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All's Well That Ends Well

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Act III, Scene 4

Rousillon. The COUNT’s palace.


[Enter COUNTESS and Steward]

  • Countess. Alas! and would you take the letter of her?
    Might you not know she would do as she has done, 1560
    By sending me a letter? Read it again.
  • Steward. [Reads]
    I am Saint Jaques' pilgrim, thither gone:
    Ambitious love hath so in me offended,
    That barefoot plod I the cold ground upon, 1565
    With sainted vow my faults to have amended.
    Write, write, that from the bloody course of war
    My dearest master, your dear son, may hie:
    Bless him at home in peace, whilst I from far
    His name with zealous fervor sanctify: 1570
    His taken labours bid him me forgive;
    I, his despiteful Juno, sent him forth
    From courtly friends, with camping foes to live,
    Where death and danger dogs the heels of worth:
    He is too good and fair for death and me: 1575
    Whom I myself embrace, to set him free.
  • Countess. Ah, what sharp stings are in her mildest words!
    Rinaldo, you did never lack advice so much,
    As letting her pass so: had I spoke with her,
    I could have well diverted her intents, 1580
    Which thus she hath prevented.
  • Steward. Pardon me, madam:
    If I had given you this at over-night,
    She might have been o'erta'en; and yet she writes,
    Pursuit would be but vain. 1585
  • Countess. What angel shall
    Bless this unworthy husband? he cannot thrive,
    Unless her prayers, whom heaven delights to hear
    And loves to grant, reprieve him from the wrath
    Of greatest justice. Write, write, Rinaldo, 1590
    To this unworthy husband of his wife;
    Let every word weigh heavy of her worth
    That he does weigh too light: my greatest grief.
    Though little he do feel it, set down sharply.
    Dispatch the most convenient messenger: 1595
    When haply he shall hear that she is gone,
    He will return; and hope I may that she,
    Hearing so much, will speed her foot again,
    Led hither by pure love: which of them both
    Is dearest to me. I have no skill in sense 1600
    To make distinction: provide this messenger:
    My heart is heavy and mine age is weak;
    Grief would have tears, and sorrow bids me speak.