Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

All's Well That Ends Well (Modern)

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.