All's Well That Ends Well - Entire Play
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In All’s Well That Ends Well, a woman is given in marriage to the man she longs for, but, because she is of lower rank, he refuses to accept the marriage. It becomes her challenge to win his acceptance.
Helen, the daughter of a dead physician, secretly loves Bertram, the Count of Rosillion’s son. When the count dies, Bertram becomes a ward of the French king, who is dying of a fistula. Helen heals the ailing king, and he grants her wish to marry his ward. Bertram refuses to consummate the marriage and goes off to war, sending Helen a list of seemingly impossible conditions to be met before he will consider her his wife.
To meet his conditions, Helen substitutes herself for a woman whom Bertram desires, and sleeps with him. When false news comes that Helen is dead, Bertram faces the charge that he has killed her. Helen, now pregnant, reappears, saving Bertram and demonstrating that she has met his conditions. Bertram then acknowledges her.
⌜the Countess,⌝ and Helen, Lord Lafew, all in black.
COUNTESS 0001 In delivering my son from me, I bury a second
BERTRAM 0003 And I in going, madam, weep o’er my
0004 father’s death anew; but I must attend his Majesty’s
0005 5 command, to whom I am now in ward, evermore
0006 in subjection.
LAFEW 0007 You shall find of the King a husband, madam;
0008 you, sir, a father. He that so generally is at all times
0009 good must of necessity hold his virtue to you,
0010 10 whose worthiness would stir it up where it wanted
0011 rather than lack it where there is such abundance.
COUNTESS 0012 What hope is there of his Majesty’s
LAFEW 0014 He hath abandoned his physicians, madam,
0015 15 under whose practices he hath persecuted time
0016 with hope, and finds no other advantage in the
0017 process but only the losing of hope by time.
COUNTESS 0018 This young gentlewoman had a father—O,
0019 that “had,” how sad a passage ’tis!—whose skill
0020 20 was almost as great as his honesty; had it stretched
0021 so far, would have made nature immortal, and
0022 death should have play for lack of work. Would for
0024 the death of the King’s disease.
LAFEW 0025 25How called you the man you speak of,
COUNTESS 0027 He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it
0028 was his great right to be so: Gerard de Narbon.
LAFEW 0029 He was excellent indeed, madam. The King
0030 30 very lately spoke of him admiringly, and mourningly.
0031 He was skillful enough to have lived still, if
0032 knowledge could be set up against mortality.
BERTRAM 0033 What is it, my good lord, the King languishes
LAFEW 0035 35A fistula, my lord.
BERTRAM 0036 I heard not of it before.
LAFEW 0037 I would it were not notorious.—Was this gentlewoman
0038 the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?
COUNTESS 0039 His sole child, my lord, and bequeathed to
0040 40 my overlooking. I have those hopes of her good
0041 that her education promises. Her dispositions she
0042 inherits, which makes fair gifts fairer; for where an
0043 unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there
0044 commendations go with pity—they are virtues and
0045 45 traitors too. In her they are the better for their simpleness.
0046 She derives her honesty and achieves her
LAFEW 0048 Your commendations, madam, get from her
COUNTESS 0050 50’Tis the best brine a maiden can season her
0051 praise in. The remembrance of her father never
0052 approaches her heart but the tyranny of her sorrows
0053 takes all livelihood from her cheek.—No
0054 more of this, Helena. Go to. No more, lest it be
0055 55 rather thought you affect a sorrow than to have—
HELEN 0056 I do affect a sorrow indeed, but I have it too.
LAFEW 0057 Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead,
0058 excessive grief the enemy to the living.
0060 60 excess makes it soon mortal.
BERTRAM 0061 Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
LAFEW 0062 How understand we that?
0063 Be thou blessed, Bertram, and succeed thy father
0064 In manners as in shape. Thy blood and virtue
0065 65 Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
0066 Share with thy birthright. Love all, trust a few,
0067 Do wrong to none. Be able for thine enemy
0068 Rather in power than use, and keep thy friend
0069 Under thy own life’s key Be checked for silence,
0070 70 But never taxed for speech. What heaven more will,
0071 That thee may furnish and my prayers pluck down,
0072 Fall on thy head. ⌜To Lafew.⌝ Farewell, my lord.
0073 ’Tis an unseasoned courtier. Good my lord,
0074 Advise him.
LAFEW 0075 75 He cannot want the best that shall
0076 Attend his love.
COUNTESS 0077 Heaven bless him.—Farewell, Bertram.
BERTRAM 0078 The best wishes that can be forged in your
0079 thoughts be servants to you.⌜Countess exits.⌝
0080 80 ⌜To Helen.⌝ Be comfortable to my mother, your
0081 mistress, and make much of her.
LAFEW 0082 Farewell, pretty lady. You must hold the credit
0083 of your father. ⌜Bertram and Lafew exit.⌝
0084 O, were that all! I think not on my father,
0085 85 And these great tears grace his remembrance more
0086 Than those I shed for him. What was he like?
0087 I have forgot him. My imagination
0088 Carries no favor in ’t but Bertram’s.
0089 I am undone. There is no living, none,
0090 90 If Bertram be away. ’Twere all one
0091 That I should love a bright particular star
0092 And think to wed it, he is so above me.
0094 Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
0095 95 Th’ ambition in my love thus plagues itself:
0096 The hind that would be mated by the lion
0097 Must die for love. ’Twas pretty, though a plague,
0098 To see him every hour, to sit and draw
0099 His archèd brows, his hawking eye, his curls
0100 100 In our heart’s table—heart too capable
0101 Of every line and trick of his sweet favor.
0102 But now he’s gone, and my idolatrous fancy
0103 Must sanctify his relics. Who comes here?
0104 One that goes with him. I love him for his sake,
0105 105 And yet I know him a notorious liar,
0106 Think him a great way fool, solely a coward.
0107 Yet these fixed evils sit so fit in him
0108 That they take place when virtue’s steely bones
0109 Looks bleak i’ th’ cold wind. Withal, full oft we see
0110 110 Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.
PAROLLES 0111 Save you, fair queen.
HELEN 0112 And you, monarch.
PAROLLES 0113 No.
HELEN 0114 And no.
PAROLLES 0115 115Are you meditating on virginity?
HELEN 0116 Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you; let
0117 me ask you a question. Man is enemy to virginity.
0118 How may we barricado it against him?
PAROLLES 0119 Keep him out.
HELEN 0120 120But he assails, and our virginity, though
0121 valiant in the defense, yet is weak. Unfold to us
0122 some warlike resistance.
PAROLLES 0123 There is none. Man setting down before you
0124 will undermine you and blow you up.
HELEN 0125 125Bless our poor virginity from underminers and
0126 blowers-up! Is there no military policy how virgins
0127 might blow up men?
0129 quicklier be blown up. Marry, in blowing him
0130 130 down again, with the breach yourselves made you
0131 lose your city. It is not politic in the commonwealth
0132 of nature to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity
0133 is rational increase, and there was never
0134 virgin ⌜got⌝ till virginity was first lost. That you
0135 135 were made of is metal to make virgins. Virginity by
0136 being once lost may be ten times found; by being
0137 ever kept, it is ever lost. ’Tis too cold a companion.
0138 Away with ’t.
HELEN 0139 I will stand for ’t a little, though therefore I
0140 140 die a virgin.
PAROLLES 0141 There’s little can be said in ’t. ’Tis against the
0142 rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity is
0143 to accuse your mothers, which is most infallible
0144 disobedience. He that hangs himself is a virgin;
0145 145 virginity murders itself and should be buried in
0146 highways out of all sanctified limit as a desperate
0147 offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites,
0148 much like a cheese, consumes itself to the very
0149 paring, and so dies with feeding his own stomach.
0150 150 Besides, virginity is peevish, proud, idle, made of
0151 self-love, which is the most inhibited sin in the
0152 canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but lose by
0153 ’t. Out with ’t! Within ten year it will make itself
0154 two, which is a goodly increase, and the principal
0155 155 itself not much the worse. Away with ’t!
HELEN 0156 How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own
PAROLLES 0158 Let me see. Marry, ill, to like him that ne’er
0159 it likes. ’Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with
0160 160 lying; the longer kept, the less worth. Off with ’t
0161 while ’tis vendible; answer the time of request. Virginity,
0162 like an old courtier, wears her cap out of
0163 fashion, richly suited but unsuitable, just like the
0165 165 Your date is better in your pie and your porridge
0166 than in your cheek. And your virginity, your old
0167 virginity, is like one of our French withered pears:
0168 it looks ill, it eats dryly; marry, ’tis a withered pear.
0169 It was formerly better, marry, yet ’tis a withered
0170 170 pear. Will you anything with it?
HELEN 0171 Not my virginity, yet—
0172 There shall your master have a thousand loves,
0173 A mother, and a mistress, and a friend,
0174 A phoenix, captain, and an enemy,
0175 175 A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign,
0176 A counselor, a traitress, and a dear;
0177 His humble ambition, proud humility,
0178 His jarring concord, and his discord dulcet,
0179 His faith, his sweet disaster, with a world
0180 180 Of pretty, fond adoptious christendoms
0181 That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he—
0182 I know not what he shall. God send him well.
0183 The court’s a learning place, and he is one—
PAROLLES 0184 What one, i’ faith?
HELEN 0185 185That I wish well. ’Tis pity—
PAROLLES 0186 What’s pity?
0187 That wishing well had not a body in ’t
0188 Which might be felt, that we, the poorer born,
0189 Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes,
0190 190 Might with effects of them follow our friends
0191 And show what we alone must think, which never
0192 Returns us thanks.
PAGE 0193 Monsieur Parolles, my lord calls for you.
PAROLLES 0194 Little Helen, farewell. If I can remember
0195 195 thee, I will think of thee at court.
HELEN 0196 Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a
0197 charitable star.
HELEN 0199 I especially think under Mars.
PAROLLES 0200 200Why under Mars?
HELEN 0201 The wars hath so kept you under that you
0202 must needs be born under Mars.
PAROLLES 0203 When he was predominant.
HELEN 0204 When he was retrograde, I think rather.
PAROLLES 0205 205Why think you so?
HELEN 0206 You go so much backward when you fight.
PAROLLES 0207 That’s for advantage.
HELEN 0208 So is running away, when fear proposes the
0209 safety. But the composition that your valor and
0210 210 fear makes in you is a virtue of a good wing, and I
0211 like the wear well.
PAROLLES 0212 I am so full of businesses I cannot answer
0213 thee acutely. I will return perfect courtier, in the
0214 which my instruction shall serve to naturalize
0215 215 thee, so thou wilt be capable of a courtier’s counsel
0216 and understand what advice shall thrust upon
0217 thee, else thou diest in thine unthankfulness, and
0218 thine ignorance makes thee away. Farewell. When
0219 thou hast leisure, say thy prayers; when thou hast
0220 220 none, remember thy friends. Get thee a good husband,
0221 and use him as he uses thee. So, farewell.
⌜Parolles and Page exit.⌝
0222 Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie
0223 Which we ascribe to heaven. The fated sky
0224 Gives us free scope, only doth backward pull
0225 225 Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.
0226 What power is it which mounts my love so high,
0227 That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye?
0228 The mightiest space in fortune nature brings
0229 To join like likes and kiss like native things.
0230 230 Impossible be strange attempts to those
0231 That weigh their pains in sense and do suppose
0233 To show her merit that did miss her love?
0234 The King’s disease—my project may deceive me,
0235 235 But my intents are fixed and will not leave me.
⌜two Lords,⌝ and divers Attendants.
0236 The Florentines and Senoys are by th’ ears,
0237 Have fought with equal fortune, and continue
0238 A braving war.
FIRST LORD 0239 So ’tis reported, sir.
0240 5 Nay, ’tis most credible. We here receive it
0241 A certainty vouched from our cousin Austria,
0242 With caution that the Florentine will move us
0243 For speedy aid, wherein our dearest friend
0244 Prejudicates the business and would seem
0245 10 To have us make denial.
FIRST LORD 0246 His love and wisdom,
0247 Approved so to your Majesty, may plead
0248 For amplest credence.
KING 0249 He hath armed our answer,
0250 15 And Florence is denied before he comes.
0251 Yet for our gentlemen that mean to see
0252 The Tuscan service, freely have they leave
0253 To stand on either part.
SECOND LORD 0254 It well may serve
0255 20 A nursery to our gentry, who are sick
0256 For breathing and exploit.
Enter Bertram, Lafew, and Parolles.
KING 0257 What’s he comes here?
0258 It is the Count Rossillion, my good lord,
0259 Young Bertram.
KING 0260 25 Youth, thou bear’st thy father’s face.
0261 Frank nature, rather curious than in haste,
0262 Hath well composed thee. Thy father’s moral parts
0263 Mayst thou inherit too. Welcome to Paris.
0264 My thanks and duty are your Majesty’s.
0265 30 I would I had that corporal soundness now
0266 As when thy father and myself in friendship
0267 First tried our soldiership. He did look far
0268 Into the service of the time and was
0269 Discipled of the bravest. He lasted long,
0270 35 But on us both did haggish age steal on
0271 And wore us out of act. It much repairs me
0272 To talk of your good father. In his youth
0273 He had the wit which I can well observe
0274 Today in our young lords; but they may jest
0275 40 Till their own scorn return to them unnoted
0276 Ere they can hide their levity in honor.
0277 So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness
0278 Were in his pride or sharpness; if they were,
0279 His equal had awaked them, and his honor,
0280 45 Clock to itself, knew the true minute when
0281 Exception bid him speak, and at this time
0282 His tongue obeyed his hand. Who were below him
0283 He used as creatures of another place
0284 And bowed his eminent top to their low ranks,
0285 50 Making them proud of his humility,
0286 In their poor praise he humbled. Such a man
0287 Might be a copy to these younger times,
0288 Which, followed well, would demonstrate them now
0289 But goers backward.
BERTRAM 0290 55 His good remembrance, sir,
0292 So in approof lives not his epitaph
0293 As in your royal speech.
0294 Would I were with him! He would always say—
0295 60 Methinks I hear him now; his plausive words
0296 He scattered not in ears, but grafted them
0297 To grow there and to bear. “Let me not live”—
0298 This his good melancholy oft began
0299 On the catastrophe and heel of pastime,
0300 65 When it was out—“Let me not live,” quoth he,
0301 “After my flame lacks oil, to be the snuff
0302 Of younger spirits, whose apprehensive senses
0303 All but new things disdain, whose judgments are
0304 Mere fathers of their garments, whose constancies
0305 70 Expire before their fashions.” This he wished.
0306 I, after him, do after him wish too,
0307 Since I nor wax nor honey can bring home,
0308 I quickly were dissolvèd from my hive
0309 To give some laborers room.
SECOND LORD 0310 75 You’re lovèd, sir.
0311 They that least lend it you shall lack you first.
0312 I fill a place, I know ’t.—How long is ’t, count,
0313 Since the physician at your father’s died?
0314 He was much famed.
BERTRAM 0315 80 Some six months since, my lord.
0316 If he were living, I would try him yet.—
0317 Lend me an arm.—The rest have worn me out
0318 With several applications. Nature and sickness
0319 Debate it at their leisure. Welcome, count.
0320 85 My son’s no dearer.
BERTRAM 0321 Thank your Majesty.
⌜They⌝ exit. Flourish.
COUNTESS 0322 I will now hear. What say you of this
STEWARD 0324 Madam, the care I have had to even your
0325 content I wish might be found in the calendar of
0326 5 my past endeavors, for then we wound our modesty
0327 and make foul the clearness of our deservings
0328 when of ourselves we publish them.
COUNTESS 0329 What does this knave here? ⌜To Fool.⌝ Get
0330 you gone, sirrah. The complaints I have heard of
0331 10 you I do not all believe. ’Tis my slowness that I do
0332 not, for I know you lack not folly to commit them
0333 and have ability enough to make such knaveries
FOOL 0335 ’Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a poor
0336 15 fellow.
COUNTESS 0337 Well, sir.
FOOL 0338 No, madam, ’tis not so well that I am poor,
0339 though many of the rich are damned. But if I may
0340 have your Ladyship’s good will to go to the world,
0341 20 Isbel the woman and I will do as we may.
COUNTESS 0342 Wilt thou needs be a beggar?
FOOL 0343 I do beg your good will in this case.
COUNTESS 0344 In what case?
FOOL 0345 In Isbel’s case and mine own. Service is no heritage,
0346 25 and I think I shall never have the blessing of
0347 God till I have issue o’ my body, for they say bairns
0348 are blessings.
COUNTESS 0349 Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.
FOOL 0350 My poor body, madam, requires it. I am driven
0351 30 on by the flesh, and he must needs go that the devil
COUNTESS 0353 Is this all your Worship’s reason?
FOOL 0354 Faith, madam, I have other holy reasons, such
0355 as they are.
FOOL 0357 I have been, madam, a wicked creature, as you
0358 and all flesh and blood are, and indeed I do marry
0359 that I may repent.
COUNTESS 0360 Thy marriage sooner than thy wickedness.
FOOL 0361 40I am out o’ friends, madam, and I hope to have
0362 friends for my wife’s sake.
COUNTESS 0363 Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
FOOL 0364 You’re shallow, madam, in great friends, for the
0365 knaves come to do that for me which I am aweary
0366 45 of. He that ears my land spares my team and gives
0367 me leave to in the crop; if I be his cuckold, he’s my
0368 drudge. He that comforts my wife is the cherisher
0369 of my flesh and blood; he that cherishes my flesh
0370 and blood loves my flesh and blood; he that loves
0371 50 my flesh and blood is my friend. Ergo, he that
0372 kisses my wife is my friend. If men could be contented
0373 to be what they are, there were no fear in
0374 marriage, for young Charbon the Puritan and old
0375 Poysam the Papist, howsome’er their hearts are
0376 55 severed in religion, their heads are both one; they
0377 may jowl horns together like any deer i’ th’ herd.
COUNTESS 0378 Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouthed and
0379 calumnious knave?
FOOL 0380 A prophet I, madam, and I speak the truth the
0381 60 next way:
⌜Sings.⌝ 0382 For I the ballad will repeat
0383 Which men full true shall find:
0384 Your marriage comes by destiny;
0385 Your cuckoo sings by kind.
COUNTESS 0386 65Get you gone, sir. I’ll talk with you more
STEWARD 0388 May it please you, madam, that he bid Helen
0389 come to you. Of her I am to speak.
COUNTESS 0390 Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman I would speak
0391 70 with her—Helen, I mean.
0392 “Was this fair face the cause,” quoth she,
0393 “Why the Grecians sackèd Troy?
0394 Fond done, done fond.
0395 Was this King Priam’s joy?”
0396 75 With that she sighèd as she stood,
0397 With that she sighèd as she stood,
0398 And gave this sentence then:
0399 “Among nine bad if one be good,
0400 Among nine bad if one be good,
0401 80 There’s yet one good in ten.”
COUNTESS 0402 What, one good in ten? You corrupt the
0403 song, sirrah.
FOOL 0404 One good woman in ten, madam, which is a
0405 purifying o’ th’ song. Would God would serve the
0406 85 world so all the year! We’d find no fault with the
0407 tithe-woman if I were the parson. One in ten,
0408 quoth he? An we might have a good woman born
0409 but ⌜or⌝ every blazing star or at an earthquake,
0410 ’twould mend the lottery well. A man may draw his
0411 90 heart out ere he pluck one.
COUNTESS 0412 You’ll be gone, sir knave, and do as I command
FOOL 0414 That man should be at woman’s command, and
0415 yet no hurt done! Though honesty be no Puritan,
0416 95 yet it will do no hurt; it will wear the surplice of
0417 humility over the black gown of a big heart. I am
0418 going, forsooth. The business is for Helen to come
0419 hither.He exits.
COUNTESS 0420 Well, now.
STEWARD 0421 100I know, madam, you love your gentlewoman
COUNTESS 0423 Faith, I do. Her father bequeathed her to
0424 me, and she herself, without other advantage, may
0425 lawfully make title to as much love as she finds.
0426 105 There is more owing her than is paid, and more
0427 shall be paid her than she’ll demand.
0429 think she wished me. Alone she was and did communicate
0430 to herself her own words to her own
0431 110 ears; she thought, I dare vow for her, they touched
0432 not any stranger sense. Her matter was she loved
0433 your son. Fortune, she said, was no goddess, that
0434 had put such difference betwixt their two estates;
0435 Love no god, that would not extend his might only
0436 115 where qualities were level; ⌜Dian no⌝ queen of virgins,
0437 that would suffer her poor knight surprised
0438 without rescue in the first assault or ransom afterward.
0439 This she delivered in the most bitter touch
0440 of sorrow that e’er I heard virgin exclaim in, which
0441 120 I held my duty speedily to acquaint you withal,
0442 sithence in the loss that may happen it concerns
0443 you something to know it.
COUNTESS 0444 You have discharged this honestly. Keep it
0445 to yourself. Many likelihoods informed me of this
0446 125 before, which hung so tott’ring in the balance that
0447 I could neither believe nor misdoubt. Pray you
0448 leave me. Stall this in your bosom, and I thank you
0449 for your honest care. I will speak with you further
0450 anon.Steward exits.
0451 130 Even so it was with me when I was young.
0452 If ever we are nature’s, these are ours. This thorn
0453 Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong.
0454 Our blood to us, this to our blood is born.
0455 It is the show and seal of nature’s truth,
0456 135 Where love’s strong passion is impressed in youth.
0457 By our remembrances of days foregone,
0458 Such were our faults, or then we thought them none.
0459 Her eye is sick on ’t, I observe her now.
HELEN 0460 What is your pleasure, madam?
0461 140 You know, Helen, I am a mother to you.
0462 Mine honorable mistress.
COUNTESS 0463 Nay, a mother.
0464 Why not a mother? When I said “a mother,”
0465 Methought you saw a serpent. What’s in “mother”
0466 145 That you start at it? I say I am your mother
0467 And put you in the catalogue of those
0468 That were enwombèd mine. ’Tis often seen
0469 Adoption strives with nature, and choice breeds
0470 A native slip to us from foreign seeds.
0471 150 You ne’er oppressed me with a mother’s groan,
0472 Yet I express to you a mother’s care.
0473 God’s mercy, maiden, does it curd thy blood
0474 To say I am thy mother? What’s the matter,
0475 That this distempered messenger of wet,
0476 155 The many-colored Iris, rounds thine eye?
0477 Why? That you are my daughter?
HELEN 0478 That I am not.
0479 I say I am your mother.
HELEN 0480 Pardon, madam.
0481 160 The Count Rossillion cannot be my brother.
0482 I am from humble, he from honored name;
0483 No note upon my parents, his all noble.
0484 My master, my dear lord he is, and I
0485 His servant live and will his vassal die.
0486 165 He must not be my brother.
COUNTESS 0487 Nor I your mother?
0488 You are my mother, madam. Would you were—
0489 So that my lord your son were not my brother—
0490 Indeed my mother! Or were you both our mothers,
0491 170 I care no more for than I do for heaven,
0492 So I were not his sister. Can ’t no other
0494 Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-in-law.
0495 God shield you mean it not! “Daughter” and “mother”
0496 175 So strive upon your pulse. What, pale again?
0497 My fear hath catched your fondness! Now I see
0498 The mystery of your ⌜loneliness⌝ and find
0499 Your salt tears’ head. Now to all sense ’tis gross:
0500 You love my son. Invention is ashamed
0501 180 Against the proclamation of thy passion
0502 To say thou dost not. Therefore tell me true,
0503 But tell me then ’tis so, for, look, thy cheeks
0504 Confess it th’ one to th’ other, and thine eyes
0505 See it so grossly shown in thy behaviors
0506 185 That in their kind they speak it. Only sin
0507 And hellish obstinacy tie thy tongue
0508 That truth should be suspected. Speak. Is ’t so?
0509 If it be so, you have wound a goodly clew;
0510 If it be not, forswear ’t; howe’er, I charge thee,
0511 190 As heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
0512 To tell me truly.
HELEN 0513 Good madam, pardon me.
0514 Do you love my son?
HELEN 0515 Your pardon, noble mistress.
0516 195 Love you my son?
HELEN 0517 Do not you love him, madam?
0518 Go not about. My love hath in ’t a bond
0519 Whereof the world takes note. Come, come, disclose
0520 The state of your affection, for your passions
0521 200 Have to the full appeached.
HELEN, ⌜kneeling⌝ 0522 Then I confess
0523 Here on my knee before high heaven and you
0524 That before you and next unto high heaven
0526 205 My friends were poor but honest; so ’s my love.
0527 Be not offended, for it hurts not him
0528 That he is loved of me. I follow him not
0529 By any token of presumptuous suit,
0530 Nor would I have him till I do deserve him,
0531 210 Yet never know how that desert should be.
0532 I know I love in vain, strive against hope,
0533 Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
0534 I still pour in the waters of my love
0535 And lack not to lose still. Thus, Indian-like,
0536 215 Religious in mine error, I adore
0537 The sun that looks upon his worshipper
0538 But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,
0539 Let not your hate encounter with my love
0540 For loving where you do; but if yourself,
0541 220 Whose agèd honor cites a virtuous youth,
0542 Did ever in so true a flame of liking
0543 Wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian
0544 Was both herself and Love, O then give pity
0545 To her whose state is such that cannot choose
0546 225 But lend and give where she is sure to lose;
0547 That seeks not to find that her search implies,
0548 But riddle-like lives sweetly where she dies.
0549 Had you not lately an intent—speak truly—
0550 To go to Paris?
HELEN 0551 230 Madam, I had.
COUNTESS 0552 Wherefore?
0553 Tell true.
0554 I will tell truth, by grace itself I swear.
0555 You know my father left me some prescriptions
0556 235 Of rare and proved effects, such as his reading
0557 And manifest experience had collected
0558 For general sovereignty; and that he willed me
0560 As notes whose faculties inclusive were
0561 240 More than they were in note. Amongst the rest
0562 There is a remedy, approved, set down,
0563 To cure the desperate languishings whereof
0564 The King is rendered lost.
0565 This was your motive for Paris, was it? Speak.
0566 245 My lord your son made me to think of this;
0567 Else Paris, and the medicine, and the King
0568 Had from the conversation of my thoughts
0569 Haply been absent then.
COUNTESS 0570 But think you, Helen,
0571 250 If you should tender your supposèd aid,
0572 He would receive it? He and his physicians
0573 Are of a mind: he that they cannot help him,
0574 They that they cannot help. How shall they credit
0575 A poor unlearnèd virgin, when the schools
0576 255 Emboweled of their doctrine have left off
0577 The danger to itself?
HELEN 0578 There’s something in ’t
0579 More than my father’s skill, which was the great’st
0580 Of his profession, that his good receipt
0581 260 Shall for my legacy be sanctified
0582 By th’ luckiest stars in heaven; and would your
0584 But give me leave to try success, I’d venture
0585 The well-lost life of mine on his Grace’s cure
0586 265 By such a day, an hour.
COUNTESS 0587 Dost thou believe ’t?
HELEN 0588 Ay, madam, knowingly.
0589 Why, Helen, thou shalt have my leave and love,
0590 Means and attendants, and my loving greetings
0591 270 To those of mine in court. I’ll stay at home
0593 Be gone tomorrow, and be sure of this:
0594 What I can help thee to thou shalt not miss.
young Lords, taking leave for the Florentine war;
⌜Bertram⌝ Count Rossillion, and Parolles.
0595 Farewell, young lords. These warlike principles
0596 Do not throw from you.—And you, my lords,
0598 Share the advice betwixt you. If both gain all,
0599 5 The gift doth stretch itself as ’tis received
0600 And is enough for both.
FIRST LORD 0601 ’Tis our hope, sir,
0602 After well-entered soldiers, to return
0603 And find your Grace in health.
0604 10 No, no, it cannot be. And yet my heart
0605 Will not confess he owes the malady
0606 That doth my life besiege. Farewell, young lords.
0607 Whether I live or die, be you the sons
0608 Of worthy Frenchmen. Let higher Italy—
0609 15 Those bated that inherit but the fall
0610 Of the last monarchy—see that you come
0611 Not to woo honor but to wed it. When
0612 The bravest questant shrinks, find what you seek,
0613 That fame may cry you loud. I say farewell.
0614 20 Health at your bidding serve your Majesty!
0615 Those girls of Italy, take heed of them.
0616 They say our French lack language to deny
0617 If they demand. Beware of being captives
0618 Before you serve.
LORDS 0619 25 Our hearts receive your warnings.
KING 0620 Farewell.—Come hither to me.
⌜The King speaks to Attendants, while Bertram,
Parolles, and other Lords come forward.⌝
FIRST LORD, ⌜to Bertram⌝
0621 O my sweet lord, that you will stay behind us!
0622 ’Tis not his fault, the spark.
SECOND LORD 0623 O, ’tis brave wars.
0624 30 Most admirable. I have seen those wars.
0625 I am commanded here and kept a coil
0626 With “Too young,” and “The next year,” and “’Tis
0627 too early.”
0628 An thy mind stand to ’t, boy, steal away bravely.
0629 35 I shall stay here the forehorse to a smock,
0630 Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry
0631 Till honor be bought up, and no sword worn
0632 But one to dance with. By heaven, I’ll steal away!
0633 There’s honor in the theft.
PAROLLES 0634 40 Commit it, count.
0635 I am your accessory. And so, farewell.
BERTRAM 0636 I grow to you, and our parting is a tortured
SECOND LORD 0639 45Sweet Monsieur Parolles.
PAROLLES 0640 Noble heroes, my sword and yours are kin.
0641 Good sparks and lustrous, a word, good metals.
0642 You shall find in the regiment of the Spinii one
0643 Captain Spurio ⌜with⌝ his cicatrice, an emblem of
0644 50 war, here on his sinister cheek. It was this very
0645 sword entrenched it. Say to him I live, and observe
0646 his reports for me.
FIRST LORD 0647 We shall, noble captain.
PAROLLES 0648 Mars dote on you for his novices.
0649 55 ⌜To Bertram.⌝ What will you do?
BERTRAM 0650 Stay the King.
PAROLLES 0651 Use a more spacious ceremony to the noble
0652 lords. You have restrained yourself within the list
0653 of too cold an adieu. Be more expressive to them,
0654 60 for they wear themselves in the cap of the time;
0655 there do muster true gait; eat, speak, and move
0656 under the influence of the most received star, and,
0657 though the devil lead the measure, such are to be
0658 followed. After them, and take a more dilated
0659 65 farewell.
BERTRAM 0660 And I will do so.
PAROLLES 0661 Worthy fellows, and like to prove most
0662 sinewy swordmen.⌜Bertram and Parolles⌝ exit.
Enter Lafew, ⌜to the King.⌝
0663 Pardon, my lord, for me and for my tidings.
KING 0664 70I’ll ⌜fee⌝ thee to stand up.
0665 Then here’s a man stands that has brought his
0667 I would you had kneeled, my lord, to ask me mercy,
0668 And that at my bidding you could so stand up.
0669 75 I would I had, so I had broke thy pate
0670 And asked thee mercy for ’t.
LAFEW 0671 Good faith, across.
0672 But, my good lord, ’tis thus: will you be cured
0673 Of your infirmity?
KING 0674 80 No.
LAFEW 0675 O, will you eat
0676 No grapes, my royal fox? Yes, but you will
0677 My noble grapes, an if my royal fox
0678 Could reach them. I have seen a medicine
0679 85 That’s able to breathe life into a stone,
0680 Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary
0681 With sprightly fire and motion, whose simple touch
0682 Is powerful to araise King Pippen, nay,
0683 To give great Charlemagne a pen in ’s hand
0684 90 And write to her a love line.
KING 0685 What “her” is this?
0686 Why, Doctor She. My lord, there’s one arrived,
0687 If you will see her. Now, by my faith and honor,
0688 If seriously I may convey my thoughts
0689 95 In this my light deliverance, I have spoke
0690 With one that in her sex, her years, profession,
0691 Wisdom, and constancy hath amazed me more
0692 Than I dare blame my weakness. Will you see her—
0693 For that is her demand—and know her business?
0694 100 That done, laugh well at me.
KING 0695 Now, good Lafew,
0696 Bring in the admiration, that we with thee
0697 May spend our wonder too, or take off thine
0698 By wond’ring how thou took’st it.
LAFEW 0699 105 Nay, I’ll fit you,
0700 And not be all day neither.
⌜He goes to bring in Helen.⌝
0701 Thus he his special nothing ever prologues.
LAFEW, ⌜to Helen⌝ 0702 Nay, come your ways.
KING 0703 This haste hath wings indeed.
LAFEW 0704 110Nay, come your ways.
0705 This is his Majesty. Say your mind to him.
0706 A traitor you do look like, but such traitors
0707 His Majesty seldom fears. I am Cressid’s uncle
0708 That dare leave two together. Fare you well.
0709 115 Now, fair one, does your business follow us?
HELEN 0710 Ay, my good lord,
0711 Gerard de Narbon was my father,
0712 In what he did profess well found.
KING 0713 I knew him.
0714 120 The rather will I spare my praises towards him.
0715 Knowing him is enough. On ’s bed of death
0716 Many receipts he gave me, chiefly one
0717 Which, as the dearest issue of his practice,
0718 And of his old experience th’ only darling,
0719 125 He bade me store up as a triple eye,
0720 Safer than mine own two, more dear. I have so,
0721 And hearing your high Majesty is touched
0722 With that malignant cause wherein the honor
0723 Of my dear father’s gift stands chief in power,
0724 130 I come to tender it and my appliance
0725 With all bound humbleness.
KING 0726 We thank you, maiden,
0727 But may not be so credulous of cure,
0728 When our most learnèd doctors leave us and
0729 135 The congregated college have concluded
0730 That laboring art can never ransom nature
0731 From her inaidible estate. I say we must not
0732 So stain our judgment or corrupt our hope
0734 140 To empirics, or to dissever so
0735 Our great self and our credit to esteem
0736 A senseless help when help past sense we deem.
0737 My duty, then, shall pay me for my pains.
0738 I will no more enforce mine office on you,
0739 145 Humbly entreating from your royal thoughts
0740 A modest one to bear me back again.
0741 I cannot give thee less, to be called grateful.
0742 Thou thought’st to help me, and such thanks I give
0743 As one near death to those that wish him live.
0744 150 But what at full I know, thou know’st no part,
0745 I knowing all my peril, thou no art.
0746 What I can do can do no hurt to try
0747 Since you set up your rest ’gainst remedy.
0748 He that of greatest works is finisher
0749 155 Oft does them by the weakest minister.
0750 So holy writ in babes hath judgment shown
0751 When judges have been babes. Great floods have flown
0752 From simple sources, and great seas have dried
0753 When miracles have by the great’st been denied.
0754 160 Oft expectation fails, and most oft there
0755 Where most it promises, and oft it hits
0756 Where hope is coldest and despair most shifts.
0757 I must not hear thee. Fare thee well, kind maid.
0758 Thy pains, not used, must by thyself be paid.
0759 165 Proffers not took reap thanks for their reward.
0760 Inspirèd merit so by breath is barred.
0761 It is not so with Him that all things knows
0762 As ’tis with us that square our guess by shows;
0763 But most it is presumption in us when
0765 Dear sir, to my endeavors give consent.
0766 Of heaven, not me, make an experiment.
0767 I am not an impostor that proclaim
0768 Myself against the level of mine aim,
0769 175 But know I think and think I know most sure
0770 My art is not past power nor you past cure.
0771 Art thou so confident? Within what space
0772 Hop’st thou my cure?
HELEN 0773 The greatest grace lending grace,
0774 180 Ere twice the horses of the sun shall bring
0775 Their fiery torcher his diurnal ring;
0776 Ere twice in murk and occidental damp
0777 Moist Hesperus hath quenched her sleepy lamp;
0778 Or four and twenty times the pilot’s glass
0779 185 Hath told the thievish minutes, how they pass,
0780 What is infirm from your sound parts shall fly,
0781 Health shall live free, and sickness freely die.
0782 Upon thy certainty and confidence
0783 What dar’st thou venture?
HELEN 0784 190 Tax of impudence,
0785 A strumpet’s boldness, a divulgèd shame;
0786 Traduced by odious ballads, my maiden’s name
0787 Seared otherwise; nay, worse of worst, extended
0788 With vilest torture let my life be ended.
0789 195 Methinks in thee some blessèd spirit doth speak
0790 His powerful sound within an organ weak,
0791 And what impossibility would slay
0792 In common sense, sense saves another way.
0793 Thy life is dear, for all that life can rate
0794 200 Worth name of life in thee hath estimate:
0795 Youth, beauty, wisdom, courage, all
0796 That happiness and prime can happy call.
0798 Skill infinite or monstrous desperate.
0799 205 Sweet practicer, thy physic I will try,
0800 That ministers thine own death if I die.
0801 If I break time or flinch in property
0802 Of what I spoke, unpitied let me die,
0803 And well deserved. Not helping, death’s my fee.
0804 210 But if I help, what do you promise me?
0805 Make thy demand.
HELEN 0806 But will you make it even?
0807 Ay, by my scepter and my hopes of ⌜heaven.⌝
0808 Then shalt thou give me with thy kingly hand
0809 215 What husband in thy power I will command.
0810 Exempted be from me the arrogance
0811 To choose from forth the royal blood of France,
0812 My low and humble name to propagate
0813 With any branch or image of thy state;
0814 220 But such a one, thy vassal, whom I know
0815 Is free for me to ask, thee to bestow.
0816 Here is my hand. The premises observed,
0817 Thy will by my performance shall be served.
0818 So make the choice of thy own time, for I,
0819 225 Thy resolved patient, on thee still rely.
0820 More should I question thee, and more I must,
0821 Though more to know could not be more to trust:
0822 From whence thou cam’st, how tended on; but rest
0823 Unquestioned welcome and undoubted blessed.—
0824 230 Give me some help here, ho!—If thou proceed
0825 As high as word, my deed shall match thy deed.
Flourish. ⌜They⌝ exit, ⌜the King assisted.⌝
COUNTESS 0826 Come on, sir. I shall now put you to the
0827 height of your breeding.
FOOL 0828 I will show myself highly fed and lowly taught. I
0829 know my business is but to the court.
COUNTESS 0830 5“To the court”? Why, what place make you
0831 special when you put off that with such contempt?
0832 “But to the court”?
FOOL 0833 Truly, madam, if God have lent a man any manners,
0834 he may easily put it off at court. He that cannot
0835 10 make a leg, put off ’s cap, kiss his hand, and
0836 say nothing, has neither leg, hands, lip, nor cap;
0837 and indeed such a fellow, to say precisely, were
0838 not for the court. But, for me, I have an answer
0839 will serve all men.
COUNTESS 0840 15Marry, that’s a bountiful answer that fits all
FOOL 0842 It is like a barber’s chair that fits all buttocks:
0843 the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn-buttock,
0844 or any buttock.
COUNTESS 0845 20Will your answer serve fit to all questions?
FOOL 0846 As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney,
0847 as your French crown for your taffety punk, as
0848 Tib’s rush for Tom’s forefinger, as a pancake for
0849 Shrove Tuesday, a morris for May Day, as the nail
0850 25 to his hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a scolding
0851 quean to a wrangling knave, as the nun’s lip to the
0852 friar’s mouth, nay, as the pudding to his skin.
COUNTESS 0853 Have you, I say, an answer of such fitness
0854 for all questions?
FOOL 0855 30From below your duke to beneath your constable,
0856 it will fit any question.
COUNTESS 0857 It must be an answer of most monstrous
0858 size that must fit all demands.
0860 35 should speak truth of it. Here it is, and all that
0861 belongs to ’t. Ask me if I am a courtier; it shall do
0862 you no harm to learn.
COUNTESS 0863 To be young again, if we could! I will be a
0864 fool in question, hoping to be the wiser by your
0865 40 answer. I pray you, sir, are you a courtier?
FOOL 0866 O Lord, sir!—There’s a simple putting off. More,
0867 more, a hundred of them.
COUNTESS 0868 Sir, I am a poor friend of yours that loves
FOOL 0870 45O Lord, sir!—Thick, thick. Spare not me.
COUNTESS 0871 I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely
FOOL 0873 O Lord, sir!—Nay, put me to ’t, I warrant you.
COUNTESS 0874 You were lately whipped, sir, as I think.
FOOL 0875 50O Lord, sir!—Spare not me.
COUNTESS 0876 Do you cry “O Lord, sir!” at your whipping,
0877 and “spare not me”? Indeed your “O Lord, sir!” is
0878 very sequent to your whipping. You would answer
0879 very well to a whipping if you were but bound to ’t.
FOOL 0880 55I ne’er had worse luck in my life in my “O Lord,
0881 sir!” I see things may serve long but not serve ever.
COUNTESS 0882 I play the noble huswife with the time to
0883 entertain it so merrily with a fool.
FOOL 0884 O Lord, sir!—Why, there ’t serves well again.
COUNTESS, ⌜giving him a paper⌝
0885 60 ⌜An⌝ end, sir. To your business. Give Helen this,
0886 And urge her to a present answer back.
0887 Commend me to my kinsmen and my son.
0888 This is not much.
FOOL 0889 Not much commendation to them?
0890 65 Not much employment for you. You understand me.
FOOL 0891 Most fruitfully. I am there before my legs.
COUNTESS 0892 Haste you again.
LAFEW 0893 They say miracles are past, and we have our
0894 philosophical persons to make modern and familiar
0895 things supernatural and causeless. Hence is it
0896 that we make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves
0897 5 into seeming knowledge when we should
0898 submit ourselves to an unknown fear.
PAROLLES 0899 Why, ’tis the rarest argument of wonder that
0900 hath shot out in our latter times.
BERTRAM 0901 And so ’tis.
LAFEW 0902 10To be relinquished of the artists—
PAROLLES 0903 So I say, both of Galen and Paracelsus.
LAFEW 0904 Of all the learned and authentic fellows—
PAROLLES 0905 Right, so I say.
LAFEW 0906 That gave him out incurable—
PAROLLES 0907 15Why, there ’tis. So say I too.
LAFEW 0908 Not to be helped.
PAROLLES 0909 Right, as ’twere a man assured of a—
LAFEW 0910 Uncertain life and sure death.
PAROLLES 0911 Just. You say well. So would I have said.
LAFEW 0912 20I may truly say it is a novelty to the world.
PAROLLES 0913 It is indeed. If you will have it in showing,
0914 you shall read it in what-do-you-call there.
⌜He points to a paper in Lafew’s hand.⌝
LAFEW ⌜reads⌝ 0915 A showing of a heavenly effect in an earthly
PAROLLES 0917 25That’s it. I would have said the very same.
LAFEW 0918 Why, your dolphin is not lustier. ’Fore me, I
0919 speak in respect—
PAROLLES 0920 Nay, ’tis strange, ’tis very strange; that is the
0921 brief and the tedious of it; and he’s of a most facinorous
0922 30 spirit that will not acknowledge it to be
LAFEW 0924 Very hand of heaven.
LAFEW 0926 In a most weak—
PAROLLES 0927 35And debile minister. Great power, great
0928 transcendence, which should indeed give us a further
0929 use to be made than alone the recov’ry of the
0930 King, as to be—
LAFEW 0931 Generally thankful.
Enter King, Helen, and Attendants.
PAROLLES 0932 40I would have said it. You say well. Here
0933 comes the King.
LAFEW 0934 Lustig, as the Dutchman says. I’ll like a maid
0935 the better whilst I have a tooth in my head. Why,
0936 he’s able to lead her a coranto.
PAROLLES 0937 45Mort du vinaigre! Is not this Helen?
LAFEW 0938 ’Fore God, I think so.
0939 Go, call before me all the lords in court.
⌜An Attendant exits.⌝
0940 Sit, my preserver, by thy patient’s side,
0941 And with this healthful hand, whose banished sense
0942 50 Thou hast repealed, a second time receive
0943 The confirmation of my promised gift,
0944 Which but attends thy naming.
Enter three or four ⌜Court⌝ Lords.
0945 Fair maid, send forth thine eye. This youthful parcel
0946 Of noble bachelors stand at my bestowing,
0947 55 O’er whom both sovereign power and father’s voice
0948 I have to use. Thy frank election make.
0949 Thou hast power to choose, and they none to forsake.
0950 To each of you one fair and virtuous mistress
0951 Fall when Love please! Marry, to each but one.
0952 60 I’d give bay Curtal and his furniture
0954 And writ as little beard.
KING 0955 Peruse them well.
0956 Not one of those but had a noble father.
HELEN 0957 65Gentlemen,
0958 Heaven hath through me restored the King to health.
0959 We understand it and thank heaven for you.
0960 I am a simple maid, and therein wealthiest
0961 That I protest I simply am a maid.—
0962 70 Please it your Majesty, I have done already.
0963 The blushes in my cheeks thus whisper me:
0964 “We blush that thou shouldst choose; but, be
0966 Let the white death sit on thy cheek forever;
0967 75 We’ll ne’er come there again.”
KING 0968 Make choice and see.
0969 Who shuns thy love shuns all his love in me.
0970 Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly,
0971 And to imperial Love, that god most high,
0972 80 Do my sighs stream.She addresses her to a Lord.
0973 Sir, will you hear my suit?
FIRST ⌜COURT⌝ LORD
0974 And grant it.
HELEN 0975 Thanks, sir. All the
0976 rest is mute.
LAFEW, ⌜aside⌝ 0977 85I had rather be in this choice than
0978 throw ambs-ace for my life.
HELEN, ⌜to another Lord⌝
0979 The honor, sir, that flames in your fair eyes
0980 Before I speak too threat’ningly replies.
0981 Love make your fortunes twenty times above
0982 90 Her that so wishes, and her humble love.
SECOND ⌜COURT⌝ LORD
0983 No better, if you please.
HELEN 0984 My wish receive,
LAFEW, ⌜aside⌝ 0986 Do all they deny her? An they were sons
0987 95 of mine, I’d have them whipped, or I would send
0988 them to th’ Turk to make eunuchs of.
HELEN, ⌜to another Lord⌝
0989 Be not afraid that I your hand should take.
0990 I’ll never do you wrong, for your own sake.
0991 Blessing upon your vows, and in your bed
0992 100 Find fairer fortune if you ever wed.
LAFEW, ⌜aside⌝ 0993 These boys are boys of ice; they’ll none
0994 have ⌜her.⌝ Sure they are bastards to the English;
0995 the French ne’er got ’em.
HELEN, ⌜to another Lord⌝
0996 You are too young, too happy, and too good
0997 105 To make yourself a son out of my blood.
FOURTH ⌜COURT⌝ LORD 0998 Fair one, I think not so.
LAFEW, ⌜aside⌝ 0999 There’s one grape yet. I am sure thy
1000 father drunk wine. But if thou be’st not an ass, I
1001 am a youth of fourteen; I have known thee already.
HELEN, ⌜to Bertram⌝
1002 110 I dare not say I take you, but I give
1003 Me and my service ever whilst I live
1004 Into your guiding power.—This is the man.
1005 Why then, young Bertram, take her. She’s thy wife.
1006 My wife, my liege? I shall beseech your Highness
1007 115 In such a business give me leave to use
1008 The help of mine own eyes.
KING 1009 Know’st thou not,
1011 What she has done for me?
BERTRAM 1012 120 Yes, my good lord,
1013 But never hope to know why I should marry her.
1014 Thou know’st she has raised me from my sickly bed.
1015 But follows it, my lord, to bring me down
1016 Must answer for your raising? I know her well;
1017 125 She had her breeding at my father’s charge.
1018 A poor physician’s daughter my wife? Disdain
1019 Rather corrupt me ever!
1020 ’Tis only title thou disdain’st in her, the which
1021 I can build up. Strange is it that our bloods,
1022 130 Of color, weight, and heat, poured all together,
1023 Would quite confound distinction, yet stands off
1024 In differences so mighty. If she be
1025 All that is virtuous, save what thou dislik’st—
1026 “A poor physician’s daughter”—thou dislik’st
1027 135 Of virtue for the name. But do not so.
1028 From lowest place whence virtuous things proceed,
1029 The place is dignified by th’ doer’s deed.
1030 Where great additions swell ’s, and virtue none,
1031 It is a dropsied honor. Good alone
1032 140 Is good, without a name; vileness is so;
1033 The property by what ⌜it⌝ is should go,
1034 Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair;
1035 In these to nature she’s immediate heir,
1036 And these breed honor. That is honor’s scorn
1037 145 Which challenges itself as honor’s born
1038 And is not like the sire. Honors thrive
1039 When rather from our acts we them derive
1040 Than our foregoers. The mere word’s a slave
1041 Debauched on every tomb, on every grave
1042 150 A lying trophy, and as oft is dumb
1043 Where dust and damned oblivion is the tomb
1044 Of honored bones indeed. What should be said?
1045 If thou canst like this creature as a maid,
1046 I can create the rest. Virtue and she
1047 155 Is her own dower, honor and wealth from me.
1048 I cannot love her, nor will strive to do ’t.
1049 Thou wrong’st thyself if thou shouldst strive to
1051 That you are well restored, my lord, I’m glad.
1052 160 Let the rest go.
1053 My honor’s at the stake, which to defeat
1054 I must produce my power.—Here, take her hand,
1055 Proud, scornful boy, unworthy this good gift,
1056 That dost in vile misprision shackle up
1057 165 My love and her desert; that canst not dream
1058 We, poising us in her defective scale,
1059 Shall weigh thee to the beam; that wilt not know
1060 It is in us to plant thine honor where
1061 We please to have it grow. Check thy contempt;
1062 170 Obey our will, which travails in thy good.
1063 Believe not thy disdain, but presently
1064 Do thine own fortunes that obedient right
1065 Which both thy duty owes and our power claims,
1066 Or I will throw thee from my care forever
1067 175 Into the staggers and the careless lapse
1068 Of youth and ignorance, both my revenge and hate
1069 Loosing upon thee in the name of justice
1070 Without all terms of pity. Speak. Thine answer.
1071 Pardon, my gracious lord, for I submit
1072 180 My fancy to your eyes. When I consider
1073 What great creation and what dole of honor
1074 Flies where you bid it, I find that she which late
1075 Was in my nobler thoughts most base is now
1076 The praisèd of the King, who, so ennobled,
1077 185 Is as ’twere born so.
KING 1078 Take her by the hand,
1080 A counterpoise, if not to thy estate,
1081 A balance more replete.
BERTRAM 1082 190 I take her hand.
1083 Good fortune and the favor of the King
1084 Smile upon this contract, whose ceremony
1085 Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief
1086 And be performed tonight. The solemn feast
1087 195 Shall more attend upon the coming space,
1088 Expecting absent friends. As thou lov’st her
1089 Thy love’s to me religious; else, does err.
They exit. Parolles and Lafew stay behind,
commenting of this wedding.
LAFEW 1090 Do you hear, monsieur? A word with you.
PAROLLES 1091 Your pleasure, sir.
LAFEW 1092 200Your lord and master did well to make his
PAROLLES 1094 “Recantation”? My “lord”? My “master”?
LAFEW 1095 Ay. Is it not a language I speak?
PAROLLES 1096 A most harsh one, and not to be understood
1097 205 without bloody succeeding. My “master”?
LAFEW 1098 Are you companion to the Count Rossillion?
PAROLLES 1099 To any count, to all counts, to what is man.
LAFEW 1100 To what is count’s man. Count’s master is of
1101 another style.
PAROLLES 1102 210You are too old, sir; let it satisfy you, you are
1103 too old.
LAFEW 1104 I must tell thee, sirrah, I write man, to which
1105 title age cannot bring thee.
PAROLLES 1106 What I dare too well do, I dare not do.
LAFEW 1107 215I did think thee, for two ordinaries, to be a
1108 pretty wise fellow; thou didst make tolerable vent
1109 of thy travel; it might pass. Yet the scarves and the
1110 bannerets about thee did manifoldly dissuade me
1111 from believing thee a vessel of too great a burden.
1113 care not. Yet art thou good for nothing but taking
1114 up, and that thou ’rt scarce worth.
PAROLLES 1115 Hadst thou not the privilege of antiquity
1116 upon thee—
LAFEW 1117 225Do not plunge thyself too far in anger lest thou
1118 hasten thy trial, which if—Lord have mercy on
1119 thee for a hen! So, my good window of lattice, fare
1120 thee well; thy casement I need not open, for I look
1121 through thee. Give me thy hand.
PAROLLES 1122 230My lord, you give me most egregious
LAFEW 1124 Ay, with all my heart, and thou art worthy of it.
PAROLLES 1125 I have not, my lord, deserved it.
LAFEW 1126 Yes, good faith, ev’ry dram of it, and I will not
1127 235 bate thee a scruple.
PAROLLES 1128 Well, I shall be wiser.
LAFEW 1129 Ev’n as soon as thou canst, for thou hast to
1130 pull at a smack o’ th’ contrary. If ever thou be’st
1131 bound in thy scarf and beaten, thou ⌜shalt⌝ find
1132 240 what it is to be proud of thy bondage. I have a
1133 desire to hold my acquaintance with thee, or
1134 rather my knowledge, that I may say in the default
1135 “He is a man I know.”
PAROLLES 1136 My lord, you do me most insupportable
1137 245 vexation.
LAFEW 1138 I would it were hell pains for thy sake, and my
1139 poor doing eternal; for doing I am past, as I will by
1140 thee in what motion age will give me leave.
PAROLLES 1141 Well, thou hast a son shall take this disgrace
1142 250 off me. Scurvy, old, filthy, scurvy lord! Well, I must
1143 be patient; there is no fettering of authority. I’ll
1144 beat him, by my life, if I can meet him with any
1145 convenience, an he were double and double a lord.
1146 I’ll have no more pity of his age than I would have
1147 255 of—I’ll beat him, an if I could but meet him again.
LAFEW 1148 Sirrah, your lord and master’s married. There’s
1149 news for you: you have a new mistress.
PAROLLES 1150 I most unfeignedly beseech your Lordship
1151 to make some reservation of your wrongs. He is
1152 260 my good lord; whom I serve above is my master.
LAFEW 1153 Who? God?
PAROLLES 1154 Ay, sir.
LAFEW 1155 The devil it is that’s thy master. Why dost thou
1156 garter up thy arms o’ this fashion? Dost make hose
1157 265 of thy sleeves? Do other servants so? Thou wert
1158 best set thy lower part where thy nose stands. By
1159 mine honor, if I were but two hours younger, I’d
1160 beat thee. Methink’st thou art a general offense,
1161 and every man should beat thee. I think thou wast
1162 270 created for men to breathe themselves upon thee.
PAROLLES 1163 This is hard and undeserved measure, my
LAFEW 1165 Go to, sir. You were beaten in Italy for picking a
1166 kernel out of a pomegranate. You are a vagabond,
1167 275 and no true traveler. You are more saucy with
1168 lords and honorable personages than the commission
1169 of your birth and virtue gives you heraldry.
1170 You are not worth another word; else I’d call you
1171 knave. I leave you.He exits.
PAROLLES 1172 280Good, very good! It is so, then. Good, very
1173 good. Let it be concealed awhile.
Enter ⌜Bertram⌝ Count Rossillion.
1174 Undone, and forfeited to cares forever!
PAROLLES 1175 What’s the matter, sweetheart?
1176 Although before the solemn priest I have sworn,
1177 285 I will not bed her.
1179 O my Parolles, they have married me!
1180 I’ll to the Tuscan wars and never bed her.
PAROLLES 1181 France is a dog-hole, and it no more merits
1182 290 the tread of a man’s foot. To th’ wars!
BERTRAM 1183 There’s letters from my mother. What th’
1184 import is I know not yet.
PAROLLES 1185 Ay, that would be known. To th’ wars, my
1186 boy, to th’ wars!
1187 295 He wears his honor in a box unseen
1188 That hugs his kicky-wicky here at home,
1189 Spending his manly marrow in her arms
1190 Which should sustain the bound and high curvet
1191 Of Mars’s fiery steed. To other regions!
1192 300 France is a stable, we that dwell in ’t jades.
1193 Therefore, to th’ war!
1194 It shall be so. I’ll send her to my house,
1195 Acquaint my mother with my hate to her
1196 And wherefore I am fled, write to the King
1197 305 That which I durst not speak. His present gift
1198 Shall furnish me to those Italian fields
1199 Where noble fellows strike. Wars is no strife
1200 To the dark house and the ⌜detested⌝ wife.
1201 Will this capriccio hold in thee? Art sure?
1202 310 Go with me to my chamber, and advise me.
1203 I’ll send her straight away. Tomorrow
1204 I’ll to the wars, she to her single sorrow.
1205 Why, these balls bound; there’s noise in it. ’Tis hard.
1206 A young man married is a man that’s marred.
1207 315 Therefore away, and leave her bravely. Go.
1208 The King has done you wrong, but hush, ’tis so.
HELEN 1209 My mother greets me kindly. Is she well?
FOOL 1210 She is not well, but yet she has her health. She’s
1211 very merry, but yet she is not well. But, thanks be
1212 given, she’s very well and wants nothing i’ th’ world,
1213 5 but yet she is not well.
HELEN 1214 If she be very well, what does she ail that she’s
1215 not very well?
FOOL 1216 Truly, she’s very well indeed, but for two things.
HELEN 1217 What two things?
FOOL 1218 10One, that she’s not in heaven, whither God send
1219 her quickly; the other, that she’s in Earth, from
1220 whence God send her quickly.
PAROLLES 1221 Bless you, my fortunate lady.
HELEN 1222 I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine
1223 15 own good ⌜fortunes.⌝
PAROLLES 1224 You had my prayers to lead them on, and to
1225 keep them on have them still.—O my knave, how
1226 does my old lady?
FOOL 1227 So that you had her wrinkles and I her money, I
1228 20 would she did as you say.
PAROLLES 1229 Why, I say nothing.
FOOL 1230 Marry, you are the wiser man, for many a man’s
1231 tongue shakes out his master’s undoing. To say
1232 nothing, to do nothing, to know nothing, and to
1233 25 have nothing is to be a great part of your title,
1234 which is within a very little of nothing.
PAROLLES 1235 Away. Thou ’rt a knave.
FOOL 1236 You should have said, sir, “Before a knave,
1237 thou ’rt a knave”; that’s “Before me, thou ’rt a
1238 30 knave.” This had been truth, sir.
PAROLLES 1239 Go to. Thou art a witty fool. I have found
1242 taught to find me?
⌜PAROLLES 1243 …⌝
FOOL 1244 35The search, sir, was profitable, and much fool
1245 may you find in you, even to the world’s pleasure
1246 and the increase of laughter.
PAROLLES 1247 A good knave, i’ faith, and well fed.
1248 Madam, my lord will go away tonight;
1249 40 A very serious business calls on him.
1250 The great prerogative and rite of love,
1251 Which as your due time claims, he does acknowledge
1252 But puts it off to a compelled restraint,
1253 Whose want and whose delay is strewed with sweets,
1254 45 Which they distill now in the curbèd time
1255 To make the coming hour o’erflow with joy
1256 And pleasure drown the brim.
HELEN 1257 What’s his will else?
1258 That you will take your instant leave o’ th’ King
1259 50 And make this haste as your own good proceeding,
1260 Strengthened with what apology you think
1261 May make it probable need.
HELEN 1262 What more commands he?
1263 That, having this obtained, you presently
1264 55 Attend his further pleasure.
1265 In everything I wait upon his will.
PAROLLES 1266 I shall report it so.Parolles exits.
HELEN, ⌜to Fool⌝ 1267 I pray you, come, sirrah.
LAFEW 1268 But I hope your Lordship thinks not him a
BERTRAM 1270 Yes, my lord, and of very valiant approof.
LAFEW 1271 You have it from his own deliverance.
BERTRAM 1272 5And by other warranted testimony.
LAFEW 1273 Then my dial goes not true. I took this lark for
1274 a bunting.
BERTRAM 1275 I do assure you, my lord, he is very great in
1276 knowledge and accordingly valiant.
LAFEW 1277 10I have then sinned against his experience and
1278 transgressed against his valor, and my state that
1279 way is dangerous since I cannot yet find in my
1280 heart to repent. Here he comes. I pray you make us
1281 friends. I will pursue the amity.
PAROLLES, ⌜to Bertram⌝ 1282 15These things shall be done, sir.
LAFEW, ⌜to Bertram⌝ 1283 Pray you, sir, who’s his tailor?
PAROLLES 1284 Sir?
LAFEW 1285 O, I know him well. Ay, sir, he, sir, ’s a good
1286 workman, a very good tailor.
BERTRAM, ⌜aside to Parolles⌝ 1287 20Is she gone to the King?
PAROLLES 1288 She is.
BERTRAM 1289 Will she away tonight?
PAROLLES 1290 As you’ll have her.
1291 I have writ my letters, casketed my treasure,
1292 25 Given order for our horses, and tonight,
1293 When I should take possession of the bride,
1294 ⌜End⌝ ere I do begin.
LAFEW, ⌜aside⌝ 1295 A good traveler is something at the latter
1296 end of a dinner, but one that lies three thirds,
1297 30 and uses a known truth to pass a thousand nothings
1299 God save you, captain.
BERTRAM, ⌜to Parolles⌝ 1300 Is there any unkindness
1301 between my lord and you, monsieur?
PAROLLES 1302 35I know not how I have deserved to run into
1303 my lord’s displeasure.
LAFEW 1304 You have made shift to run into ’t, boots and
1305 spurs and all, like him that leapt into the custard;
1306 and out of it you’ll run again rather than suffer
1307 40 question for your residence.
BERTRAM 1308 It may be you have mistaken him, my lord.
LAFEW 1309 And shall do so ever, though I took him at ’s
1310 prayers. Fare you well, my lord, and believe this of
1311 me: there can be no kernel in this light nut. The
1312 45 soul of this man is his clothes. Trust him not in
1313 matter of heavy consequence. I have kept of them
1314 tame and know their natures.—Farewell, monsieur.
1315 I have spoken better of you than you have or
1316 will to deserve at my hand, but we must do good
1317 50 against evil.⌜He exits.⌝
PAROLLES 1318 An idle lord, I swear.
BERTRAM 1319 I think ⌜not⌝ so.
PAROLLES 1320 Why, do you not know him?
1321 Yes, I do know him well, and common speech
1322 55 Gives him a worthy pass.
1323 Here comes my clog.
1324 I have, sir, as I was commanded from you,
1325 Spoke with the King and have procured his leave
1326 For present parting. Only he desires
1327 60 Some private speech with you.
BERTRAM 1328 I shall obey his will.
1329 You must not marvel, Helen, at my course,
1331 The ministration and requirèd office
1332 65 On my particular. Prepared I was not
1333 For such a business; therefore am I found
1334 So much unsettled. This drives me to entreat you
1335 That presently you take your way for home,
1336 And rather muse than ask why I entreat you;
1337 70 For my respects are better than they seem,
1338 And my appointments have in them a need
1339 Greater than shows itself at the first view
1340 To you that know them not.⌜Giving her a paper.⌝
1341 This to my mother.
1342 75 ’Twill be two days ere I shall see you, so
1343 I leave you to your wisdom.
HELEN 1344 Sir, I can nothing say
1345 But that I am your most obedient servant—
1346 Come, come, no more of that.
HELEN 1347 80 And ever shall
1348 With true observance seek to eke out that
1349 Wherein toward me my homely stars have failed
1350 To equal my great fortune.
BERTRAM 1351 Let that go.
1352 85 My haste is very great. Farewell. Hie home.
1353 Pray, sir, your pardon.
BERTRAM 1354 Well, what would you say?
1355 I am not worthy of the wealth I owe,
1356 Nor dare I say ’tis mine—and yet it is—
1357 90 But, like a timorous thief, most fain would steal
1358 What law does vouch mine own.
BERTRAM 1359 What would you have?
1360 Something, and scarce so much; nothing, indeed.
1362 95 yes:
1363 Strangers and foes do sunder and not kiss.
1364 I pray you stay not, but in haste to horse.
1365 I shall not break your bidding, good my lord.—
1366 Where are my other men?—Monsieur, farewell.
1367 100 Go thou toward home, where I will never come
1368 Whilst I can shake my sword or hear the drum.—
1369 Away, and for our flight.
PAROLLES 1370 Bravely, coraggio!
⌜Lords,⌝ with a troop of Soldiers.
1371 So that from point to point now have you heard
1372 The fundamental reasons of this war,
1373 Whose great decision hath much blood let forth
1374 And more thirsts after.
FIRST LORD 1375 5 Holy seems the quarrel
1376 Upon your Grace’s part, black and fearful
1377 On the opposer.
1378 Therefore we marvel much our cousin France
1379 Would in so just a business shut his bosom
1380 10 Against our borrowing prayers.
SECOND LORD 1381 Good my lord,
1382 The reasons of our state I cannot yield
1383 But like a common and an outward man
1384 That the great figure of a council frames
1385 15 By self-unable motion; therefore dare not
1386 Say what I think of it, since I have found
1387 Myself in my incertain grounds to fail
1388 As often as I guessed.
DUKE 1389 Be it his pleasure.
1390 20 But I am sure the younger of our ⌜nation,⌝
1391 That surfeit on their ease, will day by day
1392 Come here for physic.
DUKE 1393 Welcome shall they be,
1394 And all the honors that can fly from us
1395 25 Shall on them settle. You know your places well.
1396 When better fall, for your avails they fell.
1397 Tomorrow to th’ field.
Flourish. ⌜They exit.⌝
COUNTESS 1398 It hath happened all as I would have had it,
1399 save that he comes not along with her.
FOOL 1400 By my troth, I take my young lord to be a very
1401 melancholy man.
COUNTESS 1402 5By what observance, I pray you?
FOOL 1403 Why, he will look upon his boot and sing, mend
1404 the ruff and sing, ask questions and sing, pick his
1405 teeth and sing. I know a man that had this trick of
1406 melancholy ⌜sold⌝ a goodly manor for a song.
COUNTESS 1407 10Let me see what he writes and when he
1408 means to come.⌜She opens the letter.⌝
FOOL 1409 I have no mind to Isbel since I was at court. Our
1410 old lings and our Isbels o’ th’ country are nothing
1411 like your old ling and your Isbels o’ th’ court. The
1412 15 brains of my Cupid’s knocked out, and I begin to
1413 love as an old man loves money, with no stomach.
COUNTESS 1414 What have we here?
FOOL 1415 E’en that you have there.He exits.
⌜COUNTESS reads.⌝ 1416 I have sent you a daughter-in-law.
1417 20 She hath recovered the King and undone me. I have
1418 wedded her, not bedded her, and sworn to make the
1420 before the report come. If there be breadth enough in
1421 the world, I will hold a long distance. My duty to
1422 25 you.
1423 Your unfortunate son,
1425 This is not well, rash and unbridled boy:
1426 To fly the favors of so good a king,
1427 30 To pluck his indignation on thy head
1428 By the misprizing of a maid too virtuous
1429 For the contempt of empire.
FOOL 1430 O madam, yonder is heavy news within, between
1431 two soldiers and my young lady.
COUNTESS 1432 35What is the matter?
FOOL 1433 Nay, there is some comfort in the news, some
1434 comfort. Your son will not be killed so soon as I
1435 thought he would.
COUNTESS 1436 Why should he be killed?
FOOL 1437 40So say I, madam, if he run away, as I hear he
1438 does. The danger is in standing to ’t; that’s the loss
1439 of men, though it be the getting of children. Here
1440 they come will tell you more. For my part, I only
1441 hear your son was run away.⌜He exits.⌝
Enter Helen, ⌜with a paper,⌝ and two Gentlemen.
FIRST GENTLEMAN, ⌜to Countess⌝ 1442 45Save you, good
1444 Madam, my lord is gone, forever gone.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 1445 Do not say so.
1446 Think upon patience, pray you.—Gentlemen,
1447 50 I have felt so many quirks of joy and grief
1448 That the first face of neither on the start
1449 Can woman me unto ’t. Where is my son, I pray you?
1450 Madam, he’s gone to serve the Duke of Florence.
1451 We met him thitherward, for thence we came,
1452 55 And, after some dispatch in hand at court,
1453 Thither we bend again.
1454 Look on his letter, madam; here’s my passport.
1455 ⌜She reads.⌝ When thou canst get the ring upon
1456 my finger, which never shall come off, and show me
1457 60 a child begotten of thy body that I am father to, then
1458 call me husband. But in such a “then” I write a
1460 This is a dreadful sentence.
1461 Brought you this letter, gentlemen?
SECOND GENTLEMAN 1462 65 Ay, madam,
1463 And for the contents’ sake are sorry for our pains.
1464 I prithee, lady, have a better cheer.
1465 If thou engrossest all the griefs are thine,
1466 Thou robb’st me of a moiety. He was my son,
1467 70 But I do wash his name out of my blood,
1468 And thou art all my child.—Towards Florence is he?
SECOND GENTLEMAN 1469 Ay, madam.
COUNTESS 1470 And to be a soldier?
1471 Such is his noble purpose, and, believe ’t,
1472 75 The Duke will lay upon him all the honor
1473 That good convenience claims.
COUNTESS 1474 Return you thither?
1475 Ay, madam, with the swiftest wing of speed.
1476 Till I have no wife I have nothing in France.
1477 80 ’Tis bitter.
HELEN 1479 Ay, madam.
1480 ’Tis but the boldness of his hand, haply,
1481 Which his heart was not consenting to.
1482 85 Nothing in France until he have no wife!
1483 There’s nothing here that is too good for him
1484 But only she, and she deserves a lord
1485 That twenty such rude boys might tend upon
1486 And call her hourly mistress. Who was with him?
1487 90 A servant only, and a gentleman
1488 Which I have sometime known.
COUNTESS 1489 Parolles was it not?
FIRST GENTLEMAN 1490 Ay, my good lady, he.
1491 A very tainted fellow, and full of wickedness.
1492 95 My son corrupts a well-derivèd nature
1493 With his inducement.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 1494 Indeed, good lady,
1495 The fellow has a deal of that too much
1496 Which holds him much to have.
COUNTESS 1497 100 You’re welcome,
1499 I will entreat you when you see my son
1500 To tell him that his sword can never win
1501 The honor that he loses. More I’ll entreat you
1502 105 Written to bear along.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 1503 We serve you, madam,
1504 In that and all your worthiest affairs.
1505 Not so, but as we change our courtesies.
1506 Will you draw near?
She exits ⌜with the Gentlemen.⌝
1507 110 “Till I have no wife I have nothing in France.”
1508 Nothing in France until he has no wife.
1509 Thou shalt have none, Rossillion, none in France.
1510 Then hast thou all again. Poor lord, is ’t I
1511 That chase thee from thy country and expose
1512 115 Those tender limbs of thine to the event
1513 Of the none-sparing war? And is it I
1514 That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou
1515 Wast shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark
1516 Of smoky muskets? O you leaden messengers
1517 120 That ride upon the violent speed of fire,
1518 Fly with false aim; move the still-’pearing air
1519 That sings with piercing; do not touch my lord.
1520 Whoever shoots at him, I set him there;
1521 Whoever charges on his forward breast,
1522 125 I am the caitiff that do hold him to ’t;
1523 And though I kill him not, I am the cause
1524 His death was so effected. Better ’twere
1525 I met the ravin lion when he roared
1526 With sharp constraint of hunger; better ’twere
1527 130 That all the miseries which nature owes
1528 Were mine at once. No, come thou home, Rossillion,
1529 Whence honor but of danger wins a scar,
1530 As oft it loses all. I will be gone.
1531 My being here it is that holds thee hence.
1532 135 Shall I stay here to do ’t? No, no, although
1533 The air of paradise did fan the house
1534 And angels officed all. I will be gone,
1535 That pitiful rumor may report my flight
1536 To consolate thine ear. Come, night; end, day;
1537 140 For with the dark, poor thief, I’ll steal away.
Rossillion, Drum and Trumpets, Soldiers, Parolles.
DUKE, ⌜to Bertram⌝
1538 The general of our horse thou art, and we,
1539 Great in our hope, lay our best love and credence
1540 Upon thy promising fortune.
BERTRAM 1541 Sir, it is
1542 5 A charge too heavy for my strength, but yet
1543 We’ll strive to bear it for your worthy sake
1544 To th’ extreme edge of hazard.
DUKE 1545 Then go thou forth,
1546 And Fortune play upon thy prosperous helm
1547 10 As thy auspicious mistress.
BERTRAM 1548 This very day,
1549 Great Mars, I put myself into thy file.
1550 Make me but like my thoughts, and I shall prove
1551 A lover of thy drum, hater of love.
1552 Alas! And would you take the letter of her?
1553 Might you not know she would do as she has done
1554 By sending me a letter? Read it again.
⌜STEWARD reads the⌝ letter
1555 I am Saint Jaques’ pilgrim, thither gone.
1556 5 Ambitious love hath so in me offended
1557 That barefoot plod I the cold ground upon,
1558 With sainted vow my faults to have amended.
1559 Write, write, that from the bloody course of war
1560 My dearest master, your dear son, may hie.
1562 His name with zealous fervor sanctify.
1563 His taken labors bid him me forgive;
1564 I, his despiteful Juno, sent him forth
1565 From courtly friends, with camping foes to live
1566 15 Where death and danger dogs the heels of worth.
1567 He is too good and fair for death and me,
1568 Whom I myself embrace to set him free.
1569 Ah, what sharp stings are in her mildest words!
1570 Rinaldo, you did never lack advice so much
1571 20 As letting her pass so. Had I spoke with her,
1572 I could have well diverted her intents,
1573 Which thus she hath prevented.
STEWARD 1574 Pardon me, madam.
1575 If I had given you this at overnight,
1576 25 She might have been o’erta’en. And yet she writes
1577 Pursuit would be but vain.
COUNTESS 1578 What angel shall
1579 Bless this unworthy husband? He cannot thrive
1580 Unless her prayers, whom heaven delights to hear
1581 30 And loves to grant, reprieve him from the wrath
1582 Of greatest justice. Write, write, Rinaldo,
1583 To this unworthy husband of his wife.
1584 Let every word weigh heavy of her worth
1585 That he does weigh too light. My greatest grief,
1586 35 Though little he do feel it, set down sharply.
1587 Dispatch the most convenient messenger.
1588 When haply he shall hear that she is gone,
1589 He will return; and hope I may that she,
1590 Hearing so much, will speed her foot again,
1591 40 Led hither by pure love. Which of them both
1592 Is dearest to me, I have no skill in sense
1593 To make distinction. Provide this messenger.
1594 My heart is heavy, and mine age is weak.
1595 Grief would have tears, and sorrow bids me speak.
daughter ⌜Diana,⌝ and Mariana, with other Citizens.
WIDOW 1596 Nay, come, for if they do approach the city, we
1597 shall lose all the sight.
DIANA 1598 They say the French count has done most honorable
WIDOW 1600 5It is reported that he has taken their great’st
1601 commander, and that with his own hand he slew
1602 the Duke’s brother. ⌜A trumpet sounds.⌝ We have
1603 lost our labor. They are gone a contrary way. Hark,
1604 you may know by their trumpets.
MARIANA 1605 10Come, let’s return again and suffice ourselves
1606 with the report of it.—Well, Diana, take heed of
1607 this French earl. The honor of a maid is her name,
1608 and no legacy is so rich as honesty.
WIDOW, ⌜to Diana⌝ 1609 I have told my neighbor how you
1610 15 have been solicited by a gentleman, his
MARIANA 1612 I know that knave, hang him! One Parolles, a
1613 filthy officer he is in those suggestions for the
1614 young earl.—Beware of them, Diana. Their promises,
1615 20 enticements, oaths, tokens, and all these
1616 engines of lust are not the things they go under.
1617 Many a maid hath been seduced by them; and
1618 the misery is example that so terrible shows in the
1619 wrack of maidenhood cannot for all that dissuade
1620 25 succession, but that they are limed with the twigs
1621 that threatens them. I hope I need not to advise
1622 you further, but I hope your own grace will keep
1623 you where you are, though there were no further
1624 danger known but the modesty which is so lost.
DIANA 1625 30You shall not need to fear me.
WIDOW 1626 I hope so.
1627 Look, here comes a pilgrim. I know she will lie at
1628 my house; thither they send one another. I’ll question
1629 her.—God save you, pilgrim. Whither are
1630 35 bound?
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝ 1631 To Saint Jaques le Grand.
1632 Where do the palmers lodge, I do beseech you?
1633 At the Saint Francis here beside the port.
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝ 1634 Is this the way?A march afar.
1635 40 Ay, marry, is ’t.—Hark you, they come this way.—
1636 If you will tarry, holy pilgrim,
1637 But till the troops come by,
1638 I will conduct you where you shall be lodged,
1639 The rather for I think I know your hostess
1640 45 As ample as myself.
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝ 1641 Is it yourself?
WIDOW 1642 If you shall please so, pilgrim.
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝
1643 I thank you, and will stay upon your leisure.
1644 You came I think from France?
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝ 1645 50 I did so.
1646 Here you shall see a countryman of yours
1647 That has done worthy service.
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝ 1648 His name, I pray you?
1649 The Count Rossillion. Know you such a one?
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝
1650 55 But by the ear, that hears most nobly of him.
1651 His face I know not.
DIANA 1652 Whatsome’er he is,
1653 He’s bravely taken here. He stole from France,
1655 60 Against his liking. Think you it is so?
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝
1656 Ay, surely, mere the truth. I know his lady.
1657 There is a gentleman that serves the Count
1658 Reports but coarsely of her.
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝ 1659 What’s his name?
1660 65 Monsieur Parolles.
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝ 1661 O, I believe with him.
1662 In argument of praise, or to the worth
1663 Of the great count himself, she is too mean
1664 To have her name repeated. All her deserving
1665 70 Is a reservèd honesty, and that
1666 I have not heard examined.
DIANA 1667 Alas, poor lady,
1668 ’Tis a hard bondage to become the wife
1669 Of a detesting lord.
1670 75 I ⌜warrant,⌝ good creature, wheresoe’er she is,
1671 Her heart weighs sadly. This young maid might do
1673 A shrewd turn if she pleased.
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝ 1674 How do you mean?
1675 80 Maybe the amorous count solicits her
1676 In the unlawful purpose?
WIDOW 1677 He does indeed,
1678 And brokes with all that can in such a suit
1679 Corrupt the tender honor of a maid,
1680 85 But she is armed for him and keeps her guard
1681 In honestest defense.
1682 The gods forbid else!
Parolles, and the whole Army.
WIDOW 1683 So, now they come.
1684 That is Antonio, the Duke’s eldest son;
1685 90 That, Escalus.
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝ 1686 Which is the Frenchman?
DIANA 1687 He,
1688 That with the plume. ’Tis a most gallant fellow.
1689 I would he loved his wife. If he were honester,
1690 95 He were much goodlier. Is ’t not a handsome
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝ 1692 I like him well.
1693 ’Tis pity he is not honest. Yond’s that same knave
1694 That leads him to these places. Were I his lady,
1695 100 I would poison that vile rascal.
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝ 1696 Which is he?
1697 That jackanapes with scarves. Why is he melancholy?
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝ 1698 Perchance he’s hurt i’ th’ battle.
PAROLLES 1699 Lose our drum? Well.
MARIANA 1700 105He’s shrewdly vexed at something. Look, he
1701 has spied us.
WIDOW, ⌜to Parolles⌝ 1702 Marry, hang you.
MARIANA, ⌜to Parolles⌝ 1703 And your courtesy, for a
⌜Bertram, Parolles, and the army⌝ exit.
1705 110 The troop is passed. Come, pilgrim, I will bring you
1706 Where you shall host. Of enjoined penitents
1707 There’s four or five, to Great Saint Jaques bound,
1708 Already at my house.
HELEN, ⌜as pilgrim⌝ 1709 I humbly thank you.
1710 115 Please it this matron and this gentle maid
1711 To eat with us tonight, the charge and thanking
1713 I will bestow some precepts of this virgin
1714 Worthy the note.
BOTH 1715 120 We’ll take your offer kindly.
⌜Lords,⌝ as at first.
FIRST LORD 1716 Nay, good my lord, put him to ’t. Let him
1717 have his way.
SECOND LORD 1718 If your Lordship find him not a hilding,
1719 hold me no more in your respect.
FIRST LORD 1720 5On my life, my lord, a bubble.
BERTRAM 1721 Do you think I am so far deceived in him?
FIRST LORD 1722 Believe it, my lord. In mine own direct
1723 knowledge, without any malice, but to speak of
1724 him as my kinsman, he’s a most notable coward,
1725 10 an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise-breaker,
1726 the owner of no one good quality worthy
1727 your Lordship’s entertainment.
SECOND LORD 1728 It were fit you knew him, lest, reposing
1729 too far in his virtue, which he hath not, he might
1730 15 at some great and trusty business in a main danger
1731 fail you.
BERTRAM 1732 I would I knew in what particular action to
1733 try him.
SECOND LORD 1734 None better than to let him fetch off his
1735 20 drum, which you hear him so confidently undertake
1736 to do.
FIRST LORD 1737 I, with a troop of Florentines, will suddenly
1738 surprise him. Such I will have whom I am sure
1739 he knows not from the enemy. We will bind and
1740 25 hoodwink him so, that he shall suppose no other
1742 when we bring him to our own tents. Be but
1743 your Lordship present at his examination. If he do
1744 not for the promise of his life, and in the highest
1745 30 compulsion of base fear, offer to betray you and
1746 deliver all the intelligence in his power against
1747 you, and that with the divine forfeit of his soul
1748 upon oath, never trust my judgment in anything.
SECOND LORD 1749 O, for the love of laughter, let him fetch
1750 35 his drum. He says he has a stratagem for ’t. When
1751 your Lordship sees the bottom of ⌜his⌝ success in
1752 ’t, and to what metal this counterfeit lump of ⌜ore⌝
1753 will be melted, if you give him not John Drum’s
1754 entertainment, your inclining cannot be removed.
1755 40 Here he comes.
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside to Bertram⌝ 1756 O, for the love of laughter,
1757 hinder not the honor of his design. Let him
1758 fetch off his drum in any hand.
BERTRAM, ⌜to Parolles⌝ 1759 How now, monsieur? This
1760 45 drum sticks sorely in your disposition.
SECOND LORD 1761 A pox on ’t! Let it go. ’Tis but a drum.
PAROLLES 1762 But a drum! Is ’t but a drum? A drum so
1763 lost! There was excellent command, to charge in
1764 with our horse upon our own wings and to rend
1765 50 our own soldiers!
SECOND LORD 1766 That was not to be blamed in the command
1767 of the service. It was a disaster of war that
1768 Caesar himself could not have prevented if he had
1769 been there to command.
BERTRAM 1770 55Well, we cannot greatly condemn our success.
1771 Some dishonor we had in the loss of that
1772 drum, but it is not to be recovered.
PAROLLES 1773 It might have been recovered.
BERTRAM 1774 It might, but it is not now.
1776 service is seldom attributed to the true and exact
1777 performer, I would have that drum or another, or
1778 hic jacet.
BERTRAM 1779 Why, if you have a stomach, to ’t, monsieur!
1780 65 If you think your mystery in stratagem can bring
1781 this instrument of honor again into his native
1782 quarter, be magnanimous in the enterprise and go
1783 on. I will grace the attempt for a worthy exploit. If
1784 you speed well in it, the Duke shall both speak of it
1785 70 and extend to you what further becomes his greatness,
1786 even to the utmost syllable of your
PAROLLES 1788 By the hand of a soldier, I will undertake it.
BERTRAM 1789 But you must not now slumber in it.
PAROLLES 1790 75I’ll about it this evening, and I will presently
1791 pen down my dilemmas, encourage myself in my
1792 certainty, put myself into my mortal preparation;
1793 and by midnight look to hear further from me.
BERTRAM 1794 May I be bold to acquaint his Grace you are
1795 80 gone about it?
PAROLLES 1796 I know not what the success will be, my
1797 lord, but the attempt I vow.
BERTRAM 1798 I know thou ’rt valiant, and to the possibility
1799 of thy soldiership will subscribe for thee. Farewell.
PAROLLES 1800 85I love not many words.He exits.
FIRST LORD 1801 No more than a fish loves water. Is not this
1802 a strange fellow, my lord, that so confidently seems
1803 to undertake this business which he knows is not
1804 to be done, damns himself to do, and dares better
1805 90 be damned than to do ’t?
SECOND LORD 1806 You do not know him, my lord, as we do.
1807 Certain it is that he will steal himself into a man’s
1808 favor and for a week escape a great deal of discoveries,
1809 but when you find him out, you have him
1810 95 ever after.
1812 all of this that so seriously he does address himself
FIRST LORD 1814 None in the world, but return with an
1815 100 invention and clap upon you two or three probable
1816 lies. But we have almost embossed him. You shall
1817 see his fall tonight; for indeed he is not for your
1818 Lordship’s respect.
SECOND LORD 1819 We’ll make you some sport with the fox
1820 105 ere we case him. He was first smoked by the old
1821 Lord Lafew. When his disguise and he is parted,
1822 tell me what a sprat you shall find him, which you
1823 shall see this very night.
FIRST LORD 1824 I must go look my twigs. He shall be
1825 110 caught.
BERTRAM 1826 Your brother he shall go along with me.
⌜FIRST⌝ LORD 1827 As ’t please your Lordship. I’ll leave you.
1828 Now will I lead you to the house and show you
1829 The lass I spoke of.
⌜SECOND⌝ LORD 1830 115 But you say she’s honest.
1831 That’s all the fault. I spoke with her but once
1832 And found her wondrous cold. But I sent to her,
1833 By this same coxcomb that we have i’ th’ wind,
1834 Tokens and letters, which she did re-send.
1835 120 And this is all I have done. She’s a fair creature.
1836 Will you go see her?
⌜SECOND⌝ LORD 1837 With all my heart, my lord.
1838 If you misdoubt me that I am not she,
1839 I know not how I shall assure you further
1840 But I shall lose the grounds I work upon.
1841 Though my estate be fall’n, I was well born,
1842 5 Nothing acquainted with these businesses,
1843 And would not put my reputation now
1844 In any staining act.
HELEN 1845 Nor would I wish you.
1846 First give me trust the Count he is my husband,
1847 10 And what to your sworn counsel I have spoken
1848 Is so from word to word; and then you cannot,
1849 By the good aid that I of you shall borrow,
1850 Err in bestowing it.
WIDOW 1851 I should believe you,
1852 15 For you have showed me that which well approves
1853 You’re great in fortune.
HELEN 1854 Take this purse of gold,
1855 And let me buy your friendly help thus far,
1856 Which I will overpay and pay again
1857 20 When I have found it. The Count he woos your
1859 Lays down his wanton siege before her beauty,
1860 ⌜Resolved⌝ to carry her. Let her in fine consent
1861 As we’ll direct her how ’tis best to bear it.
1862 25 Now his important blood will naught deny
1863 That she’ll demand. A ring the County wears
1864 That downward hath succeeded in his house
1865 From son to son some four or five descents
1866 Since the first father wore it. This ring he holds
1867 30 In most rich choice. Yet, in his idle fire,
1868 To buy his will it would not seem too dear,
1869 Howe’er repented after.
1870 Now I see the bottom of your purpose.
1871 You see it lawful, then. It is no more
1872 35 But that your daughter, ere she seems as won,
1873 Desires this ring, appoints him an encounter,
1874 In fine, delivers me to fill the time,
1875 Herself most chastely absent. After,
1876 To marry her, I’ll add three thousand crowns
1877 40 To what is passed already.
WIDOW 1878 I have yielded.
1879 Instruct my daughter how she shall persever
1880 That time and place with this deceit so lawful
1881 May prove coherent. Every night he comes
1882 45 With musics of all sorts and songs composed
1883 To her unworthiness. It nothing steads us
1884 To chide him from our eaves, for he persists
1885 As if his life lay on ’t.
HELEN 1886 Why then tonight
1887 50 Let us assay our plot, which, if it speed,
1888 Is wicked meaning in a lawful deed,
1889 And lawful meaning in a lawful act,
1890 Where both not sin, and yet a sinful fact.
1891 But let’s about it.
Soldiers in ambush.
LORD 1892 He can come no other way but by this hedge
1893 corner. When you sally upon him, speak what terrible
1894 language you will. Though you understand it
1895 not yourselves, no matter. For we must not seem to
1896 5 understand him, unless some one among us whom
1897 we must produce for an interpreter.
FIRST SOLDIER 1898 Good captain, let me be th’ interpreter.
LORD 1899 Art not acquainted with him? Knows he not thy
FIRST SOLDIER 1901 10No, sir, I warrant you.
LORD 1902 But what linsey-woolsey hast thou to speak to
1903 us again?
FIRST SOLDIER 1904 E’en such as you speak to me.
LORD 1905 He must think us some band of strangers i’ th’
1906 15 adversary’s entertainment. Now, he hath a smack
1907 of all neighboring languages. Therefore we must
1908 every one be a man of his own fancy, not to know
1909 what we speak one to another. So we seem to know
1910 is to know straight our purpose: choughs’ language,
1911 20 gabble enough and good enough. As for
1912 you, interpreter, you must seem very politic. But
1913 couch, ho! Here he comes to beguile two hours in
1915 forges.⌜They move aside.⌝
PAROLLES 1916 25Ten o’clock. Within these three hours ’twill
1917 be time enough to go home. What shall I say I have
1918 done? It must be a very plausive invention that
1919 carries it. They begin to smoke me, and disgraces
1920 have of late knocked too often at my door. I find
1921 30 my tongue is too foolhardy, but my heart hath the
1922 fear of Mars before it, and of his creatures, not
1923 daring the reports of my tongue.
LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 1924 This is the first truth that e’er thine own
1925 tongue was guilty of.
PAROLLES 1926 35What the devil should move me to undertake
1927 the recovery of this drum, being not ignorant
1928 of the impossibility and knowing I had no such
1929 purpose? I must give myself some hurts and say I
1930 got them in exploit. Yet slight ones will not carry it.
1931 40 They will say “Came you off with so little?” And
1932 great ones I dare not give. Wherefore? What’s the
1933 instance? Tongue, I must put you into a butter-woman’s
1934 mouth and buy myself another of
1935 Bajazeth’s mule if you prattle me into these perils.
LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 1936 45Is it possible he should know what he is,
1937 and be that he is?
PAROLLES 1938 I would the cutting of my garments would
1939 serve the turn, or the breaking of my Spanish
LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 1941 50We cannot afford you so.
PAROLLES 1942 Or the baring of my beard, and to say it was
1943 in stratagem.
LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 1944 ’Twould not do.
PAROLLES 1945 Or to drown my clothes and say I was
1946 55 stripped.
LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 1947 Hardly serve.
1949 the citadel—
LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 1950 How deep?
PAROLLES 1951 60Thirty fathom.
LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 1952 Three great oaths would scarce make
1953 that be believed.
PAROLLES 1954 I would I had any drum of the enemy’s. I
1955 would swear I recovered it.
LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 1956 65You shall hear one anon.
PAROLLES 1957 A drum, now, of the enemy’s—
LORD, ⌜advancing⌝ 1958 Throca movousus, cargo, cargo,
ALL 1960 Cargo, cargo, cargo, villianda par corbo, cargo.
⌜They seize him.⌝
PAROLLES 1961 70O ransom, ransom! Do not hide mine eyes.
⌜They blindfold him.⌝
FIRST SOLDIER 1962 Boskos thromuldo boskos.
1963 I know you are the Muskos’ regiment,
1964 And I shall lose my life for want of language.
1965 If there be here German or Dane, Low Dutch,
1966 75 Italian, or French, let him speak to me.
1967 I’ll discover that which shall undo the Florentine.
FIRST SOLDIER 1968 Boskos vauvado, I understand thee and
1969 can speak thy tongue. Kerelybonto, sir, betake thee
1970 to thy faith, for seventeen poniards are at thy
1971 80 bosom.
PAROLLES 1972 O!
FIRST SOLDIER 1973 O, pray, pray, pray! Manka reuania
LORD 1975 Oscorbidulchos voliuorco.
1976 85 The General is content to spare thee yet
1977 And, hoodwinked as thou art, will lead thee on
1978 To gather from thee. Haply thou mayst inform
1979 Something to save thy life.
1981 90 And all the secrets of our camp I’ll show,
1982 Their force, their purposes. Nay, I’ll speak that
1983 Which you will wonder at.
FIRST SOLDIER 1984 But wilt thou faithfully?
PAROLLES 1985 If I do not, damn me.
FIRST SOLDIER 1986 95Acordo linta. Come on, thou ⌜art⌝
1987 granted space.
He exits ⌜with Parolles under guard.⌝
A short alarum within.
1988 Go tell the Count Rossillion and my brother
1989 We have caught the woodcock and will keep him
1991 100 Till we do hear from them.
⌜SECOND⌝ SOLDIER 1992 Captain, I will.
1993 He will betray us all unto ourselves.
1994 Inform on that.
⌜SECOND⌝ SOLDIER 1995 So I will, sir.
1996 105 Till then I’ll keep him dark and safely locked.
1997 They told me that your name was Fontibell.
1998 No, my good lord, Diana.
BERTRAM 1999 Titled goddess,
2000 And worth it, with addition. But, fair soul,
2001 5 In your fine frame hath love no quality?
2002 If the quick fire of youth light not your mind,
2004 When you are dead, you should be such a one
2005 As you are now, for you are cold and stern,
2006 10 And now you should be as your mother was
2007 When your sweet self was got.
2008 She then was honest.
BERTRAM 2009 So should you be.
DIANA 2010 No.
2011 15 My mother did but duty—such, my lord,
2012 As you owe to your wife.
BERTRAM 2013 No more o’ that.
2014 I prithee do not strive against my vows.
2015 I was compelled to her, but I love thee
2016 20 By love’s own sweet constraint, and will forever
2017 Do thee all rights of service.
DIANA 2018 Ay, so you serve us
2019 Till we serve you. But when you have our roses,
2020 You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves
2021 25 And mock us with our bareness.
BERTRAM 2022 How have I sworn!
2023 ’Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth,
2024 But the plain single vow that is vowed true.
2025 What is not holy, that we swear not by,
2026 30 But take the high’st to witness. Then pray you, tell
2028 If I should swear by Jove’s great attributes
2029 I loved you dearly, would you believe my oaths
2030 When I did love you ill? This has no holding
2031 35 To swear by him whom I protest to love
2032 That I will work against him. Therefore your oaths
2033 Are words, and poor conditions but unsealed,
2034 At least in my opinion.
BERTRAM 2035 Change it, change it.
2036 40 Be not so holy-cruel. Love is holy,
2038 That you do charge men with. Stand no more off,
2039 But give thyself unto my sick desires,
2040 Who then recovers. Say thou art mine, and ever
2041 45 My love as it begins shall so persever.
2042 I see that men ⌜may⌝ rope ’s in such a ⌜snare⌝
2043 That we’ll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.
2044 I’ll lend it thee, my dear, but have no power
2045 To give it from me.
DIANA 2046 50 Will you not, my lord?
2047 It is an honor ’longing to our house,
2048 Bequeathèd down from many ancestors,
2049 Which were the greatest obloquy i’ th’ world
2050 In me to lose.
DIANA 2051 55 Mine honor’s such a ring.
2052 My chastity’s the jewel of our house,
2053 Bequeathèd down from many ancestors,
2054 Which were the greatest obloquy i’ th’ world
2055 In me to lose. Thus your own proper wisdom
2056 60 Brings in the champion Honor on my part
2057 Against your vain assault.
BERTRAM 2058 Here, take my ring.
2059 My house, mine honor, yea, my life be thine,
2060 And I’ll be bid by thee.
2061 65 When midnight comes, knock at my chamber
2063 I’ll order take my mother shall not hear.
2064 Now will I charge you in the band of truth,
2065 When you have conquered my yet maiden bed,
2066 70 Remain there but an hour, nor speak to me.
2067 My reasons are most strong, and you shall know them
2068 When back again this ring shall be delivered.
2070 Another ring, that what in time proceeds
2071 75 May token to the future our past deeds.
2072 Adieu till then; then, fail not. You have won
2073 A wife of me, though there my hope be done.
2074 A heaven on Earth I have won by wooing thee.
2075 For which live long to thank both heaven and me!
2076 80 You may so in the end.⌜He exits.⌝
2077 My mother told me just how he would woo
2078 As if she sat in ’s heart. She says all men
2079 Have the like oaths. He had sworn to marry me
2080 When his wife’s dead. Therefore I’ll lie with him
2081 85 When I am buried. Since Frenchmen are so braid,
2082 Marry that will, I live and die a maid.
2083 Only, in this disguise I think ’t no sin
2084 To cozen him that would unjustly win.
or three Soldiers.
FIRST LORD 2085 You have not given him his mother’s
SECOND LORD 2087 I have delivered it an hour since. There
2088 is something in ’t that stings his nature, for on the
2089 5 reading it he changed almost into another man.
FIRST LORD 2090 He has much worthy blame laid upon him
2091 for shaking off so good a wife and so sweet a lady.
SECOND LORD 2092 Especially he hath incurred the everlasting
2093 displeasure of the King, who had even tuned
2094 10 his bounty to sing happiness to him. I will tell you
2095 a thing, but you shall let it dwell darkly with you.
2097 am the grave of it.
SECOND LORD 2098 He hath perverted a young gentlewoman
2099 15 here in Florence of a most chaste renown,
2100 and this night he fleshes his will in the spoil of her
2101 honor. He hath given her his monumental ring and
2102 thinks himself made in the unchaste composition.
FIRST LORD 2103 Now God delay our rebellion! As we are
2104 20 ourselves, what things are we!
SECOND LORD 2105 Merely our own traitors. And, as in the
2106 common course of all treasons we still see them
2107 reveal themselves till they attain to their abhorred
2108 ends, so he that in this action contrives against his
2109 25 own nobility, in his proper stream o’erflows
FIRST LORD 2111 Is it not meant damnable in us to be trumpeters
2112 of our unlawful intents? We shall not, then,
2113 have his company tonight?
SECOND LORD 2114 30Not till after midnight, for he is dieted to
2115 his hour.
FIRST LORD 2116 That approaches apace. I would gladly
2117 have him see his company anatomized, that he
2118 might take a measure of his own judgments
2119 35 wherein so curiously he had set this counterfeit.
SECOND LORD 2120 We will not meddle with him till he
2121 come, for his presence must be the whip of the
FIRST LORD 2123 In the meantime, what hear you of these
2124 40 wars?
SECOND LORD 2125 I hear there is an overture of peace.
FIRST LORD 2126 Nay, I assure you, a peace concluded.
SECOND LORD 2127 What will Count Rossillion do then?
2128 Will he travel higher or return again into France?
FIRST LORD 2129 45I perceive by this demand you are not altogether
2130 of his counsel.
SECOND LORD 2131 Let it be forbid, sir! So should I be a
2132 great deal of his act.
2134 50 from his house. Her pretense is a pilgrimage to
2135 Saint Jaques le Grand, which holy undertaking
2136 with most austere sanctimony she accomplished.
2137 And, there residing, the tenderness of her nature
2138 became as a prey to her grief; in fine, made a groan
2139 55 of her last breath, and now she sings in heaven.
SECOND LORD 2140 How is this justified?
FIRST LORD 2141 The stronger part of it by her own letters,
2142 which makes her story true even to the point of her
2143 death. Her death itself, which could not be her
2144 60 office to say is come, was faithfully confirmed by
2145 the rector of the place.
SECOND LORD 2146 Hath the Count all this intelligence?
FIRST LORD 2147 Ay, and the particular confirmations, point
2148 from point, to the full arming of the verity.
SECOND LORD 2149 65I am heartily sorry that he’ll be glad of
FIRST LORD 2151 How mightily sometimes we make us
2152 comforts of our losses.
SECOND LORD 2153 And how mightily some other times we
2154 70 drown our gain in tears. The great dignity that his
2155 valor hath here acquired for him shall at home be
2156 encountered with a shame as ample.
FIRST LORD 2157 The web of our life is of a mingled yarn,
2158 good and ill together. Our virtues would be proud
2159 75 if our faults whipped them not, and our crimes
2160 would despair if they were not cherished by our
Enter a ⌜Servant.⌝
2162 How now? Where’s your master?
SERVANT 2163 He met the Duke in the street, sir, of whom
2164 80 he hath taken a solemn leave. His Lordship will
2165 next morning for France. The Duke hath offered
2166 him letters of commendations to the King.
2168 there, if they were more than they can commend.
2169 85 They cannot be too sweet for the King’s tartness.
Enter ⌜Bertram⌝ Count Rossillion.
2170 Here’s his Lordship now.—How now, my lord? Is ’t
2171 not after midnight?
BERTRAM 2172 I have tonight dispatched sixteen businesses,
2173 a month’s length apiece. By an abstract of
2174 90 success: I have congeed with the Duke, done my
2175 adieu with his nearest, buried a wife, mourned for
2176 her, writ to my lady mother I am returning, entertained
2177 my convoy, and between these main parcels
2178 of dispatch effected many nicer needs. The last
2179 95 was the greatest, but that I have not ended yet.
SECOND LORD 2180 If the business be of any difficulty, and
2181 this morning your departure hence, it requires
2182 haste of your Lordship.
BERTRAM 2183 I mean the business is not ended as fearing
2184 100 to hear of it hereafter. But shall we have this dialogue
2185 between the Fool and the Soldier? Come,
2186 bring forth this counterfeit module; has deceived
2187 me like a double-meaning prophesier.
SECOND LORD 2188 Bring him forth. Has sat i’ th’ stocks all
2189 105 night, poor gallant knave.⌜Soldiers exit.⌝
BERTRAM 2190 No matter. His heels have deserved it in
2191 usurping his spurs so long. How does he carry
SECOND LORD 2193 I have told your Lordship already: the
2194 110 stocks carry him. But to answer you as you would
2195 be understood: he weeps like a wench that had
2196 shed her milk. He hath confessed himself to Morgan,
2197 whom he supposes to be a friar, from the time
2198 of his remembrance to this very instant disaster of
2199 115 his setting i’ th’ stocks. And what think you he hath
SECOND LORD 2202 His confession is taken, and it shall be
2203 read to his face. If your Lordship be in ’t, as I
2204 120 believe you are, you must have the patience to
2205 hear it.
Enter Parolles, ⌜blindfolded,⌝ with his Interpreter,
⌜the First Soldier.⌝
BERTRAM 2206 A plague upon him! Muffled! He can say
2207 nothing of me.
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside to Bertram⌝ 2208 Hush, hush. Hoodman
2209 125 comes.—Portotartarossa.
FIRST SOLDIER, ⌜to Parolles⌝ 2210 He calls for the tortures.
2211 What will you say without ’em?
PAROLLES 2212 I will confess what I know without constraint.
2213 If you pinch me like a pasty, I can say no
2214 130 more.
FIRST SOLDIER 2215 Bosko Chimurcho.
⌜FIRST⌝ LORD 2216 Boblibindo chicurmurco.
FIRST SOLDIER 2217 You are a merciful general.—Our general
2218 bids you answer to what I shall ask you out of a
2219 135 note.
PAROLLES 2220 And truly, as I hope to live.
FIRST SOLDIER, ⌜as if reading a note⌝ 2221 First, demand of
2222 him how many horse the Duke is strong.—What say
2223 you to that?
PAROLLES 2224 140Five or six thousand, but very weak and
2225 unserviceable. The troops are all scattered, and the
2226 commanders very poor rogues, upon my reputation
2227 and credit, and as I hope to live.
FIRST SOLDIER 2228 Shall I set down your answer so?
PAROLLES 2229 145Do. I’ll take the Sacrament on ’t, how and
2230 which way you will.
BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2231 All’s one to him. What a past-saving
2232 slave is this!
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside to Bertram⌝ 2233 You’re deceived, my
2235 militarist—that was his own phrase—that had the
2236 whole theoric of war in the knot of his scarf, and
2237 the practice in the chape of his dagger.
SECOND LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2238 I will never trust a man again for
2239 155 keeping his sword clean, nor believe he can have
2240 everything in him by wearing his apparel neatly.
FIRST SOLDIER, ⌜to Parolles⌝ 2241 Well, that’s set down.
PAROLLES 2242 “Five or six thousand horse,” I said—I will
2243 say true—“or thereabouts” set down, for I’ll speak
2244 160 truth.
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2245 He’s very near the truth in this.
BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2246 But I con him no thanks for ’t, in the
2247 nature he delivers it.
PAROLLES 2248 “Poor rogues,” I pray you say.
FIRST SOLDIER 2249 165Well, that’s set down.
PAROLLES 2250 I humbly thank you, sir. A truth’s a truth.
2251 The rogues are marvelous poor.
FIRST SOLDIER, ⌜as if reading a note⌝ 2252 Demand of him of
2253 what strength they are o’ foot.—What say you to
2254 170 that?
PAROLLES 2255 By my troth, sir, if I were to live ⌜but⌝ this
2256 present hour, I will tell true. Let me see: Spurio a
2257 hundred and fifty, Sebastian so many, Corambus
2258 so many, Jaques so many; Guiltian, Cosmo,
2259 175 Lodowick and Gratii, two hundred fifty each; mine
2260 own company, Chitopher, Vaumond, Bentii, two
2261 hundred fifty each; so that the muster-file, rotten
2262 and sound, upon my life amounts not to fifteen
2263 thousand poll, half of the which dare not shake the
2264 180 snow from off their cassocks lest they shake themselves
2265 to pieces.
BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2266 What shall be done to him?
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2267 Nothing but let him have thanks.
2268 (⌜Aside to First Soldier.⌝) Demand of him my condition
2269 185 and what credit I have with the Duke.
to read:⌝ 2271 You shall demand of him whether
2272 one Captain Dumaine be i’ th’ camp, a Frenchman;
2273 what his reputation is with the Duke, what his valor,
2274 190 honesty, and expertness in wars; or whether he
2275 thinks it were not possible with well-weighing sums
2276 of gold to corrupt him to a revolt.—What say you to
2277 this? What do you know of it?
PAROLLES 2278 I beseech you let me answer to the particular
2279 195 of the inter’gatories. Demand them singly.
FIRST SOLDIER 2280 Do you know this Captain Dumaine?
PAROLLES 2281 I know him. He was a botcher’s prentice in
2282 Paris, from whence he was whipped for getting the
2283 shrieve’s fool with child, a dumb innocent that
2284 200 could not say him nay.
BERTRAM, ⌜aside to First Lord⌝ 2285 Nay, by your leave, hold
2286 your hands, though I know his brains are forfeit to
2287 the next tile that falls.
FIRST SOLDIER 2288 Well, is this captain in the Duke of
2289 205 Florence’s camp?
PAROLLES 2290 Upon my knowledge he is, and lousy.
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside to Bertram⌝ 2291 Nay, look not so upon
2292 me. We shall hear of your ⌜Lordship⌝ anon.
FIRST SOLDIER 2293 What is his reputation with the Duke?
PAROLLES 2294 210The Duke knows him for no other but a
2295 poor officer of mine, and writ to me this other day
2296 to turn him out o’ th’ band. I think I have his letter
2297 in my pocket.
FIRST SOLDIER 2298 Marry, we’ll search.
⌜They search Parolles’ pockets.⌝
PAROLLES 2299 215In good sadness, I do not know. Either it is
2300 there, or it is upon a file with the Duke’s other letters
2301 in my tent.
FIRST SOLDIER 2302 Here ’tis; here’s a paper. Shall I read it to
PAROLLES 2304 220I do not know if it be it or no.
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2306 Excellently.
FIRST SOLDIER ⌜reads⌝ 2307 Dian, the Count’s a fool and full
2308 of gold—
PAROLLES 2309 225That is not the Duke’s letter, sir. That is an
2310 advertisement to a proper maid in Florence, one
2311 Diana, to take heed of the allurement of one Count
2312 Rossillion, a foolish idle boy, but for all that very
2313 ruttish. I pray you, sir, put it up again.
FIRST SOLDIER 2314 230Nay, I’ll read it first, by your favor.
PAROLLES 2315 My meaning in ’t, I protest, was very honest
2316 in the behalf of the maid, for I knew the young
2317 count to be a dangerous and lascivious boy, who is
2318 a whale to virginity and devours up all the fry it
2319 235 finds.
BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2320 Damnable both-sides rogue!
FIRST SOLDIER ⌜reads⌝
2321 When he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and
2322 take it.
2323 After he scores, he never pays the score.
2324 240 Half won is match well made. Match, and well
2325 make it.
2326 He ne’er pays after-debts. Take it before.
2327 And say a soldier, Dian, told thee this:
2328 Men are to mell with; boys are not to kiss.
2329 245 For count of this: the Count’s a fool, I know it,
2330 Who pays before, but not when he does owe it.
2331 Thine, as he vowed to thee in thine ear,
BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2333 He shall be whipped through the
2334 250 army with this rhyme in ’s forehead.
SECOND LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2335 This is your devoted friend, sir,
2336 the manifold linguist and the armipotent soldier.
BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2337 I could endure anything before but a
2338 cat, and now he’s a cat to me.
FIRST SOLDIER, ⌜to Parolles⌝ 2339 255I perceive, sir, by ⌜our⌝
2340 general’s looks we shall be fain to hang you.
2342 to die, but that, my offenses being many, I would
2343 repent out the remainder of nature. Let me live,
2344 260 sir, in a dungeon, i’ th’ stocks, or anywhere, so I
2345 may live.
FIRST SOLDIER 2346 We’ll see what may be done, so you confess
2347 freely. Therefore once more to this Captain
2348 Dumaine: you have answered to his reputation
2349 265 with the Duke, and to his valor. What is his
PAROLLES 2351 He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister. For
2352 rapes and ravishments, he parallels Nessus. He
2353 professes not keeping of oaths. In breaking ’em he
2354 270 is stronger than Hercules. He will lie, sir, with such
2355 volubility that you would think truth were a fool.
2356 Drunkenness is his best virtue, for he will be
2357 swine-drunk, and in his sleep he does little harm,
2358 save to his bedclothes about him; but they know
2359 275 his conditions and lay him in straw. I have but
2360 little more to say, sir, of his honesty; he has everything
2361 that an honest man should not have; what an
2362 honest man should have, he has nothing.
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2363 I begin to love him for this.
BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2364 280For this description of thine honesty?
2365 A pox upon him! For me, he’s more and more
2366 a cat.
FIRST SOLDIER 2367 What say you to his expertness in war?
PAROLLES 2368 Faith, sir, has led the drum before the English
2369 285 tragedians. To belie him I will not, and more
2370 of his soldiership I know not, except in that country
2371 he had the honor to be the officer at a place
2372 there called Mile End, to instruct for the doubling
2373 of files. I would do the man what honor I can, but
2374 290 of this I am not certain.
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2375 He hath out-villained villainy so
2376 far that the rarity redeems him.
FIRST SOLDIER 2378 His qualities being at this poor price,
2379 295 I need not to ask you if gold will corrupt him to
PAROLLES 2381 Sir, for a cardecu he will sell the fee-simple
2382 of his salvation, the inheritance of it, and cut th’
2383 entail from all remainders, and a perpetual succession
2384 300 for it perpetually.
FIRST SOLDIER 2385 What’s his brother, the other Captain
SECOND LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2387 Why does he ask him of me?
FIRST SOLDIER 2388 What’s he?
PAROLLES 2389 305E’en a crow o’ th’ same nest: not altogether
2390 so great as the first in goodness, but greater a great
2391 deal in evil. He excels his brother for a coward, yet
2392 his brother is reputed one of the best that is. In a
2393 retreat he outruns any lackey. Marry, in coming on
2394 310 he has the cramp.
FIRST SOLDIER 2395 If your life be saved, will you undertake
2396 to betray the Florentine?
PAROLLES 2397 Ay, and the captain of his horse, Count
FIRST SOLDIER 2399 315I’ll whisper with the General and know
2400 his pleasure.
PAROLLES, ⌜aside⌝ 2401 I’ll no more drumming. A plague of
2402 all drums! Only to seem to deserve well, and to
2403 beguile the supposition of that lascivious young
2404 320 boy the Count, have I run into this danger. Yet who
2405 would have suspected an ambush where I was
FIRST SOLDIER 2407 There is no remedy, sir, but you must
2408 die. The General says you that have so traitorously
2409 325 discovered the secrets of your army and made
2410 such pestiferous reports of men very nobly held
2411 can serve the world for no honest use. Therefore
2412 you must die.—Come, headsman, off with his
FIRST SOLDIER 2416 That shall you, and take your leave of
2417 all your friends. ⌜He removes the blindfold.⌝ So,
2418 look about you. Know you any here?
BERTRAM 2419 335Good morrow, noble captain.
SECOND LORD 2420 God bless you, Captain Parolles.
FIRST LORD 2421 God save you, noble captain.
SECOND LORD 2422 Captain, what greeting will you to my
2423 Lord Lafew? I am for France.
FIRST LORD 2424 340Good captain, will you give me a copy of
2425 the sonnet you writ to Diana in behalf of the Count
2426 Rossillion? An I were not a very coward, I’d compel
2427 it of you. But fare you well.
⌜Bertram and Lords⌝ exit.
FIRST SOLDIER 2428 You are undone, captain—all but your
2429 345 scarf; that has a knot on ’t yet.
PAROLLES 2430 Who cannot be crushed with a plot?
FIRST SOLDIER 2431 If you could find out a country where
2432 but women were that had received so much
2433 shame, you might begin an impudent nation. Fare
2434 350 you well, sir. I am for France too. We shall speak of
2435 you there.He exits.
2436 Yet am I thankful. If my heart were great,
2437 ’Twould burst at this. Captain I’ll be no more,
2438 But I will eat and drink, and sleep as soft
2439 355 As captain shall. Simply the thing I am
2440 Shall make me live. Who knows himself a braggart,
2441 Let him fear this, for it will come to pass
2442 That every braggart shall be found an ass.
2443 Rust, sword; cool, blushes; and Parolles live
2444 360 Safest in shame. Being fooled, by fool’ry thrive.
2445 There’s place and means for every man alive.
2446 I’ll after them.He exits.
2447 That you may well perceive I have not wronged you,
2448 One of the greatest in the Christian world
2449 Shall be my surety, ’fore whose throne ’tis needful,
2450 Ere I can perfect mine intents, to kneel.
2451 5 Time was, I did him a desirèd office
2452 Dear almost as his life, which gratitude
2453 Through flinty Tartar’s bosom would peep forth
2454 And answer thanks. I duly am informed
2455 His Grace is at Marseilles, to which place
2456 10 We have convenient convoy. You must know
2457 I am supposèd dead. The army breaking,
2458 My husband hies him home, where, heaven aiding
2459 And by the leave of my good lord the King,
2460 We’ll be before our welcome.
WIDOW 2461 15 Gentle madam,
2462 You never had a servant to whose trust
2463 Your business was more welcome.
HELEN 2464 Nor ⌜you,⌝ mistress,
2465 Ever a friend whose thoughts more truly labor
2466 20 To recompense your love. Doubt not but heaven
2467 Hath brought me up to be your daughter’s dower,
2468 As it hath fated her to be my motive
2469 And helper to a husband. But O, strange men,
2470 That can such sweet use make of what they hate
2471 25 When saucy trusting of the cozened thoughts
2472 Defiles the pitchy night! So lust doth play
2473 With what it loathes for that which is away.
2474 But more of this hereafter.—You, Diana,
2475 Under my poor instructions yet must suffer
2476 30 Something in my behalf.
DIANA 2477 Let death and honesty
2478 Go with your impositions, I am yours
2479 Upon your will to suffer.
2481 35 But with the word “The time will bring on summer,”
2482 When briers shall have leaves as well as thorns
2483 And be as sweet as sharp. We must away.
2484 Our wagon is prepared, and time revives us.
2485 All’s well that ends well. Still the fine’s the crown.
2486 40 Whate’er the course, the end is the renown.
LAFEW 2487 No, no, no, your son was misled with a
2488 snipped-taffeta fellow there, whose villainous saffron
2489 would have made all the unbaked and doughy
2490 youth of a nation in his color. Your daughter-in-law
2491 5 had been alive at this hour, and your son here
2492 at home, more advanced by the King than by that
2493 red-tailed humble-bee I speak of.
COUNTESS 2494 I would I had not known him. It was the
2495 death of the most virtuous gentlewoman that ever
2496 10 nature had praise for creating. If she had partaken
2497 of my flesh and cost me the dearest groans of a
2498 mother, I could not have owed her a more rooted
LAFEW 2500 ’Twas a good lady, ’twas a good lady. We may
2501 15 pick a thousand salads ere we light on such another
FOOL 2503 Indeed, sir, she was the sweet marjoram of the
2504 salad, or rather the herb of grace.
LAFEW 2505 They are not herbs, you knave. They are
2506 20 nose-herbs.
FOOL 2507 I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir. I have not
2508 much skill in ⌜grass.⌝
LAFEW 2509 Whether dost thou profess thyself, a knave or a
LAFEW 2513 Your distinction?
FOOL 2514 I would cozen the man of his wife and do his
LAFEW 2516 30So you were a knave at his service indeed.
FOOL 2517 And I would give his wife my bauble, sir, to do
2518 her service.
LAFEW 2519 I will subscribe for thee, thou art both knave
2520 and fool.
FOOL 2521 35At your service.
LAFEW 2522 No, no, no.
FOOL 2523 Why, sir, if I cannot serve you, I can serve as
2524 great a prince as you are.
LAFEW 2525 Who’s that, a Frenchman?
FOOL 2526 40Faith, sir, he has an English ⌜name,⌝ but his
2527 phys’nomy is more hotter in France than there.
LAFEW 2528 What prince is that?
FOOL 2529 The black prince, sir, alias the prince of darkness,
2530 alias the devil.
LAFEW, ⌜giving him money⌝ 2531 45Hold thee, there’s my
2532 purse. I give thee not this to suggest thee from thy
2533 master thou talk’st of. Serve him still.
FOOL 2534 I am a woodland fellow, sir, that always loved a
2535 great fire, and the master I speak of ever keeps a
2536 50 good fire. But sure he is the prince of the world; let
2537 his Nobility remain in ’s court. I am for the house
2538 with the narrow gate, which I take to be too little
2539 for pomp to enter. Some that humble themselves
2540 may, but the many will be too chill and tender, and
2541 55 they’ll be for the flow’ry way that leads to the
2542 broad gate and the great fire.
LAFEW 2543 Go thy ways. I begin to be aweary of thee. And
2544 I tell thee so before because I would not fall out
2545 with thee. Go thy ways. Let my horses be well
2546 60 looked to, without any tricks.
2548 jades’ tricks, which are their own right by the law
2549 of nature.He exits.
LAFEW 2550 A shrewd knave and an unhappy.
COUNTESS 2551 65So he is. My lord that’s gone made himself
2552 much sport out of him. By his authority he
2553 remains here, which he thinks is a patent for his
2554 sauciness, and indeed he has no pace, but runs
2555 where he will.
LAFEW 2556 70I like him well. ’Tis not amiss. And I was about
2557 to tell you, since I heard of the good lady’s death
2558 and that my lord your son was upon his return
2559 home, I moved the King my master to speak in the
2560 behalf of my daughter, which in the minority of
2561 75 them both his Majesty out of a self-gracious
2562 remembrance did first propose. His Highness hath
2563 promised me to do it, and to stop up the displeasure
2564 he hath conceived against your son there is
2565 no fitter matter. How does your Ladyship like it?
COUNTESS 2566 80With very much content, my lord, and I
2567 wish it happily effected.
LAFEW 2568 His Highness comes post from Marseilles, of
2569 as able body as when he numbered thirty. He will
2570 be here tomorrow, or I am deceived by him that in
2571 85 such intelligence hath seldom failed.
COUNTESS 2572 It rejoices me that, I hope, I shall see him
2573 ere I die. I have letters that my son will be here
2574 tonight. I shall beseech your Lordship to remain
2575 with me till they meet together.
LAFEW 2576 90Madam, I was thinking with what manners I
2577 might safely be admitted.
COUNTESS 2578 You need but plead your honorable
LAFEW 2580 Lady, of that I have made a bold charter. But I
2581 95 thank my God it holds yet.
FOOL 2582 O madam, yonder’s my lord your son with a
2583 patch of velvet on ’s face. Whether there be a scar
2584 under ’t or no, the velvet knows, but ’tis a goodly
2585 patch of velvet. His left cheek is a cheek of two pile
2586 100 and a half, but his right cheek is worn bare.
LAFEW 2587 A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good liv’ry
2588 of honor. So belike is that.
FOOL 2589 But it is your carbonadoed face.
LAFEW 2590 Let us go see your son, I pray you. I long to talk
2591 105 with the young noble soldier.
FOOL 2592 ’Faith, there’s a dozen of ’em, with delicate fine
2593 hats, and most courteous feathers which bow the
2594 head and nod at every man.
2595 But this exceeding posting day and night
2596 Must wear your spirits low. We cannot help it.
2597 But since you have made the days and nights as one
2598 To wear your gentle limbs in my affairs,
2599 5 Be bold you do so grow in my requital
2600 As nothing can unroot you.
Enter ⌜a Gentleman,⌝ a gentle Astringer.
2601 In happy time!
2602 This man may help me to his Majesty’s ear,
2603 If he would spend his power.—God save you, sir.
GENTLEMAN 2604 10And you.
2605 Sir, I have seen you in the court of France.
GENTLEMAN 2606 I have been sometimes there.
2607 I do presume, sir, that you are not fall’n
2608 From the report that goes upon your goodness,
2609 15 And therefore, goaded with most sharp occasions
2610 Which lay nice manners by, I put you to
2611 The use of your own virtues, for the which
2612 I shall continue thankful.
HELEN, ⌜taking out a paper⌝ 2614 20That it will please you
2615 To give this poor petition to the King
2616 And aid me with that store of power you have
2617 To come into his presence.
2618 The King’s not here.
HELEN 2619 25 Not here, sir?
GENTLEMAN 2620 Not indeed.
2621 He hence removed last night, and with more haste
2622 Than is his use.
WIDOW 2623 Lord, how we lose our pains!
HELEN 2624 30All’s well that ends well yet,
2625 Though time seem so adverse and means unfit.—
2626 I do beseech you, whither is he gone?
2627 Marry, as I take it, to Rossillion,
2628 Whither I am going.
HELEN, ⌜giving him the paper⌝ 2629 35 I do beseech you, sir,
2630 Since you are like to see the King before me,
2631 Commend the paper to his gracious hand,
2632 Which I presume shall render you no blame
2633 But rather make you thank your pains for it.
2634 40 I will come after you with what good speed
2635 Our means will make us means.
GENTLEMAN 2636 This I’ll do for you.
2637 And you shall find yourself to be well thanked
2638 Whate’er falls more. We must to horse again.—
2639 45 Go, go, provide.
PAROLLES, ⌜holding out a paper⌝ 2640 Good Monsieur
2641 Lavatch, give my lord Lafew this letter. I have ere
2642 now, sir, been better known to you, when I have
2643 held familiarity with fresher clothes. But I am
2644 5 now, sir, muddied in Fortune’s mood, and smell
2645 somewhat strong of her strong displeasure.
FOOL 2646 Truly, Fortune’s displeasure is but sluttish if it
2647 smell so strongly as thou speak’st of. I will henceforth
2648 eat no fish of Fortune’s butt’ring. Prithee,
2649 10 allow the wind.
PAROLLES 2650 Nay, you need not to stop your nose, sir. I
2651 spake but by a metaphor.
FOOL 2652 Indeed, sir, if your metaphor stink I will stop my
2653 nose, or against any man’s metaphor. Prithee, get
2654 15 thee further.
PAROLLES 2655 Pray you, sir, deliver me this paper.
FOOL 2656 Foh! Prithee, stand away. A paper from Fortune’s
2657 close-stool, to give to a nobleman!
2658 Look, here he comes himself.—Here is a purr of
2659 20 Fortune’s, sir, or of Fortune’s cat—but not a
2660 musk-cat—that has fall’n into the unclean fishpond
2661 of her displeasure and, as he says, is muddied
2662 withal. Pray you, sir, use the carp as you may,
2663 for he looks like a poor, decayed, ingenious, foolish,
2664 25 rascally knave. I do pity his distress in my
2665 smiles of comfort, and leave him to your Lordship.
PAROLLES 2666 My lord, I am a man whom Fortune hath
2667 cruelly scratched.
LAFEW 2668 And what would you have me to do? ’Tis too
2669 30 late to pare her nails now. Wherein have you
2671 scratch you, who of herself is a good lady and
2672 would not have knaves thrive long under ⌜her?⌝
2673 There’s a cardecu for you. Let the justices make
2674 35 you and Fortune friends. I am for other business.
PAROLLES 2675 I beseech your Honor to hear me one single
LAFEW 2677 You beg a single penny more. Come, you shall
2678 ha ’t. Save your word.
PAROLLES 2679 40My name, my good lord, is Parolles.
LAFEW 2680 You beg more than ⌜a⌝ word, then. Cock’s my
2681 passion; give me your hand. How does your drum?
PAROLLES 2682 O my good lord, you were the first that
2683 found me.
LAFEW 2684 45Was I, in sooth? And I was the first that lost
PAROLLES 2686 It lies in you, my lord, to bring me in some
2687 grace, for you did bring me out.
LAFEW 2688 Out upon thee, knave! Dost thou put upon me
2689 50 at once both the office of God and the devil? One
2690 brings thee in grace, and the other brings thee out.
2691 ⌜Trumpets sound.⌝ The King’s coming. I know by
2692 his trumpets. Sirrah, inquire further after me. I
2693 had talk of you last night. Though you are a fool
2694 55 and a knave, you shall eat. Go to, follow.
PAROLLES 2695 I praise God for you.
Lords, with Attendants.
2696 We lost a jewel of her, and our esteem
2697 Was made much poorer by it. But your son,
2699 Her estimation home.
COUNTESS 2700 5 ’Tis past, my liege,
2701 And I beseech your Majesty to make it
2702 Natural rebellion done i’ th’ blade of youth,
2703 When oil and fire, too strong for reason’s force,
2704 O’erbears it and burns on.
KING 2705 10 My honored lady,
2706 I have forgiven and forgotten all,
2707 Though my revenges were high bent upon him
2708 And watched the time to shoot.
LAFEW 2709 This I must say—
2710 15 But first I beg my pardon: the young lord
2711 Did to his Majesty, his mother, and his lady
2712 Offense of mighty note, but to himself
2713 The greatest wrong of all. He lost a wife
2714 Whose beauty did astonish the survey
2715 20 Of richest eyes, whose words all ears took captive,
2716 Whose dear perfection hearts that scorned to serve
2717 Humbly called mistress.
KING 2718 Praising what is lost
2719 Makes the remembrance dear. Well, call him hither.
2720 25 We are reconciled, and the first view shall kill
2721 All repetition. Let him not ask our pardon.
2722 The nature of his great offense is dead,
2723 And deeper than oblivion we do bury
2724 Th’ incensing relics of it. Let him approach
2725 30 A stranger, no offender, and inform him
2726 So ’tis our will he should.
GENTLEMAN 2727 I shall, my liege.⌜He exits.⌝
2728 What says he to your daughter? Have you spoke?
2729 All that he is hath reference to your Highness.
2730 35 Then shall we have a match. I have letters sent me
2731 That sets him high in fame.
LAFEW 2732 He looks well on ’t.
KING 2733 I am not a day of season,
2734 For thou mayst see a sunshine and a hail
2735 40 In me at once. But to the brightest beams
2736 Distracted clouds give way. So stand thou forth.
2737 The time is fair again.
BERTRAM 2738 My high-repented blames,
2739 Dear sovereign, pardon to me.
KING 2740 45 All is whole.
2741 Not one word more of the consumèd time.
2742 Let’s take the instant by the forward top,
2743 For we are old, and on our quick’st decrees
2744 Th’ inaudible and noiseless foot of time
2745 50 Steals ere we can effect them. You remember
2746 The daughter of this lord?
BERTRAM 2747 Admiringly, my liege. At first
2748 I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
2749 Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue;
2750 55 Where the impression of mine eye infixing,
2751 Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me,
2752 Which warped the line of every other favor,
2753 Scorned a fair color or expressed it stol’n,
2754 Extended or contracted all proportions
2755 60 To a most hideous object. Thence it came
2756 That she whom all men praised and whom myself,
2757 Since I have lost, have loved, was in mine eye
2758 The dust that did offend it.
KING 2759 Well excused.
2760 65 That thou didst love her strikes some scores away
2761 From the great compt. But love that comes too late,
2762 Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried,
2763 To the great sender turns a sour offense,
2764 Crying “That’s good that’s gone!” Our rash faults
2765 70 Make trivial price of serious things we have,
2767 Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust,
2768 Destroy our friends and after weep their dust.
2769 Our own love, waking, cries to see what’s done,
2770 75 While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon.
2771 Be this sweet Helen’s knell, and now forget her.
2772 Send forth your amorous token for fair Maudlin.
2773 The main consents are had, and here we’ll stay
2774 To see our widower’s second marriage day.
2775 80 Which better than the first, O dear heaven, bless,
2776 Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cesse!
2777 Come on, my son, in whom my house’s name
2778 Must be digested, give a favor from you
2779 To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter,
2780 85 That she may quickly come.
⌜Bertram gives him a ring.⌝
2781 By my old beard
2782 And ev’ry hair that’s on ’t, Helen that’s dead
2783 Was a sweet creature. Such a ring as this,
2784 The last that e’er I took her leave at court,
2785 90 I saw upon her finger.
BERTRAM 2786 Hers it was not.
2787 Now, pray you, let me see it, for mine eye,
2788 While I was speaking, oft was fastened to ’t.
⌜Lafew passes the ring to the King.⌝
2789 This ring was mine, and when I gave it Helen,
2790 95 I bade her if her fortunes ever stood
2791 Necessitied to help, that by this token
2792 I would relieve her. ⌜To Bertram.⌝ Had you that craft to
2793 reave her
2794 Of what should stead her most?
BERTRAM 2795 100 My gracious
2798 The ring was never hers.
COUNTESS 2799 Son, on my life,
2800 105 I have seen her wear it, and she reckoned it
2801 At her life’s rate.
LAFEW 2802 I am sure I saw her wear it.
2803 You are deceived, my lord. She never saw it.
2804 In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,
2805 110 Wrapped in a paper which contained the name
2806 Of her that threw it. Noble she was, and thought
2807 I stood ⌜ungaged,⌝ but when I had subscribed
2808 To mine own fortune and informed her fully
2809 I could not answer in that course of honor
2810 115 As she had made the overture, she ceased
2811 In heavy satisfaction and would never
2812 Receive the ring again.
KING 2813 Plutus himself,
2814 That knows the tinct and multiplying med’cine,
2815 120 Hath not in nature’s mystery more science
2816 Than I have in this ring. ’Twas mine, ’twas Helen’s,
2817 Whoever gave it you. Then if you know
2818 That you are well acquainted with yourself,
2819 Confess ’twas hers and by what rough enforcement
2820 125 You got it from her. She called the saints to surety
2821 That she would never put it from her finger
2822 Unless she gave it to yourself in bed,
2823 Where you have never come, or sent it us
2824 Upon her great disaster.
BERTRAM 2825 130 She never saw it.
2826 Thou speak’st it falsely, as I love mine honor,
2827 And mak’st conjectural fears to come into me
2828 Which I would fain shut out. If it should prove
2829 That thou art so inhuman—’twill not prove so,
2830 135 And yet I know not. Thou didst hate her deadly,
2832 Her eyes myself could win me to believe
2833 More than to see this ring.—Take him away.
2834 My forepast proofs, howe’er the matter fall,
2835 140 Shall tax my fears of little vanity,
2836 Having vainly feared too little. Away with him.
2837 We’ll sift this matter further.
BERTRAM 2838 If you shall prove
2839 This ring was ever hers, you shall as easy
2840 145 Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence,
2841 Where yet she never was.⌜He exits, under guard.⌝
2842 I am wrapped in dismal thinkings.
Enter a Gentleman.
GENTLEMAN 2843 Gracious sovereign,
2844 Whether I have been to blame or no, I know not.
⌜He gives the King a paper.⌝
2845 150 Here’s a petition from a Florentine
2846 Who hath for four or five removes come short
2847 To tender it herself. I undertook it,
2848 Vanquished thereto by the fair grace and speech
2849 Of the poor suppliant, who, by this, I know
2850 155 Is here attending. Her business looks in her
2851 With an importing visage, and she told me,
2852 In a sweet verbal brief, it did concern
2853 Your Highness with herself.
⌜KING reads⌝ 2854 Upon his many protestations to marry me
2855 160 when his wife was dead, I blush to say it, he won
2856 me. Now is the Count Rossillion a widower, his
2857 vows are forfeited to me and my honor’s paid to him.
2858 He stole from Florence, taking no leave, and I follow
2859 him to his country for justice. Grant it me, O king.
2860 165 In you it best lies. Otherwise a seducer flourishes,
2861 and a poor maid is undone.
2862 Diana Capilet.
2864 this. I’ll none of him.
2865 170 The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafew,
2866 To bring forth this discov’ry.—Seek these suitors.
2867 Go speedily, and bring again the Count.
⌜Gentleman and Attendants exit.⌝
2868 I am afeard the life of Helen, lady,
2869 Was foully snatched.
COUNTESS 2870 175 Now justice on the doers!
Enter Bertram ⌜under guard.⌝
2871 I wonder, sir, ⌜since⌝ wives are monsters to you
2872 And that you fly them as you swear them lordship,
2873 Yet you desire to marry.
Enter Widow ⌜and⌝ Diana.
2874 What woman’s that?
2875 180 I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine,
2876 Derivèd from the ancient Capilet.
2877 My suit, as I do understand, you know
2878 And therefore know how far I may be pitied.
2879 I am her mother, sir, whose age and honor
2880 185 Both suffer under this complaint we bring,
2881 And both shall cease without your remedy.
2882 Come hither, count. Do you know these women?
2883 My lord, I neither can nor will deny
2884 But that I know them. Do they charge me further?
2885 190 Why do you look so strange upon your wife?
2886 She’s none of mine, my lord.
DIANA 2887 If you shall marry,
2888 You give away this hand, and that is mine;
2889 You give away heaven’s vows, and those are mine;
2890 195 You give away myself, which is known mine,
2891 For I by vow am so embodied yours
2892 That she which marries you must marry me,
2893 Either both or none.
LAFEW, ⌜to Bertram⌝ 2894 Your reputation comes too short
2895 200 for my daughter. You are no husband for her.
BERTRAM, ⌜to the King⌝
2896 My lord, this is a fond and desp’rate creature
2897 Whom sometime I have laughed with. Let your
2899 Lay a more noble thought upon mine honor
2900 205 Than for to think that I would sink it here.
2901 Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend
2902 Till your deeds gain them. Fairer prove your honor
2903 Than in my thought it lies.
DIANA 2904 Good my lord,
2905 210 Ask him upon his oath if he does think
2906 He had not my virginity.
2907 What sayst thou to her?
BERTRAM 2908 She’s impudent, my lord,
2909 And was a common gamester to the camp.
2910 215 He does me wrong, my lord. If I were so,
2911 He might have bought me at a common price.
2912 Do not believe him. O, behold this ring,
2913 Whose high respect and rich validity
2914 Did lack a parallel. Yet for all that
2915 220 He gave it to a commoner o’ th’ camp,
2916 If I be one.
2918 Of six preceding ancestors that gem,
2919 Conferred by testament to th’ sequent issue,
2920 225 Hath it been owed and worn. This is his wife.
2921 That ring’s a thousand proofs.
KING, ⌜to Diana⌝ 2922 Methought you said
2923 You saw one here in court could witness it.
2924 I did, my lord, but loath am to produce
2925 230 So bad an instrument. His name’s Parolles.
2926 I saw the man today, if man he be.
2927 Find him, and bring him hither.⌜Attendant exits.⌝
BERTRAM 2928 What of him?
2929 He’s quoted for a most perfidious slave,
2930 235 With all the spots o’ th’ world taxed and debauched,
2931 Whose nature sickens but to speak a truth.
2932 Am I or that or this for what he’ll utter,
2933 That will speak anything?
KING 2934 She hath that ring of yours.
2935 240 I think she has. Certain it is I liked her
2936 And boarded her i’ th’ wanton way of youth.
2937 She knew her distance and did angle for me,
2938 Madding my eagerness with her restraint,
2939 As all impediments in fancy’s course
2940 245 Are motives of more fancy; and in fine
2941 Her ⌜infinite cunning⌝ with her modern grace
2942 Subdued me to her rate. She got the ring,
2943 And I had that which any inferior might
2944 At market price have bought.
DIANA 2945 250 I must be patient.
2946 You that have turned off a first so noble wife
2947 May justly diet me. I pray you yet—
2948 Since you lack virtue, I will lose a husband—
2950 255 And give me mine again.
BERTRAM 2951 I have it not.
KING, ⌜to Diana⌝ 2952 What ring was yours, I pray you?
2953 Sir, much like the same upon your finger.
2954 Know you this ring? This ring was his of late.
2955 260 And this was it I gave him, being abed.
2956 The story, then, goes false you threw it him
2957 Out of a casement?
DIANA 2958 I have spoke the truth.
2959 My lord, I do confess the ring was hers.
2960 265 You boggle shrewdly. Every feather starts you.—
2961 Is this the man you speak of?
DIANA 2962 Ay, my lord.
2963 Tell me, sirrah—but tell me true, I charge you,
2964 Not fearing the displeasure of your master,
2965 270 Which, on your just proceeding, I’ll keep off—
2966 By him and by this woman here what know you?
PAROLLES 2967 So please your Majesty, my master hath
2968 been an honorable gentleman. Tricks he hath had
2969 in him which gentlemen have.
KING 2970 275Come, come, to th’ purpose. Did he love this
PAROLLES 2972 Faith, sir, he did love her, but how?
KING 2973 How, I pray you?
PAROLLES 2974 He did love her, sir, as a gentleman loves a
2975 280 woman.
PAROLLES 2977 He loved her, sir, and loved her not.
KING 2978 As thou art a knave and no knave. What an
2979 equivocal companion is this!
PAROLLES 2980 285I am a poor man, and at your Majesty’s
LAFEW 2982 He’s a good drum, my lord, but a naughty
DIANA 2984 Do you know he promised me marriage?
PAROLLES 2985 290Faith, I know more than I’ll speak.
KING 2986 But wilt thou not speak all thou know’st?
PAROLLES 2987 Yes, so please your Majesty. I did go
2988 between them, as I said; but more than that he
2989 loved her, for indeed he was mad for her, and
2990 295 talked of Satan and of limbo and of furies and I
2991 know not what. Yet I was in that credit with them
2992 at that time, that I knew of their going to bed and
2993 of other motions, as promising her marriage, and
2994 things which would derive me ill will to speak of.
2995 300 Therefore I will not speak what I know.
KING 2996 Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou canst
2997 say they are married. But thou art too fine in thy
2998 evidence. Therefore stand aside.
2999 This ring you say was yours?
DIANA 3000 305 Ay, my good lord.
3001 Where did you buy it? Or who gave it you?
3002 It was not given me, nor I did not buy it.
3003 Who lent it you?
DIANA 3004 It was not lent me neither.
3005 310 Where did you find it then?
DIANA 3006 I found it not.
3007 If it were yours by none of all these ways,
3008 How could you give it him?
DIANA 3009 I never gave it him.
LAFEW 3010 315This woman’s an easy glove, my lord; she goes
3011 off and on at pleasure.
3012 This ring was mine. I gave it his first wife.
3013 It might be yours or hers for aught I know.
KING, ⌜to Attendants⌝
3014 Take her away. I do not like her now.
3015 320 To prison with her, and away with him.—
3016 Unless thou tell’st me where thou hadst this ring,
3017 Thou diest within this hour.
DIANA 3018 I’ll never tell you.
3019 Take her away.
DIANA 3020 325 I’ll put in bail, my liege.
3021 I think thee now some common customer.
DIANA, ⌜to Bertram⌝
3022 By Jove, if ever I knew man, ’twas you.
3023 Wherefore hast thou accused him all this while?
3024 Because he’s guilty and he is not guilty.
3025 330 He knows I am no maid, and he’ll swear to ’t.
3026 I’ll swear I am a maid, and he knows not.
3027 Great king, I am no strumpet. By my life,
3028 I am either maid or else this old man’s wife.
3029 She does abuse our ears. To prison with her.
3030 335 Good mother, fetch my bail. ⌜Widow exits.⌝ Stay,
3031 royal sir.
3033 And he shall surety me. But for this lord
3034 Who hath abused me as he knows himself,
3035 340 Though yet he never harmed me, here I quit him.
3036 He knows himself my bed he hath defiled,
3037 And at that time he got his wife with child.
3038 Dead though she be, she feels her young one kick.
3039 So there’s my riddle: one that’s dead is quick.
3040 345 And now behold the meaning.
Enter Helen and Widow.
KING 3041 Is there no exorcist
3042 Beguiles the truer office of mine eyes?
3043 Is ’t real that I see?
HELEN 3044 No, my good lord,
3045 350 ’Tis but the shadow of a wife you see,
3046 The name and not the thing.
BERTRAM 3047 Both, both. O, pardon!
3048 O, my good lord, when I was like this maid,
3049 I found you wondrous kind. There is your ring,
3050 355 And, look you, here’s your letter. ⌜She takes out a
paper.⌝ 3051 This it says:
3052 When from my finger you can get this ring
3053 And ⌜are⌝ by me with child, etc. This is done.
3054 Will you be mine now you are doubly won?
3055 360 If she, my liege, can make me know this clearly,
3056 I’ll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly.
3057 If it appear not plain and prove untrue,
3058 Deadly divorce step between me and you.—
3059 O my dear mother, do I see you living?
3060 365 Mine eyes smell onions. I shall weep anon.—
3061 ⌜To Parolles.⌝ Good Tom Drum, lend me a handkercher.
3063 I’ll make sport with thee. Let thy courtesies alone.
3064 They are scurvy ones.
3065 370 Let us from point to point this story know,
3066 To make the even truth in pleasure flow.
3067 ⌜To Diana.⌝ If thou be’st yet a fresh uncroppèd flower,
3068 Choose thou thy husband, and I’ll pay thy dower.
3069 For I can guess that by thy honest aid
3070 375 Thou kept’st a wife herself, thyself a maid.
3071 Of that and all the progress more and less,
3072 Resolvedly more leisure shall express.
3073 All yet seems well, and if it end so meet,
3074 The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet.
3075 The King’s a beggar, now the play is done.
3076 All is well ended if this suit be won,
3077 That you express content, which we will pay,
3078 With strift to please you, day exceeding day.
3079 5 Ours be your patience, then, and yours our parts.
3080 Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.