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


Save you, fair queen!

And you, monarch!


And no.

Are you meditating on virginity?

Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you: let me ask you a
question. Man is enemy to virginity; how may we barricado it
against him?

Keep him out.

But he assails; and our virginity, though valiant in the
defence, yet is weak: unfold to us some warlike resistance.

There is none: man, setting down before you, will undermine you
and blow you up.

Bless our poor virginity from underminers and blowers-up! — Is
there no military policy how virgins might blow up men?

Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier be blown up:
marry, in blowing him down again, with the breach yourselves
made, you lose your city. It is not politic in the commonwealth
of nature to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is rational
increase; and there was never virgin got till virginity was first
lost. That you were made of is metal to make virgins. Virginity
by being once lost may be ten times found; by being ever kept, it
is ever lost: 'tis too cold a companion; away with it!

I will stand for 't a little, though therefore I die a virgin.

There's little can be said in't; 'tis against the rule of
nature. To speak on the part of virginity is to accuse your
mothers; which is most infallible disobedience. He that hangs
himself is a virgin: virginity murders itself; and should be
buried in highways, out of all sanctified limit, as a desperate
offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites, much like a
cheese; consumes itself to the very paring, and so dies with
feeding his own stomach. Besides, virginity is peevish, proud,
idle, made of self-love, which is the most inhibited sin in the
canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but lose by't: out with't!
within ten years it will make itself ten, which is a goodly
increase; and the principal itself not much the worse: away with

How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own liking?

Let me see: marry, ill to like him that ne'er it likes. 'Tis a
commodity will lose the gloss with lying; the longer kept, the
less worth: off with't while 'tis vendible; answer the time of
request. Virginity, like an old courtier, wears her cap out of
fashion; richly suited, but unsuitable: just like the brooch and
the toothpick, which wear not now. Your date is better in your
pie and your porridge than in your cheek. And your virginity,
your old virginity, is like one of our French withered pears; it
looks ill, it eats drily; marry, 'tis a wither'd pear; it was
formerly better; marry, yet 'tis a wither'd pear. Will you
anything with it?

Not my virginity yet.
There shall your master have a thousand loves,
A mother, and a mistress, and a friend,
A phoenix, captain, and an enemy,
A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign,
A counsellor, a traitress, and a dear:
His humble ambition, proud humility,
His jarring concord, and his discord dulcet,
His faith, his sweet disaster; with a world
Of pretty, fond, adoptious christendoms,
That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he —
I know not what he shall: — God send him well! —
The court's a learning-place; — and he is one, —

What one, i' faith?

That I wish well. — 'Tis pity —

What's pity?

That wishing well had not a body in't
Which might be felt; that we, the poorer born,
Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes,
Might with effects of them follow our friends
And show what we alone must think; which never
Returns us thanks.

[Enter a PAGE.]

Monsieur Parolles, my lord calls for you.

[Exit PAGE.]

Little Helen, farewell: if I can remember thee, I will
think of thee at court.

Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a charitable star.

Under Mars, I.

I especially think, under Mars.

Why under Mars?

The wars hath so kept you under that you must needs be born
under Mars.

When he was predominant.

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