Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

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

Actus primus. Scoena Prima
Enter yong Bertram Count of Rossillion, his Mother, and
Helena, Lord Lafew, all in blacke
5IN deliuering my sonne from me, I burie a se-
cond husband.
Ros And I in going Madam, weep ore my
fathers death anew; but I must attend his maie-
sties command, to whom I am now in Ward, euermore
10in subiection.
Laf You shall find of the King a husband Madame,
you sir a father. He that so generally is at all times good,
must of necessitie hold his vertue to you, whose worthi-
nesse would stirre it vp where it wanted rather then lack
15it where there is such abundance.
Mo What hope is there of his Maiesties amendment?
Laf He hath abandon'd his Phisitions Madam, vn-
der whose practises he hath persecuted time with hope,
and finds no other aduantage in the processe, but onely
20the loosing of hope by time.
Mo This yong Gentlewoman had a father, O that
had, how sad a passage tis, whose skill was almost as
great as his honestie, had it stretch'd so far, would haue
made nature immortall, and death should haue play for
25lacke of worke. Would for the Kings sake hee were li-
uing, I thinke it would be the death of the Kings disease.
Laf How call'd you the man you speake of Madam?
Mo He was famous sir in his profession, and it was
his great right to be so: Gerard de Narbon
30Laf He was excellent indeed Madam, the King very
latelie spoke of him admiringly, and mourningly: hee
was skilfull enough to haue liu'd stil, if knowledge could
be set vp against mortallitie.
Ros What is it (my good Lord) the King languishes
Laf A Fistula my Lord.
Ros I heard not of it before.
Laf I would it were not notorious. Was this Gen-
tlewoman the Daughter of Gerard de Narbon
40Mo His sole childe my Lord, and bequeathed to my
ouer looking. I haue those hopes of her good, that her
education promises her dispositions shee inherits, which
makes faire gifts fairer: for where an vncleane mind car-
ries vertuous qualities, there commendations go with
45pitty, they are vertues and traitors too: in her they are
the better for their simplenesse; she deriues her honestie,
and atcheeues her goodnesse.
Lafew Your commendations Madam get from her
50Mo 'Tis the best brine a Maiden can season her praise
in. The remembrance of her father neuer approches her
heart, but the tirrany of her sorrowes takes all liuelihood
from her cheeke. No more of this Helena go too, no
more least it be rather thought you affect a sorrow, then
55to haue------
Hell I doe affect a sorrow indeed, but I haue it too.
Laf Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead,
excessiue greefe the enemie to the liuing.
Mo If the liuing be enemie to the greefe, the excesse
60makes it soone mortall.
Ros Maddam I desire your holie wishes.
Laf How vnderstand we that?
Mo Be thou blest Bertrame and succeed thy father
In manners as in shape: thy blood and vertue
65Contend for Empire in thee, and thy goodnesse
Share with thy birth-right. Loue all, trust a few,
Doe wrong to none: be able for thine enemie
Rather in power then vse: and keepe thy friend
Vnder thy owne lifes key. Be checkt for silence,
70But neuer tax'd for speech. What heauen more wil,
That thee may furnish, and my prayers plucke downe,
Fall on thy head. Farwell my Lord,
'Tis an vnseason'd Courtier, good my Lord
Aduise him.
75Laf He cannot want the best
That shall attend his loue.
Mo Heauen blesse him: Farwell Bertram
Ro The best wishes that can be forg'd in your thoghts
be seruants to you: be comfortable to my mother, your
80Mistris, and make much of her.
Laf Farewell prettie Lady, you must hold the cre-
dit of your father.
Hell O were that all, I thinke not on my father,
And these great teares grace his remembrance more
85Then those I shed for him. What was he like?
I haue forgott him. My imagination
Carries no fauour in't but Bertrams
I am vndone, there is no liuing, none,
If Bertram be away. 'Twere all one,
90That I should loue a bright particuler starre,
And think to wed it, he is so aboue me
In his bright radience and colaterall light,
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere;
Th' ambition in my loue thus plagues it selfe:
95The hind that would be mated by the Lion
Must die for loue. 'Twas prettie, though a plague
To see him euerie houre to sit and draw
His arched browes, his hawking eie, his curles
In our hearts table: heart too capeable
100Of euerie line and tricke of his sweet fauour.
But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancie
Must sanctifie his Reliques. Who comes heere?
Enter Parrolles
One that goes with him: I loue him for his sake,
105And yet I know him a notorious Liar,
Thinke him a great way foole, solie a coward,
Yet these fixt euils sit so fit in him,
That they take place, when Vertues steely bones
Lookes bleake i'th cold wind: withall, full ofte we see
110Cold wisedome waighting on superfluous follie.
Par Saue you faire Queene.
Hel And you Monarch.
Par No.
Hel And no.
115Par Are you meditating on virginitie?
Hel I: you haue some staine of souldier in you: Let
mee aske you a question. Man is enemie to virginitie,
how may we barracado it against him?
Par Keepe him out.
120Hel But he assailes, and our virginitie though vali-
ant, in the defence yet is weak: vnfold to vs some war-like
Par There is none: Man setting downe before you,
will vndermine you, and blow you vp.
125Hel Blesse our poore Virginity from vnderminers
and blowers vp. Is there no Military policy how Vir-
gins might blow vp men?
Par Virginity beeing blowne downe, Man will
quicklier be blowne vp: marry in blowing him downe
130againe, with the breach your selues made, you lose your
Citty. It is not politicke, in the Common-wealth of
Nature, to preserue virginity. Losse of Virginitie, is
rationall encrease, and there was neuer Virgin goe, till
virginitie was first lost. That you were made of, is met-
135tall to make Virgins. Virginitie, by beeing once lost,
may be ten times found: by being euer kept, it is euer
lost: 'tis too cold a companion: Away with't.
Hel I will stand for't a little, though therefore I die
a Virgin.
140Par There's little can bee saide in't, 'tis against the
rule of Nature. To speake on the part of virginitie, is
to accuse your Mothers; which is most infallible diso-
bedience. He that hangs himselfe is a Virgin: Virgini-
tie murthers it selfe, and should be buried in highwayes
145out of all sanctified limit, as a desperate Offendresse a-
gainst Nature. Virginitie breedes mites, much like a
Cheese, consumes it selfe to the very payring, and so
dies with feeding his owne stomacke. Besides, Virgini-
tie is peeuish, proud, ydle, made of selfe-loue, which
150is the most inhibited sinne in the Cannon. Keepe it not,
you cannot choose but loose by't. Out with't: within
ten yeare it will make it selfe two, which is a goodly in-
crease, and the principall it selfe not much the worse.
Away with't.
155Hel How might one do sir, to loose it to her owne
Par Let mee see. Marry ill, to like him that ne're
it likes. 'Tis a commodity wil lose the glosse with lying:
The longer kept, the lesse worth: Off with't while 'tis
160vendible. Answer the time of request, Virginitie like
an olde Courtier, weares her cap out of fashion, richly
suted, but vnsuteable, iust like the brooch & the tooth-
pick, which were not now: your Date is better in your
Pye and your Porredge, then in your cheeke: and your
165virginity, your old virginity, is like one of our French
wither'd peares, it lookes ill, it eates drily, marry 'tis a
wither'd peare: it was formerly better, marry yet 'tis a
wither'd peare: Will you any thing with it?
Hel Not my virginity yet:
170There shall your Master haue a thousand loues,
A Mother, and a Mistresse, and a friend,
A Phenix, Captaine, and an enemy,
A guide, a Goddesse, and a Soueraigne,
A Counsellor, a Traitoresse, and a Deare:
175His humble ambition, proud humility:
His iarring, concord: and his discord, dulcet:
His faith, his sweet disaster: with a world
Of pretty fond adoptious christendomes
That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he:
180I know not what he shall, God send him well,
The Courts a learning place, and he is one.
Par What one ifaith?
Hel That I wish well, 'tis pitty.
Par What's pitty?
185Hel That wishing well had not a body in't,
Which might be felt, that we the poorer borne,
Whose baser starres do shut vs vp in wishes,
Might vvith effects of them follow our friends,
And shew what we alone must thinke, which neuer
190Returnes vs thankes.
Enter Page
Pag Monsieur Parrolles
My Lord cals for you.
Par Little Hellenfarewell, if I can remember thee, I
195will thinke of thee at Court.
Hel Monsieur Parolles you were borne vnder a
charitable starre.
Par Vnder MarsI.
Hel I especially thinke, vnder Mars
200Par Why vnder Mars
Hel The warres hath so kept you vnder, that you
must needes be borne vnder Mars
Par When he was predominant.
Hel When he was retrograde I thinke rather.
205Par Why thinke you so?
Hel You go so much backward when you fight.
Par That's for aduantage.
Hel So is running away,
When feare proposes the safetie:
210But the composition that your valour and feare makes
in you, is a vertue of a good wing, and I like the
weare well.
Paroll I am so full of businesses, I cannot answere
thee acutely: I will returne perfect Courtier, in the
215which my instruction shall serue to naturalize thee, so
thou wilt be capeable of a Courtiers councell, and vn-
derstand what aduice shall thrust vppon thee, else thou
diest in thine vnthankfulnes, and thine ignorance makes
thee away, farewell: When thou hast leysure, say thy
220praiers: when thou hast none, remember thy Friends:
Get thee a good husband, and vse him as he vses thee:
So farewell.
Hel Our remedies oft in our selues do lye,
Which we ascribe to heauen: the fated skye
225Giues vs free scope, onely doth backward pull
Our slow designes, when we our selues are dull.
What power is it, which mounts my loue so hye,
That makes me see, and cannot feede mine eye?
The mightiest space in fortune, Nature brings
230To ioyne like, likes; and kisse like natiue things.
Impossible be strange attempts to those
That weigh their paines in sence, and do suppose
What hath beene, cannot be. Who euer stroue
To shew her merit, that did misse her loue?
235(The Kings disease) my proiect may deceiue me,
But my intents are fixt, and will not leaue me.