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

BERTRAM.
Hers it was not.

KING.
Now, pray you, let me see it; for mine eye,
While I was speaking, oft was fasten'd to it. —
This ring was mine; and when I gave it Helen
I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood
Necessitied to help, that by this token
I would relieve her. Had you that craft to 'reave her
Of what should stead her most?

BERTRAM.
My gracious sovereign,
Howe'er it pleases you to take it so,
The ring was never hers.

COUNTESS.
Son, on my life,
I have seen her wear it; and she reckon'd it
At her life's rate.

LAFEU.
I am sure I saw her wear it.

BERTRAM.
You are deceiv'd, my lord; she never saw it:
In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,
Wrapp'd in a paper, which contain'd the name
Of her that threw it: noble she was, and thought
I stood engag'd: but when I had subscrib'd
To mine own fortune, and inform'd her fully
I could not answer in that course of honour
As she had made the overture, she ceas'd,
In heavy satisfaction, and would never
Receive the ring again.

KING.
Plutus himself,
That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine,
Hath not in nature's mystery more science
Than I have in this ring: 'twas mine, 'twas Helen's,
Whoever gave it you. Then, if you know
That you are well acquainted with yourself,
Confess 'twas hers, and by what rough enforcement
You got it from her: she call'd the saints to surety
That she would never put it from her finger
Unless she gave it to yourself in bed, —
Where you have never come, — or sent it us
Upon her great disaster.

BERTRAM.
She never saw it.

KING.
Thou speak'st it falsely, as I love mine honour;
And mak'st conjectural fears to come into me
Which I would fain shut out. If it should prove
That thou art so inhuman, — 'twill not prove so: —
And yet I know not: — thou didst hate her deadly.
And she is dead; which nothing, but to close
Her eyes myself, could win me to believe
More than to see this ring. — Take him away.

[Guards seize BERTRAM.]

My fore-past proofs, howe'er the matter fall,
Shall tax my fears of little vanity,
Having vainly fear'd too little. — Away with him; —
We'll sift this matter further.

BERTRAM.
If you shall prove
This ring was ever hers, you shall as easy
Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence,
Where she yet never was.

[Exit, guarded.]

KING.
I am wrapp'd in dismal thinkings.

[Enter a Gentleman.]

GENTLEMAN.
Gracious sovereign,
Whether I have been to blame or no, I know not:
Here's a petition from a Florentine,
Who hath, for four or five removes, come short
To tender it herself. I undertook it,
Vanquish'd thereto by the fair grace and speech
Of the poor suppliant, who by this, I know,
Is here attending: her business looks in her
With an importing visage; and she told me
In a sweet verbal brief, it did concern
Your highness with herself.

KING.
[Reads.] 'Upon his many protestations to marry me, when his wife
was dead, I blush to say it, he won me. Now is the count
Rousillon a widower; his vows are forfeited to me, and my
honour's paid to him. He stole from Florence, taking no leave,
and I follow him to his country for justice: grant it me, O king;
in you it best lies; otherwise a seducer flourishes, and a poor
maid is undone.
DIANA CAPULET.'

LAFEU.
I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll this: I'll none of
him.

KING.
The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafeu,
To bring forth this discovery. — Seek these suitors: —
Go speedily, and bring again the count.

[Exeunt Gentleman, and some Attendants.]

I am afeard the life of Helen, lady,
Was foully snatch'd.

COUNTESS.
Now, justice on the doers!

[Enter BERTRAM, guarded.]

KING.
I wonder, sir, since wives are monsters to you.
And that you fly them as you swear them lordship,
Yet you desire to marry. — What woman's that?

[Re-enter Widow and DIANA.]

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