Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

All's Well That Ends Well (Modern)

Enter Helen [with a letter in hand] and Clown.
1210Helen My mother greets me kindly. Is she well?
Clown She is not well, but yet she has her health. She's very merry, but yet she is not well. But, thanks be given, she's very well, and wants nothing i'th'world. But yet she is not well.
1215Helen If she be very well, what does she ail that she's not very well?
Clown Truly, she's very well indeed, but for two things.
Helen What two things?
Clown One, that she's not in heaven -- whither God send 1220 her quickly; the other, that she's in earth -- from whence God send her quickly.
Enter Paroles.
Paroles Bless you, my fortunate lady.
Helen I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine 1225own good fortune.
Paroles You had my prayers to lead them on, and to keep them on, have them still. -- O my knave, how does my old lady?
Clown So that you had her wrinkles and I her money, 1230I would she did as you say.
Paroles Why, I say nothing.
Clown Marry, you are the wiser man, for many a man's tongue shakes out his master's undoing. To say nothing, to do nothing, to know nothing, and to have nothing, 1235is to be a great part of your title, which is within a very little of nothing.
Paroles Away, thou'rt a knave.
Clown You should have said, sir, 'Before a knave, th'art a knave' -- that's 'before me th'art a knave.' This had been 1240truth, sir.
Paroles Go to, thou art a witty fool. I have found thee.
Clown Did you find me in yourself, sir, or were you taught to find me?
[Paroles does not reply.]
1245Clown The search, sir, was profitable; and much fool may you find in you, even to the world's pleasure and the increase of laughter.
Paroles A good knave, i'faith, and well fed.
Madam, my lord will go away tonight;
1250A very serious business calls on him.
The great prerogative and rite of love,
Which, as your due time claims, he does acknowledge,
But puts it off to a compelled restraint,
Whose want and whose delay is strewed with sweets
1255Which they distill now in the curbèd time
To make the coming hour o'erflow with joy,
And pleasure drown the brim.
What's his will else?
Paroles That you will take your instant leave o'th'king,
1260And make this haste as your own good proceeding,
Strengthened with what apology you think
May make it probable need.
What more commands he?
Paroles That, having this obtained, you presently
1265Attend his further pleasure.
Helen In everything, I wait upon his will.
Paroles I shall report it so.
Exit Paroles.
Helen I pray you. -- Come, sirrah.
Exit [Helen with Clown].