All’s Well That Ends Well, by William Shakespeare

Act II

Scene I. Paris. The King’s palace.

Flourish of cornets. Enter the King, attended with divers young Lords taking leave for the Florentine war; Bertram, and Parolles

King Farewell, young lords; these warlike 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 received,
And is enough for both.

First Lord ’Tis our hope, sir,
After well enter’d 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 loud: 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. Come hither to me.

Exit, 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 ’the 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 tortured 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 entrenched it: say to him, I live; and observe his reports for me.

First Lord We shall, noble captain.

Exeunt Lords

Parolles Mars dote on you for his novices! what will ye do?

Bertram Stay: the king.

Re-enter King. Bertram and Parolles retire

Parolles [To Bertram] Use a more spacious ceremony to the noble lords; you have restrained 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 received 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 cured 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 arrived,
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 amazed 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 thee
May spend our wonder too, or take off thine
By wondering how thou took’st it.

Lafeu Nay, I’ll fit you,
And not be all day neither.

Exit

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 practise,
And of his old experience the oily 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 inaidible 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 a 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 used 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 Are thou so confident? within what space
Hopest thou my cure?

Helena The great’st 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 darest thou venture?

Helena Tax of impudence,
A strumpet’s boldness, a divulged shame
Traduced by odious ballads: my maiden’s name
Sear’d otherwise; nay, worse — if worse — 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 deserved: 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 observed,
Thy will by my performance shall be served:
So make the choice of thy own time, for I,
Thy resolved 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 camest, 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 meed.

Flourish. Exeunt

Scene II. 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 taffeta punk, as Tib’s rush for Tom’s forefinger, as a pancake for Shrove Tuesday, a morris for May-day, as the nail to his hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a scolding queen 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 whipped, 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 things may serve long, but not serve ever.

Countess I play the noble housewife with the time
To entertain’t 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 severally

Scene III. 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.

Lafeu Both of Galen and Paracelsus.

Parolles So I say.

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 helped  —

Parolles Right; as ’twere, a man assured 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 you call there?

Lafeu 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  —

pausing

and debile minister, great power, great transcendence: which should, indeed, give us a further use to be made than alone the recovery of the king, as to be  —

pausing

generally thankful.

Parolles I would have said it; you say well. Here comes the king.

Enter King, Helena, and Attendants. Lafeu and Parolles retire

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.
Sit, my preserver, by thy patient’s side;
And with this healthful hand, whose banish’d sense
Thou hast repeal’d, a second time receive
The confirmation of my promised 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’ld 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 restored 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 threateningly 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 whipped; or I would send them to the
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 raised 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 dislikest,
A poor physician’s daughter, thou dislikest
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 foregoers: the mere word’s a slave
Debosh’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 restored, 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. Cheque 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 lovest her,
Thy love’s to me religious; else, does err.

Exeunt all but Lafeu and Parolles

Lafeu [Advancing] 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 burthen. 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’t 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, deserved it.

Lafeu Yes, good faith, every dram of it; and I will not bate thee a scruple.

Parolles Well, I shall be wiser.

Lafeu Even as soon as thou canst, for thou hast to pull at a smack o’ the 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 of — I’ll beat him, an 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 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’ld beat thee: methinks, 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’ld call you knave. I leave you.

Exit

Parolles Good, very good; it is so then: good, very good; let it be concealed awhile.

Re-enter Bertram

Bertram Undone, and forfeited to cares for ever!

Parolles What’s the matter, sweet-heart?

Bertram Although before the solemn priest I have sworn,
I will not bed her.

Parolles What, what, sweet-heart?

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 the wars!

Bertram There’s letters from my mother: what the import is, I know not yet.

Parolles Ay, that would be known. To the wars, my boy, to the 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 the 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

Scene IV. 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’, the 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! thou’rt a knave.

Clown You should have said, sir, before a knave thou’rt a knave; that’s, before me thou’rt 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 will else?

Parolles That you will take your instant leave o’ the king
And make this haste as your own good proceeding,
Strengthen’d 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 every thing I wait upon his will.

Parolles I shall report it so.

Helena I pray you.

Exit Parolles

Come, sirrah.

Exeunt

Scene V. 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 sinned against his experience and transgressed 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, I, 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 leaped 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 kernel 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 procured 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. Prepared I was not
For such a business; therefore am I found
So much unsettled: this drives me to entreat you
That presently you take our 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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Last updated Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 23:06