William Shakespeare's "All's Well that Ends Well" in the complete original text.
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HOME > Plays > All's Well that Ends Well > Act IV. Scene II.

All's Well that Ends Well

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Act IV. Scene II.

Scene II.—Florence. A Room in the Widow's
House.

Enter BERTRAM and DIANA.

Ber. They told me that your name was
Fontibell.
Dia. No, my good lord, Diana.
Ber. Titled goddess;
And worth it, with addition! But, fair soul,
In your fine frame hath love no quality?
If the quick fire of youth light not your mind,
You are no maiden, but a monument:
When you are dead, you should be such a one
As you are now, for you are cold and stern;
And now you should be as your mother was
When your sweet self was got.
Dia. She then was honest.
Ber. So should you be.
Dia. No:
My mother did but duty; such, my lord,
As you owe to your wife.
Ber. No more o' that!
I prithee do not strive against my vows.
I was compell'd to her; but I love thee
By love's own sweet constraint, and will for ever
Do thee all rights of service.
Dia. Ay, so you serve us
Till we serve you; but when you have our roses,
You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves
And mock us with our bareness.
Ber. How have I sworn!
Dia. 'Tis not the many oaths that make the
truth,
But the plain single vow that is vow'd true.
What is not holy, that we swear not by,
But take the Highest to witness: then, pray you,
tell me,
If I should swear by God's great attributes
I lov'd you dearly, would you believe my oaths,
When I did love you ill? this has no holding,
To swear by him whom I protest to love,
That I will work against him: therefore your
oaths
Are words and poor conditions, but unseal'd;
At least in my opinion.
Ber. Change it, change it.
Be not so holy-cruel: love is holy;
And my integrity ne'er knew the crafts
That you do charge men with. Stand no more off,
But give thyself unto my sick desires,
Who then recover: say thou art mine, and ever
My love as it begins shall so persever.
Dia. I see that men make ropes in such a
scarr
That we'll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.
Ber. I'll lend it thee, my dear; but have no
power
To give it from me.
Dia. Will you not, my lord?
Ber. It is an honour 'longing to our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors,
Which were the greatest obloquy i' the world
In me to lose.
Dia. Mine honour's such a ring:
My chastity's the jewel of our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors,
Which were the greatest obloquy i' the world
In me to lose. Thus your own proper wisdom
Brings in the champion honour on my part
Against your vain assault.
Ber. Here, take my ring:
My house, mine honour, yea, my life, be thine,
And I'll be bid by thee.
Dia. When midnight comes, knock at my
chamber-window:
I'll order take my mother shall not hear.
Now will I charge you in the band of truth,
When you have conquer'd my yet maiden bed,
Remain there but an hour, nor speak to me.
My reasons are most strong; and you shall know
them
When back again this ring shall be deliver'd:
And on your finger in the night I'll put
Another ring, that what in time proceeds
May token to the future our past deeds.
Adieu, till then; then, fall not. You have won
A wife of me, though there my hope be done.
Ber. A heaven on earth I have won by wooing
thee. [Exit.
Dia. For which live long to thank both heaven
and me!
You may so in the end.
My mother told me just how he would woo
As if she sat in's heart; she says all men
Have the like oaths: he had sworn to marry me
When his wife's dead; therefore I'll lie with him
When I am buried. Since Frenchmen are so
braid,
Marry that will, I live and die a maid:
Only in this disguise I think't no sin
To cozen him that would unjustly win. [Exit.
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