Internet Shakespeare Editions

Become a FriendSign in

About this text

  • Title: All's Well That Ends Well (Modern)
  • Editors: Andrew Griffin, Helen Ostovich
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-432-5

    Copyright Helen Ostovich and Andrew Griffin. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editors: Andrew Griffin, Helen Ostovich
    Not Peer Reviewed

    All's Well That Ends Well (Modern)

    [2.2]
    Enter Countess and Clown.
    825Countess
    Come on, sir, I shall now put you to the height of your breeding.
    Clown
    I will show myself highly fed and lowly taught. I know my business is but to the court.
    Countess
    To the court? Why, what place make you 830special, when you put off that with such contempt? 'But to the court'!
    Clown
    Truly, madam, if God have lent a man any manners, he may easily put it off at court. He that cannot make a leg, put off 's cap, kiss his hand, and say 835nothing, has neither leg, hands, lip, nor cap; and indeed such a fellow, to say precisely, were not for the court. But, for me, I have an answer will serve all men.
    Countess
    Marry, that's a bountiful answer that fits all questions.
    840Clown
    It is like a barber's chair that fits all buttocks: the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn-buttock, or any buttock.
    Countess
    Will your answer serve fit to all questions?
    Clown
    As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an 845attorney, as your French crown for your taffety punk, as Tib's rush for Tom's forefinger, as a pancake for Shrove Tuesday, a Morris for May Day, as the nail to his hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a scolding quean to a wrangling knave, as the nun's lip to the friar's mouth; 850nay, as the pudding to his skin.
    Countess
    Have you, I say, an answer of such fitness for all questions?
    Clown
    From below your duke to beneath your constable, it will fit any question.
    855Countess
    It must be an answer of most monstrous size that must fit all demands.
    Clown
    But a trifle neither, in good faith, if the learned should speak truth of it. Here it is, and all that belongs to't. Ask me if I am a courtier; it shall do you no 860harm to learn.
    Countess
    To be young again, if we could! I will be a fool in question, hoping to be the wiser by your answer. I pray you, sir, are you a courtier?
    865Clown
    Oh Lord, sir! -- There's a simple putting off. More, more, a hundred of them.
    Countess
    Sir, I am a poor friend of yours that loves you.
    Clown
    Oh Lord, sir! -- Thick, thick, spare not me.
    Countess
    I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely 870meat.
    Clown
    Oh Lord, sir! -- Nay, put me to't, I warrant you.
    Countess
    You were lately whipped, sir, as I think.
    Clown
    Oh Lord, sir! -- Spare not me.
    Countess
    Do you cry 'Oh Lord, sir!' at your whipping, and 875'Spare not me'? Indeed your 'Oh Lord, sir!' is very sequent to your whipping; you would answer very well to a whipping, if you were but bound to't.
    Clown
    I ne'er had worse luck in my life in my 'Oh Lord, sir!' I see things may serve long, but not serve ever.
    880Countess
    I play the noble housewife with the time, to entertain it so merrily with
    a fool.
    Clown
    Oh Lord, sir! -- Why there't serves well again.
    Countess
    An end, sir. To your business: give Helen this, [Giving him a letter]
    And urge her to a present answer back.
    885Commend me to my kinsmen, and my son.
    This is not much.
    Clown
    Not much commendation to them?
    Countess
    Not much employment for you. You understand me?
    890Clown
    Most fruitfully. I am there before my legs.
    Lafeu
    Haste you again.
    Exeunt.