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Perfons Represented?

King of France.

Duke of Florence.

Bertram, Count of Roufillon.

Lafeu, an old Lord.

Parolles, a parafitical follower of Bertrain; a coward, but vain, and a great pretender to valour.

Several young French Lords, that ferve with Bertram in the Florentine war.



Servants to the Countess of Roufillon.

Countess of Roufillon, mother to Bertram.

Helena, daughter to Gerard de Narbon, a famous phyfician, fome time fince dead.

An old widow of Florence.

Diana, Daughter to the widow.

Violenta,} Neighbours and friends to the widow.


Lords, attending on the King; Officers, Soldiers, &c.

SCENE lies partly in France, and partly in Tuscany.


The perfons were first enumerated by Rowe.

Parolles.] I fuppofe we should write this name Paroles, i.e. a creature made up of empty words. STEEVENS.

3 Violenta only enters once, and then the neither speaks, nor is fpoken to. STEEvens.



The Countess of Roufillon's house in France.

Enter Bertram, the Countess of Roufillon, Helena, and
Lafeu, all in black.

Count. In delivering my fon from me, I bury a fecond hufband.

Ber. And I; in going, madam, weep o'er my fa ther's death anew: but I muft attend his majesty's

• The story of All's Well that Ends Well, or, as I fuppose it to have been sometimes called, Love's Labour Wonne, is originally indeed the property of Boccace, but it came immediately to Shakefpeare from Painter's Gilletta of Narbon, in the first vol. of the Palace of Pleafure, 4to, 1566, p. 88. FARMER.

Shakespeare is indebted to the novel only. for a few leading circumftances in the graver parts of the piece. The comic business appears to be entirely of his own formation. STEEVENS.

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5 In delivering my fon from me,] To deliver from, in the fenfe of giving up, is not English. Shakespeare wrote, in diffevering my fon from me The following words, too,- I bury a fecond bufband-demand this reading. For to diffever implies a violent divorce; and therefore might be compared to the burying a bufband; which delivering does not. WARBURTON.

Of this change I fee no need: the present reading is clear, and, perhaps, as proper as that which the great commentator would fubftitute; for the king diffevers her fon from her, fhe only delivers him. JOHNSON.

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command, to whom I am now in ward, evermore in subjection.

Laf. You fhall find of the king a husband, madam;—you, fir, a father: He that fo generally is at all times good, muft of neceffity hold his virtue to you; 7 whose worthiness would ftir it up where it wanted, rather than lack it where there is fuch abundance.

Count. What hope is there of his majesty's amendment?

Laf. He hath abandon'd his phyficians, madam under whose practices he hath perfecuted time with hope; and finds no other advantage in the process, but only the lofing of hope by time.

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Count. This young gentlewoman had a father, (O, that had! how fad a paffage 'tis !) whose skill


6 -in ward, Under his particular care, as my guardian, till I come to age. It is now almost forgotten in England, that the heirs of great fortunes were the king's awards. Whether the fame practice prevailed in France, it is of no great ufe to enquire, for Shakespeare gives to all nations the manners of England. JOHNSON.

Howell's fifteenth letter acquaints us that the province of Normandy was fubject to wardfhips, and no other part of France befides; but the fuppofition of the contrary furnished Shakespeare with a reason why the king compelled Roufillon to marry Helen. TOLLET.

-in ward,-] The prerogative of wardship is a branch of the feudal law, and may as well be fuppofed to be incorporated with the conftitution of France, as it was with that of England, till the reign of Charles II. SIR J. HAWKINS.

7 whofe worthiness would ftir it up where it wanted, rather than lack it where there is fuch abundance.] An oppofition of terms is vifibly defigned in this fentence; tho' the oppofition is not so vifible, as the terms now ftand. Wanted and abundance are the oppofites to one another; but how is lack a contraft to ftir up! The addition of a fingle letter gives it, and the very fenfe requires it. Read flack it. WARBURTON.


This young gentlewoman had a father (O, that had! how fad a paffage 'tis Lafeu was fpeaking of the king's defperate condition which makes the countefs recall to mind the deceased Gerard de Narbon, who, fhe thinks could have cured him. But in

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