Open Source Shakespeare

All's Well That Ends Well

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Act IV, Scene 2

Florence. The Widow’s house.



  • Bertram. They told me that your name was Fontibell.
  • Diana. No, my good lord, Diana. 2005
  • Bertram. Titled goddess;
    And worth it, with addition! But, fair soul,
    In your fine frame hath love no quality?
    If quick fire of youth light not your mind,
    You are no maiden, but a monument: 2010
    When you are dead, you should be such a one
    As you are now, for you are cold and stem;
    And now you should be as your mother was
    When your sweet self was got.
  • Diana. She then was honest. 2015
  • Bertram. So should you be.
  • Diana. No:
    My mother did but duty; such, my lord,
    As you owe to your wife.
  • Bertram. No more o' that; 2020
    I prithee, do not strive against my vows:
    I was compell'd to her; but I love thee
    By love's own sweet constraint, and will for ever
    Do thee all rights of service.
  • Diana. Ay, so you serve us 2025
    Till we serve you; but when you have our roses,
    You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves
    And mock us with our bareness.
  • Bertram. How have I sworn!
  • Diana. 'Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth, 2030
    But the plain single vow that is vow'd true.
    What is not holy, that we swear not by,
    But take the High'st to witness: then, pray you, tell me,
    If I should swear by God's great attributes,
    I loved you dearly, would you believe my oaths, 2035
    When I did love you ill? This has no holding,
    To swear by him whom I protest to love,
    That I will work against him: therefore your oaths
    Are words and poor conditions, but unseal'd,
    At least in my opinion. 2040
  • Bertram. Change it, change it;
    Be not so holy-cruel: love is holy;
    And my integrity ne'er knew the crafts
    That you do charge men with. Stand no more off,
    But give thyself unto my sick desires, 2045
    Who then recover: say thou art mine, and ever
    My love as it begins shall so persever.
  • Diana. I see that men make ropes in such a scarre
    That we'll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.
  • Bertram. I'll lend it thee, my dear; but have no power 2050
    To give it from me.
  • Diana. Will you not, my lord?
  • Bertram. It is an honour 'longing to our house,
    Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
    Which were the greatest obloquy i' the world 2055
    In me to lose.
  • Diana. Mine honour's such a ring:
    My chastity's the jewel of our house,
    Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
    Which were the greatest obloquy i' the world 2060
    In me to lose: thus your own proper wisdom
    Brings in the champion Honour on my part,
    Against your vain assault.
  • Bertram. Here, take my ring:
    My house, mine honour, yea, my life, be thine, 2065
    And I'll be bid by thee.
  • Diana. When midnight comes, knock at my chamber-window:
    I'll order take my mother shall not hear.
    Now will I charge you in the band of truth,
    When you have conquer'd my yet maiden bed, 2070
    Remain there but an hour, nor speak to me:
    My reasons are most strong; and you shall know them
    When back again this ring shall be deliver'd:
    And on your finger in the night I'll put
    Another ring, that what in time proceeds 2075
    May token to the future our past deeds.
    Adieu, till then; then, fail not. You have won
    A wife of me, though there my hope be done.
  • Bertram. A heaven on earth I have won by wooing thee.


  • Diana. For which live long to thank both heaven and me!
    You may so in the end.
    My mother told me just how he would woo,
    As if she sat in 's heart; she says all men
    Have the like oaths: he had sworn to marry me 2085
    When his wife's dead; therefore I'll lie with him
    When I am buried. Since Frenchmen are so braid,
    Marry that will, I live and die a maid:
    Only in this disguise I think't no sin
    To cozen him that would unjustly win. 2090