Document: All > Shakespeare > Comedies > All's Well That Ends Well > Act II, scene II
[Enter COUNTESS and Clown]
COUNTESS: Come on, sir; I shall now put you to the height of
Clown: I will show myself highly fed and lowly taught: I
know my business is but to the court.
COUNTESS: To the court! why, what place make you special,
when you put off that with such contempt? But to the court!
Clown: Truly, madam, if God have lent a man any manners, he
may easily put it off at court: he that cannot make
a leg, put off's cap, kiss his hand and say nothing,
has neither leg, hands, lip, nor cap; and indeed
such a fellow, to say precisely, were not for the
court; but for me, I have an answer will serve all
COUNTESS: Marry, that's a bountiful answer that fits all
Clown: It is like a barber's chair that fits all buttocks,
the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn
buttock, or any buttock.
COUNTESS: Will your answer serve fit to all questions?
Clown: As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney,
as your French crown for your taffeta punk, as Tib's
rush for Tom's forefinger, as a pancake for Shrove
Tuesday, a morris for May-day, as the nail to his
hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a scolding queen
to a wrangling knave, as the nun's lip to the
friar's mouth, nay, as the pudding to his skin.
COUNTESS: Have you, I say, an answer of such fitness for all
Clown: From below your duke to beneath your constable, it
will fit any question.
COUNTESS: It must be an answer of most monstrous size that
must fit all demands.
Clown: But a trifle neither, in good faith, if the learned
should speak truth of it: here it is, and all that
belongs to't. Ask me if I am a courtier: it shall
do you no harm to learn.
COUNTESS: To be young again, if we could: I will be a fool in
question, hoping to be the wiser by your answer. I
pray you, sir, are you a courtier?
Clown: O Lord, sir! There's a simple putting off. More,
more, a hundred of them.
COUNTESS: Sir, I am a poor friend of yours, that loves you.
Clown: O Lord, sir! Thick, thick, spare not me.
COUNTESS: I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely meat.
Clown: O Lord, sir! Nay, put me to't, I warrant you.
COUNTESS: You were lately whipped, sir, as I think.
Clown: O Lord, sir! spare not me.
COUNTESS: Do you cry, 'O Lord, sir!' at your whipping, and
'spare not me?' Indeed your 'O Lord, sir!' is very
sequent to your whipping: you would answer very well
to a whipping, if you were but bound to't.
Clown: I ne'er had worse luck in my life in my 'O Lord,
sir!' I see things may serve long, but not serve ever.
COUNTESS: I play the noble housewife with the time
To entertain't so merrily with a fool.
Clown: O Lord, sir! why, there't serves well again.
COUNTESS: An end, sir; to your business. Give Helen this,
And urge her to a present answer back:
Commend me to my kinsmen and my son:
This is not much.
Clown: Not much commendation to them.
COUNTESS: Not much employment for you: you understand me?
Clown: Most fruitfully: I am there before my legs.
COUNTESS: Haste you again.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL