All's Well That Ends Well


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter young Bertram, Count of Rossillion, his mother

the Countess, Helena, and Lord Lafew; all in black


COUNTESS

In delivering my son from me, I bury a second
deliver (v.) 3 free, release, liberate

husband.


BERTRAM

And I in going, madam, weep o'er my father's

death anew; but I must attend his majesty's command,
attend (v.) 8 see to, look after, apply oneself to

to whom I am now in ward, evermore in subjection.
ward, in as a ward, under guardianship


LAFEW

You shall find of the King a husband, madam;

you, sir, a father. He that so generally is at all times good
generally (adv.) universally, without exception, in the eyes of all

must of necessity hold his virtue to you, whose worthiness
hold (v.) 1 keep, maintain, observe
virtue (n.) 6 goodness, benevolence, kindness

would stir it up where it wanted, rather than lack it
want (v.) 3 fall short [of], be deficient [in]

where there is such abundance.


COUNTESS

What hope is there of his majesty's
amendment (n.) recovery, recuperation, improvement

amendment?


LAFEW

He hath abandoned 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.


COUNTESS

This young gentlewoman had a father – O

that ‘ had,’ how sad a passage 'tis! – whose skill was
passage (n.) 8 expression, turn of phrase

almost as great as his honesty; had it stretched so far,
honesty (n.) 2 honour, integrity, uprightness

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.


LAFEW

How called you the man you speak of, madam?


COUNTESS

He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it

was his great right to be so: Gerard de Narbon.


LAFEW

He was excellent indeed, madam. The King very

lately spoke of him admiringly, and mourningly. He
lately (adv.) 1 recently, of late
mourningly (adv.) in a spirit of mourning

was skilful enough to have lived still, if knowledge could

be set up against mortality.


BERTRAM

What is it, my good lord, the King languishes

of?


LAFEW

A fistula, my lord.
fistula (n.) type of ulcer, abscess


BERTRAM

I heard not of it before.


LAFEW

I would it were not notorious. Was this gentlewoman

the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?


COUNTESS

His sole child, my lord, and bequeathed to my

overlooking. I have those hopes of her good, that her
overlooking (n.) 2 guardianship, looking after, custody

education promises her dispositions she inherits – which
disposition (n.) 7 aptitude, gift, capacity
promise (v.) 2 add to, reinforce, augment

makes fair gifts fairer; for where an unclean mind
mind (n.) 3 character, disposition, spirit
unclean (adj.) impure, corrupted, bad

carries virtuous qualities, there commendations go with
quality (n.) 2 accomplishment, capacity, ability

pity: they are virtues and traitors too. In her they are the

better for their simpleness. She derives her honesty and
derive (v.) 2 inherit, fall heir to
simpleness (n.) 1 unpretentiousness, unaffected behaviour, unassuming simplicity

achieves her goodness.
achieve (v.) 1 gain, obtain, procure


LAFEW

Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.
get (v.) 1 beget, conceive, breed


COUNTESS

'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her
season (v.) 8 preserve, keep

praise in. The remembrance of her father never
remembrance (n.) 1 memory, bringing to mind, recollection See Topics: Frequency count

approaches her heart but the tyranny of her sorrows
tyranny (n.) cruelty, barbarity, unmerciful violence

takes all livelihood from her cheek. No more of this,
livelihood (n.) liveliness, animation, vivacity

Helena; go to, no more, lest it be rather thought you

affect a sorrow than to have't.
affect (v.) 3 assume, display, put on, practise in an artificial way


HELENA

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


LAFEW

Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead,

excessive grief the enemy to the living.


COUNTESS

If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess

makes it soon mortal.


BERTRAM

Madam, I desire your holy wishes.


LAFEW

How understand we that?


COUNTESS

Be thou blessed, Bertram, and succeed thy father

In manners as in shape! Thy blood and virtue
blood (n.) 7 nobility, breeding, gentility, good parentage
manner (n.) 2 (plural) morals, character, way of behaving
shape (n.) 1 appearance, aspect, visible form
virtue (n.) 1 quality, accomplishment, ability

Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
contend (v.) 2 compete, vie, rival

Share with thy birthright! Love all, trust a few,
birthright (n.) inherited qualities, naturally endowed traits

Do wrong to none. Be able for thine enemy
able (adj.) 1 powerful enough, sufficient, capable of dealing [with]

Rather in power than use, and keep thy friend
power (n.) 4 force, strength, might

Under thy own life's key. Be checked for silence,
check (v.) 1 rebuke, scold, reprimand

But never taxed for speech. What heaven more will,
tax (v.) 1 censure, blame, take to task, disparage

That thee may furnish and my prayers pluck down,
furnish (v.) 1 provide, supply, possess

Fall on thy head! Farewell. – My lord,

'Tis an unseasoned courtier: good my lord,
unseasoned (adj.) 2 unready, immature, raw

Advise him.


LAFEW

                         He cannot want the best

That shall attend his love.
attend (v.) 4 accompany, follow closely, go with
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count


COUNTESS

Heaven bless him! Farewell, Bertram.

Exit


BERTRAM

The best wishes that can be forged in your

thoughts be servants to you! (To Helena) Be comfortable

to my mother, your mistress, and make much of her.


LAFEW

Farewell, pretty lady. You must hold the credit of
credit (n.) 3 reputation, name, standing, honour
hold (v.) 1 keep, maintain, observe

your father.

Exeunt Bertram and Lafew


HELENA

O, were that all! I think not on my father,

And these great tears grace his remembrance more
grace (v.) 1 favour, add merit to, do honour to
remembrance (n.) 1 memory, bringing to mind, recollection See Topics: Frequency count

Than those I shed for him. What was he like?

I have forgot him. My imagination

Carries no favour in't but Bertram's.
favour (n.) 1 [facial] appearance, countenance, features, looks

I am undone: there is no living, none,
undone (adj.) ruined, destroyed, brought down See Topics: Frequency count

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 his bright radiance and collateral light
collateral (adj.) 1 [astronomy, of the movement of the spheres] parallel, side by side

Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
sphere (n.) 1 celestial globe in which a heavenly body was thought to move, orbit See Topics: Cosmos

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,
brow (n.) 3 eyebrow
hawking (adj.) hawk-like, sharp, alert

In our heart's table – heart too capable
capable of 1 appreciative of, able to take in
table (n.) 2 tablet, surface, paintbook

Of every line and trick of his sweet favour.
favour (n.) 1 [facial] appearance, countenance, features, looks
trick (n.) 3 peculiarity, idiosyncrasy, distinguishing trait

But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy
fancy (n.) 1 love, amorousness, infatuation

Must sanctify his relics. 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,
great way complete, total, absolute
solely (adv.) 1 wholly, entirely, altogether

Yet these fixed evils sit so fit in him
fit (adv.) suitably, fittingly, appropriately

That they take place when virtue's steely bones
place (n.) 2 precedence, proper place
steely (adj.) hard as steel

Look bleak i'th' cold wind. Withal, full oft we see
bleak (adj.) 2 pale, pallid, sickly
full (adv.) 2 very, exceedingly, extremely
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.
superfluous (adj.) 1 extravagant, wasteful, immoderate


PAROLLES

Save you, fair queen!


HELENA

And you, monarch!


PAROLLES

No.


HELENA

And no.


PAROLLES

Are you meditating on virginity?


HELENA

Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you: let me
stain (n.) 4 hint, tinge, dash

ask you a question. Man is enemy to virginity; how may

we barricado it against him?
barricado (v.) fortify, defend, protect [as with a barricade]


PAROLLES

Keep him out.


HELENA

But he assails, and our virginity, though valiant,

in the defence yet is weak. Unfold to us some warlike

resistance.


PAROLLES

There is none. Man setting down before you
set down (v.) 5 encamp, lay siege

will undermine you and blow you up.
undermine (v.) dig underneath; also: overthrow


HELENA

Bless our poor virginity from underminers and
underminer (n.) sapper; also: overthrower

blowers-up! Is there no military policy how virgins

might blow up men?


PAROLLES

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.
get (v.) 1 beget, conceive, breed

That you were made of is mettle 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!


HELENA

I will stand for't a little, though therefore I die

a virgin.


PAROLLES

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
murther (n./v.) variant spelling of ‘murder’

all sanctified limit, as a desperate offendress against
limit (n.) 4 ground, territory
offendress (n.) female offender
sanctified (adj.) 1 consecrated, holy

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,
peevish (adj.) 2 obstinate, perverse, self-willed [contrast modern sense of ‘irritable, morose’]

idle, made of self-love which is the most inhibited sin in
inhibited (adj.) prohibited, forbidden, proscribed

the canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but loose by't.
canon (n.) 2 scriptural canon, Bible
keep (v.) 3 guard, watch, tend

Out with't! Within ten year it will make itself two, which
out (adv.) 11 into public circulation, out to interest

is a goodly increase, and the principal itself not much

the worse. Away with't!


HELENA

How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own

liking?


PAROLLES

Let me see. Marry, ill, to like him that ne'er it
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably See Topics: Frequency count

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
vendible (adj.) 1 saleable, marketable, sought-after

old courtier, wears her cap out of fashion, richly suited

but unsuitable, just like the brooch and the toothpick,
unsuitable (adj.) unfashionable, old-fashioned, passe

which wear not now. Your date is better in your pie and
wear (v.) 6 be the fashion, be trendy

your porridge than in your cheek; and your virginity,

your old virginity, is like one of our French withered

pears: it looks ill, it eats drily; marry, 'tis a withered
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably See Topics: Frequency count

pear; it was formerly better; marry, yet 'tis a withered

pear. Will you anything with it?
will (v.), past form would 1 desire, wish, want


HELENA

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,
phoenix (n.) 1 wonder, marvel, paragon

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
disaster (n.) 2 unlucky star, unfavourable planet

Of pretty, fond, adoptious christendoms
adoptious (adj.) adopted, appropriated, taken up
christendom (n.) baptismal name, Christian name See Topics: Swearing
fond (adj.) 2 foolish, trifling, frivolous

That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he –
blinking (adj.) blind, sightless
gossip (v.) 2 act as a godparent, be a sponsor

I know not what he shall. God send him well!

The court's a learning-place, and he is one –


PAROLLES

What one, i' faith?


HELENA

That I wish well. 'Tis pity –


PAROLLES

What's pity?


HELENA

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,
base (adj.) 2 low-born, lowly, plebeian, of lower rank See Topics: Frequency count

Might with effects of them follow our friends,

And show what we alone must think, which never

Return us thanks.

Enter Page


PAGE

Monsieur Parolles, my lord calls for you.

Exit


PAROLLES

Little Helen, farewell. If I can remember thee

I will think of thee at court.


HELENA

Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a

charitable star.


PAROLLES

Under Mars, I.


HELENA

I especially think under Mars.


PAROLLES

Why under Mars?


HELENA

The wars have so kept you under that you must
under (adv.) down, in a bad way, in a low position

needs be born under Mars.


PAROLLES

When he was predominant.
predominant (adj.) [astrology] in the ascendant, ruling


HELENA

When he was retrograde, I think rather.
retrograde (adj.) 1 [astrology] moving in a contrary direction


PAROLLES

Why think you so?


HELENA

You go so much backward when you fight.


PAROLLES

That's for advantage.


HELENA

So is running away, when fear proposes the

safety. But the composition that your valour and fear
composition (n.) 1 constitution, make-up, state [of mind and body]

makes in you is a virtue of a good wing, and I like the
wing (n.) 1 flight, manner of flying

wear well.
wear (n.) fashion, vogue, trend


PAROLLES

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
naturalize (v.) familiarize, accustom, enlighten

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
leisure (n.) opportunity, moment, available time

thou hast none, remember thy friends. Get thee a good

husband, and use him as he uses thee. So, farewell.

Exit


HELENA

Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

Which we ascribe to heaven. The fated sky
fated (adj.) fateful, controlling our destiny

Gives us free scope, only doth backward pull

Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.
dull (adj.) 1 dead, lifeless, sluggish, inactive

What power is it which mounts my love so high,
power (n.) 8 faculty, function, ability

That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye?

The mightiest space in fortune nature brings
space (n.) 2 distance, separation

To join like likes, and kiss like native things.
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count
like (n.) identity, equivalent, counterpart
native (adj.) 4 closely related, connected by birth

Impossible be strange attempts to those

That weigh their pains in sense, and do suppose
sense (n.) 3 feeling, sensibility, capacity to feel

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 fixed, and will not leave me.
intent (n.) intention, purpose, aim See Topics: Frequency count

Exit

 
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