did communicate to herself her own words to her
own ears ; she thought, I dare vow for her. they
touched not any stranger sense. Her matter
was, she loved your son : Fortune, she said, was
no goddess, that had put such difference betwixt
their two estates ; Love no god, that would not
extend his might, only where qualities were level ;
queen of virgins, that would suffer Tier poor knight
surprised without rescue in the first assault, or
ransom afterward. This she delivered in the
most bitter touch of sorrow that e'er I heard
virgin exclaim in : which I held my duty speedily
to acquaint you withal ; sithence, in the loss that
may happen, it concerns you something to know it.
Cou. You have discharged this honestly ; keep
it to yourself : many likelihoods informed me of
thi before, which hung so tottering in the balance,
that I could neither believe, nor misdoubt. Pray
you, leave me : stall this in your bosom ; and I
thank you for your honest care : I will speak with
you further anon. Exit Steward,
Even so it was with me when I was young :
If ever we are nature's, these are ours ; this
Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong ;
Our blood to us, this to our blood is born ;
It is the show and seal of nature's truth.
Where love's strong passion is impress 'd in youth :
By our remembrances of days foregone,
Such were our faults ; or then we thought
Her eye is sick on 't : I observe her now.
Hel. What is your pleasure, madam ?
Cou. You know, Helen,
I am a mother to you.
Hel. Mine honourable mistress.
Cou. Nay, a mother :
Why not a mother ? When I said, a mother,
Methought you saw a serpent : what 's in mother,
That you start at it ? I say, I am your mother ;
And put you in the catalogue of those
That were enwombed mine : 'tis often seen,
ACT I., Sc. 3.
ALL 's WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
Adoption strives with nature ; and choice breeds
A native slip to us from foreign seeds :
You ne'er oppress'd me with a mother's groan,
Yet I express to you a mother's care :
God's mercy, maiden ! does it curd thy blood,
To say, I am thy mother? What 's the matter,
That this distemper 'd messenger of wet,
The many-colour'd Iris, rounds thine eye ?
Why ? that you are my daughter ?
Hel. That I am not.
Cou. I say, I am your mother.
Hel. Pardon, madam :
The Count Eousillon cannot be my brother :
I am from humble, he from honour 'd name;
No note upon my parents, his all noble :
My master, my dear lord he is ; and I
His servant live, and will his vassal die :
He must not be my brother.
Cou. Nor I your mother ?
Hel. You are my mother, madam; would you
(So that my lord, your son, were not my brother)
Indeed my mother ! or were you both our mothers,
I care no more for, than I do for heaven,
So I were not his sister. Can 't no other,
But I your daughter, he must be my brother ?
Cou. Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-
God shield, you mean it not ! daughter and
So strive upon your pulse. What, pale again ?
My fear hath catch' d your fondness : now I see
The mystery of your loneliness, and find
Your salt tears' head : now to all sense 'tis gross,
You love my son ; invention is ashamed,
Against the proclamation of thy passion,
To say thou dost not : therefore tell me true ;
But tell me then, 'tis so ; for, look, thy cheeks
Confess it, th' one to the other ; and thine eyes
See it so grossly shown in thy behaviours,
That in their kind they speak it : only sin
And hellish obstinacy tie thy tongue,
That truth should be suspected. Speak, is 't so ?
If it be so, you have wound a goodly clue :
If it be not, forswear 't : howe'er, I charge thee,
As heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
To tell me truly. .
Hel. Good madam, pardon me !
Cou. Do you love my son ?
Hel. Your pardon, noble mistress !
Cou. Love you my son?
Hel. Do not you love him, madam ?
Cou. Go not about ; my love hath in 't a bond,
Whereof the world takes note : come, come,
The state of your affection ; for your passions
Have to the full appeach'd.
Hel. Then, I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high heaven,
I love your son :
My friends were poor, but honest; so's my
Be not offended ; for it hurts not him,
That he is loved of me : I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit ;
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him,
Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope ;
Yet, in this captious and intenible sieve,
I still pour in the waters of my love,
And lack not to lose still : thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun, that looks upon his worshipper,
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love,
For loving where you do : but, if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in so true a flame of liking
Wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and love ; O, then, give pity
To her, whose state is such, that cannot choose
But lend and give where she is sure to lose ;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But riddle-like lives sweetly where she dies.
Cou. Had you not lately an intent, speak
To go to Paris ?
Hel. Madam, I had.
Cou. Wherefore ? tell true.
Hel. I will tell truth; by grace itself, I
You know my father left me some prescriptions
Of rare and proved effects, such as his reading
And manifest experience had collected
For general sovereignty : and that he will'd me
In heedfull'st reservation to bestow them,
As notes, whose faculties inclusive were,
More than they were in note : amongst the rest,
There is a remedy, approved, set down,
To cure the desperate languishings whereof
The king is render' d lost.
Cou. This was your motive
For Paris, was it ? speak.
Hel. My lord your son made me to think of
Else Paris, and the medicine, and the king,
Had, from the conversation of my thoughts,
Haply been absent then.
Cou. But think you, Helen,
If you should tender your supposed aid,
He would receive it ? He and his physicians
Are of a mind ; he, that they cannot help him,
They, that they cannot help: how shall they
A poor unlearned virgin, when the schools,
Embowell'd of their doctrine, have left off
The danger to itself ?
Hel. There 's something in 't,
More than my father's skill, which was the
Of his profession, that his good receipt
Shall for my legacy be sanctified
By the luckiest stars in heaven : and, would your
But give me leave to try success, I 'd venture
The well-lost life of mine on his grace's cure,
By such a day, and hour.
Cou. Dost thou believe 't ?
Hel. Ay, madam, knowingly.
Cou. Why, Helen, thou shalt have my leave,
Means and attendants, and my loving greetings
To those of mine in court : I '11 stay at home,
And pray God's blessing into thy attempt :
Be gone to-morrow ; and be sure of this,
What I can help thee to, thou shalt not miss.
ALL 's WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
ACT II., Sc. I.
Scene L Paris. The King's Palace.
Flourish. Enter King, with divers young Lords
taking leave for the Florentine war ; Bertram
King. Farewell, young lord; these warlike
Do not throw from you : and you, my lords,
Share the advice betwixt you ; if both gain, all
The gift doth stretch itself as 'tis received,
And is enough for both.
1 Lord. It is our hope, sir,
After well enter'd soldiers, to return
And find your Grace in health.
King. No, no, it cannot be ; and yet my heart
Will not confess he owes the malady
That doth my life besiege. Farewell, young
Whether I live or die, be you the sons
Of worthy Frenchmen : let higher Italy
(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.
2 Lord. Health, at your bidding, serve your
King. 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.
Both Lords. Our hearts receive your warnings.
King. Farewell. Come hither to me.
1 Lord. my sweet lord, that you will stay
behind us !
Par. 'Tis not his fault, the spark
2 Lord.- O, 'tis brave wars !
Par. Most admirable : I have seen those wars.
Ber. I am commanded here, and kept a coil
Too young, and the next year, and 'tis too early.
Par. An thy mind stand to 't, boy, steal away
Ber. 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 '11 steal
1 Lord. There 's honour in the theft.
Par. Commit it, count.
2 Lord. I am your accessary ; and so, farewell.
Ber. I grow to you, and our parting is a tor-
1 Lord. Farewell, captain.
2 Lord. Sweet Monsieur Parolles !
Par. 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 entrenched it : say to
Mm, I live, and observe his reports of me.
1 Lord. We shall, noble captain.
Par. Mars dote on you for his novices ! What
will you do ?
Ber. Stay ; the king
Par. 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 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.
Ber. And I will do so.
^ Par. Worthy fellows, and like to prove most
sinewy swordmen. Exeunt Ber. and Par.
Laf. [Kneeling^.'] Pardon, my lord, forme and
for my tidings.
King. I '11 fee thee to stand up.
Laf. Then here's a man stands, that has
brought his pardon.
I would you had kneePd, my lord, to ask me
And that at my bidding you could so stand up.
King. I would I had ; so I had broke thy pate,
And ask'd thee mercy for 't.
Laf. Good faith, across: but, my good lord,
'tis thus ;
Will you be cured of your infirmity ?
Laf. 0, will yon eat no grapes, my royal fox ?
Yes, but you will, my noble grapes, an if
My royal fox could reach them. I have seen a
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
Is powerful to araise King Pepin, nay,
To give great Charlemain a pen in 's hand,
And write to her a love -line.
King. What her is this?
Laf. Why, Doctor She : my lord, there 's one
If you will see her : now, by my faith and honour,
If seriously I may convey my thoughts
In this my light deliv'rance, I have spoke
With one, that in her sex, her years, profession,
Wisdom and constancy, hath amazed me more
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. Now, good Laf en,
Bring in the admiration ; that we with thee
May spend our wonder too, or take off thine
By wondering how thou took'st it.
Laf. Nay, I '11 fit you,
And not be all day neither. Exit.
King. Thus he his special nothing ever pro-
Re-enter Lafeu, with Helena.
Laf. Nay, come your ways.
' King. This haste hath wings indeed.
Laf. Nay, come your ways ;
This is his majesty, say your mind to him :
A traitor you do look like : but snch traitors
His majesty seldom fears : I am Cressid's uncle,
That dare leave two together ; fare you well.
ACT II., Sc. 2.
ALL 's WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
King. Now, fair one, does your business follow
Hel. Ay, my good lord.
Gerard de Narbon was my father ;
In what he did profess, well found.
King. I knew him.
Hel. The rather will I spare my praises to-
wards him ;
Knowing him is enough. On 's bed of death
Many receipts he gave me ; chiefly one,
Which, as the dearest issue of his practice,
And of his old experience the only darling,
He bade me store up, as a triple eye,
Safer than mine own two, more dear : I have so :
And, hearing your majesty is touch' d
With that malignant cause, wherein the honour
Of my dear father's gift stands chief in power,
I come to tender it and my appliance,
With all bound humbleness.
King. We thank you, maiden ;
But may not be so credulous of cure,
When our most learned doctors leave us, and
The congregated college have concluded
That labouring art can never ransom nature
From her inaidable estate, I say, we must not
So stain our judgment, or corrupt our hope,
To prostitute our past-cure malady
To empirics ; or to dissever so
Our great self and our credit, to esteem
A senseless help, when help past sense we deem.
Hel. My duty, then, shall pay me for my
I will no more enforce mine office on you ;
Humbly entreating from your royal thoughts
A modest one to bear me back again.
King. I cannot give thee less, to be call'd
Thou th ought' st to help me ; and such thanks I
As one near death to those that wish him live :
But, what at full I know, thou know'st no part ;
I knowing all my peril, thou no art.
Hel. 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,
Oft does them by the weakest minister :
So holy writ in babes hath judgment shown,
When judges have been babes : great floods have
From simple sources ; and great seas have dried,
When miracles have by the greatest been denied.
Oft expectation fails, and most oft there
Where most it promises ; and oft it hits
Where hope is coldest, and despair most fits.
King. I must not hear thee;. fare thee well,
kind maid ;
Thy pains, not used, must by thyself be paid :
Proffers not took reap thanks for their reward.
Hel. 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
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 ;
But know I think, and think I know most sure,
My art is not past power, nor you past cure.
King. Art thou so confident ? Within what
Hop'st thou my cure ?
Hel. The greatest grace lending grace,
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
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. Upon thy certainty and confidence,
What dar'st thou venture ?
Hel. Tax of impudence,
A strumpet's boldness, a divulged shame,
Traduced by odious ballads ; my maiden's name
Sear'd otherwise ; ne worse of worst extended,
With vilest torture let my life be ended.
King. Methinks in thee some blessed spirit
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
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.
Sweet practiser, thy physic I will try,
That ministers thine own death if I die.
Hel. 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 ;
But, if I help, what do you promise me ?
King. Make thy demand.
Hel. But will you make it even ?
King. Ay, by my sceptre, and my hopes of
Hel. Then shalt thou give me with thy kingly
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 ;
But such a one, thy vassal, whom I know
Is free for me to ask, thee to bestow.
King. 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,
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 earnest, how tended on : but
Unquestion'd welcome, and undoubted blest.
Give me some help here, ho ! If thou proceed
As high as word, my deed shall match thy deed.
Scene II.Rousillon. The Count's Palace.
Enter Countess and Clown.
Cou. Come on, sir ; I shall now put you to the
height of your breeding.
Clo. I will show myself highly fed and lowly
taught : I know my business is but to the court.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
ACT II., So. 3.
Cou. To the court ! why what place make you
special, when you put off that with such con-
tempt ? But to the court !
Clo. 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 court : but for me, I
have an answer will serve all men.
Cou. Marry, that 's a bountiful answer that
fits all questions.
Clo. It is like a barber's chair, that fits all
buttocks, the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock,
the brawn-buttock, or any buttock.
Cou. Will your answer serve fit to all questions ?
Clo. As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an
attorney, as your French crown for your taffeta
punk, as Tib's rush for Tom's fore-finger, 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 quean to a wrangling knave,
as the nun's lip to the friar's mouth ; nay, as the
pudding to his skin.
Cou. Have you, I say, an answer of such fit-
ness for all questions ?
Clo. From below your duke to beneath your
constable, it will fit any question.
Cou. It must be an answer of most monstrous
size, that must fit all demands.
Clo. 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.
Cou. 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 ?
Clo. Lord, sir! there's a simple putting off.
More, more, a hundred of them.
Cou. Sir, I am a poor friend of yours, that
Clo. O Lord, sir ! Thick, thick, spare not me.
Cou. I think, sir, you can eat none of this
Clo. O Lord, sir ! Nay, put me to 't, I war-
Cou. You were lately whipped, sir, as I think.
Clo. O Lord, sir ! Spare not me.
Cou. Do you cry, Lord, sir ! at your whip-
ping, and Spare not me ? Indeed, your Lord,
sir ! is very sequent to your whipping : you would
answer very well to a whipping, if you were but
bound to 't.
Clo. I ne'er had worse luck in my life, in my
Lord, sir ! I see things may serve long, but not
Cou. I play the noble housewife with the time,
To entertain 't so merrily with a fool.
Clo. O Lord, sir! why, there 't serves well again.
Cou. An end, sir : to your business. Give
And urge her to a present answer back :
Commend me to my kinsmen, and my son :
This is not much.
Clo. Not much commendation to them.
Cou. Not much employment for you: you
understand me ?
Clo. Most fruitfully : I am there before my legs.
Cou. Haste you again. Exeunt severally.
Scene IIL Paris. The King's Palace.
Enter Bertram, Lafeu and Parolles.
Laf. 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 ourselves to an unknown
Par. Why, 'tis the rarest argument of wonder
that hath shot out in our latter times.
Ber. And so 'tis.
Laf. To be relinquished of the artists,
Par. So I say ; both of Galen and Paracelsus.
Laf. Of all the learned and authentic fellows,
Par. Right ; so I say.
Laf. That gave him out incurable,
Par. Why, there 'tis ; so say I too.
Laf. Not to be helped,
Par. Right ; as 'twere, a man assured of a
Laf. Uncertain life, and sure death.
Par. Just, you say well ; so would I have said.
Laf. I may truly say, it is a novelty to the
Par. It is, indeed : if you will have it in
showing, you shall read it in What do you call
Laf. A showing of a heavenly effect in an
Par. That 's it, I would have said the very same.
Laf. Why, your dolphin is not lustier: 'fore
me : I speak in respect
Par. Nay, 'tis strange, 'tis very strange, that
is the brief and the tedious of it ; and he is of a
most facinerious spirit, that will not acknowledge
it to be the
Laf. Very hand of heaven
Par. Ay, so I say.
Laf. In a most weak
Par. 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
Laf. Generally thankful.
Par. I would have said it ; you say well. Here
comes the king.
Enter King, Helena and Attendants.
Laf. Lustig, as the Dutchman says : I '11 like a
maid the better, whilst I have a tooth in my
head : why, he 's able to lead her a coranto.
Par. Mort du vinaigre ! Is not this Helen ?
Laf. 'Fore God, I think so.
King. Go, call before me all the lords in court.
Exit an Attendant.
Sit, my preserver, by thy patient's side :
And with this healthful hand, whose banish'd
Thou hast repeal'd, a second time receive
The confirmation of my promised gift,
Which but attends thy naming.
Enter three or four Lords.
Fair maid, send forth thine eye : this youthful
Of noble bachelors stand at my bestowing,
O'er whom both sovereign power and father's
ACT II., Sc. 3.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
I have to use : thy frank election make ;
Thou hast power to choose, and they none to
Hel. To each of you one fair and virtuous
Fall, when love please ! marry, to each, but one !
Laf. I 'd give bay Curtal, and his furniture,
My mouth no more were broken than these boys',
And writ as little beard.
King. Peruse them well.
Not one of those but had a noble father.
Heaven hath through me restored the king to
All. We understand it, and thank heaven for
Hel. 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,
We blush, that thou shouldst choose; but be
Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever,
We 'II ne'er come there again.
King. Make choice ; and see,
Who shuns thy love, shuns all his love in me.
Hel. 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 ?
1 Lord. And grant it.
Hel. Thanks, sir ; all the rest is mute.
Laf. I had rather be in this choice, than throw
amesace for my life.
Hel. The honour, sir, that flames in your fair
Before I speak, too threateningly replies :
Love make your fortunes twenty times above
Her that so wishes, and her humble love !
2 Lord. No better, if you please.
Hel. My wish receive,
Which great love grant ! and so, I take my leave.
Laf. Do all they deny her ? An they were sons
of mine, I 'd have them whipped ; or I would
send them to the Turk, to make eunuchs of.
Hel. Be not afraid that I your hand should
I '11 never do you wrong for your own sake ;
Blessing upon your vows : and in your bed
Find fairer fortune, if you ever wed !
Laf. These boys are boys of ice, they '11 none
have her : sure, they are bastards to the English ;
the French ne'er got them.
Hel. You are too young, too happy and too