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All's Well that Ends Well Scenes

Scene 2

Florence. The Widow’s house.

(Bertram; Diana)

Bertram and Diana meet, and Bertram swears he means the virgin no harm and proves it by giving her his ancestral ring. She then appoints a meeting at midnight in her bedroom. (86 lines)

Enter Bertram and the maid called Diana.


They told me that your name was Fontibell.


No, my good lord, Diana.


Titled goddess,

And worth it, with addition! But, fair soul,

In your fine frame hath love no quality?

If the quick fire of youth light not your mind,

You are no maiden, but a monument.

When you are dead, you should be such a one

As you are now; for you are cold and stern,

And now you should be as your mother was

When your sweet self was got.


She then was honest.


So should you be.



My mother did but duty, such, my lord,

As you owe to your wife.


No more a’ that.

I prithee do not strive against my vows.

I was compell’d to her, but I love thee

By love’s own sweet constraint, and will forever

Do thee all rights of service.


Ay, so you serve us

Till we serve you; but when you have our roses,

You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves,

And mock us with our bareness.


How have I sworn!


’Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth,

But the plain single vow that is vow’d true.

What is not holy, that we swear not by,

But take the High’st to witness. Then pray you tell me,

If I should swear by Jove’s great attributes

I lov’d you dearly, would you believe my oaths

When I did love you ill? This has no holding,

To swear by Him whom I protest to love

That I will work against Him; therefore your oaths

Are words and poor conditions, but unseal’d—

At least in my opinion.


Change it, change it!

Be not so holy-cruel. Love is holy,

And my integrity ne’er knew the crafts

That you do charge men with. Stand no more off,

But give thyself unto my sick desires,

Who then recovers. Say thou art mine, and ever

My love, as it begins, shall so persever.


I see that men make rope’s in such a scarre,

That we’ll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.


I’ll lend it thee, my dear; but have no power

To give it from me.


Will you not, my lord?


It is an honor ’longing to our house,

Bequeathed down from many ancestors,

Which were the greatest obloquy i’ th’ world

In me to lose.


Mine honor’s such a ring,

My chastity’s the jewel of our house,

Bequeathed down from many ancestors,

Which were the greatest obloquy i’ th’ world

In me to lose. Thus your own proper wisdom

Brings in the champion Honor on my part,

Against your vain assault.


Here, take my ring!

My house, mine honor, yea, my life, be thine,

And I’ll be bid by thee.


When midnight comes, knock at my chamber-window;

I’ll order take my mother shall not hear.

Now will I charge you in the band of truth,

When you have conquer’d my yet maiden bed,

Remain there but an hour, nor speak to me.

My reasons are most strong, and you shall know them

When back again this ring shall be deliver’d;

And on your finger in the night I’ll put

Another ring, that what in time proceeds

May token to the future our past deeds.

Adieu till then, then fail not. You have won

A wife of me, though there my hope be done.


A heaven on earth I have won by wooing thee.



For which live long to thank both heaven and me!

You may so in the end.

My mother told me just how he would woo,

As if she sate in ’s heart. She says all men

Have the like oaths. He had sworn to marry me

When his wife’s dead; therefore I’ll lie with him

When I am buried. Since Frenchmen are so braid,

Marry that will, I live and die a maid.

Only in this disguise I think’t no sin

To cozen him that would unjustly win.



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