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All's Well That Ends Well - Act 2, scene 2
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Navigate this workAll's Well That Ends Well - Act 2, scene 2
Act 2, scene 2
The Countess sends the Fool to the court with a letter for Helen.Enter Countess and ⌜Fool.⌝
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.
p. 65FOOL 0859 But a trifle neither, in good faith, if the learned
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.