Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > All’s Well that Ends Well
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
All’s Well that Ends Well
 
Act IV. Scene V.
 
Rousillon.  A Room in the COUNTESS’S Palace.
 
Enter COUNTESS, LAFEU, and Clown.
  Laf.  No, no, no; your 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-tailed humble-bee I speak of.
  Count.  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.
  Laf.  ’Twas a good lady, ’twas a good lady: we may pick a thousand salads ere we light on such another herb.        5
  Clo.  Indeed, sir, she was the sweet-marjoram of the salad, or, rather the herb of grace.
  Laf.  They are not salad-herbs, you knave; they are nose-herbs.
  Clo.  I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir; I have not much skill in grass.
  Laf.  Whether dost thou profess thyself, a knave, or a fool?
  Clo.  A fool, sir, at a woman’s service, and a knave at a man’s.        10
  Laf.  Your distinction?
  Clo.  I would cozen the man of his wife, and do his service.
  Laf.  So you were a knave at his service, indeed.
  Clo.  And I would give his wife my bauble, sir, to do her service.
  Laf.  I will subscribe for thee, thou art both knave and fool.        15
  Clo.  At your service.
  Laf.  No, no, no.
  Clo.  Why, sir, if I cannot serve you, I can serve as great a prince as you are.
  Laf.  Who’s that? a Frenchman?
  Clo.  Faith, sir, a’ has an English name; but his phisnomy is more hotter in France than there.        20
  Laf.  What prince is that?
  Clo.  The black prince, sir; alias, the prince of darkness; alias, the devil.
  Laf.  Hold thee, there’s my purse. I give thee not this to suggest thee from thy master thou talkest of: serve him still.
  Clo.  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 ’s 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 flowery way that leads to the broad gate and the great fire.
  Laf.  Go thy ways, I begin to be aweary 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.        25
  Clo.  If I put any tricks upon ’em, sir, they shall be jade’s tricks, which are their own right by the law of nature.  [Exit.
  Laf.  A shrewd knave and an unhappy.
  Count.  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.
  Laf.  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?
  Count.  With very much content, my lord; and I wish it happily effected.        30
  Laf.  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.
  Count.  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.
  Laf.  Madam, I was thinking with what manners I might safely be admitted.
  Count.  You need but plead your honourable privilege.
  Laf.  Lady, of that I have made a bold charter; but I thank my God it holds yet.        35
 
Re-enter Clown.
  Clo.  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.
  Laf.  A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good livery of honour; so belike is that.
  Clo.  But it is your carbonadoed face.
  Laf.  Let us go see your son, I pray you: I long to talk with the young noble soldier.        40
  Clo.  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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