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All's Well That Ends Well

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Act II, Scene 4

Paris. The KING’s palace.


[Enter HELENA and Clown]

  • Helena. My mother greets me kindly; is she well? 1205
  • 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 1210
    not very well?
  • Clown. Truly, she's very well indeed, but for two things.
  • Clown. One, that she's not in heaven, whither God send her
    quickly! the other that she's in earth, from whence 1215
    God send her quickly!


  • Parolles. Bless you, my fortunate lady!
  • Helena. I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine own
    good fortunes. 1220
  • 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.
  • 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. 1230
  • 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. 1235
  • 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.
  • Parolles. A good knave, i' faith, and well fed. 1240
    Madam, my lord will go away to-night;
    A very serious business calls on him.
    The great prerogative and rite of love,
    Which, as your due, time claims, he does acknowledge;
    But puts it off to a compell'd restraint; 1245
    Whose want, and whose delay, is strew'd with sweets,
    Which they distil now in the curbed time,
    To make the coming hour o'erflow with joy
    And pleasure drown the brim.
  • Helena. What's his will else? 1250
  • Parolles. That you will take your instant leave o' the king
    And make this haste as your own good proceeding,
    Strengthen'd with what apology you think
    May make it probable need.
  • Helena. What more commands he? 1255
  • Parolles. That, having this obtain'd, you presently
    Attend his further pleasure.
  • Helena. In every thing I wait upon his will.
  • Helena. I pray you. 1260
    [Exit PAROLLES]
    Come, sirrah.