All's Well That Ends Well By William Shakespeare Act II: Scenes 4-5

ACT II. SCENE 4. The same. Another room in the same.

[Enter HELENA and CLOWN.]

HELENA.
My mother greets me kindly: is she well?

CLOWN.
She is not well, but yet she has her health: she's very
merry, but yet she is not well: but thanks be given, she's very
well, and wants nothing i' the world; but yet she is not well.

HELENA.
If she be very well, what does she ail that she's not very well?

CLOWN.
Truly, she's very well indeed, but for two things.

HELENA.
What two things?

CLOWN.
One, that she's not in heaven, whither God send her quickly!
The other, that she's in earth, from whence God send her quickly!

[Enter PAROLLES.]

PAROLLES.
Bless you, my fortunate lady!

HELENA.
I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine own good
fortunes.

PAROLLES.
You had my prayers to lead them on; and to keep them on,
have them still. O, my knave, — how does my old lady?

CLOWN.
So that you had her wrinkles and I her money, I would she did as
you say.

PAROLLES.
Why, I say nothing.

CLOWN.
Marry, you are the wiser man; for many a man's tongue shakes out
his master's undoing: to say nothing, to do nothing, to know
nothing, and to have nothing, is to be a great part of your
title; which is within a very little of nothing.

PAROLLES.
Away! thou art a knave.

CLOWN.
You should have said, sir, before a knave thou art a knave;
that is before me thou art a knave: this had been truth, sir.

PAROLLES.
Go to, thou art a witty fool; I have found thee.

CLOWN.
Did you find me in yourself, sir? or were you taught to find me?
The search, sir, was profitable; and much fool may you find in
you, even to the world's pleasure and the increase of laughter.

PAROLLES.
A good knave, i' faith, and well fed. —
Madam, my lord will go away to-night:
A very serious business calls on him.
The great prerogative and right of love,
Which, as your due, time claims, he does acknowledge;
But puts it off to a compell'd restraint;
Whose want, and whose delay, is strew'd with sweets;
Which they distil now in the curbed time,
To make the coming hour o'erflow with joy
And pleasure drown the brim.

HELENA.
What's his will else?

PAROLLES.
That you will take your instant leave o' the king,
And make this haste as your own good proceeding,
Strengthen'd with what apology you think
May make it probable need.

HELENA.
What more commands he?

PAROLLES.
That, having this obtain'd, you presently
Attend his further pleasure.

HELENA.
In everything I wait upon his will.

PAROLLES.
I shall report it so.

HELENA.
I pray you. — Come, sirrah.

[Exeunt.]

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