« PreviousContinue »
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.] The story of All's well that ends well, or, as I suppose it to have been sometimes called, Love's Labour Wonne, is originally indeed the property of Boccace, but it came immediately to Shakespeare from Painter's Giletta of Narbon, in the First Vol. of the Palace of Pleasure, 4to. 1566, p. 88.
FARMER. Shakespeare is indebted to the novel only for a few leading circumstances in the graver parts of the piece. The comic business appears to be entirely of his own fore mation.
This comedy, I imagine, was written in 1598. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakespcare's Plays, Vol. II.
King of France.
French Lords, that serve with Bertram in the
servants to the countess of Rousillon
neighbours and friends to the widow. MARIANA,
Lords, attending on the king ; Officers, Soldiers, fc. French
SCENE--Partly in France, and partly in Tuscany.
* The persons were first enumerated by Rowe.
of I suppose we should write this name-Paroles; i. e. a creature made up on mpy words. STEEVENS.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
ACT I. SCENE I.-Rousillon. A Room in the Countess's Palace.
Enter BERTRAM, the Countess of Rousillon, HELENA, and LAFEU, in mourning.
Countess. IN delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.
Ber. And I, in going, madam, weep o'er my father's death anew : but I must attend his majesty's command, to whom I am now in ward,' evermore in subjection.
Laf. You shall find of the king a husband, madam ;you, sir, a father : He that so generally is at all times good, must of necessity hold his virtue to you; whose worthiness would stir it up where it wanted, rather than lack it where there is such abundance.
Count. What hope is there of his majesty's amendment ?
Laf. He hath abandoned his physicians, madam ; under whose practices he hath persecuted time with hope : and finds no other advantage in the process but only the losing of hope by time.
Count. This young gentlewoman had a father, (0, that had ! how sad a passage 'tis !) whose skill was almost as great as his honesty ; had it stretched so far, would have made nature immortal, and death should have play for lack of work. 'Would, for the king's sake, he were living! I think, it would be the death of the king's disease.
Laf. How called you the man you speak of, madam ?
Count. He was famous, sir, in his profession, and it was his great right to be so : Gerard de Narbon.
Laf. He was excellent, indeed, madam; the king very lately spoke of him, admiringly, and mourningly: he was
(1) 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 wardo. Whether the same practice prevailed in France, it is of no great use to inquire, for Shakespeare gives to all nations the manners of England. JOHNSON. - Vou, IV.