All Is Well | Act 4.5

Rousillon. The COUNT’s palace.

[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    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    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
happily effected.

LAFEU    His highness comes post from Marseilles, of as able
body as when he numbered thirty.

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.

[Re-enter Clown]

Clown    O madam, yonder’s my lord your son…

LAFEU    Let us go see your son, I pray you: I long to talk
with the young noble soldier.


[Exeunt] Act 4.4 | Act 5.1

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Updated: April 28, 2021 — 8:58 am