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Not Peer Reviewed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 and Clowne
Count It hath happen'd all, as I would haue had it, saue
that he comes not along with her.
Clo By my troth I take my young Lord to be a ve-
1405rie melancholly man.
Count By what obseruance I pray you.
Clo Why he will looke vppon his boote, and sing:
mend the Ruffe and sing, aske questions and sing, picke
his teeth, and sing: I know a man that had this tricke of
1410melancholy hold a goodly Mannor for a song.
Lad Let me see what he writes, and when he meanes
to come.
Clow I haue no minde to Isbellsince I was at Court.
Our old Lings, and our Isbelsa'th Country, are nothing
1415like your old Ling and your Isbelsa'th Court: the brains
of my Cupid's knock'd out, and I beginne to loue, as an
old man loues money, with no stomacke.
Lad What haue we heere?
Clo In that you haue there.
A Letter
I haue sent you a daughter-in-Law, shee hath recouered the
King, and vndone me I haue wedded her, not bedded her
and sworne to make the not eternall. You shall heare I am
runne away, know it before the report come. If there bee
1425bredth enough in the world, I will hold a long distance. My
duty to you.
Your vnfortunate sonne
This is not well rash and vnbridled boy,
To flye the fauours of so good a King,
1430To plucke his indignation on thy head,
By the misprising of a Maide too vertuous
For the contempt of Empire.
Enter Clowne
Clow O Madam, yonder is heauie newes within be-
1435tweene two souldiers, and my yong Ladie.
La What is the matter.
Clo Nay there is some comfort in the newes, some
comfort, your sonne will not be kild so soone as I thoght
he would.
1440La Why should he be kill'd?
Clo So say I Madame, if he runne away, as I heare he
does, the danger is in standing too't, that's the losse of
men, though it be the getting of children. Heere they
come will tell you more. For my part I onely heare your
1445sonne was run away.
Enter Hellen and two Gentlemen
FrenchE Saue you good Madam.
Hel Madam, my Lord is gone, for euer gone.
FrenchG Do not say so.
1450La Thinke vpon patience, pray you Gentlemen,
I haue felt so many quirkes of ioy and greefe,
That the first face of neither on the start
Can woman me vntoo't. Where is my sonne I pray you?
Fren.G Madam he's gone to serue the Duke of Flo-
1455 rence,
We met him thitherward, for thence we came:
And after some dispatch in hand at Court,
Thither we bend againe.
Hel Looke on his Letter Madam, here's my Pasport.
When thou canst get the Ring vpon my finger, which neuer
shall come off, and shew mee a childe begotten of thy bodie
that I am father too, then call me husband: but in such a (then)
I write a Neuer
This is a dreadfull sentence.
1465La Brought you this Letter Gentlemen?
1. G I Madam, and for the Contents sake are sorrie
for our paines.
Old La I prethee Ladie haue a better cheere,
If thou engrossest, all the greefes are thine,
1470Thou robst me of a moity: He was my sonne,
But I do wash his name out of my blood,
And thou art all my childe. Towards Florence is he?
Fren. G I Madam.
La And to be a souldier.
1475Fren. G Such is his noble purpose, and beleeu't
The Duke will lay vpon him all the honor
That good conuenience claimes.
La Returne you thither.
Fren. E I Madam, with the swiftest wing of speed.
1480Hel. Till I haue no wife, I haue nothing in France
'Tis bitter.
La Finde you that there?
Hel I Madame.
Fren. E 'Tis but the boldnesse of his hand haply, which
1485his heart was not consenting too.
Lad Nothing in France, vntill he haue no wife:
There's nothing heere that is too good for him
But onely she, and she deserues a Lord
That twenty such rude boyes might tend vpon,
1490And call her hourely Mistris. Who was with him?
Fren. E A seruant onely, and a Gentleman: which I
haue sometime knowne.
La Parolleswas it not?
Fren. E I my good Ladie, hee.
1495La A verie tainted fellow, and full of wickednesse,
My sonne corrupts a well deriued nature
With his inducement.
Fren. E Indeed good Ladie the fellow has a deale of
that, too much, which holds him much to haue.
1500La Y'are welcome Gentlemen, I will intreate you
when you see my sonne, to tell him that his sword can
neuer winne the honor that he looses: more Ile intreate
you written to beare along.
Fren. G We serue you Madam in that and all your
1505worthiest affaires.
La Not so, but as we change our courtesies,
Will you draw neere?
Hel.Till I haue no wife I haue nothing in France
Nothing in France vntill he has no wife:
1510Thou shalt haue none Rossillion none in France,
Then hast thou all againe: poore Lord, is't I
That chase thee from thy Countrie, and expose
Those tender limbes of thine, to the euent
Of the none-sparing warre? And is it I,
1515That driue thee from the sportiue Court, where thou
Was't shot at with faire eyes, to be the marke
Of smoakie Muskets? O you leaden messengers,
That ride vpon the violent speede of fire,
Fly with false ayme, moue the still-peering aire
1520That sings with piercing, do not touch my Lord:
Who euer shoots at him, I set him there.
Who euer charges on his forward brest
I am the Caitiffe that do hold him too't,
And though I kill him not, I am the cause
1525His death was so effected: Better 'twere
I met the rauine Lyon when he roar'd
With sharpe constraint of hunger: better 'twere,
That all the miseries which nature owes
Were mine at once. No come thou home Rossillion
1530Whence honor but of danger winnes a scarre,
As oft it looses all. I will be gone:
My being heere it is, that holds thee hence,
Shall I stay heere to doo't? No, no, although
The ayre of Paradise did fan the house,
1535And Angels offic'd all: I will be gone,
That pittifull rumour may report my flight
To consolate thine eare. Come night, end day,
For with the darke (poore theefe) Ile steale away.