Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

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

Enter Countesse, Steward, and Clowne
Coun I will now heare, what say you of this gentle-
Ste Maddam the care I haue had to euen your con-
tent, I wish might be found in the Kalender of my past
endeuours, for then we wound our Modestie, and make
foule the clearnesse of our deseruings, when of our selues
335we publish them.
Coun What doe's this knaue heere? Get you gone
sirra: the complaints I haue heard of you I do not all be-
leeue, 'tis my slownesse that I doe not: For I know you
lacke not folly to commit them, & haue abilitie enough
340to make such knaueries yours.
Clo 'Tis not vnknown to you Madam, I am a poore
Coun Well sir.
Clo No maddam,
345'Tis not so well that I am poore, though manie
of the rich are damn'd, but if I may haue your Ladiships
good will to goe to the world, Isbellthe woman and w
will doe as we may.
Coun Wilt thou needes be a begger?
350Clo I doe beg your good will in this case.
Cou In what case?
Clo In Isbelscase and mine owne: seruice is no heri-
tage, and I thinke I shall neuer haue the blessing of God,
till I haue issue a my bodie: for they say barnes are bles-
Cou Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marrie?
Clo My poore bodie Madam requires it, I am driuen
on by the flesh, and hee must needes goe that the diuell
360Cou Is this all your worships reason?
Clo Faith Madam I haue other holie reasons, such as
they are.
Cou May the world know them?
Clo I haue beene Madam a wicked creature, as you
365and all flesh and blood are, and indeede I doe marrie that
I may repent.
Cou Thy marriage sooner then thy wickednesse.
Clo I am out a friends Madam, and I hope to haue
friends for my wiues sake.
370Cou Such friends are thine enemies knaue.
Clo Y'are shallow Madam in great friends, for the
knaues come to doe that for me which I am a wearie of:
he that eres my Land, spares my teame, and giues mee
leaue to Inne the crop: if I be his cuckold hee's my
375drudge; he that comforts my wife, is the cherisher of
my flesh and blood; hee that cherishes my flesh and
blood, loues my flesh and blood; he that loues 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,
380there were no feare in marriage, for yong Charbonthe
Puritan, and old Poysamthe Papist, how somere their
hearts are seuer'd in Religion, their heads are both one,
they may ioule horns together like any Deare i'th Herd.
Cou Wilt thou euer be a foule mouth'd and calum-
385nious knaue?
Clo A Prophet I Madam, and I speake the truth the
next waie, for I the Ballad will repeate, which men full
true shall finde, your marriage comes by destinie, your
Cuckow sings by kinde.
390Cou Get you gone sir, Ile talke with you more anon.
Stew May it please you Madam, that hee bid Hellen
come to you, of her I am to speake.
Cou Sirra tell my gentlewoman I would speake with
her, HellenI meane.
395Clo Was this faire face the cause, quoth she,
Why the Grecians sacked Troy
Fond done, done, fond was this King Priamsioy,
With that she sighed as she stood, bis
And gaue this sentence then, among nine bad if one be
400good, among nine bad if one be good, there's yet one
good in ten.
Cou What, one good in tenne? you corrupt the song
Clo One good woman in ten Madam, which is a pu-
405rifying ath' song: would God would serue the world so
all the yeere, weed finde no fault with the tithe woman
if I were the Parson, one in ten quoth a? and wee might
haue a good woman borne but ore euerie blazing starre,
or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the Lotterie well, a
410man may draw his heart out ere a plucke one.
Cou Youle begone sir knaue, and doe as I command
Clo That man should be at womans command, and
yet no hurt done, though honestie be no Puritan, yet
415it will doe no hurt, it will weare the Surplis of humilitie
ouer the blacke-Gowne of a bigge heart: I am go-
ing forsooth, the businesse is for Helen to come hither.
Cou Well now.
420Stew I know Madam you loue your Gentlewoman
Cou Faith I doe: her Father bequeath'd her to mee,
and she her selfe without other aduantage, may lawful-
lie make title to as much loue as shee findes, there is
425more owing her then is paid, and more shall be paid
her then sheele demand.
Stew Madam, I was verie late more neere her then
I thinke shee wisht mee, alone shee was, and did
communicate to her selfe her owne words to her
430owne eares, shee thought, I dare vowe for her, they
toucht not anie stranger sence, her matter was, shee
loued your Sonne; Fortune shee said was no god-
desse, that had put such difference betwixt their two
estates: Loue no god, that would not extend his might
435onelie, where qualities were leuell, Queene of Vir-
gins, that would suffer her poore Knight surpris'd
without rescue in the first assault or ransome after-
ward: This shee deliuer'd in the most bitter touch of
sorrow that ere I heard Virgin exclaime in, which I held
440my dutie speedily to acquaint you withall, sithence in
the losse that may happen, it concernes you something
to know it.
Cou You haue discharg'd this honestlie, keepe it
to your selfe, manie likelihoods inform'd mee of this
445before, which hung so tottring in the ballance, that
I could neither beleeue nor misdoubt: praie you
leaue mee, stall this in your bosome, and I thanke
you for your honest care: I will speake with you fur-
ther anon.
Exit Steward
Enter Hellen
Old. Cou Euen so it vvas vvith me when I was yong:
If euer vve are natures, these are ours, this thorne
Doth to our Rose of youth righlie belong
Our bloud to vs, this to our blood is borne,
455It is the show, and seale of natures truth,
Where loues strong passion is imprest in youth,
By our remembrances of daies forgon,
Such were our faults, or then we thought them none,
Her eie is sicke on't, I obserue her now.
460Hell What is your pleasure Madam?
Ol. Cou You know HellenI am a mother to you.
Hell Mine honorable Mistris.
Ol. Cou Nay a mother, why not a mother? when I
sed a mother
465Me thought 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 seene
Adoption striues vvith nature, and choise breedes
470A natiue slip to vs from forraine seedes:
You nere opprest me with a mothers groane,
Yet I expresse to you a mothers care,
(Gods mercie maiden) dos it curd thy blood
To say I am thy mother? vvhat's the matter,
475That this distempered messenger of wet?
The manie colour'd Iris rounds thine eye?
------ Why, that you are my daughter?
Hell That I am not.
Old.Cou I say I am your Mother.
480Hell Pardon Madam.
The Count Rosillioncannot be my brother:
I am from humble, he from honored name:
No note vpon my Parents, his all noble,
My Master, my deere Lord he is, and I
485His seruant liue, and will his vassall die:
He must not be my brother.
Ol.Cou Nor I your Mother.
Hell You are my mother Madam, would you were
So that my Lord your sonne were not my brother,
490Indeede my mother, or were you both our mothers,
I care no more for, then I doe for heauen,
So I were not his sister, cant no other,
But I your daughter, he must be my brother.
Old.Cou Yes Hellen you might be my daughter in law,
495God shield you meane it not, daughter and mother
So striue vpon your pulse; what pale agen?
My feare hath catcht your fondnesse! now I see
The mistrie of your louelinesse, and finde
Your salt teares head, now to all sence 'tis grosse:
500You loue my sonne, inuention is asham'd
Against the proclamation of thy passion
To say thou doost not: therefore tell me true,
But tell me then 'tis so, for looke, thy cheekes
Confesse it 'ton tooth to th' other, and thine eies
505See it so grosely showne in thy behauiours,
That in their kinde they speake it, onely sinne
And hellish obstinacie tye thy tongue
That truth should be suspected, speake, ist so?
If it be so, you haue wound a goodly clewe:
510If it be not, forsweare't how ere I charge thee,
As heauen shall worke in me for thine auaile
To tell me truelie.
Hell Good Madam pardon me.
Cou Do you loue my Sonne?
515Hell Your pardon noble Mistris.
Cou Loue you my Sonne?
Hell Doe not you loue him Madam?
Cou Goe not about; my loue hath in't a bond
Whereof the world takes note: Come, come, disclose:
520The state of your affection, for your passions
Haue to the full appeach'd.
Hell Then I confesse
Here on my knee, before high heauen and you,
That before you, and next vnto high heauen, I loue your
525 Sonne:
My friends were poore but honest, so's my loue:
Be not offended, for it hurts not him
That he is lou'd of me; I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suite,
530Nor would I haue him, till I doe deserue him,
Yet neuer know how that desert should be:
I know I loue in vaine, striue against hope:
Yet in this captious, and intemible Siue.
I still poure in the waters of my loue
535And lacke not to loose still; thus Indianlike
Religious in mine error, I adore
The Sunne that lookes vpon his worshipper,
But knowes of him no more. My deerest Madam,
Let not your hate incounter with my loue,
540For louing where you doe; but if your selfe,
Whose aged honor cites a vertuous youth,
Did euer, in so true a flame of liking,
Wish chastly, and loue dearely, that your Dian
Was both her selfe and loue, O then giue pittie
545To her whose state is such, that cannot choose
But lend and giue where she is sure to loose;
That seekes not to finde that, her search implies,
But riddle like, liues sweetely where she dies.
Cou Had you not lately an intent, speake truely,
550To goe to Paris
Hell Madam I had.
Cou Wherefore? tell true.
Hell I will tell truth, by grace it selfe I sweare:
You know my Father left me some prescriptions
555Of rare and prou'd effects, such as his reading
And manifest experience, had collected
For generall soueraigntie: and that he wil'd me
In heedefull'st reseruation to bestow them,
As notes, whose faculties inclusiue were,
560More then they were in note: Amongst the rest,
There is a remedie, approu'd, set downe,
To cure the desperate languishings whereof
The King is render'd lost.
Cou This was your motiue for Paris was it, speake?
565Hell My Lord, your sonne, made me to think of this;
Else Paris and the medicine, and the King,
Had from the conuersation of my thoughts,
Happily beene absent then.
Cou But thinke you Hellen
570If you should tender your supposed aide,
He would receiue it? He and his Phisitions
Are of a minde, he, that they cannot helpe him:
They, that they cannot helpe, how shall they credit
A poore vnlearned Virgin, when the Schooles
575Embowel'd of their doctrine, haue left off
The danger to it selfe.
Hell There's something in't
More then my Fathers skill, which was the great'st
Of his profession, that his good rec eipt,
580Shall for my legacie be sanctified
Byth' luckiest stars in heauen, and would your honor
But giue me leaue to trie successe, I'de venture
The well lost life of mine, on his Graces cure,
By such a day, an houre.
585Cou Doo'st thou beleeue't?
Hell I Madam knowingly.
Cou Why Hellenthou shalt haue my leaue and loue,
Meanes and attendants, and my louing greetings
To those of mine in Court, Ile staie at home
590And praie Gods blessing into thy attempt:
Begon to morrow, and be sure of this,
What I can helpe thee to, thou shalt not misse.