Home
log out +

All’s Well That Ends Well: Act 1, Scene 1

All’s Well That Ends Well
Act 1, Scene 1

Scene 1

Roussillon. A room in the Count’s palace.

  1. Enter young Bertram, Count of Roussillon, his mother the
  2. Countess of Roussillon, and Helena, Lord Lafew, all in
  3. black.

Countess

4
  1. In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.

Bertram

5 - 7
  1. And I in going, madam, weep o’er my father’s death anew; but
  2. I must attend his Majesty’s command, to whom I am now in
  3. ward, evermore in subjection.

Lafew

8 - 12
  1. You shall find of the King a husband, madam; you, sir, a
  2. father. He that so generally is at all times good must of
  3. necessity hold his virtue to you, whose worthiness would
  4. stir it up where it wanted rather than lack it where there
  5. is such abundance.

Countess

13
  1. What hope is there of his Majesty’s amendment?

Lafew

14 - 17
  1. He hath abandon’d his physicians, madam, under whose
  2. practices he hath persecuted time with hope, and finds no
  3. other advantage in the process but only the losing of hope
  4. by time.

Countess

18 - 23
  1. This young gentlewoman had a fatherO, that had,” how sad a
  2. passage ’tis!—whose skill was almost as great as his
  3. honesty; had it stretch’d so far, would have made nature
  4. immortal, and death should have play for lack of work. Would
  5. for the King’s sake he were living! I think it would be the
  6. death of the King’s disease.

Lafew

24
  1. How call’d you the man you speak of, madam?

Countess

25 - 26
  1. He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was his great
  2. right to be soGerard de Narbon.

Lafew

27 - 30
  1. He was excellent indeed, madam. The King very lately spoke
  2. of him admiringly and mourningly. He was skillful enough to
  3. have liv’d still, if knowledge could be set up against
  4. mortality.

Bertram

31
  1. What is it, my good lord, the King languishes of?

Lafew

32
  1. A fistula, my lord.

Bertram

33
  1. I heard not of it before.

Lafew

34 - 35
  1. I would it were not notorious. Was this gentlewoman the
  2. daughter of Gerard de Narbon?

Countess

36 - 42
  1. His sole child, my lord, and bequeath’d to my overlooking. I
  2. have those hopes of her good that her education promises her
  3. dispositions she inherits, which makes fair gifts fairer;
  4. for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there
  5. commendations go with pity: they are virtues and traitors
  6. too. In her they are the better for their simpleness; she
  7. derives her honesty, and achieves her goodness.

Lafew

43
  1. Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.

Countess

44 - 48
  1. ’Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in. The
  2. remembrance of her father never approaches her heart but the
  3. tyranny of her sorrows takes all livelihood from her cheek.
  4. No more of this, Helena; go to, no more, lest it be rather
  5. thought you affect a sorrow than to have

Helena

49
  1. I do affect a sorrow indeed, but I have it too.

Lafew

50 - 51
  1. Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead, excessive
  2. grief the enemy to the living.

Countess

52 - 53
  1. If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it
  2. soon mortal.

Bertram

54
  1. Madam, I desire your holy wishes.

Lafew

55
  1. How understand we that?

Countess

56 - 67
  1. Be thou blest, Bertram, and succeed thy father
  2. In manners as in shape! Thy blood and virtue
  3. Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
  4. Share with thy birthright! Love all, trust a few,
  5. Do wrong to none. Be able for thine enemy
  6. Rather in power than use, and keep thy friend
  7. Under thy own life’s key. Be check’d for silence,
  8. But never tax’d for speech. What heaven more will,
  9. That thee may furnish, and my prayers pluck down,
  10. Fall on thy head!—Farewell, my lord.
  11. ’Tis an unseason’d courtier, good my lord,
  12. Advise him.

Lafew

68 - 69
  1.             He cannot want the best
  2. That shall attend his love.

Countess

70 - 71
  1.                             Heaven bless him!
  2. Farewell, Bertram.

Bertram

72 - 77
  1.                    The best wishes that can
  2. Be forged in your thoughts be servants to you!
  3. Exit Countess.
  4. To Helena.
  5. Be comfortable to my mother, your mistress,
  6. And make much of her.

Lafew

78 - 79
  1.                       Farewell, pretty lady,
  2. You must hold the credit of your father.
  1. Exeunt Bertram and Lafew.

Helena

81 - 109
  1. O, were that all! I think not on my father,
  2. And these great tears grace his remembrance more
  3. Than those I shed for him. What was he like?
  4. I have forgot him. My imagination
  5. Carries no favor in’t but Bertram’s.
  6. I am undone, there is no living, none,
  7. If Bertram be away. ’Twere all one
  8. That I should love a bright particular star
  9. And think to wed it, he is so above me.
  10. In this bright radiance and collateral light
  11. Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
  12. Th’ ambition in my love thus plagues itself:
  13. The hind that would be mated by the lion
  14. Must die for love. ’Twas pretty, though a plague,
  15. To see him every hour, to sit and draw
  16. His arched brows, his hawking eye, his curls,
  17. In our heart’s tableheart too capable
  18. Of every line and trick of his sweet favor.
  19. But now he’s gone, and my idolatrous fancy
  20. Must sanctify his reliques. Who comes here?
  21. Enter Parolles.
  22. Aside.
  23. One that goes with him. I love him for his sake,
  24. And yet I know him a notorious liar,
  25. Think him a great way fool, solely a coward;
  26. Yet these fix’d evils sit so fit in him,
  27. That they take place when virtue’s steely bones
  28. Looks bleak i’ th’ cold wind. Withal, full oft we see
  29. Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.

Parolles

110
  1. ’Save you, fair queen!

Helena

111
  1. And you, monarch!

Parolles

112
  1. No.

Helena

113
  1. And no.

Parolles

114
  1. Are you meditating on virginity?

Helena

115 - 117
  1. Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you; let me ask a
  2. question. Man is enemy to virginity; how may we barricade it
  3. against him?

Parolles

118
  1. Keep him out.

Helena

119 - 120
  1. But he assails, and our virginity though valiant, in the
  2. defense yet is weak. Unfold to us some warlike resistance.

Parolles

121 - 122
  1. There is none. Man, setting down before you, will undermine
  2. you and blow you up.

Helena

123 - 124
  1. Bless our poor virginity from underminers and blowers-up! Is
  2. there no military policy how virgins might blow up men?

Parolles

125 - 133
  1. Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier be blown up.
  2. Marry, in blowing him down again, with the breach yourselves
  3. made, you lose your city. It is not politic in the
  4. commonwealth of nature to preserve virginity. Loss of
  5. virginity is rational increase, and there was never virgin
  6. got till virginity was first lost. That you were made of is
  7. metal to make virgins. Virginity, by being once lost, may be
  8. ten times found; by being ever kept, it is ever lost. ’Tis
  9. too cold a companion; away with’t!

Helena

134 - 135
  1. I will stand for’t a little, though therefore I die a
  2. virgin.

Parolles

136 - 148
  1. There’s little can be said in’t, ’tis against the rule of
  2. nature. To speak on the part of virginity is to accuse your
  3. mothers, which is most infallible disobedience. He that
  4. hangs himself is a virgin; virginity murders itself, and
  5. should be buried in highways out of all sanctified limit, as
  6. a desperate offendress against nature. Virginity breeds
  7. mites, much like a cheese, consumes itself to the very
  8. paring, and so dies with feeding his own stomach. Besides,
  9. virginity is peevish, proud, idle, made of self-love, which
  10. is the most inhibited sin in the canon. Keep it not, you
  11. cannot choose but lose by’t. Out with’t! Within t’ one year
  12. it will make itself two, which is a goodly increase, and the
  13. principal itself not much the worse. Away with’t!

Helena

149
  1. How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own liking?

Parolles

150 - 160
  1. Let me see. Marry, ill, to like him that ne’er it likes.
  2. ’Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with lying: the longer
  3. kept, the less worth. Off with’t while ’tis vendible; answer
  4. the time of request. Virginity, like an old courtier, wears
  5. her cap out of fashion, richly suited, but unsuitablejust
  6. like the brooch and the toothpick, which wear not now. Your
  7. date is better in your pie and your porridge than in your
  8. cheek; and your virginity, your old virginity, is like one
  9. of our French wither’d pears, it looks ill, it eats drily,
  10. marry, ’tis a wither’d pear; it was formerly better, marry,
  11. yet ’tis a wither’d pear. Will you any thing with it?

Helena

161 - 173
  1. Not my virginity yet:
  2. There shall your master have a thousand loves,
  3. A mother, and a mistress, and a friend,
  4. A phoenix, captain, and an enemy,
  5. A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign,
  6. A counsellor, a traitress, and a dear;
  7. His humble ambition, proud humility;
  8. His jarring concord, and his discord dulcet;
  9. His faith, his sweet disaster; with a world
  10. Of pretty, fond, adoptions christendoms
  11. That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he
  12. I know not what he shallGod send him well!
  13. The court’s a learning place, and he is one

Parolles

174
  1. What one, i’ faith?

Helena

175
  1. That I wish well. ’Tis pity

Parolles

176
  1. What’s pity?

Helena

177 - 182
  1. That wishing well had not a body in’t,
  2. Which might be felt, that we, the poorer born,
  3. Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes,
  4. Might with effects of them follow our friends,
  5. And show what we alone must think, which never
  6. Returns us thanks.
  1. Enter Page.

Page

184
  1. Monsieur Parolles, my lord calls for you.
  1. Exit.

Parolles

186 - 187
  1. Little Helen, farewell. If I can remember thee, I will think
  2. of thee at court.

Helena

188
  1. Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a charitable star.

Parolles

189
  1. Under Mars, I.

Helena

190
  1. I especially think, under Mars.

Parolles

191
  1. Why under Mars?

Helena

192 - 193
  1. The wars hath so kept you under that you must needs be born
  2. under Mars.

Parolles

194
  1. When he was predominant.

Helena

195
  1. When he was retrograde, I think rather.

Parolles

196
  1. Why think you so?

Helena

197
  1. You go so much backward when you fight.

Parolles

198
  1. That’s for advantage.

Helena

199 - 201
  1. So is running away, when fear proposes the safety. But the
  2. composition that your valor and fear makes in you is a
  3. virtue of a good wing, and I like the wear well.

Parolles

202 - 210
  1. I am so full of businesses, I cannot answer thee acutely. I
  2. will return perfect courtier, in the which my instruction
  3. shall serve to naturalize thee, so thou wilt be capable of a
  4. courtier’s counsel, and understand what advice shall thrust
  5. upon thee, else thou diest in thine unthankfulness, and
  6. thine ignorance makes thee away. Farewell. When thou hast
  7. leisure, say thy prayers; when thou hast none, remember thy
  8. friends. Get thee a good husband, and use him as he uses
  9. thee. So farewell.
  1. Exit.

Helena

212 - 225
  1. Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
  2. Which we ascribe to heaven. The fated sky
  3. Gives us free scope, only doth backward pull
  4. Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.
  5. What power is it which mounts my love so high,
  6. That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye?
  7. The mightiest space in fortune nature brings
  8. To join like likes, and kiss like native things.
  9. Impossible be strange attempts to those
  10. That weigh their pains in sense, and do suppose
  11. What hath been cannot be. Who ever strove
  12. To show her merit, that did miss her love?
  13. The King’s diseasemy project may deceive me,
  14. But my intents are fix’d, and will not leave me.
  1. Exit.
© 2018 Unotate.comcontactprivacy policy • Creative Commons text from PlayShakespeare.com • Header illustration by Byam Shaw