« PreviousContinue »
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
Clock to itself, knew the true minute when
In their poor praise he humbled. Such a man
His good remembrance, sir,
King. 'Would I were with him! He would al
(Methinks I hear him now; his plausive words
They that least lend it
You are loved, sir; shall lack you first.
and in his keenness of wit nothing bitter. If bitterness or contemptuousness ever appeared, they had been awakened by some injury, not of a man below him, but for his equal."
1 His for its.
2 The approbation of his worth lives not so much in his epitaph as in your royal speech.
3. Who have no other use of their faculties than to invent new modes of dress.
King. I fill a place, I know't.-How long is't,
Since the physician at your father's died?
Ber. Some six months since, my lord. King. If he were living, I would try him yet.— Lend me an arm;—the rest have worn me out With several applications :-nature and sickness Debate it at their leisure. Welcome, count; My son's no dearer.
Thank your majesty.
SCENE III. Rousillon. A Room in the Countess's Palace.
Enter Countess, Steward, and Clown.1
Count. I will now hear; what say you of this gentlewoman?
Stew. 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.
Count. 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 yours.
Clo. 'Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a poor fellow.
Count. Well, sir.
Clo. No, madam, 'tis not so well, that I am poor; though many of the rich are damned; but, if I may
1 The clown in this comedy is a domestic fool of the same kind as Touchstone. Such fools were, in the Poet's time, maintained in all great families, to keep up merriment in the house.
2 To act up to your desires.
have your ladyship's good will to go to the world,1 Isabel the woman and I will do as we may.
Count. Wilt thou needs be a beggar?
Clo. I do beg your good will in this case.
Clo. In Isabel's case, and mine own. Service is no heritage; and, I think, I shall never have the blessing of God, till I have issue of my body; for, they say, hearns are blessings.
Count. Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry. Clo. My poor body, madam, requires it. I am driven on by the flesh; and he must needs go, that the devil drives.
Count. Is this all your worship's reason?
Clo. Faith, madam, I have other holy reasons, such as they are.
Count. May the world know them?
Clo. I have been, madam, a wicked creature, as you and all flesh and blood are; and, indeed, I do marry, that I may repent.
Count. Thy marriage, sooner than thy wickedness. Clo. I am out of friends, madam; and I hope to have friends for my wife's sake.
Count. Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
Clo. You are shallow, madam; e'en 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 Poysam5
1 To be married. 5 Malone conjectures that we should read "Poisson the papist,” alluding to the custom of eating fish on fast days: as Charbon the puritan alludes to the fiery zeal of that sect. It is much in Shakspeare's manner to use significant names.
the papist, howsoever their hearts are severed in religion, their heads are both one; they may joll horns together, like any deer i'the herd.
Count. Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouthed and calumnious knave?
Clo. A prophet I, madam; and I speak the truth the next way:
For I the ballad will repeat,
Count. Get you gone, sir; I'll talk with you more
Stew. May it please you, madam, that he bid Helen come to you; of her I am to speak.
Count. Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman I would speak with her; Helen I mean.
Clo. Was this fair face the cause, quoth she,
Count. What, one good in ten? You corrupt the song, sirrah.
Clo. One good woman in ten, madam; which is a purifying o'the song. 'Would God would serve the
1 The readiest way.
2 i. e. nature.
3 Foolishly done.
4 The name of Helen brings to the clown's memory this fragment of an old ballad: something has escaped him, it appears; for Paris "was King Priam's only joy," as Helen was sir Paris's; according to two fragments, quoted by the commentators.
world so all the year! We'd find no fault with the tithe-woman, if I were the parson. One in ten, quoth a'! an we might have a good woman born, but one1 every blazing star, or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery well; a man may draw his heart out, ere he pluck one.
Count. You'll be gone, sir knave, and do as I command you?
Clo. 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.2-I am going, forsooth; the business is for Helen to come hither. [Exit Clown.
Count. Well, now.
Stew. I know, madam, you love your gentlewoman entirely.
Count. Faith, I do: her father bequeathed 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.
Stew. Madam, I was very late more near her than, I think, she wished me. Alone she was, and did communicate to herself, her own words to her own ears; she thought, I dare vow for her, they touched not any stranger sense. Her matter was, she loved 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,3 no queen of virgins, that would
1 Malone proposes to substitute on for one; but this would not materially improve the passage.
2 The clown answers, with the licentious petulance allowed to the character, that "if a man does as a woman commands, it is likely he will do amiss;" that he does not amiss, he makes the effect not of his lady's goodness, but of his own honesty, which, though not very nice or puritanical, will do no hurt, but, unlike the puritans, will comply with the injunctions of superiors; and wear the "surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart;" will obey commands, though not much pleased with a state of subjection.
3 The old copies omit Diana. Theobald inserted the word.