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All's Well That Ends Well

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Act IV, Scene 5

Rousillon. The COUNT’s palace.


[Enter COUNTESS, LAFEU, and Clown]

  • Lafeu. No, no, no, your son was misled with a snipt-taffeta 2465
    fellow there, whose villanous saffron would have
    made all the unbaked and doughy youth of a nation in
    his colour: your daughter-in-law had been alive at
    this hour, and your son here at home, more advanced
    by the king than by that red-tailed humble-bee I speak of. 2470
  • Countess. I would I had not known him; it was the death of the
    most virtuous gentlewoman that ever nature had
    praise for creating. If she had partaken of my
    flesh, and cost me the dearest groans of a mother, I
    could not have owed her a more rooted love. 2475
  • Lafeu. 'Twas a good lady, 'twas a good lady: we may pick a
    thousand salads ere we light on such another herb.
  • Clown. Indeed, sir, she was the sweet marjoram of the
    salad, or rather, the herb of grace.
  • Lafeu. They are not herbs, you knave; they are nose-herbs. 2480
  • Clown. I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir; I have not much
    skill in grass.
  • Lafeu. Whether dost thou profess thyself, a knave or a fool?
  • Clown. A fool, sir, at a woman's service, and a knave at a man's.
  • Lafeu. Your distinction? 2485
  • Clown. I would cozen the man of his wife and do his service.
  • Lafeu. So you were a knave at his service, indeed.
  • Clown. And I would give his wife my bauble, sir, to do her service.
  • Lafeu. I will subscribe for thee, thou art both knave and fool.
  • Clown. At your service. 2490
  • Clown. Why, sir, if I cannot serve you, I can serve as
    great a prince as you are.
  • Lafeu. Who's that? a Frenchman?
  • Clown. Faith, sir, a' has an English name; but his fisnomy 2495
    is more hotter in France than there.
  • Lafeu. What prince is that?
  • Clown. The black prince, sir; alias, the prince of
    darkness; alias, the devil.
  • Lafeu. Hold thee, there's my purse: I give thee not this 2500
    to suggest thee from thy master thou talkest of;
    serve him still.
  • Clown. I am a woodland fellow, sir, that always loved a
    great fire; and the master I speak of ever keeps a
    good fire. But, sure, he is the prince of the 2505
    world; let his nobility remain in's court. I am for
    the house with the narrow gate, which I take to be
    too little for pomp to enter: some that humble
    themselves may; but the many will be too chill and
    tender, and they'll be for the flowery way that 2510
    leads to the broad gate and the great fire.
  • Lafeu. Go thy ways, I begin to be aweary of thee; and I
    tell thee so before, because I would not fall out
    with thee. Go thy ways: let my horses be well
    looked to, without any tricks. 2515
  • Clown. If I put any tricks upon 'em, sir, they shall be
    jades' tricks; which are their own right by the law of nature.


  • Lafeu. A shrewd knave and an unhappy.
  • Countess. So he is. My lord that's gone made himself much 2520
    sport out of him: by his authority he remains here,
    which he thinks is a patent for his sauciness; and,
    indeed, he has no pace, but runs where he will.
  • Lafeu. I like him well; 'tis not amiss. And I was about to
    tell you, since I heard of the good lady's death and 2525
    that my lord your son was upon his return home, I
    moved the king my master to speak in the behalf of
    my daughter; which, in the minority of them both,
    his majesty, out of a self-gracious remembrance, did
    first propose: his highness hath promised me to do 2530
    it: and, to stop up the displeasure he hath
    conceived against your son, there is no fitter
    matter. How does your ladyship like it?
  • Countess. With very much content, my lord; and I wish it
    happily effected. 2535
  • Lafeu. His highness comes post from Marseilles, of as able
    body as when he numbered thirty: he will be here
    to-morrow, or I am deceived by him that in such
    intelligence hath seldom failed.
  • Countess. It rejoices me, that I hope I shall see him ere I 2540
    die. I have letters that my son will be here
    to-night: I shall beseech your lordship to remain
    with me till they meet together.
  • Lafeu. Madam, I was thinking with what manners I might
    safely be admitted. 2545
  • Countess. You need but plead your honourable privilege.
  • Lafeu. Lady, of that I have made a bold charter; but I
    thank my God it holds yet.

[Re-enter Clown]

  • Clown. O madam, yonder's my lord your son with a patch of 2550
    velvet on's face: whether there be a scar under't
    or no, the velvet knows; but 'tis a goodly patch of
    velvet: his left cheek is a cheek of two pile and a
    half, but his right cheek is worn bare.
  • Lafeu. A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good livery 2555
    of honour; so belike is that.
  • Clown. But it is your carbonadoed face.
  • Lafeu. Let us go see your son, I pray you: I long to talk
    with the young noble soldier.
  • Clown. Faith there's a dozen of 'em, with delicate fine 2560
    hats and most courteous feathers, which bow the head
    and nod at every man.