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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    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.