. Parolles, was it not?
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Ay, my good lady, he.
COUNTESS. A very tainted fellow, and full of wickedness.
My son corrupts a well-derived nature
With his inducement.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Indeed, good lady,
The fellow has a deal of that too much
Which holds him much to have.
COUNTESS. Y'are welcome, gentlemen.
I will entreat you, when you see my son,
To tell him that his sword can never win
The honour that he loses. More I'll entreat you
Written to bear along.
FIRST 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? Exeunt COUNTESS and GENTLEMEN
HELENA. 'Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France.'
Nothing in France until he has no wife!
Thou shalt have none, Rousillon, none in France
Then hast thou all again. Poor lord! is't
That chase thee from thy country, and expose
Those tender limbs of thine to the event
Of the non-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,
That ride upon the violent speed of fire,
Fly with false aim; move the still-piecing air,
That sings with piercing; do not touch my lord.
Whoever shoots at him, I set him there;
Whoever charges on his forward breast,
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 roar'd
With sharp constraint of hunger; better 'twere
That all the miseries which nature owes
Were mine at once. No; come thou home, Rousillon,
Whence honour but of danger wins a scar,
As oft it loses all. I will be gone.
My being here it is that holds thee hence.
Shall I stay here to do 't? No, no, although
The air of paradise did fan the house,
And angels offic'd all. I will be gone,
That pitiful rumour may report my flight
To consolate thine ear. Come, night; end, day.
For with the dark, poor thief, I'll steal away. Exit


Florence. Before the DUKE's palace

drum and trumpets

DUKE. 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
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,
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. Exeunt


Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace


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] 'I am Saint Jaques' pilgrim, thither gone.
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.
Bless him at home in peace, whilst I from far
His name with zealous fervour sanctify.
His taken labours bid him me forgive;
I, his despiteful Juno, sent him forth
From courtly friends, with camping foes to live,
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
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 over-night,
She might have been o'er ta'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
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,
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,
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. Exeunt



Without the walls of Florence
A tucket afar off. Enter an old WIDOW OF FLORENCE, her daughter

WIDOW. Nay, come; for if they do approach the city we shall
all the sight.
DIANA. They say the French count has done most honourable
WIDOW. It is reported that he has taken their great'st
and that with his own hand he slew the Duke's brother.
We have lost our labour; they are gone a contrary way. Hark!
may know by their trumpets.
MARIANA. Come, let's return again, and suffice ourselves with
report of it. Well, Diana, take heed of this French earl; the
honour of a maid is her name, and no legacy is so rich as
WIDOW. I have told my neighbour how you have been solicited by
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
them, Diana: their promises, enticements, oaths, tokens, and
these engines of lust, are not the things they go under; many
maid hath been seduced by them; and the misery is, example,
so terrible shows in the wreck of maidenhood, cannot for all
dissuade succession, but that they are limed with the twigs
threatens them. I hope I need not to advise you further; but
hope your own grace will keep you where you are, though there
were no further danger known but the modesty which is so
DIANA. You shall not need to fear me.

Enter HELENA in the dress of a pilgrim

WIDOW. I hope so. Look, here comes a pilgrim. I know she will
at my house: thither they send one another. I'll question
God save you, pilgrim! Whither are bound?
HELENA. To Saint Jaques le Grand.
Where do the palmers lodge, I do beseech you?
WIDOW. At the Saint Francis here, beside the port.
HELENA. Is this the way?
[A march afar]

WIDOW. 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 lodg'd;
The rather for I think I know your hostess
As ample as myself.
HELENA. Is it yourself?
WIDOW. If you shall please so, pilgrim.
HELENA. I thank you, and will stay upon your leisure.
WIDOW. You came, I think, from France?
HELENA. I did so.
WIDOW. Here you shall see a countryman of yours
That has done worthy service.
HELENA. His name, I pray you.
DIANA. The Count Rousillon. Know you such a one?
HELENA. But by the ear, that hears most nobly of him;
His face I know not.
DIANA. What some'er he is,
He's bravely taken here. He stole from France,
As 'tis reported, for the King had married him
Against his liking. Think you it is so?
HELENA. Ay, surely, mere the truth; I know his lady.
DIANA. There is a gentleman that serves the Count
Reports but coarsely of her.
HELENA. What's his name?
DIANA. Monsieur Parolles.
HELENA. 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
Is a reserved honesty, and that
I have not heard examin'd.
DIANA. Alas, poor lady!
'Tis a hard bondage to become the wife
Of a detesting lord.
WIDOW. I sweet, good creature, wheresoe'er she is
Her heart weighs sadly. This young maid might do her
A shrewd turn, if she pleas'd.
HELENA. How do you mean?
May be 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 honour of a maid;
But she is arm'd for him, and keeps her guard
In honestest defence.

Enter, with drum and colours, BERTRAM, PAROLLES, and the
whole ARMY

MARIANA. The gods forbid else!
WIDOW. So, now they come.
That is Antonio, the Duke's eldest son;
That, Escalus.
HELENA. Which is the Frenchman?
That with the plume; 'tis a most gallant fellow.
I would he lov'd his wife; if he were honester
He were much goodlier. Is't not a handsome gentleman?
HELENA. 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
I would poison that vile rascal.
HELENA. Which is he?
DIANA. That jack-an-apes with scarfs. Why is he melancholy?
HELENA. Perchance he's hurt i' th' battle.
PAROLLES. Lose our drum! well.
MARIANA. He's shrewdly vex'd at something.
Look, he has spied us.
WIDOW. Marry, hang you!
MARIANA. And your courtesy, for a ring-carrier!
WIDOW. The troop is past. Come, pilgrim, I will bring you
Where you shall host. Of enjoin'd penitents
There's four or five, to great Saint Jaques bound,
Already at my house.
HELENA. I humbly thank you.
Please it this matron and this gentle maid
To eat with us to-night; the charge and thanking
Shall be for me, and, to requite you further,
I will bestow some precepts of this virgin,
Worthy the note.
BOTH. We'll take your offer kindly. Exeunt


Camp before Florence

Enter BERTRAM, and the two FRENCH LORDS

SECOND LORD. Nay, good my lord, put him to't; let him have his
FIRST LORD. If your lordship find him not a hiding, hold me no
in your respect.
SECOND LORD. On my life, my lord, a bubble.
BERTRAM. Do you think I am so far deceived in him?
SECOND 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, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly
promise-breaker, the owner of no one good quality worthy your
lordship's entertainment.
FIRST LORD. It were fit you knew him; lest, reposing too far in
virtue, which he hath not, he might at some great and trusty
business in a main danger fail you.
BERTRAM. I would I knew in what particular action to try him.
FIRST LORD. None better than to let him fetch off his drum,
you hear him so confidently undertake to do.
SECOND LORD. I with a troop of Florentines will suddenly
him; such I will have whom I am sure he knows not from the
We will bind and hoodwink him so that he shall suppose no
but that he is carried into the leaguer of the adversaries
we bring him to our own tents. Be but your lordship present
his examination; if he do not, for the promise of his life
and in
the highest compulsion of base fear, offer to betray you and
deliver all the intelligence in his power against you, and
with the divine forfeit of his soul upon oath, never trust my
judgment in anything.
FIRST LORD. O, for the love of laughter, let him fetch his
drum; he
says he has a stratagem for't. When your lordship sees the
of his success in't, and to what metal this counterfeit lump
ore will be melted, if you give him not John Drum's
entertainment, your inclining cannot be removed. Here he


SECOND LORD. O, for the love of laughter, hinder not the honour
his design; let him fetch off his drum in any hand.
BERTRAM. How now, monsieur! This drum sticks sorely in your
FIRST 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
excellent command: to charge in with our horse upon our own
wings, and to rend our own soldiers!
FIRST LORD. That was not to be blam'd in the command of the
service; it was a disaster of war that Caesar himself could
have prevented, if he had been there to command.
BERTRAM. Well, we cannot greatly condemn our success.
Some dishonour we had in the loss of that drum; but it is not
be recovered.
PAROLLES. It might have been recovered.
BERTRAM. It might, but it is not now.
PAROLLES. It is to be recovered. But that the merit of service
seldom attributed to the true and exact performer, I would
that drum or another, or 'hic jacet.'
BERTRAM. Why, if you have a stomach, to't, monsieur. If you
your mystery in stratagem can bring this instrument of honour
again into his native quarter, be magnanimous in the
and go on; I will grace the attempt for a worthy exploit. If
speed well in it, the Duke shall both speak of it and extend
you what further becomes his greatness, even to the utmost
syllable of our worthiness.
PAROLLES. By the hand of a soldier, I will undertake it.
BERTRAM. But you must not now slumber in it.
PAROLLES. I'll about it this evening; and I will presently pen
down my dilemmas, encourage myself in my certainty, put
into my mortal preparation; and by midnight look to hear
from me.
BERTRAM. May I be bold to acquaint his Grace you are gone about
PAROLLES. I know not what the success will be, my lord, but the
attempt I vow.
BERTRAM. I know th' art valiant; and, to the of thy
will subscribe for thee. Farewell.
PAROLLES. I love not many words. Exit
SECOND LORD. No more than a fish loves water. Is not this a
fellow, my lord, that so confidently seems to undertake this
business, which he knows is not to be done; damns himself to
and dares better be damn'd than to do 't.
FIRST LORD. You do not know him, my lord, as we do. Certain it
that he will steal himself into a man's favour, and for a
escape a great deal of discoveries; but when you find him
you have him ever after.
BERTRAM. Why, do you think he will make no deed at all of this
so seriously he does address himself unto?
SECOND LORD. None in the world; but return with an invention,
clap upon you two or three probable lies. But we have almost
emboss'd him. You shall see his fall to-night; for indeed he
not for your lordship's respect.
FIRST LORD. We'll make you some sport with the fox ere we case
He was first smok'd by the old Lord Lafeu. When his disguise
he is parted, tell me what a sprat you shall find him; which
shall see this very night.
SECOND LORD. I must go look my twigs; he shall be caught.
BERTRAM. Your brother, he shall go along with me.
SECOND LORD. As't please your lordship. I'll leave you. Exit
BERTRAM. Now will I lead you to the house, and show you
The lass I spoke of.
FIRST LORD. 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;
And this is all I have done. She's a fair creature;
Will you go see her?
FIRST LORD. With all my heart, my lord. Exeunt


Florence. The WIDOW'S house


HELENA. 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,
Nothing acquainted with these businesses;
And would not put my reputation now
In any staining act.
HELENA. Nor would I wish you.
FIRST give me trust the Count he is my husband,
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;
For you have show'd me that which well approves
Y'are great in fortune.
HELENA. Take this purse of gold,
And let me buy your friendly help thus far,
Which I will over-pay and pay again
When I have found it. The Count he woos your daughter
Lays down his wanton siege before her beauty,
Resolv'd to carry her. Let her in fine consent,
As we'll direct her how 'tis best to bear it.
Now his important blood will nought 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
In most rich choice; yet, in his idle fire,
To buy his will, it would not seem too dear,
Howe'er repented after.
WIDOW. Now I see
The bottom of your purpose.
HELENA. You see it lawful then. It is no more
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 this,
To marry her, I'll add three thousand crowns
To what is pass'd 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
With musics of all sorts, and songs compos'd
To her unworthiness. It nothing steads us
To chide him from our eaves, for he persists
As if his life lay on 't.
HELENA. Why then to-night
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. Exeunt

Without the Florentine camp

Enter SECOND FRENCH LORD with five or six other SOLDIERS in

SECOND LORD. He can come no other way but by this hedge-corner.
When you sally upon him, speak what terrible language you
though you understand it not yourselves, no matter; for we
not seem to understand him, unless some one among us, whom we
must produce for an interpreter.
FIRST SOLDIER. Good captain, let me be th' interpreter.
SECOND LORD. Art not acquainted with him? Knows he not thy
FIRST SOLDIER. No, sir, I warrant you.
SECOND LORD. But what linsey-woolsey has thou to speak to us
FIRST SOLDIER. E'en such as you speak to me.
SECOND LORD. He must think us some band of strangers i' th'
adversary's entertainment. Now he hath a smack of all
neighbouring languages, therefore we must every one be a man
his own fancy; not to know what we speak one to another, so
seem to know, is to know straight our purpose: choughs'
gabble enough, and good enough. As for you, interpreter, you
seem very politic. But couch, ho! here he comes; to beguile
hours in a sleep, and then to return and swear the lies he


PAROLLES. Ten 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
and disgraces have of late knock'd to often at my door. I
find 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
SECOND LORD. This is the first truth that e'er thine own tongue
guilty of.
PAROLLES. What the devil should move me to undertake the
of this drum, being not ignorant of the impossibility, and
knowing I had no such purpose? I must give myself some hurts,
say I got them in exploit. Yet slight ones will not carry it.
They will say 'Came you off with so little?' And great ones I
dare not give. Wherefore, what's the instance? Tongue, I must
you into a butterwoman's mouth, and buy myself another of
Bajazet's mule, if you prattle me into these perils.
SECOND LORD. Is it possible he should know what he is, and be
he is?
PAROLLES. I would the cutting of my garments would serve the
or the breaking of my Spanish sword.
SECOND LORD. We cannot afford you so.
PAROLLES. Or the baring of my beard; and to say it was in
SECOND LORD. 'Twould not do.
PAROLLES. Or to drown my clothes, and say I was stripp'd.
SECOND LORD. Hardly serve.
PAROLLES. Though I swore I leap'd from the window of the
SECOND LORD. How deep?
PAROLLES. Thirty fathom.
SECOND LORD. Three great oaths would scarce make that be
PAROLLES. I would I had any drum of the enemy's; I would swear
recover'd it.
SECOND LORD. You shall hear one anon. [Alarum within]
PAROLLES. A drum now of the enemy's!
SECOND LORD. Throca movousus, cargo, cargo, cargo.
ALL. Cargo, cargo, cargo, villianda par corbo, cargo.
PAROLLES. O, 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,
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
tongue. Kerely-bonto, sir, betake thee to thy faith, for
seventeen poniards are at thy bosom.
FIRST SOLDIER. O, pray, pray, pray! Manka revania dulche.
SECOND LORD. Oscorbidulchos volivorco.
FIRST SOLDIER. The General is content to spare thee yet;
And, hoodwink'd as thou art, will lead thee on
To gather from thee. Haply thou mayst inform
Something to save thy life.
PAROLLES. O, let me live,
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. Acordo linta.
Come on; thou art granted space.
Exit, PAROLLES guarded. A short alarum within
SECOND LORD. Go, tell the Count Rousillon and my brother
We have caught the woodcock, and will keep him muffled
Till we do hear from them.
SECOND SOLDIER. Captain, I will.
SECOND LORD. 'A will betray us all unto ourselves-
Inform on that.
SECOND SOLDIER. So I will, sir.
SECOND LORD. Till then I'll keep him dark and safely lock'd.


Florence. The WIDOW'S house


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,
In your fine frame hath love no quality?
If the quick fire of youth light not your mind,
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;
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.
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 compell'd to her; but I love the
By love's own sweet constraint, and will for ever
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,
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 vow'd true.
What is not holy, that we swear not by,
But take the High'st to witness. Then, pray you, tell me:
If I should swear by Jove's great attributes
I lov'd you dearly, would you believe my oaths
When I did love you ill? This has no holding,
To swear by him whom I protest to love
That I will work against him. Therefore your oaths
Are words and poor conditions, but unseal'd-
At least in my opinion.
BERTRAM. Change it, change it;
Be not so holy-cruel. Love is holy;
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
My love as it begins shall so persever.
DIANA. I see that men make ropes in such a scarre
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. Will you not, my lord?
BERTRAM. It is an honour 'longing to our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
Which were the greatest obloquy i' th' world
In me to lose.
DIANA. Mine honour's such a ring:
My chastity's the jewel of our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
Which were the greatest obloquy i' th' world
In me to lose. Thus your own proper wisdom
Brings in the champion Honour on my part
Against your vain assault.
BERTRAM. Here, take my ring;
My house, mine honour, yea, my life, be thine,
And I'll be bid by thee.
DIANA. 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 conquer'd my yet maiden bed,
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 deliver'd.
And on your finger in the night I'll put
Another ring, that what in time proceeds
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!
You may so in the end.
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
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. Exit


The Florentine camp

Enter the two FRENCH LORDS, and two or three SOLDIERS

SECOND LORD. You have not given him his mother's letter?
FIRST LORD. I have deliv'red it an hour since. There is
in't that stings his nature; for on the reading it he chang'd
almost into another man.
SECOND LORD. He has much worthy blame laid upon him for shaking
so good a wife and so sweet a lady.
FIRST LORD. Especially he hath incurred the everlasting
of the King, who had even tun'd his bounty to sing happiness
him. I will tell you a thing, but you shall let it dwell
with you.
SECOND LORD. When you have spoken it, 'tis dead, and I am the
of it.
FIRST LORD. He hath perverted a young gentlewoman here in
of a most chaste renown; and this night he fleshes his will
the spoil of her honour. He hath given her his monumental
and thinks himself made in the unchaste composition.
SECOND LORD. Now, God delay our rebellion! As we are ourselves,

what things are we!
FIRST LORD. Merely our own traitors. And as in the common
course of
all treasons we still see them reveal themselves till they
to their abhorr'd ends; so he that in this action contrives
against his own nobility, in his proper stream, o'erflows
SECOND LORD. Is it not meant damnable in us to be trumpeters of
unlawful intents? We shall not then have his company
FIRST LORD. Not till after midnight; for he is dieted to his
SECOND LORD. That approaches apace. I would gladly have him see
company anatomiz'd, that he might take a measure of his own
judgments, wherein so curiously he had set this counterfeit.
FIRST LORD. We will not meddle with him till he come; for his
presence must be the whip of the other.
SECOND LORD. In the meantime, what hear you of these wars?
FIRST LORD. I hear there is an overture of peace.
SECOND LORD. Nay, I assure you, a peace concluded.
FIRST LORD. What will Count Rousillon do then? Will he travel
higher, or return again into France?
SECOND LORD. I perceive, by this demand, you are not altogether

of his counsel.
FIRST LORD. Let it be forbid, sir! So should I be a great deal
of his act.
SECOND LORD. Sir, his wife, some two months since, fled from
house. Her pretence is a pilgrimage to Saint Jaques le Grand;
which holy undertaking with most austere sanctimony she
accomplish'd; and, there residing, the tenderness of her
became as a prey to her grief; in fine, made a groan of her
breath, and now she sings in heaven.
FIRST LORD. How is this justified?
SECOND LORD. The stronger part of it by her own letters, which
makes her story true even to the point of her death. Her
itself, which could not be her office to say is come, was
faithfully confirm'd by the rector of the place.
FIRST LORD. Hath the Count all this intelligence?
SECOND LORD. Ay, and the particular confirmations, point from
point, to the full arming of the verity.
FIRST LORD. I am heartily sorry that he'll be glad of this.
SECOND LORD. How mightily sometimes we make us comforts of our
FIRST LORD. And how mightily some other times we drown our gain
tears! The great dignity that his valour hath here acquir'd
him shall at home be encount'red with a shame as ample.
SECOND LORD. The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and
together. Our virtues would be proud if our faults whipt them
not; and our crimes would despair if they were not cherish'd
our virtues.


How now? Where's your master?
SERVANT. He met the Duke in the street, sir; of whom he hath
a solemn leave. His lordship will next morning for France.
Duke hath offered him letters of commendations to the King.
SECOND LORD. They shall be no more than needful there, if they
more than they can commend.
FIRST LORD. They cannot be too sweet for the King's tartness.
Here's his lordship now.


How now, my lord, is't not after midnight?
BERTRAM. I have to-night dispatch'd sixteen businesses, a
length apiece; by an abstract of success: I have congied with
Duke, done my adieu with his nearest; buried a wife, mourn'd
her; writ to my lady mother I am returning; entertain'd my
convoy; and between these main parcels of dispatch effected
nicer needs. The last was the greatest, but that I have not
SECOND LORD. If the business be of any difficulty and this
your departure hence, it requires haste of your lordship.
BERTRAM. I mean the business is not ended, as fearing to hear
of it
hereafter. But shall we have this dialogue between the Fool
the Soldier? Come, bring forth this counterfeit module has
deceiv'd me like a double-meaning prophesier.
SECOND LORD. Bring him forth. [Exeunt SOLDIERS] Has sat i'
stocks all night, poor gallant knave.
BERTRAM. No matter; his heels have deserv'd it, in usurping his
spurs so long. How does he carry himself?
SECOND LORD. I have told your lordship already the stocks carry

him. But to answer you as you would be understood: he weeps
a wench that had shed her milk; he hath confess'd himself to
Morgan, whom he supposes to be a friar, from the time of his
remembrance to this very instant disaster of his setting i'
stocks. And what think you he hath confess'd?
BERTRAM. Nothing of me, has 'a?
SECOND LORD. His confession is taken, and it shall be read to
face; if your lordship be in't, as I believe you are, you
have the patience to hear it.

Enter PAROLLES guarded, and
FIRST SOLDIER as interpreter

BERTRAM. A plague upon him! muffled! He can say nothing of me.
SECOND LORD. Hush, hush! Hoodman comes. Portotartarossa.
FIRST SOLDIER. He calls for the tortures. What will you say
PAROLLES. I will confess what I know without constraint; if ye
pinch me like a pasty, I can say no more.
FIRST SOLDIER. Bosko chimurcho.
SECOND LORD. Boblibindo chicurmurco.
FIRST SOLDIER. YOU are a merciful general. Our General bids you
answer to what I shall ask you out of a note.
PAROLLES. And truly, as I hope to live.
FIRST SOLDIER. 'First demand of him how many horse the Duke is
strong.' What say you to that?
PAROLLES. Five or six thousand; but very weak and
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. Do; I'll take the sacrament on 't, how and which way
BERTRAM. All's one to him. What a past-saving slave is this!
SECOND LORD. Y'are deceiv'd, my lord; this is Monsieur
the gallant militarist-that was his own phrase-that had the
theoric of war in the knot of his scarf, and the practice in
chape of his dagger.
FIRST LORD. I will never trust a man again for keeping his
clean; nor believe he can have everything in him by wearing
apparel neatly.
FIRST SOLDIER. Well, that's set down.
PAROLLES. 'Five or six thousand horse' I said-I will say true-
thereabouts' set down, for I'll speak truth.
SECOND LORD. He's very near the truth in this.
BERTRAM. But I con him no thanks for't in the nature he
delivers it.
PAROLLES. 'Poor rogues' I pray you say.
FIRST SOLDIER. Well, that's set down.
PAROLLES. I humbly thank you, sir. A truth's a truth-the rogues
marvellous poor.
FIRST SOLDIER. 'Demand of him of what strength they are
What say you to that?
PAROLLES. By my troth, sir, if I were to live this present
hour, I
will tell true. Let me see: Spurio, a hundred and fifty;
Sebastian, so many; Corambus, so many; Jaques, so many;
Cosmo, Lodowick, and Gratii, two hundred fifty each; mine own
company, Chitopher, Vaumond, Bentii, two hundred fifty each;
that the muster-file, rotten and sound, upon my life, amounts
to fifteen thousand poll; half of the which dare not shake
snow from off their cassocks lest they shake themselves to
BERTRAM. What shall be done to him?
SECOND LORD. Nothing, but let him have thanks. Demand of him my
condition, and what credit I have with the Duke.
FIRST SOLDIER. Well, that's set down. 'You shall demand of him
whether one Captain Dumain be i' th' camp, a Frenchman; what
reputation is with the Duke, what his valour, honesty,
in wars; or whether he thinks it were not possible, with
well-weighing sums of gold, to corrupt him to a revolt.' What
you to this? What do you know of it?
PAROLLES. I beseech you, let me answer to the particular of the
inter'gatories. Demand them singly.
FIRST SOLDIER. Do you know this Captain Dumain?
PAROLLES. I know him: 'a was a botcher's prentice in Paris,
whence he was whipt for getting the shrieve's fool with
dumb innocent that could not say him nay.
BERTRAM. 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 Florence's
PAROLLES. Upon my knowledge, he is, and lousy.
SECOND LORD. Nay, look not so upon me; we shall hear of your
lordship anon.
FIRST SOLDIER. What is his reputation with the Duke?
PAROLLES. The 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'
I think I have his letter in my pocket.
FIRST SOLDIER. Marry, we'll search.
PAROLLES. In good sadness, I do not know; either it is there or
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
PAROLLES. I do not know if it be it or no.
BERTRAM. Our interpreter does it well.
SECOND LORD. Excellently.
FIRST SOLDIER. [Reads] 'Dian, the Count's a fool, and full of
PAROLLES. That is not the Duke's letter, sir; that is an
advertisement to a proper maid in Florence, one Diana, to
heed of the allurement of one Count Rousillon, a foolish idle
boy, but for all that very ruttish. I pray you, sir, put it
FIRST SOLDIER. Nay, I'll read it first by your favour.
PAROLLES. My meaning in't, I protest, was very honest in the
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
the fry it finds.
BERTRAM. Damnable both-sides rogue!
'When he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and take it;
After he scores, he never pays the score.
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;
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 vow'd to thee in thine ear,
BERTRAM. He shall be whipt through the army with this rhyme
FIRST LORD. This is your devoted friend, sir, the manifold
linguist, and the amnipotent soldier.
BERTRAM. I could endure anything before but a cat, and now he's
cat to me.
FIRST SOLDIER. I perceive, sir, by our General's looks we shall
fain to hang you.
PAROLLES. My life, sir, in any case! Not that I am afraid to
but that, my offences being many, I would repent out the
remainder of nature. Let me live, 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
therefore, once more to this Captain Dumain: you have
answer'd to
his reputation with the Duke, and to his valour; what is his
PAROLLES. He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister; for
and ravishments he parallels Nessus. He professes not keeping
oaths; in breaking 'em he is stronger than Hercules. He will
sir, with such volubility that you would think truth were a
Drunkenness is his best virtue, for he will be swine-drunk;
in his sleep he does little harm, save to his bedclothes
him; but they know his conditions and lay him in straw. I
but little more to say, sir, of his honesty. He has
that an honest man should not have; what an honest man should
have he has nothing.
SECOND LORD. I begin to love him for this.
BERTRAM. For this description of thine honesty? A pox upon him!
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
tragedians-to belie him I will not-and more of his
I know not, except in that country he had the honour to be
officer at a place there called Mile-end to instruct for the
doubling of files-I would do the man what honour I can-but of
this I am not certain.
SECOND LORD. He hath out-villain'd villainy so far that the
redeems him.
BERTRAM. A pox on him! he's a cat still.
FIRST SOLDIER. His qualities being at this poor price, I need
to ask you if gold will corrupt him to revolt.
PAROLLES. Sir, for a cardecue he will sell the fee-simple of
salvation, the inheritance of it; and cut th' entail from all

remainders and a perpetual succession for it perpetually.
FIRST SOLDIER. What's his brother, the other Captain Dumain?
FIRST LORD. Why does he ask him of me?
PAROLLES. E'en a crow o' th' same nest; not altogether so great
the first in goodness, but greater a great deal in evil. He
excels his brother for a coward; yet his brother is reputed
of the best that is. In a retreat he outruns any lackey:
in coming on he has the cramp.
FIRST SOLDIER. If your life be saved, will you undertake to
the Florentine?
PAROLLES. Ay, and the Captain of his Horse, Count Rousillon.
FIRST SOLDIER. I'll whisper with the General, and know his
PAROLLES. [Aside] I'll no more drumming. A plague of all
Only to seem to deserve well, and to beguile the supposition
that lascivious young boy the Count, have I run into this
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 discover'd the

secrets of your army, and made such pestiferous reports of
very nobly held, can serve the world for no honest use;
you must die. Come, headsman, of with his head.
PAROLLES. O Lord, sir, let me live, or let me see my death!
FIRST SOLDIER. That shall you, and take your leave of all your
friends. [Unmuffling him] So look about you; know you any
BERTRAM. Good morrow, noble Captain.
FIRST LORD. God bless you, Captain Parolles.
SECOND LORD. God save you, noble Captain.
FIRST LORD. Captain, what greeting will you to my Lord Lafeu? I
for France.
SECOND LORD. Good Captain, will you give me a copy of the
you writ to Diana in behalf of the Count Rousillon? An I were
a very coward I'd compel it of you; but fare you well.
FIRST SOLDIER. You are undone, Captain, all but your scarf;
has a knot on 't yet.
PAROLLES. Who cannot be crush'd with a plot?
FIRST SOLDIER. If you could find out a country where but women
that had received so much shame, you might begin an impudent

nation. Fare ye well, sir; I am for France too; we shall
speak of
you there. Exit with SOLDIERS
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
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
Safest in shame. Being fool'd, by fool'ry thrive.
There's place and means for every man alive.
I'll after them. Exit


The WIDOW'S house


HELENA. That you may well perceive I have not wrong'd 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.
Time was I did him a desired office,
Dear almost as his life; which gratitude
Through flinty Tartar's bosom would peep forth,
And answer 'Thanks.' I duly am inform'd
His Grace is at Marseilles, to which place
We have convenient convoy. You must know
I am supposed 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. Gentle madam,
You never had a servant to whose trust
Your business was more welcome.
HELENA. Nor you, mistress,
Ever a friend whose thoughts more truly labour
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,
When saucy trusting of the cozen'd 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
Something in my behalf.
DIANA. Let death and honesty
Go with your impositions, I am yours
Upon your will to suffer.
HELENA. Yet, I pray you:
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 waggon is prepar'd, and time revives us.
All's Well that Ends Well. Still the fine's the crown.
Whate'er the course, the end is the renown. Exeunt


Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace


LAFEU. No, no, no, son was misled with a snipt-taffeta fellow
there, whose villainous saffron would have made all the
and doughy youth of a nation in his colour. Your
had been alive at this hour, and your son here at home, more
advanc'd by the King than by that red-tail'd humble-bee I
COUNTESS. I would I had not known him. It was the death of the
virtuous gentlewoman that ever 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.
LAFEU. 'Twas a good lady, 'twas a good lady. We may pick a
sallets ere we light on such another herb.
CLOWN. Indeed, sir, she was the sweet-marjoram of the sallet,
rather, the herb of grace.
LAFEU. They are not sallet-herbs, you knave; they are
CLOWN. I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir; I have not much skill
LAFEU. Whether dost thou profess thyself-a knave or a fool?
CLOWN. A fool, sir, at a woman's service, and a knave at a
LAFEU. Your distinction?
CLOWN. I would cozen the man of his wife, and do his service.
LAFEU. So you were a knave at his service, indeed.
CLOWN. And I would give his wife my bauble, sir, to do her
LAFEU. I will subscribe for thee; thou art both knave and fool.
CLOWN. At your service.
LAFEU. No, no, no.
CLOWN. Why, sir, if I cannot serve you, I can serve as great a
prince as you are.
LAFEU. Who's that? A Frenchman?
CLOWN. Faith, sir, 'a has an English name; but his fisnomy is
hotter in France than there.
LAFEU. What prince is that?
CLOWN. The Black Prince, sir; alias, the Prince of Darkness;
the devil.
LAFEU. Hold thee, there's my purse. I give thee not this to
thee from thy master thou talk'st of; serve him still.
CLOWN. I am a woodland fellow, sir, that always loved a great
and the master I speak of ever keeps a good fire. But, sure,
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;
the many will be too chill and tender: and they'll be for the
flow'ry way that leads to the broad gate and the great fire.
LAFEU. Go thy ways, I begin to be aweary of thee; and I tell
so before, because I would not fall out with thee. Go thy
let my horses be well look'd to, without any tricks.
CLOWN. If I put any tricks upon 'em, sir, they shall be jades'
tricks, which are their own right by the law of nature.
LAFEU. A shrewd knave, and an unhappy.
COUNTESS. So 'a is. My lord that's gone made himself much
out of him. By his authority he remains here, which he thinks
a patent for his sauciness; and indeed he has no pace, but
where he will.
LAFEU. I 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
speak in the behalf of my daughter; which, in the minority of
them both, his Majesty out of a self-gracious remembrance did
first propose. His Highness hath promis'd me to do it; and,
stop up the displeasure he hath conceived against your son,
is no fitter matter. How does your ladyship like it?
COUNTESS. With very much content, my lord; and I wish it
LAFEU. His Highness comes post from Marseilles, of as able body
when he number'd thirty; 'a will be here to-morrow, or I am
deceiv'd by him that in such intelligence hath seldom fail'd.
COUNTESS. It rejoices me that I hope I shall see him ere I die.
I have letters that my son will be here to-night. I shall
your lordship to remain with me tal they meet together.
LAFEU. Madam, I was thinking with what manners I might safely
COUNTESS. You need but plead your honourable privilege.
LAFEU. Lady, of that I have made a bold charter; but, I thank
God, it holds yet.

Re-enter CLOWN

CLOWN. O madam, yonder's my lord your son with a patch of
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 and a half, but his right cheek is worn
LAFEU. A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good liv'ry of
honour; so belike is that.
CLOWN. But it is your carbonado'd face.
LAFEU. Let us go see your son, I pray you;
I long to talk with the young noble soldier.
CLOWN. Faith, there's a dozen of 'em, with delicate fine hats,
most courteous feathers, which bow the head and nod at every



Marseilles. A street


HELENA. 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,
Be bold you do so grow in my requital
As nothing can unroot you.


In happy time!
This man may help me to his Majesty's ear,
If he would spend his power. God save you, sir.
HELENA. Sir, I have seen you in the court of France.
GENTLEMAN. I have been sometimes there.
HELENA. I do presume, sir, that you are not fall'n
From the report that goes upon your goodness;
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.
GENTLEMAN. What's your will?
HELENA. That 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.
HELENA. Not here, sir?
GENTLEMAN. Not indeed.
He hence remov'd last night, and with more haste
Than is his use.
WIDOW. Lord, how we lose our pains!
HELENA. All'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 Rousillon;
Whither I am going.
HELENA. 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.
I will come after you with what good speed
Our means will make us means.
GENTLEMAN. This I'll do for you.
HELENA. And you shall find yourself to be well thank'd,
Whate'er falls more. We must to horse again;
Go, go, provide. Exeunt


Rousillon. The inner court of the COUNT'S palace


PAROLLES. Good Monsieur Lavache, give my Lord Lafeu this
letter. I
have ere now, sir, been better known to you, when I have held
familiarity with fresher clothes; but I am now, sir, muddied
Fortune's mood, and smell somewhat strong of her strong
CLOWN. Truly, Fortune's displeasure is but sluttish, if it
so strongly as thou speak'st of. I will henceforth eat no
of Fortune's butt'ring. Prithee, allow the wind.
PAROLLES. Nay, you need not to stop your nose, sir; I spake but
a metaphor.
CLOWN. Indeed, sir, if your metaphor stink, I will stop my
nose; or
against any man's metaphor. Prithee, get thee further.
PAROLLES. Pray you, sir, deliver me this paper.
CLOWN. Foh! prithee stand away. A paper from Fortune's
to give to a nobleman! Look here he comes himself.


Here is a pur of 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,
use the carp as you may; for he looks like a poor, decayed,
ingenious, foolish, rascally knave. I do pity his distress
in my similes of comfort, and leave him to your lordship.
PAROLLES. My lord, I am a man whom Fortune hath cruelly
LAFEU. And what would you have me to do? 'Tis too late to pare
nails now. Wherein have you played the knave with Fortune,
she should scratch you, who of herself is a good lady and
not have knaves thrive long under her? There's a cardecue for
you. Let the justices make you and Fortune friends; I am for
other business.
PAROLLES. I beseech your honour to hear me one single word.
LAFEU. You beg a single penny more; come, you shall ha't; save
PAROLLES. My name, my good lord, is Parolles.
LAFEU. You beg more than word then. Cox my passion! give me
hand. How does your drum?
PAROLLES. O my good lord, you were the first that found me.
LAFEU. Was I, in sooth? And I was the first that lost thee.
PAROLLES. It lies in you, my lord, to bring me in some grace,
you did bring me out.
LAFEU. Out upon thee, knave! Dost thou put upon me at once both
office of God and the devil? One brings the 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 and a knave,
shall eat. Go to; follow.
PAROLLES. I praise God for you. Exeunt


Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace

Flourish. Enter KING, COUNTESS, LAFEU, the two FRENCH LORDS, with

KING. We lost a jewel of her, and our esteem
Was made much poorer by it; but your son,
As mad in folly, lack'd the sense to know
Her estimation home.
COUNTESS. 'Tis past, my liege;
And I beseech your Majesty to make it
Natural rebellion, done i' th' blaze of youth,
When oil and fire, too strong for reason's force,
O'erbears it and burns on.
KING. My honour'd lady,
I have forgiven and forgotten all;
Though my revenges were high bent upon him
And watch'd the time to shoot.
LAFEU. This I must say-
But first, I beg my pardon: the young lord
Did to his Majesty, his mother, and his lady,
Offence of mighty note; but to himself
The greatest wrong of all. He lost a wife
Whose beauty did astonish the survey
Of richest eyes; whose words all ears took captive;
Whose dear perfection hearts that scorn'd to serve
Humbly call'd mistress.
KING. Praising what is lost
Makes the remembrance dear. Well, call him hither;
We are reconcil'd, and the first view shall kill
All repetition. Let him not ask our pardon;
The nature of his great offence is dead,
And deeper than oblivion do we bury
Th' incensing relics of it; let him approach,
A stranger, no offender; and inform him
So 'tis our will he should.
GENTLEMAN. I shall, my liege. Exit GENTLEMAN
KING. What says he to your daughter? Have you spoke?
LAFEU. All that he is hath reference to your Highness.
KING. Then shall we have a match. I have letters sent me
That sets him high in fame.


LAFEU. He looks well on 't.
KING. I am not a day of season,
For thou mayst see a sunshine and a hail
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. All is whole;
Not one word more of the consumed 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
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 herald of my tongue;
Where the impression of mine eye infixing,
Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me,
Which warp'd the line of every other favour,
Scorn'd a fair colour or express'd it stol'n,
Extended or contracted all proportions
To a most hideous object. Thence it came
That she whom all men prais'd, and whom myself,
Since I have lost, have lov'd, was in mine eye
The dust that did offend it.
KING. Well excus'd.
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 offence,
Crying 'That's good that's gone.' Our rash faults
Make trivial price of serious things we have,
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,
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. Which better than the first, O dear heaven, bless!
Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cesse!
LAFEU. Come on, my son, in whom my house's name
Must be digested; give a favour from you,
To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter,
That she may quickly come.
[BERTRAM gives 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,
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 fasten'd to't.
This ring was mine; and when I gave it Helen
I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood
Necessitied to help, that by this token
I would relieve her. Had you that craft to reave her
Of what should stead her most?
BERTRAM. My gracious sovereign,
Howe'er it pleases you to take it so,
The ring was never hers.
COUNTESS. Son, on my life,
I have seen her wear it; and she reckon'd it
At her life's rate.
LAFEU. I am sure I saw her wear it.
BERTRAM. You are deceiv'd, my lord; she never saw it.
In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,
Wrapp'd in a paper, which contain'd the name
Of her that threw it. Noble she was, and thought
I stood engag'd; but when I had subscrib'd
To mine own fortune, and inform'd her fully
I could not answer in that course of honour
As she had made the overture, she ceas'd,
In heavy satisfaction, and would never
Receive the ring again.
KING. Plutus himself,
That knows the tinct and multiplying med'cine,
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
You got it from her. She call'd 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. She never saw it.
KING. Thou speak'st it falsely, as I love mine honour;
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.
And yet I know not- thou didst hate her deadly,
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 fore-past proofs, howe'er the matter fall,
Shall tax my fears of little vanity,
Having vainly fear'd 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
Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence,
Where she yet never was. Exit, guarded
KING. I am wrapp'd in dismal thinkings.


GENTLEMAN. Gracious sovereign,
Whether I have been to blame or no, I know not:
Here's a petition from a Florentine,
Who hath, for four or five removes, come short
To tender it herself. I undertook it,
Vanquish'd thereto by the fair grace and speech
Of the poor suppliant, who by this, I know,
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 the letter] 'Upon his many protestations to
marry me
when his wife was dead, I blush to say it, he won me. Now is
Count Rousillon a widower; his vows are forfeited to me, and
honour's paid to him. He stole from Florence, taking no
and I follow him to his country for justice. Grant it me, O
in you it best lies; otherwise a seducer flourishes, and a
maid is undone.
LAFEU. I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll for this.
I'll none of him.
KING. The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafeu,
To bring forth this discov'ry. Seek these suitors.
Go speedily, and bring again the Count.
I am afeard the life of Helen, lady,
Was foully snatch'd.
COUNTESS. Now, justice on the doers!

Enter BERTRAM, guarded

KING. I wonder, sir, sith wives are monsters to you.
And that you fly them as you swear them lordship,
Yet you desire to marry.
What woman's that?
DIANA. I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine,
Derived 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 honour
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. Why do you look so strange upon your wife?
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;
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.
LAFEU. [To BERTRAM] Your reputation comes too short for
my daughter; you are no husband for her.
BERTRAM. My lord, this is a fond and desp'rate creature
Whom sometime I have laugh'd with. Let your Highness
Lay a more noble thought upon mine honour
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 honour
Than in my thought it lies!
DIANA. Good my lord,
Ask him upon his oath if he does think
He had not my virginity.
KING. What say'st thou to her?
BERTRAM. She's impudent, my lord,
And was a common gamester to the camp.
DIANA. 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,
He gave it to a commoner o' th' camp,
If I be one.
COUNTESS. He blushes, and 'tis it.
Of six preceding ancestors, that gem
Conferr'd by testament to th' sequent issue,
Hath it been ow'd and worn. This is his wife:
That ring's a thousand proofs.
KING. Methought you said
You saw one here in court could witness it.
DIANA. I did, my lord, but loath am to produce
So bad an instrument; his name's Parolles.
LAFEU. I saw the man to-day, if man he be.
KING. Find him, and bring him hither. Exit an ATTENDANT
BERTRAM. What of him?
He's quoted for a most perfidious slave,
With all the spots o' th' world tax'd and debauch'd,
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. I think she has. Certain it is I lik'd 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
Are motives of more fancy; and, in fine,
Her infinite cunning with her modern grace
Subdu'd me to her rate. She got the ring;
And I had that which any inferior might
At market-price have bought.
DIANA. I must be patient.
You that have turn'd off a first so noble wife
May justly diet me. I pray you yet-
Since you lack virtue, I will lose a husband-
Send for your ring, I will return it home,
And give me mine again.
BERTRAM. I have it not.
KING. 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. 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.


BERTRAM. My lord, I do confess the ring was hers.
KING. 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,
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
gentleman; tricks he hath had in him, which gentlemen have.
KING. Come, 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 woman.
KING. How is that?
PAROLLES. He lov'd her, sir, and lov'd her not.
KING. As thou art a knave and no knave.
What an equivocal companion is this!
PAROLLES. I am a poor man, and at your Majesty's command.
LAFEU. He's a good drum, my lord, but a naughty orator.
DIANA. Do you know he promis'd me marriage?
PAROLLES. Faith, 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
her, and talk'd of Satan, and of Limbo, and of Furies, and I
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
her marriage, and things which would derive me ill will to
of; therefore I will not speak what I know.
KING. Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou canst say they
married; but thou art too fine in thy evidence; therefore
This ring, you say, was yours?
DIANA. 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. Where did you find it then?
DIANA. I found it not.
KING. If it were yours by none of all these ways,
How could you give it him?
DIANA. I never gave it him.
LAFEU. This woman's an easy glove, my lord; she goes of and on
KING. This ring was mine, I gave it his first wife.
DIANA. It might be yours or hers, for aught I know.
KING. Take her away, I do not like her now;
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. I'll put in bail, my liege.
KING. I think thee now some common customer.
DIANA. By Jove, if ever I knew man, 'twas you.
KING. Wherefore hast thou accus'd him all this while?
DIANA. Because he's guilty, and he is not guilty.
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.
[Pointing to LAFEU]
KING. She does abuse our ears; to prison with her.
DIANA. Good mother, fetch my bail. Stay, royal sir;
The jeweller that owes the ring is sent for,
And he shall surety me. But for this lord
Who hath abus'd me as he knows himself,
Though yet he never harm'd me, here I quit him.
He knows himself my bed he hath defil'd;
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-
And now behold the meaning.

Re-enter WIDOW with HELENA

KING. Is there no exorcist
Beguiles the truer office of mine eyes?
Is't real that I see?
HELENA. No, my good lord;
'Tis but the shadow of a wife you see,
The name and not the thing.
BERTRAM. Both, both; o, pardon!
HELENA. O, my good lord, when I was like this maid,
I found you wondrous kind. There is your ring,
And, look you, here's your letter. 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. If she, my liege, can make me know this clearly,
I'll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly.
HELENA. If it appear not plain, and prove untrue,
Deadly divorce step between me and you!
O my dear mother, do I see you living?
LAFEU. Mine eyes smell onions; I shall weep anon. [To PAROLLES]
Good Tom Drum, lend me a handkercher. So, I
thank thee. Wait on me home, I'll make sport with thee;
let thy curtsies alone, they are scurvy ones.
KING. Let us from point to point this story know,
To make the even truth in pleasure flow.
[To DIANA] If thou beest yet a fresh uncropped flower,
Choose thou thy husband, and I'll pay thy dower;
For I can guess that by thy honest aid
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]


KING. 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 strife to please you, day exceeding day.
Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts;
Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.
Exeunt omnes


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