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All's Well That Ends Well

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Act II, Scene 2

Rousillon. The COUNT’s palace.


[Enter COUNTESS and Clown]

  • Countess. Come on, sir; I shall now put you to the height of 825
    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! 830
  • 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 835
    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, 840
    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 845
    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. 850
  • 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 855
    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. 860
  • 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. 865
  • 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. 870
  • 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. 875
  • 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. 880
  • 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. 885
  • Countess. Not much employment for you: you understand me?
  • Clown. Most fruitfully: I am there before my legs.

[Exeunt severally]