ACT II
Scene 4
 

Paris. The KING'S palace

Enter HELENA and CLOWN

HELENA
My mother greets me kindly; is she well?

CLOWN
She is not well, but yet she has her health; she's very
merry, but yet she is not well. But thanks be given, she's very
well, and wants nothing i' th' world; but yet she is not well.

HELENA
If she be very well, what does she ail that she's not very
well?

CLOWN
Truly, she's very well indeed, but for two things.

HELENA
What two things?

CLOWN
One, that she's not in heaven, whither God send her quickly!
The other, that she's in earth, from whence God send her quickly!

Enter PAROLLES

PAROLLES
Bless you, my fortunate lady!

HELENA
I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine own good
fortunes.

PAROLLES
You had my prayers to lead them on; and to keep them on,
have them still. O, my knave, how does my old lady?

CLOWN
So that you had her wrinkles and I her money, I would she
did as you say.

PAROLLES
Why, I say nothing.

CLOWN
Marry, you are the wiser man; for many a man's tongue shakes
out his master's undoing. To say nothing, to do nothing, to know
nothing, and to have nothing, is to be a great part of your
title, which is within a very little of nothing.

PAROLLES
Away! th'art a knave.

CLOWN
You should have said, sir, 'Before a knave th'art a knave';
that's 'Before me th'art a knave.' This had been truth, sir.

PAROLLES
Go to, thou art a witty fool; I have found thee.

CLOWN
Did you find me in yourself, sir, or were you taught to find
me? The search, sir, was profitable; and much fool may you find
in you, even to the world's pleasure and the increase of
laughter.

PAROLLES
A good knave, i' faith, and well fed.
Madam, my lord will go away to-night:
A very serious business calls on him.
The great prerogative and rite of love,
Which, as your due, time claims, he does acknowledge;
But puts it off to a compell'd restraint;
Whose want, and whose delay, is strew'd with sweets,
Which they distil now in the curbed time,
To make the coming hour o'erflow with joy
And pleasure drown the brim.

HELENA
What's his else?

PAROLLES
That you will take your instant leave o' th' King,
And make this haste as your own good proceeding,
Strength'ned with what apology you think
May make it probable need.

HELENA
What more commands he?

PAROLLES
That, having this obtain'd, you presently
Attend his further pleasure.

HELENA
In everything I wait upon his will.

PAROLLES
I shall report it so.

HELENA
I pray you.

Exit PAROLLES

Come, sirrah.

Exeunt