All's Well That Ends Well eText - Act II

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Act II

Act II, Scene 1

ACT II.

SCENE 1. Paris. A room in the King's palace.

[Flourish. Enter the King, with young LORDS taking leave for the
Florentine war; BERTRAM, PAROLLES, and Attendants.]

KING.
Farewell, young lord; these war-like principles
Do not throw from you:--and you, my lord, farewell;--
Share the advice betwixt you; if both gain all,
The gift doth stretch itself as 'tis received,
And is enough for both.

FIRST 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 lords;
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 aloud: I say farewell.

SECOND LORD.
Health, at your bidding, serve your majesty!

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.
Our hearts receive your warnings.

KING.
Farewell.--Come hither to me.

[The king retires to a couch.]

FIRST LORD.
O my sweet lord, that you will stay behind us!

PAROLLES.
'Tis not his fault; the spark--

SECOND LORD.
O, 'tis brave wars!

PAROLLES.
Most admirable: I have seen those wars.

BERTRAM.
I am commanded here and kept a coil with,
'Too young' and next year' and ''tis too early.'

PAROLLES.
An thy mind stand to it, boy, steal away bravely.

BERTRAM.
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'll steal away.

FIRST LORD.
There's honour in the theft.

PAROLLES.
Commit it, count.

SECOND LORD.
I am your accessary; and so farewell.

BERTRAM.
I grow to you, and our parting is a tortured body.

FIRST LORD.
Farewell, captain.

SECOND LORD.
Sweet Monsieur Parolles!

PAROLLES.
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 him I live; and observe his reports for me.

FIRST LORD.
We shall, noble captain.

PAROLLES.
Mars dote on you for his novices!

[Exeunt LORDS.]

What will ye do?

BERTRAM.
Stay; the king--

PAROLLES.
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.

BERTRAM.
And I will do so.

PAROLLES.
Worthy fellows; and like to prove most sinewy sword-men.

[Exeunt BERTRAM and PAROLLES.]

[Enter LAFEU.]

LAFEU.
Pardon, my lord [kneeling], for me and for my tidings.

KING.
I'll fee thee to stand up.

LAFEU.
Then here's a man stands that has bought his pardon.
I would you had kneel'd, my lord, to ask me mercy;
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.

LAFEU.
Good faith, across;
But, my good lord, 'tis thus: will you be cured
Of your infirmity?

KING.
No.

LAFEU.
O, will you eat
No grapes, my royal fox? yes, but you will
My noble grapes, and if my royal fox
Could reach them: I have seen a medicine
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 Pipin, nay,
To give great Charlemain a pen in his hand
And write to her a love-line.

KING.
What 'her' is that?

LAFEU.
Why, doctor 'she': my lord, there's one arriv'd,
If you will see her,--now, by my faith and honour,
If seriously I may convey my thoughts
In this my light deliverance, I have spoke
With one that in her sex, her years, profession,
Wisdom, and constancy, hath amaz'd 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 Lafeu,
Bring in the admiration; that we with the
May spend our wonder too, or take off thine
By wondering how thou took'st it.

LAFEU.
Nay, I'll fit you,
And not be all day neither.

[Exit LAFEU.]

KING.
Thus he his special nothing ever prologues.

[Re-enter LAFEU with HELENA.]

LAFEU.
Nay, come your ways.

KING.
This haste hath wings indeed.

LAFEU.
Nay, come your ways;
This is his majesty: say your mind to him.
A traitor you do look like; but such traitors
His majesty seldom fears: I am Cressid's uncle,
That dare leave two together: fare you well.

[Exit.]

KING.
Now, fair one, does your business follow us?

HELENA.
Ay, my good lord. Gerard de Narbon was
My father; in what he did profess, well found.

KING.
I knew him.

HELENA.
The rather will I spare my praises towards him.
Knowing him is enough. On his 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 high 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.

HELENA.
My duty, then, shall pay me for my pains:
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 grateful.
Thou thought'st to help me; and such thanks I give
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.

HELENA.
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 flown
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.

HELENA.
Inspired merit so by breath is barred:
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 space
Hop'st thou my cure?

HELENA.
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?

HELENA.
Tax of impudence,--
A strumpet's boldness, a divulged shame,--
Traduc'd 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 doth speak;
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.

HELENA.
If I break time, or flinch in property
Of what I spoke, unpitied let me die;
And well deserv'd. Not helping, death's my fee;
But, if I help, what do you promise me?

KING.
Make thy demand.

HELENA.
But will you make it even?

KING.
Ay, by my sceptre and my hopes of heaven.

HELENA.
Then shalt thou give me, with thy kingly hand
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 observ'd,
Thy will by my performance shall be serv'd;
So make the choice of thy own time, for I,
Thy resolv'd 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 cam'st, how tended on.--But rest
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.

[Flourish. Exeunt.]

Act II, Scene 2

SCENE 2. Rousillon. A room in the COUNTESS'S palace.

[Enter COUNTESS and CLOWN.]

COUNTESS.
Come on, sir; I shall now put you to the height of your
breeding.

CLOWN.
I will show myself highly fed and lowly taught: I know my
business is but to the court.

COUNTESS.
To the court! why, what place make you special, when you
put off that with such contempt? But to the court!

CLOWN.
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.

COUNTESS.
Marry, that's a bountiful answer that fits all questions.

CLOWN.
It is like a barber's chair, that fits all buttocks--the pin-
buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn-buttock, or any buttock.

COUNTESS.
Will your answer serve fit to all questions?

CLOWN.
As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney, as your
French crown for your taffety punk, as Tib's rush for Tom's
forefinger, as a pancake for Shrove-Tuesday, a morris for Mayday,
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.

COUNTESS.
Have you, I, say, an answer of such fitness for all questions?

CLOWN.
From below your duke to beneath your constable, it will fit any
question.

COUNTESS.
It must be an answer of most monstrous size that must fit all
demands.

CLOWN.
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.

COUNTESS.
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?

CLOWN.
O Lord, sir!--There's a simple putting off. More, more, a hundred
of them.

COUNTESS.
Sir, I am a poor friend of yours, that loves you.

CLOWN.
O Lord, sir!--Thick, thick; spare not me.

COUNTESS.
I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely meat.

CLOWN.
O Lord, sir!--Nay, put me to't, I warrant you.

COUNTESS.
You were lately whipped, sir, as I think.

CLOWN.
O Lord, sir!--Spare not me.

COUNTESS.
Do you cry 'O Lord, sir!' at your whipping, and 'spare not me'?
Indeed your 'O Lord, sir!' is very sequent to your whipping. You
would answer very well to a whipping, if you were but bound to't.

CLOWN.
I ne'er had worse luck in my life in my--'O Lord, sir!' I see
thing's may serve long, but not serve ever.

COUNTESS.
I play the noble housewife with the time, to entertain it so
merrily with a fool.

CLOWN.
O Lord, sir!--Why, there't serves well again.

COUNTESS.
An end, sir! To your business. Give Helen this,
And urge her to a present answer back:
Commend me to my kinsmen and my son:
This is not much.

CLOWN.
Not much commendation to them.

COUNTESS.
Not much employment for you: you understand me?

CLOWN.
Most fruitfully: I am there before my legs.

COUNTESS.
Haste you again.

[Exeunt severally.]

Act II, Scene 3

SCENE 3. Paris. The KING'S palace.

[Enter BERTRAM, LAFEU, and PAROLLES.]

LAFEU.
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 fear.

PAROLLES.
Why, 'tis the rarest argument of wonder that hath shot out in our
latter times.

BERTRAM.
And so 'tis.

LAFEU.
To be relinquish'd of the artists,--

PAROLLES.
So I say; both of Galen and Paracelsus.

LAFEU.
Of all the learned and authentic fellows,--

PAROLLES.
Right; so I say.

LAFEU.
That gave him out incurable,--

PAROLLES.
Why, there 'tis; so say I too.

LAFEU.
Not to be helped,--

PAROLLES.
Right; as 'twere a man assured of a,--

LAFEU.
Uncertain life and sure death.

PAROLLES.
Just; you say well: so would I have said.

LAFEU.
I may truly say, it is a novelty to the world.

PAROLLES.
It is indeed: if you will have it in showing, you shall read it
in,--What do you call there?--

LAFEU.
A showing of a heavenly effect in an earthly actor.

PAROLLES.
That's it; I would have said the very same.

LAFEU.
Why, your dolphin is not lustier: 'fore me, I speak in
respect,--

PAROLLES.
Nay, 'tis strange, 'tis very strange; that is the brief and the
tedious of it; and he's of a most facinerious spirit that will
not acknowledge it to be the,--

LAFEU.
Very hand of heaven.

PAROLLES.
Ay; so I say.

LAFEU.
In a most weak,--

PAROLLES.
And debile minister, great power, great transcendence: which
should, indeed, give us a further use to be made than alone
the recov'ry of the king, as to be,--

LAFEU.
Generally thankful.

PAROLLES.
I would have said it; you say well. Here comes the king.

[Enter KING, HELENA, and Attendants.]

LAFEU.
Lustic, as the Dutchman says: I'll like a maid the better, whilst
I have a tooth in my head: why, he's able to lead her a coranto.

PAROLLES.
'Mort du vinaigre!' is not this Helen?

LAFEU.
'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 sense
Thou has repeal'd, a second time receive
The confirmation of my promis'd gift,
Which but attends thy naming.

[Enter severaol Lords.]

Fair maid, send forth thine eye: this youthful parcel
Of noble bachelors stand at my bestowing,
O'er whom both sovereign power and father's voice
I have to use: thy frank election make;
Thou hast power to choose, and they none to forsake.

HELENA.
To each of you one fair and virtuous mistress
Fall, when love please!--marry, to each, but one!

LAFEU.
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.

HELENA.
Gentlemen,
Heaven hath through me restor'd the king to health.

ALL.
We understand it, and thank heaven for you.

HELENA.
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 refus'd,
Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever;
We'll ne'er come there again.'

KING.
Make choice; and, see:
Who shuns thy love shuns all his love in me.

HELENA.
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?

FIRST LORD.
And grant it.

HELENA.
Thanks, sir; all the rest is mute.

LAFEU.
I had rather be in this choice than throw ames-ace for my life.

HELENA.
The honour, sir, that flames in your fair eyes,
Before I speak, too threateningly replies:
Love make your fortunes twenty times above
Her that so wishes, and her humble love!

SECOND LORD.
No better, if you please.

HELENA.
My wish receive,
Which great Love grant; and so I take my leave.

LAFEU.
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.

HELENA.
[To third Lord.] Be not afraid that I your hand should take;
I'll never do you wrong for your own sake:
Blessing upon your vows! and in your bed
Find fairer fortune, if you ever wed!

LAFEU.
These boys are boys of ice: they'll none have her:
Sure, they are bastards to the English; the French ne'er got 'em.

HELENA.
You are too young, too happy, and too good,
To make yourself a son out of my blood.

FOURTH LORD.
Fair one, I think not so.

LAFEU.
There's one grape yet,--I am sure thy father drank wine.--But
if thou beest not an ass, I am a youth of fourteen; I have known
thee already.

HELENA.
[To BERTRAM.] I dare not say I take you; but I give
Me and my service, ever whilst I live,
Into your guiding power.--This is the man.

KING.
Why, then, young Bertram, take her; she's thy wife.

BERTRAM.
My wife, my liege! I shall beseech your highness,
In such a business give me leave to use
The help of mine own eyes.

KING.
Know'st thou not, Bertram,
What she has done for me?

BERTRAM.
Yes, my good lord;
But never hope to know why I should marry her.

KING.
Thou know'st she has rais'd me from my sickly bed.

BERTRAM.
But follows it, my lord, to bring me down
Must answer for your raising? I know her well;
She had her breeding at my father's charge:
A poor physician's daughter my wife!--Disdain
Rather corrupt me ever!

KING.
'Tis only title thou disdain'st in her, the which
I can build up. Strange is it that our bloods,
Of colour, weight, and heat, pour'd all together,
Would quite confound distinction, yet stand off
In differences so mighty. If she be
All that is virtuous,--save what thou dislik'st,
A poor physician's daughter,--thou dislik'st
Of virtue for the name: but do not so:
From lowest place when virtuous things proceed,
The place is dignified by the doer's deed:
Where great additions swell's, and virtue none,
It is a dropsied honour: good alone
Is good without a name; vileness is so:
The property by what it is should go,
Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair;
In these to nature she's immediate heir;
And these breed honour: that is honour's scorn
Which challenges itself as honour's born,
And is not like the sire: honours thrive
When rather from our acts we them derive
Than our fore-goers: the mere word's a slave,
Debauch'd on every tomb; on every grave
A lying trophy; and as oft is dumb
Where dust and damn'd oblivion is the tomb
Of honour'd bones indeed. What should be said?
If thou canst like this creature as a maid,
I can create the rest: virtue and she
Is her own dower; honour and wealth from me.

BERTRAM.
I cannot love her, nor will strive to do 't.

KING.
Thou wrong'st thyself, if thou shouldst strive to choose.

HELENA.
That you are well restor'd, my lord, I am glad:
Let the rest go.

KING.
My honour's at the stake; which to defeat,
I must produce my power. Here, take her hand,
Proud scornful boy, unworthy this good gift;
That dost in vile misprision shackle up
My love and her desert; that canst not dream
We, poising us in her defective scale,
Shall weigh thee to the beam; that wilt not know
It is in us to plant thine honour where
We please to have it grow. Check thy contempt:
Obey our will, which travails in thy good;
Believe not thy disdain, but presently
Do thine own fortunes that obedient right
Which both thy duty owes and our power claims
Or I will throw thee from my care for ever,
Into the staggers and the careless lapse
Of youth and ignorance; both my revenge and hate
Loosing upon thee in the name of justice,
Without all terms of pity. Speak! thine answer!

BERTRAM.
Pardon, my gracious lord; for I submit
My fancy to your eyes: when I consider
What great creation, and what dole of honour
Flies where you bid it, I find that she, which late
Was in my nobler thoughts most base, is now
The praised of the king; who, so ennobled,
Is as 'twere born so.

KING.
Take her by the hand,
And tell her she is thine: to whom I promise
A counterpoise; if not to thy estate,
A balance more replete.

BERTRAM.
I take her hand.

KING.
Good fortune and the favour of the king
Smile upon this contract; whose ceremony
Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief,
And be perform'd to-night: the solemn feast
Shall more attend upon the coming space,
Expecting absent friends. As thou lov'st her,
Thy love's to me religious; else, does err.

[Exeunt KING, BERTAM, HELENA, Lords, and Attendants.]

LAFEU.
Do you hear, monsieur? a word with you.

PAROLLES.
Your pleasure, sir?

LAFEU.
Your lord and master did well to make his recantation.

PAROLLES.
Recantation!--my lord! my master!

LAFEU.
Ay; is it not a language I speak?

PAROLLES.
A most harsh one, and not to be understood without bloody
succeeding. My master!

LAFEU.
Are you companion to the Count Rousillon?

PAROLLES.
To any count; to all counts; to what is man.

LAFEU.
To what is count's man: count's master is of another style.

PAROLLES.
You are too old, sir; let it satisfy you, you are too old.

LAFEU.
I must tell thee, sirrah, I write man; to which title age cannot
bring thee.

PAROLLES.
What I dare too well do, I dare not do.

LAFEU.
I did think thee, for two ordinaries, to be a pretty wise
fellow; thou didst make tolerable vent of thy travel; it might
pass: yet the scarfs and the bannerets about thee did manifoldly
dissuade me from believing thee a vessel of too great a burden. I
have now found thee; when I lose thee again I care not: yet art
thou good for nothing but taking up; and that thou art scarce
worth.

PAROLLES.
Hadst thou not the privilege of antiquity upon thee,--

LAFEU.
Do not plunge thyself too far in anger, lest thou hasten thy
trial; which if--Lord have mercy on thee for a hen! So, my good
window of lattice, fare thee well: thy casement I need not open,
for I look through thee. Give me thy hand.

PAROLLES.
My lord, you give me most egregious indignity.

LAFEU.
Ay, with all my heart; and thou art worthy of it.

PAROLLES.
I have not, my lord, deserved it.

LAFEU.
Yes, good faith, every dram of it: and I will not bate thee
a scruple.

PAROLLES.
Well, I shall be wiser.

LAFEU.
E'en as soon as thou canst, for thou hast to pull at a smack
o' th' contrary. If ever thou beest bound in thy scarf and
beaten, thou shalt find what it is to be proud of thy bondage. I
have a desire to hold my acquaintance with thee, or rather my
knowledge, that I may say in the default, he is a man I know.

PAROLLES.
My lord, you do me most insupportable vexation.

LAFEU.
I would it were hell-pains for thy sake, and my poor doing
eternal: for doing I am past; as I will by thee, in what motion
age will give me leave.

[Exit.]

PAROLLES.
Well, thou hast a son shall take this disgrace off me;
scurvy, old, filthy, scurvy lord!--Well, I must be patient; there
is no fettering of authority. I'll beat him, by my life, if I can
meet him with any convenience, an he were double and double a
lord. I'll have no more pity of his age than I would have of--
I'll beat him, an if I could but meet him again.

[Re-enter LAFEU.]

LAFEU.
Sirrah, your lord and master's married; there's news for you; you
have a new mistress.

PAROLLES.
I most unfeignedly beseech your lordship to make some reservation
of your wrongs: he is my good lord: whom I serve above is my
master.

LAFEU.
Who? God?

PAROLLES.
Ay, sir.

LAFEU.
The devil it is that's thy master. Why dost thou garter up thy
arms o' this fashion? dost make hose of thy sleeves? do other
servants so? Thou wert best set thy lower part where thy nose
stands. By mine honour, if I were but two hours younger, I'd beat
thee: methink'st thou art a general offence, and every man should
beat thee. I think thou wast created for men to breathe
themselves upon thee.

PAROLLES.
This is hard and undeserved measure, my lord.

LAFEU.
Go to, sir; you were beaten in Italy for picking a kernel
out of a pomegranate; you are a vagabond, and no true traveller:
you are more saucy with lords and honourable personages than the
heraldry of your birth and virtue gives you commission. You are
not worth another word, else I'd call you knave. I leave you.

[Exit.]

PAROLLES.
Good, very good, it is so then.--Good, very good; let it
be concealed awhile.

[Enter BERTRAM.]

BERTRAM.
Undone, and forfeited to cares for ever!

PAROLLES.
What's the matter, sweet heart?

BERTRAM.
Although before the solemn priest I have sworn,
I will not bed her.

PAROLLES.
What, what, sweet heart?

BERTRAM.
O my Parolles, they have married me!--
I'll to the Tuscan wars, and never bed her.

PAROLLES.
France is a dog-hole, and it no more merits
The tread of a man's foot:--to the wars!

BERTRAM.
There's letters from my mother; what the import is
I know not yet.

PAROLLES.
Ay, that would be known. To the wars, my boy, to the wars!
He wears his honour in a box unseen
That hugs his kicksy-wicksy here at home,
Spending his manly marrow in her arms,
Which should sustain the bound and high curvet
Of Mars's fiery steed. To other regions!
France is a stable; we that dwell in't, jades;
Therefore, to the war!

BERTRAM.
It shall be so; I'll send her to my house,
Acquaint my mother with my hate to her,
And wherefore I am fled; write to the king
That which I durst not speak: his present gift
Shall furnish me to those Italian fields
Where noble fellows strike: war is no strife
To the dark house and the detested wife.

PAROLLES.
Will this caprichio hold in thee, art sure?

BERTRAM.
Go with me to my chamber and advise me.
I'll send her straight away: to-morrow
I'll to the wars, she to her single sorrow.

PAROLLES.
Why, these balls bound; there's noise in it. 'Tis hard:
A young man married is a man that's marr'd:
Therefore away, and leave her bravely; go:
The king has done you wrong: but, hush, 'tis so.

[Exeunt.]

Act II, Scene 4

SCENE 4. The same. Another room in the same.

[Enter HELENA and CLOWN.]

HELENA.
My mother greets me kindly: is she well?

CLOWN.
She is not well, but yet she has her health: she's very
merry, but yet she is not well: but thanks be given, she's very
well, and wants nothing i' the world; but yet she is not well.

HELENA.
If she be very well, what does she ail that she's not very well?

CLOWN.
Truly, she's very well indeed, but for two things.

HELENA.
What two things?

CLOWN.
One, that she's not in heaven, whither God send her quickly!
The other, that she's in earth, from whence God send her quickly!

[Enter PAROLLES.]

PAROLLES.
Bless you, my fortunate lady!

HELENA.
I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine own good
fortunes.

PAROLLES.
You had my prayers to lead them on; and to keep them on,
have them still. O, my knave,--how does my old lady?

CLOWN.
So that you had her wrinkles and I her money, I would she did as
you say.

PAROLLES.
Why, I say nothing.

CLOWN.
Marry, you are the wiser man; for many a man's tongue shakes out
his master's undoing: to say nothing, to do nothing, to know
nothing, and to have nothing, is to be a great part of your
title; which is within a very little of nothing.

PAROLLES.
Away! thou art a knave.

CLOWN.
You should have said, sir, before a knave thou art a knave;
that is before me thou art a knave: this had been truth, sir.

PAROLLES.
Go to, thou art a witty fool; I have found thee.

CLOWN.
Did you find me in yourself, sir? or were you taught to find me?
The search, sir, was profitable; and much fool may you find in
you, even to the world's pleasure and the increase of laughter.

PAROLLES.
A good knave, i' faith, and well fed.--
Madam, my lord will go away to-night:
A very serious business calls on him.
The great prerogative and right of love,
Which, as your due, time claims, he does acknowledge;
But puts it off to a compell'd restraint;
Whose want, and whose delay, is strew'd with sweets;
Which they distil now in the curbed time,
To make the coming hour o'erflow with joy
And pleasure drown the brim.

HELENA.
What's his will else?

PAROLLES.
That you will take your instant leave o' the king,
And make this haste as your own good proceeding,
Strengthen'd with what apology you think
May make it probable need.

HELENA.
What more commands he?

PAROLLES.
That, having this obtain'd, you presently
Attend his further pleasure.

HELENA.
In everything I wait upon his will.

PAROLLES.
I shall report it so.

HELENA.
I pray you.--Come, sirrah.

[Exeunt.]

Act II, Scene 5

SCENE 5. Another room in the same.

[Enter LAFEU and BERTRAM.]

LAFEU.
But I hope your lordship thinks not him a soldier.

BERTRAM.
Yes, my lord, and of very valiant approof.

LAFEU.
You have it from his own deliverance.

BERTRAM.
And by other warranted testimony.

LAFEU.
Then my dial goes not true: I took this lark for a bunting.

BERTRAM.
I do assure you, my lord, he is very great in knowledge,
and accordingly valiant.

LAFEU.
I have, then, sinned against his experience and transgressed
against his valour; and my state that way is dangerous, since I
cannot yet find in my heart to repent. Here he comes; I pray you
make us friends; I will pursue the amity

[Enter PAROLLES.]

PAROLLES.
[To BERTRAM.] These things shall be done, sir.

LAFEU.
Pray you, sir, who's his tailor?

PAROLLES.
Sir!

LAFEU.
O, I know him well, I, sir; he, sir, is a good workman, a
very good tailor.

BERTRAM.
[Aside to PAROLLES.] Is she gone to the king?

PAROLLES.
She is.

BERTRAM.
Will she away to-night?

PAROLLES.
As you'll have her.

BERTRAM.
I have writ my letters, casketed my treasure,
Given order for our horses; and to-night,
When I should take possession of the bride,
End ere I do begin.

LAFEU.
A good traveller is something at the latter end of a dinner;
but one that lies three-thirds and uses a known truth to pass a
thousand nothings with, should be once heard and thrice beaten.--
God save you, Captain.

BERTRAM.
Is there any unkindness between my lord and you, monsieur?

PAROLLES.
I know not how I have deserved to run into my lord's displeasure.

LAFEU.
You have made shift to run into 't, boots and spurs and all,
like him that leapt into the custard; and out of it you'll run
again, rather than suffer question for your residence.

BERTRAM.
It may be you have mistaken him, my lord.

LAFEU.
And shall do so ever, though I took him at his prayers.
Fare you well, my lord; and believe this of me, there can be no
kernal in this light nut; the soul of this man is his clothes;
trust him not in matter of heavy consequence; I have kept of them
tame, and know their natures.--Farewell, monsieur; I have spoken
better of you than you have or will to deserve at my hand; but we
must do good against evil.

[Exit.]

PAROLLES.
An idle lord, I swear.

BERTRAM.
I think so.

PAROLLES.
Why, do you not know him?

BERTRAM.
Yes, I do know him well; and common speech
Gives him a worthy pass. Here comes my clog.

[Enter HELENA.]

HELENA.
I have, sir, as I was commanded from you,
Spoke with the king, and have procur'd his leave
For present parting; only he desires
Some private speech with you.

BERTRAM.
I shall obey his will.
You must not marvel, Helen, at my course,
Which holds not colour with the time, nor does
The ministration and required office
On my particular. Prepared I was not
For such a business; therefore am I found
So much unsettled: this drives me to entreat you:
That presently you take your way for home,
And rather muse than ask why I entreat you:
For my respects are better than they seem;
And my appointments have in them a need
Greater than shows itself at the first view
To you that know them not. This to my mother:

[Giving a letter.]
'Twill be two days ere I shall see you; so
I leave you to your wisdom.

HELENA.
Sir, I can nothing say
But that I am your most obedient servant.

BERTRAM.
Come, come, no more of that.

HELENA.
And ever shall
With true observance seek to eke out that
Wherein toward me my homely stars have fail'd
To equal my great fortune.

BERTRAM.
Let that go:
My haste is very great. Farewell; hie home.

HELENA.
Pray, sir, your pardon.

BERTRAM.
Well, what would you say?

HELENA.
I am not worthy of the wealth I owe;
Nor dare I say 'tis mine, and yet it is;
But, like a timorous thief, most fain would steal
What law does vouch mine own.

BERTRAM.
What would you have?

HELENA.
Something; and scarce so much:--nothing, indeed.--
I would not tell you what I would, my lord:--Faith, yes;--
Strangers and foes do sunder and not kiss.

BERTRAM.
I pray you, stay not, but in haste to horse.

HELENA.
I shall not break your bidding, good my lord.

BERTRAM.
Where are my other men, monsieur?--
Farewell,

[Exit HELENA.]

Go thou toward home, where I will never come
Whilst I can shake my sword or hear the drum:--
Away, and for our flight.

PAROLLES.
Bravely, coragio!

[Exeunt.]