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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare All's Well That Ends Well

Part 2 out of 2

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To have her name repeated; all her deserving
Is a reserved honesty, and that
I have not heard examin'd.
DIANA. Alas, poor lady!
'Tis a hard bondage to become the wife
Of a detesting lord.
WIDOW. I sweet, good creature, wheresoe'er she is
Her heart weighs sadly. This young maid might do her
A shrewd turn, if she pleas'd.
HELENA. How do you mean?
May be the amorous Count solicits her
In the unlawful purpose.
WIDOW. He does, indeed;
And brokes with all that can in such a suit
Corrupt the tender honour of a maid;
But she is arm'd for him, and keeps her guard
In honestest defence.

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

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

Camp before Florence

Enter BERTRAM, and the two FRENCH LORDS

SECOND LORD. Nay, good my lord, put him to't; let him have his
FIRST LORD. If your lordship find him not a hiding, hold me no
in your respect.
SECOND LORD. On my life, my lord, a bubble.
BERTRAM. Do you think I am so far deceived in him?
SECOND LORD. Believe it, my lord, in mine own direct knowledge,
without any malice, but to speak of him as my kinsman, he's a
most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly
promise-breaker, the owner of no one good quality worthy your
lordship's entertainment.
FIRST LORD. It were fit you knew him; lest, reposing too far in
virtue, which he hath not, he might at some great and trusty
business in a main danger fail you.
BERTRAM. I would I knew in what particular action to try him.
FIRST LORD. None better than to let him fetch off his drum,
you hear him so confidently undertake to do.
SECOND LORD. I with a troop of Florentines will suddenly
him; such I will have whom I am sure he knows not from the
We will bind and hoodwink him so that he shall suppose no
but that he is carried into the leaguer of the adversaries
we bring him to our own tents. Be but your lordship present
his examination; if he do not, for the promise of his life
and in
the highest compulsion of base fear, offer to betray you and
deliver all the intelligence in his power against you, and
with the divine forfeit of his soul upon oath, never trust my
judgment in anything.
FIRST LORD. O, for the love of laughter, let him fetch his
drum; he
says he has a stratagem for't. When your lordship sees the
of his success in't, and to what metal this counterfeit lump
ore will be melted, if you give him not John Drum's
entertainment, your inclining cannot be removed. Here he


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

Florence. The WIDOW'S house


HELENA. If you misdoubt me that I am not she,
I know not how I shall assure you further
But I shall lose the grounds I work upon.
WIDOW. Though my estate be fall'n, I was well born,
Nothing acquainted with these businesses;
And would not put my reputation now
In any staining act.
HELENA. Nor would I wish you.
FIRST give me trust the Count he is my husband,
And what to your sworn counsel I have spoken
Is so from word to word; and then you cannot,
By the good aid that I of you shall borrow,
Err in bestowing it.
WIDOW. I should believe you;
For you have show'd me that which well approves
Y'are great in fortune.
HELENA. Take this purse of gold,
And let me buy your friendly help thus far,
Which I will over-pay and pay again
When I have found it. The Count he woos your daughter
Lays down his wanton siege before her beauty,
Resolv'd to carry her. Let her in fine consent,
As we'll direct her how 'tis best to bear it.
Now his important blood will nought deny
That she'll demand. A ring the County wears
That downward hath succeeded in his house
From son to son some four or five descents
Since the first father wore it. This ring he holds
In most rich choice; yet, in his idle fire,
To buy his will, it would not seem too dear,
Howe'er repented after.
WIDOW. Now I see
The bottom of your purpose.
HELENA. You see it lawful then. It is no more
But that your daughter, ere she seems as won,
Desires this ring; appoints him an encounter;
In fine, delivers me to fill the time,
Herself most chastely absent. After this,
To marry her, I'll add three thousand crowns
To what is pass'd already.
WIDOW. I have yielded.
Instruct my daughter how she shall persever,
That time and place with this deceit so lawful
May prove coherent. Every night he comes
With musics of all sorts, and songs compos'd
To her unworthiness. It nothing steads us
To chide him from our eaves, for he persists
As if his life lay on 't.
HELENA. Why then to-night
Let us assay our plot; which, if it speed,
Is wicked meaning in a lawful deed,
And lawful meaning in a lawful act;
Where both not sin, and yet a sinful fact.
But let's about it. Exeunt


Without the Florentine camp

Enter SECOND FRENCH LORD with five or six other SOLDIERS in

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


PAROLLES. Ten o'clock. Within these three hours 'twill be time
enough to go home. What shall I say I have done? It must be a
very plausive invention that carries it. They begin to smoke
and disgraces have of late knock'd to often at my door. I
find my
tongue is too foolhardy; but my heart hath the fear of Mars
before it, and of his creatures, not daring the reports of my
SECOND LORD. This is the first truth that e'er thine own tongue
guilty of.
PAROLLES. What the devil should move me to undertake the
of this drum, being not ignorant of the impossibility, and
knowing I had no such purpose? I must give myself some hurts,
say I got them in exploit. Yet slight ones will not carry it.
They will say 'Came you off with so little?' And great ones I
dare not give. Wherefore, what's the instance? Tongue, I must
you into a butterwoman's mouth, and buy myself another of
Bajazet's mule, if you prattle me into these perils.
SECOND LORD. Is it possible he should know what he is, and be
he is?
PAROLLES. I would the cutting of my garments would serve the
or the breaking of my Spanish sword.
SECOND LORD. We cannot afford you so.
PAROLLES. Or the baring of my beard; and to say it was in
SECOND LORD. 'Twould not do.
PAROLLES. Or to drown my clothes, and say I was stripp'd.
SECOND LORD. Hardly serve.
PAROLLES. Though I swore I leap'd from the window of the
SECOND LORD. How deep?
PAROLLES. Thirty fathom.
SECOND LORD. Three great oaths would scarce make that be
PAROLLES. I would I had any drum of the enemy's; I would swear
recover'd it.
SECOND LORD. You shall hear one anon. [Alarum within]
PAROLLES. A drum now of the enemy's!
SECOND LORD. Throca movousus, cargo, cargo, cargo.
ALL. Cargo, cargo, cargo, villianda par corbo, cargo.
PAROLLES. O, ransom, ransom! Do not hide mine eyes.
[They blindfold him]
FIRST SOLDIER. Boskos thromuldo boskos.
PAROLLES. I know you are the Muskos' regiment,
And I shall lose my life for want of language.
If there be here German, or Dane, Low Dutch,
Italian, or French, let him speak to me;
I'll discover that which shall undo the Florentine.
FIRST SOLDIER. Boskos vauvado. I understand thee, and can speak
tongue. Kerely-bonto, sir, betake thee to thy faith, for
seventeen poniards are at thy bosom.
FIRST SOLDIER. O, pray, pray, pray! Manka revania dulche.
SECOND LORD. Oscorbidulchos volivorco.
FIRST SOLDIER. The General is content to spare thee yet;
And, hoodwink'd as thou art, will lead thee on
To gather from thee. Haply thou mayst inform
Something to save thy life.
PAROLLES. O, let me live,
And all the secrets of our camp I'll show,
Their force, their purposes. Nay, I'll speak that
Which you will wonder at.
FIRST SOLDIER. But wilt thou faithfully?
PAROLLES. If I do not, damn me.
FIRST SOLDIER. Acordo linta.
Come on; thou art granted space.
Exit, PAROLLES guarded. A short alarum within
SECOND LORD. Go, tell the Count Rousillon and my brother
We have caught the woodcock, and will keep him muffled
Till we do hear from them.
SECOND SOLDIER. Captain, I will.
SECOND LORD. 'A will betray us all unto ourselves-
Inform on that.
SECOND SOLDIER. So I will, sir.
SECOND LORD. Till then I'll keep him dark and safely lock'd.

Florence. The WIDOW'S house


BERTRAM. They told me that your name was Fontibell.
DIANA. No, my good lord, Diana.
BERTRAM. Titled goddess;
And worth it, with addition! But, fair soul,
In your fine frame hath love no quality?
If the quick fire of youth light not your mind,
You are no maiden, but a monument;
When you are dead, you should be such a one
As you are now, for you are cold and stern;
And now you should be as your mother was
When your sweet self was got.
DIANA. She then was honest.
BERTRAM. So should you be.
My mother did but duty; such, my lord,
As you owe to your wife.
BERTRAM. No more o'that!
I prithee do not strive against my vows.
I was compell'd to her; but I love thee
By love's own sweet constraint, and will for ever
Do thee all rights of service.
DIANA. Ay, so you serve us
Till we serve you; but when you have our roses
You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves,
And mock us with our bareness.
BERTRAM. How have I sworn!
DIANA. 'Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth,
But the plain single vow that is vow'd true.
What is not holy, that we swear not by,
But take the High'st to witness. Then, pray you, tell me:
If I should swear by Jove's great attributes
I lov'd you dearly, would you believe my oaths
When I did love you ill? This has no holding,
To swear by him whom I protest to love
That I will work against him. Therefore your oaths
Are words and poor conditions, but unseal'd-
At least in my opinion.
BERTRAM. Change it, change it;
Be not so holy-cruel. Love is holy;
And my integrity ne'er knew the crafts
That you do charge men with. Stand no more off,
But give thyself unto my sick desires,
Who then recovers. Say thou art mine, and ever
My love as it begins shall so persever.
DIANA. I see that men make hopes in such a case
That we'll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.
BERTRAM. I'll lend it thee, my dear, but have no power
To give it from me.
DIANA. Will you not, my lord?
BERTRAM. It is an honour 'longing to our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
Which were the greatest obloquy i' th' world
In me to lose.
DIANA. Mine honour's such a ring:
My chastity's the jewel of our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
Which were the greatest obloquy i' th' world
In me to lose. Thus your own proper wisdom
Brings in the champion Honour on my part
Against your vain assault.
BERTRAM. Here, take my ring;
My house, mine honour, yea, my life, be thine,
And I'll be bid by thee.
DIANA. When midnight comes, knock at my chamber window;
I'll order take my mother shall not hear.
Now will I charge you in the band of truth,
When you have conquer'd my yet maiden bed,
Remain there but an hour, nor speak to me:
My reasons are most strong; and you shall know them
When back again this ring shall be deliver'd.
And on your finger in the night I'll put
Another ring, that what in time proceeds
May token to the future our past deeds.
Adieu till then; then fail not. You have won
A wife of me, though there my hope be done.
BERTRAM. A heaven on earth I have won by wooing thee.
DIANA. For which live long to thank both heaven and me!
You may so in the end.
My mother told me just how he would woo,
As if she sat in's heart; she says all men
Have the like oaths. He had sworn to marry me
When his wife's dead; therefore I'll lie with him
When I am buried. Since Frenchmen are so braid,
Marry that will, I live and die a maid.
Only, in this disguise, I think't no sin
To cozen him that would unjustly win. Exit

The Florentine camp

Enter the two FRENCH LORDS, and two or three SOLDIERS

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

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

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


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


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

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

Enter PAROLLES guarded, and
FIRST SOLDIER as interpreter

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

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

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

nation. Fare ye well, sir; I am for France too; we shall
speak of
you there. Exit with SOLDIERS
PAROLLES. Yet am I thankful. If my heart were great,
'Twould burst at this. Captain I'll be no more;
But I will eat, and drink, and sleep as soft
As captain shall. Simply the thing I am
Shall make me live. Who knows himself a braggart,
Let him fear this; for it will come to pass
That every braggart shall be found an ass.
Rust, sword; cool, blushes; and, Parolles, live
Safest in shame. Being fool'd, by fool'ry thrive.
There's place and means for every man alive.
I'll after them. Exit

The WIDOW'S house


HELENA. That you may well perceive I have not wrong'd you!
One of the greatest in the Christian world
Shall be my surety; fore whose throne 'tis needful,
Ere I can perfect mine intents, to kneel.
Time was I did him a desired office,
Dear almost as his life; which gratitude
Through flinty Tartar's bosom would peep forth,
And answer 'Thanks.' I duly am inform'd
His Grace is at Marseilles, to which place
We have convenient convoy. You must know
I am supposed dead. The army breaking,
My husband hies him home; where, heaven aiding,
And by the leave of my good lord the King,
We'll be before our welcome.
WIDOW. Gentle madam,
You never had a servant to whose trust
Your business was more welcome.
HELENA. Nor you, mistress,
Ever a friend whose thoughts more truly labour
To recompense your love. Doubt not but heaven
Hath brought me up to be your daughter's dower,
As it hath fated her to be my motive
And helper to a husband. But, O strange men!
That can such sweet use make of what they hate,
When saucy trusting of the cozen'd thoughts
Defiles the pitchy night. So lust doth play
With what it loathes, for that which is away.
But more of this hereafter. You, Diana,
Under my poor instructions yet must suffer
Something in my behalf.
DIANA. Let death and honesty
Go with your impositions, I am yours
Upon your will to suffer.
HELENA. Yet, I pray you:
But with the word the time will bring on summer,
When briers shall have leaves as well as thorns
And be as sweet as sharp. We must away;
Our waggon is prepar'd, and time revives us.
All's Well that Ends Well. Still the fine's the crown.
Whate'er the course, the end is the renown. Exeunt

Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace


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

Re-enter CLOWN

CLOWN. O madam, yonder's my lord your son with a patch of
on's face; whether there be a scar under 't or no, the velvet
knows; but 'tis a goodly patch of velvet. His left cheek is a
cheek of two pile and a half, but his right cheek is worn
LAFEU. A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good liv'ry of
honour; so belike is that.
CLOWN. But it is your carbonado'd face.
LAFEU. Let us go see your son, I pray you;
I long to talk with the young noble soldier.
CLOWN. Faith, there's a dozen of 'em, with delicate fine hats,
most courteous feathers, which bow the head and nod at every


Marseilles. A street


HELENA. But this exceeding posting day and night
Must wear your spirits low; we cannot help it.
But since you have made the days and nights as one,
To wear your gentle limbs in my affairs,
Be bold you do so grow in my requital
As nothing can unroot you.


In happy time!
This man may help me to his Majesty's ear,
If he would spend his power. God save you, sir.
HELENA. Sir, I have seen you in the court of France.
GENTLEMAN. I have been sometimes there.
HELENA. I do presume, sir, that you are not fall'n
From the report that goes upon your goodness;
And therefore, goaded with most sharp occasions,
Which lay nice manners by, I put you to
The use of your own virtues, for the which
I shall continue thankful.
GENTLEMAN. What's your will?
HELENA. That it will please you
To give this poor petition to the King;
And aid me with that store of power you have
To come into his presence.
GENTLEMAN. The King's not here.
HELENA. Not here, sir?
GENTLEMAN. Not indeed.
He hence remov'd last night, and with more haste
Than is his use.
WIDOW. Lord, how we lose our pains!
HELENA. All's Well That Ends Well yet,
Though time seem so adverse and means unfit.
I do beseech you, whither is he gone?
GENTLEMAN. Marry, as I take it, to Rousillon;
Whither I am going.
HELENA. I do beseech you, sir,
Since you are like to see the King before me,
Commend the paper to his gracious hand;
Which I presume shall render you no blame,
But rather make you thank your pains for it.
I will come after you with what good speed
Our means will make us means.
GENTLEMAN. This I'll do for you.
HELENA. And you shall find yourself to be well thank'd,
Whate'er falls more. We must to horse again;
Go, go, provide. Exeunt

Rousillon. The inner court of the COUNT'S palace


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


Here is a pur of Fortune's, sir, or of Fortune's cat, but not
a musk-cat, that has fall'n into the unclean fishpond of her
displeasure, and, as he says, is muddied withal. Pray you,
use the carp as you may; for he looks like a poor, decayed,
ingenious, foolish, rascally knave. I do pity his distress
in my similes of comfort, and leave him to your lordship.
PAROLLES. My lord, I am a man whom Fortune hath cruelly
LAFEU. And what would you have me to do? 'Tis too late to pare
nails now. Wherein have you played the knave with Fortune,
she should scratch you, who of herself is a good lady and
not have knaves thrive long under her? There's a cardecue for
you. Let the justices make you and Fortune friends; I am for
other business.
PAROLLES. I beseech your honour to hear me one single word.
LAFEU. You beg a single penny more; come, you shall ha't; save
PAROLLES. My name, my good lord, is Parolles.
LAFEU. You beg more than word then. Cox my passion! give me
hand. How does your drum?
PAROLLES. O my good lord, you were the first that found me.
LAFEU. Was I, in sooth? And I was the first that lost thee.
PAROLLES. It lies in you, my lord, to bring me in some grace,
you did bring me out.
LAFEU. Out upon thee, knave! Dost thou put upon me at once both
office of God and the devil? One brings the in grace, and the
other brings thee out. [Trumpets sound] The King's
coming; I
know by his trumpets. Sirrah, inquire further after me; I had
talk of you last night. Though you are a fool and a knave,
shall eat. Go to; follow.
PAROLLES. I praise God for you. Exeunt

Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace

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

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


LAFEU. He looks well on 't.
KING. I am not a day of season,
For thou mayst see a sunshine and a hail
In me at once. But to the brightest beams
Distracted clouds give way; so stand thou forth;
The time is fair again.
BERTRAM. My high-repented blames,
Dear sovereign, pardon to me.
KING. All is whole;
Not one word more of the consumed time.
Let's take the instant by the forward top;
For we are old, and on our quick'st decrees
Th' inaudible and noiseless foot of Time
Steals ere we can effect them. You remember
The daughter of this lord?
BERTRAM. Admiringly, my liege. At first
I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
Durst make too bold herald of my tongue;
Where the impression of mine eye infixing,
Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me,
Which warp'd the line of every other favour,
Scorn'd a fair colour or express'd it stol'n,
Extended or contracted all proportions
To a most hideous object. Thence it came
That she whom all men prais'd, and whom myself,
Since I have lost, have lov'd, was in mine eye
The dust that did offend it.
KING. Well excus'd.
That thou didst love her, strikes some scores away
From the great compt; but love that comes too late,
Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried,
To the great sender turns a sour offence,
Crying 'That's good that's gone.' Our rash faults
Make trivial price of serious things we have,
Not knowing them until we know their grave.
Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust,
Destroy our friends, and after weep their dust;
Our own love waking cries to see what's done,
While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon.
Be this sweet Helen's knell. And now forget her.
Send forth your amorous token for fair Maudlin.
The main consents are had; and here we'll stay
To see our widower's second marriage-day.
COUNTESS. Which better than the first, O dear heaven, bless!
Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cesse!
LAFEU. Come on, my son, in whom my house's name
Must be digested; give a favour from you,
To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter,
That she may quickly come.
[BERTRAM gives a ring]
By my old beard,
And ev'ry hair that's on 't, Helen, that's dead,
Was a sweet creature; such a ring as this,
The last that e'er I took her leave at court,
I saw upon her finger.
BERTRAM. Hers it was not.
KING. Now, pray you, let me see it; for mine eye,
While I was speaking, oft was fasten'd to't.
This ring was mine; and when I gave it Helen
I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood
Necessitied to help, that by this token
I would relieve her. Had you that craft to reave her
Of what should stead her most?
BERTRAM. My gracious sovereign,
Howe'er it pleases you to take it so,
The ring was never hers.
COUNTESS. Son, on my life,
I have seen her wear it; and she reckon'd it
At her life's rate.
LAFEU. I am sure I saw her wear it.
BERTRAM. You are deceiv'd, my lord; she never saw it.
In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,
Wrapp'd in a paper, which contain'd the name
Of her that threw it. Noble she was, and thought
I stood engag'd; but when I had subscrib'd
To mine own fortune, and inform'd her fully
I could not answer in that course of honour
As she had made the overture, she ceas'd,
In heavy satisfaction, and would never
Receive the ring again.
KING. Plutus himself,
That knows the tinct and multiplying med'cine,
Hath not in nature's mystery more science
Than I have in this ring. 'Twas mine, 'twas Helen's,
Whoever gave it you. Then, if you know
That you are well acquainted with yourself,
Confess 'twas hers, and by what rough enforcement
You got it from her. She call'd the saints to surety
That she would never put it from her finger
Unless she gave it to yourself in bed-
Where you have never come- or sent it us
Upon her great disaster.
BERTRAM. She never saw it.
KING. Thou speak'st it falsely, as I love mine honour;
And mak'st conjectural fears to come into me
Which I would fain shut out. If it should prove
That thou art so inhuman- 'twill not prove so.
And yet I know not- thou didst hate her deadly,
And she is dead; which nothing, but to close
Her eyes myself, could win me to believe
More than to see this ring. Take him away.
My fore-past proofs, howe'er the matter fall,
Shall tax my fears of little vanity,
Having vainly fear'd too little. Away with him.
We'll sift this matter further.
BERTRAM. If you shall prove
This ring was ever hers, you shall as easy
Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence,
Where she yet never was. Exit, guarded
KING. I am wrapp'd in dismal thinkings.


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

Enter BERTRAM, guarded

KING. I wonder, sir, sith wives are monsters to you.
And that you fly them as you swear them lordship,
Yet you desire to marry.
What woman's that?
DIANA. I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine,
Derived from the ancient Capilet.
My suit, as I do understand, you know,
And therefore know how far I may be pitied.
WIDOW. I am her mother, sir, whose age and honour
Both suffer under this complaint we bring,
And both shall cease, without your remedy.
KING. Come hither, Count; do you know these women?
BERTRAM. My lord, I neither can nor will deny
But that I know them. Do they charge me further?
DIANA. Why do you look so strange upon your wife?
BERTRAM. She's none of mine, my lord.
DIANA. If you shall marry,
You give away this hand, and that is mine;
You give away heaven's vows, and those are mine;
You give away myself, which is known mine;
For I by vow am so embodied yours
That she which marries you must marry me,
Either both or none.
LAFEU. [To BERTRAM] Your reputation comes too short for
my daughter; you are no husband for her.
BERTRAM. My lord, this is a fond and desp'rate creature
Whom sometime I have laugh'd with. Let your Highness
Lay a more noble thought upon mine honour
Than for to think that I would sink it here.
KING. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend
Till your deeds gain them. Fairer prove your honour
Than in my thought it lies!
DIANA. Good my lord,
Ask him upon his oath if he does think
He had not my virginity.
KING. What say'st thou to her?
BERTRAM. She's impudent, my lord,
And was a common gamester to the camp.
DIANA. He does me wrong, my lord; if I were so
He might have bought me at a common price.
Do not believe him. O, behold this ring,
Whose high respect and rich validity
Did lack a parallel; yet, for all that,
He gave it to a commoner o' th' camp,
If I be one.
COUNTESS. He blushes, and 'tis it.
Of six preceding ancestors, that gem
Conferr'd by testament to th' sequent issue,
Hath it been ow'd and worn. This is his wife:
That ring's a thousand proofs.
KING. Methought you said
You saw one here in court could witness it.
DIANA. I did, my lord, but loath am to produce
So bad an instrument; his name's Parolles.
LAFEU. I saw the man to-day, if man he be.
KING. Find him, and bring him hither. Exit an ATTENDANT
BERTRAM. What of him?
He's quoted for a most perfidious slave,
With all the spots o' th' world tax'd and debauch'd,
Whose nature sickens but to speak a truth.
Am I or that or this for what he'll utter
That will speak anything?
KING. She hath that ring of yours.
BERTRAM. I think she has. Certain it is I lik'd her,
And boarded her i' th' wanton way of youth.
She knew her distance, and did angle for me,
Madding my eagerness with her restraint,
As all impediments in fancy's course
Are motives of more fancy; and, in fine,
Her infinite cunning with her modern grace
Subdu'd me to her rate. She got the ring;
And I had that which any inferior might
At market-price have bought.
DIANA. I must be patient.
You that have turn'd off a first so noble wife
May justly diet me. I pray you yet-
Since you lack virtue, I will lose a husband-
Send for your ring, I will return it home,
And give me mine again.
BERTRAM. I have it not.
KING. What ring was yours, I pray you?
DIANA. Sir, much like
The same upon your finger.
KING. Know you this ring? This ring was his of late.
DIANA. And this was it I gave him, being abed.
KING. The story, then, goes false you threw it him
Out of a casement.
DIANA. I have spoke the truth.


BERTRAM. My lord, I do confess the ring was hers.
KING. You boggle shrewdly; every feather starts you.
Is this the man you speak of?
DIANA. Ay, my lord.
KING. Tell me, sirrah-but tell me true I charge you,
Not fearing the displeasure of your master,
Which, on your just proceeding, I'll keep off-
By him and by this woman here what know you?
PAROLLES. So please your Majesty, my master hath been an
gentleman; tricks he hath had in him, which gentlemen have.
KING. Come, come, to th' purpose. Did he love this woman?
PAROLLES. Faith, sir, he did love her; but how?
KING. How, I pray you?
PAROLLES. He did love her, sir, as a gentleman loves a woman.
KING. How is that?
PAROLLES. He lov'd her, sir, and lov'd her not.
KING. As thou art a knave and no knave.
What an equivocal companion is this!
PAROLLES. I am a poor man, and at your Majesty's command.
LAFEU. He's a good drum, my lord, but a naughty orator.
DIANA. Do you know he promis'd me marriage?
PAROLLES. Faith, I know more than I'll speak.
KING. But wilt thou not speak all thou know'st?
PAROLLES. Yes, so please your Majesty. I did go between them,
as I
said; but more than that, he loved her-for indeed he was mad
her, and talk'd of Satan, and of Limbo, and of Furies, and I
not what. Yet I was in that credit with them at that time
that I
knew of their going to bed; and of other motions, as
her marriage, and things which would derive me ill will to
of; therefore I will not speak what I know.
KING. Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou canst say they
married; but thou art too fine in thy evidence; therefore
This ring, you say, was yours?
DIANA. Ay, my good lord.
KING. Where did you buy it? Or who gave it you?
DIANA. It was not given me, nor I did not buy it.
KING. Who lent it you?
DIANA. It was not lent me neither.
KING. Where did you find it then?
DIANA. I found it not.
KING. If it were yours by none of all these ways,
How could you give it him?
DIANA. I never gave it him.
LAFEU. This woman's an easy glove, my lord; she goes off and on
KING. This ring was mine, I gave it his first wife.
DIANA. It might be yours or hers, for aught I know.
KING. Take her away, I do not like her now;
To prison with her. And away with him.
Unless thou tell'st me where thou hadst this ring,
Thou diest within this hour.
DIANA. I'll never tell you.
KING. Take her away.
DIANA. I'll put in bail, my liege.
KING. I think thee now some common customer.
DIANA. By Jove, if ever I knew man, 'twas you.
KING. Wherefore hast thou accus'd him all this while?
DIANA. Because he's guilty, and he is not guilty.
He knows I am no maid, and he'll swear to't:
I'll swear I am a maid, and he knows not.
Great King, I am no strumpet, by my life;
I am either maid, or else this old man's wife.
[Pointing to LAFEU]
KING. She does abuse our ears; to prison with her.
DIANA. Good mother, fetch my bail. Stay, royal sir;
The jeweller that owes the ring is sent for,
And he shall surety me. But for this lord
Who hath abus'd me as he knows himself,
Though yet he never harm'd me, here I quit him.
He knows himself my bed he hath defil'd;
And at that time he got his wife with child.
Dead though she be, she feels her young one kick;
So there's my riddle: one that's dead is quick-
And now behold the meaning.

Re-enter WIDOW with HELENA

KING. Is there no exorcist
Beguiles the truer office of mine eyes?
Is't real that I see?
HELENA. No, my good lord;
'Tis but the shadow of a wife you see,
The name and not the thing.
BERTRAM. Both, both; O, pardon!
HELENA. O, my good lord, when I was like this maid,
I found you wondrous kind. There is your ring,
And, look you, here's your letter. This it says:
'When from my finger you can get this ring,
And are by me with child,' etc. This is done.
Will you be mine now you are doubly won?
BERTRAM. If she, my liege, can make me know this clearly,
I'll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly.
HELENA. If it appear not plain, and prove untrue,
Deadly divorce step between me and you!
O my dear mother, do I see you living?
LAFEU. Mine eyes smell onions; I shall weep anon. [To PAROLLES]
Good Tom Drum, lend me a handkercher. So, I
thank thee. Wait on me home, I'll make sport with thee;
let thy curtsies alone, they are scurvy ones.
KING. Let us from point to point this story know,
To make the even truth in pleasure flow.
[To DIANA] If thou beest yet a fresh uncropped flower,
Choose thou thy husband, and I'll pay thy dower;
For I can guess that by thy honest aid
Thou kept'st a wife herself, thyself a maid.-
Of that and all the progress, more and less,
Resolvedly more leisure shall express.
All yet seems well; and if it end so meet,
The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet. [Flourish]


KING. The King's a beggar, now the play is done.
All is well ended if this suit be won,
That you express content; which we will pay
With strife to please you, day exceeding day.
Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts;
Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.
Exeunt omnes



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