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All's Well That Ends Well - Act 2, scene 3
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Navigate this workAll's Well That Ends Well - Act 2, scene 3
Act 2, scene 3
Having cured the King, Helen is given several courtiers from whom to choose a husband as her reward. When she selects Bertram, he objects strongly to marrying “a poor physician’s daughter,” but the King insists on the marriage. Bertram privately vows never to “bed” Helen and, immediately following the marriage ceremony, makes his plans to escape to the wars.Enter Count ⌜Bertram,⌝ Lafew, and Parolles.
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.
p. 69PAROLLES 0925 Ay, so I say.
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
p. 710953 My mouth no more were broken than these boys’
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,
p. 730985 Which great Love grant, and so I take my leave.
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,
p. 791079 And tell her she is thine, to whom I promise
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.
p. 811112 220 I have now found thee. When I lose thee again, I
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.
p. 83Enter Lafew.
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.
p. 85PAROLLES 1178 What, what, sweetheart?
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.