Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editors: Andrew Griffin, Helen Ostovich
Not Peer Reviewed

All's Well That Ends Well (Folio 1, 1623)


236
All's Well that Ends Well
Hell My dutie then shall pay me for my paines:
735I will no more enforce mine office on you,
Humbly intreating from your royall thoughts,
A modest one to beare me backe againe.
King I cannot giue thee lesse to be cal'd gratefull:
Thou thoughtst to helpe me, and such thankes I giue,
740As one neere death to those that wish him liue:
But what at full I know, thou knowst no part,
I knowing all my perill, thou no Art.
Hell What I can doe, can doe no hurt to try,
Since you set vp your rest 'gainst remedie:
745He that of greatest workes is finisher,
Oft does them by the weakest minister:
So holy Writ, in babes hath iudgement showne,
When Iudges haue bin babes; great flouds haue flowne
From simple sources: and great Seas haue dried
750When Miracles haue by the great'st beene denied.
Oft expectation failes, and most oft there
Where most it promises: and oft it hits,
Where hope is coldest, and despaire most shifts.
King I must not heare thee, fare thee wel kind maide,
755Thy paines not vs'd, must by thy selfe be paid,
Proffers not tooke, reape thanks for their reward.
Hel Inspired Merit so by breath is bard,
It is not so with him that all things knowes
As 'tis with vs, that square our guesse by showes:
760But most it is presumption in vs, when
The help of heauen we count the act of men.
Deare sir, to my endeauors giue consent,
Of heauen, not me, make an experiment.
I am not an Impostrue, that proclaime
765My selfe against the leuill of mine aime,
But know I thinke, and thinke 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?
770Hel The greatest grace lending grace,
Ere twice the horses of the sunne shall bring
Their fiery torcher his diurnall ring,
Ere twice in murke and occidentall dampe
Moist Hesperushath quench'd her sleepy Lampe:
775Or foure and twenty times the Pylots glasse
Hath told the theeuish minutes, how they passe:
What is infirme, from your sound parts shall flie,
Health shall liue free, and sickenesse freely dye.
King Vpon thy certainty and confidence,
780What dar'st thou venter?
Hell Taxe of impudence,
A strumpets boldnesse, a divulged shame
Traduc'd by odious ballads: my maidens name
Seard otherwise, ne worse of worst extended
785With vildest torture, let my life be ended.
Kin Methinks in thee some blessed spirit doth speak
His powerfull sound, within an organ weake:
And what impossibility would slay
In common sence, sence saues another way:
790Thy life is deere, for all that life can rate
Worth name of life, in thee hath estimate:
Youth, beauty, wisedome, courage, all
That happines and prime, can happy call:
Thou this to hazard, needs must intimate
795Skill infinite, or monstrous desperate,
Sweet practiser, thy Physicke I will try,
That ministers thine owne death if I die.
Hel If I breake time, or flinch in property
Of what I spoke, vnpittied let me die,
800And well deseru'd: not helping, death's my fee,
But if I helpe, what doe you promise me.
Kin Make thy demand.
Hel But will you make it euen?
Kin I by my Scepter, and my hopes of helpe.
805Hel Then shalt thou giue me with thy kingly hand
What husband in thy power I will command:
Exempted be from me the arrogance
To choose from forth the royall bloud of France,
My low and humble name to propagate
810With any branch or image of thy state:
But such a one thy vassall, whom I know
Is free for me to aske, thee to bestow.
Kin Heere is my hand, the premises obseru'd,
Thy will by my performance shall be seru'd:
815So make the choice of thy owne time, for I
Thy resolv'd Patient, on thee still relye:
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
820Vnquestion'd welcome, and vndoubted blest.
Giue me some helpe heere hoa, if thou proceed,
As high as word, my deed shall match thy deed.
Florish. Exit

Enter Countesse and Clowne

825Lady Come on sir, I shall now put you to the height
of your breeding.
Clown I will shew my selfe highly fed, and lowly
taught, I know my businesse is but to the Court.
Lady To the Court, why what place make you spe-
830ciall, when you put off that with such contempt, but to
the Court?
Clo Truly Madam, if God haue lent a man any man-
ners, hee may easilie put it off at Court: hee that cannot
make a legge, put off's cap, kisse his hand, and say no-
835thing, has neither legge, hands, lippe, nor cap; and in-
deed such a fellow, to say precisely, were not for the
Court, but for me, I haue an answere will serue all men.
Lady Marry that's a bountifull answere that fits all
questions.
840Clo It is like a Barbers chaire that fits all buttockes,
the pin buttocke, the quatch-buttocke, the brawn but-
tocke, or any buttocke.
Lady Will your answere serue fit to all questions?
Clo As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an Attur-
845ney, as your French Crowne for your taffety punke, as
Tibsrush for Tomsfore-finger, as a pancake for Shroue-
tuesday, a Morris for May-day, as the naile to his hole,
the Cuckold to his horne, as a scolding queane to a
wrangling knaue, as the Nuns lip to the Friers mouth,
850nay as the pudding to his skin.
Lady Haue you, I say, an answere of such fitnesse for
all questions?
Clo From below your Duke, to beneath your Con-
stable, it will fit any question.
855Lady It must be an answere of most monstrous size,
that must fit all demands.
Clo But a triflle neither in good faith, if the learned
should speake truth of it: heere it is, and all that belongs
to't. Aske mee if I am a Courtier, it shall doe you no
860harme to learne.
Lady To be young againe if we could: I will bee a
foole in question, hoping to bee the wiser by your an-
swer.
Lady
All's Well that Ends Well
237