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

Part 1 out of 2

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SCENE:
Rousillon; Paris; Florence; Marseilles

ACT I. SCENE 1.
Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace

Enter BERTRAM, the COUNTESS OF ROUSILLON, HELENA, and LAFEU, all
in black

COUNTESS. In delivering my son from me, I bury a second
husband.
BERTRAM. And I in going, madam, weep o'er my father's death
anew;
but I must attend his Majesty's command, to whom I am now in
ward, evermore in subjection.
LAFEU. You shall find of the King a husband, madam; you, sir, a
father. He that so generally is at all times good must of
necessity hold his virtue to you, whose worthiness would stir
it
up where it wanted, rather than lack it where there is such
abundance.
COUNTESS. What hope is there of his Majesty's amendment?
LAFEU. He hath abandon'd his physicians, madam; under whose
practices he hath persecuted time with hope, and finds no
other
advantage in the process but only the losing of hope by time.
COUNTESS. This young gentlewoman had a father- O, that 'had,'
how
sad a passage 'tis!-whose skill was almost as great as his
honesty; had it stretch'd so far, would have made nature
immortal, and death should have play for lack of work. Would,
for
the King's sake, he were living! I think it would be the
death of
the King's disease.
LAFEU. How call'd you the man you speak of, madam?
COUNTESS. He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was his
great right to be so- Gerard de Narbon.
LAFEU. He was excellent indeed, madam; the King very lately
spoke
of him admiringly and mourningly; he was skilful enough to
have
liv'd still, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.
BERTRAM. What is it, my good lord, the King languishes of?
LAFEU. A fistula, my lord.
BERTRAM. I heard not of it before.
LAFEU. I would it were not notorious. Was this gentlewoman the
daughter of Gerard de Narbon?
COUNTESS. His sole child, my lord, and bequeathed to my
overlooking. I have those hopes of her good that her
education
promises; her dispositions she inherits, which makes fair
gifts
fairer; for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities,
there commendations go with pity-they are virtues and
traitors
too. In her they are the better for their simpleness; she
derives
her honesty, and achieves her goodness.
LAFEU. Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.
COUNTESS. 'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise
in.
The remembrance of her father never approaches her heart but
the
tyranny of her sorrows takes all livelihood from her cheek.
No
more of this, Helena; go to, no more, lest it be rather
thought
you affect a sorrow than to have-
HELENA. I do affect a sorrow indeed, but I have it too.
LAFEU. Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead: excessive
grief the enemy to the living.
COUNTESS. If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes
it
soon mortal.
BERTRAM. Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
LAFEU. How understand we that?
COUNTESS. Be thou blest, Bertram, and succeed thy father
In manners, as in shape! Thy blood and virtue
Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
Share with thy birthright! Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none; be able for thine enemy
Rather in power than use, and keep thy friend
Under thy own life's key; be check'd for silence,
But never tax'd for speech. What heaven more will,
That thee may furnish, and my prayers pluck down,
Fall on thy head! Farewell. My lord,
'Tis an unseason'd courtier; good my lord,
Advise him.
LAFEU. He cannot want the best
That shall attend his love.
COUNTESS. Heaven bless him! Farewell, Bertram. Exit
BERTRAM. The best wishes that can be forg'd in your thoughts be
servants to you! [To HELENA] Be comfortable to my mother,
your
mistress, and make much of her.
LAFEU. Farewell, pretty lady; you must hold the credit of your
father. Exeunt BERTRAM and LAFEU
HELENA. O, were that all! I think not on my father;
And these great tears grace his remembrance more
Than those I shed for him. What was he like?
I have forgot him; my imagination
Carries no favour in't but Bertram's.
I am undone; there is no living, none,
If Bertram be away. 'Twere all one
That I should love a bright particular star
And think to wed it, he is so above me.
In his bright radiance and collateral light
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
Th' ambition in my love thus plagues itself:
The hind that would be mated by the lion
Must die for love. 'Twas pretty, though a plague,
To see him every hour; to sit and draw
His arched brows, his hawking eye, his curls,
In our heart's table-heart too capable
Of every line and trick of his sweet favour.
But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy
Must sanctify his relics. Who comes here?

Enter PAROLLES

[Aside] One that goes with him. I love him for his sake;
And yet I know him a notorious liar,
Think him a great way fool, solely a coward;
Yet these fix'd evils sit so fit in him
That they take place when virtue's steely bones
Looks bleak i' th' cold wind; withal, full oft we see
Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.
PAROLLES. Save you, fair queen!
HELENA. And you, monarch!
PAROLLES. No.
HELENA. And no.
PAROLLES. Are you meditating on virginity?
HELENA. Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you; let me ask
you a
question. Man is enemy to virginity; how may we barricado it
against him?
PAROLLES. Keep him out.
HELENA. But he assails; and our virginity, though valiant in
the
defence, yet is weak. Unfold to us some warlike resistance.
PAROLLES. There is none. Man, setting down before you, will
undermine you and blow you up.
HELENA. Bless our poor virginity from underminers and
blowers-up!
Is there no military policy how virgins might blow up men?
PAROLLES. Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier be
blown
up; marry, in blowing him down again, with the breach
yourselves
made, you lose your city. It is not politic in the
commonwealth
of nature to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is
rational
increase; and there was never virgin got till virginity was
first
lost. That you were made of is metal to make virgins.
Virginity
by being once lost may be ten times found; by being ever
kept, it
is ever lost. 'Tis too cold a companion; away with't.
HELENA. I will stand for 't a little, though therefore I die a
virgin.
PAROLLES. There's little can be said in 't; 'tis against the
rule
of nature. To speak on the part of virginity is to accuse
your
mothers; which is most infallible disobedience. He that hangs
himself is a virgin; virginity murders itself, and should be
buried in highways, out of all sanctified limit, as a
desperate
offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites, much like
a
cheese; consumes itself to the very paring, and so dies with
feeding his own stomach. Besides, virginity is peevish,
proud,
idle, made of self-love, which is the most inhibited sin in
the
canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but lose by't. Out
with't.
Within ten year it will make itself ten, which is a goodly
increase; and the principal itself not much the worse. Away
with't.
HELENA. How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own liking?
PAROLLES. Let me see. Marry, ill to like him that ne'er it
likes.
'Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with lying; the longer
kept,
the less worth. Off with't while 'tis vendible; answer the
time
of request. Virginity, like an old courtier, wears her cap
out of
fashion, richly suited but unsuitable; just like the brooch
and
the toothpick, which wear not now. Your date is better in
your
pie and your porridge than in your cheek. And your virginity,
your old virginity, is like one of our French wither'd pears:
it
looks ill, it eats drily; marry, 'tis a wither'd pear; it was
formerly better; marry, yet 'tis a wither'd pear. Will you
anything with it?
HELENA. Not my virginity yet.
There shall your master have a thousand loves,
A mother, and a mistress, and a friend,
A phoenix, captain, and an enemy,
A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign,
A counsellor, a traitress, and a dear;
His humble ambition, proud humility,
His jarring concord, and his discord dulcet,
His faith, his sweet disaster; with a world
Of pretty, fond, adoptious christendoms
That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he-
I know not what he shall. God send him well!
The court's a learning-place, and he is one-
PAROLLES. What one, i' faith?
HELENA. That I wish well. 'Tis pity-
PAROLLES. What's pity?
HELENA. That wishing well had not a body in't
Which might be felt; that we, the poorer born,
Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes,
Might with effects of them follow our friends
And show what we alone must think, which never
Returns us thanks.

Enter PAGE

PAGE. Monsieur Parolles, my lord calls for you. Exit PAGE

PAROLLES. Little Helen, farewell; if I can remember thee, I
will
think of thee at court.
HELENA. Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a charitable
star.
PAROLLES. Under Mars, I.
HELENA. I especially think, under Mars.
PAROLLES. Why under Mars?
HELENA. The wars hath so kept you under that you must needs be
born
under Mars.
PAROLLES. When he was predominant.
HELENA. When he was retrograde, I think, rather.
PAROLLES. Why think you so?
HELENA. You go so much backward when you fight.
PAROLLES. That's for advantage.
HELENA. So is running away, when fear proposes the safety: but
the
composition that your valour and fear makes in you is a
virtue of
a good wing, and I like the wear well.
PAROLLES. I am so full of business I cannot answer thee
acutely. I
will return perfect courtier; in the which my instruction
shall
serve to naturalize thee, so thou wilt be capable of a
courtier's
counsel, and understand what advice shall thrust upon thee;
else
thou diest in thine unthankfulness, and thine ignorance makes
thee away. Farewell. When thou hast leisure, say thy prayers;
when thou hast none, remember thy friends. Get thee a good
husband and use him as he uses thee. So, farewell.
Exit
HELENA. Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to heaven. The fated sky
Gives us free scope; only doth backward pull
Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.
What power is it which mounts my love so high,
That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye?
The mightiest space in fortune nature brings
To join like likes, and kiss like native things.
Impossible be strange attempts to those
That weigh their pains in sense, and do suppose
What hath been cannot be. Who ever strove
To show her merit that did miss her love?
The King's disease-my project may deceive me,
But my intents are fix'd, and will not leave me. Exit

ACT I. SCENE 2.
Paris. The KING'S palace

Flourish of cornets. Enter the KING OF FRANCE, with letters,
and divers ATTENDANTS

KING. The Florentines and Senoys are by th' ears;
Have fought with equal fortune, and continue
A braving war.
FIRST LORD. So 'tis reported, sir.
KING. Nay, 'tis most credible. We here receive it,
A certainty, vouch'd from our cousin Austria,
With caution, that the Florentine will move us
For speedy aid; wherein our dearest friend
Prejudicates the business, and would seem
To have us make denial.
FIRST LORD. His love and wisdom,
Approv'd so to your Majesty, may plead
For amplest credence.
KING. He hath arm'd our answer,
And Florence is denied before he comes;
Yet, for our gentlemen that mean to see
The Tuscan service, freely have they leave
To stand on either part.
SECOND LORD. It well may serve
A nursery to our gentry, who are sick
For breathing and exploit.
KING. What's he comes here?

Enter BERTRAM, LAFEU, and PAROLLES

FIRST LORD. It is the Count Rousillon, my good lord,
Young Bertram.
KING. Youth, thou bear'st thy father's face;
Frank nature, rather curious than in haste,
Hath well compos'd thee. Thy father's moral parts
Mayst thou inherit too! Welcome to Paris.
BERTRAM. My thanks and duty are your Majesty's.
KING. I would I had that corporal soundness now,
As when thy father and myself in friendship
First tried our soldiership. He did look far
Into the service of the time, and was
Discipled of the bravest. He lasted long;
But on us both did haggish age steal on,
And wore us out of act. It much repairs me
To talk of your good father. In his youth
He had the wit which I can well observe
To-day in our young lords; but they may jest
Till their own scorn return to them unnoted
Ere they can hide their levity in honour.
So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness
Were in his pride or sharpness; if they were,
His equal had awak'd them; and his honour,
Clock to itself, knew the true minute when
Exception bid him speak, and at this time
His tongue obey'd his hand. Who were below him
He us'd as creatures of another place;
And bow'd his eminent top to their low ranks,
Making them proud of his humility
In their poor praise he humbled. Such a man
Might be a copy to these younger times;
Which, followed well, would demonstrate them now
But goers backward.
BERTRAM. His good remembrance, sir,
Lies richer in your thoughts than on his tomb;
So in approof lives not his epitaph
As in your royal speech.
KING. Would I were with him! He would always say-
Methinks I hear him now; his plausive words
He scatter'd not in ears, but grafted them
To grow there, and to bear- 'Let me not live'-
This his good melancholy oft began,
On the catastrophe and heel of pastime,
When it was out-'Let me not live' quoth he
'After my flame lacks oil, to be the snuff
Of younger spirits, whose apprehensive senses
All but new things disdain; whose judgments are
Mere fathers of their garments; whose constancies
Expire before their fashions.' This he wish'd.
I, after him, do after him wish too,
Since I nor wax nor honey can bring home,
I quickly were dissolved from my hive,
To give some labourers room.
SECOND LORD. You're loved, sir;
They that least lend it you shall lack you first.
KING. I fill a place, I know't. How long is't, Count,
Since the physician at your father's died?
He was much fam'd.
BERTRAM. Some six months since, my lord.
KING. If he were living, I would try him yet-
Lend me an arm-the rest have worn me out
With several applications. Nature and sickness
Debate it at their leisure. Welcome, Count;
My son's no dearer.
BERTRAM. Thank your Majesty. Exeunt [Flourish]

ACT I. SCENE 3.
Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace

Enter COUNTESS, STEWARD, and CLOWN

COUNTESS. I will now hear; what say you of this gentlewoman?
STEWARD. Madam, the care I have had to even your content I wish
might be found in the calendar of my past endeavours; for
then we
wound our modesty, and make foul the clearness of our
deservings,
when of ourselves we publish them.
COUNTESS. What does this knave here? Get you gone, sirrah. The
complaints I have heard of you I do not all believe; 'tis my
slowness that I do not, for I know you lack not folly to
commit
them and have ability enough to make such knaveries yours.
CLOWN. 'Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a poor fellow.
COUNTESS. Well, sir.
CLOWN. No, madam, 'tis not so well that I am poor, though many
of
the rich are damn'd; but if I may have your ladyship's good
will
to go to the world, Isbel the woman and I will do as we may.
COUNTESS. Wilt thou needs be a beggar?
CLOWN. I do beg your good will in this case.
COUNTESS. In what case?
CLOWN. In Isbel's case and mine own. Service is no heritage;
and I
think I shall never have the blessing of God till I have
issue o'
my body; for they say bames are blessings.
COUNTESS. Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.
CLOWN. My poor body, madam, requires it. I am driven on by the
flesh; and he must needs go that the devil drives.
COUNTESS. Is this all your worship's reason?
CLOWN. Faith, madam, I have other holy reasons, such as they
are.
COUNTESS. May the world know them?
CLOWN. I have been, madam, a wicked creature, as you and all
flesh
and blood are; and, indeed, I do marry that I may repent.
COUNTESS. Thy marriage, sooner than thy wickedness.
CLOWN. I am out o' friends, madam, and I hope to have friends
for
my wife's sake.
COUNTESS. Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
CLOWN. Y'are shallow, madam-in great friends; for the knaves
come
to do that for me which I am aweary of. He that ears my land
spares my team, and gives me leave to in the crop. If I be
his
cuckold, he's my drudge. He that comforts my wife is the
cherisher of my flesh and blood; he that cherishes my flesh
and
blood loves my flesh and blood; he that loves my flesh and
blood
is my friend; ergo, he that kisses my wife is my friend. If
men
could be contented to be what they are, there were no fear in
marriage; for young Charbon the puritan and old Poysam the
papist, howsome'er their hearts are sever'd in religion,
their
heads are both one; they may jowl horns together like any
deer
i' th' herd.
COUNTESS. Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouth'd and calumnious
knave?
CLOWN. A prophet I, madam; and I speak the truth the next way:

For I the ballad will repeat,
Which men full true shall find:
Your marriage comes by destiny,
Your cuckoo sings by kind.

COUNTESS. Get you gone, sir; I'll talk with you more anon.
STEWARD. May it please you, madam, that he bid Helen come to
you.
Of her I am to speak.
COUNTESS. Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman I would speak with her;
Helen
I mean.
CLOWN. [Sings]

'Was this fair face the cause' quoth she
'Why the Grecians sacked Troy?
Fond done, done fond,
Was this King Priam's joy?'
With that she sighed as she stood,
With that she sighed as she stood,
And gave this sentence then:
'Among nine bad if one be good,
Among nine bad if one be good,
There's yet one good in ten.'

COUNTESS. What, one good in ten? You corrupt the song, sirrah.
CLOWN. One good woman in ten, madam, which is a purifying o'
th'
song. Would God would serve the world so all the year! We'd
find
no fault with the tithe-woman, if I were the parson. One in
ten,
quoth 'a! An we might have a good woman born before every
blazing
star, or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery well: a
man
may draw his heart out ere 'a pluck one.
COUNTESS. You'll be gone, sir knave, and do as I command you.
CLOWN. That man should be at woman's command, and yet no hurt
done!
Though honesty be no puritan, yet it will do no hurt; it will
wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big
heart.
I am going, forsooth. The business is for Helen to come
hither.
Exit
COUNTESS. Well, now.
STEWARD. I know, madam, you love your gentlewoman entirely.
COUNTESS. Faith I do. Her father bequeath'd her to me; and she
herself, without other advantage, may lawfully make title to
as
much love as she finds. There is more owing her than is paid;
and
more shall be paid her than she'll demand.
STEWARD. Madam, I was very late more near her than I think she
wish'd me. Alone she was, and did communicate to herself her
own
words to her own ears; she thought, I dare vow for her, they
touch'd not any stranger sense. Her matter was, she loved
your
son. Fortune, she said, was no goddess, that had put such
difference betwixt their two estates; Love no god, that would
not
extend his might only where qualities were level; Diana no
queen
of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight surpris'd
without
rescue in the first assault, or ransom afterward. This she
deliver'd in the most bitter touch of sorrow that e'er I
heard
virgin exclaim in; which I held my duty speedily to acquaint
you
withal; sithence, in the loss that may happen, it concerns
you
something to know it.
COUNTESS. YOU have discharg'd this honestly; keep it to
yourself.
Many likelihoods inform'd me of this before, which hung so
tott'ring in the balance that I could neither believe nor
misdoubt. Pray you leave me. Stall this in your bosom; and I
thank you for your honest care. I will speak with you further
anon. Exit STEWARD

Enter HELENA

Even so it was with me when I was young.
If ever we are nature's, these are ours; this thorn
Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong;
Our blood to us, this to our blood is born.
It is the show and seal of nature's truth,
Where love's strong passion is impress'd in youth.
By our remembrances of days foregone,
Such were our faults, or then we thought them none.
Her eye is sick on't; I observe her now.
HELENA. What is your pleasure, madam?
COUNTESS. You know, Helen,
I am a mother to you.
HELENA. Mine honourable mistress.
COUNTESS. Nay, a mother.
Why not a mother? When I said 'a mother,'
Methought you saw a serpent. What's in 'mother'
That you start at it? I say I am your mother,
And put you in the catalogue of those
That were enwombed mine. 'Tis often seen
Adoption strives with nature, and choice breeds
A native slip to us from foreign seeds.
You ne'er oppress'd me with a mother's groan,
Yet I express to you a mother's care.
God's mercy, maiden! does it curd thy blood
To say I am thy mother? What's the matter,
That this distempered messenger of wet,
The many-colour'd Iris, rounds thine eye?
Why, that you are my daughter?
HELENA. That I am not.
COUNTESS. I say I am your mother.
HELENA. Pardon, madam.
The Count Rousillon cannot be my brother:
I am from humble, he from honoured name;
No note upon my parents, his all noble.
My master, my dear lord he is; and I
His servant live, and will his vassal die.
He must not be my brother.
COUNTESS. Nor I your mother?
HELENA. You are my mother, madam; would you were-
So that my lord your son were not my brother-
Indeed my mother! Or were you both our mothers,
I care no more for than I do for heaven,
So I were not his sister. Can't no other,
But, I your daughter, he must be my brother?
COUNTESS. Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-in-law.
God shield you mean it not! 'daughter' and 'mother'
So strive upon your pulse. What! pale again?
My fear hath catch'd your fondness. Now I see
The myst'ry of your loneliness, and find
Your salt tears' head. Now to all sense 'tis gross
You love my son; invention is asham'd,
Against the proclamation of thy passion,
To say thou dost not. Therefore tell me true;
But tell me then, 'tis so; for, look, thy cheeks
Confess it, th' one to th' other; and thine eyes
See it so grossly shown in thy behaviours
That in their kind they speak it; only sin
And hellish obstinacy tie thy tongue,
That truth should be suspected. Speak, is't so?
If it be so, you have wound a goodly clew;
If it be not, forswear't; howe'er, I charge thee,
As heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
To tell me truly.
HELENA. Good madam, pardon me.
COUNTESS. Do you love my son?
HELENA. Your pardon, noble mistress.
COUNTESS. Love you my son?
HELENA. Do not you love him, madam?
COUNTESS. Go not about; my love hath in't a bond
Whereof the world takes note. Come, come, disclose
The state of your affection; for your passions
Have to the full appeach'd.
HELENA. Then I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high heaven,
I love your son.
My friends were poor, but honest; so's my love.
Be not offended, for it hurts not him
That he is lov'd of me; I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit,
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him;
Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope;
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
I still pour in the waters of my love,
And lack not to lose still. Thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun that looks upon his worshipper
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
For loving where you do; but if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in so true a flame of liking
Wish chastely and love dearly that your Dian
Was both herself and Love; O, then, give pity
To her whose state is such that cannot choose
But lend and give where she is sure to lose;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But, riddle-like, lives sweetly where she dies!
COUNTESS. Had you not lately an intent-speak truly-
To go to Paris?
HELENA. Madam, I had.
COUNTESS. Wherefore? Tell true.
HELENA. I will tell truth; by grace itself I swear.
You know my father left me some prescriptions
Of rare and prov'd effects, such as his reading
And manifest experience had collected
For general sovereignty; and that he will'd me
In heedfull'st reservation to bestow them,
As notes whose faculties inclusive were
More than they were in note. Amongst the rest
There is a remedy, approv'd, set down,
To cure the desperate languishings whereof
The King is render'd lost.
COUNTESS. This was your motive
For Paris, was it? Speak.
HELENA. My lord your son made me to think of this,
Else Paris, and the medicine, and the King,
Had from the conversation of my thoughts
Haply been absent then.
COUNTESS. But think you, Helen,
If you should tender your supposed aid,
He would receive it? He and his physicians
Are of a mind: he, that they cannot help him;
They, that they cannot help. How shall they credit
A poor unlearned virgin, when the schools,
Embowell'd of their doctrine, have let off
The danger to itself?
HELENA. There's something in't
More than my father's skill, which was the great'st
Of his profession, that his good receipt
Shall for my legacy be sanctified
By th' luckiest stars in heaven; and, would your honour
But give me leave to try success, I'd venture
The well-lost life of mine on his Grace's cure.
By such a day and hour.
COUNTESS. Dost thou believe't?
HELENA. Ay, madam, knowingly.
COUNTESS. Why, Helen, thou shalt have my leave and love,
Means and attendants, and my loving greetings
To those of mine in court. I'll stay at home,
And pray God's blessing into thy attempt.
Be gone to-morrow; and be sure of this,
What I can help thee to thou shalt not miss. Exeunt

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ACT II. SCENE 1.
Paris. The KING'S palace

Flourish of cornets. Enter the KING with divers young LORDS
taking leave
for the Florentine war; BERTRAM and PAROLLES; ATTENDANTS

KING. Farewell, young lords; these war-like principles
Do not throw from you. And you, my lords, farewell;
Share the advice betwixt you; if both gain all,
The gift doth stretch itself as 'tis receiv'd,
And is enough for both.
FIRST LORD. 'Tis our hope, sir,
After well-ent'red soldiers, to return
And find your Grace in health.
KING. No, no, it cannot be; and yet my heart
Will not confess he owes the malady
That doth my life besiege. Farewell, young lords;
Whether I live or die, be you the sons
Of worthy Frenchmen; let higher Italy-
Those bated that inherit but the fall
Of the last monarchy-see that you come
Not to woo honour, but to wed it; when
The bravest questant shrinks, find what you seek,
That fame may cry you aloud. I say farewell.
SECOND LORD. Health, at your bidding, serve your Majesty!
KING. Those girls of Italy, take heed of them;
They say our French lack language to deny,
If they demand; beware of being captives
Before you serve.
BOTH. Our hearts receive your warnings.
KING. Farewell. [To ATTENDANTS] Come hither to me.
The KING retires attended
FIRST LORD. O my sweet lord, that you will stay behind us!
PAROLLES. 'Tis not his fault, the spark.
SECOND LORD. O, 'tis brave wars!
PAROLLES. Most admirable! I have seen those wars.
BERTRAM. I am commanded here and kept a coil with
'Too young' and next year' and "Tis too early.'
PAROLLES. An thy mind stand to 't, boy, steal away bravely.
BERTRAM. I shall stay here the forehorse to a smock,
Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry,
Till honour be bought up, and no sword worn
But one to dance with. By heaven, I'll steal away.
FIRST LORD. There's honour in the theft.
PAROLLES. Commit it, Count.
SECOND LORD. I am your accessary; and so farewell.
BERTRAM. I grow to you, and our parting is a tortur'd body.
FIRST LORD. Farewell, Captain.
SECOND LORD. Sweet Monsieur Parolles!
PAROLLES. Noble heroes, my sword and yours are kin. Good sparks
and
lustrous, a word, good metals: you shall find in the regiment
of
the Spinii one Captain Spurio, with his cicatrice, an emblem
of
war, here on his sinister cheek; it was this very sword
entrench'd it. Say to him I live; and observe his reports for
me.
FIRST LORD. We shall, noble Captain.
PAROLLES. Mars dote on you for his novices! Exeunt LORDS
What will ye do?

Re-enter the KING

BERTRAM. Stay; the King!
PAROLLES. Use a more spacious ceremony to the noble lords; you
have
restrain'd yourself within the list of too cold an adieu. Be
more
expressive to them; for they wear themselves in the cap of
the
time; there do muster true gait; eat, speak, and move, under
the
influence of the most receiv'd star; and though the devil
lead
the measure, such are to be followed. After them, and take a
more
dilated farewell.
BERTRAM. And I will do so.
PAROLLES. Worthy fellows; and like to prove most sinewy
sword-men.
Exeunt BERTRAM and PAROLLES

Enter LAFEU

LAFEU. [Kneeling] Pardon, my lord, for me and for my tidings.
KING. I'll fee thee to stand up.
LAFEU. Then here's a man stands that has brought his pardon.
I would you had kneel'd, my lord, to ask me mercy;
And that at my bidding you could so stand up.
KING. I would I had; so I had broke thy pate,
And ask'd thee mercy for't.
LAFEU. Good faith, across!
But, my good lord, 'tis thus: will you be cur'd
Of your infirmity?
KING. No.
LAFEU. O, will you eat
No grapes, my royal fox? Yes, but you will
My noble grapes, an if my royal fox
Could reach them: I have seen a medicine
That's able to breathe life into a stone,
Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary
With spritely fire and motion; whose simple touch
Is powerful to araise King Pepin, nay,
To give great Charlemain a pen in's hand
And write to her a love-line.
KING. What her is this?
LAFEU. Why, Doctor She! My lord, there's one arriv'd,
If you will see her. Now, by my faith and honour,
If seriously I may convey my thoughts
In this my light deliverance, I have spoke
With one that in her sex, her years, profession,
Wisdom, and constancy, hath amaz'd me more
Than I dare blame my weakness. Will you see her,
For that is her demand, and know her business?
That done, laugh well at me.
KING. Now, good Lafeu,
Bring in the admiration, that we with the
May spend our wonder too, or take off thine
By wond'ring how thou took'st it.
LAFEU. Nay, I'll fit you,
And not be all day neither. Exit LAFEU
KING. Thus he his special nothing ever prologues.

Re-enter LAFEU with HELENA

LAFEU. Nay, come your ways.
KING. This haste hath wings indeed.
LAFEU. Nay, come your ways;
This is his Majesty; say your mind to him.
A traitor you do look like; but such traitors
His Majesty seldom fears. I am Cressid's uncle,
That dare leave two together. Fare you well. Exit
KING. Now, fair one, does your business follow us?
HELENA. Ay, my good lord.
Gerard de Narbon was my father,
In what he did profess, well found.
KING. I knew him.
HELENA. The rather will I spare my praises towards him;
Knowing him is enough. On's bed of death
Many receipts he gave me; chiefly one,
Which, as the dearest issue of his practice,
And of his old experience th' only darling,
He bade me store up as a triple eye,
Safer than mine own two, more dear. I have so:
And, hearing your high Majesty is touch'd
With that malignant cause wherein the honour
Of my dear father's gift stands chief in power,
I come to tender it, and my appliance,
With all bound humbleness.
KING. We thank you, maiden;
But may not be so credulous of cure,
When our most learned doctors leave us, and
The congregated college have concluded
That labouring art can never ransom nature
From her inaidable estate-I say we must not
So stain our judgment, or corrupt our hope,
To prostitute our past-cure malady
To empirics; or to dissever so
Our great self and our credit to esteem
A senseless help, when help past sense we deem.
HELENA. My duty then shall pay me for my pains.
I will no more enforce mine office on you;
Humbly entreating from your royal thoughts
A modest one to bear me back again.
KING. I cannot give thee less, to be call'd grateful.
Thou thought'st to help me; and such thanks I give
As one near death to those that wish him live.
But what at full I know, thou know'st no part;
I knowing all my peril, thou no art.
HELENA. What I can do can do no hurt to try,
Since you set up your rest 'gainst remedy.
He that of greatest works is finisher
Oft does them by the weakest minister.
So holy writ in babes hath judgment shown,
When judges have been babes. Great floods have flown
From simple sources, and great seas have dried
When miracles have by the greatest been denied.
Oft expectation fails, and most oft there
Where most it promises; and oft it hits
Where hope is coldest, and despair most fits.
KING. I must not hear thee. Fare thee well, kind maid;
Thy pains, not us'd, must by thyself be paid;
Proffers not took reap thanks for their reward.
HELENA. Inspired merit so by breath is barr'd.
It is not so with Him that all things knows,
As 'tis with us that square our guess by shows;
But most it is presumption in us when
The help of heaven we count the act of men.
Dear sir, to my endeavours give consent;
Of heaven, not me, make an experiment.
I am not an impostor, that proclaim
Myself against the level of mine aim;
But know I think, and think I know most sure,
My art is not past power nor you past cure.
KING. Art thou so confident? Within what space
Hop'st thou my cure?
HELENA. The greatest Grace lending grace.
Ere twice the horses of the sun shall bring
Their fiery torcher his diurnal ring,
Ere twice in murk and occidental damp
Moist Hesperus hath quench'd his sleepy lamp,
Or four and twenty times the pilot's glass
Hath told the thievish minutes how they pass,
What is infirm from your sound parts shall fly,
Health shall live free, and sickness freely die.
KING. Upon thy certainty and confidence
What dar'st thou venture?
HELENA. Tax of impudence,
A strumpet's boldness, a divulged shame,
Traduc'd by odious ballads; my maiden's name
Sear'd otherwise; ne worse of worst-extended
With vilest torture let my life be ended.
KING. Methinks in thee some blessed spirit doth speak
His powerful sound within an organ weak;
And what impossibility would slay
In common sense, sense saves another way.
Thy life is dear; for all that life can rate
Worth name of life in thee hath estimate:
Youth, beauty, wisdom, courage, all
That happiness and prime can happy call.
Thou this to hazard needs must intimate
Skill infinite or monstrous desperate.
Sweet practiser, thy physic I will try,
That ministers thine own death if I die.
HELENA. If I break time, or flinch in property
Of what I spoke, unpitied let me die;
And well deserv'd. Not helping, death's my fee;
But, if I help, what do you promise me?
KING. Make thy demand.
HELENA. But will you make it even?
KING. Ay, by my sceptre and my hopes of heaven.
HELENA. Then shalt thou give me with thy kingly hand
What husband in thy power I will command.
Exempted be from me the arrogance
To choose from forth the royal blood of France,
My low and humble name to propagate
With any branch or image of thy state;
But such a one, thy vassal, whom I know
Is free for me to ask, thee to bestow.
KING. Here is my hand; the premises observ'd,
Thy will by my performance shall be serv'd.
So make the choice of thy own time, for I,
Thy resolv'd patient, on thee still rely.
More should I question thee, and more I must,
Though more to know could not be more to trust,
From whence thou cam'st, how tended on. But rest
Unquestion'd welcome and undoubted blest.
Give me some help here, ho! If thou proceed
As high as word, my deed shall match thy deed.
[Flourish. Exeunt]

ACT II. SCENE 2.
Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace

Enter COUNTESS and CLOWN

COUNTESS. Come on, sir; I shall now put you to the height of
your
breeding.
CLOWN. I will show myself highly fed and lowly taught. I know
my
business is but to the court.
COUNTESS. To the court! Why, what place make you special, when
you
put off that with such contempt? But to the court!
CLOWN. Truly, madam, if God have lent a man any manners, he may
easily put it off at court. He that cannot make a leg, put
off's
cap, kiss his hand, and say nothing, has neither leg, hands,
lip,
nor cap; and indeed such a fellow, to say precisely, were not
for
the court; but for me, I have an answer will serve all men.
COUNTESS. Marry, that's a bountiful answer that fits all
questions.
CLOWN. It is like a barber's chair, that fits all buttocks-the
pin
buttock, the quatch buttock, the brawn buttock, or any
buttock.
COUNTESS. Will your answer serve fit to all questions?
CLOWN. As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney, as
your
French crown for your taffety punk, as Tib's rush for Tom's
forefinger, as a pancake for Shrove Tuesday, a morris for
Mayday,
as the nail to his hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a
scolding
quean to a wrangling knave, as the nun's lip to the friar's
mouth; nay, as the pudding to his skin.
COUNTESS. Have you, I, say, an answer of such fitness for all
questions?
CLOWN. From below your duke to beneath your constable, it will
fit
any question.
COUNTESS. It must be an answer of most monstrous size that must
fit
all demands.
CLOWN. But a trifle neither, in good faith, if the learned
should
speak truth of it. Here it is, and all that belongs to't. Ask
me
if I am a courtier: it shall do you no harm to learn.
COUNTESS. To be young again, if we could, I will be a fool in
question, hoping to be the wiser by your answer. I pray you,
sir,
are you a courtier?
CLOWN. O Lord, sir!-There's a simple putting off. More, more, a
hundred of them.
COUNTESS. Sir, I am a poor friend of yours, that loves you.
CLOWN. O Lord, sir!-Thick, thick; spare not me.
COUNTESS. I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely meat.
CLOWN. O Lord, sir!-Nay, put me to't, I warrant you.
COUNTESS. You were lately whipp'd, sir, as I think.
CLOWN. O Lord, sir!-Spare not me.
COUNTESS. Do you cry 'O Lord, sir!' at your whipping, and
'spare
not me'? Indeed your 'O Lord, sir!' is very sequent to your
whipping. You would answer very well to a whipping, if you
were
but bound to't.
CLOWN. I ne'er had worse luck in my life in my 'O Lord, sir!' I
see
thing's may serve long, but not serve ever.
COUNTESS. I play the noble housewife with the time,
To entertain it so merrily with a fool.
CLOWN. O Lord, sir!-Why, there't serves well again.
COUNTESS. An end, sir! To your business: give Helen this,
And urge her to a present answer back;
Commend me to my kinsmen and my son. This is not much.
CLOWN. Not much commendation to them?
COUNTESS. Not much employment for you. You understand me?
CLOWN. Most fruitfully; I am there before my legs.
COUNTESS. Haste you again. Exeunt

ACT II. SCENE 3.
Paris. The KING'S palace

Enter BERTRAM, LAFEU, and PAROLLES

LAFEU. They say miracles are past; and we have our
philosophical
persons to make modern and familiar things supernatural and
causeless. Hence is it that we make trifles of terrors,
ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge when we should
submit
ourselves to an unknown fear.
PAROLLES. Why, 'tis the rarest argument of wonder that hath
shot
out in our latter times.
BERTRAM. And so 'tis.
LAFEU. To be relinquish'd of the artists-
PAROLLES. So I say-both of Galen and Paracelsus.
LAFEU. Of all the learned and authentic fellows-
PAROLLES. Right; so I say.
LAFEU. That gave him out incurable-
PAROLLES. Why, there 'tis; so say I too.
LAFEU. Not to be help'd-
PAROLLES. Right; as 'twere a man assur'd of a-
LAFEU. Uncertain life and sure death.
PAROLLES. Just; you say well; so would I have said.
LAFEU. I may truly say it is a novelty to the world.
PAROLLES. It is indeed. If you will have it in showing, you
shall
read it in what-do-ye-call't here.
LAFEU. [Reading the ballad title] 'A Showing of a Heavenly
Effect in an Earthly Actor.'
PAROLLES. That's it; I would have said the very same.
LAFEU. Why, your dolphin is not lustier. 'Fore me, I speak in
respect-
PAROLLES. Nay, 'tis strange, 'tis very strange; that is the
brief
and the tedious of it; and he's of a most facinerious spirit
that
will not acknowledge it to be the-
LAFEU. Very hand of heaven.
PAROLLES. Ay; so I say.
LAFEU. In a most weak-
PAROLLES. And debile minister, great power, great
transcendence;
which should, indeed, give us a further use to be made than
alone
the recov'ry of the King, as to be-
LAFEU. Generally thankful.

Enter KING, HELENA, and ATTENDANTS

PAROLLES. I would have said it; you say well. Here comes the
King.
LAFEU. Lustig, as the Dutchman says. I'll like a maid the
better,
whilst I have a tooth in my head. Why, he's able to lead her
a
coranto.
PAROLLES. Mort du vinaigre! Is not this Helen?
LAFEU. 'Fore God, I think so.
KING. Go, call before me all the lords in court.
Exit an ATTENDANT
Sit, my preserver, by thy patient's side;
And with this healthful hand, whose banish'd sense
Thou has repeal'd, a second time receive
The confirmation of my promis'd gift,
Which but attends thy naming.

Enter three or four LORDS

Fair maid, send forth thine eye. This youthful parcel
Of noble bachelors stand at my bestowing,
O'er whom both sovereign power and father's voice
I have to use. Thy frank election make;
Thou hast power to choose, and they none to forsake.
HELENA. To each of you one fair and virtuous mistress
Fall, when love please. Marry, to each but one!
LAFEU. I'd give bay Curtal and his furniture
My mouth no more were broken than these boys',
And writ as little beard.
KING. Peruse them well.
Not one of those but had a noble father.
HELENA. Gentlemen,
Heaven hath through me restor'd the King to health.
ALL. We understand it, and thank heaven for you.
HELENA. I am a simple maid, and therein wealthiest
That I protest I simply am a maid.
Please it your Majesty, I have done already.
The blushes in my cheeks thus whisper me:
'We blush that thou shouldst choose; but, be refused,
Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever,
We'll ne'er come there again.'
KING. Make choice and see:
Who shuns thy love shuns all his love in me.
HELENA. Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly,
And to imperial Love, that god most high,
Do my sighs stream. Sir, will you hear my suit?
FIRST LORD. And grant it.
HELENA. Thanks, sir; all the rest is mute.
LAFEU. I had rather be in this choice than throw ames-ace for
my
life.
HELENA. The honour, sir, that flames in your fair eyes,
Before I speak, too threat'ningly replies.
Love make your fortunes twenty times above
Her that so wishes, and her humble love!
SECOND LORD. No better, if you please.
HELENA. My wish receive,
Which great Love grant; and so I take my leave.
LAFEU. Do all they deny her? An they were sons of mine I'd have
them whipt; or I would send them to th' Turk to make eunuchs
of.
HELENA. Be not afraid that I your hand should take;
I'll never do you wrong for your own sake.
Blessing upon your vows; and in your bed
Find fairer fortune, if you ever wed!
LAFEU. These boys are boys of ice; they'll none have her.
Sure, they are bastards to the English; the French ne'er got
'em.
HELENA. You are too young, too happy, and too good,
To make yourself a son out of my blood.
FOURTH LORD. Fair one, I think not so.
LAFEU. There's one grape yet; I am sure thy father drunk
wine-but
if thou be'st not an ass, I am a youth of fourteen; I have
known
thee already.
HELENA. [To BERTRAM] I dare not say I take you; but I give
Me and my service, ever whilst I live,
Into your guiding power. This is the man.
KING. Why, then, young Bertram, take her; she's thy wife.
BERTRAM. My wife, my liege! I shall beseech your Highness,
In such a business give me leave to use
The help of mine own eyes.
KING. Know'st thou not, Bertram,
What she has done for me?
BERTRAM. Yes, my good lord;
But never hope to know why I should marry her.
KING. Thou know'st she has rais'd me from my sickly bed.
BERTRAM. But follows it, my lord, to bring me down
Must answer for your raising? I know her well:
She had her breeding at my father's charge.
A poor physician's daughter my wife! Disdain
Rather corrupt me ever!
KING. 'Tis only title thou disdain'st in her, the which
I can build up. Strange is it that our bloods,
Of colour, weight, and heat, pour'd all together,
Would quite confound distinction, yet stand off
In differences so mighty. If she be
All that is virtuous-save what thou dislik'st,
A poor physician's daughter-thou dislik'st
Of virtue for the name; but do not so.
From lowest place when virtuous things proceed,
The place is dignified by the doer's deed;
Where great additions swell's, and virtue none,
It is a dropsied honour. Good alone
Is good without a name. Vileness is so:
The property by what it is should go,
Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair;
In these to nature she's immediate heir;
And these breed honour. That is honour's scorn
Which challenges itself as honour's born
And is not like the sire. Honours thrive
When rather from our acts we them derive
Than our fore-goers. The mere word's a slave,
Debauch'd on every tomb, on every grave
A lying trophy; and as oft is dumb
Where dust and damn'd oblivion is the tomb
Of honour'd bones indeed. What should be said?
If thou canst like this creature as a maid,
I can create the rest. Virtue and she
Is her own dower; honour and wealth from me.
BERTRAM. I cannot love her, nor will strive to do 't.
KING. Thou wrong'st thyself, if thou shouldst strive to choose.
HELENA. That you are well restor'd, my lord, I'm glad.
Let the rest go.
KING. My honour's at the stake; which to defeat,
I must produce my power. Here, take her hand,
Proud scornful boy, unworthy this good gift,
That dost in vile misprision shackle up
My love and her desert; that canst not dream
We, poising us in her defective scale,
Shall weigh thee to the beam; that wilt not know
It is in us to plant thine honour where
We please to have it grow. Check thy contempt;
Obey our will, which travails in thy good;
Believe not thy disdain, but presently
Do thine own fortunes that obedient right
Which both thy duty owes and our power claims;
Or I will throw thee from my care for ever
Into the staggers and the careless lapse
Of youth and ignorance; both my revenge and hate
Loosing upon thee in the name of justice,
Without all terms of pity. Speak; thine answer.
BERTRAM. Pardon, my gracious lord; for I submit
My fancy to your eyes. When I consider
What great creation and what dole of honour
Flies where you bid it, I find that she which late
Was in my nobler thoughts most base is now
The praised of the King; who, so ennobled,
Is as 'twere born so.
KING. Take her by the hand,
And tell her she is thine; to whom I promise
A counterpoise, if not to thy estate
A balance more replete.
BERTRAM. I take her hand.
KING. Good fortune and the favour of the King
Smile upon this contract; whose ceremony
Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief,
And be perform'd to-night. The solemn feast
Shall more attend upon the coming space,
Expecting absent friends. As thou lov'st her,
Thy love's to me religious; else, does err.
Exeunt all but LAFEU and PAROLLES who stay behind,
commenting of this wedding
LAFEU. Do you hear, monsieur? A word with you.
PAROLLES. Your pleasure, sir?
LAFEU. Your lord and master did well to make his recantation.
PAROLLES. Recantation! My Lord! my master!
LAFEU. Ay; is it not a language I speak?
PAROLLES. A most harsh one, and not to be understood without
bloody
succeeding. My master!
LAFEU. Are you companion to the Count Rousillon?
PAROLLES. To any count; to all counts; to what is man.
LAFEU. To what is count's man: count's master is of another
style.
PAROLLES. You are too old, sir; let it satisfy you, you are too
old.
LAFEU. I must tell thee, sirrah, I write man; to which title
age
cannot bring thee.
PAROLLES. What I dare too well do, I dare not do.
LAFEU. I did think thee, for two ordinaries, to be a pretty
wise
fellow; thou didst make tolerable vent of thy travel; it
might
pass. Yet the scarfs and the bannerets about thee did
manifoldly
dissuade me from believing thee a vessel of too great a
burden. I
have now found thee; when I lose thee again I care not; yet
art
thou good for nothing but taking up; and that thou'rt scarce
worth.
PAROLLES. Hadst thou not the privilege of antiquity upon thee-
LAFEU. Do not plunge thyself too far in anger, lest thou hasten
thy
trial; which if-Lord have mercy on thee for a hen! So, my
good
window of lattice, fare thee well; thy casement I need not
open,
for I look through thee. Give me thy hand.
PAROLLES. My lord, you give me most egregious indignity.
LAFEU. Ay, with all my heart; and thou art worthy of it.
PAROLLES. I have not, my lord, deserv'd it.
LAFEU. Yes, good faith, ev'ry dram of it; and I will not bate
thee
a scruple.
PAROLLES. Well, I shall be wiser.
LAFEU. Ev'n as soon as thou canst, for thou hast to pull at a
smack
o' th' contrary. If ever thou be'st bound in thy scarf and
beaten, thou shalt find what it is to be proud of thy
bondage. I
have a desire to hold my acquaintance with thee, or rather my
knowledge, that I may say in the default 'He is a man I
know.'
PAROLLES. My lord, you do me most insupportable vexation.
LAFEU. I would it were hell pains for thy sake, and my poor
doing
eternal; for doing I am past, as I will by thee, in what
motion
age will give me leave. Exit

PAROLLES. Well, thou hast a son shall take this disgrace off
me:
scurvy, old, filthy, scurvy lord! Well, I must be patient;
there
is no fettering of authority. I'll beat him, by my life, if I
can
meet him with any convenience, an he were double and double a
lord. I'll have no more pity of his age than I would have of-
I'll beat him, and if I could but meet him again.

Re-enter LAFEU

LAFEU. Sirrah, your lord and master's married; there's news for
you; you have a new mistress.
PAROLLES. I most unfeignedly beseech your lordship to make some
reservation of your wrongs. He is my good lord: whom I serve
above is my master.
LAFEU. Who? God?
PAROLLES. Ay, sir.
LAFEU. The devil it is that's thy master. Why dost thou garter
up
thy arms o' this fashion? Dost make hose of thy sleeves? Do
other
servants so? Thou wert best set thy lower part where thy nose
stands. By mine honour, if I were but two hours younger, I'd
beat
thee. Methink'st thou art a general offence, and every man
should
beat thee. I think thou wast created for men to breathe
themselves upon thee.
PAROLLES. This is hard and undeserved measure, my lord.
LAFEU. Go to, sir; you were beaten in Italy for picking a
kernel
out of a pomegranate; you are a vagabond, and no true
traveller;
you are more saucy with lords and honourable personages than
the
commission of your birth and virtue gives you heraldry. You
are
not worth another word, else I'd call you knave. I leave you.
Exit

Enter BERTRAM

PAROLLES. Good, very, good, it is so then. Good, very good; let
it
be conceal'd awhile.
BERTRAM. Undone, and forfeited to cares for ever!
PAROLLES. What's the matter, sweetheart?
BERTRAM. Although before the solemn priest I have sworn,
I will not bed her.
PAROLLES. What, what, sweetheart?
BERTRAM. O my Parolles, they have married me!
I'll to the Tuscan wars, and never bed her.
PAROLLES. France is a dog-hole, and it no more merits
The tread of a man's foot. To th' wars!
BERTRAM. There's letters from my mother; what th' import is I
know
not yet.
PAROLLES. Ay, that would be known. To th' wars, my boy, to th'
wars!
He wears his honour in a box unseen
That hugs his kicky-wicky here at home,
Spending his manly marrow in her arms,
Which should sustain the bound and high curvet
Of Mars's fiery steed. To other regions!
France is a stable; we that dwell in't jades;
Therefore, to th' war!
BERTRAM. It shall be so; I'll send her to my house,
Acquaint my mother with my hate to her,
And wherefore I am fled; write to the King
That which I durst not speak. His present gift
Shall furnish me to those Italian fields
Where noble fellows strike. War is no strife
To the dark house and the detested wife.
PAROLLES. Will this capriccio hold in thee, art sure?
BERTRAM. Go with me to my chamber and advise me.
I'll send her straight away. To-morrow
I'll to the wars, she to her single sorrow.
PAROLLES. Why, these balls bound; there's noise in it. 'Tis
hard:
A young man married is a man that's marr'd.
Therefore away, and leave her bravely; go.
The King has done you wrong; but, hush, 'tis so. Exeunt

ACT II. SCENE 4.
Paris. The KING'S palace

Enter HELENA and CLOWN

HELENA. My mother greets me kindly; is she well?
CLOWN. She is not well, but yet she has her health; she's very
merry, but yet she is not well. But thanks be given, she's
very
well, and wants nothing i' th' world; but yet she is not
well.
HELENA. If she be very well, what does she ail that she's not
very
well?
CLOWN. Truly, she's very well indeed, but for two things.
HELENA. What two things?
CLOWN. One, that she's not in heaven, whither God send her
quickly!
The other, that she's in earth, from whence God send her
quickly!

Enter PAROLLES

PAROLLES. Bless you, my fortunate lady!
HELENA. I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine own
good
fortunes.
PAROLLES. You had my prayers to lead them on; and to keep them
on,
have them still. O, my knave, how does my old lady?
CLOWN. So that you had her wrinkles and I her money, I would
she
did as you say.
PAROLLES. Why, I say nothing.
CLOWN. Marry, you are the wiser man; for many a man's tongue
shakes
out his master's undoing. To say nothing, to do nothing, to
know
nothing, and to have nothing, is to be a great part of your
title, which is within a very little of nothing.
PAROLLES. Away! th'art a knave.
CLOWN. You should have said, sir, 'Before a knave th'art a
knave';
that's 'Before me th'art a knave.' This had been truth, sir.
PAROLLES. Go to, thou art a witty fool; I have found thee.
CLOWN. Did you find me in yourself, sir, or were you taught to
find
me? The search, sir, was profitable; and much fool may you
find
in you, even to the world's pleasure and the increase of
laughter.
PAROLLES. A good knave, i' faith, and well fed.
Madam, my lord will go away to-night:
A very serious business calls on him.
The great prerogative and rite of love,
Which, as your due, time claims, he does acknowledge;
But puts it off to a compell'd restraint;
Whose want, and whose delay, is strew'd with sweets,
Which they distil now in the curbed time,
To make the coming hour o'erflow with joy
And pleasure drown the brim.
HELENA. What's his else?
PAROLLES. That you will take your instant leave o' th' King,
And make this haste as your own good proceeding,
Strength'ned with what apology you think
May make it probable need.
HELENA. What more commands he?
PAROLLES. That, having this obtain'd, you presently
Attend his further pleasure.
HELENA. In everything I wait upon his will.
PAROLLES. I shall report it so.
HELENA. I pray you. Exit PAROLLES
Come, sirrah. Exeunt

ACT II. SCENE 5.
Paris. The KING'S palace

Enter LAFEU and BERTRAM

LAFEU. But I hope your lordship thinks not him a soldier.
BERTRAM. Yes, my lord, and of very valiant approof.
LAFEU. You have it from his own deliverance.
BERTRAM. And by other warranted testimony.
LAFEU. Then my dial goes not true; I took this lark for a
bunting.
BERTRAM. I do assure you, my lord, he is very great in
knowledge,
and accordingly valiant.
LAFEU. I have then sinn'd against his experience and
transgress'd
against his valour; and my state that way is dangerous, since
I
cannot yet find in my heart to repent. Here he comes; I pray
you
make us friends; I will pursue the amity

Enter PAROLLES

PAROLLES. [To BERTRAM] These things shall be done, sir.
LAFEU. Pray you, sir, who's his tailor?
PAROLLES. Sir!
LAFEU. O, I know him well. Ay, sir; he, sir, 's a good workman,
a
very good tailor.
BERTRAM. [Aside to PAROLLES] Is she gone to the King?
PAROLLES. She is.
BERTRAM. Will she away to-night?
PAROLLES. As you'll have her.
BERTRAM. I have writ my letters, casketed my treasure,
Given order for our horses; and to-night,
When I should take possession of the bride,
End ere I do begin.
LAFEU. A good traveller is something at the latter end of a
dinner;
but one that lies three-thirds and uses a known truth to pass
a
thousand nothings with, should be once heard and thrice
beaten.
God save you, Captain.
BERTRAM. Is there any unkindness between my lord and you,
monsieur?
PAROLLES. I know not how I have deserved to run into my lord's
displeasure.
LAFEU. You have made shift to run into 't, boots and spurs and
all,
like him that leapt into the custard; and out of it you'll
run
again, rather than suffer question for your residence.
BERTRAM. It may be you have mistaken him, my lord.
LAFEU. And shall do so ever, though I took him at's prayers.
Fare you well, my lord; and believe this of me: there can be
no
kernal in this light nut; the soul of this man is his
clothes;
trust him not in matter of heavy consequence; I have kept of
them
tame, and know their natures. Farewell, monsieur; I have
spoken
better of you than you have or will to deserve at my hand;
but we
must do good against evil. Exit
PAROLLES. An idle lord, I swear.
BERTRAM. I think so.
PAROLLES. Why, do you not know him?
BERTRAM. Yes, I do know him well; and common speech
Gives him a worthy pass. Here comes my clog.

Enter HELENA

HELENA. I have, sir, as I was commanded from you,
Spoke with the King, and have procur'd his leave
For present parting; only he desires
Some private speech with you.
BERTRAM. I shall obey his will.
You must not marvel, Helen, at my course,
Which holds not colour with the time, nor does
The ministration and required office
On my particular. Prepar'd I was not
For such a business; therefore am I found
So much unsettled. This drives me to entreat you
That presently you take your way for home,
And rather muse than ask why I entreat you;
For my respects are better than they seem,
And my appointments have in them a need
Greater than shows itself at the first view
To you that know them not. This to my mother.
[Giving a letter]
'Twill be two days ere I shall see you; so
I leave you to your wisdom.
HELENA. Sir, I can nothing say
But that I am your most obedient servant.
BERTRAM. Come, come, no more of that.
HELENA. And ever shall
With true observance seek to eke out that
Wherein toward me my homely stars have fail'd
To equal my great fortune.
BERTRAM. Let that go.
My haste is very great. Farewell; hie home.
HELENA. Pray, sir, your pardon.
BERTRAM. Well, what would you say?
HELENA. I am not worthy of the wealth I owe,
Nor dare I say 'tis mine, and yet it is;
But, like a timorous thief, most fain would steal
What law does vouch mine own.
BERTRAM. What would you have?
HELENA. Something; and scarce so much; nothing, indeed.
I would not tell you what I would, my lord.
Faith, yes:
Strangers and foes do sunder and not kiss.
BERTRAM. I pray you, stay not, but in haste to horse.
HELENA. I shall not break your bidding, good my lord.
BERTRAM. Where are my other men, monsieur?
Farewell! Exit HELENA

Go thou toward home, where I will never come
Whilst I can shake my sword or hear the drum.
Away, and for our flight.
PAROLLES. Bravely, coragio! Exeunt

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ACT III. SCENE 1.
Florence. The DUKE's palace

Flourish. Enter the DUKE OF FLORENCE, attended; two
FRENCH LORDS, with a TROOP OF SOLDIERS

DUKE. So that, from point to point, now have you heard
The fundamental reasons of this war;
Whose great decision hath much blood let forth
And more thirsts after.
FIRST LORD. Holy seems the quarrel
Upon your Grace's part; black and fearful
On the opposer.
DUKE. Therefore we marvel much our cousin France
Would in so just a business shut his bosom
Against our borrowing prayers.
SECOND LORD. Good my lord,
The reasons of our state I cannot yield,
But like a common and an outward man
That the great figure of a council frames
By self-unable motion; therefore dare not
Say what I think of it, since I have found
Myself in my incertain grounds to fail
As often as I guess'd.
DUKE. Be it his pleasure.
FIRST LORD. But I am sure the younger of our nature,
That surfeit on their ease, will day by day
Come here for physic.
DUKE. Welcome shall they be
And all the honours that can fly from us
Shall on them settle. You know your places well;
When better fall, for your avails they fell.
To-morrow to th' field. Flourish. Exeunt

ACT III. SCENE 2.
Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace

Enter COUNTESS and CLOWN

COUNTESS. It hath happen'd all as I would have had it, save
that he
comes not along with her.
CLOWN. By my troth, I take my young lord to be a very
melancholy
man.
COUNTESS. By what observance, I pray you?
CLOWN. Why, he will look upon his boot and sing; mend the ruff
and
sing; ask questions and sing; pick his teeth and sing. I know
a
man that had this trick of melancholy sold a goodly manor for
a
song.
COUNTESS. Let me see what he writes, and when he means to come.
[Opening a letter]
CLOWN. I have no mind to Isbel since I was at court. Our old
ling
and our Isbels o' th' country are nothing like your old ling
and
your Isbels o' th' court. The brains of my Cupid's knock'd
out;
and I begin to love, as an old man loves money, with no
stomach.
COUNTESS. What have we here?
CLOWN. E'en that you have there. Exit

COUNTESS. [Reads] 'I have sent you a daughter-in-law; she
hath
recovered the King and undone me. I have wedded her, not
bedded
her; and sworn to make the "not" eternal. You shall hear I am
run
away; know it before the report come. If there be breadth
enough
in the world, I will hold a long distance. My duty to you.
Your unfortunate son,
BERTRAM.'
This is not well, rash and unbridled boy,
To fly the favours of so good a king,
To pluck his indignation on thy head
By the misprizing of a maid too virtuous
For the contempt of empire.

Re-enter CLOWN

CLOWN. O madam, yonder is heavy news within between two
soldiers
and my young lady.
COUNTESS. What is the -matter?
CLOWN. Nay, there is some comfort in the news, some comfort;
your
son will not be kill'd so soon as I thought he would.
COUNTESS. Why should he be kill'd?
CLOWN. So say I, madam, if he run away, as I hear he does the
danger is in standing to 't; that's the loss of men, though
it be
the getting of children. Here they come will tell you more.
For my
part, I only hear your son was run away. Exit

Enter HELENA and the two FRENCH GENTLEMEN

SECOND GENTLEMAN. Save you, good madam.
HELENA. Madam, my lord is gone, for ever gone.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Do not say so.
COUNTESS. Think upon patience. Pray you, gentlemen-
I have felt so many quirks of joy and grief
That the first face of neither, on the start,
Can woman me unto 't. Where is my son, I pray you?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Madam, he's gone to serve the Duke of
Florence.
We met him thitherward; for thence we came,
And, after some dispatch in hand at court,
Thither we bend again.
HELENA. Look on this letter, madam; here's my passport.
[Reads] 'When thou canst get the ring upon my finger, which
never shall come off, and show me a child begotten of thy
body
that I am father to, then call me husband; but in such a
"then" I
write a "never."
This is a dreadful sentence.
COUNTESS. Brought you this letter, gentlemen?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Ay, madam;
And for the contents' sake are sorry for our pains.
COUNTESS. I prithee, lady, have a better cheer;
If thou engrossest all the griefs are thine,
Thou robb'st me of a moiety. He was my son;
But I do wash his name out of my blood,
And thou art all my child. Towards Florence is he?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Ay, madam.
COUNTESS. And to be a soldier?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Such is his noble purpose; and, believe 't,
The Duke will lay upon him all the honour
That good convenience claims.
COUNTESS. Return you thither?
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Ay, madam, with the swiftest wing of speed.
HELENA. [Reads] 'Till I have no wife, I have nothing in
France.'
'Tis bitter.
COUNTESS. Find you that there?
HELENA. Ay, madam.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. 'Tis but the boldness of his hand haply,
which
his heart was not consenting to.
COUNTESS. Nothing in France until he have no wife!
There's nothing here that is too good for him
But only she; and she deserves a lord
That twenty such rude boys might tend upon,
And call her hourly mistress. Who was with him?
SECOND GENTLEMAN. A servant only, and a gentleman
Which I have sometime known.
COUNTESS. Parolles, was it not?
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Ay, my good lady, he.
COUNTESS. A very tainted fellow, and full of wickedness.
My son corrupts a well-derived nature
With his inducement.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Indeed, good lady,
The fellow has a deal of that too much
Which holds him much to have.
COUNTESS. Y'are welcome, gentlemen.
I will entreat you, when you see my son,
To tell him that his sword can never win
The honour that he loses. More I'll entreat you
Written to bear along.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. We serve you, madam,
In that and all your worthiest affairs.
COUNTESS. Not so, but as we change our courtesies.
Will you draw near? Exeunt COUNTESS and GENTLEMEN
HELENA. 'Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France.'
Nothing in France until he has no wife!
Thou shalt have none, Rousillon, none in France
Then hast thou all again. Poor lord! is't I
That chase thee from thy country, and expose
Those tender limbs of thine to the event
Of the non-sparing war? And is it I
That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou
Wast shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark
Of smoky muskets? O you leaden messengers,
That ride upon the violent speed of fire,
Fly with false aim; move the still-piecing air,
That sings with piercing; do not touch my lord.
Whoever shoots at him, I set him there;
Whoever charges on his forward breast,
I am the caitiff that do hold him to't;
And though I kill him not, I am the cause
His death was so effected. Better 'twere
I met the ravin lion when he roar'd
With sharp constraint of hunger; better 'twere
That all the miseries which nature owes
Were mine at once. No; come thou home, Rousillon,
Whence honour but of danger wins a scar,
As oft it loses all. I will be gone.
My being here it is that holds thee hence.
Shall I stay here to do 't? No, no, although
The air of paradise did fan the house,
And angels offic'd all. I will be gone,
That pitiful rumour may report my flight
To consolate thine ear. Come, night; end, day.
For with the dark, poor thief, I'll steal away. Exit

ACT III. SCENE 3.
Florence. Before the DUKE's palace

Flourish. Enter the DUKE OF FLORENCE, BERTRAM, PAROLLES,
SOLDIERS,
drum and trumpets

DUKE. The General of our Horse thou art; and we,
Great in our hope, lay our best love and credence
Upon thy promising fortune.
BERTRAM. Sir, it is
A charge too heavy for my strength; but yet
We'll strive to bear it for your worthy sake
To th' extreme edge of hazard.
DUKE. Then go thou forth;
And Fortune play upon thy prosperous helm,
As thy auspicious mistress!
BERTRAM. This very day,
Great Mars, I put myself into thy file;
Make me but like my thoughts, and I shall prove
A lover of thy drum, hater of love. Exeunt

ACT III. SCENE 4.
Rousillon. The COUNT'S palace

Enter COUNTESS and STEWARD

COUNTESS. Alas! and would you take the letter of her?
Might you not know she would do as she has done
By sending me a letter? Read it again.
STEWARD. [Reads] 'I am Saint Jaques' pilgrim, thither gone.
Ambitious love hath so in me offended
That barefoot plod I the cold ground upon,
With sainted vow my faults to have amended.
Write, write, that from the bloody course of war
My dearest master, your dear son, may hie.
Bless him at home in peace, whilst I from far
His name with zealous fervour sanctify.
His taken labours bid him me forgive;
I, his despiteful Juno, sent him forth
From courtly friends, with camping foes to live,
Where death and danger dogs the heels of worth.
He is too good and fair for death and me;
Whom I myself embrace to set him free.'
COUNTESS. Ah, what sharp stings are in her mildest words!
Rinaldo, you did never lack advice so much
As letting her pass so; had I spoke with her,
I could have well diverted her intents,
Which thus she hath prevented.
STEWARD. Pardon me, madam;
If I had given you this at over-night,
She might have been o'er ta'en; and yet she writes
Pursuit would be but vain.
COUNTESS. What angel shall
Bless this unworthy husband? He cannot thrive,
Unless her prayers, whom heaven delights to hear
And loves to grant, reprieve him from the wrath
Of greatest justice. Write, write, Rinaldo,
To this unworthy husband of his wife;
Let every word weigh heavy of her worth
That he does weigh too light. My greatest grief,
Though little he do feel it, set down sharply.
Dispatch the most convenient messenger.
When haply he shall hear that she is gone
He will return; and hope I may that she,
Hearing so much, will speed her foot again,
Led hither by pure love. Which of them both
Is dearest to me I have no skill in sense
To make distinction. Provide this messenger.
My heart is heavy, and mine age is weak;
Grief would have tears, and sorrow bids me speak. Exeunt

ACT III. SCENE 5.

Without the walls of Florence
A tucket afar off. Enter an old WIDOW OF FLORENCE, her daughter
DIANA,
VIOLENTA, and MARIANA, with other CITIZENS

WIDOW. Nay, come; for if they do approach the city we shall
lose
all the sight.
DIANA. They say the French count has done most honourable
service.
WIDOW. It is reported that he has taken their great'st
commander;
and that with his own hand he slew the Duke's brother.
[Tucket]
We have lost our labour; they are gone a contrary way. Hark!
you
may know by their trumpets.
MARIANA. Come, let's return again, and suffice ourselves with
the
report of it. Well, Diana, take heed of this French earl; the
honour of a maid is her name, and no legacy is so rich as
honesty.
WIDOW. I have told my neighbour how you have been solicited by
a
gentleman his companion.
MARIANA. I know that knave, hang him! one Parolles; a filthy
officer he is in those suggestions for the young earl. Beware
of
them, Diana: their promises, enticements, oaths, tokens, and
all
these engines of lust, are not the things they go under; many
a
maid hath been seduced by them; and the misery is, example,
that
so terrible shows in the wreck of maidenhood, cannot for all
that
dissuade succession, but that they are limed with the twigs
that
threatens them. I hope I need not to advise you further; but
I
hope your own grace will keep you where you are, though there
were no further danger known but the modesty which is so
lost.
DIANA. You shall not need to fear me.

Enter HELENA in the dress of a pilgrim

WIDOW. I hope so. Look, here comes a pilgrim. I know she will
lie
at my house: thither they send one another. I'll question
her.
God save you, pilgrim! Whither are bound?
HELENA. To Saint Jaques le Grand.
Where do the palmers lodge, I do beseech you?
WIDOW. At the Saint Francis here, beside the port.
HELENA. Is this the way?
[A march afar]

WIDOW. Ay, marry, is't. Hark you! They come this way.
If you will tarry, holy pilgrim,
But till the troops come by,
I will conduct you where you shall be lodg'd;
The rather for I think I know your hostess
As ample as myself.
HELENA. Is it yourself?
WIDOW. If you shall please so, pilgrim.
HELENA. I thank you, and will stay upon your leisure.
WIDOW. You came, I think, from France?
HELENA. I did so.
WIDOW. Here you shall see a countryman of yours
That has done worthy service.
HELENA. His name, I pray you.
DIANA. The Count Rousillon. Know you such a one?
HELENA. But by the ear, that hears most nobly of him;
His face I know not.
DIANA. What some'er he is,
He's bravely taken here. He stole from France,
As 'tis reported, for the King had married him
Against his liking. Think you it is so?
HELENA. Ay, surely, mere the truth; I know his lady.
DIANA. There is a gentleman that serves the Count
Reports but coarsely of her.
HELENA. What's his name?
DIANA. Monsieur Parolles.
HELENA. O, I believe with him,
In argument of praise, or to the worth
Of the great Count himself, she is too mean

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