quotes, notes, timelines & more

Home » Quotes » All's Well That Ends Well » You know, Helen, I am a mother to you

You know, Helen, I am a mother to you

You know, Helen, I am a mother to you.
Mine honorable mistress.

I know I love in vain, strive against hope,
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
I still pour in the waters of my love

Nay, a mother.
Why not a mother? When I said “a mother,”
Methought you saw a serpent. What’s in “mother”
That you start at it? I say I am your mother
And put you in the catalogue of those
That were enwombèd mine. ’Tis often seen
Adoption strives with nature, and choice breeds
A native slip to us from foreign seeds.
You ne’er oppressed me with a mother’s groan,
Yet I express to you a mother’s care.
God’s mercy, maiden, does it curd thy blood
To say I am thy mother? What’s the matter,
That this distempered messenger of wet,
The many-colored Iris, rounds thine eye?
Why? That you are my daughter?
That I am not.
I say I am your mother.
Pardon, madam.
The Count Rossillion cannot be my brother.
I am from humble, he from honored name;
No note upon my parents, his all noble.
My master, my dear lord he is, and I
His servant live and will his vassal die.
He must not be my brother.
Nor I your mother?
You are my mother, madam. Would you were—
So that my lord your son were not my brother—
Indeed my mother! Or were you both our mothers,
I care no more for than I do for heaven,
So I were not his sister. Can’t no other
But, I your daughter, he must be my brother?
Yes, Helen, you might be my daughter-in-law.
God shield you mean it not! “Daughter” and “mother”
So strive upon your pulse. What, pale again?
My fear hath catched your fondness! Now I see
The mystery of your loneliness and find
Your salt tears’ head. Now to all sense ’tis gross:
You love my son. Invention is ashamed
Against the proclamation of thy passion
To say thou dost not. Therefore tell me true,
But tell me then ’tis so, for, look, thy cheeks
Confess it th’ one to th’ other, and thine eyes
See it so grossly shown in thy behaviors
That in their kind they speak it. Only sin
And hellish obstinacy tie thy tongue
That truth should be suspected. Speak. Is ’t so?
If it be so, you have wound a goodly clew;
If it be not, forswear ’t; howe’er, I charge thee,
As heaven shall work in me for thine avail,
To tell me truly.
Good madam, pardon me.
Do you love my son?
Your pardon, noble mistress.
Love you my son?
Do not you love him, madam?
Go not about. My love hath in ’t a bond
Whereof the world takes note. Come, come, disclose
The state of your affection, for your passions
Have to the full appeached.
Helen, kneeling
Then I confess
Here on my knee before high heaven and you
That before you and next unto high heaven
I love your son.
My friends were poor but honest; so ’s my love.
Be not offended, for it hurts not him
That he is loved of me. I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit,
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him,
Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope,
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
I still pour in the waters of my love
And lack not to lose still. Thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun that looks upon his worshipper
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love
For loving where you do; but if yourself,
Whose agèd honor cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in so true a flame of liking
Wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and Love, O then give pity
To her whose state is such that cannot choose
But lend and give where she is sure to lose;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But riddle-like lives sweetly where she dies.

Act 1
Scene 3
Line 140

Source Type:

Spoken by: