All’s Well That Ends Well
Act 1, 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
- In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.
Bertram5 - 7
- And I in going, madam, weep o’er my father’s death anew; but
- I must attend his Majesty’s command, to whom I am now in
- ward, evermore in subjection.
Lafew8 - 12
- 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?
Lafew14 - 17
- 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.
Countess18 - 23
- 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?
Countess25 - 26
- He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was his great
- right to be so—Gerard de Narbon.
Lafew27 - 30
- 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
- What is it, my good lord, the King languishes of?
- A fistula, my lord.
- I heard not of it before.
Lafew34 - 35
- I would it were not notorious. Was this gentlewoman the
- daughter of Gerard de Narbon?
Countess36 - 42
- 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.
Countess44 - 48
- ’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.
Lafew50 - 51
- Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead, excessive
- grief the enemy to the living.
Countess52 - 53
- If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it
- soon mortal.
- Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
- How understand we that?
Countess56 - 67
- 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.
Lafew68 - 69
- He cannot want the best
- That shall attend his love.
Countess70 - 71
- Heaven bless him!
- Farewell, Bertram.
Bertram72 - 77
- 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.
Lafew78 - 79
- Farewell, pretty lady,
- You must hold the credit of your father.
- Exeunt Bertram and Lafew.
Helena81 - 109
- 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.
- 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!
- And no.
- Are you meditating on virginity?
Helena115 - 117
- 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.
Helena119 - 120
- But he assails, and our virginity though valiant, in the
- defense yet is weak. Unfold to us some warlike resistance.
Parolles121 - 122
- There is none. Man, setting down before you, will undermine
- you and blow you up.
Helena123 - 124
- Bless our poor virginity from underminers and blowers-up! Is
- there no military policy how virgins might blow up men?
Parolles125 - 133
- 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!
Helena134 - 135
- I will stand for’t a little, though therefore I die a
Parolles136 - 148
- 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?
Parolles150 - 160
- 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?
Helena161 - 173
- 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?
Helena177 - 182
- 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.
Parolles186 - 187
- 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?
Helena192 - 193
- 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.
Helena199 - 201
- 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.
Parolles202 - 210
- 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.
Helena212 - 225
- 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.