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ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL

by William Shakespeare

SCENE 3. Paris. The KING'S palace.

[Enter BERTRAM, LAFEU, and PAROLLES.]

LAFEU.
They say miracles are past; and we have our philosophical
persons to make modern and familiar things 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.

PAROLLES.
Why, 'tis the rarest argument of wonder that hath shot out in our
latter times.

BERTRAM.
And so 'tis.

LAFEU.
To be relinquish'd of the artists,--

PAROLLES.
So I say; both of Galen and Paracelsus.

LAFEU.
Of all the learned and authentic fellows,--

PAROLLES.
Right; so I say.

LAFEU.
That gave him out incurable,--

PAROLLES.
Why, there 'tis; so say I too.

LAFEU.
Not to be helped,--

PAROLLES.
Right; as 'twere a man assured of a,--

LAFEU.
Uncertain life and sure death.

PAROLLES.
Just; you say well: so would I have said.

LAFEU.
I may truly say, it is a novelty to the world.

PAROLLES.
It is indeed: if you will have it in showing, you shall read it
in,--What do you call there?--

LAFEU.
A showing of a heavenly effect in an earthly actor.

PAROLLES.
That's it; I would have said the very same.

LAFEU.
Why, your dolphin is not lustier: 'fore me, I speak in
respect,--

PAROLLES.
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,--

LAFEU.
Very hand of heaven.

PAROLLES.
Ay; so I say.

LAFEU.
In a most weak,--

PAROLLES.
And debile minister, great power, great transcendence: which
should, indeed, give us a further use to be made than alone
the recov'ry of the king, as to be,--

LAFEU.
Generally thankful.

PAROLLES.
I would have said it; you say well. Here comes the king.

[Enter KING, HELENA, and Attendants.]

LAFEU.
Lustic, as the Dutchman says: I'll like a maid the better, whilst
I have a tooth in my head: why, he's able to lead her a coranto.

PAROLLES.
'Mort du vinaigre!' is not this Helen?

LAFEU.
'Fore God, I think so.

KING.
Go, call before me all the lords in court.--

[Exit an Attendant.]

Sit, my preserver, by thy patient's side;
And with this healthful hand, whose banish'd sense
Thou has repeal'd, a second time receive
The confirmation of my promis'd gift,
Which but attends thy naming.

[Enter severaol Lords.]

Fair 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.

HELENA.
To each of you one fair and virtuous mistress
Fall, when love please!--marry, to each, but one!

LAFEU.
I'd give bay Curtal and his furniture,
My mouth no more were broken than these boys',
And writ as little beard.

KING.
Peruse them well:
Not one of those but had a noble father.

HELENA.
Gentlemen,
Heaven hath through me restor'd the king to health.

ALL.
We understand it, and thank heaven for you.

HELENA.
I am a simple maid, and therein wealthiest
That I protest I simply am a maid.--
Please it, your majesty, I have done already:
The blushes in my cheeks thus whisper me--
'We blush that thou shouldst choose; but, be refus'd,
Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever;
We'll ne'er come there again.'

KING.
Make choice; and, see:
Who shuns thy love shuns all his love in me.

HELENA.
Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly,
And to imperial Love, that god most high,
Do my sighs stream.--Sir, will you hear my suit?

FIRST LORD.
And grant it.

HELENA.
Thanks, sir; all the rest is mute.

LAFEU.
I had rather be in this choice than throw ames-ace for my life.

HELENA.
The honour, sir, that flames in your fair eyes,
Before I speak, too threateningly replies:
Love make your fortunes twenty times above
Her that so wishes, and her humble love!

SECOND LORD.
No better, if you please.

HELENA.
My wish receive,
Which great Love grant; and so I take my leave.

LAFEU.
Do all they deny her? An they were sons of mine I'd have them
whipped; or I would send them to the Turk to make eunuchs of.

HELENA.
[To third 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
Find fairer fortune, if you ever wed!

LAFEU.
These boys are boys of ice: they'll none have her:
Sure, they are bastards to the English; the French ne'er got 'em.

HELENA.
You are too young, too happy, and too good,
To make yourself a son out of my blood.

FOURTH LORD.
Fair one, I think not so.

LAFEU.
There's one grape yet,--I am sure thy father drank wine.--But
if thou beest not an ass, I am a youth of fourteen; I have known
thee already.

HELENA.
[To BERTRAM.] I dare not say I take you; but I give
Me and my service, ever whilst I live,
Into your guiding power.--This is the man.

KING.
Why, then, young Bertram, take her; she's thy wife.

BERTRAM.
My wife, my liege! I shall beseech your highness,
In such a business give me leave to use
The help of mine own eyes.

KING.
Know'st thou not, Bertram,
What she has done for me?

BERTRAM.
Yes, my good lord;
But never hope to know why I should marry her.

KING.
Thou know'st she has rais'd me from my sickly bed.

BERTRAM.
But follows it, my lord, to bring me down
Must 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!

KING.
'Tis only title thou disdain'st in her, the which
I can build up. Strange is it that our bloods,
Of colour, weight, and heat, pour'd all together,
Would quite confound distinction, yet stand off
In differences so mighty. If she be
All that is virtuous,--save what thou dislik'st,
A poor physician's daughter,--thou dislik'st
Of virtue for the name: but do not so:
From lowest place when virtuous things proceed,
The place is dignified by the doer's deed:
Where great additions swell's, and virtue none,
It is a dropsied honour: 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;
And these breed honour: that is honour's scorn
Which challenges itself as honour's born,
And is not like the sire: honours thrive
When rather from our acts we them derive
Than our fore-goers: the mere word's a slave,
Debauch'd on every tomb; on every grave
A lying trophy; and as oft is dumb
Where dust and damn'd oblivion is the tomb
Of honour'd bones indeed. What should be said?
If thou canst like this creature as a maid,
I can create the rest: virtue and she
Is her own dower; honour and wealth from me.

BERTRAM.
I cannot love her, nor will strive to do 't.

KING.
Thou wrong'st thyself, if thou shouldst strive to choose.

HELENA.
That you are well restor'd, my lord, I am glad:
Let the rest go.

KING.
My honour's at the stake; which to defeat,
I must produce my power. Here, take her hand,
Proud scornful boy, unworthy this good gift;
That 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 honour where
We 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
Or I will throw thee from my care for ever,
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!

BERTRAM.
Pardon, my gracious lord; for I submit
My fancy to your eyes: when I consider
What great creation, and what dole of honour
Flies where you bid it, I find that she, which late
Was in my nobler thoughts most base, is now
The praised of the king; who, so ennobled,
Is as 'twere born so.

KING.
Take her by the hand,
And tell her she is thine: to whom I promise
A counterpoise; if not to thy estate,
A balance more replete.

BERTRAM.
I take her hand.

KING.
Good fortune and the favour of the king
Smile upon this contract; whose ceremony
Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief,
And be perform'd to-night: 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, BERTAM, HELENA, Lords, and Attendants.]

LAFEU.
Do you hear, monsieur? a word with you.

PAROLLES.
Your pleasure, sir?

LAFEU.
Your lord and master did well to make his recantation.

PAROLLES.
Recantation!--my lord! my master!

LAFEU.
Ay; is it not a language I speak?

PAROLLES.
A most harsh one, and not to be understood without bloody
succeeding. My master!

LAFEU.
Are you companion to the Count Rousillon?

PAROLLES.
To any count; to all counts; to what is man.

LAFEU.
To what is count's man: count's master is of another style.

PAROLLES.
You are too old, sir; let it satisfy you, you are too old.

LAFEU.
I must tell thee, sirrah, I write man; to which title age cannot
bring thee.

PAROLLES.
What I dare too well do, I dare not do.

LAFEU.
I did think thee, for two ordinaries, to be a pretty wise
fellow; thou didst make tolerable vent of thy 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 art scarce
worth.

PAROLLES.
Hadst thou not the privilege of antiquity upon thee,--

LAFEU.
Do not plunge thyself too far in anger, lest thou hasten thy
trial; which if--Lord have mercy on thee 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.

PAROLLES.
My lord, you give me most egregious indignity.

LAFEU.
Ay, with all my heart; and thou art worthy of it.

PAROLLES.
I have not, my lord, deserved it.

LAFEU.
Yes, good faith, every dram of it: and I will not bate thee
a scruple.

PAROLLES.
Well, I shall be wiser.

LAFEU.
E'en as soon as thou canst, for thou hast to pull at a smack
o' th' contrary. If ever thou beest bound in thy scarf and
beaten, thou shalt 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.

PAROLLES.
My lord, you do me most insupportable vexation.

LAFEU.
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.

[Exit.]

PAROLLES.
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 no more pity of his age than I would have of--
I'll beat him, an if I could but meet him again.

[Re-enter LAFEU.]

LAFEU.
Sirrah, your lord and master's married; there's news for you; you
have a new mistress.

PAROLLES.
I most unfeignedly beseech your lordship to make some reservation
of your wrongs: he is my good lord: whom I serve above is my
master.

LAFEU.
Who? God?

PAROLLES.
Ay, sir.

LAFEU.
The devil it is that's thy master. Why dost thou garter up thy
arms o' 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 honour, if I were but two hours younger, I'd beat
thee: methink'st thou art a general offence, and every man should
beat thee. I think thou wast created for men to breathe
themselves upon thee.

PAROLLES.
This is hard and undeserved measure, my lord.

LAFEU.
Go to, sir; you were beaten in Italy for picking a kernel
out of a pomegranate; you are a vagabond, and no true traveller:
you are more saucy with lords and honourable personages than the
heraldry of your birth and virtue gives you commission. You are
not worth another word, else I'd call you knave. I leave you.

[Exit.]

PAROLLES.
Good, very good, it is so then.--Good, very good; let it
be concealed awhile.

[Enter BERTRAM.]

BERTRAM.
Undone, and forfeited to cares for ever!

PAROLLES.
What's the matter, sweet heart?

BERTRAM.
Although before the solemn priest I have sworn,
I will not bed her.

PAROLLES.
What, what, sweet heart?

BERTRAM.
O my Parolles, they have married me!--
I'll to the Tuscan wars, and never bed her.

PAROLLES.
France is a dog-hole, and it no more merits
The tread of a man's foot:--to the wars!

BERTRAM.
There's letters from my mother; what the import is
I know not yet.

PAROLLES.
Ay, that would be known. To the wars, my boy, to the wars!
He wears his honour in a box unseen
That hugs his kicksy-wicksy here at home,
Spending his manly marrow in her arms,
Which 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 the war!

BERTRAM.
It shall be so; I'll send her to my house,
Acquaint 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: war is no strife
To the dark house and the detested wife.

PAROLLES.
Will this caprichio hold in thee, art sure?

BERTRAM.
Go with me to my chamber and advise me.
I'll send her straight away: to-morrow
I'll to the wars, she to her single sorrow.

PAROLLES.
Why, these balls bound; there's noise in it. 'Tis hard:
A young man married is a man that's marr'd:
Therefore away, and leave her bravely; go:
The king has done you wrong: but, hush, 'tis so.

[Exeunt.]


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