Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

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

Enter Hellen, and Widdow
Hel If you misdoubt me that I am not shee,
I know not how I shall assure you further,
But I shall loose the grounds I worke vpon.
Wid Though my estate be falne, I was well borne,
1860Nothing acquainted with these businesses,
And would not put my reputation now
In any staining act.
Hel Nor would I wish you.
First giue me trust, the Count he is my husband,
1865And what to your sworne counsaile I haue spoken,
Is so from word to word: and then you cannot
By the good ayde that I of you shall borrow,
Erre in bestowing it.
Wid I should beleeue you,
1870For you haue shew'd me that which well approues
Y'are great in fortune.
Hel Take this purse of Gold,
And let me buy your friendly helpe thus farre,
Which I will ouer-pay, and pay againe
1875When I haue found it. The Count he woes your
Layes downe his wanton siedge before her beautie,
Resolue to carrie her: let her in fine consent
As wee'l direct her how 'tis best to beare it:
1880Now his important blood will naught denie,
That shee'l demand: a ring the Countie weares,
That downward hath succeeded in his house
From sonne to sonne, some foure or fiue discents,
Since the first father wore it. This Ring he holds
1885In most rich choice: yet in his idle fire,
To buy his will, it would not seeme too deere,
How ere repented after.
Wid Now I see the bottome of your purpose.
Hel You see it lawfull then, it is no more,
1890But that your daughter ere she seemes as wonne,
Desires this Ring; appoints him an encounter;
In fine, deliuers me to fill the time,
Her selfe most chastly absent: after
To marry her, Ile adde three thousand Crownes
1895To what is past already.
Wid I haue yeelded:
Instruct my daughter how she shall perseuer,
That time and place with this deceite so lawfull
May proue coherent. Euery night he comes
1900With Musickes of all sorts, and songs compos'd
To her vnworthinesse: It nothing steeds vs
To chide him from our eeues, for he persists
As if his life lay on't.
Hel Why then to night
1905Let vs assay our plot, which if it speed,
Is wicked meaning in a lawfull deede;
And lawfull meaning in a lawfull act,
Where both not sinne, and yet a sinfull fact.
But let's about it.