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  • Title: All's Well That Ends Well (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editors: Andrew Griffin, Helen Ostovich
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-432-5

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    Not Peer Reviewed

    All's Well That Ends Well (Folio 1, 1623)

    Well, that Ends Well.
    1Actus primus. Scoena Prima
    Enter yong Bertram Count of Rossillion, his Mother, and
    Helena, Lord Lafew, all in blacke
    5IN deliuering my sonne from me, I burie a se-
    cond husband.
    Ros And I in going Madam, weep ore my
    fathers death anew; but I must attend his maie-
    sties command, to whom I am now in Ward, euermore
    10in subiection.
    Laf You shall find of the King a husband Madame,
    you sir a father. He that so generally is at all times good,
    must of necessitie hold his vertue to you, whose worthi-
    nesse would stirre it vp where it wanted rather then lack
    15it where there is such abundance.
    Mo What hope is there of his Maiesties amendment?
    Laf He hath abandon'd his Phisitions Madam, vn-
    der whose practises he hath persecuted time with hope,
    and finds no other aduantage in the processe, but onely
    20the loosing of hope by time.
    Mo This yong Gentlewoman had a father, O that
    had, how sad a passage tis, whose skill was almost as
    great as his honestie, had it stretch'd so far, would haue
    made nature immortall, and death should haue play for
    25lacke of worke. Would for the Kings sake hee were li-
    uing, I thinke it would be the death of the Kings disease.
    Laf How call'd you the man you speake of Madam?
    Mo He was famous sir in his profession, and it was
    his great right to be so: Gerard de Narbon
    30Laf He was excellent indeed Madam, the King very
    latelie spoke of him admiringly, and mourningly: hee
    was skilfull enough to haue liu'd stil, if knowledge could
    be set vp against mortallitie.
    Ros What is it (my good Lord) the King languishes
    Laf A Fistula my Lord.
    Ros I heard not of it before.
    Laf I would it were not notorious. Was this Gen-
    tlewoman the Daughter of Gerard de Narbon
    40Mo His sole childe my Lord, and bequeathed to my
    ouer looking. I haue those hopes of her good, that her
    education promises her dispositions shee inherits, which
    makes faire gifts fairer: for where an vncleane mind car-
    ries vertuous qualities, there commendations go with
    45pitty, they are vertues and traitors too: in her they are
    the better for their simplenesse; she deriues her honestie,
    and atcheeues her goodnesse.
    Lafew Your commendations Madam get from her
    50Mo 'Tis the best brine a Maiden can season her praise
    in. The remembrance of her father neuer approches her
    heart, but the tirrany of her sorrowes takes all liuelihood
    from her cheeke. No more of this Helena go too, no
    more least it be rather thought you affect a sorrow, then
    55to haue------
    Hell I doe affect a sorrow indeed, but I haue it too.
    Laf Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead,
    excessiue greefe the enemie to the liuing.
    Mo If the liuing be enemie to the greefe, the excesse
    60makes it soone mortall.
    Ros Maddam I desire your holie wishes.
    Laf How vnderstand we that?
    Mo Be thou blest Bertrame and succeed thy father
    In manners as in shape: thy blood and vertue
    65Contend for Empire in thee, and thy goodnesse
    Share with thy birth-right. Loue all, trust a few,
    Doe wrong to none: be able for thine enemie
    Rather in power then vse: and keepe thy friend
    Vnder thy owne lifes key. Be checkt for silence,
    70But neuer tax'd for speech. What heauen more wil,
    That thee may furnish, and my prayers plucke downe,
    Fall on thy head. Farwell my Lord,
    'Tis an vnseason'd Courtier, good my Lord
    Aduise him.
    75Laf He cannot want the best
    That shall attend his loue.
    Mo Heauen blesse him: Farwell Bertram
    Ro The best wishes that can be forg'd in your thoghts
    be seruants to you: be comfortable to my mother, your
    80Mistris, and make much of her.
    Laf Farewell prettie Lady, you must hold the cre-
    dit of your father.
    Hell O were that all, I thinke not on my father,
    And these great teares grace his remembrance more
    85Then those I shed for him. What was he like?
    I haue forgott him. My imagination
    Carries no fauour in't but Bertrams
    I am vndone, there is no liuing, none,
    If Bertram be away. 'Twere all one,
    90That I should loue a bright particuler starre,
    And think to wed it, he is so aboue me
    In his bright radience and colaterall light,
    All's Well, that Ends Well 231
    Must I be comforted, not in his sphere;
    Th' ambition in my loue thus plagues it selfe:
    95The hind that would be mated by the Lion
    Must die for loue. 'Twas prettie, though a plague
    To see him euerie houre to sit and draw
    His arched browes, his hawking eie, his curles
    In our hearts table: heart too capeable
    100Of euerie line and tricke of his sweet fauour.
    But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancie
    Must sanctifie his Reliques. Who comes heere?
    Enter Parrolles
    One that goes with him: I loue him for his sake,
    105And yet I know him a notorious Liar,
    Thinke him a great way foole, solie a coward,
    Yet these fixt euils sit so fit in him,
    That they take place, when Vertues steely bones
    Lookes bleake i'th cold wind: withall, full ofte we see
    110Cold wisedome waighting on superfluous follie.
    Par Saue you faire Queene.
    Hel And you Monarch.
    Par No.
    Hel And no.
    115Par Are you meditating on virginitie?
    Hel I: you haue some staine of souldier in you: Let
    mee aske you a question. Man is enemie to virginitie,
    how may we barracado it against him?
    Par Keepe him out.
    120Hel But he assailes, and our virginitie though vali-
    ant, in the defence yet is weak: vnfold to vs some war-like
    Par There is none: Man setting downe before you,
    will vndermine you, and blow you vp.
    125Hel Blesse our poore Virginity from vnderminers
    and blowers vp. Is there no Military policy how Vir-
    gins might blow vp men?
    Par Virginity beeing blowne downe, Man will
    quicklier be blowne vp: marry in blowing him downe
    130againe, with the breach your selues made, you lose your
    Citty. It is not politicke, in the Common-wealth of
    Nature, to preserue virginity. Losse of Virginitie, is
    rationall encrease, and there was neuer Virgin goe, till
    virginitie was first lost. That you were made of, is met-
    135tall to make Virgins. Virginitie, by beeing once lost,
    may be ten times found: by being euer kept, it is euer
    lost: 'tis too cold a companion: Away with't.
    Hel I will stand for't a little, though therefore I die
    a Virgin.
    140Par There's little can bee saide in't, 'tis against the
    rule of Nature. To speake on the part of virginitie, is
    to accuse your Mothers; which is most infallible diso-
    bedience. He that hangs himselfe is a Virgin: Virgini-
    tie murthers it selfe, and should be buried in highwayes
    145out of all sanctified limit, as a desperate Offendresse a-
    gainst Nature. Virginitie breedes mites, much like a
    Cheese, consumes it selfe to the very payring, and so
    dies with feeding his owne stomacke. Besides, Virgini-
    tie is peeuish, proud, ydle, made of selfe-loue, which
    150is the most inhibited sinne in the Cannon. Keepe it not,
    you cannot choose but loose by't. Out with't: within
    ten yeare it will make it selfe two, which is a goodly in-
    crease, and the principall it selfe not much the worse.
    Away with't.
    155Hel How might one do sir, to loose it to her owne
    Par Let mee see. Marry ill, to like him that ne're
    it likes. 'Tis a commodity wil lose the glosse with lying:
    The longer kept, the lesse worth: Off with't while 'tis
    160vendible. Answer the time of request, Virginitie like
    an olde Courtier, weares her cap out of fashion, richly
    suted, but vnsuteable, iust like the brooch & the tooth-
    pick, which were not now: your Date is better in your
    Pye and your Porredge, then in your cheeke: and your
    165virginity, your old virginity, is like one of our French
    wither'd peares, it lookes ill, it eates drily, marry 'tis a
    wither'd peare: it was formerly better, marry yet 'tis a
    wither'd peare: Will you any thing with it?
    Hel Not my virginity yet:
    170There shall your Master haue a thousand loues,
    A Mother, and a Mistresse, and a friend,
    A Phenix, Captaine, and an enemy,
    A guide, a Goddesse, and a Soueraigne,
    A Counsellor, a Traitoresse, and a Deare:
    175His humble ambition, proud humility:
    His iarring, concord: and his discord, dulcet:
    His faith, his sweet disaster: with a world
    Of pretty fond adoptious christendomes
    That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he:
    180I know not what he shall, God send him well,
    The Courts a learning place, and he is one.
    Par What one ifaith?
    Hel That I wish well, 'tis pitty.
    Par What's pitty?
    185Hel That wishing well had not a body in't,
    Which might be felt, that we the poorer borne,
    Whose baser starres do shut vs vp in wishes,
    Might vvith effects of them follow our friends,
    And shew what we alone must thinke, which neuer
    190Returnes vs thankes.
    Enter Page
    Pag Monsieur Parrolles
    My Lord cals for you.
    Par Little Hellenfarewell, if I can remember thee, I
    195will thinke of thee at Court.
    Hel Monsieur Parolles you were borne vnder a
    charitable starre.
    Par Vnder MarsI.
    Hel I especially thinke, vnder Mars
    200Par Why vnder Mars
    Hel The warres hath so kept you vnder, that you
    must needes be borne vnder Mars
    Par When he was predominant.
    Hel When he was retrograde I thinke rather.
    205Par Why thinke you so?
    Hel You go so much backward when you fight.
    Par That's for aduantage.
    Hel So is running away,
    When feare proposes the safetie:
    210But the composition that your valour and feare makes
    in you, is a vertue of a good wing, and I like the
    weare well.
    Paroll I am so full of businesses, I cannot answere
    thee acutely: I will returne perfect Courtier, in the
    215which my instruction shall serue to naturalize thee, so
    thou wilt be capeable of a Courtiers councell, and vn-
    derstand what aduice shall thrust vppon thee, else thou
    diest in thine vnthankfulnes, and thine ignorance makes
    thee away, farewell: When thou hast leysure, say thy
    220praiers: when thou hast none, remember thy Friends:
    V 2 Get
    232All's Well,that Ends Well
    Get thee a good husband, and vse him as he vses thee:
    So farewell.
    Hel Our remedies oft in our selues do lye,
    Which we ascribe to heauen: the fated skye
    225Giues vs free scope, onely doth backward pull
    Our slow designes, when we our selues are dull.
    What power is it, which mounts my loue so hye,
    That makes me see, and cannot feede mine eye?
    The mightiest space in fortune, Nature brings
    230To ioyne like, likes; and kisse like natiue things.
    Impossible be strange attempts to those
    That weigh their paines in sence, and do suppose
    What hath beene, cannot be. Who euer stroue
    To shew her merit, that did misse her loue?
    235(The Kings disease) my proiect may deceiue me,
    But my intents are fixt, and will not leaue me. Exit