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All's Well That Ends Well

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Act I, Scene 2

Paris. The KING’s palace.


Flourish of cornets. Enter the KING of France,] [p]with letters, and divers Attendants]

  • King of France. The Florentines and Senoys are by the ears; 235
    Have fought with equal fortune and continue
    A braving war.
  • King of France. Nay, 'tis most credible; we here received it
    A certainty, vouch'd from our cousin Austria, 240
    With caution that the Florentine will move us
    For speedy aid; wherein our dearest friend
    Prejudicates the business and would seem
    To have us make denial.
  • First Lord. His love and wisdom, 245
    Approved so to your majesty, may plead
    For amplest credence.
  • King of France. He hath arm'd our answer,
    And Florence is denied before he comes:
    Yet, for our gentlemen that mean to see 250
    The Tuscan service, freely have they leave
    To stand on either part.
  • Second Lord. It well may serve
    A nursery to our gentry, who are sick
    For breathing and exploit. 255


  • First Lord. It is the Count Rousillon, my good lord,
    Young Bertram.
  • King of France. Youth, thou bear'st thy father's face; 260
    Frank nature, rather curious than in haste,
    Hath well composed thee. Thy father's moral parts
    Mayst thou inherit too! Welcome to Paris.
  • Bertram. My thanks and duty are your majesty's.
  • King of France. I would I had that corporal soundness now, 265
    As when thy father and myself in friendship
    First tried our soldiership! He did look far
    Into the service of the time and was
    Discipled of the bravest: he lasted long;
    But on us both did haggish age steal on 270
    And wore us out of act. It much repairs me
    To talk of your good father. In his youth
    He had the wit which I can well observe
    To-day in our young lords; but they may jest
    Till their own scorn return to them unnoted 275
    Ere they can hide their levity in honour;
    So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness
    Were in his pride or sharpness; if they were,
    His equal had awaked them, and his honour,
    Clock to itself, knew the true minute when 280
    Exception bid him speak, and at this time
    His tongue obey'd his hand: who were below him
    He used as creatures of another place
    And bow'd his eminent top to their low ranks,
    Making them proud of his humility, 285
    In their poor praise he humbled. Such a man
    Might be a copy to these younger times;
    Which, follow'd well, would demonstrate them now
    But goers backward.
  • Bertram. His good remembrance, sir, 290
    Lies richer in your thoughts than on his tomb;
    So in approof lives not his epitaph
    As in your royal speech.
  • King of France. Would I were with him! He would always say—
    Methinks I hear him now; his plausive words 295
    He scatter'd not in ears, but grafted them,
    To grow there and to bear,—'Let me not live,'—
    This his good melancholy oft began,
    On the catastrophe and heel of pastime,
    When it was out,—'Let me not live,' quoth he, 300
    'After my flame lacks oil, to be the snuff
    Of younger spirits, whose apprehensive senses
    All but new things disdain; whose judgments are
    Mere fathers of their garments; whose constancies
    Expire before their fashions.' This he wish'd; 305
    I after him do after him wish too,
    Since I nor wax nor honey can bring home,
    I quickly were dissolved from my hive,
    To give some labourers room.
  • Second Lord. You are loved, sir: 310
    They that least lend it you shall lack you first.
  • King of France. I fill a place, I know't. How long is't, count,
    Since the physician at your father's died?
    He was much famed.
  • Bertram. Some six months since, my lord. 315
  • King of France. If he were living, I would try him yet.
    Lend me an arm; the rest have worn me out
    With several applications; nature and sickness
    Debate it at their leisure. Welcome, count;
    My son's no dearer. 320

[Exeunt. Flourish]