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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter young Bertram, Count Roussillon, his mother [the Countess], Helen, [and] Lord Lafeu, all in black.
    5In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.
    And I in going, madam, weep o'er my father's death anew, but I must attend his majesty's command, to whom I am now in ward, evermore 10in subjection.
    You shall find of the King a husband, madam; you, sir, a father. He, that so generally is at all times good, must of necessity hold his virtue to you, whose worthiness would stir it up where it wanted rather than lack 15it where there is such abundance.
    What hope is there of his majesty's amendment?
    He hath abandoned his physicians, madam, under whose practices he hath persecuted time with hope and finds no other advantage in the process, but only 20the losing of hope by time.
    This young gentlewoman had a father -- oh, that "had", how sad a passage 'tis! -- whose skill was almost as great as his honesty; had it stretched so far, would have made nature immortal and death should have play for 25lack of work. Would for the King's sake he were living! I think it would be the death of the King's disease.
    How called you the man you speak of, madam?
    He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was his great right to be so: GĂ©rard de Narbonne.
    He was excellent indeed, madam. The King very lately spoke of him admiringly, and mourningly. He was skilful enough to have lived still, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.
    What is it, my good lord, the King languishes 35of?
    A fistula, my lord.
    I heard not of it before.
    I would it were not notorious. -- Was this gentlewoman the daughter of
    GĂ©rard de Narbonne?
    His sole child, my lord, and bequeathed to my overlooking. I have those hopes of her good that her education promises; her dispositions she inherits, which makes fair gifts fairer. For where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there commendations go with 45pity: they are virtues and traitors too. In her, they are the better for their simpleness; she derives her honesty and achieves her goodness.
    Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.
    'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in. The remembrance of her father never approaches her heart, but the tyranny of her sorrows takes all livelihood from her cheek. -- No more of this, Helen, go to, no more, lest it be rather thought you affect a sorrow than 55to have --
    I do affect a sorrow indeed, but I have it too.
    Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead; excessive grief, the enemy to the living.
    If the living be enemy to the grief, the 60excess makes it soon mortal.
    Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
    [To the Countess (?)]How understand we that?
    Be thou blessed, Bertram, and succeed thy father
    In manners as in shape. Thy blood and virtue
    65Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
    Share with thy birthright. Love all, trust a few,
    Do wrong to none. Be able for thine enemy
    Rather in power than use, and keep thy friend
    Under thy own life's key. Be checked for silence,
    70But never taxed for speech. What heaven more will,
    That thee may furnish and my prayers pluck down,
    Fall on thy head. -- [To Lafeu] Farewell, my lord.
    'Tis an unseasoned courtier, good my lord.
    Advise him.
    He cannot want the best
    That shall attend his love.
    Heaven bless him.
    -- Farewell, Bertram.
    [Exit the Countess.]
    [To Helen] The best wishes that can be forged in your thoughts be servants to you. Be comfortable to my mother, your 80mistress, and make much of her.
    Farewell, pretty lady. You must hold the credit of your father.
    [Exeunt Bertram and Lafeu.]
    Oh, were that all! I think not on my father
    And these great tears grace his remembrance more
    85Than those I shed for him. What was he like?
    I have forgot him. My imagination
    Carries no favor in't but Bertram's.
    I am undone. There is no living, none,
    If Bertram be away. 'Twere all one,
    90That I should love a bright particular star
    And think to wed it, he is so above me.
    In his bright radiance and collateral light
    Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
    Th'ambition in my love thus plagues itself.
    95The hind that would be mated by the lion
    Must die for love. 'Twas pretty, though a plague,
    To see him every hour, to sit and draw
    His archèd brows, his hawking eye, his curls
    In our heart's table -- heart too capable
    100Of every line and trick of his sweet favor.
    But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy
    Must sanctify his relics. Who comes here?
    Enter Paroles.
    One that goes with him. I love him for his sake.
    105And yet I know him a notorious liar,
    Think him a great way fool, solely a coward;
    Yet these fixed evils sit so fit in him
    That they take place when virtue's steely bones
    Looks bleak i'th'cold wind. Withal, full oft we see
    110Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.
    Save you, fair queen.
    And you, monarch.
    And no.
    Are you meditating on virginity?
    Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you. Let me ask you a question. Man is enemy to virginity. How may we barricado it against him?
    Keep him out.
    But he assails and our virginity, though valiant, in the defence yet is weak. Unfold to us some warlike resistance.
    There is none. Man, setting down before you, will undermine you and blow you up.
    Bless our poor virginity from underminers and blowers up! Is there no military policy how virgins might blow up men?
    Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier be blown up. Marry, in blowing him down 130again, with the breach yourselves made, you lose your city. It is not politic in the commonwealth of nature to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is rational increase, and there was never virgin got till virginity was first lost. That you were made of is 135metal to make virgins. Virginity, by being once lost, may be ten times found; by being ever kept, it is ever lost. 'Tis too cold a companion. Away with't!
    I will stand for't a little, though therefore I die a virgin.
    There's little can be said in't; 'tis against the rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity is to accuse your mothers, which is most infallible disobedience. He that hangs himself is a virgin: virginity murders itself, and should be buried in highways, 145out of all sanctified limit as a desperate offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese, consumes itself to the very paring, and so dies with feeding his own stomach. Besides, virginity is peevish, proud, idle, made of self-love, which 150is the most inhibited sin in the canon. Keep it not, you cannot choose but lose by't. Out with't! Within ten year it will make itself two, which is a goodly increase, and the principal itself not much the worse. Away with't!
    How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own liking?
    Let me see. Marry, ill, to like him that ne'er it likes. 'Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with lying. The longer kept, the less worth. Off with't while 'tis 160vendible. Answer the time of request. Virginity, like an old courtier, wears her cap out of fashion, richly suited, but unsuitable, just like the brooch and the toothpick, which wear not now. Your date is better in your pie and your porridge than in your cheek, and your 165virginity, your old virginity, is like one of our French withered pears. It looks ill, it eats dryly -- marry, 'tis a withered pear. It was formerly better, marry, yet 'tis a withered pear! Will you anything with it?
    Not my virginity yet.
    170There shall your master have a thousand loves:
    A mother, and a mistress, and a friend,
    A phoenix, captain, and an enemy,
    A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign,
    A counselor, a traitress, and a dear;
    175His humble ambition, proud humility;
    His jarring, concord; and his discord, dulcet;
    His faith, his sweet disaster; with a world
    Of pretty fond adoptious christendoms
    That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he --
    180I know not what he shall. God send him well!
    The court's a learning place, and he is one --
    What one, i'faith?
    That I wish well. 'Tis pity.
    What's pity?
    That wishing well had not a body in't,
    Which might be felt, that we, the poorer born,
    Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes,
    Might with effects of them follow our friends
    And show what we alone must think, which never
    190Returns us thanks.
    Enter Page.
    Monsieur Paroles, my lord calls for you.
    Little Helen, farewell. If I can remember thee, I 195will think of thee at court.
    Monsieur Paroles, you were born under a charitable star.
    Under Mars, I.
    I especially think under Mars.
    Why 'under' Mars?
    The wars hath so kept you under that you must needs be born under Mars.
    When he was predominant.
    When he was retrograde, I think rather.
    Why think you so?
    You go so much backward when you fight.
    That's for advantage.
    So is running away when fear proposes the safety. 210But the composition that your valor and fear makes in you is a virtue of a good wing, and I like the wear well.
    I am so full of businesses, I cannot answer thee acutely. I will return perfect courtier, in the 215which my instruction shall serve to naturalize thee, so thou wilt be capable of a courtier's counsel and understand what advice shall thrust upon thee, else thou diest in thine unthankfulnes and thine ignorance makes thee away. Farewell. When thou hast leisure, say thy 220prayers: when thou hast none, remember thy friends. Get thee a good husband, and use him as he uses thee. So, farewell.
    Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
    Which we ascribe to heaven. The fated sky
    225Gives us free scope, only doth backward pull
    Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.
    What power is it which mounts my love so high,
    That makes me see and cannot feed mine eye?
    The mightiest space in fortune, nature brings
    230To join like likes and kiss like native things.
    Impossible be strange attempts to those
    That weigh their pains in sense and do suppose
    What hath been cannot be. Who ever strove
    To show her merit that did miss her love? --
    235The king's disease! My project may deceive me,
    But my intents are fixed and will not leave me.
    Flourish cornets.
    Enter the King of France with letters and divers Attendants.
    The Florentines and Senois are by th'ears,
    Have fought with equal fortune, and continue
    A braving war.
    1 Lord
    So 'tis reported, sir.
    Nay, 'tis most credible. We here receive it
    245A certainty vouched from our cousin Austria,
    With caution that the Florentine will move us
    For speedy aid, wherein our dearest friend
    Prejudicates the business and would seem
    To have us make denial.
    2501 Lord
    His love and wisdom,
    Approved so to your majesty, may plead
    For amplest credence.
    He hath armed our answer,
    And Florence is denied before he comes.
    255Yet for our gentlemen that mean to see
    The Tuscan service, freely have they leave
    To stand on either part.
    2 Lord
    It well may serve
    A nursery to our gentry, who are sick
    260For breathing and exploit.
    What's he comes here.
    Enter Bertram, Lafeu, and Paroles.
    1 Lord
    It is the Count Roussillon, my good lord,
    Young Bertram.
    Youth, thou bear'st thy father's face;
    Frank nature, rather curious than in haste,
    Hath well composed thee. Thy father's moral parts
    Mayst thou inherit too! Welcome to Paris.
    My thanks and duty are your majesty's.
    I would I had that corporal soundness now
    As when thy father and myself in friendship
    First tried our soldiership. He did look far
    Into the service of the time, and was
    Discipled of the bravest. He lasted long,
    275But on us both did haggish age steal on
    And wore us out of act. It much repairs me
    To talk of your good father. In his youth
    He had the wit which I can well observe
    Today in our young lords, but they may jest
    280Till their own scorn return to them unnoted
    Ere they can hide their levity in honor.
    So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness
    Were in his pride, or sharpness; if they were,
    His equal had awaked them, and his honor,
    285Clock to itself, knew the true minute when
    Exception bid him speak, and at this time
    His tongue obeyed his hand. Who were below him,
    He used as creatures of another place
    And bowed his eminent top to their low ranks,
    290Making them proud of his humility,
    In their poor praise he humbled. Such a man
    Might be a copy to these younger times,
    Which, followed well, would demonstrate them now
    But goers backward.
    His good remembrance, sir,
    Lies richer in your thoughts than on his tomb.
    So in approof lives not his epitaph
    As in your royal speech.
    Would I were with him! He would always say --
    300Methinks I hear him now; his plausive words
    He scattered not in ears, but grafted them
    To grow there and to bear -- "Let me not live" --
    This his good melancholy oft began
    On the catastrophe and heel of pastime
    305When it was out: "Let me not live," quoth he,
    "After my flame lacks oil, to be the snuff
    Of younger spirits whose apprehensive senses
    All but new things disdain; whose judgements are
    Mere fathers of their garments; whose constancies
    310Expire before their fashions." This he wished.
    I, after him, do after him wish too,
    Since I nor wax nor honey can bring home,
    I quickly were dissolvèd from my hive
    To give some laborers room.
    3152 Lord
    You're loved, sir.
    They that least lend it you shall lack you first.
    I fill a place, I know't. How long is't, Count,
    Since the physician at your father's died?
    He was much famed.
    Some six months since, my lord.
    If he were living, I would try him yet.
    Lend me an arm. The rest have worn me out
    With several applications. Nature and sickness
    Debate it at their leisure. Welcome, Count,
    325My son's no dearer.
    Thank your majesty.
    Exeunt. Flourish.
    Enter Countess, Steward, and Clown.
    I will now hear: what say you of this 330gentlewoman?
    Madam, the care I have had to even your content, I wish might be found in the calendar of my past endeavors, for then we wound our modesty and make foul the clearness of our deservings when of ourselves 335we publish them.
    What does this knave here? -- [To Clown] Get you gone, sirrah. The complaints I have heard of you I do not all believe. 'Tis my slowness that I do not, for I know you lack not folly to commit them, and have ability enough 340to make such knaveries yours.
    'Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a poor fellow.
    Well, sir?
    No, madam, 345'tis not so well that I am poor, though many of the rich are damned, but if I may have your ladyship's good will to go to the world, Isbel the woman and I will do as we may.
    Wilt thou needs be a beggar?
    I do beg your good will in this case.
    In what case?
    In Isbel's case and mine own. Service is no heritage, and I think I shall never have the blessing of God till I have issue o'my body, for they say bairns are 355blessings.
    Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry?
    My poor body, madam, requires it. I am driven on by the flesh, and he must needs go that the devil drives.
    Is this all your worship's reason?
    Faith, madam, I have other holy reasons, such as they are.
    May the world know them?
    I have been, madam, a wicked creature, as you 365and all flesh and blood are, and indeed I do marry that I may repent.
    Thy marriage sooner than thy wickedness.
    I am out o'friends, madam, and I hope to have friends for my wife's sake.
    Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
    You're shallow, madam, in great friends, for the knaves come to do that for me which I am aweary of. He that ears my land spares my team, and gives me leave to in the crop. If I be his cuckold he's my 375drudge. He that comforts my wife is the cherisher of my flesh and blood; he that cherishes my flesh and blood loves my flesh and blood; he that loves my flesh and blood is my friend. Ergo, he that kisses my wife is my friend. If men could be contented to be what they are, 380there were no fear in marriage, for young Charbon the puritan, and old Poisson the papist, howsome'er their hearts are severed in religion, their heads are both one. They may jowl horns together like any deer i'th' herd.
    Wilt thou ever be a foulmouthed and 385calumnious knave?
    A prophet, I, madam, and I speak the truth the next way:
    For I the ballad will repeat,
    Which men full true shall find:
    Your marriage comes by destiny;
    Your cuckoo sings by kind.
    Get you gone, sir. I'll talk with you more anon.
    May it please you, madam, that he bid Helen come to you? Of her I am to speak.
    [To Clown] Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman I would speak with her, Helen I mean.
    "Was this fair face the cause," quoth she,
    "Why the Grecians sackèd Troy?
    Fond done, done fond,
    Was this King Priam's joy?"
    With that she sighèd as she stood,
    With that she sighèd as she stood,
    And gave this sentence then:
    "Among nine bad, if one be 400good,
    Among nine bad, if one be good,
    There's yet one good in ten."
    What? One good in ten? You corrupt the song, sirrah.
    One good woman in ten, madam, which is a 405purifying o'th'song. Would God would serve the world so all the year! We'd find no fault with the tithe-woman, if I were the parson. One in ten, quotha? And we might have a good woman born but o'er every blazing star or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery well! A 410man may draw his heart out ere a pluck one.
    You'll begone, sir knave, and do as I command you!
    That man should be at woman's command, and yet no hurt done! Though honesty be no puritan, yet 415it will do no hurt: it will wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart. I am going, forsooth! The business is for Helen to come hither.
    Well, now.
    I know, madam, you love your gentlewoman entirely.
    Faith, I do. Her father bequeathed her to me, and she herself, without other advantage, may lawfully make title to as much love as she finds. There is 425more owing her than is paid, and more shall be paid her than she'll demand.
    Madam, I was very late more near her thanI think she wished me. Alone she was, and did communicate to herself her own words to her 430own ears. She thought, I dare vow for her, they touched not any stranger sense. Her matter was, she loved your son. Fortune, she said, was no goddess, that had put such difference betwixt their two estates; love no god, that would not extend his might 435only where qualities were level; Dian no queen of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight surprised without rescue in the first assault or ransom afterward: This she delivered in the most bitter touch of sorrow that e'erI heard virgin exclaim in, which I held 440my duty speedily to acquaint you withal, sithence in the loss that may happen, it concerns you something to know it.
    You have discharged this honestly. Keep it to yourself. Many likelihoods informed me of this 445before, which hung so tottering in the balance, that I could neither believe nor misdoubt. Pray you, leave me. Stall this in your bosom, and I thank you for your honest care. I will speak with you further anon.
    Exit Steward.
    450Enter Helen.
    E'en so it was with me when I was young.
    If ever we are nature's, these are ours. This thorn
    Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong.
    Our blood to us, this to our blood is born;
    455It is the show and seal of nature's truth,
    Where love's strong passion is impressed in youth
    By our remembrances of days foregone,
    Such were our faults, or then we thought them none,
    Her eye is sick on't. I observe her now.
    What is your pleasure, madam?
    You know, Helen, I am a mother to you.
    Mine honorable mistress.
    Nay, a mother,
    Why not a mother? When I said "a mother"
    465Methought you saw a serpent. What's in "mother"
    That you start at it? I say I am your mother,
    And put you in the catalogue of those
    That were enwombèd mine. 'Tis often seen
    Adoption strives with nature, and choice breeds
    470A native slip to us from foreign seeds.
    You ne'er oppressed me with a mother's groan;
    Yet I express to you a mother's care.
    God's mercy, maiden! Does it curd thy blood
    To say I am thy mother? [Helen weeps.] What's the matter,
    475That this distempered messenger of wet
    The many-colored Iris, rounds thine eye?
    -- Why, that you are my daughter?
    That I am not.
    I say I am your mother.
    Pardon, madam,
    The Count Roussillon cannot be my brother.
    I am from humble, he from honored name;
    No note upon my parents, his all noble,
    My master, my dear lord he is, and I
    485His servant live, and will his vassal die.
    He must not be my brother!
    Nor I your mother?
    You are my mother, madam! Would you were,
    So that my lord your son were not my brother --
    490Indeed my mother! Or were you both our mothers,
    I care no more for than I do for heaven,
    So I were not his sister! Can't no other
    But, I your daughter, he must be my brother?
    Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-in-law.
    495God shield you mean it not, "daughter" and "mother"
    So strive upon your pulse. What, pale again?
    My fear hath catched your fondness! Now I see
    The mystery of your loneliness and find
    Your salt tears' head. Now to all sense 'tis gross:
    500You love my son. Invention is ashamed
    Against the proclamation of thy passion
    To say thou dost not: therefore tell me true,
    But tell me then 'tis so, for look, thy cheeks
    Confess it t'one to th' other, and thine eyes
    505See it so grossly shown in thy behaviors
    That in their kind they speak it. Only sin
    And hellish obstinacy tie thy tongue,
    That truth should be suspected. Speak, is't so?
    If it be so, you have wound a goodly clew:
    510If it be not, forswear't. Howe'er, I charge thee,
    As heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
    To tell me truly.
    Good madam, pardon me!
    Do you love my son?
    Your pardon, noble mistress!
    Love you my son?
    Do not you love him, madam?
    Go not about. My love hath in't a bond
    Whereof the world takes note. Come, come, disclose
    520The state of your affection, for your passions
    Have to the full appeached.
    Then I confess
    Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
    That, before you and next unto high heaven,
    I love your 525son.
    My friends were poor but honest; so's my love.
    Be not offended, for it hurts not him
    That he is loved of me. I follow him not
    By any token of presumptuous suit,
    530Nor would I have him till I do deserve him,
    Yet never know how that desert should be.
    I know I love in vain, strive against hope.
    Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
    I still pour in the waters of my love
    535And lack not to lose still. Thus. Indian-like
    Religious in mine error, I adore
    The sun, that looks upon his worshipper
    But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,
    Let not your hate encounter with my love
    540For loving where you do, but if yourself,
    Whose agèd honor cites a virtuous youth,
    Did ever in so true a flame of liking
    Wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian
    Was both herself and love, oh then give pity
    545To her whose state is such that cannot choose
    But lend and give where she is sure to lose;
    That seeks not to find that her search implies,
    But riddle-like lives sweetly where she dies.
    Had you not lately an intent, speak truly,
    550To go to Paris?
    Madam, I had.
    Wherefore? Tell true.
    I will tell truth, by grace itself I swear!
    You know my father left me some prescriptions
    555Of rare and proved effects, such as his reading
    And manifest experience had collected
    For general sovereignty, and that he willed me
    In heedfull'st reservation to bestow them
    As notes, whose faculties inclusive were,
    560More than they were in note. Amongst the rest,
    There is a remedy, approved, set down
    To cure the desperate languishings whereof
    The King is rendered lost.
    This was your motive for Paris, was it? Speak!
    My lord your son made me to think of this;
    Else Paris and the medicine and the King
    Had from the conversation of my thoughts
    Happily been absent then.
    But think you, Helen,
    570If you should tender your supposèd aid,
    He would receive it? He and his physicians
    Are of a mind: he, that they cannot help him;
    They, that they cannot help. How shall they credit
    A poor unlearnèd virgin, when the schools,
    575Emboweled of their doctrine, have left off
    The danger to itself?
    There's something in't,
    More than my father's skill, which was the great'st
    Of his profession, that his good receipt
    580Shall for my legacy be sanctified
    By th'luckiest stars in heaven, and would your honor
    But give me leave to try success, I'd venture
    The well-lost life of mine on his grace's cure
    By such a day, an hour.
    Dost thou believe't?
    Ay, madam, knowingly.
    Why, Helen, thou shalt have my leave and love,
    Means and attendants, and my loving greetings
    To those of mine in court. I'll stay at home
    590And pray God's blessing into thy attempt.
    Begone tomorrow, and be sure of this:
    What I can help thee to, thou shalt not miss.
    Enter the King with divers young Lords taking leave for 595the Florentine war, [Bertram,] Count Roussillon, and Paroles. Flourish cornets.
    [Addressing the assembled Lords] Farewell, young lords. These warlike principles
    Do not throw from you. -- [To 1 Lord and 2 Lord] And you, my lords, farewell.
    Share the advice betwixt you; if both gain, all
    600The gift doth stretch itself as 'tis received,
    And is enough for both.
    1 Lord
    'Tis our hope sir,
    After well entered soldiers, to return
    And find your grace in health.
    No, no, it cannot be. And yet my heart
    Will not confess he owes the malady
    That doth my life besiege. -- Farewell, young lords.
    Whether I live or die, be you the sons
    Of worthy Frenchmen. Let higher Italy
    610(Those bated that inherit but the fall
    Of the last monarchy) see that you come
    Not to woo honor, but to wed it, when
    The bravest questant shrinks. Find what you seek,
    That fame may cry you loud. I say farewell.
    6151 Lord
    Health, at your bidding, serve your majesty.
    Those girls of Italy, take heed of them:
    They say our French lack language to deny
    If they demand. Beware of being captives
    Before you serve.
    6201 and 2 Lords
    Our hearts receive your warnings.
    Farewell. -- [To Attendants] Come hither to me.
    1 Lord
    [To Bertram] O, my sweet lord, that you will stay behind us!
    'Tis not his fault, the spark.
    2 Lord
    Oh, 'tis brave wars!
    Most admirable! I have seen those wars.
    I am commanded here, and kept a coil with
    "Too young" and "The next year" and "'Tis too early."
    An thy mind stand to't, boy, steal away bravely.
    I shall stay here the forehorse to a smock,
    Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry
    Till honor be bought up and no sword worn
    But one to dance with. By heaven, I'll steal away!
    1 Lord
    There's honor in the theft.
    Commit it, count.
    2 Lord
    I am your accessory, and so farewell.
    I grow to you,
    And our parting is a tortured body.
    1 Lord
    Farewell, captain.
    2 Lord
    Sweet Monsieur Paroles.
    640Paroles [To the departing Lords]
    Noble heroes, my sword and yours are kin. Good sparks and lustrous, a word, good metals. You shall find in the regiment of the Spinii one Captain Spurio with his cicatrice, an emblem of war, here on his sinister cheek. It was this very sword entrenched it. [He indicates his weapon.] 645Say to him I live, and observe his reports for me.
    1 Lord
    We shall, noble captain.
    Mars dote on you for his novices!
    [Exeunt 1 Lord and 2 Lord.]
    [To Bertram]--What will ye do?
    Stay the king.
    Use a more spacious ceremony to the noble lords: you have restrained yourself within the list of too cold an adieu. Be more expressive to them, for they wear themselves in the cap of the time; there do muster true gait; eat, speak, and move under the influence of 655the most received star; and, though the devil lead the measure, such are to be followed. After them, and take a more dilated farewell.
    And I will do so.
    Worthy fellows, and like to prove most 660sinewy swordsmen.
    Exeunt [Bertram and Paroles].
    Enter Lafeu
    [Kneeling] Pardon, my lord, for me and for my tidings.
    I'll fee thee to stand up.
    [Stands]Then here's a man stands that has brought his pardon.
    665I would you had kneeled, my lord, to ask me mercy,
    And that at my bidding you could so stand up.
    I would I had, so I had broke thy pate
    And asked thee mercy for't.
    Good faith, across!
    But, my good lord, 'tis 670thus:will you be cured
    Of your infirmity?
    Oh, will you eat
    No grapes, my royal fox? Yes, but you will
    My noble grapes, an if my royal fox
    Could reach them. I have seen a medicine
    675That's able to breathe life into a stone,
    Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary
    With sprightly fire and motion, whose simple touch
    Is powerful to a-raise King PĂ©pin, nay,
    To give great Charlemagne a pen in 's hand
    680And write to her a love-line.
    What "her" is this?
    Why, Doctor She! My lord, there's one arrived
    If you will see her. Now, by my faith and honor,
    If seriously I may convey my thoughts.
    685In this my light deliverance, I have spoke
    With one that, in her sex, her years, profession,
    Wisdom, and constancy, hath amazed me more
    Than I dare blame my weakness. Will you see her --
    For that is her demand -- and know her business?
    690That done, laugh well at me.
    Now, good Lafeu,
    Bring in the admiration, that we with thee
    May spend our wonder too, or take off thine
    By wondering how thou took'st it.
    Nay, I'll fit you,
    And not be all day neither.
    [Lafeu goes off briefly to usher in Helen]
    [Aside] Thus he his special nothing ever prologues.
    [To Helen, still offstage] Nay, come your ways.
    Enter Helen
    This haste hath wings indeed.
    Nay, come your ways,
    This is his majesty; say your mind to him.
    A traitor you do look like, but such traitors
    His majesty seldom fears. I am Cressid's uncle,
    705That dare leave two together. Fare you well.
    Now, fair one, does your business follow us?
    Ay, my good lord. GĂ©rard de Narbonne was my father;
    In what he did profess, well found.
    I knew him.
    The rather will I spare my praises towards him:
    Knowing him is enough. On's bed of death,
    Many receipts he gave me, chiefly one
    Which, as the dearest issue of his practice
    715And of his old experience th'only darling,
    He bade me store up as a triple eye
    Safer then mine own two; more dear I have so.
    And, hearing your high majesty is touched
    With that malignant cause wherein the honor
    720Of my dear father's gift stands chief in power,
    I come to tender it and my appliance
    With all bound humbleness.
    We thank you, maiden,
    But may not be so credulous of cure
    725When our most learnèd doctors leave us and
    The congregated college have concluded
    That laboring art can never ransom nature
    From her inaidable estate. I say we must not
    So stain our judgment or corrupt our hope
    730To prostitute our past-cure malady
    To empirics, or to dissever so
    Our great self and our credit to esteem
    A senseless help, when help past sense we deem.
    My duty, then, shall pay me for my pains.
    735I will no more enforce mine office on you,
    Humbly entreating from your royal thoughts,
    A modest one to bear me back again.
    I cannot give thee less, to be called grateful.
    Thou thoughtst to help me, and such thanks I give,
    740As one near death to those that wish him live.
    But what at full I know, thou knowst no part,
    I knowing all my peril, thou no art.
    What I can do can do no hurt to try,
    Since you set up your rest 'gainst remedy.
    745He that of greatest works is finisher
    Oft does them by the weakest minister:
    So holy writ in babes hath judgment shown,
    When judges have been babes; great floods have flown
    From simple sources: and great seas have dried
    750When miracles have by the great'st been denied.
    Oft expectation fails, and most oft there
    Where most it promises, and oft it hits,
    Where hope is coldest and despair most shifts.
    I must not hear thee. Fare thee well, kind maid.
    755Thy pains not used must by thyself be paid:
    Proffers not took reap thanks for their reward.
    Inspirèd merit so by breath is barred.
    It is not so with him that all things knows
    As 'tis with us that square our guess by shows.
    760But most it is presumption in us when
    The help of heaven we count the act of men.
    Dear sir, to my endeavors give consent:
    Of heaven, not me, make an experiment.
    I am not an impostor that proclaim
    765Myself against the level of mine aim,
    But know I think, and think I know most sure,
    My art is not past power, nor you past cure.
    Art thou so confident? Within what space
    Hop'st thou my cure?
    The greatest grace lending grace,
    Ere twice the horses of the sun shall bring
    Their fiery torcher his diurnal ring,
    Ere twice in murk and occidental damp
    Moist Hesperus hath quenched her sleepy lamp,
    775Or four and twenty times the pilot's glass
    Hath told the thievish minutes how they pass,
    What is infirm, from your sound parts shall fly,
    Health shall live free, and sickness freely die.
    Upon thy certainty and confidence,
    780What dar'st thou venture?
    Tax of impudence,
    A strumpet's boldness, a divulgèd shame
    Traduced by odious ballads; my maiden's name
    Seared otherwise -- nay, worse of worst, extended
    785With vilest torture, let my life be ended.
    Methinks in thee some blessèd spirit doth speak
    His powerful sound within an organ weak,
    And what impossibility would slay
    In commonsense, sense saves another way.
    790Thy life is dear, for all that life can rate
    Worth name of life in thee hath estimate:
    Youth, beauty, wisdom, courage, all
    That happiness and prime can happy call.
    Thou this to hazard needs must intimate
    795Skill infinite, or monstrous desperate.
    Sweet practicer, thy physic I will try,
    That ministers thine own death if I die.
    If I break time, or flinch in property
    Of what I spoke, unpitied let me die,
    800And well deserved: not helping, death's my fee.
    But if I help, what do you promise me.
    Make thy demand.
    But will you make it even?
    Ay, by my scepter and my hopes of help.
    Then shalt thou give me with thy kingly hand
    What husband in thy power I will command.
    Exempted be from me the arrogance
    To choose from forth the royal blood of France,
    My low and humble name to propagate
    810With any branch or image of thy state;
    But such a one, thy vassal, whom I know
    Is free for me to ask, thee to bestow.
    Here is my hand; the premises observed,
    Thy will by my performance shall be served.
    815So make the choice of thy own time, for I,
    Thy resolvèd patient, on thee still rely.
    More should I question thee, and more I must --
    Though more to know could not be more to trust --
    From whence thou cam'st, how tended on; but rest,
    820Unquestioned welcome, and undoubted blessed. --
    [To Attendants] Give me some help here, ho!-- [To Helen] If thou proceed,
    As high as word, my deed shall match thy deed.
    Flourish. Exeunt.
    Enter Countess and Clown.
    Come on, sir, I shall now put you to the height of your breeding.
    I will show myself highly fed and lowly taught. I know my business is but to the court.
    To the court? Why, what place make you 830special, when you put off that with such contempt? 'But to the court'!
    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.
    Marry, that's a bountiful answer that fits all questions.
    It is like a barber's chair that fits all buttocks: the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn-buttock, or any buttock.
    Will your answer serve fit to all questions?
    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.
    Have you, I say, an answer of such fitness for all questions?
    From below your duke to beneath your constable, it will fit any question.
    It must be an answer of most monstrous size that must fit all demands.
    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.
    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?
    Oh Lord, sir! -- There's a simple putting off. More, more, a hundred of them.
    Sir, I am a poor friend of yours that loves you.
    Oh Lord, sir! -- Thick, thick, spare not me.
    I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely 870meat.
    Oh Lord, sir! -- Nay, put me to't, I warrant you.
    You were lately whipped, sir, as I think.
    Oh Lord, sir! -- Spare not me.
    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.
    I ne'er had worse luck in my life in my 'Oh Lord, sir!' I see things may serve long, but not serve ever.
    I play the noble housewife with the time, to entertain it so merrily with
    a fool.
    Oh Lord, sir! -- Why there't serves well again.
    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.
    Not much commendation to them?
    Not much employment for you. You understand me?
    Most fruitfully. I am there before my legs.
    Haste you again.
    Enter Bertram, Lafeu, and Paroles.
    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.
    Why, 'tis the rarest argument of wonder that 900hath shot out in our latter times.
    And so 'tis.
    To be relinquished of the artists --
    So I say, both of Galen and Paracelsus.
    Of all the learned and authentic fellows --
    Right, so I say.
    That gave him out incurable --
    Why, there 'tis; so say I too.
    Not to be helped.
    Right, as 'twere a man assured of a --
    Uncertain life, and sure death.
    Just. You say well; so would I have said.
    I may truly say it is a novelty to the world.
    It is indeed. If you will have it in showing, you shall read it in what-do-ye-call there.
    [Pointing to a paper in LAFEU's possession.]
    A Showing of a Heavenly Effect in an Earthly Actor.
    That's it; I would have said the very same.
    Why, your dolphin is not lustier. 'Fore me, I speak in respect --
    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 --
    Very hand of heaven.
    Ay, so I say.
    In a most weak --
    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 --
    Generally thankful.
    930Enter King, Helen, and Attendants.
    I would have said it; you say well. -- Here comes the king.
    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.
    Mort du vinaigre! Is not this Helen?
    'Fore God, I think so.
    [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.
    To each of you, one fair and virtuous mistress
    Fall when love please; marry, to each but one.
    I'd give bay curtal and his furniture,
    My mouth no more were broken than these boys,
    And writ as little beard.
    Peruse them well:
    Not one of those but had a noble father.
    Gentlemen, heaven hath through me restored
    The king to health.
    We understand it, and thank heaven for you.
    She addresses her to a Lord.
    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."
    Make choice and see.
    Who shuns thy love shuns all his love in me.
    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.
    Thanks, sir, all the rest is mute.
    I had rather be in this choice than throw ames-ace for my life.
    [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.
    My wish receive,
    Which great love grant. And so I take my leave.
    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.
    [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.
    These boys are boys of ice, they'll none have her. Sure they are bastards to the English: the French ne'er got 'em.
    [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.
    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.
    [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.
    Why, then, young Bertram, take her: she's thy wife.
    My wife, my liege? I shall beseech your highness:
    In such a business, give me leave to use
    The help of mine own eyes.
    Know'st thou not, Bertram,
    What she has done for me?
    Yes, my good lord,
    But never hope to know why I should marry her.
    Thou know'st she has raised me from my sickly bed.
    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!
    '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.
    I cannot love her, nor will strive to do't.
    Thou wrong'st thyself if thou shouldst strive to choose.
    That you are well restored, my lord, I'm glad;
    Let the rest go.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    I take her hand.
    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, 1090commenting of this wedding.
    Do you hear, monsieur? A word with you.
    Your pleasure, sir.
    Your lord and master did well to make his recantation.
    Recantation? My lord? My master?
    Ay; is it not a language I speak?
    A most harsh one, and not to be understood without bloody succeeding. My master?
    Are you companion to the Count Roussillon?
    To any count, to all counts: to what is man.
    To what is count's man. Count's master is of another style.
    You are too old, sir. Let it satisfy you, you are too old.
    I must tell thee, sirrah, I write man -- to which title age cannot bring thee.
    What I dare too well do, I dare not do.
    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.
    Hadst thou not the privilege of antiquity upon thee --
    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.
    My lord, you give me most egregious indignity.
    Ay, with all my heart, and thou art worthy of it.
    I have not, my lord, deserved it.
    Yes, good faith, ev'ry dram of it, and I will not bate thee a scruple.
    Well, I shall be wiser.
    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.'
    My lord, you do me most insupportable vexation.
    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.
    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.
    Sirrah, your lord and master's married. There's news for you. You have a new mistress.
    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.
    Who? God.
    Ay, sir.
    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.
    This is hard and undeserved measure, my lord.
    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.
    Good, very good, it is so then. Good, very good, let it be concealed awhile.
    Enter [Bertram,] Count Roussillon.
    Undone, and forfeited to cares forever!
    What's the matter, sweetheart?
    Although before the solemn priest I have sworn,
    I will not bed her.
    What? What, sweetheart?
    Oh, my Paroles, they have married me.
    1180I'll to the Tuscan war, and never bed her.
    France is a doghole, and it no more merits
    The tread of a man's foot. To th'war!
    There's letters from my mother; what th'import is,
    I know not yet.
    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.
    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.
    Will this capriccio hold in thee, art sure?
    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 Bertram(?)]
    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.
    Enter Helen [with a letter in hand] and Clown.
    My mother greets me kindly. Is she well?
    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.
    If she be very well, what does she ail that she's not very well?
    Truly, she's very well indeed, but for two things.
    What two things?
    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.
    Bless you, my fortunate lady.
    I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine 1225own good fortune.
    You had my prayers to lead them on, and to keep them on, have them still. -- O my knave, how does my old lady?
    So that you had her wrinkles and I her money, 1230I would she did as you say.
    Why, I say nothing.
    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.
    Away, thou'rt a knave.
    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.
    Go to, thou art a witty fool. I have found thee.
    Did you find me in yourself, sir, or were you taught to find me?
    [Paroles does not reply.]
    The search, sir, was profitable; and much fool may you find in you, even to the world's pleasure and the increase of laughter.
    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?
    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?
    That, having this obtained, you presently
    1265Attend his further pleasure.
    In everything, I wait upon his will.
    I shall report it so.
    Exit Paroles.
    I pray you. -- Come, sirrah.
    Exit [Helen with Clown].
    Enter Lafeu and Bertram.
    But I hope your lordship thinks not him a soldier.
    Yes, my lord, and of very valiant approof.
    You have it from his own deliverance.
    And by other warranted testimony.
    Then my dial goes not true; I took this lark for a bunting.
    I do assure you, my lord, he is very great in knowledge, and accordingly valiant.
    I have then sinned against his experience and 1280transgressed against his valor, and my state that way is dangerous since I cannot yet find in my heart to repent. Here he comes. I pray you make us friends. I will pursue the amity.
    Enter Paroles.
    [To Bertram] These things shall be done, sir.
    [To Bertram] Pray you, sir, who's his tailor?
    Oh, I know him well, ay, "Sir." He, sir, 's a good workman, a very good tailor.
    [Aside to Paroles] Is she gone to the king?
    She is.
    Will she away tonight?
    As you'll have her.
    I have writ my letters, casketed my treasure,
    1295Given order for our horses, and tonight,
    When I should take possession of the bride,
    End ere I doe begin.
    A good traveler is something at the latter end of a dinner, but one that lies three-thirds and uses a 1300known truth to pass a thousand nothings with should be once heard and thrice beaten. God save you, captain.
    [To Paroles] Is there any unkindness between my lord and you, monsieur?
    I know not how I have deserved to run into my lord's displeasure.
    You have made shift to run into't, boots and spurs and all, like him that leapt into the custard; and out of it you'll run again, rather than suffer question 1310for your residence.
    It may be you have mistaken him, my lord.
    And shall do so ever, though I took him at's prayers. Fare you well, my lord, and believe this of me: there can be no kernel in this light nut. The soul 1315of this man is his clothes; trust him not in matter of heavy consequence. I have kept of them tame and know their natures. -- [To Paroles] Farewell, monsieur; I have spoken better of you than you have or will to deserve at my hand, but we must do good against evil.
    [Exit Lafeu.]
    An idle lord, I swear.
    I think so.
    Why, do you not know him?
    Yes, I do know him well, and common speech
    Gives him a worthy pass. Here comes my clog.
    1325Enter Helen [with an Attendant].
    I have, sir, as I was commanded from you,
    Spoke with the King, and have procured his leave
    For present parting; only he desires
    Some private speech with you.
    I shall obey his will.
    You must not marvel, Helen, at my course,
    Which holds not color with the time, nor does
    The ministration and required office
    On my particular. Prepared I was not
    1335For such a business; therefore am I found
    So much unsettled. This drives me to entreat you
    That presently you take your way for home,
    And rather muse then ask why I entreat you;
    For my respects are better than they seem,
    1340And my appointments have in them a need
    Greater than shows itself at the first view
    To you that know them not. [Giving her a letter] This to my mother.
    'Twill be two days ere I shall see you, so
    I leave you to your wisdom.
    Sir, I can nothing say
    But that I am your most obedient servant --
    Come, come, no more of that.
    -- And ever shall,
    With true observance, seek to eke out that
    1350Wherein toward me my homely stars have failed
    To equal my great fortune.
    Let that go.
    My haste is very great. Farewell. Hie home.
    Pray, sir, your pardon.
    Well, what would you say?
    I am not worthy of the wealth I owe,
    Nor dare I say 'tis mine -- And yet it is --
    But, like a timorous thief, most fain would steal
    What law does vouch mine own.
    What would you have?
    Something, and scarce so much -- nothing indeed.
    I would not tell you what I would, my lord:
    Faith, yes --
    Strangers and foes do sunder and not kiss.
    I pray you stay not, but in haste to horse.
    I shall not break your bidding, good my lord.
    -- [To Attendant] Where are my other men? -- [To Paroles] Monsieur, farewell.
    Exit [Helen with Attendant].
    Go thou toward home, where I will never come
    Whilst I can shake my sword or hear the drum.
    Away, and for our flight.
    Bravely. Corragio!
    Flourish. Enter the Duke of Florence, the two French Lords, with a troop of soldiers.
    So that from point to point, now have you heard
    1375The fundamental reasons of this war,
    Whose great decision hath much blood let forth
    And more thirsts after.
    1 Lord
    Holy seems the quarrel
    Upon your grace's part; black and fearful
    1380On the opposer.
    Therefore we marvel much our cousin France
    Would in so just a business shut his bosom
    Against our borrowing prayers.
    1 Lord
    Good my lord,
    1385The reasons of our state I cannot yield
    But like a common and an outward man
    That the great figure of a council frames
    By self-unable motion; therefore dare not
    Say what I think of it, since I have found
    1390Myself in my incertain grounds to fail
    As often as I guessed.
    Be it his pleasure.
    2 Lord
    But I am sure the younger of our nature,
    That surfeit on their ease, will day by day
    1395Come here for physic.
    Welcome shall they be,
    And all the honors that can fly from us
    Shall on them settle. You know your places well;
    When better fall, for your avails they fell.
    1400Tomorrow to th' field.
    Flourish. [Exeunt.]
    Enter Countess[, with a letter,] and Clown.
    It hath happened all as I would have had it, save that he comes not along with her.
    By my troth I take my young lord to be a 1405very melancholy man.
    By what observance, I pray you?
    Why, he will look upon his boot and sing, mend the ruff and sing, ask questions and sing, pick his teeth and sing. I know a man that had this trick of 1410melancholy, sold a goodly manor for a song.
    Let me see what he writes and when he means to come.
    [She opens and reads the letter.]
    I have no mind to Isbel since I was at court. Our old lings and our Isbels o'th' country are nothing 1415like your old ling and your Isbels o'th' court. The brains of my Cupid's knocked out, and I begin to love, as an old man loves money, with no stomach.
    What have we here?
    E'en that you have there.
    [She reads] a letter.
    I have sent you a daughter-in-law. She hath recovered the King, and undone me: I have wedded her, not bedded her, and sworn to make the "not" eternal. You shall hear I am run away. Know it before the report come. If there be 1425breadth enough in the world, I will hold a long distance. My duty to you. Your unfortunate son, Bertram.
    This is not well, rash and unbridled boy,
    To fly the favors of so good a king,
    1430To pluck his indignation on thy head
    By the misprising of a maid too virtuous
    For the contempt of empire.
    Enter Clown.
    Oh, madam, yonder is heavy news within 1435between two soldiers and my young lady.
    What is the matter?
    Nay, there is some comfort in the news, some comfort. Your son will not be killed so soon as I thought he would.
    Why should he be killed?
    So say I, madam, if he run away, as I hear he does. The danger is in standing to't: that's the loss of men, though it be the getting of children. Here they come will tell you more. For my part I only hear your 1445son was run away.
    Enter Helen and two Gentlemen.
    2 Gentleman
    Save you, good madam.
    Madam, my lord is gone, forever gone.
    1 Gentleman
    Do not say so.
    [To Helen] Think upon patience, pray you. -- Gentlemen,
    I have felt so many quirks of joy and grief
    That the first face of neither on the start
    Can woman me unto't. Where is my son, I pray you?
    1 Gentleman
    Madam, he's gone to serve the Duke of Flo
    We met him thitherward, for thence we came,
    And, after some dispatch in hand at court,
    Thither we bend again.
    Look on his letter, madam. Here's my passport.
    [She shows the letter to the Countess and reads from it.]
    When thou canst get the ring upon my finger, which never shall come off, and show me a child begotten of thy body that I am father to, then call me husband, but in such a "then" I write a "never."
    This is a dreadful sentence.
    Brought you this letter, gentlemen?
    1 Gentleman
    Ay, madam, and for the contents' sake are sorry for our pains.
    [To Helen] I prithee, lady, have a better cheer.
    If thou engrossest all the griefs are thine,
    1470Thou robb'st me of a moiety. He was my son,
    But I do wash his name out of my blood,
    And thou art all my child. -- [To the Gentlemen.] Towards Florence, is he?
    1 Gentleman
    Ay, madam.
    And to be a soldier?
    14751 Gentleman
    Such is his noble purpose, and, believe 't,
    The duke will lay upon him all the honor
    That good convenience claims.
    Return you thither?
    2 Gentleman
    Ay, madam, with the swiftest wing of speed.
    Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France.
    'Tis bitter.
    Find you that there?
    Ay, madam.
    2 Gentleman
    'Tis but the boldness of his hand, haply, which 1485his heart was not consenting to.
    Nothing in France, until he have no wife.
    There's nothing here that is too good for him
    But only she, and she deserves a lord
    That twenty such rude boys might tend upon
    1490And call her hourly mistress. Who was with him?
    2 Gentleman
    A servant only, and a gentleman which I have sometime known.
    Paroles, was it not?
    2 Gentleman
    Ay, my good lady, he.
    A very tainted fellow, and full of wickedness.
    My son corrupts a well-derivèd nature
    With his inducement.
    2 Gentleman
    Indeed, good lady, the fellow has a deal of that, too much, which holds him much to have.
    You're welcome, gentlemen.
    I will entreat you when you see my son
    To tell him that his sword can never win
    The honor that he loses. More I'll entreat you
    Written to bear along.
    1 Gentleman
    We serve you, madam,
    In that and all your 1505worthiest affairs.
    Not so, but as we change our courtesies.
    Will you draw near?
    Exit [Countess with the Gentlemen].
    "Till I have no wife I
    have nothing in France."
    Nothing in France until he has no wife.
    1510Thou shalt have none, Roussillon, none in France;
    Then hast thou all again. Poor lord, is't I
    That chase thee from thy country and expose
    Those tender limbs of thine to the event
    Of the none-sparing war? And is it I
    1515That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou
    Wast shot at with faire eyes, to be the mark
    Of smoky muskets? O you leaden messengers
    That ride vpon the violent speed of fire,
    Fly with false aim, move the still-'pearing air
    1520That sings with piercing, do not touch my lord!
    Whoever shoots at him, I set him there.
    Whoever charges on his forward breast,
    I am the caitiff that do hold him to 't,
    And, though I kill him not, I am the cause
    1525His death was so effected: Better 'twere
    I met the ravin lion when he roared
    With sharp constraint of hunger. Better 'twere
    That all the miseries which nature owes
    Were mine at once. No, come thou home, Roussillon,
    1530Whence honor but of danger wins a scar
    As oft it loses all. I will be gone.
    My being here it is that holds thee hence.
    Shall I stay here to do 't? No, no, although
    The air of paradise did fan the house
    1535And angels officed all: I will be gone,
    That pitiful rumor may report my flight
    To consolate thine ear. Come, night, end day,
    For with the dark, poor thief, I'll steal away.
    Flourish. Enter the Duke of Florence, [Bertram, Count of] Roussillon, 1540[with] drum and trumpets, Soldiers, [and] Paroles.
    [To Bertram] The general of our horse thou art, and we,
    Great in our hope, lay our best love and credence
    Upon thy promising fortune.
    Sir, it is
    1545A charge too heavy for my strength, but yet
    We'll strive to bear it, for your worthy sake,
    To th' extreme edge of hazard.
    Then go thou forth,
    And fortune play upon thy prosperous helm
    1550As thy auspicious mistress.
    This very day,
    Great Mars, I put myself into thy file:
    Make me but like my thoughts, and I shall prove
    A lover of thy drum, hater of love.
    Exeunt omnes.
    Enter Countess and Steward.
    Alas! And would you take the letter of her?
    Might you not know she would do, as she has done,
    By sending me a letter? Read it again.
    [He reads the] letter.
    I am St Jaques' pilgrim, thither gone.
    Ambitious love hath so in me offended
    That bare-foot plod I the cold ground upon
    With sainted vow my faults to have amended.
    Write, write, that from the bloody course of war
    1565My dearest master, your dear son, may hie.
    Bless him at home in peace. Whilst I from far
    His name with zealous fervor sanctify,
    His taken labors bid him me forgive;
    I, his despiteful Juno, sent him forth
    1570From courtly friends with camping foes to live,
    Where death and danger dogs the heels of worth.
    He is too good and fair for death and me,
    Whom I myself embrace to set him free.
    Ah, what sharp stings are in her mildest words?
    1575Rinaldo, you did never lack advice so much
    As letting her pass so. Had I spoke with her,
    I could have well diverted her intents,
    Which thus she hath prevented.
    Pardon me, madam.
    1580If I had given you this at overnight,
    She might have been o'erta'en. And yet she writes
    Pursuit would be but vain.
    What angel shall
    Bless this unworthy husband? He cannot thrive
    1585Unless her prayers, whom heaven delights to hear
    And loves to grant, reprieve him from the wrath
    Of greatest justice. Write, write, Rinaldo,
    To this unworthy husband of his wife;
    Let every word weigh heavy of her worth
    1590That he does weigh too light. My greatest grief,
    Though little he do feel it, set down sharply.
    Dispatch the most convenient messenger.
    When haply he shall hear that she is gone,
    He will return, and hope I may that she,
    1595Hearing so much, will speed her foot again,
    Led hither by pure love. Which of them both
    Is dearest to me, I have no skill in sense
    To make distinction. Provide this messenger.
    My heart is heavy, and mine age is weak;
    1600Grief would have tears, and sorrow bids me speak.
    A tucket afar off
    Enter Old Widow of Florence, her daughter [Diana], Violenta, and Mariana, with other 1605citizens.
    Nay, come, for if they do approach the city, we shall lose all the sight.
    They say the French count has done 1610most honorable service.
    It is reported that he has taken their greatest commander, and that with his own hand he slew the Duke's brother.
    [Another tucket.]
    We have lost our 1615labor;they are gone a contrary way. Hark, you may know by their trumpets.
    Come, let's return again, and suffice ourselves with the report of it. -- Well, Diana, take heed of this French earl: 1620the honor of a maid is her name, and no legacy is so rich as honesty.
    I have told my neighbor how you have been solicited by a gentleman, 1625his companion.
    I know that knave, hang him, one Paroles! A filthy officer he is in those suggestions for the young earl. Beware of them, Diana. Their promises, enticements, oaths, tokens, and all these engines of lust are 1630not the things they go under. Many a maid hath been seduced by them, and the misery is example that so terrible shows in the wreck of maidenhood cannot, for all that, dissuade succession, but that they are limed with the twigs that threatens them. I hope I need 1635not to advise you further, but I hope your own grace will keep you where you are, though there were no further danger known but the modesty which is so lost.
    You shall not need to fear me.
    1640Enter Helen [as a pilgrim].
    I hope so. Look, here comes a pilgrim. I know she will lie at my house; thither they send one another. I'll question her. -- God save you, pilgrim. Whither are you bound?
    To St. Jaques le Grand.
    Where do the palmers lodge, I do beseech you?
    At the St. Francis here beside the port.
    Is this the way?
    Ay, marry, is't.
    A march afar
    Hark you, they come this way. 1650If you will tarry,
    Holy pilgrim, but till the troops come by,
    I will conduct you where you shall be lodged,
    The rather for I think I know your hostess
    As ample as myself.
    Is it yourself?
    If you shall please so, pilgrim.
    I thank you, and will stay upon your leisure.
    You came, I think, from France?
    I did so.
    Here you shall see a countryman of yours
    That has done worthy service.
    His name, I pray you?
    The Count Roussillon. Know you such a one?
    But by the ear that hears most nobly of him.
    1665His face I know not.
    Whatsome'er he is,
    He's bravely taken here. He stole from France,
    As 'tis reported, for the King had married him
    Against his liking. Think you it is so?
    Ay, surely, mere the truth. I know his lady.
    There is a gentleman that serves the count
    Reports but coarsely of her.
    What's his name?
    Monsieur Paroles.
    Oh, I believe with him.
    In argument of praise, or to the worth
    Of the great count himself, she is too mean
    To have her name repeated. All her deserving
    Is a reservèd honesty, and that
    1680I have not heard examined.
    Alas, poor lady!
    'Tis a hard bondage to become the wife
    Of a detesting lord.
    I write good creature; wheresoe'er she is,
    1685Her heart weighs sadly. This young maid might do her
    A shrewd turn, if she pleased.
    How do you mean?
    Maybe the amorous count solicits her
    In the unlawful purpose?
    He does, indeed,
    And brokes with all that can in such a suit
    Corrupt the tender honor of a maid:
    But she is armed for him and keeps her guard
    In honestest defence.
    1695Drum and colors. Enter [Bertram,] Count Roussillon, Paroles, and the whole army.
    The gods forbid else.
    So, now they come:
    That is Antonio, the duke's eldest son;
    1700That, Escalus.
    Which is the Frenchman?
    That with the plume: 'tis a most gallant fellow.
    I would he loved his wife. If he were honester,
    1705He were much goodlier. Is 't not a handsome gentleman?
    I like him well.
    'Tis pity he is not honest. Yond's that same knave
    That leads him to these places. Were I his lady,
    I would poison that vile rascal.
    Which is he?
    That jackanapes with scarfs. Why is he melancholy?
    Perchance he's hurt i'th' battle.
    Lose our drum? Well.
    He's shrewdly vexed at something. Look, he has spied us.
    Marry, hang you!
    And your courtesy, for a ring-carrier.
    [Exeunt Bertram, Paroles, and army.]
    The troop is past. Come, pilgrim, I will bring 1720you
    Where you shall host. Of enjoined penitents
    There's four or five, to great St Jaques bound,
    Already at my house.
    I humbly thank you.
    Please it this matron and this gentle maid
    1725To eat with us tonight, the charge and thanking
    Shall be for me, and to requite you further,
    I will bestow some precepts of this virgin
    Worthy the note.
    Diana and Mariana
    We'll take your offer kindly.
    Enter [Bertram,] Count Roussillon and the French Lords, as at first.
    2 Lord
    Nay, good my lord, put him to 't. Let him have his way.
    1 Lord
    If your lordship find him not a hilding, 1735hold me no more in your respect.
    2 Lord
    On my life, my lord, a bubble.
    Do you think I am so far deceived in him?
    2 Lord
    Believe it, my lord, in mine own direct 1740knowledge, without any malice, but to speak of him as my kinsman, he's a most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise-breaker, the owner of no one good quality worthy your lordship's entertainment.
    17451 Lord
    It were fit you knew him, lest reposing too far in his virtue, which he hath not, he might at some great and trusty business in a main danger fail you.
    I would I knew in what particular action to try 1750him.
    1 Lord
    None better than to let him fetch off his drum, which you hear him so confidently undertake to do.
    2 Lord
    I, with a troop of Florentines, will suddenly 1755surprize him. Such I will have whom I am sure he knows not from the enemy. We will bind and hoodwink him so that he shall suppose no other but that he is carried into the leaguer of the adversaries when we bring him to our own tents. Be but your lordship present 1760at his examination. If he do not, for the promise of his life and in the highest compulsion of base fear, offer to betray you and deliver all the intelligence in his power against you, and that with the divine forfeit of his soul upon oath, never trust my judgment in 1765anything.
    1 Lord
    Oh, for the love of laughter, let him fetch his drum! He says he has a stratagem for 't. When your lordship sees the bottom of this success in 't, and to what metal this counterfeit lump of ore will be 1770melted if you give him not John Drum's entertainment, your inclining cannot be removed. Here he comes.
    Enter Paroles.
    2 Lord
    [Aside to Bertram] Oh, for the love of laughter, hinder not the honor of his design! -- [Aloud] Let him fetch off his drum in any 1775hand.
    How now, monsieur? This drum sticks sorely in your disposition.
    1 Lord
    A pox on 't, let it go! 'Tis but a drum.
    But a drum! Is't but a drum? A drum so 1780lost? There was excellent command, to charge in with our horse upon our own wings and to rend our own soldiers.
    1 Lord
    That was not to be blamed in the command of the service. It was a disaster of war that Caesar 1785himself could not have prevented, if he had been there to command.
    Well, we cannot greatly condemn our success. Some dishonor we had in the loss of that drum, but it is not to be recovered.
    It might have been recovered.
    It might, but it is not now.
    It is to be recovered. But that the merit of service is seldom attributed to the true and exact performer, I would have that drum or another, or hic 1795jacet.
    Why, if you have a stomach, to't, monsieur. If you think your mystery in stratagem can bring this instrument of honor again into his native quarter, be magnanimous in the enterprise and go on. I will grace 1800the attempt for a worthy exploit. If you speed well in it, the duke shall both speak of it and extend to you what further becomes his greatness, even to the utmost syllable of your worthiness.
    By the hand of a soldier I will undertake it.
    But you must not now slumber in it.
    I'll about it this evening, and I will presently pen down my dilemmas, encourage myself in my certainty, put myself into my mortal preparation -and by midnight look to hear further from me.
    May I be bold to acquaint his grace you are gone about it?
    I know not what the success will be, my lord, but the attempt I vow.
    I know th'art valiant, 1815and to the possibility of thy soldiership, will subscribe for thee. Farewell.
    I love not many words.
    2 Lord
    No more than a fish loves water. Is not this a strange fellow, my lord, that so confidently seems to 1820undertake this business, which he knows is not to be done, damns himself to do, and dares better be damned than to do 't?
    1 Lord
    You do not know him, my lord, as we do. Certain it is that he will steal himself into a man's 1825favor, and for a week escape a great deal of discoveries, but when you find him out, you have him ever after.
    Why, do you think he will make no deed at all of this that so seriously he does address himself 1830unto?
    2 Lord
    None in the world, but return with an invention, and clap upon you two or three probable lies. But we have almost embossed him. You shall see his fall tonight, for indeed he is not for your lordship's 1835respect.
    1 Lord
    We'll make you some sport with the fox ere we case him. He was first smoked by the old Lord Lafeu. When his disguise and he is parted, tell me what a sprat you shall find him, which you shall see this 1840very night.
    2 Lord
    I must go look my twigs. He shall be caught.
    [To 1 Lord] Your brother he shall go along with me.
    2 Lord
    As 't please your lordship. I'll leave you.
    Now will I lead you to the house, and show you
    The lass I spoke of.
    1 Lord
    But you say she's honest.
    That's all the fault. I spoke with her but once,
    And found her wondrous cold, but I sent to her
    1850By this same coxcomb that we have i'th'wind
    Tokens and letters, which she did resend,
    And this is all I have done. She's a fair creature.
    Will you go see her?
    1 Lord
    With all my heart, my lord.
    Enter Helen, and Widow.
    If you misdoubt me that I am not she,
    I know not how I shall assure you further,
    But I shall lose the grounds I work upon.
    Though my estate be fallen, I was well born,
    1860Nothing acquainted with these businesses,
    And would not put my reputation now
    In any staining act.
    Nor would I wish you.
    First give me trust: the count he is my husband,
    1865And what to your sworn counsel I have spoken
    Is so from word to word; and then you cannot,
    By the good aid that I of you shall borrow,
    Err in bestowing it.
    I should believe you,
    1870For you have showed me that which well approves
    You're great in fortune.
    Take this purse of gold,
    And let me buy your friendly help thus far,
    Which I will over-pay and pay again
    1875When I have found it. The count he woos your daughter,
    Lays down his wanton siege before her beauty,
    Resolves to carry her. Let her in fine consent
    As we'll direct her how 'tis best to bear it.
    1880Now his important blood will naught deny
    That she'll demand: a ring the county wears,
    That downward hath succeeded in his house
    From son to son some four or five descents
    Since the first father wore it. This ring he holds
    1885In most rich choice. Yet in his idle fire
    To buy his will, it would not seem too dear,
    Howe'er repented after.
    Now I see the bottom of your purpose.
    You see it lawful then. It is no more
    1890But that your daughter, ere she seems as won,
    Desires this ring; appoints him an encounter;
    In fine, delivers me to fill the time,
    Herself most chastely absent. After,
    To marry her, I'll add three thousand crowns
    1895To what is passed already.
    I have yielded.
    Instruct my daughter how she shall persever
    That time and place with this deceit so lawful
    May prove coherent. Every night he comes
    1900With musics of all sorts and songs composed
    To her unworthiness: it nothing steads us
    To chide him from our eaves, for he persists
    As if his life lay on 't.
    Why then, to night
    1905Let us assay our plot, which, if it speed,
    Is wicked meaning in a lawful deed;
    And lawful meaning in a lawful act,
    Where both not sin, and yet a sinful fact.
    But let's about it.
    Enter one of the [French Lords, 2 Lord], with five or six other soldiers in ambush.
    2 Lord
    He can come no other way but by this hedge-corner. When you sally upon him, speak what terrible 1915language you will; though you understand it not your selves, no matter, for we must not seem to understand him, unless someone among us, whom we must produce for an interpreter.
    1 Soldier
    Good captain, let me be th'interpreter.
    19202 Lord
    Art not acquainted with him? Knows he not thy voice?
    1 Soldier
    No sir, I warrant you.
    2 Lord
    But what linsey-woolsey hast thou to speak to us again?
    19251 Soldier
    E'en such as you speak to me.
    2 Lord
    He must think us some band of strangers, i'th'adversary's entertainment. Now, he hath a smack of all neighboring languages; therefore, we must every one be a man of his own fancy, not to know what we speak 1930one to another; so we seem to know is to know straight our purpose: choughs' language. Gabble enough and good enough. -- [To Soldier 1] As for you, interpreter, you must seem very politic. -- [To all] But couch, ho! Here he comes, to beguile two hours in a sleep, and then to return and swear 1935the lies he forges.
    Enter Paroles.
    [Call or horn marking the hour] Ten o'clock: within these three hours 'twill be time enough to go home. What shall I say I have done? It must be a very plausive invention that carries 1940it: they begin to smoke me, and disgraces have of late knocked too often at my door. I find my tongue is too foolhardy, but my heart hath the fear of Mars before it, and of his creatures, not daring the reports of my tongue.
    19452 Lord
    [Aside] This is the first truth that e'er thine own tongue was guilty of.
    What the devil should move me to undertake the recovery of this drum, being not ignorant of the impossibility, and knowing I had no such purpose? I 1950must give myself some hurts, and say I got them in exploit. Yet slight ones will not carry it: they will say, "Came you off with so little?" And great ones I dare not give. Wherefore what's the instance? Tongue, I must put you into a butter-woman's mouth and buy myself 1955another of Bajazeth's mule if you prattle me into these perils.
    2 Lord
    [Aside] Is it possible he should know what he is, and be that he is?
    I would the cutting of my garments would serve 1960the turn, or the breaking of my Spanish sword.
    2 Lord
    [Aside] We cannot afford you so.
    Or the baring of my beard, and to say it was in stratagem.
    2 Lord
    [Aside] 'Twould not do.
    Or to drown my clothes, and say I was stripped.
    2 Lord
    [Aside] Hardly serve.
    Though I swore I leapt from the window of the citadel --
    2 Lord
    [Aside] How deep?
    Thirty fathom.
    2 Lord
    [Aside] Three great oaths would scarce make that be believed.
    I would I had any drum of the enemy's; I would swear I recovered it.
    19752 Lord
    [Aside] You shall hear one anon.
    A drum now of the enemy's --
    Alarum within
    2 Lord
    Throca movousus, cargo, cargo, cargo.
    Cargo, cargo, cargo, villianda par corbo, cargo.
    Oh, ransom, ransom!
    [They blindfold him with his own scarf.]
    Do not hide mine eyes.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"Boskos thromuldo boskos.
    I know you are the Musco's regiment,
    And I shall lose my life for want of language.
    1985If there be here German or Dane, Low Dutch,
    Italian, or French, let him speak to me:
    I'll discover that which shall undo the Florentine.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    Boskos vauvado. I understand thee, and can speak thy tongue. Kerelybonto. Sir, betake thee to thy faith, for 1990seventeen poniards are at thy bosom.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    Oh, pray, pray, pray! Manka reuania dulche.
    2 Lord
    Oscorbidulchos voliuorco.
    19951 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    The general is content to spare thee yet,
    And, hoodwinked as thou art, will lead thee on
    To gather from thee. Haply thou mayst inform
    Something to save thy life.
    Oh, let me live,
    2000And all the secrets of our camp I'll show,
    Their force, their purposes. Nay, I'll speak that,
    Which you will wonder at.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    But wilt thou faithfully?
    If I do not, damn me.
    20051 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    Acordo linta.
    Come on; thou are granted space.
    Exeunt [with Paroles].
    A short alarum within
    2 Lord
    Go tell the Count Roussillon and my brother
    We have caught the woodcock, and will keep him muffled
    2010Till we do hear from them.
    2 Soldier
    Captain I will.
    2 Lord
    A will betray us all unto ourselves.
    Inform on that.
    So I will sir.
    20152 Lord
    Till then I'll keep him dark and safely locked.
    Enter Bertram and the maid called Diana.
    They told me that your name was Fontybell.
    No, my good lord, Diana.
    Titled goddess,
    And worth it with addition. But, fair soul,
    In your fine frame hath love no quality?
    If the quick fire of youth light not your mind,
    2025You are no maiden but a monument.
    When you are dead you should be such a one
    As you are now, for you are cold and stern,
    And now you should be as your mother was
    When your sweet self was got.
    She then was honest.
    So should you be.
    My mother did but duty; such, my lord,
    As you owe to your wife.
    No more o'that!
    I prithee do not strive against my vows;
    I was compelled to her, but I love thee
    By love's own sweet constraint, and will forever
    Do thee all rights of service.
    Ay, so you serve us
    Till we serve you; but when you have our roses,
    You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves,
    And mock us with our bareness.
    How have I sworn?
    'Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth,
    But the plain single vow that is vowed true.
    What is not holy, that we swear not by,
    But take the high'st to witness? Then pray you tell me,
    If I should swear by Jove's great attributes
    2050I loved you dearly, would you believe my oaths
    When I did love you ill? This has no holding,
    To swear by him whom I protest to love
    That I will work against him. Therefore your oaths
    Are words and poor conditions but unsealed,
    2055At least in my opinion.
    Change it, change it!
    Be not so holy cruel. Love is holy,
    And my integrity ne'er knew the crafts
    That you do charge men with. Stand no more off,
    2060But give thyself unto my sick desires,
    Who then recovers. Say thou art mine, and ever
    My love as it begins shall so persever.
    I see that men make ropes in such a scar
    That we'll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.
    I'll lend it thee, my dear, but have no power
    To give it from me.
    Will you not, my Lord?
    It is an honor 'longing to our house,
    Bequeathed down from many ancestors,
    2070Which were the greatest obloquy i'th'world
    In me to lose.
    Mine honor's such a ring.
    My chastity's the jewel of our house,
    Bequeathed down from many ancestors,
    2075Which were the greatest obloquy i'th'world,
    In me to lose. Thus your own proper wisdom
    Brings in the champion honor on my part,
    Against your vain assault.
    Here, take my ring!
    2080My house, mine honor, yea, my life be thine,
    And I'll be bid by thee.
    When midnight comes, knock at my chamber window;
    I'll order take my mother shall not hear.
    2085Now will I charge you in the band of truth:
    When you have conquered my yet maiden bed,
    Remain there but an hour, nor speak to me.
    My reasons are most strong, and you shall know them
    When back again this ring shall be delivered.
    2090And on your finger in the night, I'll put
    Another ring, that what in time proceeds
    May token to the future our past deeds.
    Adieu till then, then fail not; you have won
    A wife of me, though there my hope be done.
    A heaven on earth I have won by wooing thee.
    For which live long to thank both heaven and me.
    You may so in the end.
    My mother told me just how he would woo,
    As if she sat in's heart. She says all men
    2100Have the like oaths. He had sworn to marry me
    When his wife's dead; therefore I'll lie with him
    When I am buried. Since Frenchmen are so braid,
    Marry that will, I live and die a maid.
    Only in this disguise, I think't no sin,
    2105To cozen him that would unjustly win.
    Enter the two French Lords, [1 Lord and 2 Lord,] and some two or three Soldiers.
    1 Lord
    You have not given him his mother's letter?
    2 Lord
    I have delivered it an hour since. There is 2110something in't that stings his nature, for on the reading it he changed almost into another man.
    1 Lord
    He has much worthy blame laid upon him for shaking off so good a wife and so sweet a lady.
    2 Lord
    Especially he hath incurred the everlasting 2115displeasure of the king, who had even tuned his bounty to sing happiness to him. I will tell you a thing, but you shall let it dwell darkly with you.
    1 Lord
    When you have spoken it, 'tis dead, and I am the grave of it.
    21202 Lord
    He hath perverted a young gentlewoman here in Florence, of a most chaste renown, and this night he fleshes his will in the spoil of her honor. He hath given her his monumental ring, and thinks himself made in the unchaste composition.
    21251 Lord
    Now God delay our rebellion! As we are ourselves, what things are we?
    2 Lord
    Merely our own traitors. And, as in the common course of all treasons, we still see them reveal themselves till they attain to their abhorred ends, so 2130he that in this action contrives against his own nobility, in his proper stream o'erflows himself.
    1 Lord
    Is it not meant damnable in us to be trumpeters of our unlawful intents? We shall not then have his company tonight?
    21352 Lord
    Not till after midnight, for he is dieted to his hour.
    1 Lord
    That approaches apace. I would gladly have him see his company anatomized, that he might take a measure of his own judgments, wherein so curiously 2140he had set this counterfeit.
    2 Lord
    We will not meddle with him till he come, for his presence must be the whip of the other.
    1 Lord
    In the meantime, what hear you of these wars?
    21452 Lord
    I hear there is an overture of peace.
    1 Lord
    Nay, I assure you a peace concluded.
    2 Lord
    What will Count Roussillon do then? Will he travel higher, or return again into France?
    1 Lord
    I perceive by this demand, you are not 2150altogether of his counsel.
    2 Lord
    Let it be forbid, sir. So should I be a great deal of his act.
    1 Lord
    Sir, his wife some two months since fled from his house. Her pretence is a pilgrimage to Saint 2155Jaques le Grand, which holy undertaking, with most austere sanctimony, she accomplished; and there residing, the tenderness of her nature became as a prey to her grief; in fine, made a groan of her last breath, and now she sings in heaven.
    21602 Lord
    How is this justified?
    1 Lord
    The stronger part of it by her own letters, which makes her story true, even to the point of her death. Her death itself, which could not be her office to say is come, was faithfully confirmed by the rector 2165of the place.
    2 Lord
    Hath the count all this intelligence?
    1 Lord
    Ay, and the particular confirmations, point from point, to the full arming of the verity.
    2 Lord
    I am heartily sorry that he'll be glad of 2170this.
    1 Lord
    How mightily sometimes we make us comforts of our losses.
    2 Lord
    And how mightily some other times we drown our gain in tears. The great dignity that his 2175valor hath here acquired for him shall at home be encountered with a shame as ample.
    1 Lord
    The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together. Our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not, and our crimes would 2180despair if they were not cherished by our virtues.
    Enter a Messenger.
    How now? Where's your master?
    He met the duke in the street sir, of whom he hath taken a solemn leave. His lordship will next 2185morning for France. The duke hath offered him letters of commendations to the king.
    2 Lord
    They shall be no more than needful there, if they were more than they can commend.
    Enter Bertram, Count Roussillon.
    21901 Lord
    They cannot be too sweet for the king's tartness. Here's his lordship now. --How now, my lord, is't not after midnight?
    I have tonight dispatched sixteen businesses, a month's length apiece. By an abstract of success: I 2195have congied with the duke, done my adieu with his nearest, buried a wife, mourned for her, writ to my lady mother I am returning, entertained my convoy, and, between these main parcels of dispatch, affected many nicer needs. The last was the greatest, but that I have 2200not ended yet.
    2 Lord
    If the business be of any difficulty, and this morning your departure hence, it requires haste of your lordship.
    I mean the business is not ended, as fearing 2205to hear of it hereafter. But shall we have this dialogue between the fool and the soldier? Come, bring forth this counterfeit module; he's deceived me like a double-meaning prophesier.
    2 Lord
    [To soldiers] Bring him forth.
    [Exeunt some soldiers.]
    He's sat i'th'stocks all night, 2210poor gallant knave.
    No matter: his heels have deserved it in usurping his spurs so long. How does he carry himself?
    2 Lord
    I have told your lordship already: the stocks carry him. But to answer you as you would be 2215understood, he weeps like a wench that had shed her milk. He hath confessed himself to Morgan, whom he supposes to be a friar, from the time of his remembrance to this very instant disaster of his setting i'th'stocks. And what think you he hath confessed?
    Nothing of me, has'a?
    2 Lord
    His confession is taken, and it shall be read to his face; if your lordship be in't, as I believe you are, you must have the patience to hear it.
    Enter Paroles[, blindfolded and guarded,] with his Interpreter[, 1 Soldier]
    [Aside] A plague upon him! Muffled! He can say nothing of me. -- Hush, hush!
    1 Lord
    [Aside to the others] Hoodman comes. [Aloud] Portotartarossa.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"[To Paroles] He calls for the tortures. What will you say without 'em?
    I will confess what I know without constraint. If ye pinch me like a pasty, I can say no more.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"Bosko Chimurcho.
    1 Lord
    Boblibindo chicurmurco.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"You are a merciful general. -- Our general 2235bids you answer to what I shall ask you out of a note.
    And truly, as I hope to live.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"[Pretends to read] "First, demand of him how many horse the duke is strong." What say you to that?
    Five or six thousand, but very weak and 2240unserviceable: the troops are all scattered, and the commanders very poor rogues, upon my reputation and credit, and as I hope to live.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"Shall I set down your answer so?
    Do; I'll take the sacrament on't, how and which 2245way you will.
    [Aside to the Lords] All's one to him. What a past-saving slave is this!
    1 Lord
    [Aside to Bertram and 2 Lord] You're deceived, my lord, this is Monsieur Paroles, the gallant militarist -- that was his own phrase -- that had the whole theoric of war in the knot of his 2250scarf, and the practice in the chape of his dagger.
    2 Lord
    [Aside to Bertram and 1 Lord] I will never trust a man again for keeping his sword clean, nor believe he can have everything in him by wearing his apparel neatly.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"Well, that's set down.
    'Five or six thousand horse,' I said -- I will say true -- 'or thereabouts,' set down, for I'll speak truth.
    1 Lord
    [Aside to Bertram and 2 Lord] He's very near the truth in this.
    [Aside to the Lords] But I con him no thanks for't, in the nature he delivers it.
    "Poor rogues," I pray you say.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"Well, that's set down.
    I humbly thank you, sir. A truth's a truth: the rogues are marvelous poor.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"[Pretends to read] "Demand of him of what strength they are 2265afoot." What say you to that?
    By my troth, sir, if I were to live this present hour, I will tell true. Let me see: Spurio, a hundred and fifty; Sebastian, so many; Corambus, so many; Jaques, so many; Guiltian, Cosmo, Lodowick and Gratii, two 2270hundred fifty each; mine own company, Chitopher, Vaumond, Bentii, two hundred fifty each. So that the muster file, rotten and sound, upon my life, amounts not to fifteen thousand poll, half of the which dare not shake the snow from off their cassocks least they shake 2275themselves to pieces.
    What shall be done to him?
    1 Lord
    Nothing but let him have thanks. -- [To 1 Soldier] Demand of him my condition, and what credit I have with the duke.
    22801 Soldier OR "Interpreter"
    Well, that's set down. [Pretends to read] 'You shall demand of him whether one Captain Dumaine be i'th'camp, a Frenchman, what his reputation is with the duke, what his valor, honesty, and expertness in wars, or whether he thinks it were not possible with well-weighing 2285sums of gold to corrupt him to a revolt.' What say you to this? What do you know of it?
    I beseech you let me answer to the particular of the inter'gatories. Demand them singly.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    Do you know this Captain Dumaine?
    I know him; a was a botcher's prentice in Paris, from whence he was whipped for getting the sheriff's fool with child, a dumb innocent that could not say him nay.
    [1 Lord moves to strike Paroles]
    [Aside to 1 Lord] Nay, by your leave, hold your hands, though I 2295know his brains are forfeit to the next tile that falls.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    Well, is this captain in the Duke of Florence's camp?
    Upon my knowledge he is, and lousy.
    1 Lord
    [To Bertram] Nay, look not so upon me. We shall hear of 2300your lordship anon.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    What is his reputation with the duke?
    The duke knows him for no other but a poor officer of mine, and writ to me this other day to turn him out o'th'band. I think I have his letter in my 2305pocket.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    Marry, we'll search.
    In good sadness, I do not know; either it is there or it is upon a file with the duke's other letters in my tent.
    23101 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    Here 'tis, here's a paper. Shall I read it to you?
    I do not know if it be it or no.
    [Aside to the Lords] Our interpreter does it well.
    1 Lord
    [Aside to Bertram] Excellently.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    [Reads] Dian, the count's a fool, and full of gold.
    That is not the duke's letter, sir; that is an advertisement to a proper maid in Florence, one Diana, to take heed of the allurement of one Count Roussillon, a foolish idle boy, but for all that very ruttish. I pray you, sir, put it up again.
    23201 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    Nay, I'll read it first, by your favor.
    My meaning in't, I protest, was very honest in the behalf of the maid, for I knew the young count to be a dangerous and lascivious boy who is a whale to virginity, and devours up all the fry it finds.
    [Aside] Damnable both-sides rogue!
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    [Reads the letter.] "When he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and take it;
    After he scores, he never pays the score.
    Half won is match well made; match, and well make it.
    2330He ne'er pays after-debts, take it before,
    And say a soldier, Dian, told thee this:
    Men are to mell with, boys are not to kiss.
    For count of this, the count's a fool, I know it,
    Who pays before, but not when he does owe it.
    2335Thine, as he vowed to thee in thine ear,
    [Aside] He shall be whipped through the army with this rhyme in's forehead.
    2 Lord
    [Aside to Bertram] This is your devoted friend, sir, the manifold 2340linguist, and the armipotent soldier.
    [Aside] I could endure anything before but a cat, and now he's a cat to me.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    I perceive, sir, by your general's looks, we shall be fain to hang you.
    My life, sir, in any case! Not that I am afraid to die, but, that my offences being many, I would repent out the remainder of nature. Let me live, sir, in a dungeon, i'th'stocks, or anywhere, so I may live.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    We'll see what may be done, so you confess 2350freely; therefore, once more to this Captain Dumaine. You have answered to his reputation with the duke, and to his valor. What is his honesty?
    He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister. For rapes and ravishments, he parallels Nessus. He professes 2355not keeping of oaths -- in breaking 'em he is stronger than Hercules. He will lie, sir, with such volubility, that you would think truth were a fool. Drunkenness is his best virtue, for he will be swine-drunk, and in his sleep he does little harm, save to his bedclothes about him; 2360but they know his conditions, and lay him in straw. I have but little more to say, sir, of his honesty. He has every thing that an honest man should not have; what an honest man should have, he has nothing.
    [Aside tp Bertram] I begin to love him for this.
    [Aside to 1 Lord] For this description of thine honesty? A pox upon him for me; he's more and more a cat.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    What say you to his expertness in war?
    Faith, sir, he's led the drum before the English tragedians. To belie him I will not, and more of his 2370soldiership I know not, except in that country, he had the honor to be the officer at a place there called Mile End, to instruct for the doubling of files. I would do the man what honor I can, but of this I am not certain.
    [Aside] He hath out-villained villainy so far that the 2375rarity redeems him.
    [Aside] A pox on him; he's a cat still.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    His qualities being at this poor price, I need not to ask you if gold will corrupt him to revolt.
    Sir, for a cardecu he will sell the fee-simple of 2380his salvation, the inheritance of it, and cut th'entail from all remainders, and a perpetual succession for it perpetually.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    What's his brother, the other Captain Dumaine?
    [Aside to 1 Lord] Why does he ask him of me?
    23851 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    What's he?
    E'en a crow a'th'same nest: not altogether so great as the first in goodness, but greater a great deal in evil. He excels his brother for a coward, yet his brother is reputed one of the best that is. In a retreat, he 2390outruns any lackey. Marry, in coming on, he has the cramp.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    If your life be saved, will you undertake to betray the Florentine?
    Ay, and the captain of his horse, Count Roussillon.
    23951 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    I'll whisper with the general and know his pleasure.
    I'll no more drumming; a plague of all drums! Only to seem to deserve well, and to beguile the supposition of that lascivious young boy the count, have I run 2400into this danger. Yet who would have suspected an ambush where I was taken?
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"
    There is no remedy, sir, but you must die. The general says you that have so traitorously discovered the secrets of your army, and made such pestiferous 2405reports of men very nobly held, can serve the world for no honest use. Therefore you must die. -- Come headsman, off with his head.
    Oh Lord, sir! Let me live, or let me see my death.
    1 Soldier
    That shall you, and take your leave of all your 2410friends.
    [He removes Paroles' blindfold.]
    So, look about you. Know you any here?
    Good morrow, noble captain.
    God bless you, Captain Paroles.
    God save you, noble captain.
    Captain, what greeting will you to my Lord Lafeu? I am for France.
    Good captain, will you give me a copy of the sonnet you writ to Diana in behalf of the Count Roussillon? And I were not a very coward, I'd compel 2420it of you, but fare you well.
    Exeunt [Bertram, 1 Lord, and 2 Lord].
    1 Soldier
    You are undone, captain, all but your scarf that has a knot on't yet.
    Who cannot be crushed with a plot?
    1 Soldier
    If you could find out a country where but 2425women were that had received so much shame, you might begin an impudent nation. Fare ye well, sir, I am for France too. We shall speak of you there.
    Exit [with other soldiers].
    Yet am I thankful. If my heart were great
    'Twould burst at this. Captain I'll be no more,
    2430But I will eat, and drink, and sleep as soft
    As captain shall. Simply the thing I am
    Shall make me live. Who knows himself a braggart,
    Let him fear this, for it will come to pass,
    That every braggart shall be found an ass.
    2435Rust, sword; cool, blushes; and Paroles live
    Safest in shame. Being fooled, by fool'ry thrive;
    There's place and means for every man alive.
    I'll after them.
    Enter Helen, Widow, and Diana.
    That you may well perceive I have not wronged you,
    One of the greatest in the Christian world
    Shall be my surety, 'fore whose throne 'tis needful,
    Ere I can pèrfect mine intents, to kneel.
    2445Time was, I did him a desirèd office,
    Dear almost as his life, which gratitude
    Through flinty Tartar's bosom would peep forth
    And answer thanks. I duly am informed,
    His grace is at Marseille, to which place
    2450We have convenient convoy. You must know
    I am supposèd dead. The army breaking,
    My husband hies him home, where, heaven aiding,
    And by the leave of my good lord the king,
    We'll be before our welcome.
    Gentle madam,
    You never had a servant to whose trust
    Your business was more welcome.
    Nor you, mistress
    Ever a friend whose thoughts more truly labor
    2460To recompense your love. Doubt not but heaven
    Hath brought me up to be your daughter's dower,
    As it hath fated her to be my motive
    And helper to a husband. But, oh, strange men
    That can such sweet use make of what they hate
    2465When saucy trusting of the cozened thoughts
    Defiles the pitchy night! So lust doth play
    With what it loathes for that which is away.
    But more of this hereafter. You, Diana,
    Under my poor instructions yet must suffer
    2470Something in my behalf.
    Let death and honesty
    Go with your impositions; I am yours
    Upon your will to suffer.
    Yet I pray you:
    2475But with the word the time will bring on summer,
    When briars shall have leaves as well as thorns,
    And be as sweet as sharp. We must away:
    Our wagon is prepared, and time revives us.
    All's well that ends well, still the fine's the crown;
    2480Whate'er the course, the end is the renown.
    Enter Clown, [Countess], and 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.
    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.
    'Twas a good lady, 'twas a good lady. We 2495may pick a thousand salads ere we light on such another herb.
    Indeed, sir, she was the sweet marjoram of the salad, or rather the herb of grace.
    They are not herbs, you knave, they are 2500nose-herbs.
    I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir: I have not much skill in grace.
    Whether dost thou profess thyself -- a knave or a fool?
    A fool, sir, at a woman's service, and a knave at a man's.
    Your distinction?
    I would cozen the man of his wife, and do his service.
    So you were a knave at his service indeed.
    And I would give his wife my bauble, sir, to do her service.
    I will subscribe for thee: thou art both knave and fool.
    At your service.
    No, no, no.
    Why, sir, if I cannot serve you, I can serve as great a prince as you are.
    Who's that? A Frenchman?
    Faith, sir, a has an English [mane or mien], but his phys'nomy is more hotter in France than there.
    What prince is that?
    The black prince, sir, alias the prince of darkness, alias the devil.
    Hold thee, there's my purse. I give thee not this to suggest thee from thy master thou talk'st of; serve him still.
    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.
    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.
    If I put any tricks upon 'em, sir, they shall be jades' tricks, which are their own right by the law of nature.
    A shrewd knave, and an unhappy.
    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.
    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?
    With very much content, my lord, and I wish 2560it happily effected.
    His highness comes post from Marseille, 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.
    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.
    Madam, I was thinking with what manners I 2570might safely be admitted.
    You need but plead your honorable privilege.
    Lady, of that I have made a bold charter, but I thank my God it holds yet.
    2575Enter 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.
    A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good liv'ry of honor. So belike is that.
    But it is your carbonadoed face.
    Let us go see your son, I pray you. I long to talk with the young noble soldier.
    Faith, there's a dozen of 'em with delicate fine hats and most courteous feathers which bow the 2590head and nod at every man.
    Enter Helen, Widow, and Diana, with two Attendants.
    But this exceeding posting day and night
    Must wear your spirits low. We cannot help it,
    But since you have made the days and nights as one,
    To wear your gentle limbs in my affairs,
    Be bold: you do so grow in my requital
    2600As nothing can unroot you. -- In happy time!
    Enter a gentle Austringer.
    This man may help me to his majesty's ear,
    If he would spend his power. -- [To the Austringer] God save you, sir.
    And you.
    Sir, I have seen you in the court of France.
    I have been sometimes there.
    I do presume, sir, that you are not fall'n
    From the report that goes upon your goodness,
    And therefore, goaded with most sharp occasions
    2610Which lay nice manners by, I put you to
    The use of your own virtues, for the which
    I shall continue thankful.
    What's your will?
    That it will please you
    2615To give this poor petition to the King,
    And aid me with that store of power you have
    To come into his presence.
    The King's not here.
    Not here, sir?
    Not, indeed.
    He hence removed last night, and with more haste
    Than is his use.
    Lord, how we lose our pains!
    All's well that ends well yet,
    2625Though time seem so adverse, and means unfit.
    I do beseech you, whither is he gone?
    Marry, as I take it, to Roussillon,
    Whither I am going.
    I do beseech you, sir,
    2630Since you are like to see the King before me,
    Commend the paper to his gracious hand,
    Which I presume shall render you no blame,
    But rather make you thank your pains for it.
    I will come after you with what good speed
    2635Our means will make us means.
    This I'll do for you.
    And you shall find yourself to be well thanked,
    Whate'er falls more. We must to horse again.
    [To the Attendants] Go, go, provide.
    2640Enter Clown and Paroles.
    Good Master Lavatch, give my Lord Lafeu this letter. I have ere now, sir, been better known to you, when I have held familiarity with fresher clothes, but I am now, sir, muddied in Fortune's mood, and smell somewhat 2645strong of her strong displeasure.
    Truly, Fortune's displeasure is but sluttish if it smell so strongly as thou speakst of: I will henceforth eat no fish of Fortune's butt'ring. Prithee allow the wind.
    Nay, you need not to stop your nose, sir. ; I spake but by a metaphor.
    Indeed, sir, if your metaphor stink, I will stop my nose, or against any man's metaphor. Prithee get thee further.
    Pray you, sir, deliver me this paper.
    Foh! Prithee stand away. A paper from Fortune's close-stool to give to a nobleman? Look, here he comes himself.
    Enter Lafeu.
    Here is a purr of Fortune's, sir, or of Fortune's cat, but not a musk cat, that has fallen into the unclean fishpond of her displeasure, and, as he says, is muddied withal. Pray you, sir, use the carp as you may, for he looks like a poor, decayed, ingenious, foolish, rascally 2665knave. I do pity his distress in my smiles of comfort, and leave him to your lordship.
    My lord, I am a man whom Fortune hath cruelly scratched.
    And what would you have me to do? 'Tis too 2670late to pare her nails now. Wherein have you played the knave with Fortune that she should scratch you, who of herself is a good lady and would not have knaves thrive long under her? There's a cardecu for you. [Giving him a coin] Let the justices make you and Fortune friends; I am for other 2675business.
    I beseech your honor to hear me one single word.
    You beg a single penny more. Come, you shall ha't. Save your word. [Gives him another coin]
    My name, my good lord, is Paroles.
    You beg more than word, then. Cox my passion! Give me your hand. How does your drum?
    Oh, my good lord, you were the first that found me.
    Was I, in sooth? And I was the first that lost thee.
    It lies in you, my lord, to bring me in some grace, for you did bring me out.
    Out upon thee, knave! Dost thou put upon me at once both the office of God and the devil? One brings 2690thee in grace, and the other brings thee out. [Trumpets sound.] The King's coming -- I know by his trumpets. Sirrah, inquire further after me. I had talk of you last night. Though you are a fool and a knave, you shall eat. Go to, follow.
    I praise God for you.
    2695Flourish. Enter King, [Countess], Lafeu, the two French Lords, with Attendant [Gentlemen].
    We lost a jewel of her, and our esteem
    Was made much poorer by it, but your son,
    As mad in folly, lacked the sense to know
    2700Her estimation home.
    'Tis past, my liege,
    And I beseech your majesty to make it
    Natural rebellion, done i'th' blade of youth,
    When oil and fire, too strong for reason's force,
    2705O'erbears it and burns on.
    My honored lady,
    I have forgiven and forgotten all,
    Though my revenges were high bent upon him
    And watched the time to shoot.
    This I must say,
    But first I beg my pardon: the young lord
    Did to his majesty, his mother, and his lady
    Offence of mighty note, but to himself
    The greatest wrong of all. He lost a wife
    2715Whose beauty did astonish the survey
    Of richest eyes, whose words all ears took captive,
    Whose dear perfection hearts that scorned to serve
    Humbly called mistress.
    Praising what is lost
    2720Makes the remembrance dear. [To attending Gentleman] Well, call him hither.
    We are reconciled, and the first view shall kill
    All repetition. Let him not ask our pardon:
    The nature of his great offence is dead,
    And deeper than oblivion we do bury
    2725Th'incensing relics of it. Let him approach
    A stranger, no offender, and inform him
    So 'tis our will he should.
    Attendant Gentleman
    I shall, my liege.
    [To Lafeu] What says he to your daughter? 2730Have you spoke?
    All that he is hath reference to your highness.
    Then shall we have a match. I have letters sent me,
    That sets him high in fame.
    Enter Count Bertram.
    He looks well on't.
    I am not a day of season,
    For thou mayst see a sunshine and a hail
    In me at once. But to the brightest beams
    Distracted clouds give way, so stand thou forth.
    2740The time is fair again.
    My high-repented blames,
    Dear sovereign, pardon to me.
    All is whole.
    Not one word more of the consumèd time!
    2745Let's take the instant by the forward top,
    For we are old, and on our quick'st decrees
    Th'inaudible, and noiseless foot of time
    Steals, ere we can effect them. You remember
    The daughter of this lord?
    Admiringly, my liege, at first
    I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
    Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue.
    Where the impression of mine eye infixing,
    Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me,
    2755Which warped the line of every other favor,
    Scorned a fair color, or expressed it stolen,
    Extended or contracted all proportions
    To a most hideous object. Thence it came
    That she -- whom all men praised, and whom myself,
    2760Since I have lost, have loved -- was in mine eye
    The dust that did offend it.
    Well excused.
    That thou didst love her strikes some scores away
    From the great count, but love that comes too late,
    2765Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried,
    To the great sender turns a sour offence,
    Crying, "That's good that's gone." Our rash faults
    Make trivial price of serious things we have,
    Not knowing them until we know their grave.
    2770Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust,
    Destroy our friends, and after weep their dust.
    Our own love, waking, cries to see what's done,
    While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon.
    Be this sweet Helen's knell, and now forget her.
    2775Send forth your amorous token for fair Maudlin.
    The main consents are had, and here we'll stay
    To see our widower's second marriage day --
    Which better than the first, O dear heaven, bless,
    Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cease.
    Come on, my son, in whom my house's name
    Must be digested. Give a favor from you
    To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter,
    That she may quickly come. [Bertram removes a ring from his finger and gives it to Lafeu.] By my old beard
    And ev'ry hair that's on't, Helen that's dead
    2785Was a sweet creature. Such a ring as this,
    The last that ere I took her leave at court,
    I saw upon her finger.
    Hers it was not.
    Now pray you let me see it. For mine eye,
    2790While I was speaking, oft was fastened to't. [Lafeu gives the ring to the King.]
    This ring was mine, and when I gave it Helen,
    I bade her if her fortunes ever stood
    Necessitied to help, that by this token
    I would relieve her. Had you that craft to reave her
    2795Of what should stead her most?
    My gracious sovereign,
    Howe'er it pleases you to take it so,
    The ring was never hers.
    Son, on my life,
    2800I have seen her wear it, and she reckoned it
    At her life's rate.
    I am sure I saw her wear it.
    You are deceived, my lord, she never saw it.
    In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,
    2805Wrapped in a paper which contained the name
    Of her that threw it. Noble she was, and thought
    I stood engaged, but when I had subscribed
    To mine own fortune, and informed her fully
    I could not answer in that course of honor
    2810As she had made the overture, she ceased
    In heavy satisfaction, and would never
    Receive the ring again.
    Plutus himself,
    That knows the tinct and multiplying med'cine,
    2815Hath not in nature's mystery more science
    Than I have in this ring. 'Twas mine, 'twas Helen's,
    Whoever gave it you. Then if you know
    That you are well-acquainted with yourself,
    Confess 'twas hers, and by what rough enforcement
    2820You got it from her. She called the saints to surety
    That she would never put it from her finger,
    Unless she gave it to yourself in bed,
    Where you have never come, or sent it us
    Upon her great disaster.
    She never saw it.
    Thou speakst it falsely, as I love mine honor,
    And mak'st conjectural fears to come into me,
    Which I would fain shut out, if it should prove
    That thou art so inhumane -- 'twill not prove so --
    2830And yet I know not. Thou didst hate her deadly,
    And she is dead, which nothing but to close
    Her eyes myself could win me to believe,
    More than to see this ring. [To the French Lords] Take him away.
    My fore-past proofs, howe'er the matter fall,
    2835Shall tax my fears of little vanity,
    Having vainly feared too little. Away with him!
    We'll sift this matter further.
    If you shall prove
    This ring was ever hers, you shall as easy
    2840Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence,
    Where yet she never was.
    [Exit Bertram under guard.]
    Enter a Gentleman, [the Austringer].
    [Aside] I'm wrapped in dismal thinkings.
    Gracious sovereign,
    2845Whether I have been to blame or no, I know not.
    Here's a petition from a Florentine,
    Who hath for four or five removes come short
    To tender it herself. I undertook it,
    Vanquished thereto by the fair grace and speech
    2850Of the poor suppliant, who by this I know
    Is here attending. Her business looks in her
    With an importing visage, and she told me,
    In a sweet verbal brief, it did concern
    Your highness with herself.
    2855[At the King's signal, he reads] a letter.
    Upon his many protestations to marry me when his wife was dead, I blush to say it, he won me. Now is the Count Roussillon a widower, his vows are forfeited to me, and my honor's paid to him. He stole from Florence, taking no 2860leave, and I follow him to his country for justice. Grant it me, O King! In you it best lies. Otherwise a seducer flourishes and a poor maid is undone. Diana Capilet.
    I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll 2865for this. I'll none of him.
    The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafeu,
    To bring forth this discov'ry. -- [To Attendants] Seek these suitors.
    Go speedily, and bring again the count.
    Enter Bertram [under guard].
    2870[To the Countess] I am afeared the life of Helen, lady,
    Was foully snatched.
    Now justice on the doers.
    I wonder, sir, sith wives are monsters to you,
    And that you fly them as you swear them lordship,
    2875Yet you desire to marry. -- What woman's that?
    Enter Diana, [followed by] Widow and Paroles.
    I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine,
    Derivèd from the ancient Capilet.
    My suit, as I do understand, you know,
    2880And therefore know how far I may be pitied.
    I am her mother, sir, whose age and honor
    Both suffer under this complaint we bring,
    And both shall cease without your remedy.
    Come hither, count. Do you know these 2885women?
    My lord, I neither can nor will deny
    But that I know them. Do they charge me further?
    [To Bertram] Why do you look so strange upon your wife?
    [To the King] She's none of mine, my lord.
    If you shall marry,
    You give away this hand, and that is mine;
    You give away heaven's vows, and those are mine;
    You give away myself, which is known mine,
    For I by vow am so embodied yours
    2895That she which marries you must marry me,
    Either both or none.
    [To Bertram] Your reputation comes too short for my daughter. You are no husband for her!
    [To Lafeu] My lord, this is a fond and desp'rate creature
    2900Whom sometime I have laughed with. [To the King] Let your highness
    Lay a more noble thought upon mine honor
    Than for to think that I would sink it here.
    Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend
    Till your deeds gain them fairer. Prove your honor.
    2905Then in my thought it lies.
    Good my lord,
    Ask him upon his oath if he does think
    He had not my virginity.
    What sayst thou to her?
    She's impudent, my lord,
    And was a common gamester to the camp.
    He does me wrong, my lord. If I were so,
    He might have bought me at a common price.
    Do not believe him. Oh, behold this ring,
    2915Whose high respect and rich validity
    Did lack a parallel. Yet for all that
    He gave it to a commoner o'th' camp,
    If I be one.
    He blushes, and 'tis hit.
    2920Of six preceding ancestors, that gem,
    Conferred by testament to th' sequent issue,
    Hath it been owed and worn. This is his wife;
    That ring's a thousand proofs.
    [To Diana] Methought you said
    2925You saw one here in court could witness it.
    I did, my lord, but loath am to produce
    So bad an instrument: his name's Paroles.
    I saw the man today, if man he be.
    Find him, and bring him hither.
    [Exit an Attendant Gentleman.]
    What of him?
    He's quoted for a most perfidious slave,
    With all the spots o'th' world taxed and debauched,
    Whose nature sickens. But, to speak a truth,
    Am I or that or this for what he'll utter,
    2935That will speak anything?
    She hath that ring of yours.
    I think she has; certain it is I liked her,
    And boarded her i'th' wanton way of youth.
    She knew her distance and did angle for me,
    2940Madding my eagerness with her restraint,
    As all impediments in fancy's course
    Are motives of more fancy, and, in fine,
    Her [inf'nite cunning or insuite coming or insuite cunning or infinite conning] with her modern grace
    Subdued me to her rate: she got the ring,
    2945And I had that which any inferior might
    At market price have bought.
    I must be patient.
    You that have turned off a first so noble wife
    May justly diet me. I pray you yet --
    2950Since you lack virtue, I will lose a husband --
    Send for your ring, I will return it home,
    And give me mine again.
    I have it not.
    What ring was yours, I pray you?
    Sir, much like the same upon your finger.
    Know you this ring? This ring was his of late.
    And this was it I gave him, being abed.
    The story then goes false. You threw it him
    Out of a casement.
    I have spoke the truth.
    Enter Paroles.
    My lord, I do confess the ring was hers.
    You boggle shrewdly. Every feather starts you.
    [To Diana] Is this the man you speak of?
    Ay, my lord.
    [To Paroles] Tell me, sirrah, but tell me true, I charge you,
    Not fearing the displeasure of your master,
    Which, on your just proceeding, I'll keep off:
    By him and by this woman here, what know you?
    So please your majesty, my master hath been an 2970honorable gentleman. Tricks he hath had in him, which gentlemen have.
    Come, come, to th' purpose. Did he love this woman?
    Faith, sir, he did love her, but how?
    How, I pray you?
    He did love her, sir, as a gentleman loves a woman.
    How is that?
    He loved her, sir, and loved her not.
    As thou art a knave and no knave! What an 2980equivocal companion is this?
    I am a poor man and at your majesty's command.
    He's a good drum, my lord, but a naughty orator.
    Do you know he promised me marriage?
    Faith, I know more than I'll speak.
    But wilt thou not speak all thou knowst?
    Yes, so please your majesty: I did go between them as I said, but more than that, he loved her, for 2990indeed he was mad for her, and talked of Satan, and of limbo, and of furies, and I know not what. Yet I was in that credit with them at that time that I knew of their going to bed, and of other motions, as promising her marriage, and things which would derive me ill will to 2995speak of. Therefore I will not speak what I know.
    Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou canst say they are maried, but thou art too fine in thy evidence; therefore, stand aside. -- [To Diana] This ring, you say, was yours?
    Ay, my good lord.
    Where did you buy it? Or who gave it you?
    It was not given me, nor I did not buy it.
    Who lent it you?
    It was not lent me neither.
    Where did you find it then?
    I found it not.
    If it were yours by none of all these ways,
    How could you give it him?
    I never gave it him.
    This woman's an easy glove, my lord: she goes 3010off and on at pleasure.
    This ring was mine. I gave it his first wife.
    It might be yours or hers for ought I know.
    Take her away. I do not like her now.
    To prison with her, and away with him.
    3015Unless thou tellst me where thou hadst this ring,
    Thou diest within this hour.
    I'll never tell you.
    Take her away.
    I'll put in bail, my liege.
    I think thee now some common customer.
    By Jove, if ever I knew man, 'twas you.
    Wherefore hast thou accused him all this while?
    Because he's guilty, and he is not guilty.
    He knows I am no maid, and he'll swear to't.
    3025I'll swear I am a maid, and he knows not.
    Great King, I am no strumpet, by my life:
    I am either maid, or else this old man's wife.
    [She gestures to Lafeu or to the King.]
    She does abuse our ears. To prison with her.
    Good mother, fetch my bail.
    [Exit the Widow.]
    Stay, royal sir.
    3030The jeweller that owes the ring is sent for,
    And he shall surety me. But for this lord,
    Who hath abused me as he knows himself,
    Though yet he never harmed me, here I quit him.
    He knows himself my bed he hath defiled,
    3035And at that time he got his wife with child.
    Dead though she be, she feels her young one kick.
    So, there's my riddle, one that's dead is quick,
    And now behold the meaning.
    Enter Helen and [the] Widow.
    Is there no exorcist
    Beguiles the truer office of mine eyes?
    Is't real that I see?
    No, my good lord,
    'Tis but the shadow of a wife you see,
    3045The name, and not the thing.
    Both, both. Oh, pardon!
    Oh, my good lord, when I was like this maid,
    I found you wondrous kind. There is your ring,
    And, look you, here's your letter. This it says:
    3050"When from my finger you can get this ring,
    And are by me with child," etc. This is done.
    Will you be mine now you are doubly won?
    If she, my liege, can make me know this clearly,
    I'll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly.
    If it appear not plain and prove untrue,
    Deadly divorce step between me and you.
    [To the Countess] Oh, my dear mother, do I see you living?
    Mine eyes smell onions; I shall weep anon.
    [To Paroles] Good Tom Drum, lend me a handkercher. 3060So, I thank thee. Wait on me home; I'll make sport with thee. Let thy curtsies alone -- they are scurvy ones.
    Let us from point to point this story know,
    To make the even truth in pleasure flow.
    If thou be'st yet a fresh uncropped flower,
    3065Choose thou thy husband, and I'll pay thy dower.
    For I can guess that, by thy honest aid,
    Thou keptst a wife herself, thyself a maid.
    Of that and all the progress more and less,
    Resolvedly more leisure shall express.
    3070All yet seems well, and, if it end so meet
    The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet.
    The King's a beggar now the play is done.
    All is well ended, if this suit be won:
    3075That you express content -- which we will pay
    With strife to please you, day exceeding day.
    Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts:
    Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.
    Exeunt omnes.