Open Source Shakespeare

Speeches (Lines) for Clown
in "All's Well That Ends Well"

Total: 58

# Act, Scene, Line
(Click to see in context)
Speech text



Countess. What does this knave here? Get you gone, sirrah:
the complaints I have heard of you I do not all
believe: 'tis my slowness that I do not; for I know
you lack not folly to commit them, and have ability
enough to make such knaveries yours.

Clown. 'Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a poor fellow.



Countess. Well, sir.

Clown. No, madam, 'tis not so well that I am poor, though
many of the rich are damned: but, if I may have
your ladyship's good will to go to the world, Isbel
the woman and I will do as we may.



Countess. Wilt thou needs be a beggar?

Clown. I do beg your good will in this case.



Countess. In what case?

Clown. In Isbel's case and mine own. Service is no
heritage: and I think I shall never have the
blessing of God till I have issue o' my body; for
they say barnes are blessings.



Countess. Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.

Clown. My poor body, madam, requires it: I am driven on
by the flesh; and he must needs go that the devil drives.



Countess. Is this all your worship's reason?

Clown. Faith, madam, I have other holy reasons such as they



Countess. May the world know them?

Clown. I have been, madam, a wicked creature, as you and
all flesh and blood are; and, indeed, I do marry
that I may repent.



Countess. Thy marriage, sooner than thy wickedness.

Clown. I am out o' friends, madam; and I hope to have
friends for my wife's sake.



Countess. Such friends are thine enemies, knave.

Clown. You're shallow, madam, in great friends; for the
knaves come to do that for me which I am aweary of.
He that ears my land spares my team and gives me
leave to in the crop; if I be his cuckold, he's my
drudge: he that comforts my wife is the cherisher
of my flesh and blood; he that cherishes my flesh
and blood loves my flesh and blood; he that loves my
flesh and blood is my friend: ergo, he that kisses
my wife is my friend. If men could be contented to
be what they are, there were no fear in marriage;
for young Charbon the Puritan and old Poysam the
Papist, howsome'er their hearts are severed in
religion, their heads are both one; they may jowl
horns together, like any deer i' the herd.



Countess. Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouthed and calumnious knave?

Clown. A prophet I, madam; and I speak the truth the next
For I the ballad will repeat,
Which men full true shall find;
Your marriage comes by destiny,
Your cuckoo sings by kind.



Countess. Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman I would speak with her;
Helen, I mean.

Clown. Was this fair face the cause, quoth she,
Why the Grecians sacked Troy?
Fond done, done fond,
Was this King Priam's joy?
With that she sighed as she stood,
With that she sighed as she stood,
And gave this sentence then;
Among nine bad if one be good,
Among nine bad if one be good,
There's yet one good in ten.



Countess. What, one good in ten? you corrupt the song, sirrah.

Clown. One good woman in ten, madam; which is a purifying
o' the song: would God would serve the world so all
the year! we'ld find no fault with the tithe-woman,
if I were the parson. One in ten, quoth a'! An we
might have a good woman born but one every blazing
star, or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery
well: a man may draw his heart out, ere a' pluck



Countess. You'll be gone, sir knave, and do as I command you.

Clown. That man should be at woman's command, and yet no
hurt done! Though honesty be no puritan, yet it
will do no hurt; it will wear the surplice of
humility over the black gown of a big heart. I am
going, forsooth: the business is for Helen to come hither.



Countess. Come on, sir; I shall now put you to the height of
your breeding.

Clown. I will show myself highly fed and lowly taught: I
know my business is but to the court.



Countess. To the court! why, what place make you special,
when you put off that with such contempt? But to the court!

Clown. Truly, madam, if God have lent a man any manners, he
may easily put it off at court: he that cannot make
a leg, put off's cap, kiss his hand and say nothing,
has neither leg, hands, lip, nor cap; and indeed
such a fellow, to say precisely, were not for the
court; but for me, I have an answer will serve all



Countess. Marry, that's a bountiful answer that fits all

Clown. It is like a barber's chair that fits all buttocks,
the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn
buttock, or any buttock.



Countess. Will your answer serve fit to all questions?

Clown. As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney,
as your French crown for your taffeta punk, as Tib's
rush for Tom's forefinger, as a pancake for Shrove
Tuesday, a morris for May-day, as the nail to his
hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a scolding queen
to a wrangling knave, as the nun's lip to the
friar's mouth, nay, as the pudding to his skin.



Countess. Have you, I say, an answer of such fitness for all

Clown. From below your duke to beneath your constable, it
will fit any question.



Countess. It must be an answer of most monstrous size that
must fit all demands.

Clown. But a trifle neither, in good faith, if the learned
should speak truth of it: here it is, and all that
belongs to't. Ask me if I am a courtier: it shall
do you no harm to learn.



Countess. To be young again, if we could: I will be a fool in
question, hoping to be the wiser by your answer. I
pray you, sir, are you a courtier?

Clown. O Lord, sir! There's a simple putting off. More,
more, a hundred of them.



Countess. Sir, I am a poor friend of yours, that loves you.

Clown. O Lord, sir! Thick, thick, spare not me.



Countess. I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely meat.

Clown. O Lord, sir! Nay, put me to't, I warrant you.



Countess. You were lately whipped, sir, as I think.

Clown. O Lord, sir! spare not me.



Countess. Do you cry, 'O Lord, sir!' at your whipping, and
'spare not me?' Indeed your 'O Lord, sir!' is very
sequent to your whipping: you would answer very well
to a whipping, if you were but bound to't.

Clown. I ne'er had worse luck in my life in my 'O Lord,
sir!' I see things may serve long, but not serve ever.



Countess. I play the noble housewife with the time
To entertain't so merrily with a fool.

Clown. O Lord, sir! why, there't serves well again.



Countess. An end, sir; to your business. Give Helen this,
And urge her to a present answer back:
Commend me to my kinsmen and my son:
This is not much.

Clown. Not much commendation to them.



Countess. Not much employment for you: you understand me?

Clown. Most fruitfully: I am there before my legs.



Helena. My mother greets me kindly; is she well?

Clown. She is not well; but yet she has her health: she's
very merry; but yet she is not well: but thanks be
given, she's very well and wants nothing i', the
world; but yet she is not well.



Helena. If she be very well, what does she ail, that she's
not very well?

Clown. Truly, she's very well indeed, but for two things.



Helena. What two things?

Clown. One, that she's not in heaven, whither God send her
quickly! the other that she's in earth, from whence
God send her quickly!



Parolles. You had my prayers to lead them on; and to keep them
on, have them still. O, my knave, how does my old lady?

Clown. So that you had her wrinkles and I her money,
I would she did as you say.



Parolles. Why, I say nothing.

Clown. Marry, you are the wiser man; for many a man's
tongue shakes out his master's undoing: to say
nothing, to do nothing, to know nothing, and to have
nothing, is to be a great part of your title; which
is within a very little of nothing.



Parolles. Away! thou'rt a knave.

Clown. You should have said, sir, before a knave thou'rt a
knave; that's, before me thou'rt a knave: this had
been truth, sir.



Parolles. Go to, thou art a witty fool; I have found thee.

Clown. Did you find me in yourself, sir? or were you
taught to find me? The search, sir, was profitable;
and much fool may you find in you, even to the
world's pleasure and the increase of laughter.



Countess. It hath happened all as I would have had it, save
that he comes not along with her.

Clown. By my troth, I take my young lord to be a very
melancholy man.



Countess. By what observance, I pray you?

Clown. Why, he will look upon his boot and sing; mend the
ruff and sing; ask questions and sing; pick his
teeth and sing. I know a man that had this trick of
melancholy sold a goodly manor for a song.



(stage directions). [Opening a letter]

Clown. I have no mind to Isbel since I was at court: our
old ling and our Isbels o' the country are nothing
like your old ling and your Isbels o' the court:
the brains of my Cupid's knocked out, and I begin to
love, as an old man loves money, with no stomach.



Countess. What have we here?

Clown. E'en that you have there.



(stage directions). [Re-enter Clown]

Clown. O madam, yonder is heavy news within between two
soldiers and my young lady!



Countess. What is the matter?

Clown. Nay, there is some comfort in the news, some
comfort; your son will not be killed so soon as I
thought he would.



Countess. Why should he be killed?

Clown. So say I, madam, if he run away, as I hear he does:
the danger is in standing to't; that's the loss of
men, though it be the getting of children. Here
they come will tell you more: for my part, I only
hear your son was run away.



Lafeu. 'Twas a good lady, 'twas a good lady: we may pick a
thousand salads ere we light on such another herb.

Clown. Indeed, sir, she was the sweet marjoram of the
salad, or rather, the herb of grace.



Lafeu. They are not herbs, you knave; they are nose-herbs.

Clown. I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir; I have not much
skill in grass.



Lafeu. Whether dost thou profess thyself, a knave or a fool?

Clown. A fool, sir, at a woman's service, and a knave at a man's.



Lafeu. Your distinction?

Clown. I would cozen the man of his wife and do his service.



Lafeu. So you were a knave at his service, indeed.

Clown. And I would give his wife my bauble, sir, to do her service.



Lafeu. I will subscribe for thee, thou art both knave and fool.

Clown. At your service.



Lafeu. No, no, no.

Clown. Why, sir, if I cannot serve you, I can serve as
great a prince as you are.



Lafeu. Who's that? a Frenchman?

Clown. Faith, sir, a' has an English name; but his fisnomy
is more hotter in France than there.



Lafeu. What prince is that?

Clown. The black prince, sir; alias, the prince of
darkness; alias, the devil.



Lafeu. Hold thee, there's my purse: I give thee not this
to suggest thee from thy master thou talkest of;
serve him still.

Clown. I am a woodland fellow, sir, that always loved a
great fire; and the master I speak of ever keeps a
good fire. But, sure, he is the prince of the
world; let his nobility remain in's court. I am for
the house with the narrow gate, which I take to be
too little for pomp to enter: some that humble
themselves may; but the many will be too chill and
tender, and they'll be for the flowery way that
leads to the broad gate and the great fire.



Lafeu. Go thy ways, I begin to be aweary of thee; and I
tell thee so before, because I would not fall out
with thee. Go thy ways: let my horses be well
looked to, without any tricks.

Clown. If I put any tricks upon 'em, sir, they shall be
jades' tricks; which are their own right by the law of nature.



(stage directions). [Re-enter Clown]

Clown. O madam, yonder's my lord your son with a patch of
velvet on's face: whether there be a scar under't
or no, the velvet knows; but 'tis a goodly patch of
velvet: his left cheek is a cheek of two pile and a
half, but his right cheek is worn bare.



Lafeu. A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good livery
of honour; so belike is that.

Clown. But it is your carbonadoed face.



Lafeu. Let us go see your son, I pray you: I long to talk
with the young noble soldier.

Clown. Faith there's a dozen of 'em, with delicate fine
hats and most courteous feathers, which bow the head
and nod at every man.



Parolles. Good Monsieur Lavache, give my Lord Lafeu this
letter: I have ere now, sir, been better known to
you, when I have held familiarity with fresher
clothes; but I am now, sir, muddied in fortune's
mood, and smell somewhat strong of her strong

Clown. Truly, fortune's displeasure is but sluttish, if it
smell so strongly as thou speakest of: I will
henceforth eat no fish of fortune's buttering.
Prithee, allow the wind.



Parolles. Nay, you need not to stop your nose, sir; I spake
but by a metaphor.

Clown. Indeed, sir, if your metaphor stink, I will stop my
nose; or against any man's metaphor. Prithee, get
thee further.



Parolles. Pray you, sir, deliver me this paper.

Clown. Foh! prithee, stand away: a paper from fortune's
close-stool to give to a nobleman! Look, here he
comes himself.
[Enter LAFEU]
Here is a purr of fortune's, sir, or of fortune's
cat,—but not a musk-cat,—that has fallen into the
unclean fishpond of her displeasure, and, as he
says, is muddied withal: pray you, sir, use the
carp as you may; for he looks like a poor, decayed,
ingenious, foolish, rascally knave. I do pity his
distress in my similes of comfort and leave him to
your lordship.