All's Well That Ends Well By William Shakespeare Act I: Scene 1

ACT I. SCENE 1. Rousillon. A room in the COUNTESS'S palace.

in black.]

In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.

And I in going, madam, weep o'er my father's death anew;
but I must attend his majesty's command, to whom I am now in
ward, evermore in subjection.

You shall find of the king a husband, madam; — you, sir, a father:
he that so generally is at all times good, must of necessity hold
his virtue to you; whose worthiness would stir it up where it
wanted, rather than lack it where there is such abundance.

What hope is there of his majesty's amendment?

He hath abandoned his physicians, madam; under whose practices he
hath persecuted time with hope; and finds no other advantage in
the process but only the losing of hope by time.

This young gentlewoman had a father — O, that 'had!' how
sad a passage 'tis! — whose skill was almost as great as his
honesty; had it stretched so far, would have made nature
immortal, and death should have play for lack of work. Would, for
the king's sake, he were living! I think it would be the death of
the king's disease.

How called you the man you speak of, madam?

He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was his great right
to be so — Gerard de Narbon.

He was excellent indeed, madam; the king very lately spoke
of him admiringly and mourningly; he was skilful enough to have
liv'd still, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.

What is it, my good lord, the king languishes of?

A fistula, my lord.

I heard not of it before.

I would it were not notorious. — Was this gentlewoman the
daughter of Gerard de Narbon?

His sole child, my lord, and bequeathed to my overlooking. I have
those hopes of her good that her education promises; her
dispositions she inherits, which makes fair gifts fairer; for
where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there
commendations go with pity, — they are virtues and traitors too:
in her they are the better for their simpleness; she derives her
honesty, and achieves her goodness.

Your commendations, madam, get from her tears.

'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in. The
remembrance of her father never approaches her heart but the
tyranny of her sorrows takes all livelihood from her cheek. No
more of this, Helena, — go to, no more, lest it be rather thought
you affect a sorrow than to have.

I do affect a sorrow indeed; but I have it too.

Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead; excessive grief
the enemy to the living.

If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it soon

Madam, I desire your holy wishes.

How understand we that?

Be thou blest, Bertram, and succeed thy father
In manners, as in shape! thy blood and virtue
Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
Share with thy birthright! Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none: be able for thine enemy
Rather in power than use; and keep thy friend
Under thy own life's key: be check'd for silence,
But never tax'd for speech. What heaven more will,
That thee may furnish and my prayers pluck down,
Fall on thy head! Farewell. — My lord,
'Tis an unseason'd courtier; good my lord,
Advise him.

He cannot want the best
That shall attend his love.

Heaven bless him! — Farewell, Bertram.


The best wishes that can be forg'd in your thoughts [To HELENA.]
be servants to you! Be comfortable to my mother, your mistress,
and make much of her.

Farewell, pretty lady: you must hold the credit of your father.

[Exeunt BERTRAM and LAFEU.]

O, were that all! — I think not on my father;
And these great tears grace his remembrance more
Than those I shed for him. What was he like?
I have forgot him; my imagination
Carries no favour in't but Bertram's.
I am undone: there is no living, none,
If Bertram be away. It were all one
That I should love a bright particular star,
And think to wed it, he is so above me:
In his bright radiance and collateral light
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
The ambition in my love thus plagues itself:
The hind that would be mated by the lion
Must die for love. 'Twas pretty, though a plague,
To see him every hour; to sit and draw
His arched brows, his hawking eye, his curls,
In our heart's table, — heart too capable
Of every line and trick of his sweet favour:
But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy
Must sanctify his relics. Who comes here?
One that goes with him: I love him for his sake;
And yet I know him a notorious liar,
Think him a great way fool, solely a coward;
Yet these fix'd evils sit so fit in him
That they take place when virtue's steely bones
Looks bleak i' the cold wind: withal, full oft we see
Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.

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