All’s Well That Ends Well
Act I, Scene 1
Roussillon . A room in the Count’s palace .
- Enter young Bertram , Count of Roussillon , his mother the
- Countess of Roussillon , and Helena , Lord Lafew , all in
- black .
- In delivering my son from me , I bury a second husband .
Bertram2 - 4
Lafew5 - 9
- You shall find of the King a husband , madam ; you , sir , a
- father . He that so generally is at all times good must of
- necessity hold his virtue to you , whose worthiness would
- stir it up where it wanted rather than lack it where there
- is such abundance .
- What hope is there of his Majesty’s amendment ?
Lafew11 - 14
- He hath abandon’d his physicians , madam , under whose
- practices he hath persecuted time with hope , and finds no
- other advantage in the process but only the losing of hope
- by time .
Countess15 - 20
- This young gentlewoman had a father — O , that “ had ,” how sad a
- passage ’tis !— whose skill was almost as great as his
- honesty ; had it stretch’d so far , would have made nature
- immortal , and death should have play for lack of work . Would
- for the King’s sake he were living ! I think it would be the
- death of the King’s disease .
- How call’d you the man you speak of , madam ?
Countess22 - 23
- He was famous , sir , in his profession , and it was his great
- right to be so — Gerard de Narbon .
Lafew24 - 27
- He was excellent indeed , madam . The King very lately spoke
- of him admiringly and mourningly . He was skillful enough to
- have liv’d still , if knowledge could be set up against
- mortality .
- What is it , my good lord , the King languishes of ?
- A fistula , my lord .
- I heard not of it before .
Lafew31 - 32
- I would it were not notorious . Was this gentlewoman the
- daughter of Gerard de Narbon ?
Countess33 - 39
- His sole child , my lord , and bequeath’d to my overlooking . I
- have those hopes of her good that her education promises her
- dispositions she inherits , which makes fair gifts fairer ;
- for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities , there
- commendations go with pity : they are virtues and traitors
- too . In her they are the better for their simpleness ; she
- derives her honesty , and achieves her goodness .
- Your commendations , madam , get from her tears .
Countess41 - 45
- ’Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in . The
- remembrance of her father never approaches her heart but the
- tyranny of her sorrows takes all livelihood from her cheek .
- No more of this , Helena ; go to , no more , lest it be rather
- thought you affect a sorrow than to have —
- I do affect a sorrow indeed , but I have it too .
Lafew47 - 48
- Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead , excessive
- grief the enemy to the living .
Countess49 - 50
- If the living be enemy to the grief , the excess makes it
- soon mortal .
- Madam , I desire your holy wishes .
- How understand we that ?
Countess53 - 64
- Be thou blest , Bertram , and succeed thy father
- In manners as in shape ! Thy blood and virtue
- Contend for empire in thee , and thy goodness
- Share with thy birthright ! Love all , trust a few ,
- Do wrong to none . Be able for thine enemy
- Rather in power than use , and keep thy friend
- Under thy own life’s key . Be check’d for silence ,
- But never tax’d for speech . What heaven more will ,
- That thee may furnish , and my prayers pluck down ,
- Fall on thy head !— Farewell , my lord .
- ’Tis an unseason’d courtier , good my lord ,
- Advise him .
Lafew65 - 66
- He cannot want the best
- That shall attend his love .
Countess67 - 68
- Heaven bless him !
- Farewell , Bertram .
Bertram69 - 72
- The best wishes that can
- Be forged in your thoughts be servants to you !
- Exit Countess .
- To Helena .
- Be comfortable to my mother , your mistress ,
- And make much of her .
Lafew73 - 74
- Farewell , pretty lady ,
- You must hold the credit of your father .
- Exeunt Bertram and Lafew .
Helena75 - 101
- O , were that all ! I think not on my father ,
- And these great tears grace his remembrance more
- Than those I shed for him . What was he like ?
- I have forgot him . My imagination
- Carries no favor in’t but Bertram’s .
- I am undone , there is no living , none ,
- If Bertram be away . ’Twere all one
- That I should love a bright particular star
- And think to wed it , he is so above me .
- In this bright radiance and collateral light
- Must I be comforted , not in his sphere .
- Th’ ambition in my love thus plagues itself :
- The hind that would be mated by the lion
- Must die for love . ’Twas pretty , though a plague ,
- To see him every hour , to sit and draw
- His arched brows , his hawking eye , his curls ,
- In our heart’s table — heart too capable
- Of every line and trick of his sweet favor .
- But now he’s gone , and my idolatrous fancy
- Must sanctify his reliques . Who comes here ?
- Enter Parolles .
- Aside .
- One that goes with him . I love him for his sake ,
- And yet I know him a notorious liar ,
- Think him a great way fool , solely a coward ;
- Yet these fix’d evils sit so fit in him ,
- That they take place when virtue’s steely bones
- Looks bleak i’ th’ cold wind . Withal , full oft we see
- Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly .
- ’Save you , fair queen !
- And you , monarch !
- No .
- And no .
- Are you meditating on virginity ?
Helena107 - 109
- Ay . You have some stain of soldier in you ; let me ask a
- question . Man is enemy to virginity ; how may we barricade it
- against him ?
- Keep him out .
Helena111 - 112
- But he assails , and our virginity though valiant , in the
- defense yet is weak . Unfold to us some warlike resistance .
Parolles113 - 114
- There is none . Man , setting down before you , will undermine
- you and blow you up .
Helena115 - 116
- Bless our poor virginity from underminers and blowers - up ! Is
- there no military policy how virgins might blow up men ?
Parolles117 - 125
- Virginity being blown down , man will quicklier be blown up .
- Marry , in blowing him down again , with the breach yourselves
- made , you lose your city . It is not politic in the
- commonwealth of nature to preserve virginity . Loss of
- virginity is rational increase , and there was never virgin
- got till virginity was first lost . That you were made of is
- metal to make virgins . Virginity , by being once lost , may be
- ten times found ; by being ever kept , it is ever lost . ’Tis
- too cold a companion ; away with’t !
Helena126 - 127
- I will stand for’t a little , though therefore I die a
- virgin .
Parolles128 - 140
- There’s little can be said in’t , ’tis against the rule of
- nature . To speak on the part of virginity is to accuse your
- mothers , which is most infallible disobedience . He that
- hangs himself is a virgin ; virginity murders itself , and
- should be buried in highways out of all sanctified limit , as
- a desperate offendress against nature . Virginity breeds
- mites , much like a cheese , consumes itself to the very
- paring , and so dies with feeding his own stomach . Besides ,
- virginity is peevish , proud , idle , made of self - love , which
- is the most inhibited sin in the canon . Keep it not , you
- cannot choose but lose by’t . Out with’t ! Within t’ one year
- it will make itself two , which is a goodly increase , and the
- principal itself not much the worse . Away with’t !
- How might one do , sir , to lose it to her own liking ?
Parolles142 - 152
- Let me see . Marry , ill , to like him that ne’er it likes .
- ’Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with lying : the longer
- kept , the less worth . Off with’t while ’tis vendible ; answer
- the time of request . Virginity , like an old courtier , wears
- her cap out of fashion , richly suited , but unsuitable — just
- like the brooch and the toothpick , which wear not now . Your
- date is better in your pie and your porridge than in your
- cheek ; and your virginity , your old virginity , is like one
- of our French wither’d pears , it looks ill , it eats drily ,
- marry , ’tis a wither’d pear ; it was formerly better , marry ,
- yet ’tis a wither’d pear . Will you any thing with it ?
Helena153 - 165
- Not my virginity yet :
- There shall your master have a thousand loves ,
- A mother , and a mistress , and a friend ,
- A phoenix , captain , and an enemy ,
- A guide , a goddess , and a sovereign ,
- A counsellor , a traitress , and a dear ;
- His humble ambition , proud humility ;
- His jarring concord , and his discord dulcet ;
- His faith , his sweet disaster ; with a world
- Of pretty , fond , adoptions christendoms
- That blinking Cupid gossips . Now shall he —
- I know not what he shall — God send him well !
- The court’s a learning place , and he is one —
- What one , i’ faith ?
- That I wish well . ’Tis pity —
- What’s pity ?
Helena169 - 174
- That wishing well had not a body in’t ,
- Which might be felt , that we , the poorer born ,
- Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes ,
- Might with effects of them follow our friends ,
- And show what we alone must think , which never
- Returns us thanks .
- Enter Page .
- Monsieur Parolles , my lord calls for you .
- Exit .
Parolles176 - 177
- Little Helen , farewell . If I can remember thee , I will think
- of thee at court .
- Monsieur Parolles , you were born under a charitable star .
- Under Mars , I .
- I especially think , under Mars .
- Why under Mars ?
Helena182 - 183
- The wars hath so kept you under that you must needs be born
- under Mars .
- When he was predominant .
- When he was retrograde , I think rather .
- Why think you so ?
- You go so much backward when you fight .
- That’s for advantage .
Helena189 - 191
- So is running away , when fear proposes the safety . But the
- composition that your valor and fear makes in you is a
- virtue of a good wing , and I like the wear well .
Parolles192 - 200
- I am so full of businesses , I cannot answer thee acutely . I
- will return perfect courtier , in the which my instruction
- shall serve to naturalize thee , so thou wilt be capable of a
- courtier’s counsel , and understand what advice shall thrust
- upon thee , else thou diest in thine unthankfulness , and
- thine ignorance makes thee away . Farewell . When thou hast
- leisure , say thy prayers ; when thou hast none , remember thy
- friends . Get thee a good husband , and use him as he uses
- thee . So farewell .
- Exit .
Helena201 - 214
- Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie ,
- Which we ascribe to heaven . The fated sky
- Gives us free scope , only doth backward pull
- Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull .
- What power is it which mounts my love so high ,
- That makes me see , and cannot feed mine eye ?
- The mightiest space in fortune nature brings
- To join like likes , and kiss like native things .
- Impossible be strange attempts to those
- That weigh their pains in sense , and do suppose
- What hath been cannot be . Who ever strove
- To show her merit , that did miss her love ?
- The King’s disease — my project may deceive me ,
- But my intents are fix’d , and will not leave me .
- Exit .