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    Alls Well That Ends Well

    by William Shakespeare
    MFFE script v5.15 CloudReader v1.05
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  • Act One Scene One

    >>>Start of play
    Enter young Bertram, Count of Rossillion, his Mother, and Helena, Lord Lafew, all in black.
    ---!!! First speech of play
    Countess.
    In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.
    --- a second husband.
    Bertram.
    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.
    --- evermore in subjection.
    Lafew.
    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.
    --- is such abundance.
    Countess.
    What hope is there of his Majesty's amendment?
    --- his Majesty's amendment?
    Lafew.
    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.
    --- hope by time.
    Countess.
    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.
    --- the King's disease.
    Lafew.
    How called you the man you speak of, Madam?
    --- speak of, Madam?
    Countess.
    He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was his great right to be so: Gerard de Narbon.
    --- Gerard de Narbon.
    Lafew.
    He was excellent indeed, Madam; the King very lately spoke of him admiringly - and mourningly; he was skilful enough to have lived stil, if knowledge could be set up against mortality.
    --- up against mortality.
    Bertram.
    What is it, my good Lord, the King languishes of?
    --- King languishes of?
    Lafew.
    A Fistula, my Lord.
    --- Fistula, my Lord.
    Bertram.
    I heard not of it before.
    --- of it before.
    Lafew.
    I would it were not notorious. Was this Gentlewoman the Daughter of Gerard de Narbon?
    --- Gerard de Narbon?
    Countess.
    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.
    --- achieves her goodness.
    Lafew.
    Your commendations, Madam, get from her tears.
    --- from her tears.
    Countess.
    'Tis the best brine a Maiden can season her praise in. The remembrance of her father never approaches her heart, but the tyrrany 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 -
    --- than to have -
    Helena.
    I do affect a sorrow indeed, but I have it too.
    --- have it too.
    Lafew.
    Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead; excessive grief the enemy to the living.
    --- to the living.
    Countess.
    If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it soon mortal.
    --- it soon mortal.
    Bertram.
    Madam, I desire your holy wishes.
    --- your holy wishes.
    Lafew.
    How understand we that?
    --- understand we that?
    Countess.
    Be thou blessed, 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 checked for silence,
    But never taxed for speech. What heaven more will,
    That thee may furnish, and my prayers pluck down,
    Fall on thy head! Farewell. My Lord,
    'Tis an unseasoned Courtier; good my Lord,
    Advise him.
    --- Lord, Advise him.
    Lafew.
    He cannot want the best
    That shall attend his love.
    --- attend his love.
    Countess.
    Heaven bless him! Farewell, Bertram.
    >>>him! Farewell, Bertram.
    Exit Countess.
    --- him! Farewell, Bertram.
    Bertram.
    The best wishes that can be forged in your thoghts
    be servants to you!
    To Helena.
    Be comfortable to my mother, your
    Mistress, and make much of her.
    --- much of her.
    Lafew.
    Farewell, pretty Lady, you must hold the credit of your father.
    >>>of your father.
    Exeunt Bertram and Lafew.
    --- of your father.
    Helena.
    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; 'twere 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 colateral light,
    Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
    Th' 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?
    >>> Who comes here?
    Enter Parolles.
    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 fixed evils sit so fit in him,
    That they take place, when Virtue's steely bones
    Looks bleak i'th' cold wind; withal, full oft we see
    Cold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly.
    --- on superfluous folly.
    Parolles.
    Save you, fair Queen!
    --- you, fair Queen!
    Helena.
    And you, Monarch!
    --- And you, Monarch!
    Parolles.
    No.
    --- No.
    Helena.
    And no.
    --- And no.
    Parolles.
    Are you meditating on virginity?
    --- meditating on virginity?
    Helena.
    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?
    --- it against him?
    Parolles.
    Keep him out.
    --- Keep him out.
    Helena.
    But he assails; and our virginity though valiant, in the defence yet is weak. Unfold to us some warlike resistance.
    --- some warlike resistance.
    Parolles.
    There is none. Man setting down before you, will undermine you and blow you up.
    --- blow you up.
    Helena.
    Bless our poor Virginity from underminers and blowers-up! Is there no Military policy how Virgins might blow up men?
    --- blow up men?
    Parolles.
    Virginity beeing 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 mettle 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't.
    --- companion. Away with't.
    Helena.
    I will stand for't a little, though therefore I die a Virgin.
    --- die a Virgin.
    Parolles.
    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 the year it will make itself two, which is a goodly increase, and the principal itself not much the worse. Away with't.
    --- worse. Away with't.
    Helena.
    How might one do sir, to lose it to her own liking?
    --- her own liking?
    Parolles.
    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 tooth-pick, which were 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 withered pear: it was formerly better; marry, yet 'tis a withered pear. Will you anything with it?
    --- anything with it?
    Helena.
    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 Traitoress, 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 -
    --- he is one -
    Parolles.
    What one i'faith?
    --- What one i'faith?
    Helena.
    That I wish well. 'Tis pity -
    --- well. 'Tis pity -
    Parolles.
    What's pity?
    --- What's pity?
    Helena.
    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.
    >>> Returns us thanks.
    Enter Page.
    --- Returns us thanks.
    Page.
    Monsieur Parolles, My Lord calls for you.
    >>> calls for you.
    Exit Page.
    --- calls for you.
    Parolles.
    Little Helena farewell. If I can remember thee, I will think of thee at Court.
    --- thee at Court.
    Helena.
    Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a charitable star.
    --- a charitable star.
    Parolles.
    Under Mars, I.
    --- Under Mars, I.
    Helena.
    I especially think under Mars.
    --- think under Mars.
    Parolles.
    Why under Mars?
    --- Why under Mars?
    Helena.
    The wars hath so kept you under, that you must needs be born under Mars.
    --- borne under Mars.
    Parolles.
    When he was predominant.
    --- he was predominant.
    Helena.
    When he was retrograde, I think rather.
    --- I think rather.
    Parolles.
    Why think you so?
    --- think you so?
    Helena.
    You go so much backward when you fight.
    --- when you fight.
    Parolles.
    That's for advantage.
    --- That's for advantage.
    Helena.
    So is running away, when fear proposes the safety; But the composition that your valour and fear makes in you is a virtue of a good wing, and I like the wear well.
    --- the wear well.
    Parolles.
    I am so full of businesses I cannot answer thee acutely. I will return perfect Courtier; in the which my instruction shall serve to naturalize thee, so thou wilt be capable of a Courtier's counsel, and understand what advice shall thrust upon thee; else thou diest in thine unthankfulness, and thine ignorance makes thee away. Farewell. When thou hast leisure, say thy prayers; when thou hast none, remember thy Friends. Get thee a good husband, and use him as he uses thee. So, farewell.
    >>> thee. So, farewell.
    Exit Parolles.
    --- thee. So, farewell.
    Helena.
    Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
    Which we ascribe to heaven; the fated sky
    Gives us free scope; only doth backward pull
    Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.
    What power is it which mounts my love so high,
    That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye?
    The mightiest space in fortune Nature brings
    To join like likes, and kiss like native things.
    Impossible be strange attempts to those
    That weigh their pains in sense, and do suppose
    What hath been, cannot be. Who ever strove
    To show her merit, that did miss her love?
    The King's disease - my project may deceive me,
    But my intents are fixed, and will not leave me.
    >>> not leave me.
    Exit Helena
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