Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

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

Flourish. Enter King, old Lady, Lafew, the two French
Lords, with attendants
Kin We lost a Iewell of her, and our esteeme
Was made much poorer by it: but your sonne,
As mad in folly, lack'd the sence to know
2700Her estimation home.
OldLa 'Tis past my Liege,
And I beseech your Maiestie to make it
Naturall rebellion, done i'th blade of youth,
When oyle and fire, too strong for reasons force,
2705Ore-beares it, and burnes on.
Kin My honour'd Lady,
I haue forgiuen and forgotten all,
Though my reuenges were high bent vpon him,
And watch'd the time to shoote.
2710Laf This I must say,
But first I begge my pardon: the yong Lord
Did to his Maiesty, his Mother, and his Ladie,
Offence of mighty note; but to himselfe
The greatest wrong of all. He lost a wife,
2715Whose beauty did astonish the suruey
Of richest eies: whose words all eares tooke captiue,
Whose deere perfection, hearts that scorn'd to serue,
Humbly call'd Mistris.
Kin Praising what is lost,
2720Makes the remembrance deere. Well, call him hither,
We are reconcil'd, and the first view shall kill
All repetition: Let him not aske our pardon,
The nature of his great offence is dead,
And deeper then obliuion, we do burie
2725Th' incensing reliques of it. Let him approach
A stranger, no offender; and informe him
So 'tis our will he should.
Gent I shall my Liege.
Kin What sayes he to your daughter,
2730Haue you spoke?
Laf All that he is, hath reference to your Highnes.
Kin Then shall we haue a match. I haue letters sent
me, that sets him high in fame.
Enter Count Bertram
2735Laf He lookes well on't.
Kin I am not a day of season,
For thou maist see a sun-shine, and a haile
In me at once: But to the brightest beames
Distracted clouds giue way, so stand thou forth,
2740The time is faire againe.
Ber My high repented blames
Deere Soueraigne pardon to me.
Kin All is whole,
Not one word more of the consumed time,
2745Let's take the instant by the forward top:
For we are old, and on our quick'st decrees
Th' inaudible, and noiselesse foot of time
Steales, ere we can effect them. You remember
The daughter of this Lord?
2750Ber Admiringly my Liege, at first
I stucke my choice vpon her, ere my heart
Durst make too bold a herauld of my tongue:
Where the impression of mine eye enfixing,
Contempt his scornfull Perspectiue did lend me,
2755Which warpt the line, of euerie other fauour,
Scorn'd a faire colour, or exprest it stolne,
Extended or contracted all proportions
To a most hideous obiect. Thence it came,
That she whom all men prais'd, and whom my selfe,
2760Since I haue lost, haue lou'd; was in mine eye
The dust that did offend it.
Kin Well excus'd:
That thou didst loue her, strikes some scores away
From the great compt: but loue that comes too late,
2765Like a remorsefull pardon slowly carried
To the great sender, turnes a sowre offence,
Crying, that's good that's gone: Our rash faults,
Make triuiall price of serious things we haue,
Not knowing them, vntill we know their graue.
2770Oft our displeasures to our selues vniust,
Destroy our friends, and after weepe their dust:
Our owne loue waking, cries to see what's don,e
While shamefull hate sleepes out the afternoone.
Be this sweet Helensknell, and now forget her.
2775Send forth your amorous token for faire Maudlin
The maine consents are had, and heere wee'l stay
To see our widdowers second marriage day:
Which better then the first, O deere heauen blesse,
Or, ere they meete in me, O Nature cesse.
2780Laf Come on my sonne, in whom my houses name
Must be digested: giue a fauour from you
To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter,
That she may quickly come. By my old beard,
And eu'rie haire that's on't, Helenthat's dead
2785Was a sweet creature: such a ring as this,
The last that ere I tooke her leaue at Court,
I saw vpon her finger.
Ber Hers it was not.
King Now pray you let me see it. For mine eye,
2790While I was speaking, oft was fasten'd too't:
This Ring was mine, and when I gaue it Hellen
I bad her if her fortunes euer stoode
Necessitied to helpe, that by this token
I would releeue her. Had you that craft to reaue her
2795Of what should stead her most?
Ber My gracious Soueraigne,
How ere it pleases you to take it so,
The ring was neuer hers.
OldLa Sonne, on my life
2800I haue seene her weare it, and she reckon'd it
At her liues rate.
Laf I am sure I saw her weare it.
Ber You are deceiu'd my Lord, she neuer saw it:
In Florence was it from a casement throwne mee,
2805Wrap'd in a paper, which contain'd the name
Of her that threw it: Noble she was, and thought
I stood ingag'd, but when I had subscrib'd
To mine owne fortune, and inform'd her fully,
I could not answer in that course of Honour
2810As she had made the ouerture, she ceast
In heauie satisfaction, and would neuer
Receiue the Ring againe.
Kin Platus himselfe,
That knowes the tinct and multiplying med'cine,
2815Hath not in natures mysterie more science,
Then I haue in this Ring. 'Twas mine, 'twas Helens
Who euer gaue it you: then if you know
That you are well acquainted with your selfe,
Confesse 'twas hers, and by what rough enforcement
2820You got it from her. She call'd the Saints to suretie,
That she would neuer put it from her finger,
Vnlesse she gaue it to your selfe in bed,
Where you haue neuer come: or sent it vs
Vpon her great disaster.
2825Ber She neuer saw it.
Kin Thou speak'st it falsely: as I loue mine Honor,
And mak'st connecturall feares to come into me,
Which I would faine shut out, if it should proue
That thou art so inhumane, 'twill not proue so:
2830And yet I know not, thou didst hate her deadly,
And she is dead, which nothing but to close
Her eyes my selfe, could win me to beleeue,
More then to see this Ring. Take him away,
My fore-past proofes, how ere the matter fall
2835Shall taze my feares of little vanitie,
Hauing vainly fear'd too little. Away with him,
Wee'l sift this matter further.
Ber If you shall proue
This Ring was euer hers, you shall as easie
2840Proue that I husbanded her bed in Florence,
Where yet she neuer was.
Enter a Gentleman
King I am wrap'd in dismall thinkings.
Gen Gracious Soueraigne.
2845Whether I haue beene too blame or no, I know not,
Here's a petition from a Florentine,
Who hath for foure or fiue remoues come short,
To tender it her selfe. I vndertooke it,
Vanquish'd thereto by the faire grace and speech
2850Of the poore suppliant, who by this I know
Is heere attending: her businesse lookes in her
With an importing visage, and she told me
In a sweet verball breefe, it did concerne
Your Highnesse with her selfe.
A Letter
Vpon his many protestations to marrie mee when his wife was
dead, I blush to say it, he wonne me. Now is the Count Ros-
sillion a Widdower, his vowes are forfeited to mee, and my
honors payed to him. Hee stole from Florence, taking no
2860 leaue, and I follow him to his Countrey for Iustice Grant
it me, O King, in you it best lies, otherwise a seducer flou-
rishes and a poore Maid is vndone
Diana Capilet.
Laf I will buy me a sonne in Law in a faire, and toule
2865for this. Ile none of him.
Kin The heauens haue thought well on thee Lafew
To bring forth this discou'rie, seeke these sutors:
Go speedily, and bring againe the Count.
Enter Bertram
2870I am a-feard the life of Hellen(Ladie)
Was fowly snatcht.
OldLa Now iustice on the doers.
King I wonder sir, sir, wiues are monsters to you,
And that you flye them as you sweare them Lordship,
2875Yet you desire to marry. What woman's that?
Enter Widdow, Diana, and Parrolles
Dia I am my Lord a wretched Florentine,
Deriued from the ancient Capilet,
My suite as I do vnderstand you know,
2880And therefore know how farre I may be pittied.
Wid I am her Mother sir, whose age and honour
Both suffer vnder this complaint we bring,
And both shall cease, without your remedie.
King Come hether Count, do you know these Wo-
Ber My Lord, I neither can nor will denie,
But that I know them, do they charge me further?
Dia Why do you looke so strange vpon your wife?
Ber She's none of mine my Lord.
2890Dia If you shall marrie
You giue away this hand, and that is mine,
You giue away heauens vowes, and those are mine:
You giue away my selfe, which is knowne mine:
For I by vow am so embodied yours,
2895That she which marries you, must marrie me,
Either both or none.
Laf Your reputation comes too short for my daugh-
ter, you are no husband for her.
Ber My Lord, this is a fond and desp'rate creature,
2900Whom sometime I haue laugh'd with: Let your highnes
Lay a more noble thought vpon mine honour,
Then for to thinke that I would sinke it heere.
Kin Sir for my thoughts, you haue them il to friend,
Till your deeds gaine them fairer: proue your honor,
2905Then in my thought it lies.
Dian Good my Lord,
Aske him vpon his oath, if hee do's thinke
He had not my virginity.
Kin What saist thou to her?
2910Ber She's impudent my Lord,
And was a common gamester to the Campe.
Dia He do's me wrong my Lord: If I were so,
He might haue bought me at a common price.
Do not beleeue him. O behold this Ring,
2915Whose high respect and rich validitie
Did lacke a Paralell: yet for all that
He gaue it to a Commoner a'th Campe
If I be one.
Coun He blushes, and 'tis hit:
2920Of sixe preceding Ancestors that Iemme
Confer'd by testament to'th sequent issue
Hath it beene owed and worne. This is his wife,
That Ring's a thousand proofes.
King Me thought you saide
2925You saw one heere in Court could witnesse it.
Dia I did my Lord, but loath am to produce
So bad an instrument, his names Parrolles
Laf I saw the man to day, if man he bee.
Kin Finde him, and bring him hether.
2930Ros What of him:
He's quoted for a most perfidious slaue
With all the spots a'th world, taxt and debosh'd,
Whose nature sickens: but to speake a truth,
Am I, or that or this for what he'l vtter,
2935That will speake any thing.
Kin She hath that Ring of yours.
Ros I thinke she has; certaine it is I lyk'd her,
And boorded her i'th wanton way of youth:
She knew her distance, and did angle for mee,
2940Madding my eagernesse with her restraint,
As all impediments in fancies course
Are motiues of more fancie, and in fine,
Her insuite comming with her moderne grace,
Subdu'd me to her rate, she got the Ring,
2945And I had that which any inferiour might
At Market price haue bought.
Dia I must be patient:
You that haue turn'd off a first so noble wife,
May iustly dyet me. I pray you yet,
2950(Since you lacke vertue, I will loose a husband)
Send for your Ring, I will returne it home,
And giue me mine againe.
Ros I haue it not.
Kin What Ring was yours I pray you?
2955Dian Sir much like the same vpon your finger.
Kin Know you this Ring, this Ring was his of late.
Dia And this was it I gaue him being a bed.
Kin The story then goes false, you threw it him
Out of a Casement.
2960Dia I haue spoke the truth.
Enter Parolles
Ros My Lord, I do confesse the ring was hers.
Kin You boggle shrewdly, euery feather starts you:
Is this the man you speake of?
Dia I, my Lord.
2965Kin Tell me sirrah, but tell me true I charge you,
Not fearing the displeasure of your master:
Which on your iust proceeding, Ile keepe off,
By him and by this woman heere, what know you?
Par So please your Maiesty, my master hath bin an
2970honourable Gentleman. Trickes hee hath had in him,
which Gentlemen haue.
Kin Come, come, to'th' purpose: Did hee loue this
Par Faith sir he did loue her, but how.
2975Kin How I pray you?
Par He did loue her sir, as a Gent. loues a Woman.
Kin How is that?
Par He lou'd her sir, and lou'd her not.
Kin As thou art a knaue and no knaue, what an equi-
2980uocall Companion is this?
Par I am a poore man, and at your Maiesties com-
Laf Hee's a good drumme my Lord, but a naughtie
2985Dian Do you know he promist me marriage?
Par Faith I know more then Ile speake.
Kin But wilt thou not speake all thou know'st?
Par Yes so please your Maiesty: I did goe betweene
them as I said, but more then that he loued her, for in-
2990deede he was madde for her, and talkt of Sathan, and of
Limbo, and of Furies, and I know not what: yet I was in
that credit with them at that time, that I knewe of their
going to bed, and of other motions, as promising her
marriage, and things which would deriue mee ill will to
2995speake of, therefore I will not speake what I know.
Kin Thou hast spoken all alreadie, vnlesse thou canst
say they are maried, but thou art too fine in thy euidence,
therefore stand aside. This Ring you say was yours.
Dia I my good Lord.
3000Kin Where did you buy it? Or who gaue it you?
Dia It was not giuen me, nor I did not buy it.
Kin Who lent it you?
Dia It was not lent me neither.
Kin Where did you finde it then?
3005Dia I found it not.
Kin If it were yours by none of all these wayes,
How could you giue it him?
Dia I neuer gaue it him.
Laf This womans an easie gloue my Lord, she goes
3010off and on at pleasure.
Kin This Ring was mine, I gaue it his first wife.
Dia It might be yours or hers for ought I know.
Kin Take her away, I do not like her now,
To prison with her: and away with him,
3015Vnlesse thou telst me where thou hadst this Ring,
Thou diest within this houre.
Dia Ile neuer tell you.
Kin Take her away.
Dia Ile put in baile my liedge.
3020Kin I thinke thee now some common Customer.
Dia By Ioue if euer I knew man 'twas you.
King Wherefore hast thou accusde him al this while.
Dia Because he's guiltie, and he is not guilty:
He knowes I am no Maid, and hee'l sweare too't:
3025Ile sweare I am a Maid, and he knowes not.
Great King I am no strumpet, by my life,
I am either Maid, or else this old mans wife.
Kin She does abuse our eares, to prison with her.
Dia Good mother fetch my bayle. Stay Royall sir,
3030The Ieweller that owes the Ring is sent for,
And he shall surety me. But for this Lord,
Who hath abus'd me as he knowes himselfe,
Though yet he neuer harm'd me, heere I quit him.
He knowes himselfe my bed he hath defil'd,
3035And at that time he got his wife with childe:
Dead though she be, she feeles her yong one kicke:
So there's my riddle, one that's dead is quicke,
And now behold the meaning.
Enter Hellen and Widdow
3040Kin Is there no exorcist
Beguiles the truer Office of mine eyes?
Is't reall that I see?
Hel No my good Lord,
'Tis but the shadow of a wife you see,
3045The name, and not the thing.
Ros Both, both, O pardon.
Hel Oh my good Lord, when I was like this Maid,
I found you wondrous kinde, there is your Ring,
And looke you, heeres your letter: this it sayes,
3050When from my finger you can get this Ring,
And is by me with childe, &c. This is done,
Will you be mine now you are doubly wonne?
Ros If she my Liege can make me know this clearly,
Ile loue her dearely, euer, euer dearly.
3055Hel If it appeare not plaine, and proue vntrue,
Deadly diuorce step betweene me and you.
O my deere mother do I see you liuing?
Laf Mine eyes smell Onions, I shall weepe anon:
Good Tom Drumme lend me a handkercher.
3060So I thanke thee, waite on me home, Ile make sport with
thee: Let thy curtsies alone, they are scuruy ones.
King Let vs from point to point this storie know,
To make the euen truth in pleasure flow:
If thou beest yet a fresh vncropped flower,
3065Choose thou thy husband, and Ile pay thy dower.
For I can guesse, that by thy honest ayde,
Thou keptst a wife her selfe, thy selfe a Maide.
Of that and all the progresse more and lesse,
Resoluedly more leasure shall expresse:
3070All yet seemes well, and if it end so meete,
The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet.