Document: All > Shakespeare > Comedies > All's Well That Ends Well > Act IV, scene V
[Enter COUNTESS, LAFEU, and Clown]
LAFEU: 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.
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 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 fisnomy
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'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.
LAFEU: 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.
Clown: If I put any tricks upon 'em, sir, they shall be
jades' tricks; which are their own right by the law of nature.
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
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.
Clown: O madam, yonder's my lord your son with a patch of
velvet on's face: whether there be a scar under't
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.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL