Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

All's Well That Ends Well (Modern)

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.