All's Well That Ends Well

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Flourish. Enter the King, the Countess, Lafew, the two

French Lords, with attendants


We lost a jewel of her, and our esteem
esteem (n.) 1 value, estimation, worth

Was made much poorer by it; but your son,

As mad in folly, lacked the sense to know

Her estimation home.
estimation (n.) 2 value, worth, high quality
home (adv.) 1 fully, thoroughly, unsparingly


                         'Tis past, my liege,

And I beseech your majesty to make it
make (v.) 13 consider, regard, treat [as]

Natural rebellion done i'th' blade of youth,
blade (n.) greenness, immaturity, early days

When oil and fire, too strong for reason's force,

O'erbears it and burns on.


                         My honoured lady,

I have forgiven and forgotten all,

Though my revenges were high bent upon him
bent (adj.) 3 ready for firing, tensioned for action
high (adv.) fully, altogether

And watched the time to shoot.
shoot (v.) send forth, throw, let fly


                         This I must say –

But first I beg my pardon – the young lord

Did to his majesty, his mother, and his lady

Offence of mighty note, but to himself

The greatest wrong of all. He lost a wife

Whose beauty did astonish the survey

Of richest eyes, whose words all ears took captive,
rich (adj.) 2 experienced, sophisticated, cultivated

Whose dear perfection hearts that scorned to serve

Humbly called mistress.


                         Praising what is lost

Makes the remembrance dear. Well, call him hither;
remembrance (n.) 1 memory, bringing to mind, recollection See Topics: Frequency count

We are reconciled, and the first view shall kill
kill (v.) 1 satisfy, allay, subdue, put an end to

All repetition. Let him not ask our pardon;
repetition (n.) 2 going over the past, re-opening of old wounds

The nature of his great offence is dead,

And deeper than oblivion we do bury

Th' incensing relics of it. Let him approach
incensing (adj.) anger-arousing, inflaming with wrath
relic (n.) memory, trace, recollection

A stranger, no offender; and inform him

So 'tis our will he should.


                         I shall, my liege.



What says he to your daughter? Have you spoke?


All that he is hath reference to your highness.
reference (n.) 1 case for consideration, referring for a decision


Then shall we have a match. I have letters sent me
match (n.) 1 bargain, contract, agreement

That sets him high in fame.

Enter Bertram


                         He looks well on't.


I am not a day of season,
season (n.) 4 time of year, weather conditions

For thou mayst see a sunshine and a hail

In me at once. But to the brightest beams

Distracted clouds give way; so stand thou forth:
distracted (adj.) 3 divided, torn apart, rent asunder

The time is fair again.
blame (n.) 1 fault, sin, offence
high-repented (adj.) bitterly repented


                         My high-repented blames,

Dear sovereign, pardon to me.
whole (adj.) 3 well, good


                         All is whole.

Not one word more of the consumed time.
consumed (adj.) used up, spent, passed by

Let's take the instant by the forward top;
forward top forelock, hair at the front of the head

For we are old, and on our quickest decrees
quick (adj.) 5 vigorous, quick-acting, energetic

Th' inaudible and noiseless foot of time

Steals ere we can effect them. You remember

The daughter of this lord?


Admiringly, my liege. At first

I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
stick (v.) 2 place, fix, settle

Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue;

Where, the impression of mine eye infixing,
infix (v.) implant, fasten onto

Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me,
perspective (n.) picture in which perspective is altered so as to appear distorted unless seen from a particular angle

Which warped the line of every other favour,
favour (n.) 1 [facial] appearance, countenance, features, looks
line (n.) 5 lineament, distinctive feature
warp (v.) 4 distort, pervert, deform

Scorned a fair colour or expressed it stolen,

Extended or contracted all proportions

To a most hideous object. Thence it came

That she whom all men praised, and whom myself,

Since I have lost, have loved, was in mine eye

The dust that did offend it.
dust (n.) speck of dust, particle, iota


                         Well excused.

That thou didst love her, strikes some scores away
score (n.) 1 reckoning, account, debt
strike off (v.) cancel [as by a pen-stroke], erase, remove

From the great compt; but love that comes too late,
compt (n.) reckoning, day of judgement

Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried,
remorseful (adj.) 1 conscience-stricken, guilty, full of sorrow

To the great sender turns a sour offence,

Crying ‘ That's good that's gone.’ Our rash faults

Make trivial price of serious things we have,

Not knowing them until we know their grave.

Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust,
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

Destroy our friends and after weep their dust;

Our own love waking cries to see what's done,

While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon.

Be this sweet Helen's knell, and now forget her.
knell (n.) 2 death-knell, mourning song

Send forth your amorous token for fair Maudlin.
amorous (adj.) expressing love
token (n.) 5 keepsake, present, memento

The main consents are had, and here we'll stay
stay (v.) 2 linger, tarry, delay

To see our widower's second marriage-day.


Which better than the first, O dear heaven, bless!

Or, ere they meet, in me, O nature, cesse!
cesse (v.) variant spelling of ‘cease’


Come on, my son, in whom my house's name

Must be digested, give a favour from you
digest, disgest (v.) 2 take in, incorporate, assimilate
favour (n.) 5 mark of favour, gift, token [often a love-token]

To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter,

That she may quickly come.

Bertram gives Lafew a ring

                         By my old beard

And every hair that's on't, Helen that's dead

Was a sweet creature; such a ring as this,

The last that e'er I took her leave at court,
last (n.) 4 last time

I saw upon her finger.


                         Hers it was not.


Now pray you let me see it; for mine eye,

While I was speaking, oft was fastened to't.
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

This ring was mine, and when I gave it Helen

I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood

Necessitied to help, that by this token
necessitied (adj.) in dire need [of], brought into necessity
token (n.) 1 sign, evidence, mark

I would relieve her. Had you that craft to reave her
relieve (v.) aid, assist, rescue
stead (v.) help, assist, benefit

Of what should stead her most?


                         My gracious sovereign,

Howe'er it pleases you to take it so,

The ring was never hers.


                         Son, on my life,

I have seen her wear it, and she reckoned it

At her life's rate.
rate (n.) 4 worth, value, merit


                         I am sure I saw her wear it.


You are deceived, my lord, she never saw it.

In Florence was it from a casement thrown me,

Wrapped in a paper which contained the name

Of her that threw it. Noble she was, and thought

I stood ingaged; but when I had subscribed
ingaged (adj.) engaged [to her]; or: not promised [to anyone else]
subscribe to (v.) 2 make acknowledgement of, admit to

To mine own fortune, and informed her fully

I could not answer in that course of honour

As she had made the overture, she ceased
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count

In heavy satisfaction, and would never
heavy (adj.) 1 sorrowful, sad, gloomy See Topics: Frequency count
satisfaction (n.) 1 removal of doubt, resolved state of mind

Receive the ring again.


                         Plutus himself,

That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine,
medicine (n.) 5 drug used for purposes other than healing (especially the philosopher's elixir)
tinct (n.) 2 [alchemy] tincture, elixir

Hath not in nature's mystery more science
science (n.) 1 knowledge, learning

Than I have in this ring. 'Twas mine, 'twas Helen's,

Whoever gave it you; then if you know

That you are well acquainted with yourself,

Confess 'twas hers, and by what rough enforcement
enforcement (n.) 2 violation, overcoming

You got it from her. She called the saints to surety
surety (n.) 2 person undertaking a legal responsibility in relation to another, guarantor

That she would never put it from her finger

Unless she gave it to yourself in bed,

Where you have never come, or sent it us

Upon her great disaster.


                         She never saw it.


Thou speakest it falsely, as I love mine honour,
falsely (adv.) treacherously, deceitfully, dishonestly

And makest conjectural fears to come into me
conjectural (adj.) suspicious, full of misgiving, speculative

Which I would fain shut out. If it should prove
fain (adv.) gladly, willingly See Topics: Frequency count

That thou art so inhuman – 'twill not prove so,

And yet I know not; thou didst hate her deadly,
deadly (adv.) 1 extremely, implacably, to the death

And she is dead; which nothing but to close

Her eyes myself could win me to believe,

More than to see this ring. Take him away.

My fore-past proofs, howe'er the matter fall,
forepast, fore-past (adj.) 2 previously passed, already accumulated

Shall tax my fears of little vanity,
tax (v.) 1 censure, blame, take to task, disparage

Having vainly feared too little. Away with him.

We'll sift this matter further.


                         If you shall prove

This ring was ever hers, you shall as easy
easy (adv.) easily

Prove that I husbanded her bed in Florence,

Where yet she never was.

Exit, guarded


I am wrapped in dismal thinkings.

Enter a Gentleman (the Astringer)
dismal (adj.) 2 sinister, ominous, malign
thinking (n.) thought, meditation, reflection


                         Gracious sovereign,

Whether I have been to blame or no, I know not:

Here's a petition from a Florentine

Who hath for four or five removes come short
remove (n.) 1 change of residence, departure

To tender it herself. I undertook it,
tender (v.) 1 offer, give, present

Vanquished thereto by the fair grace and speech

Of the poor suppliant, who, by this, I know,
this, by by this time

Is here attending. Her business looks in her
attend (v.) 1 await, wait for, expect See Topics: Frequency count

With an importing visage, and she told me,
importing (adj.) expressing significance, full of import
visage (n.) 1 face, countenance See Topics: Frequency count

In a sweet verbal brief, it did concern
brief (n.) 1 summary, short account

Your highness with herself.


(reading the letter)
protestation (n.) solemn declaration, affirmation

Upon his many protestations to

marry me when his wife was dead, I blush to say it, he

won me. Now is the Count Rossillion a widower; his vows

are forfeited to me and my honour's paid to him. He stole

from Florence, taking no leave, and I follow him to his

country for justice. Grant it me, O King! In you it best

lies; otherwise a seducer flourishes, and a poor maid is

undone (adj.) ruined, destroyed, brought down See Topics: Frequency count

Diana Capilet.


I will buy me a son-in-law in a fair, and toll for
toll (v.) 2 enter for sale in the toll-book [tax register] of a market

this. I'll none of him.


The heavens have thought well on thee, Lafew,

To bring forth this discovery. Seek these suitors.
suitor (n.) petitioner, supplicant, entreater

Go speedily, and bring again the Count.

Exeunt some attendants

I am afeard the life of Helen, lady,
afeard (adj.) afraid, frightened, scared See Topics: Frequency count

Was foully snatched.


                         Now justice on the doers!

Enter Bertram, guarded


I wonder, sir, since wives are monsters to you,

And that you fly them as you swear them lordship,
lordship (n.) 1 function of being a lord

Yet you desire to marry.

Enter the Widow and Diana

                         What woman's that?


I am, my lord, a wretched Florentine,

Derived from the ancient Capilet.

My suit, as I do understand, you know,
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count

And therefore know how far I may be pitied.


I am her mother, sir, whose age and honour

Both suffer under this complaint we bring,

And both shall cease, without your remedy.


Come hither, Count. Do you know these women?


My lord, I neither can nor will deny

But that I know them. Do they charge me further?


Why do you look so strange upon your wife?


She's none of mine, my lord.


                         If you shall marry

You give away this hand, and that is mine,

You give away heaven's vows, and those are mine,

You give away myself, which is known mine;

For I by vow am so embodied yours
embody (v.) become part of the same body as, unite as

That she which marries you must marry me –

Either both or none.


Your reputation comes too short for my daughter;
short (adj.) 1 wanting, insufficient, inadequate

you are no husband for her.


My lord, this is a fond and desperate creature
fond (adj.) 2 foolish, trifling, frivolous

Whom sometime I have laughed with. Let your highness

Lay a more noble thought upon mine honour

Than for to think that I would sink it here.


Sir, for my thoughts, you have them ill to friend
friend, to as a friend, friendly
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably See Topics: Frequency count

Till your deeds gain them; fairer prove your honour

Than in my thought it lies!


                         Good my lord,

Ask him upon his oath if he does think

He had not my virginity.


What sayst thou to her?


                         She's impudent, my lord,

And was a common gamester to the camp.
common (adj.) 4 cheap, vulgar, promiscuous
gamester (n.) 2 one drawn to amorous sport, one who plays the game, prostitute


He does me wrong, my lord; if I were so

He might have bought me at a common price.

Do not believe him. O behold this ring

Whose high respect and rich validity
respect (n.) 4 esteem, status, honour
validity (n.) 1 value, worth, estimation

Did lack a parallel; yet for all that

He gave it to a commoner o'th' camp,
commoner (n.) 2 whore, harlot, prostitute

If I be one.
hit (v.) 1 hit the mark with, get at, reach


                         He blushes and 'tis hit.

Of six preceding ancestors, that gem

Conferred by testament to th' sequent issue,
issue (n.) 1 child(ren), offspring, family, descendant See Topics: Frequency count
sequent (adj.) 1 following, ensuing, consequent
testament (n.) will, last will and testament

Hath it been owed and worn. This is his wife:
owe (v.) 1 own, possess, have See Topics: Frequency count

That ring's a thousand proofs.
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count


                         Methought you said

You saw one here in court could witness it.
witness (v.) 1 bear witness to, attest, testify to


I did, my lord, but loath am to produce

So bad an instrument: his name's Parolles.
instrument (n.) 1 agent, means, method


I saw the man today, if man he be.


Find him, and bring him hither.

Exit an attendant


                         What of him?

He's quoted for a most perfidious slave
quote for (v.) regard as, consider to be, mention as

With all the spots o'th' world taxed and debauched,
deboshed, deboyst (adj.) debauched, corrupted, depraved
spot (n.) 1 stain, blemish, blot
tax (v.) 1 censure, blame, take to task, disparage

Whose nature sickens but to speak a truth.
nature (n.) 5 personality, innate disposition, character

Am I or that or this for what he'll utter,

That will speak anything?


                         She hath that ring of yours.


I think she has. Certain it is I liked her

And boarded her i'th' wanton way of youth.
board (v.) 1 accost, address, approach, tackle
wanton (adj.) 1 carefree, light-hearted, frolicsome, playful

She knew her distance and did angle for me,

Madding my eagerness with her restraint,
mad (v.) 2 madden, excite, provoke

As all impediments in fancy's course
fancy (n.) 1 love, amorousness, infatuation

Are motives of more fancy; and in fine
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count
fine, in in the end, finally, in conclusion See Topics: Discourse markers

Her infinite cunning with her modern grace
cunning (n.) 3 deviousness, deceit, craftiness, artfulness
grace (n.) 4 gracefulness, charm, elegance
modern (adj.) ordinary, trite, commonplace, everyday

Subdued me to her rate. She got the ring,
rate (n.) 6 price, fee

And I had that which any inferior might

At market-price have bought.


                         I must be patient.

You that have turned off a first so noble wife

May justly diet me. I pray you yet –
diet (v.) 3 limit, restrict, restrain

Since you lack virtue I will lose a husband –

Send for your ring, I will return it home,

And give me mine again.


                         I have it not.


What ring was yours, I pray you?


                         Sir, much like

The same upon your finger.


Know you this ring? This ring was his of late.


And this was it I gave him, being abed.


The story then goes false you threw it him

Out of a casement?
casement (n.) 1 window [on hinges and able to be opened]
false (adj.) 3 sham, spurious, not genuine, artificial


                         I have spoke the truth.

Enter Parolles


My lord, I do confess the ring was hers.


You boggle shrewdly; every feather starts you. –
boggle (v.) start with fright, shy away, become alarmed
shrewdly (adv.) 1 seriously, mightily, very much
start (v.) 2 startle, alarm, disturb

Is this the man you speak of?


                         Ay, my lord.


Tell me, sirrah – but tell me true I charge you,
charge (v.) 1 order, command, enjoin

Not fearing the displeasure of your master,

Which on your just proceeding I'll keep off –
just (adj.) 6 truthful, honest

By him and by this woman here what know you?
by (prep.) 4 concerning, about


So please your majesty, my master hath been

an honourable gentleman. Tricks he hath had in him,
trick (n.) 1 habit, characteristic, typical behaviour

which gentlemen have.


Come, come, to th' purpose. Did he love this
purpose (n.) 2 point at issue, matter in hand



Faith, sir, he did love her; but how?


How, I pray you?


He did love her, sir, as a gentleman loves a



How is that?


He loved her, sir, and loved her not.


As thou art a knave and no knave. What an equivocal
equivocal (adj.) equivocating, quibbling, evasive
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count

companion is this!
companion (n.) 1 rogue, rascal, fellow


I am a poor man, and at your majesty's



He's a good drum, my lord, but a naughty orator.
drum (n.) drummer See Topics: Stage directions
naughty (adj.) 2 bad, nasty, horrible


Do you know he promised me marriage?


Faith, I know more than I'll speak.


But wilt thou not speak all thou knowest?


Yes, so please your majesty. I did go between

them as I said; but more than that, he loved her, for

indeed he was mad for her and talked of Satan and of

Limbo and of furies and I know not what; yet I was in

that credit with them at that time that I knew of their

going to bed and of other motions, as promising her
motion (n.) 6 proposal, proposition, suggestion, offer

marriage and things which would derive me ill will to
derive (v.) 4 bring down [on], direct [to]

speak of; therefore I will not speak what I know.


Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou canst say

they are married. But thou art too fine in thy evidence –
fine (adj.) 6 subtle, intricate

therefore, stand aside.

This ring you say was yours?


                         Ay, my good lord.


Where did you buy it? Or who gave it you?


It was not given me, nor I did not buy it.


Who lent it you?


                         It was not lent me neither.


Where did you find it then?


                         I found it not.


If it were yours by none of all these ways

How could you give it him?


                         I never gave it him.


This woman's an easy glove, my lord; she goes off
easy (adj.) 5 loosely fitting, comfortable

and on at pleasure.


This ring was mine; I gave it his first wife.


It might be yours or hers for aught I know.
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count


Take her away, I do not like her now.

To prison with her. And away with him.

Unless thou tellest me where thou hadst this ring

Thou diest within this hour.


                         I'll never tell you.


Take her away.
bail (n.) security for release, guarantee of freedom


                         I'll put in bail, my liege.


I think thee now some common customer.
customer (n.) harlot, prostitute, whore


By Jove, if ever I knew man 'twas you.


Wherefore hast thou accused him all this while?


Because he's guilty and he is not guilty.

He knows I am no maid, and he'll swear to't;

I'll swear I am a maid and he knows not.

Great king, I am no strumpet; by my life
strumpet (n.) harlot, prostitute, whore

I am either maid or else this old man's wife.


She does abuse our ears. To prison with her.
abuse (v.) 2 misuse, maltreat, treat badly, wrong


Good mother, fetch my bail. Stay, royal sir;
bail (n.) security for release, guarantee of freedom
stay (v.) 2 linger, tarry, delay

Exit the Widow

The jeweller that owes the ring is sent for
owe (v.) 1 own, possess, have See Topics: Frequency count

And he shall surety me. But for this lord
surety (v.) go bail for, act as a guarantor for

Who hath abused me as he knows himself,
abuse (v.) 2 misuse, maltreat, treat badly, wrong

Though yet he never harmed me, here I quit him.
quit (v.) 3 acquit, absolve, clear

He knows himself my bed he hath defiled,

And at that time he got his wife with child.

Dead though she be she feels her young one kick.

So there's my riddle: one that's dead is quick.
quick (adj.) 1 living, vital, full of life

And now behold the meaning.

Enter the Widow, with Helena
exorcist (n.) one who calls up spirits


                         Is there no exorcist

Beguiles the truer office of mine eyes?
beguile (v.) 1 cheat, deceive, trick
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count

Is't real that I see?


                         No, my good lord,

'Tis but the shadow of a wife you see,
shadow (n.) 1 image, likeness, portrait, semblance

The name and not the thing.


                         Both, both. O pardon!


O my good lord, when I was like this maid

I found you wondrous kind. There is your ring,
kind (adj.) 2 loving, affectionate, fond

And, look you, here's your letter. This it says:

When from my finger you can get this ring...

And is by me with child, etc. This is done.

Will you be mine now you are doubly won?


If she, my liege, can make me know this clearly

I'll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly.


If it appear not plain and prove untrue,

Deadly divorce step between me and you!

O my dear mother, do I see you living?


Mine eyes smell onions, I shall weep anon.
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count

(To Parolles) Good Tom Drum, lend me a handkercher.

So, I thank thee. Wait on me home, I'll make sport with
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count

thee. Let thy curtsies alone, they are scurvy ones.
scurvy (adj.) 1 contemptible, despicable, wretched


Let us from point to point this story know

To make the even truth in pleasure flow.
even (adj.) 5 real, exact, precise

(To Diana) If thou beest yet a fresh uncropped flower

Choose thou thy husband and I'll pay thy dower;
dower (n.) dowry, property or wealth given with a wife

For I can guess that by thy honest aid

Thou keptest a wife herself, thyself a maid.

Of that and all the progress more and less

Resolvedly more leisure shall express.
resolvedly (adv.) freeing from doubt, in a way which will remove all uncertainty

All yet seems well, and if it end so meet,
meet (adv.) suitably, fittingly, appropriately

The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet.



Spoken by the King

The King's a beggar, now the play is done.

All is well ended if this suit be won,
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count

That you express content; which we will pay
content (n.) 1 pleasure, satisfaction, happiness

With strife to please you, day exceeding day.
strife (n.) striving, endeavour, strong effort

Ours be your patience then and yours our parts;

Your gentle hands lend us and take our hearts.
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind


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