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 V.

All's Well that Ends Well

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Act IV. Scene V.

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

Enter COUNTESS, LAFEU, and Clown.

Laf. No, no, no; your son was misled with a
snipt-taffeta fellow there, whose villanous saffron
would have made all the unbaked and doughy
youth of a nation in his colour: your daughter-
in-law had been alive at this hour, and your son
here at home, more advanced by the king than
by that red-tailed humble-bee I speak of.
Count. I would I had not known him; it was
the death of the most virtuous gentlewoman that
ever nature had praise for creating. If she had
partaken of my flesh, and cost me the dearest
groans of a mother, I could not have owed her a
more rooted love.
Laf. 'Twas a good lady, 'twas a good lady:
we may pick a thousand salads ere we light on
such another herb.
Clo. Indeed, sir, she was the sweet-marjoram
of the salad, or, rather the herb of grace.
Laf. They are not salad-herbs, you knave;
they are nose-herbs.
Clo. I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir; I
have not much skill in grass.
Laf. Whether dost thou profess thyself, a
knave, or a fool?
Clo. A fool, sir, at a woman's service, and a
knave at a man's.
Laf. Your distinction?
Clo. I would cozen the man of his wife, and
do his service.
Laf. So you were a knave at his service, in-
deed.
Clo. And I would give his wife my bauble, sir,
to do her service.
Laf. I will subscribe for thee, thou art both
knave and fool.
Clo. At your service.
Laf. No, no, no.
Clo. Why, sir, if I cannot serve you, I can
serve as great a prince as you arc.
Laf. Who's that? a Frenchman?
Clo. Faith, sir, a' has an English name; but
his phisnomy is more hotter in France than
there.
Laf. What prince is that?
Clo. The black prince, sir; alias, the prince of
darkness; alias, the devil.
Laf. Hold thee, there's my purse. I give thee
not this to suggest thee from thy master thou
talkest of: serve him still.
Clo. I am a woodland fellow, sir, that always
loved a great fire; and the master I speak of,
ever keeps a good fire. But, sure, he is the
prince of the world; let his nobility remain in's
court. I am for the house with the narrow gate,
which I take to be too little for pomp to enter:
some that humble themselves may; but the
many will be too chill and tender, and they'll be
for the flowery way that leads to the broad gate
and the great fire.
Laf. Go thy ways, I begin to be aweary of
thee; and I tell thee so before, because I would
not fall out with thee. Go thy ways: let my
horses be well looked to, without any tricks.
Clo. If I put any tricks upon 'em, sir, they
shall be jade's tricks, which are their own right
by the law of nature. [Exit.
Laf. A shrewd knave and an unhappy.
Count. So he is. My lord that's gone made
himself much sport out of him: by his authority
he remains here, which he thinks is a patent for
his sauciness; and, indeed, he has no pace, but
runs where he will
Laf. I like him well; 'tis not amiss. And I
was about to tell you, since I heard of the good
lady's death, and that my lord your son was
upon his return home, I moved the king my
master to speak in the behalf of my daughter;
which, in the minority of them both, his majesty,
out of a self-gracious remembrance, did first
propose. His highness hath promised me to do
it; and to stop up the displeasure he hath con-
ceived against your son, there is no fitter matter.
How does your ladyship like it?
Count. With very much content, my lord;
and I wish it happily effected.
Laf. His highness comes post from Marseilles,
of as able body as when he numbered thirty: he
will be here to-morrow, or I am deceived by him
that in such intelligence hath seldom failed.
Count. It rejoices me that I hope I shall see
him ere I die. I have letters that my son will be
here to-night: I shall beseech your lordship to
remain with me till they meet together.
Laf. Madam, I was thinking with what man-
ners I might safely be admitted.
Count. You need but plead your honourable
privilege.
Laf. Lady, of that I have made a bold charter;
but I thank my God it holds yet.

Re-enter Clown.
Clo. O madam! yonder's my lord your son
with a patch of velvet on's face: whether there
be a scar under it or no, the velvet knows; but
'tis a goodly patch of velvet. His left cheek is a
cheek of two pile and a half, but his right cheek
is worn bare.
Laf. A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a
good livery of honour; so belike is that.
Clo. But it is your carbonadoed face.
Laf. Let us go see your son, I pray you: I
long to talk with the young noble soldier.
Clo. Faith, there's a dozen of 'em, with deli-
cate fine hats and most courteous feathers, which
bow the head and nod at every man. [Exeunt.
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