All's Well That Ends Well - Act 5, scene 3
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Navigate this workAll's Well That Ends Well - Act 5, scene 3
Act 5, scene 3
The King forgives Bertram and agrees to a marriage between Bertram and Lafew’s daughter. Bertram gives Lafew a ring, which is then recognized by Lafew and the King as Helen’s. Bertram’s claim that it was thrown to him from a window leads to his arrest for Helen’s murder. Diana appears claiming Bertram for her husband, and her statements about Bertrams promises are supported by Parolles. Bertram claims, in turn, that Diana is a prostitute, but her possession of his ancestral ring invalidates that claim. As charges and countercharges mount, a pregnant Helen enters and tells Bertram that she has met his seemingly impossible demands.Flourish. Enter King, ⌜Countess,⌝ Lafew, the two French
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.