All's Well That Ends Well By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scenes 4-5

ACT IV. SCENE 5. Rousillon. A room in the COUNTESS'S palace.

[Enter COUNTESS, LAFEU, and CLOWN.]

LAFEU.
No, no, no, son was misled with a snipt-taffeta fellow there,
whose villanous saffron would have made all the unbaked and
doughy youth of a nation in his colour: your daughter-in-law
had been alive at this hour, and your son here at home, more
advanced by the king than by that red-tail'd humble-bee I speak
of.

COUNTESS.
I would I had not known him! It was the death of the most
virtuous gentlewoman that ever nature had praise for creating: if
she had partaken of my flesh, and cost me the dearest groans of a
mother, I could not have owed her a more rooted love.

LAFEU.
'Twas a good lady, 'twas a good lady: we may pick a thousand
salads ere we light on such another herb.

CLOWN.
Indeed, sir, she was the sweet marjoram of the salad, or,
rather, the herb of grace.

LAFEU.
They are not salad-herbs, you knave; they are nose-herbs.

CLOWN.
I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir; I have not much skill in
grass.

LAFEU.
Whether dost thou profess thyself, — a knave or a fool?

CLOWN.
A fool, sir, at a woman's service, and a knave at a man's.

LAFEU.
Your distinction?

CLOWN.
I would cozen the man of his wife, and do his service.

LAFEU.
So you were a knave at his service, indeed.

CLOWN.
And I would give his wife my bauble, sir, to do her service.

LAFEU.
I will subscribe for thee; thou art both knave and fool.

CLOWN.
At your service.

LAFEU.
No, no, no.

CLOWN.
Why, sir, if I cannot serve you, I can serve as great a
prince as you are.

LAFEU.
Who's that? a Frenchman?

CLOWN.
Faith, sir, 'a has an English name; but his phisnomy is more
hotter in France than there.

LAFEU.
What prince is that?

CLOWN.
The black prince, sir; alias, the prince of darkness; alias,
the devil.

LAFEU.
Hold thee, there's my purse: I give thee not this to suggest
thee from thy master thou talkest of; serve him still.

CLOWN.
I am a woodland fellow, sir, that always loved a great fire;
and the master I speak of ever keeps a good fire. But, sure, he
is the prince of the world; let his nobility remain in his court.
I am for the house with the narrow gate, which I take to be too
little for pomp to enter: some that humble themselves may; but
the many will be too chill and tender; and they'll be for the
flow'ry way that leads to the broad gate and the great fire.

LAFEU.
Go thy ways, I begin to be a-weary of thee; and I tell thee
so before, because I would not fall out with thee. Go thy ways;
let my horses be well looked to, without any tricks.

CLOWN.
If I put any tricks upon 'em, sir, they shall be jades' tricks,
which are their own right by the law of nature.

[Exit.]

LAFEU.
A shrewd knave, and an unhappy.

COUNTESS.
So he is. My lord that's gone made himself much sport out of him;
by his authority he remains here, which he thinks is a patent for
his sauciness; and indeed he has no pace, but runs where he will.

LAFEU.
I like him well; 'tis not amiss. And I was about to tell you,
since I heard of the good lady's death, and that my lord your son
was upon his return home, I moved the king my master to speak in
the behalf of my daughter; which, in the minority of them both,
his majesty out of a self-gracious remembrance did first propose:
His highness hath promised me to do it; and, to stop up the
displeasure he hath conceived against your son, there is no
fitter matter. How does your ladyship like it?

COUNTESS.
With very much content, my lord; and I wish it happily effected.

LAFEU.
His highness comes post from Marseilles, of as able body as
when he numbered thirty; he will be here to-morrow, or I am
deceived by him that in such intelligence hath seldom failed.

COUNTESS.
It rejoices me that I hope I shall see him ere I die. I have
letters that my son will be here to-night: I shall beseech
your lordship to remain with me till they meet together.

LAFEU.
Madam, I was thinking with what manners I might safely be
admitted.

COUNTESS.
You need but plead your honourable privilege.

LAFEU.
Lady, of that I have made a bold charter; but, I thank my
God, it holds yet.

[Re-enter CLOWN.]

CLOWN.
O madam, yonder's my lord your son with a patch of velvet
on's face; whether there be a scar under it or no, the velvet
knows; but 'tis a goodly patch of velvet: his left cheek is a
cheek of two pile and a half, but his right cheek is worn bare.

LAFEU.
A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good livery of honour; so
belike is that.

CLOWN.
But it is your carbonadoed face.

LAFEU.
Let us go see your son, I pray you; I long to talk with the young
noble soldier.

CLOWN.
Faith, there's a dozen of 'em, with delicate fine hats, and
most courteous feathers, which bow the head and nod at every man.

[Exeunt.]

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