All Is Well | Act 3.5

Florence. Without the
walls. A tucket afar off.

[Enter an old Widow of Florence, DIANA,
VIOLENTA, and MARIANA, with other Citizens]


DIANA    They say the French count
has done most honourable service.

Widow   It is reported that he has taken their greatest
commander; and that with his own hand he slew the
duke’s brother.

MARIANA    Well, Diana, take heed of this
French earl: the honour of a maid is her name; and
no legacy is so rich as honesty.

Widow    I have told my neighbour how you have been
by a gentleman his companion.

MARIANA   I know that knave; hang him! one Parolles:
filthy officer he is in those suggestions for the young earl.
Beware of them, Diana; their promises,
enticements, oaths,
tokens, and all these engines of
lust, are not the things they
go under: many a maid
hath been seduced by them; and the
misery is,
example, that so terrible shows in the wreck of
maidenhood, cannot for all that dissuade succession,
but that they are limed with the twigs that threaten
them. I hope I need not to advise you further; but
I hope your own grace will keep you where you are,
though there were no further danger known but the
modesty which is so lost.

DIANA   You shall not need to fear me.

Widow   I hope so.

[Enter HELENA, disguised like a Pilgrim]

Look, here comes a pilgrim:
God save you, pilgrim! whither are you bound?

HELENA    To Saint Jaques le Grand.
Where do the palmers lodge, I do beseech you?

Widow   At the Saint Francis here beside the port.
If you will tarry, holy pilgrim,
But till the troops come by,
I will conduct you where you shall be lodged;
The rather, for I think I know your hostess
As ample as myself.

HELENA    Is it yourself?

Widow   If you shall please so, pilgrim.

HELENA   I thank you, and will stay upon your leisure.

Widow    You came, I think, from France?

HELENA   I did so.

Widow   Here you shall see a countryman of yours
That has done worthy service.

HELENA   His name, I pray you.

DIANA    The Count Rousillon: know you such a one?

HELENA    But by the ear, that hears most nobly of him:
His face I know not.

DIANA     Whatsome’er he is,
He’s bravely taken here. He stole from France,
As ’tis reported, for the king had married him
Against his liking: think you it is so?

HELENA   Ay, surely, mere the truth: I know his lady.

DIANA     There is a gentleman that serves the count
Reports but coarsely of her.

HELENA   What’s his name?

DIANA   Monsieur Parolles.

HELENA     O, I believe with him,
In argument of praise, or to the worth
Of the great count himself, she is too mean
To have her name repeated: all her deserving
Is a reserved honesty, and that
I have not heard examined.

DIANA     Alas, poor lady!
‘Tis a hard bondage to become the wife
Of a detesting lord.

Widow   I warrant, good creature, wheresoe’er she is,
Her heart weighs sadly: this young maid might do her
A shrewd turn, if she pleased.

HELENA   How do you mean?
May be the amorous count solicits her
In the unlawful purpose.

Widow     He does indeed;
And brokes with all that can in such a suit
Corrupt the tender honour of a maid:
But she is arm’d for him and keeps her guard
In honestest defence.

MARIANA   The gods forbid else!

Widow     So, now they come:

[Drum and Colours]

[Enter BERTRAM, PAROLLES, and the whole army]

That is Antonio, the duke’s eldest son;
That, Escalus.

HELENA    Which is the Frenchman?

That with the plume: ’tis a most gallant fellow.
I would he loved his wife: if he were honester
He were much goodlier: is’t not a handsome gentleman?

HELENA   I like him well.

DIANA     ‘Tis pity he is not honest: yond’s that same knave
That leads him to these places: were I his lady,
I would Poison that vile rascal.

HELENA   Which is he?

DIANA   That jack-an-apes with scarfs: why is he melancholy?

HELENA     Perchance he’s hurt i’ the battle.

PAROLLES     Lose our drum! well.

MARIANA   He’s shrewdly vexed at something: look, he has spied us.

Widow     Marry, hang you!

MARIANA   And your courtesy, for a ring-carrier!

[Exeunt BERTRAM, PAROLLES, and army]

Widow   The troop is past. Come, pilgrim, I will bring you
Where you shall host: of enjoin’d penitents
There’s four or five, to great Saint Jaques bound,
Already at my house.

HELENA   I humbly thank you:
Please it this matron and this gentle maid
To eat with us to-night, the charge and thanking
Shall be for me; and, to requite you further,
I will bestow some precepts of this virgin
Worthy the note.

BOTH    We’ll take your offer kindly.


[Exeunt] Act 3.4 | Act 3.6

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Updated: April 28, 2021 — 8:56 am