Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

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

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    Not Peer Reviewed

    All's Well That Ends Well (Modern)

    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.