Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

All's Well That Ends Well (Modern)


[2.3]
Enter Bertram, Lafeu, and Paroles.
Lafeu They say miracles are past, and we have our philosophical persons to make modern and familiar 895things supernatural and causeless. Hence is it that we make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear.
Paroles Why, 'tis the rarest argument of wonder that 900hath shot out in our latter times.
Bertram And so 'tis.
Lafeu To be relinquished of the artists --
Paroles So I say, both of Galen and Paracelsus.
Lafeu Of all the learned and authentic fellows --
905Paroles Right, so I say.
Lafeu That gave him out incurable --
Paroles Why, there 'tis; so say I too.
Lafeu Not to be helped.
Paroles Right, as 'twere a man assured of a --
910Lafeu Uncertain life, and sure death.
Paroles Just. You say well; so would I have said.
Lafeu I may truly say it is a novelty to the world.
Paroles It is indeed. If you will have it in showing, you shall read it in what-do-ye-call there.
915Lafeu A Showing of a Heavenly Effect in an Earthly Actor.
Paroles That's it; I would have said the very same.
Lafeu Why, your dolphin is not lustier. 'Fore me, I speak in respect --
920Paroles Nay, 'tis strange, 'tis very strange; that is the brief and the tedious of it. And he's of a most facinerious spirit that will not acknowledge it to be the --
Lafeu Very hand of heaven.
Paroles Ay, so I say.
925Lafeu In a most weak --
Paroles And debile minister, great power, great transcendence, which should indeed give us a further use to be made than alone the recovery of the king, as to be --
Lafeu Generally thankful.
930
Enter King, Helen, and Attendants.
Paroles I would have said it; you say well. -- Here comes the king.
Lafeu Lustig, as the Dutchman says! I'll like a maid the better whilst I have a tooth in my head. Why, 935he's able to lead her a coranto.
Paroles Mort du vinaigre! Is not this Helen?
Lafeu 'Fore God, I think so.
King [To Attendant] Go, call before me all the lords in court. -- [Exit an Attendant.]
[To Helen] Sit, my preserver, by thy patient's side,
940And with this healthful hand, whose banished sense
Thou hast repealed, a second time receive
The confirmation of my promised gift,
Which but attends thy naming. Enter four [Young] Lords.
945Fair maid, send forth thine eye; this youthful parcel
Of noble bachelors stand at my bestowing,
O'er whom both sovereign power and father's voice
I have to use. Thy frank election make;
Thou hast power to choose, and they none to forsake.
950Helen To each of you, one fair and virtuous mistress
Fall when love please; marry, to each but one.
Lafeu I'd give bay curtal and his furniture,
My mouth no more were broken than these boys,
And writ as little beard.
955King
s Peruse them well:
Not one of those but had a noble father.
Helen Gentlemen, heaven hath through me restored
The king to health.
960All We understand it, and thank heaven for you.
She addresses her to a Lord.
Helen I am a simple maid, and therein wealthiest
That I protest I simply am a maid. --
[To the King] Please it your majesty, I have done already.
The blushes in my cheeks thus whisper me,
965"We blush that thou shouldst choose; but be refused,
Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever,
We'll ne'er come there again."
King
Make choice and see.
Who shuns thy love shuns all his love in me.
970Helen Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly,
And to Imperial Love, that god most high,
Do my sighs stream. [To 1 Young Lord] Sir, will you hear my suit?
1 Young Lord
And grant it.
Helen
Thanks, sir, all the rest is mute.
975Lafeu I had rather be in this choice than throw ames-ace for my life.
Helen [To 2 Young Lord.]The honor, sir, that flames in your fair eyes,
Before I speak, too threat'ningly replies.
Love make your fortunes twenty times above
980Her that so wishes, and her humble love.
2 Young Lord
No better, if you please.
Helen
My wish receive,
Which great love grant. And so I take my leave.
Lafeu Do all they deny her? An they were sons 985of mine, I'd have them whipped, or I would send them to th' Turk to make eunuchs of.
Helen [To 3 Young Lord] Be not afraid that I your hand should take:
I'll never do you wrong for your own sake.
Blessing upon your vows, and in your bed
990Find fairer fortune if you ever wed.
Lafeu These boys are boys of ice, they'll none have her. Sure they are bastards to the English: the French ne'er got 'em.
Helen [To 4 Young Lord] You are too young, too happy, and too good
995To make yourself a son out of my blood.
4 Young Lord Fair one, I think not so.
Lafeu There's one grape yet; I am sure thy father drunk wine. But if thou be'st not an ass, I am a youth of fourteen: I have known thee already.
1000Helen [To Bertram] I dare not say I take you, but I give
Me and my service, ever whilst I live,
Into your guiding power. -- [To the King] This is the man.
King Why, then, young Bertram, take her: she's thy wife.
1005Bertram My wife, my liege? I shall beseech your highness:
In such a business, give me leave to use
The help of mine own eyes.
King
Know'st thou not, Bertram,
What she has done for me?
1010Bertram
Yes, my good lord,
But never hope to know why I should marry her.
King Thou know'st she has raised me from my sickly bed.
Bertram But follows it, my lord, to bring me down
1015Must answer for your raising? I know her well:
She had her breeding at my father's charge --
A poor physician's daughter my wife? Disdain
Rather corrupt me ever!
King 'Tis only title thou disdain'st in her, the which
1020I can build up. Strange is it that our bloods,
Of color, weight, and heat, poured all together,
Would quite confound distinction, yet stands off
In differences so mighty. If she be
All that is virtuous -- save what thou dislik'st,
1025"A poor physician's daughter" -- thou dislik'st
Of virtue for the name. But do not so.
From lowest place, whence virtuous things proceed,
The place is dignified by th' doer's deed.
Where great additions swell's, and virtue none,
1030It is a dropsied honor. Good alone
Is good without a name. Vileness is so.
The property by what it is should go,
Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair:
In these to nature she's immediate heir,
1035And these breed honor. That is honor's scorn
Which challenges itself as honor's born
And is not like the sire. Honors thrive
When rather from our acts we them derive
Than our foregoers. The mere word's a slave,
1040Debauched on every tomb: on every grave,
A lying trophy, and as oft is dumb
Where dust and damned oblivion is the tomb
Of honored bones indeed. What should be said?
If thou canst like this creature as a maid,
1045I can create the rest: virtue and she
Is her own dower; honor and wealth, from me.
Bertram I cannot love her, nor will strive to do't.
King Thou wrong'st thyself if thou shouldst strive to choose.
1050Helen That you are well restored, my lord, I'm glad;
Let the rest go.
King My honor's at the stake, which to defeat
I must produce my power. -- [To Bertram] Here, take her hand.
Proud scornful boy, unworthy this good gift,
1055That dost in vile misprision shackle up
My love and her desert; that canst not dream
We, poising us in her defective scale,
Shall weigh thee to the beam; that wilt not know
It is in us to plant thine honor where
1060We please to have it grow. Check thy contempt.
Obey our will which travails in thy good.
Believe not thy disdain, but presently
Do thine own fortunes that obedient right,
Which both thy duty owes and our power claims,
1065Or I will throw thee from my care forever
Into the staggers and the careless lapse
Of youth and ignorance, both my revenge and hate,
Loosing upon thee in the name of justice,
Without all terms of pity. Speak, thine answer.
1070Bertram Pardon, my gracious lord, for I submit
My fancy to your eyes. When I consider
What great creation and what dole of honor
Flies where you bid it, I find that she, which late
Was in my nobler thoughts most base, is now
1075The praised of the king; who so ennobled
Is as 'twere born so.
King
Take her by the hand
And tell her she is thine, to whom I promise
A counterpoise; if not to thy estate,
1080A balance more replete.
Bertram
I take her hand.
King Good fortune and the favor of the king
Smile upon this contract, whose ceremony
Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief
1085And be performed tonight; the solemn feast
Shall more attend upon the coming space,
Expecting absent friends. As thou lov'st her,
Thy love's to me religious; else, does err.
Exeunt [King, Helen, and court.]
Paroles and Lafeu stay behind, commenting of this wedding.
Lafeu Do you hear, monsieur? A word with you.
Paroles Your pleasure, sir.
Lafeu Your lord and master did well to make his recantation.
1095Paroles Recantation? My lord? My master?
Lafeu Ay; is it not a language I speak?
Paroles A most harsh one, and not to be understood without bloody succeeding. My master?
Lafeu Are you companion to the Count Roussillon?
1100Paroles To any count, to all counts: to what is man.
Lafeu To what is count's man. Count's master is of another style.
Paroles You are too old, sir. Let it satisfy you, you are too old.
1105Lafeu I must tell thee, sirrah, I write man -- to which title age cannot bring thee.
Paroles What I dare too well do, I dare not do.
Lafeu I did think thee, for two ordinaries, to be a pretty wise fellow; thou didst make tolerable vent of 1110thy travel, it might pass. Yet the scarfs and the bannerets about thee did manifoldly dissuade me from believing thee a vessel of too great a burden. I have now found thee; when I lose thee again, I care not. Yet art thou good for nothing but taking up, and that thou'rt 1115scarce worth.
Paroles Hadst thou not the privilege of antiquity upon thee --
Lafeu Do not plunge thyself too far in anger, lest thou hasten thy trial; which if -- Lord have mercy on 1120thee for a hen! So, my good window of lattice, fare thee well. Thy casement I need not open, for I look through thee. Give me thy hand.
Paroles My lord, you give me most egregious indignity.
Lafeu Ay, with all my heart, and thou art worthy of it.
1125Paroles I have not, my lord, deserved it.
Lafeu Yes, good faith, ev'ry dram of it, and I will not bate thee a scruple.
Paroles Well, I shall be wiser.
Lafeu Ev'n as soon as thou canst, for thou hast to pull 1130at a smack o' th' contrary. If ever thou be'st bound in thy scarf and beaten, thou shall find what it is to be proud of thy bondage. I have a desire to hold my acquaintance with thee, or rather my knowledge, that I may say in the default, 'He is a man I know.'
1135Paroles My lord, you do me most insupportable vexation.
Lafeu I would it were hell-pains for thy sake and my poor doing eternal; for doing I am past, as I will by thee in what motion age will give me leave. Exit.
1140Paroles Well, thou hast a son shall take this disgrace off me -- scurvy, old, filthy, scurvy lord! Well, I must be patient: there is no fettering of authority. I'll beat him, by my life, if I can meet him with any convenience, an he were double and double a lord. I'll have 1145no more pity of his age than I would have of -- I'll beat him, an if I could but meet him again.
Enter Lafeu.
Lafeu Sirrah, your lord and master's married. There's news for you. You have a new mistress.
1150Paroles I most unfainedly beseech your lordship to make some reservation of your wrongs. He is my good lord; whom I serve above is my master.
Lafeu Who? God.
Paroles Ay, sir.
1155Lafeu The devil it is, that's thy master. Why dost thou garter up thy arms a' this fashion? Dost make hose of thy sleeves? Do other servants so? Thou wert best set thy lower part where thy nose stands. By mine honor, if I were but two hours younger I'd beat thee. 1160Methink'st thou art a general offence, and every man should beat thee. I think thou wast created for men to breathe themselves upon thee.
Paroles This is hard and undeserved measure, my lord.
Lafeu Go to, sir. You were beaten in Italy for picking 1165a kernel out of a pomegranate. You are a vagabond and no true traveler. You are more saucy with lords and honorable personages than the commission of your birth and virtue gives you heraldry. You are not worth another word, else I'd call you knave. I leave you.
1170
Exit.
Paroles Good, very good, it is so then. Good, very good, let it be concealed awhile.
Enter [Bertram,] Count [of] Roussillon.
Bertram Undone, and forfeited to cares forever!
1175Paroles What's the matter, sweetheart?
Bertram Although before the solemn priest I have sworn,
I will not bed her.
Bertram Oh, my Paroles, they have married me.
1180I'll to the Tuscan war, and never bed her.
Paroles France is a dog-hole, and it no more merits
The tread of a man's foot. To th'war!
Bertram There's letters from my mother; what th'import is,
I know not yet.
1185Paroles
Ay, that would be known.
To th'wars, my boy, to th'wars!
He wears his honor in a box unseen
That hugs his kicky-wicky here at home,
Spending his manly marrow in her arms
1190Which should sustain the bound and high curvet
Of Mars's fiery steed. To other regions!
France is a stable, we that dwell in't, jades;
Therefore, to th'war.
Bertram It shall be so. I'll send her to my house,
1195Acquaint my mother with my hate to her
And wherefore I am fled, write to the king
That which I durst not speak. His present gift
Shall furnish me to those Italian fields
Where noble fellows strike. Wars is no strife
1200To the dark house and the detested wife.
Paroles Will this capriccio hold in thee, art sure?
Bertram Go with me to my chamber and advise me.
I'll send her straight away. Tomorrow,
I'll to the wars, she to her single sorrow.
[Exit(?)]
1205Paroles Why, these balls bound, there's noise in it! 'Tis hard,
A young man married is a man that's marred.
Therefore, away, and leave her bravely, go:
The king has done you wrong, but hush 'tis so.
Exit.