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Not Peer Reviewed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
La Alas! and would you take the letter of her:
Might you not know she would do, as she has done,
By sending me a Letter. Reade it agen.
1560I am S. Iaques Pilgrim, thither gone
Ambitious loue hath so in me offended
That bare-foot plod I the cold ground vpon
With sainted vow my faults to haue amended
Write, write, that from the bloodie course of warre
1565My deerest Master your deare sonne, may hie
Blesse him at home in peace. Whilst I from farre
His name with zealous feruour sanctifie
His taken labours bid him me forgiue
I his despightfull Iuno sent him forth
1570From Courtly friends, with Camping foes to liue
Where death and danger dogges the heeles of worth
He is too good and faire for death, and mee
Whom I my selfe embrace, to set him free
Ah what sharpe stings are in her mildest words?
1575Rynaldo you did neuer lacke aduice so much,
As letting her passe so: had I spoke with her,
I could haue well diuerted her intents,
Which thus she hath preuented.
Ste Pardon me Madam,
1580If I had giuen you this at ouer-night,
She might haue beene ore-tane: and yet she writes
Pursuite would be but vaine.
La What Angell shall
Blesse this vnworthy husband, he cannot thriue,
1585Vnlesse her prayers, whom heauen delights to heare
And loues to grant, repreeue him from the wrath
Of greatest Iustice. Write, write Rynaldo
To this vnworthy husband of his wife,
Let euerie word waigh heauie of her worrh,
1590That he does waigh too light: my greatest greefe,
Though little he do feele it, set downe sharpely.
Dispatch the most conuenient messenger,
When haply he shall heare that she is gone,
He will returne, and hope I may that shee
1595Hearing so much, will speede her foote againe,
Led hither by pure loue: which of them both
Is deerest to me, I haue no skill in sence
To make distinction: prouide this Messenger:
My heart is heauie, and mine age is weake,
1600Greefe would haue teares, and sorrow bids me speake.