William Shakespeare's "All's Well that Ends Well" in the complete original text.
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All's Well that Ends Well

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Act II. Scene II.

Scene II.—Rousillon. A Room in the
COUNTESS'S Palace.

Enter COUNTESS and Clown.

Count. Come on, sir; I shall now put you to
the height of your breeding.
Clo. I will show myself highly fed and lowly
taught. I know my business is but to the
court.
Count. To the court! why what place make
you special, when you put off that with such con-
tempt? 'But to the court!'
Clo. 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.
Count. Marry, that's a bountiful answer that
fits all questions.
Clo. It is like a barber's chair that fits all
buttocks; the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock,
the brawn-buttock, or any buttock.
Count. Will your answer serve fit to all
questions?
Clo. As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an
attorney, as your French crown for your taffeta
punk, as Tib's rush for Tom's forefinger, as a
pancake for Shrove-Tuesday, a morris for May-
day, 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.
Count. Have you, I say, an answer of such
fitness for all questions?
Clo. From below your duke to beneath your
constable, it will fit any question.
Count. It must be an answer of most mon-
strous size that must fit all demands.
Clo. 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.
Count. 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 cour-
tier?
Clo. O Lord, sir! there's a simple putting off.
More, more, a hundred of them.
Count. Sir, I am a poor friend of yours, that
loves you.
Clo. O Lord, sir! Thick, thick, spare not
me.
Count. I think, sir, you can eat none of this
homely meat.
Clo. O Lord, sir! Nay, put me to't, I warrant
you.
Count. You were lately whipped, sir, as I
think.
Clo. O Lord, sir! Spare not me.
Count. Do you cry, '0 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.
Clo. I ne'er had worse luck in my life in my
'O Lord, sir!' I see things may serve long, but
not serve ever.
Count. I play the noble housewife with the;
time,
To entertain't so merrily with a fool.
Clo. O Lord, sir! why, there't serves well
again.
Count. 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.
Clo. Not much commendation to them.
Count. Not much employment for you: you
understand me?
Clo. Most fruitfully: I am there before my
legs.
Count. Haste you again. [Exeunt severally.
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