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

KING.
Art thou so confident? Within what space
Hop'st thou my cure?

HELENA.
The greatest grace lending grace.
Ere twice the horses of the sun shall bring
Their fiery torcher his diurnal ring;
Ere twice in murk and occidental damp
Moist Hesperus hath quench'd his sleepy lamp;
Or four-and-twenty times the pilot's glass
Hath told the thievish minutes how they pass;
What is infirm from your sound parts shall fly,
Health shall live free, and sickness freely die.

KING.
Upon thy certainty and confidence
What dar'st thou venture?

HELENA.
Tax of impudence, —
A strumpet's boldness, a divulged shame, —
Traduc'd by odious ballads; my maiden's name
Sear'd otherwise; ne worse of worst extended,
With vilest torture let my life be ended.

KING.
Methinks in thee some blessed spirit doth speak;
His powerful sound within an organ weak:
And what impossibility would slay
In common sense, sense saves another way.
Thy life is dear; for all that life can rate
Worth name of life in thee hath estimate:
Youth, beauty, wisdom, courage, all
That happiness and prime can happy call;
Thou this to hazard needs must intimate
Skill infinite or monstrous desperate.
Sweet practiser, thy physic I will try:
That ministers thine own death if I die.

HELENA.
If I break time, or flinch in property
Of what I spoke, unpitied let me die;
And well deserv'd. Not helping, death's my fee;
But, if I help, what do you promise me?

KING.
Make thy demand.

HELENA.
But will you make it even?

KING.
Ay, by my sceptre and my hopes of heaven.

HELENA.
Then shalt thou give me, with thy kingly hand
What husband in thy power I will command:
Exempted be from me the arrogance
To choose from forth the royal blood of France,
My low and humble name to propagate
With any branch or image of thy state:
But such a one, thy vassal, whom I know
Is free for me to ask, thee to bestow.

KING.
Here is my hand; the premises observ'd,
Thy will by my performance shall be serv'd;
So make the choice of thy own time, for I,
Thy resolv'd patient, on thee still rely.
More should I question thee, and more I must, —
Though more to know could not be more to trust, —
From whence thou cam'st, how tended on. — But rest
Unquestion'd welcome and undoubted blest. —
Give me some help here, ho! — If thou proceed
As high as word, my deed shall match thy deed.

[Flourish. Exeunt.]

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