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Put money in thy purse.

      — Othello, Act I Scene 3


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All's Well That Ends Well

Act II

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Scene 1. Paris. The KING’s palace.

Scene 2. Rousillon. The COUNT’s palace.

Scene 3. Paris. The KING’s palace.

Scene 4. Paris. The KING’s palace.

Scene 5. Paris. The KING’s palace.


Act II, Scene 1

Paris. The KING’s palace.

      next scene .

[Flourish of cornets. Enter the KING, attended] [p]with divers young Lords taking leave for the [p]Florentine war; BERTRAM, and PAROLLES]

  • King of France. Farewell, young lords; these warlike principles
    Do not throw from you: and you, my lords, farewell:
    Share the advice betwixt you; if both gain, all 595
    The gift doth stretch itself as 'tis received,
    And is enough for both.
  • First Lord. 'Tis our hope, sir,
    After well enter'd soldiers, to return
    And find your grace in health. 600
  • King of France. No, no, it cannot be; and yet my heart
    Will not confess he owes the malady
    That doth my life besiege. Farewell, young lords;
    Whether I live or die, be you the sons
    Of worthy Frenchmen: let higher Italy,— 605
    Those bated that inherit but the fall
    Of the last monarchy,—see that you come
    Not to woo honour, but to wed it; when
    The bravest questant shrinks, find what you seek,
    That fame may cry you loud: I say, farewell. 610
  • Second Lord. Health, at your bidding, serve your majesty!
  • King of France. Those girls of Italy, take heed of them:
    They say, our French lack language to deny,
    If they demand: beware of being captives,
    Before you serve. 615
  • Both. Our hearts receive your warnings.

[Exit, attended]

  • First Lord. O, my sweet lord, that you will stay behind us!
  • Parolles. 'Tis not his fault, the spark. 620
  • Parolles. Most admirable: I have seen those wars.
  • Bertram. I am commanded here, and kept a coil with
    'Too young' and 'the next year' and 'tis too early.'
  • Parolles. An thy mind stand to't, boy, steal away bravely. 625
  • Bertram. I shall stay here the forehorse to a smock,
    Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry,
    Till honour be bought up and no sword worn
    But one to dance with! By heaven, I'll steal away.
  • Bertram. I grow to you, and our parting is a tortured body.
  • Parolles. Noble heroes, my sword and yours are kin. Good
    sparks and lustrous, a word, good metals: you shall
    find in the regiment of the Spinii one Captain
    Spurio, with his cicatrice, an emblem of war, here
    on his sinister cheek; it was this very sword 640
    entrenched it: say to him, I live; and observe his
    reports for me.

[Exeunt Lords]

  • Parolles. Mars dote on you for his novices! what will ye do? 645

[Re-enter KING. BERTRAM and PAROLLES retire]

  • Parolles. [To BERTRAM] Use a more spacious ceremony to the
    noble lords; you have restrained yourself within the
    list of too cold an adieu: be more expressive to 650
    them: for they wear themselves in the cap of the
    time, there do muster true gait, eat, speak, and
    move under the influence of the most received star;
    and though the devil lead the measure, such are to
    be followed: after them, and take a more dilated farewell. 655
  • Parolles. Worthy fellows; and like to prove most sinewy sword-men.


[Enter LAFEU]

  • Lafeu. [Kneeling] Pardon, my lord, for me and for my tidings. 660
  • Lafeu. Then here's a man stands, that has brought his pardon.
    I would you had kneel'd, my lord, to ask me mercy,
    And that at my bidding you could so stand up.
  • King of France. I would I had; so I had broke thy pate, 665
    And ask'd thee mercy for't.
  • Lafeu. Good faith, across: but, my good lord 'tis thus;
    Will you be cured of your infirmity?
  • Lafeu. O, will you eat no grapes, my royal fox? 670
    Yes, but you will my noble grapes, an if
    My royal fox could reach them: I have seen a medicine
    That's able to breathe life into a stone,
    Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary
    With spritely fire and motion; whose simple touch, 675
    Is powerful to araise King Pepin, nay,
    To give great Charlemain a pen in's hand,
    And write to her a love-line.
  • Lafeu. Why, Doctor She: my lord, there's one arrived, 680
    If you will see her: now, by my faith and honour,
    If seriously I may convey my thoughts
    In this my light deliverance, I have spoke
    With one that, in her sex, her years, profession,
    Wisdom and constancy, hath amazed me more 685
    Than I dare blame my weakness: will you see her
    For that is her demand, and know her business?
    That done, laugh well at me.
  • King of France. Now, good Lafeu,
    Bring in the admiration; that we with thee 690
    May spend our wonder too, or take off thine
    By wondering how thou took'st it.
  • Lafeu. Nay, I'll fit you,
    And not be all day neither.


[Re-enter LAFEU, with HELENA]

  • Lafeu. Nay, come your ways.
  • Lafeu. Nay, come your ways: 700
    This is his majesty; say your mind to him:
    A traitor you do look like; but such traitors
    His majesty seldom fears: I am Cressid's uncle,
    That dare leave two together; fare you well.


  • Helena. Ay, my good lord.
    Gerard de Narbon was my father;
    In what he did profess, well found.
  • Helena. The rather will I spare my praises towards him:
    Knowing him is enough. On's bed of death
    Many receipts he gave me: chiefly one.
    Which, as the dearest issue of his practise,
    And of his old experience the oily darling, 715
    He bade me store up, as a triple eye,
    Safer than mine own two, more dear; I have so;
    And hearing your high majesty is touch'd
    With that malignant cause wherein the honour
    Of my dear father's gift stands chief in power, 720
    I come to tender it and my appliance
    With all bound humbleness.
  • King of France. We thank you, maiden;
    But may not be so credulous of cure,
    When our most learned doctors leave us and 725
    The congregated college have concluded
    That labouring art can never ransom nature
    From her inaidible estate; I say we must not
    So stain our judgment, or corrupt our hope,
    To prostitute our past-cure malady 730
    To empirics, or to dissever so
    Our great self and our credit, to esteem
    A senseless help when help past sense we deem.
  • Helena. My duty then shall pay me for my pains:
    I will no more enforce mine office on you. 735
    Humbly entreating from your royal thoughts
    A modest one, to bear me back a again.
  • King of France. I cannot give thee less, to be call'd grateful:
    Thou thought'st to help me; and such thanks I give
    As one near death to those that wish him live: 740
    But what at full I know, thou know'st no part,
    I knowing all my peril, thou no art.
  • Helena. What I can do can do no hurt to try,
    Since you set up your rest 'gainst remedy.
    He that of greatest works is finisher 745
    Oft does them by the weakest minister:
    So holy writ in babes hath judgment shown,
    When judges have been babes; great floods have flown
    From simple sources, and great seas have dried
    When miracles have by the greatest been denied. 750
    Oft expectation fails and most oft there
    Where most it promises, and oft it hits
    Where hope is coldest and despair most fits.
  • King of France. I must not hear thee; fare thee well, kind maid;
    Thy pains not used must by thyself be paid: 755
    Proffers not took reap thanks for their reward.
  • Helena. Inspired merit so by breath is barr'd:
    It is not so with Him that all things knows
    As 'tis with us that square our guess by shows;
    But most it is presumption in us when 760
    The help of heaven we count the act of men.
    Dear sir, to my endeavours give consent;
    Of heaven, not me, make an experiment.
    I am not an impostor that proclaim
    Myself against the level of mine aim; 765
    But know I think and think I know most sure
    My art is not past power nor you past cure.
  • King of France. Are thou so confident? within what space
    Hopest thou my cure?
  • Helena. The great'st grace lending grace 770
    Ere twice the horses of the sun shall bring
    Their fiery torcher his diurnal ring,
    Ere twice in murk and occidental damp
    Moist Hesperus hath quench'd his sleepy lamp,
    Or four and twenty times the pilot's glass 775
    Hath told the thievish minutes how they pass,
    What is infirm from your sound parts shall fly,
    Health shall live free and sickness freely die.
  • King of France. Upon thy certainty and confidence
    What darest thou venture? 780
  • Helena. Tax of impudence,
    A strumpet's boldness, a divulged shame
    Traduced by odious ballads: my maiden's name
    Sear'd otherwise; nay, worse—if worse—extended
    With vilest torture let my life be ended. 785
  • King of France. Methinks in thee some blessed spirit doth speak
    His powerful sound within an organ weak:
    And what impossibility would slay
    In common sense, sense saves another way.
    Thy life is dear; for all that life can rate 790
    Worth name of life in thee hath estimate,
    Youth, beauty, wisdom, courage, all
    That happiness and prime can happy call:
    Thou this to hazard needs must intimate
    Skill infinite or monstrous desperate. 795
    Sweet practiser, thy physic I will try,
    That ministers thine own death if I die.
  • Helena. If I break time, or flinch in property
    Of what I spoke, unpitied let me die,
    And well deserved: not helping, death's my fee; 800
    But, if I help, what do you promise me?
  • Helena. But will you make it even?
  • Helena. Then shalt thou give me with thy kingly hand 805
    What husband in thy power I will command:
    Exempted be from me the arrogance
    To choose from forth the royal blood of France,
    My low and humble name to propagate
    With any branch or image of thy state; 810
    But such a one, thy vassal, whom I know
    Is free for me to ask, thee to bestow.
  • King of France. Here is my hand; the premises observed,
    Thy will by my performance shall be served:
    So make the choice of thy own time, for I, 815
    Thy resolved patient, on thee still rely.
    More should I question thee, and more I must,
    Though more to know could not be more to trust,
    From whence thou camest, how tended on: but rest
    Unquestion'd welcome and undoubted blest. 820
    Give me some help here, ho! If thou proceed
    As high as word, my deed shall match thy meed.

[Flourish. Exeunt]

. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 2

Rousillon. The COUNT’s palace.

      next scene .

[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]

. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 3

Paris. The KING’s palace.

      next scene .


  • 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 895
    ourselves to an unknown fear.
  • Parolles. Why, 'tis the rarest argument of wonder that hath
    shot out in our latter times.
  • Lafeu. To be relinquish'd of the artists,— 900
  • Lafeu. Both of Galen and Paracelsus.
  • Lafeu. Of all the learned and authentic fellows,—
  • 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. 910
  • 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. 915
  • 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 920
    facinerious spirit that will not acknowledge it to be the—
  • Lafeu. Very hand of heaven.
  • Lafeu. In a most weak—
    [pausing] 925
    and debile minister, great power, great
    transcendence: which should, indeed, give us a
    further use to be made than alone the recovery of
    the king, as to be—
    [pausing] 930
    generally thankful.
  • Parolles. I would have said it; you say well. Here comes the king.
    [Enter KING, HELENA, and Attendants. LAFEU and]
    PAROLLES retire]
  • Lafeu. Lustig, as the Dutchman says: I'll like a maid the 935
    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 of France. Go, call before me all the lords in court. 940
    Sit, my preserver, by thy patient's side;
    And with this healthful hand, whose banish'd sense
    Thou hast repeal'd, a second time receive
    The confirmation of my promised gift,
    Which but attends thy naming. 945
    [Enter three or four 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; 950
    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'ld give bay Curtal and his furniture,
    My mouth no more were broken than these boys', 955
    And writ as little beard.
  • King of France. Peruse them well:
    Not one of those but had a noble father.
  • Helena. Gentlemen,
    Heaven hath through me restored the king to health. 960
  • 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, 965
    'We blush that thou shouldst choose; but, be refused,
    Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever;
    We'll ne'er come there again.'
  • King of France. Make choice; and, see,
    Who shuns thy love shuns all his love in me. 970
  • 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?
  • Helena. Thanks, sir; all the rest is mute. 975
  • 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 980
    Her that so wishes and her humble love!
  • 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, 985
    I'd have them whipped; or I would send them to the
    Turk, to make eunuchs of.
  • Helena. 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 990
    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, 995
    To make yourself a son out of my blood.
  • Lafeu. There's one grape yet; I am sure thy father drunk
    wine: but if thou be'st not an ass, I am a youth
    of fourteen; I have known thee already. 1000
  • 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.
  • Bertram. My wife, my liege! I shall beseech your highness, 1005
    In such a business give me leave to use
    The help of mine own eyes.
  • Bertram. Yes, my good lord; 1010
    But never hope to know why I should marry her.
  • 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. 1015
    A poor physician's daughter my wife! Disdain
    Rather corrupt me ever!
  • King of France. '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, 1020
    Would quite confound distinction, yet stand off
    In differences so mighty. If she be
    All that is virtuous, save what thou dislikest,
    A poor physician's daughter, thou dislikest
    Of virtue for the name: but do not so: 1025
    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: 1030
    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 1035
    And is not like the sire: honours thrive,
    When rather from our acts we them derive
    Than our foregoers: the mere word's a slave
    Debosh'd on every tomb, on every grave
    A lying trophy, and as oft is dumb 1040
    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. 1045
  • Bertram. I cannot love her, nor will strive to do't.
  • King of France. Thou wrong'st thyself, if thou shouldst strive to choose.
  • Helena. That you are well restored, my lord, I'm glad:
    Let the rest go.
  • King of France. My honour's at the stake; which to defeat, 1050
    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, 1055
    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. Cheque thy contempt:
    Obey our will, which travails in thy good:
    Believe not thy disdain, but presently 1060
    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 1065
    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 1070
    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 of France. Take her by the hand, 1075
    And tell her she is thine: to whom I promise
    A counterpoise, if not to thy estate
    A balance more replete.
  • King of France. Good fortune and the favour of the king 1080
    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 lovest her, 1085
    Thy love's to me religious; else, does err.

[Exeunt all but LAFEU and PAROLLES]

  • Lafeu. [Advancing] Do you hear, monsieur? a word with you.
  • Lafeu. Your lord and master did well to make his 1090
  • 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! 1095
  • 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. 1100
  • 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 1105
    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 burthen. I
    have now found thee; when I lose thee again, I care
    not: yet art thou good for nothing but taking up; and 1110
    that thou't 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 1115
    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. 1120
  • Lafeu. Yes, good faith, every dram of it; and I will not
    bate thee a scruple.
  • Lafeu. Even as soon as thou canst, for thou hast to pull at
    a smack o' the contrary. If ever thou be'st bound 1125
    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. 1130
  • 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.


  • Parolles. Well, thou hast a son shall take this disgrace off 1135
    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 1140
    would 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 1145
    some reservation of your wrongs: he is my good
    lord: whom I serve above is my master.
  • Lafeu. The devil it is that's thy master. Why dost thou 1150
    garter up thy arms o' this fashion? dost make hose of
    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'ld beat
    thee: methinks, thou art a general offence, and 1155
    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 1160
    no true traveller: you are more saucy with lords
    and honourable personages than the commission of your
    birth and virtue gives you heraldry. You are not
    worth another word, else I'ld call you knave. I leave you.


  • Parolles. Good, very good; it is so then: good, very good;
    let it be concealed awhile.

[Re-enter BERTRAM]

  • Bertram. Undone, and forfeited to cares for ever!
  • Parolles. What's the matter, sweet-heart? 1170
  • Bertram. Although before the solemn priest I have sworn,
    I will not bed her.
  • Bertram. O my Parolles, they have married me!
    I'll to the Tuscan wars, and never bed her. 1175
  • 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! 1180
    He wears his honour in a box unseen,
    That hugs his kicky-wicky 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 1185
    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 1190
    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 capriccio hold in thee? art sure? 1195
  • 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: 1200
    Therefore away, and leave her bravely; go:
    The king has done you wrong: but, hush, 'tis so.


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 4

Paris. The KING’s palace.

      next scene .

[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.


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 5

Paris. The KING’s palace.



  • Lafeu. But I hope your lordship thinks not him a soldier. 1265
  • Bertram. Yes, my lord, and of very valiant approof.
  • Lafeu. You have it from his own deliverance.
  • Bertram. And by other warranted testimony.
  • Lafeu. Then my dial goes not true: I took this lark for a bunting.
  • Bertram. I do assure you, my lord, he is very great in 1270
    knowledge and accordingly valiant.
  • Lafeu. I have then sinned against his experience and
    transgressed against his valour; and my state that
    way is dangerous, since I cannot yet find in my
    heart to repent. Here he comes: I pray you, make 1275
    us friends; I will pursue the amity.


  • Parolles. [To BERTRAM] These things shall be done, sir.
  • Lafeu. Pray you, sir, who's his tailor?
  • Lafeu. O, I know him well, I, sir; he, sir, 's a good
    workman, a very good tailor.
  • Bertram. [Aside to PAROLLES] Is she gone to the king?
  • Bertram. Will she away to-night? 1285
  • Bertram. I have writ my letters, casketed my treasure,
    Given order for our horses; and to-night,
    When I should take possession of the bride,
    End ere I do begin. 1290
  • Lafeu. A good traveller is something at the latter end of a
    dinner; but one that lies three thirds and uses a
    known truth to pass a thousand nothings with, should
    be once heard and thrice beaten. God save you, captain.
  • Bertram. Is there any unkindness between my lord and you, monsieur? 1295
  • Parolles. I know not how I have deserved to run into my lord's
  • Lafeu. You have made shift to run into 't, boots and spurs
    and all, like him that leaped into the custard; and
    out of it you'll run again, rather than suffer 1300
    question for your residence.
  • Bertram. It may be you have mistaken him, my lord.
  • Lafeu. And shall do so ever, though I took him at 's
    prayers. Fare you well, my lord; and believe this
    of me, there can be no kernel in this light nut; the 1305
    soul of this man is his clothes. Trust him not in
    matter of heavy consequence; I have kept of them
    tame, and know their natures. Farewell, monsieur:
    I have spoken better of you than you have or will to
    deserve at my hand; but we must do good against evil. 1310


  • Bertram. Yes, I do know him well, and common speech 1315
    Gives him a worthy pass. Here comes my clog.

[Enter HELENA]

  • Helena. I have, sir, as I was commanded from you,
    Spoke with the king and have procured his leave
    For present parting; only he desires 1320
    Some private speech with you.
  • Bertram. I shall obey his will.
    You must not marvel, Helen, at my course,
    Which holds not colour with the time, nor does
    The ministration and required office 1325
    On my particular. Prepared I was not
    For such a business; therefore am I found
    So much unsettled: this drives me to entreat you
    That presently you take our way for home;
    And rather muse than ask why I entreat you, 1330
    For my respects are better than they seem
    And my appointments have in them a need
    Greater than shows itself at the first view
    To you that know them not. This to my mother:
    [Giving a letter] 1335
    'Twill be two days ere I shall see you, so
    I leave you to your wisdom.
  • Helena. Sir, I can nothing say,
    But that I am your most obedient servant.
  • Bertram. Come, come, no more of that. 1340
  • Helena. And ever shall
    With true observance seek to eke out that
    Wherein toward me my homely stars have fail'd
    To equal my great fortune.
  • Bertram. Let that go: 1345
    My haste is very great: farewell; hie home.
  • Helena. Pray, sir, your pardon.
  • Bertram. Well, what would you say?
  • Helena. I am not worthy of the wealth I owe,
    Nor dare I say 'tis mine, and yet it is; 1350
    But, like a timorous thief, most fain would steal
    What law does vouch mine own.
  • Helena. Something; and scarce so much: nothing, indeed.
    I would not tell you what I would, my lord: 1355
    Faith yes;
    Strangers and foes do sunder, and not kiss.
  • Bertram. I pray you, stay not, but in haste to horse.
  • Helena. I shall not break your bidding, good my lord.
  • Bertram. Where are my other men, monsieur? Farewell. 1360
    [Exit HELENA]
    Go thou toward home; where I will never come
    Whilst I can shake my sword or hear the drum.
    Away, and for our flight.