Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

All's Well That Ends Well (Modern)


[4.5]
Enter Clown, [Countess], and Lafeu.
Lafeu No, no, no, your son was misled with a snipped-taffeta fellow there, whose villainous saffron would have made all the unbaked and doughy youth of a nation in his 2485color. Your daughter-in-law had been alive at this hour, and your son here at home, more advanced by the king than by that red-tailed humble-bee I speak of.
Countess I would I had not known him; it was the death 2490of the most virtuous gentlewoman that ever nature had praise for creating. If she had partaken of my flesh and cost me the dearest groans of a mother, I could not have owed her a more rooted love.
Lafeu 'Twas a good lady, 'twas a good lady. We 2495may pick a thousand salads ere we light on such another herb.
Clown Indeed, sir, she was the sweet marjoram of the salad, or rather the herb of grace.
Lafeu They are not herbs, you knave, they are 2500nose-herbs.
Clown I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir: I have not much skill in grace.
Lafeu Whether dost thou profess thyself -- a knave or a fool?
2505Clown A fool, sir, at a woman's service, and a knave at a man's.
Lafeu Your distinction?
Clown I would cozen the man of his wife, and do his service.
2510Lafeu So you were a knave at his service indeed.
Clown And I would give his wife my bauble, sir, to do her service.
Lafeu I will subscribe for thee: thou art both knave and fool.
2515Clown At your service.
Lafeu No, no, no.
Clown Why, sir, if I cannot serve you, I can serve as great a prince as you are.
Lafeu Who's that? A Frenchman?
2520Clown Faith, sir, a has an English mane OR mien OR meinie, but his phys'nomy is more hotter in France than there.
Lafeu What prince is that?
Clown The black prince, sir, alias the prince of darkness, alias the devil.
2525Lafeu Hold thee, there's my purse. I give thee not this to suggest thee from thy master thou talk'st of; serve him still.
Clown I am a woodland fellow, sir, that always loved a great fire, and the master I speak of ever keeps a good 2530fire. But sure he is the prince of the world; let his nobility remain in's court. I am for the house with the narrow gate, which I take to be too little for pomp to enter. Some that humble themselves may, but the many will be too chill and tender, and they'll be for the 2535flowery way that leads to the broad gate and the great fire.
Lafeu Go thy ways; I begin to be a weary of thee, and I tell thee so before because I would not fall out with thee. Go thy ways; let my horses be well looked 2540too, without any tricks.
Clown If I put any tricks upon 'em, sir, they shall be jades' tricks, which are their own right by the law of nature. Exit.
Lafeu A shrewd knave, and an unhappy.
2545Countess So a is. My lord that's gone made himself much sport out of him. By his authority he remains here, which he thinks is a patent for his sauciness, and indeed he has no pace, but runs where he will.
Lafeu I like him well; 'tis not amiss. And I was about 2550to tell you, since I heard of the good lady's death, and that my lord your son was upon his return home, I moved the king my master to speak in the behalf of my daughter, which in the minority of them both, his majesty out of a self-gracious remembrance did first 2555propose. His highness hath promised me to do it, and to stop up the displeasure he hath conceived against your son there is no fitter matter. How does your ladyship like it?
Countess With very much content, my lord, and I wish 2560it happily effected.
Lafeu His highness comes post from Marseilles, of as able body as when he numbered thirty. A will be here to morrow, or I am deceived by him that in such intelligence hath seldom failed.
2565Countess It rejoices me that I hope I shall see him ere I die. I have letters that my son will be here tonight; I shall beseech your lordship to remain with me till they meet together.
Lafeu Madam, I was thinking with what manners I 2570might safely be admitted.
Countess You need but plead your honorable privilege.
Lafeu Lady, of that I have made a bold charter, but I thank my God it holds yet.
2575
Enter Clown.
Clown O madam, yonder's my lord your son with a patch of velvet on's face. Whether there be a scar under't or no, the velvet knows, but 'tis a goodly patch of velvet; his left cheek is a cheek of two pile and a 2580half, but his right cheek is worn bare.
Lafeu A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good liv'ry of honor. So belike is that.
Clown But it is your carbonadoed face.
2585Lafeu Let us go see your son, I pray you. I long to talk with the young noble soldier.
Clown Faith, there's a dozen of 'em with delicate fine hats and most courteous feathers which bow the 2590head and nod at every man.
Exeunt.