All's Well That Ends Well By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 3

HELENA.
Thanks, sir; all the rest is mute.

LAFEU.
I had rather be in this choice than throw ames-ace for my life.

HELENA.
The honour, sir, that flames in your fair eyes,
Before I speak, too threateningly replies:
Love make your fortunes twenty times above
Her that so wishes, and her humble love!

SECOND LORD.
No better, if you please.

HELENA.
My wish receive,
Which great Love grant; and so I take my leave.

LAFEU.
Do all they deny her? An they were sons of mine I'd have them
whipped; or I would send them to the Turk to make eunuchs of.

HELENA.
[To third Lord.] Be not afraid that I your hand should take;
I'll never do you wrong for your own sake:
Blessing upon your vows! and in your bed
Find fairer fortune, if you ever wed!

LAFEU.
These boys are boys of ice: they'll none have her:
Sure, they are bastards to the English; the French ne'er got 'em.

HELENA.
You are too young, too happy, and too good,
To make yourself a son out of my blood.

FOURTH LORD.
Fair one, I think not so.

LAFEU.
There's one grape yet, — I am sure thy father drank wine. — But
if thou beest not an ass, I am a youth of fourteen; I have known
thee already.

HELENA.
[To BERTRAM.] I dare not say I take you; but I give
Me and my service, ever whilst I live,
Into your guiding power. — This is the man.

KING.
Why, then, young Bertram, take her; she's thy wife.

BERTRAM.
My wife, my liege! I shall beseech your highness,
In such a business give me leave to use
The help of mine own eyes.

KING.
Know'st thou not, Bertram,
What she has done for me?

BERTRAM.
Yes, my good lord;
But never hope to know why I should marry her.

KING.
Thou know'st she has rais'd me from my sickly bed.

BERTRAM.
But follows it, my lord, to bring me down
Must answer for your raising? I know her well;
She had her breeding at my father's charge:
A poor physician's daughter my wife! — Disdain
Rather corrupt me ever!

KING.
'Tis only title thou disdain'st in her, the which
I can build up. Strange is it that our bloods,
Of colour, weight, and heat, pour'd all together,
Would quite confound distinction, yet stand off
In differences so mighty. If she be
All that is virtuous, — save what thou dislik'st,
A poor physician's daughter, — thou dislik'st
Of virtue for the name: but do not so:
From lowest place when virtuous things proceed,
The place is dignified by the doer's deed:
Where great additions swell's, and virtue none,
It is a dropsied honour: good alone
Is good without a name; vileness is so:
The property by what it is should go,
Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair;
In these to nature she's immediate heir;
And these breed honour: that is honour's scorn
Which challenges itself as honour's born,
And is not like the sire: honours thrive
When rather from our acts we them derive
Than our fore-goers: the mere word's a slave,
Debauch'd on every tomb; on every grave
A lying trophy; and as oft is dumb
Where dust and damn'd oblivion is the tomb
Of honour'd bones indeed. What should be said?
If thou canst like this creature as a maid,
I can create the rest: virtue and she
Is her own dower; honour and wealth from me.

BERTRAM.
I cannot love her, nor will strive to do 't.

KING.
Thou wrong'st thyself, if thou shouldst strive to choose.

HELENA.
That you are well restor'd, my lord, I am glad:
Let the rest go.

KING.
My honour's at the stake; which to defeat,
I must produce my power. Here, take her hand,
Proud scornful boy, unworthy this good gift;
That dost in vile misprision shackle up
My love and her desert; that canst not dream
We, poising us in her defective scale,
Shall weigh thee to the beam; that wilt not know
It is in us to plant thine honour where
We please to have it grow. Check thy contempt:
Obey our will, which travails in thy good;
Believe not thy disdain, but presently
Do thine own fortunes that obedient right
Which both thy duty owes and our power claims
Or I will throw thee from my care for ever,
Into the staggers and the careless lapse
Of youth and ignorance; both my revenge and hate
Loosing upon thee in the name of justice,
Without all terms of pity. Speak! thine answer!

BERTRAM.
Pardon, my gracious lord; for I submit
My fancy to your eyes: when I consider
What great creation, and what dole of honour
Flies where you bid it, I find that she, which late
Was in my nobler thoughts most base, is now
The praised of the king; who, so ennobled,
Is as 'twere born so.

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