All’s Well That Ends Well
Act 1, Scene 3
Roussillon. A room in the Count’s palace.
- Enter Countess, Steward Rinaldo, and Clown Lavatch.
- I will now hear. What say you of this gentlewoman?
Rinaldo3 - 6
- Madam, the care I have had to even your content, I wish
- might be found in the calendar of my past endeavors, for
- then we wound our modesty, and make foul the clearness of
- our deservings, when of ourselves we publish them.
Countess7 - 11
- What does this knave here? Get you gone, sirrah. The
- complaints I have heard of you I do not all believe. ’Tis my
- slowness that I do not, for I know you lack not folly to
- commit them, and have ability enough to make such knaveries
- ’Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a poor fellow.
- Well, sir.
Lavatch14 - 17
- No, madam, ’tis not so well that I am poor, though many of
- the rich are damn’d, but if I may have your ladyship’s good
- will to go to the world, Isbel the woman and I will do as we
- Wilt thou needs be a beggar?
- I do beg your good will in this case.
- In what case?
Lavatch21 - 23
- In Isbel’s case and mine own. Service is no heritage, and I
- think I shall never have the blessing of God till I have
- issue a’ my body; for they say barnes are blessings.
- Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.
Lavatch25 - 26
- My poor body, madam, requires it. I am driven on by the
- flesh, and he must needs go that the devil drives.
- Is this all your worship’s reason?
- Faith, madam, I have other holy reasons, such as they are.
- May the world know them?
Lavatch30 - 31
- I have been, madam, a wicked creature, as you and all flesh
- and blood are, and indeed I do marry that I may repent.
- Thy marriage, sooner than thy wickedness.
Lavatch33 - 34
- I am out a’ friends, madam, and I hope to have friends for
- my wive’s sake.
- Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
Lavatch36 - 47
- Y’ are shallow, madam—in great friends, for the knaves come
- to do that for me which I am a-weary of. He that ears my
- land spares my team, and gives me leave to inn the crop. If
- I be his cuckold, he’s my drudge. He that comforts my wife
- is the cherisher of my flesh and blood; he that cherishes my
- flesh and blood loves my flesh and blood; he that loves my
- flesh and blood is my friend: ergo, he that kisses my wife
- is my friend. If men could be contented to be what they are,
- there were no fear in marriage, for young Charbon the
- puritan and old Poysam the papist, howsome’er their hearts
- are sever’d in religion, their heads are both one: they may
- jowl horns together like any deer i’ th’ herd.
- Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouth’d and calumnious knave?
Lavatch49 - 53
- A prophet I, madam, and I speak the truth the next way:
- For I the ballad will repeat,
- Which men full true shall find:
- Your marriage comes by destiny,
- Your cuckoo sings by kind.
- Get you gone, sir, I’ll talk with you more anon.
Rinaldo55 - 56
- May it please you, madam, that he bid Helen come to you. Of
- her I am to speak.
Countess57 - 58
- Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman I would speak with her—Helen, I
Lavatch59 - 69
- “Was this fair face the cause,” quoth she,
- “Why the Grecians sacked Troy?
- Fond done, done fond,
- Was this King Priam’s joy?”
- With that she sighed as she stood,
- With that she sighed as she stood,
- And gave this sentence then:
- “Among nine bad if one be good,
- Among nine bad if one be good,
- There’s yet one good in ten.”
- What, one good in ten? You corrupt the song, sirrah.
Lavatch71 - 76
- One good woman in ten, madam, which is a purifying a’ th’
- song. Would God would serve the world so all the year! We’d
- find no fault with the tithe-woman if I were the parson. One
- in ten, quoth ’a? And we might have a good woman born but or
- every blazing star or at an earthquake, ’twould mend the
- lottery well; a man may draw his heart out ere ’a pluck one.
- You’ll be gone, sir knave, and do as I command you.
Lavatch78 - 82
- That man should be at woman’s command, and yet no hurt done!
- Though honesty be no puritan, yet it will do no hurt; it
- will wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a
- big heart. I am going, forsooth. The business is for Helen
- to come hither.
- Well, now.
- I know, madam, you love your gentlewoman entirely.
Countess86 - 89
- Faith, I do. Her father bequeath’d her to me, and she
- herself, without other advantage, may lawfully make title to
- as much love as she finds. There is more owing her than is
- paid, and more shall be paid her than she’ll demand.
Rinaldo90 - 102
- Madam, I was very late more near her than I think she wish’d
- me. Alone she was, and did communicate to herself her own
- words to her own ears; she thought, I dare vow for her, they
- touch’d not any stranger sense. Her matter was, she lov’d
- 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;
- Diana no queen of virgins, that would suffer her poor knight
- surpris’d without rescue in the first assault or ransom
- afterward. This she deliver’d 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.
Countess103 - 119
- You have discharg’d this honestly, keep it to yourself. Many
- likelihoods inform’d me of this before, which hung so
- tott’ring 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.
- Enter Helen.
- Even so it was with me when I was young.
- If ever we are nature’s, these are ours. This thorn
- 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 them none.
- Her eye is sick on’t; I observe her now.
- What is your pleasure, madam?
Countess121 - 122
- You know, Helen,
- I am a mother to you.
- Mine honorable mistress.
Countess124 - 138
- 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
- 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 distempered messenger of wet,
- The many-color’d Iris, rounds thine eye?
- —Why, that you are my daughter?
- That I am not.
- I say I am your mother.
Helena141 - 147
- Pardon, madam;
- The Count Roussillon cannot be my brother:
- I am from humble, he from honored 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.
- Nor I your mother?
Helena149 - 154
- You are my mother, madam; would you were—
- 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?
Countess155 - 173
- Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-in-law.
- God shield you mean it not! “daughter” and “mother”
- So strive upon your pulse. What, pale again?
- My fear hath catch’d your fondness! Now I see
- The myst’ry of your loneliness, and find
- Your salt tears’ head, now to all sense ’tis gross:
- You love my son. Invention is asham’d,
- 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, t’ one to th’ other, and thine eyes
- See it so grossly shown in thy behaviors
- 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 clew;
- If it be not, forswear’t; howe’er, I charge thee,
- As heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
- To tell me truly.
- Good madam, pardon me!
- Do you love my son?
- Your pardon, noble mistress!
- Love you my son?
- Do not you love him, madam?
Countess179 - 182
- Go not about; my love hath in’t a bond
- Whereof the world takes note. Come, come, disclose
- The state of your affection, for your passions
- Have to the full appeach’d.
Helena183 - 209
- 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 love.
- Be not offended, for it hurts not him
- That he is lov’d 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 honor 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.
Countess210 - 211
- Had you not lately an intent—speak truly—
- To go to Paris?
- Madam, I had.
- Wherefore? Tell true.
Helena214 - 224
- I will tell truth, by grace itself I swear.
- You know my father left me some prescriptions
- Of rare and prov’d 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, approv’d, set down,
- To cure the desperate languishings whereof
- The King is render’d lost.
Countess225 - 226
- This was your motive
- For Paris, was it? Speak.
Helena227 - 230
- My lord your son made me to think of this;
- Else Paris, and the medicine, and the King,
- Had from the conversation of my thoughts
- Happily been absent then.
Countess231 - 238
- 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 credit
- A poor unlearned virgin, when the schools,
- Embowell’d of their doctrine, have left off
- The danger to itself?
Helena239 - 246
- There’s something in’t
- More than my father’s skill, which was the great’st
- Of his profession, that his good receipt
- Shall for my legacy be sanctified
- By th’ luckiest stars in heaven, and would your honor
- 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, an hour.
- Dost thou believe’t?
- Ay, madam, knowingly.
Countess249 - 254
- Why, Helen, thou shalt have my leave and love,
- Means and attendants, and my loving greetings
- To those of mine in court. I’ll stay at home
- And pray God’s blessing into thy attempt.
- Be gone tomorrow, and be sure of this,
- What I can help thee to thou shalt not miss.