Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

All's Well That Ends Well (Modern)


[1.2]
Flourish cornets.
Enter the King of France with letters and divers Attendants.
240King The Florentines and Senois are by th'ears,
Have fought with equal fortune, and continue
A braving war.
1 Lord
So 'tis reported, sir.
King Nay, 'tis most credible. We here receive it
245A certainty vouched from our cousin Austria,
With caution that the Florentine will move us
For speedy aid, wherein our dearest friend
Prejudicates the business and would seem
To have us make denial.
2501 Lord
His love and wisdom,
Approved so to your majesty, may plead
For amplest credence.
King
He hath armed our answer,
And Florence is denied before he comes.
255Yet for our gentlemen that mean to see
The Tuscan service, freely have they leave
To stand on either part.
2 Lord
It well may serve
A nursery to our gentry, who are sick
260For breathing and exploit.
King
What's he comes here.
Enter Bertram, Lafeu, and Paroles.
1 Lord It is the Count Roussillon, my good lord,
Young Bertram.
265King
Youth, thou bear'st thy father's face;
Frank nature, rather curious than in haste,
Hath well composed thee. Thy father's moral parts
Mayst thou inherit too! Welcome to Paris.
Bertram My thanks and duty are your majesty's.
270King I would I had that corporal soundness now
As when thy father and myself in friendship
First tried our soldiership. He did look far
Into the service of the time, and was
Discipled of the bravest. He lasted long,
275But on us both did haggish age steal on
And wore us out of act. It much repairs me
To talk of your good father. In his youth
He had the wit which I can well observe
Today in our young lords, but they may jest
280Till their own scorn return to them unnoted
Ere they can hide their levity in honor.
So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness
Were in his pride, or sharpness; if they were,
His equal had awaked them, and his honor,
285Clock to itself, knew the true minute when
Exception bid him speak, and at this time
His tongue obeyed his hand. Who were below him,
He used as creatures of another place
And bowed his eminent top to their low ranks,
290Making them proud of his humility,
In their poor praise he humbled. Such a man
Might be a copy to these younger times,
Which, followed well, would demonstrate them now
But goers backward.
295Bertram
His good remembrance, sir,
Lies richer in your thoughts than on his tomb.
So in approof lives not his epitaph
As in your royal speech.
King Would I were with him! He would always say --
300Methinks I hear him now; his plausive words
He scattered not in ears, but grafted them
To grow there and to bear -- "Let me not live" --
This his good melancholy oft began
On the catastrophe and heel of pastime
305When it was out: "Let me not live," quoth he,
"After my flame lacks oil, to be the snuff
Of younger spirits whose apprehensive senses
All but new things disdain; whose judgements are
Mere fathers of their garments; whose constancies
310Expire before their fashions." This he wished.
I, after him, do after him wish too,
Since I nor wax nor honey can bring home,
I quickly were dissolvèd from my hive
To give some laborers room.
3152 Lord
You're loved, sir.
They that least lend it you shall lack you first.
King I fill a place, I know't. How long is't, Count,
Since the physician at your father's died?
He was much famed.
320Bertram
Some six months since, my lord.
King If he were living, I would try him yet.
Lend me an arm. The rest have worn me out
With several applications. Nature and sickness
Debate it at their leisure. Welcome, Count,
325My son's no dearer.
Bertram
Thank your majesty.
Exeunt.
Flourish