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

ACT V. SCENE 3. The same. A room in the COUNTESS'S palace.

[Flourish. Enter KING, COUNTESS, LAFEU, Lords, Gentlemen, Guards,

We lost a jewel of her; and our esteem
Was made much poorer by it: but your son,
As mad in folly, lack'd the sense to know
Her estimation home.

'Tis past, my liege:
And I beseech your majesty to make it
Natural rebellion, done i' the blaze of youth,
When oil and fire, too strong for reason's force,
O'erbears it and burns on.

My honour'd lady,
I have forgiven and forgotten all;
Though my revenges were high bent upon him,
And watch'd the time to shoot.

This I must say, —
But first, I beg my pardon, — the young lord
Did to his majesty, his mother, and his lady,
Offence of mighty note; but to himself
The greatest wrong of all: he lost a wife
Whose beauty did astonish the survey
Of richest eyes; whose words all ears took captive;
Whose dear perfection hearts that scorn'd to serve
Humbly call'd mistress.

Praising what is lost
Makes the remembrance dear. — Well, call him hither; —
We are reconcil'd, and the first view shall kill
All repetition: — let him not ask our pardon;
The nature of his great offence is dead,
And deeper than oblivion do we bury
Th' incensing relics of it; let him approach,
A stranger, no offender; and inform him,
So 'tis our will he should.

I shall, my liege.

[Exit Gentleman.]

What says he to your daughter? have you spoke?

All that he is hath reference to your highness.

Then shall we have a match. I have letters sent me
That sets him high in fame.

[Enter BERTRAM.]

He looks well on 't.

I am not a day of season,
For thou mayst see a sunshine and a hail
In me at once: but to the brightest beams
Distracted clouds give way; so stand thou forth;
The time is fair again.

My high-repented blames,
Dear sovereign, pardon to me.

All is whole;
Not one word more of the consumed time.
Let's take the instant by the forward top;
For we are old, and on our quick'st decrees
The inaudible and noiseless foot of time
Steals ere we can effect them. You remember
The daughter of this lord?

Admiringly, my liege: at first
I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
Durst make too bold herald of my tongue:
Where the impression of mine eye infixing,
Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me,
Which warp'd the line of every other favour;
Scorned a fair colour, or express'd it stolen;
Extended or contracted all proportions
To a most hideous object: thence it came
That she whom all men prais'd, and whom myself,
Since I have lost, have lov'd, was in mine eye
The dust that did offend it.

Well excus'd:
That thou didst love her, strikes some scores away
From the great compt: but love that comes too late,
Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried,
To the great sender turns a sour offence,
Crying, That's good that's gone. Our rash faults
Make trivial price of serious things we have,
Not knowing them until we know their grave:
Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust,
Destroy our friends, and after weep their dust:
Our own love waking cries to see what's done,
While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon.
Be this sweet Helen's knell, and now forget her.
Send forth your amorous token for fair Maudlin:
The main consents are had; and here we'll stay
To see our widower's second marriage-day.

Which better than the first, O dear heaven, bless!
Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cesse!

Come on, my son, in whom my house's name
Must be digested, give a favour from you,
To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter,
That she may quickly come. —

[BERTRAM gives a ring to Lafeu.]

By my old beard,
And every hair that's on 't, Helen, that's dead,
Was a sweet creature: such a ring as this,
The last that e'er I took her leave at court,
I saw upon her finger.

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Bertram refuses to marry Helena because he